Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy Birthday Pat

Hey, Happy Birthday!

No, I didn't tell anyone which one this is.

Yep, sure is, welcome to the dark side.

Hey, there are a couple of those Dark Side birthdays, right?

What's that?  Going out tonight for a special dinner?

Hope so, no everything's pretty much the same here.

Where's he taking you again?

Never been, but I've been away for a while.

It must have opened before I left.

It sounds real nice, I know how you like that kind of restaurant.

Yep, six years.

Was just looking back at some of those old pics. 

If I find some I'll scan them and send you the cleaned up versions, but you have more of those than I do here.

Not too many made it here in the big move.

Nope, newest one of him was when he was 16.  I still have that pic in the frame you gave me all those years ago.  Mom's pic and Aunt Betty too. 

Glad to hear he's OK too.

No, Betty's pic was one she sent all of us in that little frame.

Yes,  I know you're a Jersey Girl.

Well maybe some day you'll come down for a visit.  We have the room.  It would be tight but just like old times.

Sure you will, you never liked all that ice either.  Snow can be pretty but ice?  Yuck.

Yeah I know, got over it.  Like we say "In my drink, not on my lawn".

Ok, good to hear from you too.  Glad all's well up there.  Don't be a stranger!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Jamaican Lawyer - Humor

 I'm not quite sure why this would be specifically a "Jamaican Lawyer", but in the joke's defence, I can certainly see every Jamaican I've ever known using this kind of logic.


So stir up some Callaloo and serve it with some Jerked Chicken, here's a little joke for you!

The Jamaican Lawyer

A Jamaican-born lawyer defending a man in New York accused of burglary tried this creative defense:

"My client merely inserted his arm into the window and removed a few trifling articles. His arm is not himself, and I fail to see how you can punish the whole individual for an offence committed by his limb."

"Well put," the judge replied. "Using your logic, I sentence the defendant's arm to 5 year's imprisonment. He can accompany it or not, as he chooses."

The defendant smiled.

With his lawyer's assistance he detached his artificial limb, laid it on the bench, and walked out.

...Don't mess with a Jamaican!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Alligators in the Pool For a Party? Only In Florida!

I guess this has to be called "Weird Florida".

I grew up hearing how weird New Jersey was, but frankly it's pretty normal.  There were some amazingly beautiful areas once you got away from the inner ring suburbs of New York, and Philly.  We did have the Jersey Devil, some folks thought I was him, but no.

Here in Florida we've got some really strange critters.   People seem to feel they need to have exotic creatures around them that don't belong here.  Dogs and Cats don't exactly fit in our ecosystem either but we tend to make an exception.

Then there are those who thought it would be a good idea to keep an iguana in the house.  Eventually they escape and now you have them running around eating Bougainvilleas bare.  Apparently to an Iguana, Bougainvillea are addictive.  Iguana Crack.  I find them in the pool when they start to breed beyond a certain level and frankly now that they're back I'm looking forward to a good strong cold snap.

But those aren't natives, and they don't belong in my pool.

There's always someone who will try to tame the un-tameable.  Those folks I just keep a healthy distance from.  You never know when something like that will bite.  

Like a gator.  You know, Alligator.   There's a guy over in John's Pass on the west side of the state who rents one of them out.  Apparently, the creature is tame enough to swim in the pool, intentionally.  With your nine year old daughter.

I wonder if he wants an iguana or twelve?

So the gator is tame enough to swim with the kids in the pool, with its mouth taped shut of course.  It supposedly likes it too.   I know my own dog doesn't like the pool but there are some that do, so I can accept that.

I guess this is one of those Shrug And Move On things for me.  While it isn't exactly natural for a gator to chose a swimming pool instead of a nice warm swamp, it easily has a way of letting you know if it doesn't like it.  (SNAP!) 

See... a gator in a pool... It really happened.

If you would like to read more, Bay News 9 has the whole article and more pictures like the one above.  I'm just going to wander off, scratch my head in mild amusement, and make more coffee.

Since the state Wildlife Commission is looking into this, they'll determine if cruelty is happening to the gator.  As for me, I'm willing to let that go its course.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The 6AM Gecko Hunt

We were out for a walk that morning.  The sun hadn't yet risen completely and the morning clouds were lit a brilliant red from below. 

I was standing at the foot of the drive looking at the spectacle when I began to be pulled toward the front door by Mrs Dog.  Half asleep, not having had the first of my coffee, I was surprised at her insistence.  Something was amiss and we had to get to that front porch and do it quickly.

By the time I had rounded the car and navigated past the planter, I saw a dark flash retreat as the lighting came up to full.  I wasn't quite sure what little critter was hiding in the door jamb but I had my suspicions.

Mrs Dog knew right off the bat, it was her old archenemy, the Gecko.

I pulled out my flashlight and focused the beam to the broadest setting.  That meant that instead of it being a pin spot, the equivalent of a 75 watt light bulb was spread broad so it wouldn't completely blind the creatures of the night.

Spotting the tail of the little pink lizard hanging over the top of the door, I knew that I would have to try to convince it to move or else there'd be another inhabitant of the living room today.

Stepping back to the garden, I found a leaf that had fallen from the screw palm and used it to tickle the Gecko.   It didn't work.   They're very shy creatures and they usually try to hide.  I've had them try to hide on my legs and head up into my shorts before so I do know what I'm talking about.

Thankfully they're more amusing than anything else.  No teeth so even if you do find a particularly cantankerous lizard, it's harmless.  I'm told little girls will get them to bite their earlobes sometimes to have Gecko Earrings, but I have never seen that first hand.

Without trying to harm this little pink creature, I knew that I would either have to be more aggressive with my Screw Palm Leaf Weapon, or just open the door and hope that when it's deciding to move, it's going to move out and not in.

Fifty Fifty Shot, right?

At this point things began to happen quickly.

The door opened slightly. 

The dog had never lost sight of where the creature was. 
She may be old, have dodgy kidneys, and a weak thyroid, but her eyes are perfect.

Hearing the bark was the first thing that told me that the Gecko had moved.  

Feeling it hit my forearm first, I began to recoil slightly, being startled.

The Gecko didn't like that and bounced onto the door.

Now, the dog was jumping at the door as the little translucent creature was running away.   Right into the door jamb.  This time it was behind the hinges.   It's little pink brain furiously looking for an escape from the insistent dog and the curious human, it ran to the highest hinge. 

I could have closed the door and been done with the predawn drama, but that would be needlessly cruel. Besides, these creatures give me an enormous amount of entertainment simply by their being around.

I bent down to unlatch the dog from her harness, and gestured for her to go indoors.   She did but that merely gave her a view of the gecko in the morning gloom.


Shaddap Dog you'll wake the neighbors!

Wielding the almost forgotten Screw Palm leaf, I tickled the gecko again.  It had the common sense to run away from the leaf and around the door to the outside.  Blocking the dog who was trying to get a purchase on the floor and looking like Wile E Coyote, Super Genius, I quickly shut the door.

Drama averted, nobody harmed except the dog who finally collided with the door with a soft thump.

Time for Coffee everyone, nothing to see here, lets move on!

Copyright 2012  All rights reserved.

So, how did you start YOUR day?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What did you do with your old Smartphone

After reading this article on Lifehacker, I was left smiling.

So very much bile and grief.

