Friday, May 31, 2013

I am Rack, Who Are You? - Picture

For no other reason than the camera was in reach. 

Rack was slinking around the house.  Looking bored and looking like he wanted attention but wasn't sure how to ask.

After he didn't leave with 5 minutes of petting him, I hooked a finger under his collar.  Bending down to pick him up, I think he was more surprised than anything else.

New things scare the dog, routine is best.

He made it up onto my grey shirt and settled in immediately.  Eventually he did get up, more from my needing to get rid of a glass of Iced Tea than anything else.  A solid hour of him sitting on my lap while I watched some documentary on the TV.

Not bad for a fearful dog who hides when the trash truck drives by.

Next time I'll try an Animal Documentary.  Dogs do like to watch other dogs and other animals on TV.  The last time I watched a bit of fluff about dogs, the house was quiet.  Since he was being curious and there were no distractions, he walked over to the screen and sat down in front of it.  The dogs were running around a street being trained, and it looked like he was wanting to join them.

Our very own little black and white puzzle.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Houseguests and Rack the Shy Dog

Believe it or not, I didn't intend to write about my dog again today.  On the other hand, I've got a house guest. 

David had arrived from Key West for his vacation, first in two years.  This means that the normal routine of running a house has been changed.

Rack, on the other hand, is a rather rigid puppy.   He just doesn't like Change.

I had that pointed out to me by David.

When David first walked in the door, Rack was on his mat in the living room.  That day we had just had dinner with Billy and Lisa from across the street for Memorial Day.  Nice folks, and a great meal.  Beef Kebabs and all the trimmings.  In fact, I think there's still some leftover for lunch today.

Billy and Lisa went back home, and I puttered in the kitchen getting the dishwasher ready.

Rack being the Stealth Dog, sat quietly on that mat of his.

The door opened.  RwooowoooBARK!

He still looks confused when he does make a sound.  The next thing he does is to look at me as if to ask if it was OK for him to do so.

We then got David settled and realized we were minus one dog.  He ran into the bedroom to hide from the new stranger.

This has gone on all week.  David gets up, Rack watches.  If David surprises Rack by walking around the corner unnoticed, he'll get grumbled at and the evil eye. 

He may not be a proper watch dog, but he certainly is getting the point across.

David has a habit of going out back to smoke.  I won't have any sort of smoking in my house, so that's the bargain.  I even push the popcorn popper out the window in order to keep the smell outside.  It makes the neighbors want some coffee as well.

We noticed that Rack is an opportunist, as well as being Shy.  He would walk out to the back door, a double sized glass sliding door, and watch David from afar.  He's a Shy Sly Dog.  When David gets too close, there's a scrabble of paws on the floor and 39 pounds of black and white McNab Dog come flying into the main part of the house.

If he's feeling bold, he'll go to the mat and give everyone an evil eye then settle down.

If he's not, it's into the crate.

Routine is especially important when you have a young dog, or a new one for that matter.   Having house guests breaks routine.  I'm forever emptying the sink into the dishwasher or putting the lid down on the toilet.

I can't stand the thought of a dog drinking from a toilet when a full bowl of water is in the kitchen.

So routine has to wait a while, much to the annoyance of Mr Dog.

He's not even given free reign of the house when it is empty because he can be a chewer.

That and when I got out of the bathroom today at 5:30AM, I was greeted by a dark house and a dog on my bed.

Off!  That won't do.  No Dirty Dogs on the Bed.   I know where you walk!  You don't know where those feet have been!

Silly mutt!   I know you feel safer with me nearby, but I'm not sharing the bed with you.  I take too much room as it is!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

And Then Suddenly... MONSOON

Did you know that when a dog shakes water off themselves, the water starts peeling away from the head first and works its way down to the tail?

If you are in just the right spot when that happens, once in a very rare while, you may see a rainbow.

Even more rarely, it can happen before sunrise.

If the first thing you are aware of is the rain on the shutters and open your eyes and see that it is 4:45AM, you are probably going to be wet.

Even if you check the radar, you're probably going to still get wet.

You see that is how my day started, in a nutshell.

The rain woke me up, and that's normal.  After all, it is Florida.  It is the Wet Season.  I am two miles away from the Ocean.

What wasn't normal is that I sleep with earplugs.  Can't hear a bloody thing.  Ok, yeah I can, but it's all muted.  Makes for a nice quiet sleep though.  That is until the rains start, then all bets are off.

So reach for the phone and check in on radar.  Oh great, there's a gap in the storms that will happen in about an hour.

Cat nap.

Managed to get the dog fed and out the door for the beginning of the walk.  The umbrella still works, the one that I've had since the 1980s when I worked in Center City Philadelphia and there was a front coming through that one day.  Suburban Station had a gritty quality about it, but it was always crowded and sometimes you can find some things you REALLY need while waiting for the R8 Chestnut Hill West to come in.

I had managed to get as far away from home as we were going to get.   There was absolutely no traffic on the road, so we began to cross Wilton Drive.

Right in the middle of the Drive, like a light switch, the rain began.   There is a Behind The Scenes video of the old Gene Kelly movie "Singing in the Rain" where you see them simply turn on the rain.

That was what we saw.

Rack actually looked up at me as if to say "Are You Nuts".

That was when he started walking faster.  He did enjoy the rain, it was a more of a prance than a walk, but we moved as quickly as possible.

Both were drenched by the end of the block.

Head to toe, even under the umbrella.   Take a fire hose and turn it on.

At that point, just as quickly, the rain turned down from "eleven" to zero.   It stopped.

Standing just at the right spot, Rack began to shake.  The water flew off his fur in spirals.  That was when the light of the street lights caught my eye and I noticed that there was actually a rainbow from water catching the reflections.

Not content to allow us to enjoy this spectacle, the celestial rain director decided to mess with us again.   Monsoon.

Onward and upward.   We were nearing the house.

Of course this would be the time for the next gap in the storm.   Sure, lets have a surreal wet season.  Either feast or ramen.  Just in time to get to the house, the rain faded to nothing again as if with a light switch.

Sure enough, the rainbow happened again with a vigorous shake on the driveway.  Rack doesn't really seem to mind the weather.  His main joy in life is to get out and bound around in the walk. 

So if you're going to be sodden, at least look for the rainbows.  May as well, the dog will, and it's going to rain whether you want it to or not.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

So What Do You Do When Email Is Broke? is broke yet again. Grumble.

How many email accounts do you have?
How many do you actually use?

In my case, there's:

Hotmail has my main Personal
Outlook has one that I haven't migrated to but there's a "cool" email name
I have my own domain I need to get tied into something
I have two gmail accounts - one for the tablet and one that I use for spam.
There is one for the Board that I do social media, newsletters, and web development for.

And there are others that I don't really use for email like webmaster accounts and the like.

I really should make an effort to write that stuff down and pare it down.

Sound familiar?

I don't text.  At all.  Simply don't see the value.  If you want to get in touch with me, I have a perfectly serviceable cell phone and you can call and leave a message.   If I have spoken with you before, I'll answer.  If you're a recruiter, leave a message at the tone...

What got me started on this rant?

Getting up early, after the morning mile and a half plus with the dog, I settled in to coffee and spam.  Just like many other people, I had to check my email.   There was a friendly reminder from my chat client, Pidgin, that said I had 27 emails. 

Yes, since last night.

That was split between the hotmail account on "" and the professional one on yahoo

Except as usual, was broke.  That's why it was in quotes up there. 

Ever since Hotmail forced me to convert to Outlook, it has been utter rubbish.  They are trying to change with the times by making it have that Windows 8 look and feel that most who see it say "What on Earth are you thinking, it's so UGLY!".  My own experiences with Windows 8 were so horrendous that after a month or so of trying to force it to work, I uninstalled it and with back to Windows 7 where I have been ever since.  I needed to get things DONE!

Ok, that's just me, I don't like big ugly blocks that look like a sign from the Seattle mass transit signs.  They don't work on a laptop with limited screen size...

Been there, ranted about thatMicrosoft is trying but really most people don't want blinky blocks, they want to get things done.

No, it's more from the angle that waking up early and expecting something as old school and admittedly simple as email should "just work". does not "just work".

On the average of two or three times a week, OK how about 2.7 times a week, it presents me with a message asking me to reload the web page.  That's more like a demand from a petulant two year old, but until I reach up and hit the handy F5 key to refresh the web page (go ahead, it works, I'll wait), I'm stuck.