Ok, so you have a smartphone.  It's older than your contract.  Get it unlocked.   You can even do that with your AT&T Phones.  Mostly, anyway.  There are some phones that are simply hardwired to be with the company you got it from.

My being the king of electronic repurposing, there area a lot of uses that you can get out of the little beasts.

You will want to remove the SIM.   That's the little chip that tells the phone to talk to the cell towers.  If you managed to get it unlocked, you still can use it for "Old Times Sake" or just give/sell/pass it on to someone else.  But that SIM is required in the new phone to make it work like a phone.

Some of the things I use my hand-me-down smartphones for are:

One of them is unlocked.   I use it when my "real" phone is dead.  Swap in my SIM and now I'm back on the air.  You can even use it when you're in a bad neighborhood so you don't lose the "good phone".

Load it up like an iPod and walk around listening to the same tracks over and over because I can't stand having iTunes on my laptop phoning home every couple hours.   At least that is easier to deal with on Android.  Fewer programs to "manage" my music preferences.

Download a copy of Magic Jack for emergencies.  You can make free phone calls in the US using your Wifi and this software.

I keep one on the nightstand for when I wake up.  Since the "regular" phone is on charge, I turn this thing on and use it to check up on Radar/Weather/News/etc. 

Internet Radio is great when you have a wifi-only no-longer phone smartphone.  I use a program called TuneIn and can listen to all those streams or radio stations from outside of the house when I'm tired and want something new.

No, this isn't earth shattering news.  But it is better than tossing it in a drawer and then in the trash in a few months.  May as well use the thing, after all you paid for it, and really you paid quite a lot for it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lettie's Burgers

When it comes to hamburgers, I have a simple recipe:

Meat, Heat, and Eat.

I don't want salt.  Never really cared for it.
Keep your pepper.  Jalapenos are an obscenity.
Cheese belongs ON the burger, not IN it.
Same with Onions.

On the other hand, I've found that since my dog, Lettie, has been diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure, I have to be flexible with what I feed her.

We tried the Boiled Burger Meat with Rice.   She ignored it.
We tried Pan Fried Burgers and Grilled Burgers.  She liked those, but they were too high in protein to do more than 4 ounces a day.
The Vet suggested Tofu.  She hated that and bared her teeth at it.

So I started playing with recipes and even found a way that I could use the Tofu and not have it change the taste.  If you're looking for a way to experiment with Tofu, this is a good start.

Here is what I came up with:

2 Pounds  Burger Meat.  I used 75% lean, AKA Don't Eat This At Home.
1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 pound firm Tofu
2 Whole Eggs

Place Burger Meat in large mixing bowl.
Crack two eggs over top of the Burger Meat.
Crumble tofu over top of the Burger Meat.
Mix all ingredients together well.
Add Bread Crumbs to meat and mix together well.

The Bread Crumbs should be added separately after the other ingredients are evenly mixed.   They will help to soak up some of the extra moisture from the Tofu.

These burgers will grill well, the texture will be lighter than a "plain burger" with no additives.  Any burger's texture will vary based on the amount of additives and moisture that are in the mix, so make sure that you watch over them while cooking. 

I grilled mine on a propane grill that was turned to the maximum setting and got the results you see below.  2 Ounce Burgers... with two 4 Ounce Burgers for me later.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Clear your Sinuses in 20 Seconds

Ok, this is a quick and dirty one.  I read about this trick over the weekend and just tried it.  Frankly it's one of those things that I don't need here in Florida since I'm only 2 miles from the ocean and the breezes keep the nasties away.  I wish I knew about this when I lived in New Jersey and everyone else's pollution kept floating overhead.

1)  Take your finger.  Any finger.  Place it between your eyebrows and press for 20 seconds.

2) Press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth at the same time.

3) Within 20 seconds you should feel your sinuses at least start to clear.

4) Repeat as needed.

I tried it this morning and... excuse me, I'll be needing a tissue in a bit.

If you want to see the write up on it in Reddit, check out this link.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Letter From a Little Old Lady to her Banker

I don't know if the little British lady in the story actually did this, but how many times would you like to do something like this to some corporation that is acting quite a bit too "Officious"?  Then again, now you know why I choose to use a Credit Union instead of a large Bank.

This particular smile is courtesy of Kevin.  You can thank or blame him as you will. 

Shown below, is an actual letter that was sent to a bank by an 86 year old woman.
The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the Times.

Dear Sir:

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month.

By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it..

I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire pension, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years.

You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account £30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I personally answer your telephone calls and letters, --- when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become.

From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.

My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank, by cheque, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate.

Be aware that it is an OFFENCE under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope.

Please find attached an Application Contact which I require your chosen employee to complete.

I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative.

Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public figure, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course, at MY convenience, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me.

I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modelled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service.

As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further.

When you call me, press buttons as follows:


#1. To make an appointment to see me

#2. To query a missing payment.

#3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.

#4 To transfer the call to my bedroom in case I am sleeping.

#5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.

#6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.

#7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required.

Password will be communicated to you at a later date to that Authorized Contact mentioned earlier.

#8. To return to the main menu and to listen to options 1 to 9

#9. To make a general complaint or inquiry.

The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service.

While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.

May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous New Year?

Your Humble Client

And remember:
Don't make old people mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to tick us off.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Old Butch

I'm not entirely sure whether to call this a joke or an "allegory".  Stories like this always have some hidden meanings, and I'm sure you will find one here.   This is definitely a story that has more than one meaning.

You can thank Velma for this chance to think this morning.

Old  Butch

John  was in the fertilized egg business.
He had several hundred young  layers (hens), called 'pullets,' and ten roosters to fertilize the  eggs.

He kept records, and any rooster not performing went into the soup pot and was replaced.

This took a lot of time,  so he bought some tiny bells and attached them to his  roosters.

Each bell had a different tone, so he could tell  from a distance, which rooster was performing.

Now, he could  sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report by just listening  to the bells.

John's favorite rooster, old Butch, was a very  fine specimen, but this morning he noticed old Butch's bell hadn't  rung at all!

When he went to investigate, he saw the other  roosters were busy chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing, but the  pullets, hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover.

To  John's amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn't  ring.

He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to  the next one.

John was so proud of old Butch, he entered him  in the Saint Lawrence County Fair and he became an overnight  sensation among the judges.

The result was the judges not  only awarded old Butch the "No Bell Piece Prize," but they also  awarded him the "Pulletsurprise" as well.

Clearly old Butch  was a politician in the making. Who else but a politician could  figure out how to win two of the most coveted awards on our planet  by being the best at sneaking up on the unsuspecting populace and  screwing them when they weren't paying attention.

Vote  carefully this fall, the bells are not always  audible.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Little Bit of a Shower at 3:45AM

We'd had a little rain overnight.

That is like saying there's a little open land in Texas.
Britain had a few overseas possessions once.
It's only a short hop across the country.

...unless you live in Liechtenstein then, I guess, it would be.

Actually I was awakened by the flash in my eyes before the crack of the thunder actually had me jump.  

It was one of those FlashBANG storms that we never really saw in Philly.  Down here, no problem, the places are built to take that sort of punishment.

When you realize you're laying in bed and counting "OneOneThousan...BOOM", the cell's right overhead and in ten or twenty minutes it would be gone, and the sound of the train in the distance really is the train on the FEC tracks a mile away, all is well.

Price of living in Paradise.