(welcome back).

This morning I was presented with the message:

Sorry, there seems to be a problem with Outlook right now

The message you selected could not be found. It may have been moved or deleted. Please click the folder again to refresh the view.
See, Outlook is so horrible that it even breaks the page formatting on my blog!
Bottom line though is pretty simple.   It's free, and you get what you pay for.
If you don't like, you can go to or and get a mail account there.   I have them, many folks do.  
I don't use email from my cable internet provider, Comcast, because I didn't like the way their interface was either, plus there was a time that I went off of Comcast.  That didn't work out, and I came back, but I did want something simple and "independent" so I stayed with mostly hotmail.
Since nobody tends to have Just One Computer any more, and email is done just as much from a phone (you know who you are), that adds another layer of complexity to things that I just haven't solved for myself other than sticking to what I have.   Simply because I can get to a web browser from any computer, and most phones, to answer my email, it makes it more bulletproof for me.
Bottom line is that choice gives you complexity, but if you really want to complain about email, you've got to actually pay for it.

Monday, May 27, 2013

REM Sleep? No thanks, I have a Puppy!

It's going to be a tough morning.  Where's that second mug of espresso?

Yes, it's a training issue.  Or more likely, an issue of someone sleeping all day so they're awake all night.

Of course I'm talking about my puppy, Rack, who do you think I'm talking about?

Naw, it's the dog.  In fact, I'm sitting here watching him sleep right now.   Of course he's sleeping right now, the sun is up, the birds are singing, the parrots are screaming, and the winds are coming off the ocean. 

Oooh Riptide warning! Let's go swimming!

The whole ritual of going to sleep gets complicated when you have a puppy, and also have "things".  What kind of "things"?  Anything chewable.   Soft toys are fine since there are his toys and there are my toys which are also His.  If it's in reach, it's a toy.   Remember that stress ball?  Gone in a flash.  The Pooh Bear you had since you were five?  Gutted and poofs of stuffing all over the place.

Ok, the Pooh Bear I made up. 

Yes, he likes to chew soft toys.   Especially when he's bored.  Good thing right?  He's finally learning to play with toys.  Better than last week.  Last week is why he still sleeps in the crate.

Last week he chewed the tiles on the floor.  You said it, I have tasty tasty ceramic tile floors.  Beige must taste nice once or twice.

Caught him doing that once so now we know that he's just "not ready" to sleep outside of the crate.

Now why would that be a problem?   Puppy.  One word.

Not enough?  Ok a few more words:  Puppy Separation Anxiety.  Specifically at 2.30AM.

So the dog's crate is in the master bedroom, 4 feet away from where my head rests on the pillow.  That stopped the whining.   The crate door is open, he can come and go as he pleases, but the room is blocked so that he can't leave and can only get into an area that's as big as a queen sized mattress.

Long way to go for a setting to a story wasn't it?

Yesterday we had to go out.  Errands to be done, after all there is a pie chilling in the fridge.  Locking Mr Dog up in the crate is just the way things are. 

Yours Truly?  I have a soft spot.  Feeling guilty, I loaded up the Big Kong up with goodies.   It's a red rubber octagon that the dog has to work to get the goodies out. 

He had his fun with the Kong while we were out, but there were still a few things in it since he is still small.   Too small to bite down to get the stuff out.   Lettie would find the opening of the toy, clamp her mouth around it and tilt the head back while biting.  Amazing to see, she'd get a mouth full of goodies in a heartbeat.

So much for the Lets Use The Kong To Keep The Dog Busy theory.

Rack doesn't really know how to do this, he is just learning how to play after being a shut down dog.

He also thinks the perfect time to start playing with a rubber ball inside of a crate is 12:30AM.

For a solid hour it was a repetitive lick lick lick on the ball.  That would rattle the crate.  The crate would rattle my cage.

So if you think I am groggy, it's because the Honey Cinnamon energy drink hasn't kicked in after the morning espresso. 

But the Kong?   Well it's sitting in the living room, quite a long way away from that crate.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to nod off now...


Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Guy Goes to the Doctor for a Respiratory Ailment - Humor

A guy goes to the doctor for a respiratory ailment

He says he's been coughing day and night for a week. His throat hurts all the time and he can't sleep.

The doctor examines him and notices he has a very distinct cough. "You're in luck," the doctor says. "Your illness is rare, but I happen to know of an excellent treatment for it. It may sound quite strange to you though, so please bear with me for a moment."

The patient coughs again. "I'll try anything, doc."

The doctor sits down across from him. "About two years ago I read a remarkable paper from a colleague of mine. There's a little-known resort town in Florida that's built up a boardwalk along the ocean as an entertainment destination. Like a smaller version of Atlantic City's famous Steel Pier. Anyway, one of the attractions there was a very small zoo. Only a few animals, but some happened to be members of the great ape family. The veterinarian who took care of these apes noticed that they had unusually healthy lung capacity. He compared test results with other zoos all around the world, even in the apes' native countries. Nowhere else did they have healthier lungs. And while it hasn't been conclusively proven yet, I believe the sea breeze in this one specific area has some kind of cleansing effect on lung tissue. I've recommended to several patients that they spend a week-long vacation there. Everyone who's done so has come back and told me that they had a fantastic time and their condition has cleared up 100%. How does that sound?"

The patient rubs his chin in thought. "Sounds better than cough syrup," he admits. "Though I gotta say, I'm not too keen on traveling to any place known for its gorilla wharf air."

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Three Guys Jogging meet St. Peter - Humor

 Three guys are out jogging and they turn a corner and are hit by a truck, killing all three.

They are then standing in front of St. Peter at the pearly gates. St. Peter asks the first one, "How many times did you cheat on your wife?"

The first answers, "Honestly, at least twice a week, every week that I was married. I just couldn't help myself!"
St. Peter says, "We know, that's why you get a moped to ride around Heaven with." The guy jumps on the moped and rides off.

To the next, St. Peter asks the same question. The second answers, "While I was married, only twice did I ever cheat on my wife. I hated myself afterwards. Please forgive me."
St. Peter says, "We know. That's why you get a Cadillac to drive around Heaven with." The guy shouts, "Woo hoo!" and jumps in the car and drives off.

Before St. Peter can say anything, the last guy holds up his hand. "From the moment I met my wife, no other women existed!"
St. Peter says, "We know, that's why you get a Lamborghini to drive around Heaven with." The guy jumps in the car and drives off.

About a week later, the guy with the moped sees the guy with the Lamborghini sitting on the side of the road crying. "What happened?" he asks.

"I just saw my wife go by on a skateboard!"

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Morning Dog Walks are Weird

I don't know how else to explain it.  Friday Morning Dog Walks are Weird.

If anything oddball is going to happen, it will happen on a Friday Morning.

Opening one eye and seeing the clock glowering in red digits at me 5:10, I pretended I wanted to get out of bed.  The moment I stirred, Rack, my faithful side kick started dusting the floor and the boxes under the bed with his tail.  He doesn't sleep that soundly, and as a result, neither do I.   He did, however, want to get a start on the day.

A start we did get.  For once, he was a step ahead of me.  Gobbling his food down with an uncharacteristic vigor, I then got him suited up in purple harness and collar and we got out the door.

Walking to the corner near the Mango Tree, I heard a THUMP followed by a rolling fruit down the incline to my right boot.   Ahh, breakfast!  That one would be 10 ounces of tree ripened fruit for the morning meal.

We took the mango back to the front porch and went back out past the tree.  Nope, no more fruit threatening to bean one of us on our way out to the Shops.

I was earlier than the scruffy scavenger and his equally scruffy dog who do an admirable impression of a line printer scouring the corners looking for change and dropped treasures.

We didn't care, the dog just wanted his walk.

But today, he had energy.  It was going to be a strange walk as a result.

For a puppy of less than a year, 8 months we've been told, has to be trained on the etiquette of walking.  Don't pull on the leash, it makes people cross.   Don't cross people, it makes them trip.

In the span of 100 feet inside of the large parking lot where the bars are, Rack did both.

Training Issues.  If I could train children on how to use computers, I could certainly train an eager dog on how to stay on the right side of me.


We made our way down to Old City Hall lot and City Hall. 


Oooh, Shiny object!

Walking back, I was waved to by one of the police officers passing City Hall.  The deep roar of the secondaries kicking in as he drove to apprehend someone or a donut for the 6am briefing that was due shortly.