Laying in bed at 3:45 in the morning and watching the flashing of the lightning strikes on the inside of your eyelids, your mind starts to wander. 

When will the storm end?
Can I fall back asleep while this row is still going on?
Why isn't the dog whining?

Old dog syndrome.  You realize things are different before you realize why.  Sure, I got to sleep through a half of a thunderstorm, but a couple years back she'd have been barking at the sky and trying to crawl inside somewhere she should not have been. 

I wasn't the only one sleeping through a cell of biblical proportions.

I was grateful for the sleep, not for the reason.

Eventually the house settled back to its routine.  The storm passed, the pool water was topped off, there weren't any downed limbs.  That's life in the tropics.  Through every life a bit of rain must fall, but it brings with it the Hibiscus Flowers and the Orange Blossoms that later will nourish us with a tasty snack.

After all, you just can't pick an orange off the tree and share the pieces with the dog just anywhere.  I suggest the driveway.  Great place to survey the neighborhood while your hands get a little sticky.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Do We Really Need Dogs In Restaurants in Wilton Manors?

Personally, I'd love to bring my dog to a restaurant.  The thing is, that means others would bring theirs.  Having walked my own dog two traffic lanes away from the outside serving area at Alibi on Wilton Drive and had two yappers try to attack my own dog from that serving area as we were trying to pass well out of reach, I don't think it is a good idea.

In that situation, the small dogs were so violent in trying to get away, they pulled the chairs they were tied to into the next table and then knocked over the umbrella table next to it.  All the while, the owners were yelling at me saying it was my own fault for causing the problem.

There in lies the problem.  It's the owners and the culture of entitlement that has been growing over the last decades.  Don't take responsibility, it's someone else's fault for making them do it.

Seems like that's the kind of thing that a 9 year old schoolyard bully would say.  I can hear it now:  "Stop hitting yourself!  Stop hitting yourself!..."

What set these thoughts off was a phone call by a local friend Diane who was telling me about two people that we both knew, Ross and Tom who went down to Lincoln Road.  Apparently, according to this Miami Herald article, they witnessed a dog maul a waitress there.   The unfortunate woman required 300 stitches because she made the mistake of giving a dog a bowl of water. 

She probably should have given the beast a taser instead.

The dog should have been confiscated and placed "in quarantine" immediately thereafter due to Florida State Statute 767.13 (2).  Most likely why that didn't happen was that the owner of the dog was a lawyer who, to quote the Miami Herald:

The owner of the dog, ... , is an attorney who works in labor and employment law and has represented police officers.

Seems like entitlement to me, although I can't say for sure.. 

The dog is a "Cane Corso".  Large breed dog that originated in Italy.  Think "Mastiff".  Typically used for protection.  See a pattern here?

If the dog isn't absolutely perfectly trained, why are you going to inflict it on society?  After all, at a restaurant, you are imposing your will and showing off your own insecurities by bringing a huge animal like that. 

On the other hand, the dogs that came after me that day were under 20 pounds.

Simply better to leave the dogs at home.  No matter the "dog friendly vibe" of Lincoln Road on Miami Beach, or here on our own Wilton Drive, these companion dogs are a distraction that the rest of us really don't need.

Read more here:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Who's Been Here?

Now that she's reached her "Senior Years", Mrs Dog is making the best of her time when visiting the Vet's office.

She's loving the short hop from the house in the car.  She's always been a better riding companion in the Jeep than just about any human I know.  I'll get out the blanket, lay it out on the seat, open the door and she's in there like a shot.

At least she used to be in there like a shot.  Now that she's almost 12-that-we-know-of, she stands by the door of the car and wags her tail with a foot up on the sill of the door.  Those old bones won't pull her up into the cabin of the Jeep on a good day.  She needs help.

Once we get to the Vet's, it's a challenge to keep her distracted from Those Other Dogs.  Eventually she'll settle in.  Just hand me a kleenex, there's cats about.

Of course, any good herding dog finds things to get into.  The corners are full of new smells, the walls have fur, and all is different. 

The mental stimulation is good for any dog, even one who is not as smart as my girl still is.  It's just a stressful time.  All you have to do is let the leash go and she's glued against the door trying to make a break for it and the green prairies of Fort Lauderdale beckon.

Her prognosis is good despite her Chronic Kidney Disease.  She's got between two weeks and two years.  The key is finding something she'll eat that will keep her going.  Right now, she's enjoying Honeycomb Cereal.   Yes, a dog that will eat your kid's cereal is pretty common.  A dog that will only eat your kid's cereal is my dog.  Strictly speaking there are other things, but the rule of thumb is if she shows interest, she gets some. 

The diet has been turned upside down, dog food is off the list in favor of carbs and fat in order to keep the protein levels down.  On the other hand, she's got a lot of energy on this weird diet of Granola Bars, "Cannibal Crackers", and a burger every other day.  Too many burgers and she is all "logy" the next day until the salt in the blood balances back to normal.

We're all learning.  She's trying to teach.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

OK, You People Are Boring.

Having a real bad case of writer's block this morning, I started reading.

There are a couple of websites that I look at when I'm stuck in a loop, or a funk, or just want to find some things that are intriguing to get me thinking.

That didn't work.

After reading tech blogs with one story after another about emerging technologies in consumer products, and how this new device would change the world, then switching to a general news website and doing the same thing, I realized.

There is a world outside of the iPhone.

Finally after spending "enough time" on the subject, I thought "Hey lets see what everyone is searching".  

That didn't work.

In metro area after metro area, state after state, the searches were surprisingly the same.

This last week in the top ten of the admittedly non scientific search that I did at random, every single city I checked of around 20 major cities, iphone and iphone 5 were in the top ten.

Oh go stand in line for crying out loud!

I did learn that the iPhone 5 has more computing power than any Mac Powerbook ever built, the screen is taller, the new OS will be available shortly if that hasn't changed while I was ignoring the press on the object. 

I also learned that my creaky old iPhone 3GS will be able to get iOS 6 some day if I ever turn the bloody thing on and figure out how to update it again.  I have a five year old laptop that has a questionable hard drive in it that has iTunes in it that I keep intact for just such backups and restores and upgrades.  Other than that the machine sits unused.  Can't really use a computer without a mouse these days, and I'm just too ornery to use an external mouse on a laptop computer.

Probably best to let that sleeping dog lie in case a power pop takes out the rest of the house and my laptop with it. 

So if you are standing in line waiting for your new iPhone 5 With Brand New Fetish Worthy Taller Screen!, enjoy.  

I'll just smile and go back to looking for things online.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Blank Computer, and A Weekend Project with Windows 8

I was handed a challenge on Friday.

It was in the form of a laptop.  The owner had no idea what the quality of the machine was, and wanted to know if it was worth keeping.

That's the problem with Auction Websites.  You can get an amazing deal but you won't know until you settle in and use the thing whether you should go through the grief of trying to send it back.

The challenge with a normal machine is straightforward.  Turn it on, let it come up and settle.  The word I normally use is "Quiesce".  Fifty Cent Word for settle.

That assumes that the machine is complete and not missing pieces.  Pieces like an Operating System.

Many people think that when you pass on a computer to someone else, you have to keep the hard drive because they'll be able to see all your old junk like your cat pictures, and your letter to Aunt Gertie in Nebraska.  You know, that sort of thing.

That just makes life complex later.   Just delete everything of yours, then copy big files to fill the hard disc.  There are plenty of places where you can get free MP3s or Videos to fill your disc.  I'll leave that to you.

It wasn't complete.  The screen was a gorgeous 15 inch screen, brilliant "LED" screen.  The machine had probably never been used, the keyboard still stiff, there was even little bits of that plastic junk that people put on things to protect them.

Just no operating system.

Big ol' 320GB hard drive with nothing on it but digital tumbleweeds.

So what did I do?

Looking at the "Windows 7" sticker happily glued to the case, I shrugged.   That wasn't going to happen since to install a copy of Windows 7 on it, I'd have to get one.  Too much of a headache.   I went to my disc pile and found about 5 different kinds of Linux.

The problem was that Linux really is best on machines that are old enough for the true geeks of the world to have written all those drivers for the new machines.  A year old laptop is great for Linux, brand spanking new and you may have problems.

I did, but enough to prove that it was worth our while to try to find a copy of Windows.

Luckily, Microsoft had that deal where you could try a cutting edge version of Windows 8 out on your "spare" machine and see if you like it.

1) I don't.   Windows 8 is a new thing.  Microsoft doesn't do "new" too well.  It usually takes them three versions to get it right.   Stick with Windows 7 for now.  Windows 8 will be too "raw" for "Mom and Pop".  Let the kids who are good with it learn it.

In a nutshell, Windows 8 has a grafted on Start Page.  Windows 8's Start Page has icons plus apps that are "live" and go out to the internet, swallowing bandwidth and part of your computer to do all that work.   When you click on that live app icon, it could put you on your familiar desktop, it may put you in a new space where the apps live.  It's all very disjointed and uncomfortable.   Quite rough and raw.

Windows 7 is familiar with the Start Button.   It's the same way almost all modern computers work with the person, including Linux, OSX on the Mac, and some really rare operating systems.

2) Since this was a new machine, and had hardware we didn't know was working, this was a gamble.  In the end, Windows 8 had all the drivers, and I was able to prove that every piece of the laptop worked.  In fact, that is what I wrote this posting on.

So get ready, Windows 8 is coming, and you may not like it.  You may.  I found myself realizing that it was like the line in the old Thomas Dolby song "Science" - They've moved it and I can't Fiiind Anything!!!!

Luckily, between this version and the version that comes out in a month, they have a chance to change things for the better.  At least we were able to prove that the machine works, and now it's got Windows 7 on it once we installed the "real" operating system.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Don't Throw Away the Lemon Peel

I can't say I can vouch for all the health claims of this post, but I will say that it's an interesting idea on how to get more bang for the Lemon buck.  What you're basically doing is using the zest of the lemon.  You'll get a more intense lemon flavor by being able to use the peel up, so go lightly.

So thanks Velma, here's another post...

Don't Throw Away The Lemon Peel...

Many professionals in restaurants and eateries are using or consuming the entire lemon and nothing is wasted.

 How can you use the whole lemon without waste?

Simple, place the lemon in the freezer section of your refrigerator, once the lemon is frozen, get your grater, and shred the whole lemon (no need to peel it) and sprinkle it on top of your foods.

Sprinkle it to your whisky, wine, vegetable salad, ice cream, soup, noodles, spaghetti sauce, rice, sushi, fish dishes. All of the foods will unexpectedly have a wonderful taste, something that you may have never tasted before. Most likely, you only think of lemon juice and vitamin C. Not anymore. Now that you've learned this lemon secret, you can use lemon even in instant cup noodles.

What's the major advantage of using the whole lemon other than preventing waste and adding new taste to your dishes?

Well, you see lemon peels contain as much as 5 to 10 times more vitamins than the lemon juice itself. And yes, that's what you've been wasting. But from now on, by following this simple procedure of freezing the whole lemon, then grating it on top of your dishes, you can consume all of those nutrients and get even healthier.

It's also good that lemon peels are health rejuvenators in eradicating toxic elements in the body.
So place your lemon in your freezer, and then grate it on your meal every day. It is a key to make your foods tastier and you get to live healthier and longer! That's the lemon secret!

Better late than NEVER!

The surprising benefits of lemon!

Lemon (Citrus) is a miraculous product to kill cancer cells. It is 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy.

Why do we not know about that?   Because there are laboratories interested in making a synthetic version that will bring them huge profits, you can now help a friend in need by letting him/her know that lemon juice is beneficial in preventing the disease.   Its taste is pleasant and it does not produce the horrific effects of chemotherapy. How many people will die while this closely guarded secret is kept, so as not to jeopardize the beneficial multimillionaires large corporations?   As you know, the lemon tree is known for its varieties of lemons and limes. You can eat the fruit in different ways: you can eat the pulp, juice press, prepare drinks, sorbets, pastries, etc... It is credited with many virtues, but the most interesting is the effect it produces on cysts and tumors. This plant is a proven remedy against cancers of all types. Some say it is very useful in all variants of cancer. It is considered also as an anti microbial spectrum against bacterial infections and fungi, effective against internal parasites and worms, it regulates blood pressure which is too high and an antidepressant, combats stress and nervous disorders.

The source of this information is fascinating: it comes from one of the largest drug manufacturers in the world, says that after more than 20 laboratory tests since 1970, the extracts revealed that It destroys the malignant cells in 12 cancers, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreas ...The compounds of this tree showed 10,000 times better than the product Adriamycin, a drug normally used chemotherapeutic in
the world, slowing the growth of cancer cells.   And what is even more astonishing is this type of therapy with lemon extract only destroys malignant cancer cells and it does not affect healthy cells.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dementia Quiz - Humor

I admit it, I did these and got some of them wrong.  So I guess that means I'm demented.   I never did well with these "Trick Questions", and I bet you'll miss a few as well.

So thanks to Velma we can all take the quiz and be embarrassed that we missed a few.

I won't say how many if you don't...

Dementia  Quiz 

Below are four (4) questions and a Bonus question  to test your perception, reasoning and the quickness of your logical processing.   They are stated simply so you should try to answer them instantly.   To assure the accuracy of the results, you should not take your time; but instead, answer each of them immediately.   


Let's find out just how clever you really are....

Ready?  GO!!! (scroll down slowly to uncover Q's and  A's  ) 

First Question  :

You are a participant in a race. You overtake the second person. What position are you in? 

Answer  :  If you answered that you are first, then you are absolutely WRONG! If you overtake the second person and you take his place, YOU are in second place!

Try not to screw up next time. Now answer the second question, but don't take as much time as you took for the first question,  OK? 

Second Question :
If you overtake the last person, then you are...?
(scroll down) 


Answer  : If you answered that you are second to last, then you are ... WRONG again. Tell me Sunshine, how can you overtake the LAST person??

You're not very good at this, are you? 

Third Question :
Very tricky arithmetic! Note: This must be done in your head only.  Do NOT use paper and pencil or a calculator. 
Try it.

Take  1000  and add  40  to it. Now add another  1000  Now add  30 .  Add another  1000  . Now add 20   . Now add another 1000  . Now add  10 .  What is the total? 

Scroll down for the correct answer..... 


Did you get 5000?

The correct answer is actually 4100  ..

If you don't believe it, check it with a calculator!
To day is definitely not your day, is it? 

Maybe you'll get the last question right....  Maybe.... 

Fourth Question: 

Mary's father has five daughters: 1. Nana,  2. Nene,  3. Nini,  4! . Nono, and ? ??  What is the name of the fifth daughter?