It's a Friday Morning, running into people at this time of day is never quite unexpected, but always out of the ordinary.  I did my good deed for the day when I got to the Post Card and was asked by someone sitting on a bench about what he could do about his dead phone battery.  Suppressing the desire to say something silly, I pointed him toward a cup of coffee and the always open diner on Wilton Drive and we parted company.

I saw the stranger go into the diner, so his needs for a charger were actually legitimate.  Who knew?

Mr Dog was back to his step-step-tug-yank rhythm.  We were well past the 3/4 mark in the walk.  This was getting tiresome.  My right shoulder was getting stiff.   Finally, I decided to simply stop and allow him to reset his energy.

Counting to ten usually helps.   Not the dog, me.  Working with a dog, you must always maintain an appropriate level of energy. 

We walked onward toward our destination.   Stopping helped a lot.  He wasn't pulling on me on that last block past the Italian Restaurant, nor was he when we got in sight of the house.

On the other hand, there's an aspirin in my future.  My little boy needs a remedial walk once my feet cool off.  Two miles before coffee starting at 5:30 in the morning requires a special kind of strength.  It may also require a short yellow bus for this sort of special minded activity.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Again With The Hoagies? - Picture

Yeah, again.   I guess if everyone has their own particular "Ethnic Food", a proper Italian Hoagie or any other for that matter, is mine.

Since I can't get the right rolls here, this hoagie was better than some but not quite right.   I may be baking some bread today as a result.  I can get the right crisp on my pizza dough recipe.

Over the weekend we were in a feedback loop between me, my cousin in NY, and my sister back in New Jersey.   Discussions went back and forth about the foods we had when we were growing up.   All that stuff you took for granted and thought would be around forever, aren't.

When Mom and Dad are gone, most of their recipes are as well.  No matter how good a record keeper your 'rents are, there are always a nuance here and there that get lost.

In my case, it's the amazing water that we got from the Cohansey Aquifer and the Delaware River Watershed.

If I ever manage to get back to Philly, I am going to get a 5 gallon Carboy and fill it with that amazing tap water my sister has in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.   If you know someone coming down from Jersey, have them pack a gallon of water for me, Ok?  I just may be able to get a good loaf of bread then!

We're not talking Artisanal bread shops here, I have had some excellent Artisanal breads here in South Florida.  The problem is that I was able to produce those same results with the same recipes up North - it really is the water down here that isn't quite right for baking.

But the hoagie was fine.  I went to Doris' and got some excellent Soppressatta, Hot Capicola, and Hot Proscuitto, Sharp Provolone, and the veg and made that up.  Nice dinner for one.  

If I could have found some Extra Sharp Provolone it would have been better...  Hmmmm.

Oh that brown stuff on the roll?  Balsamic Vinegar.  My choice there, Mom would have used Wine Vinegar from that bottle of Chianti from the holidays six months back that "turned".   Best stuff around!

I think this weekend we're going to make up some Marinara.   I have some sausages I intend to toss in the sauce and make up a sandwich just like when we were kids...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

No More Desktop Computer? Same Here!

I moved down to South Florida, Lock Stock And Barrel as the saying goes, in 2006.

Shortly after moving here, Florida Power and Light "decided" I didn't need that desktop computer that I built.  There was a power spike and Poof! It was gone.

I was "That Guy".  The one everyone leans on to fix their computer after their 10 year old discovered this cool website sitting on a server somewhere in Russia... that infected it with a virus.  The guy who built computers since Back In The Days of the 486. 

Remember those?

I would say it's fair to put the number of Desktop PCs I've built in the area of 200, perhaps more.  It was never my job to do so, but it was always something that I found fun enough to do that I kept up with the trends.

Until I moved here.

Here is a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 1200 square foot house.   Down from a 3 and 1 1/2 1900 square foot in Philly.

I kept my skills up, but there were some things that I found I really didn't care for about a desktop computer.

The main reason why I stopped using a desktop computer was space.   My desk is in The Florida Room, and that room is the warmest one in the house.  The Redundantly named Florida Room would be between 5 and 10 degrees warmer depending on the time of year, and since I keep the house at 78 ... I migrated to the living room.

The thing is that it required that I keep a desk out there.   That desk got used less and less and became a thorn in my side that illustrated what was said about Possessions Enslaving You.