Did you Answer Nunu?  NO!  Of course it isn't.
Her name is  Mary you retard! Read the question again! 

Okay, now the Bonus round,
I.E., a final chance to 
Redeem yourself:

A mute person goes into a shop and wants to buy a toothbrush. By imitating the action of brushing his teeth he successfully expresses himself to the shopkeeper and the purchase is done. 
Next, a blind man comes into the shop who wants to buy a pair of sunglasses; how does HE indicate what he wants? 


It's really very simple
He opens his mouth and ask for it...

Does your employer actually pay you to think??
If so Do NOT let them see your answers for this test!

Have a nice day, one and all.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Chronic Renal Failure - Tricks and Feeding for your Dog

Feeding Tricks or Tricks in Feeding?

Standard Disclaimer -  See a qualified Professional.  Get your pet to the vet, get yourself to the doctor and ask pointed questions.  I am not a doctor, this is merely what I am finding as I go along.

See here's the thing.  Chronic Renal Failure, Kidney Disease to the rest of us out there, can be a trial.  Especially when the patient can't speak like a dog or a cat.

I'm getting a lot of good information on the side of what to do, and it's complex to sort through all the information.

First get tested.  That Vet is a requirement.  I am not a vet.  Did I say that earlier?  Oh yes I did.

The Kidney Foundation is a great resource for diets and suggestions at - and they ARE professionals for people. 

There are three main kinds of things that you have to watch out for in feeding.

1.  Protein.  When protein is processed by the body, it makes Urea and a lot of other chemicals.  The kidneys process it and put the urea in the urine.  That's why it's yellow.  So you have to limit the amount of protein you feed your friend.  I was told it was ".6 grams to .8 grams per Kilo".  To work that out in numbers that an American would understand, my 43 pound dog should get between 11 and 15 grams per day, no more, roughly.

2.  Potassium. Too much potassium and your dog's kidneys have to flush it out of the system.  They're taxed enough as it is, so try to keep that down.  Luckily that's usually listed on the nutrition labels of foods these days.

3.  Phosphorous.  Same as Potassium.  As Low As Possible.

So what I'm being told is:

Cut back on Protein - easy on the meats like Beef and Chicken.  I'd put peanut butter in this same bucket too since you can easily get a lot of protein from a PB&J.

Increase Carbohydrates.  I'm getting good results with oddball things like unsweetened cereals and low sugar cookies and crackers. 

Since they do need some protein, small amounts of Cottage Cheese, Tofu, low salt cheeses like Feta are a good idea, if they will tolerate it.  Too much protein and you will know it tomorrow when they refuse food.

No Bananas, No Oranges, No Tomatoes.  There are a lot of fruits and vegetables that you would think are safe but aren't. I'm still sorting through this as well and there are more that are unsafe.

The problem is that cereals, you know the stuff you put in a bowl and smother with milk, tend to be small pieces.  Your best friend will have a problem since one of the symptoms is that they're nauseous.  Sick to the stomach means they won't want to eat at all.  You're sitting in a Captain's Chair in the dining room much earlier than you prefer bleary eyed and not exactly happy because the dog won't eat out of their own bowl now.  So you pick up the bowl and start handing them to her one at a time.  Get a cereal with a larger surface area - Rice Krispies are too small, Try Corn Flakes... that sort of thing. 

Yes, that is indeed what I do every morning before sunrise.

I also found that we both got bored fast with that.  So I turned feeding into a game.  When some people think "Fake The Throw" is cruel, but in reality it's a great way to keep your dog entertained.  Feeding my own Lettie takes an hour twice a day now.  I'm tossing food at her one bit at a time.  When the nose is down on the floor trying to get the last bit, you might accidentally drop another piece of Cheerios on the floor and have her discover them.

Anything to keep her moving.  After all it's tough to schedule this much time and have a productive life.  I'm already thinking about bumping the alarm clock back another half hour just to get things done at a reasonable pace.

If you don't want to put "that kind of time" in to helping your best friend, then please, when they cross the rainbow bridge, don't get another.  They deserve better than that.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Three Years of This? Is there Daycare for Blogs?

Welcome to three years of writing an article every day.

I'm outspoken, wordy, and sometimes entertaining.  I put something up every day usually in the morning.  Most folks are coming in "From The Outside World" although those who are regulars tend to be Bursty.  If you're on the Facebook Group, you get an extract of the article and some actually read it.

I've stopped regularly checking Google Analytics for what is read regularly.  After all, I'm doing this mostly for entertainment value. 

Writing does give you a chance to set your thoughts in order and take time out from the chores of the day and perhaps live inside the moment, inside your head.  In that way this is a gift to myself.  Who knew that the kid who sat in Mr Custer's Sixth Grade Class dreading that buff colored book titled "Language" would grow to appreciate writing.

A little secret about this blog.  Most times when I write, I don't know what I'm going to say until I say it.  Sometimes, I even have to surf for a topic to hit me.  Those tend to be pretty wild when they do.  Then like anyone who considers others, I step back and edit some of the wild out.  Can't be storming the castle walls every day right?

It started as a way to keep up with my sister, then her and my friends, and now I have regular readers from all around the world. 

Most read this from the US, but I have significant readers in Canada, Great Britain, Australia and Germany.

The top five articles seem to be the same: 

1. Most come in to the main website, or its alter-ego and read until they've had enough.  Usually about 2 pages or so, which is 10 articles.   Since I'm wordy, I'm impressed!

The other articles everyone seems to like are:

2. The Gold Medal Biscuit Recipe. 
    Amazingly good biscuits and only 3 ingredients.

3. Ikea Poang vs the Lazy-boy Rocker comparison
    I switch back and forth each day, but mom would hate the way I lounge in that rocker!

4. Willy T's Bar picture in Key West, FL.
     I'll have to get back there some day.

5. GFS Marketplace Review
    Like the store, really hate the software they use to do coupons.

So like I said last year, and the year before, Who knows how long I'll keep doing this.  I may drop back to a couple articles a week, but for now it's a daily thing.  

Before every storm, I put a full week of "Duck and Cover" articles on the thing so I don't break my string of writing.  "OMG Its-a-rainin!  EEK" and delete the blasted thing before anyone sees them.

Even I can get writer's block when a topic doesn't present itself.  After all there are just so many "Oooh look at the cute thing that my dog did!" posts but that's what a blog is all about.

Thanks for looking over my shoulder, I really do appreciate it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What to do at 2:20 AM

When the one eye opens and spies the clock at 2:20AM, usually a groan follows with some rustling of blankets.

When that repeats for an hour, usually it's followed by feet hitting the floor to take care of some pressing business.

Padding to the front door at 3:30 in the morning, not even waking the dog, I was able to see a street deserted.

Sure it was one of those mornings that I couldn't sleep.  My mind was racing for some oddball reason. 

The Dog's Diet.
A Revamped US National Income Tax Code.
Triage of some Laptop Computers.
Mental Remapping of Computer Hard Drives.
Whether I should get up and let the dog go water the lawn.
Is it too early for Breakfast?
Is there coffee in the kitchen?

These are some of the mental flipflops that happen when the only thing you see in your left eye is the inside of the eye lid, the right eye sees a slit of grey lit by a distant street lamp that is a block away.

I did finally get out of bed and begin to feed the dog, a job that now takes about 30 minutes.  She gets a diet that a child would love.  Granola Bars, Animal Crackers, Low Sugar Breakfast Cereals, Cheese and a small handful of vitamins and medicines.

Cheese helps to get the vitamins and medicines down.  It used to be that you could toss a pill into the air and she'd eat it down before realizing what it tasted like.  Now she gets so many pills that she's beginning to hate them, even the ones that taste like nothing to you or I.

We left the house and watered the lawn again, as well as a couple other lawns on a one mile tour of the town.  There aren't many people out and about at the time we did our lap, now 4:30 AM.  I saw one other person on the entire walk, plus a police car whose driver and I recognized each other.  Say hi to the officer, Mrs Dog!  (wag wag)

Strange what an extra three and a half hours will give you in a day.  Luckily the kitchen will give me another mug of coffee in about 5 minutes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


11 years later, we all remember where we were when the towers came down.

I was in my office, after having finished a call to my Purchasing client, I was busy.  Head down, writing specifications for my programmers and myself to follow when there was noise out in the hallway.   The music stream that I was listening to had just sputtered off.

My office suddenly filled up with people.  They were telling me that "something happened" and they couldn't "get to the news sites".  That continued all day long, the news sites were sporadically available, and more details got through as people found portable radios stashed in bottom desk drawers.   Those radios later become a must have instead of a minor embarrassment.

Nothing really got done that day, other than the needless snuffing out of thousands of lives in three events, New York, Shanksville PA, and the Pentagon. 

That was the day the world changed.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chronic Renal Disease in Dogs - Feeding Strategy

Standard Disclaimer:
Your Vet knows the answers.
I am not a Vet.
I am writing my insight on this and things change as I learn more new wrinkles.
Consult your vet. 

Your Dog (or other pet) will appreciate it, even if they are scared by the vet.

Chronic Renal Disease is the loss of function in Kidneys.  It will eventually be fatal, if nothing else intervenes. At least that is what I've been led to believe.  After all, your dog won't get dialysis.  Won't happen.  No transplants.  Sorry.

I will fight it as much as I can, my own Lettie deserves as much.

Some of the symptoms make her hate food.  She'll turn her nose up to just about anything she's eaten because it does some things to her generally to make her feel like crap.  She's showing symptoms like she's got a queasy or sick stomach, so she turns away from most things I offer her.  Even things like Yogurt that she's begged for many times, will make her go so far as to show her teeth at me with a growl.

First, offer small samples.  Think "Hors d'oeuvres".   Finger food.  Snacks.  Get yourself a good kitchen scale.  Mine measures down to the gram, and trust me, I use it both in Metric and Imperial pounds and ounces.  If you offer too much, I'd say you're going to throw it out.   Limit yourself to 1 ounce at a time or 28 grams. 

Second, be creative.  My personal opinion is that the gloves are off.  If it has calories and she wants it, she's getting it.  You can't feed a dog onions, so that rule doesn't change.  What I mean is that the border between dog food and people food has gone.  I personally tend to graze, eat smaller portions whenever I feel the need.   My Lettie will follow me into the kitchen, and if she even looks slightly interested, she's getting a sample.  If she likes, I'll make more for myself.

Third, Count Calories.  I do this for myself, and now I'm counting for two.  In the case of her dog food, she was getting 1 cup of Purina Lamb And Rice twice daily.   That works out to be around 700 calories.  350 in the morning, 350 at night.  If your dog is refusing food, but snacking, she may be getting enough in nibbles so that the energy levels are enough.

Fourth, be flexible.  Lettie is showing that she is more nauseous in the morning.  She was always a morning person, but now she just looks at food like it is her enemy.   Think "morning sickness", although we know in her case that that is impossible.   So I give her the morning pills then take her for her walk after giving water.   Come home and offer morsels.  Tortellini for example.  She loves them right out of the freezer like an ice cube.  Lunch time, she'll mooch more.

Fifth, Phosphorous, Bad.  I was told that specifically, foods high in phosphorous are to be avoided.  I was told to include Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Tofu, Beef, Chicken, Rice.  If there's a lot of phosphorous in the food, you're going to make it harder on your dog's weakened kidneys, so be careful.  Certain cheeses are acceptable (Feta, Cream Cheese, Cottage Cheese) and others are questionable.   Search online the specific information, and see if it is acceptable.  I'll have to watch how much of that VT Extra Sharp Cheddar I give her from this point on!

Sixth, Water Early, Water Often.  But don't water late.   My Lettie showed her problems first by having accidents at night.  I didn't even notice the "leaking" until it got to be rather pronounced.  She started drinking more and more water, and then all the sudden the water bowl was empty in the morning.  So give her what she needs until dinner, then make sure that there isn't a giant amount sitting in the bowl overnight.  Oh, and close the lid to the toilet.  They will drink there.  The trick is to give just enough water so that the water bowl has a little bit in the morning.   This takes practice.  In our case right now it is between 26 and 32 ounces per day, with 20 ounces immediately after giving her pill in the bowl, and topping it off with 6 more later, whenever later is.

At this point, it's a long post.  I'm going to cut off here.  I may return with a later post as I find more things out.  Like I said, it's a learning experience for me.  What you need to remember is that the strategies in Dogs are the same for a Human with kidney problems.   If the Kidney Foundation recommends it, it's probably going to work for your dog.   We're really not that different after all.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Black Robbers - Humor

If you live around Philadelphia, you will eventually end up at the Casinos in A.C.   Atlantic City, that is.   You also will hear this story.  It's a good story, even if I wasn't there or watched Letterman to verify it.

Velma sent this one along for us to enjoy.

Black Robbers

For anyone who didn't see David Letterman's take on this: (And it's a true story...) On a recent weekend in Atlantic City, a woman won a bucketful of quarters at a slot machine. She took a break from the slots for dinner with her husband in the hotel dining room. But first she wanted to stash the quarters in her room. 'I'll be right back and we'll go to eat,' she told her husband and carried the coin-laden bucket to the elevator.

As she was about to walk into the elevator she noticed two men already aboard. Both were black. One of them was tall...very intimidating figure. The woman froze. Her first thought was: 'These two are going to rob me.' Her next thought was: 'Don't be a bigot; they look like perfectly nice gentlemen.' But racial stereotypes are powerful, and fear immobilized her. She stood and stared at the two men. She felt anxious, flustered and ashamed. She hoped they didn't read her mind but gosh, they had to know what she was thinking!!!

Her hesitation about joining them in the elevator was all too obvious now. Her face was flushed. She couldn't just stand there, so with a mighty effort of will she picked up one foot and stepped forward and followed with the other foot and was on the elevator. Avoiding eye contact, she turned around stiffly and faced the elevator doors as they closed. A second passed, and then another second, and then another. Her fear increased! The elevator didn't move. Panic consumed her. 'My God,' she thought, I'm trapped and about to be robbed! 'Her heart plummeted. Perspiration poured from every pore.

Then one of the men said, 'Hit the floor.' Instinct told her to do what they told her. The bucket of quarters flew upwards as she threw out her arms and collapsed on the elevator floor. A shower of coins rained down on her. Take my money and spare me, she prayed. More seconds passed. She heard one of the men say politely, 'Ma'am, if you'll just tell us what floor you're going to, we'll push the button.' The one who said it had a little trouble getting the words out. He was trying mightily to hold in a belly laugh. The woman lifted her head and looked up at the two men. They reached down to help her up. Confused, she struggled to her feet. 'When I told my friend here to hit the floor,' said the average sized one, 'I meant that he should hit the elevator button for our floor. I didn't mean for you to hit the floor, ma'am.' He spoke genially. He bit his lip. It was obvious he was having a hard time not laughing. The woman thought: 'My God, what a spectacle I've made of myself.' She was too humiliated to speak. She wanted to blurt out an apology, but words failed her. How do you apologize to two perfectly respectable gentlemen for behaving as though they were going to rob you? She didn't know what to say. The three of them gathered up the strewn quarters and refilled her bucket. When the elevator arrived at her floor they then insisted on walking her to her room. She seemed a little unsteady on her feet, and they were afraid she might not make it down the corridor. At her door they bid her a good evening. As she slipped into her room she could hear them roaring with laughter as they walked back to the elevator. The woman brushed herself off. She pulled herself together and went downstairs for dinner with her husband.

The next morning flowers were delivered to her room - a dozen roses. Attached to EACH rose was a crisp one hundred dollar bill.

The card said: 'Thanks for the best laugh we've had in years.'

It was signed;
Eddie Murphy
Michael Jordan

PS - Pass this around so others can enjoy! Black Robbers - a true story

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Southern Ingenuity - Humor

When Velma sent me this one, I laughed.  Just reading it now, I'm thinking "Southern Ingenuity or theft?".  Either way, it's a good story.  

Southern  Ingenuity 

One morning 3 South Carolina good old boys and 3  Yankees were in a ticket line at the  Spartanburg train station  heading to  Columbia for a big football game. 

The 3 Northerners each bought a ticket and watched  as the 3 Southerners bought just one ticket among  them. 

"How are the 3 of you going to travel  on one 1 ticket?" asked one of the Yankees. 

"Watch and learn" answered one of the boys from  the South. 

When the 6 travelers boarded the  train, the 3 Yankees sat down, but the 3 Southerners  crammed into a bathroom together and closed the  door. 

Shortly after the train departed, the  conductor came around to collect tickets. 

He  knocked on the bathroom door and said, "tickets please."  the door opened just a crack and a single arm emerged with  a ticket in hand. The Conductor took it and moved  on. 

The Yankees saw this happen and agreed  it was quite a clever idea.. Indeed, so clever that they  decided to do the same thing on the return trip and save  some money. 

That evening after the game when  they got to the Columbia train station, they bought a  single ticket for the return trip while to their  astonishment the 3 Southerners didn't buy even 1  ticket. 

"How are you going to travel without  a ticket?" asked one of the perplexed Yankees. 

"Watch and learn", answered one of the Southern  boys. 

When they boarded the train the 3  Northerners crammed themselves into a bathroom and the 3  Southerners

crammed themselves into the other bathroom  across from it. 

Shortly after the train  began to move, one of the Southerners left their bathroom  and walked quietly over to the Yankee's bathroom. He  knocked on the door and said "ticket please".  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chronic Renal Disease and the Dog Buffet

No, I am not a Doctor.
No, I am not a Vet.
I do not play one on TV.

If you're depending on this for some deep information, the best I can give you is some insight into what I personally am doing with my own dog. 

Talk to your vet.

That's what I did.

Last weekend, my dog had simply collapsed.  She stopped eating and we took her to the vet.   Her Kidneys are going, and if this were a human, there would by Dialysis involved.  We're flushing her with fluids to let her kidneys process what they can and are hoping that we can keep her going a little longer.  That's the standard treatment these days for dogs in her case. 

Diet is low Phosporous, with plenty of protein and plenty of carbs.

If she gets through a month, she may make it to a year.  I'm not sure that we're going to be given that gift of a year.

The trick is that she simply doesn't like her food.   Not just dog food that she's been eating since we got her as an active adolescent, but any food at all.  We have a packet of anti-nausea drugs to give her before any food gets into her.  Trust me, that was a trial.  She may be sick but she still can show her teeth and her distaste of "personal maintenance".  If that helps get her through the weekend, we'll get more next week.

Now I have become a Chef to the Dogs. 

Today, it is Boiled Chicken, Boiled Beef, Tofu, Cottage Cheese, Yogurt, Steamed Rice, Dog Biscuits.  All of that is laying in one ounce portions on plates.

She may eat it today.  She may not.   I won't know until the food has been served.

So the plan is if you have a dog in this position, good luck.  Serve small portions.  What she may devour today, she will turn her nose up later today.

This morning the laundry list of foods didn't work.  She got Tortellini today instead.   After licking the yogurt, turning her nose up to the Morningstar Farms Vegetarian Sausage, ignoring the rice, I gave her one Tortellini.

Cheese Tortellini today she seemed to like.  I managed to get 8 in her before she walked away for another nap.  That's one ounce of Tortellini.

Seems like I'm losing this battle today.

We have three varieties of dog food in the refrigerator, another in a bag on the floor in the kitchen.  None of that works.

How it was explained to me is that "just like in a human", Chronic Renal Failure makes you feel awful.  Sick to the stomach, tired, cranky, achy.   I feel sorry for any being who has to go through this, and gives me a view into Dialysis that I really don't want.

So if Lettie wants a bit of my Graham Cracker, she's going to get it.  Yesterday she ate 1 cracker, 1/2 serving of the stuff.  I keep them here to make pie crusts, so I guess there's some for her too.

The best suggestion I can give someone is that if you're cooking something for the dog, make sure you like it.  You probably will be finishing it off.

So to finish off my breakfast, I'll be having a couple eggs with the rest of that vegetarian sausage.  May as well use it up and it may tempt Lettie with some more food.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

No Salt Sausage Seasoning Recipe

This is strong stuff!  The original suggestion was to use this resulting mix at 2 tablespoons per pound of meat.  I'm finding that it should be somewhere around 1 tablespoon per pound if you're planning on having this as a main course.

I just finished a sandwich of this meat on a home made roll and it was excellent, although a little heavy on the black pepper.  I used the mix at 2 tablespoons per pound.   So next time, I'll cut it back, but it tasted authentic to me.  I just like it milder.

Recipe is very simple.

Brown meat, then add the spice mix to your meat or tofu.

Spice Mixture is:

  • 1 tablespoon ground dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons rubbed sage
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper

  • Optional - Liquid Smoke, 2 tablespoons for all of the above or 1 1/2 teaspoon per pound.
  • Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    I Can Always Tell When You Were Here

    Noticing a passing shower, and Oscar the parrot saying "Hello!" to the rain, I decided to take him outside to enjoy it.  I popped the top part of the cage off and walked it outside to the deck, then came indoors.

    As I walked past the table that is next to the door, I knocked a tool onto the ground.  Annoyed at having to bend to the ground to pick up the tool, I was reminded of a friend in College.

    We would study in Jim's Room because we had similar classes that year, and his roommate Joe was rarely there.  Settling in, we spread out the Accounting books and began to dig in to the formulas of depreciation.  After a while, it was time for a snack.  We went after Jim's pretzels and had our break.  I then put the pretzels away and we returned to the books.

    Joe came in and tried to be quiet when he arrived, but he was looking for something.  Finally he found it and laughed.

    We both stopped and asked what was going on. 

    He said "I can always tell when you are here for a visit, Bill".
    Why is that?
    Because everything is put up too high.

    We laughed and chatted about things.  Joe was a smallish guy, about 5'5" which worked because he was a gymnast.  I'm 6'4" tall, athletic, and tend to fill doorways.

    Noticing a small stepstool, I realized that it was about the difference in our sizes. 

    "Joe, stand on that step." 
    He did, slightly confused.
    I told him that now he was looking eye to eye to me.

    The lightbulb went on and Joe did a slow scan of the room, eyes opening wide.

    Joe said "It really does look different up here!".

    After he stepped down we realized we knew something subtle about each other.  It's one of those small things that you don't necessarily realize.  By simply being in a space, you effect the way it is.  You move it's clutter around to suit your needs and make it more comfortable to you.

    When you leave, others usually will realize someone else was there, but not who.  From that point on Joe knew when I was there and I realized that he did.

    I made it a point to leave Jim's pretzels on a lower shelf from then on.

    To this day, the top shelves are "Bill's Shelves", even if Joe and Jim and I haven't seen each other for years.  It's just easier that way.

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    What do you do with a Picky Eater?

    All her life, for about 10 years, my dog was a "Swiss Watch". 
    Very regular, very predictable, very regimented.
    Most of that reflects my own philosophy of life. 
    Things have a pattern, and you get the best results when you stick to them.

    Now she's getting old.  Not just older, but she's acting old.   The walks are slower, she gets creaky when she gets up, and she won't go as far as she did before without rolling to a stop for a smiling rest.

    When I got her I was told "Purina Lamb and Rice and limit the treats".  We did and we had for the most part a very healthy run. 

    Recently she began to leak at night.  First a spot on the mat, then puddles.  I know now that if I wake up at night to the steady rhythm of "LickLickLickLick", I've got something to clean.

    The vets put her on a "Renal Diet".  She won't go near that stuff.  Refused to eat it, I gave in and put her old standby out for her to eat.   She picked at that.   Clearly a dog who doesn't eat well is having other issues.

    I tried softening the renal diet with some pork gravy but that spiked her salt levels and she drank a lot more water.   That created more puddles.   So we threw our hands up, backed off the renal diet, and went back to the old standby full time with water softened in the microwave.

    That worked for about a week until she bored of that.

    Panicking we tried some soft dog food varieties.   Good results for a day or so until she started cutting back her meals.

    This sort of thing always happens on a holiday.   Over the Labor Day Weekend, she cut back on her food until Saturday she practically ate nothing.  Sunday the food that I offered her was ignored. 

    While all of this was going on, I was cooking eggs.  I set up a pot of eggs and hardboiled them.  Knowing that dogs will eat the things, I kept them for after the morning walk.

    We got back and she ate some of the dog food that she seemed to like so we didn't give her more.  

    After noticing that she hadn't ate all that food, she was getting wobbly.   You see the old adage is nonsense.  "A Dog Will Eat When They Are Hungry" is only for "normal" dogs.  Mine has always been exceptional, and when they get old, their needs changed.

    So she got the eggs, and devoured them. 

    I spent the entire day in the kitchen Labor Day making boiled chicken, boiled eggs, steamed rice, and a few things for us.  By the time I was through, I had fed her 800 calories of rice, chicken, and eggs, as well as a few cookies, tablespoons of yogurt, and a few things that escaped the pot and landed on the floor.

    Clearly she was hungry but not eating.

    So today a trip to the vet is in order.   This picky eating continued to this morning where a bowl of Rice and Egg was only half eaten.  I pulled out the big guns and fed her a cup of rice and one chicken breast and she ate that like it was her last meal on Earth.

    The trip later this afternoon will tell me more.   I may have a quiet house tonight minus one dog kept "For Observation".   Through it all she's acting normal, happy and Perky.   If a twelve year old dog can be described as perky, I guess mine is.

    So why do I share all of this?   Easier for me to get my thoughts down on a blog so that if I need to remember it, it's in one place.   May as well, I have all this technology at hand, I can use it to my benefit.

    "Lets Go!  Ride!  Car!"... and when we get there, I'm glad I can still lift her!

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Happy Labor Day

    There is always a reason why you set apart a day as a holiday.  The word itself comes from the religious practice of setting a day apart as a Holy Day.  In the case of Labor Day, it is a day of remembrance, it is a day to consider the struggles of the common man to push the standards of living forward against the robber barons of the last century (our current 1% crowd) and against their purchased legislators.

    Sound familiar?

    The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership -- the American worker. 

    No matter what the Tea-Tards and the Republicants want you to believe, it isn't about the 1% and the "We Built It" motto, because they didn't.

    "Labor Day differs in every essential from the other holidays of the year in any country," said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. "All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."

    Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. 

    So while you're out there grilling your burgers, chicken, pork, or other meats, give a moment to pause and think about the American (and international) workers who have fought to put that food on your table.  Those who have fought for things as basic as the 40 hour work week, child labor laws, the rights to a safe workplace, and many other labor laws that are now simply thought of as so basic a right that they're forgotten.

    I could go on, but too many folks would shrug and hit another link.  If you're still with me, those quoted paragraphs and a short history of how Labor Day had actually came about are on this link at About.Com.

    Sunday, September 2, 2012

    Living Without A Cellphone - Humor

    I have to admit I found myself saying most of this these days.  I really don't care if it is normal to have a cellphone with you and check things while you're in a restaurant, if you do it with me, I will comment on how rude it is.

    If you are with someone, they are more important than someone inside the magical smartphone.

    Thanks to Velma for this post.

    If you are 40, or older, you might think this is hilarious!

    When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious  diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning.... Uphill...  Barefoot... BOTH ways yadda, yadda, yadda

    And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it! But now that I'm over the ripe old age of forty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia! And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it!

    I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!  There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there! Stamps were 10 cents!

    Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our ass! Nowhere was safe!

    There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes! If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself!  Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ  would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up! There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our car.. We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless. Cause, hey, that's how we rolled, Baby! Dig?

    We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it!  There weren't any freakin' cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a damn call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY GOD!!! Think of the horror. not being in touch with someone 24/7!!! And then there's TEXTING. Yeah, right. Please! You kids have no idea how annoying you are.

    And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent... you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!  We didn't have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600, with games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your screen guy was a little square!  You actually had to use your imagination!!! And there were no multiple levels or screens; it was just one screen... Forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

    You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel!!! NO REMOTES!!! Oh, no, what's the world coming to?  There was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-finks!

    And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! Imagine that! And our parents told us to stay outside and play... all day long. Oh, no, no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside... you were doing chores! And car seats - oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were luckily, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first place!   See! That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled rotten! You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980 or any time before!

    The Over 40 Crowd

    Saturday, September 1, 2012

    A Brief Prayer

    Dear  Lord,

    I realize that I don't talk to You as often as I should, but I’m prompted to talk to You now.
    This year you have taken away:
    my favorite  screenwriter Nora Ephron,
    my favorite author Ray Bradbury,
    my favorite children’s author Maurice Sendak,
    my favorite American Bandstand guy Dick Clark,
    my favorite hairdresser Vidal Sassoon,
    my favorite musician Earl Scruggs,
    my favorite Monkee Davy Jones,
    my favorite 60 Minutes guy Mike Wallace,
    my favorite singer Whitney Houston,
    and my favorite visionary Steve Jobs.
    Well, I just wanted to let you know that my favorite radio announcer is Rush Limbaugh.