While I was migrating off of that old desktop computer, I kept the desk there to do computer repairs when I needed to, but I realized that I was using the laptop more and more.   They got cheaper to the point where the laptop I use now costs less than some of the motherboards that I bought in the past.

Unless you were playing a game, you really didn't need a cutting edge desktop computer in the home. 

I noticed that many of my friends and clients were doing the same thing.   Why keep a boat anchor next to a desk in a house cluttered with "goodies" when you really wanted to be in the comfy chair in a living room or media room with your feet up?

A cutting edge desktop computer got less expensive as a result.  You can get a good desktop computer from many vendors for less than $500 these days, but when you can get similar laptops for the nearly the same price it led me to ask why.

I still have parts laying around the house.   A spare power supply here, a fan there.   For the most part, that Hardware Closet I used to keep in Philly is reduced down to a box of odd junk and a computer case.   I haven't been asked to repair a desktop computer in over a year - fix a Virus problem, yes, upgrade a laptop, yes, but fix a desktop?  Nope!

Besides, you'd be shocked how much benefit you'd get out of a couple gigs more memory, and a really hard look at what you have installed on the computer.  If you don't need it, uninstall it!

It seems that a casual glance in a big box electronics store will prove my point.   Rows of Laptops being hovered over by people, curious folks tapping at a tablet to try to wrap their head around what it is, but the desktop computer aisle is empty.   It's even hard to get someone to tell you about a desktop computer in a computer store these days. 

There used to be a great amount of strategy that you'd have to employ to get just the right computer.  Now, you pick your price point, buy a laptop, and within two years you start looking to see what's out there again.

Which is great for me, since I have a nice stack of Hand-Me-Down laptops from people who know I'll pass them onto someone who needs them.  Your computer "slowing down" is usually because something installed itself on your browser that needs to be banished - toolbars, for example are useless.

For the vast majority of us out there, those home users of the world, you do not need the high end computer that the salesmen of the world push you toward.  In fact, I'd wager if you really look at what you need, a 3 or a 4 on a scale of 10 would be more like it. 

Yes, I'm being deliberately vague there, this isn't intended to be a specific discussion of what to get now, since many of these articles are re-read in the future.

So if the salesperson is trying to sell you a computer for the home that is a laptop, at least these days, if you're paying more than around $500 or so, step back and think about it.  You may be happy with the ego side of the purchase, but you probably do not need the extra expense.  The one I'm using to write this on, I paid $225 for in September 2012, and I'll probably get another 2 years out of it.

But the Desktop?  Stick a fork in them - in the home, they're done.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Training the Dog for Rain

I didn't think about the weather until the weather came and said hello.   I had more important things on my mind. 

I had left the house an hour before, telling Rack "Come on, boy!  Go in the Crate!".  After guiding
him along he went semi-willingly.

The weather outdoors at this point was sunny, so I didn't give it much of a thought.  I waited for two minutes by the door, quietly, to see if Rack was going to start whining.   This time, the separation anxiety didn't rear its ugly head.  Other times, the two minute departure wait would have me giving a firm command "NO!" and waiting for him to settle in.   It usually worked, the last time he whined, the command resulted in him lying down for a nap.

I got into the Jeep and drove up to Palm Beach County for the interview.  That interview went quite well.  I got a great view of the rain, and as we broke up, I sat in the lobby checking the phone for radar.  A 50 mile stripe of red along the South Florida coast from West Palm Beach to roughly Aventura meant my house was getting pommeled.   It also meant I'd have to run to the car in a suit.

Driving home I was wondering how my puppy would fare.  There were some amazing lightning strikes on the hour drive back that laughed at the weak sounds coming from my car stereo.

Getting home... all was quiet.  It was still raining, but slowing down.   I didn't hear a sound from the house.  Either Rack went to sleep or had cried himself out.

This was very different from my old dog, Lettie.  She never became completely calm in the rain.  I did manage to blunt the panic by turning storm time into play time.  Grab the tennis ball and start to bounce it in front of her.  The prey/play drive kicked in until the nearby lightning strike would startle both of us.  Bouncing the ball did eventually work, similar to an allergy shot.   It was not a magic bullet, but it did work.  For the rest of her life, she expected play whenever it started to rain.

Rack didn't care about the rest of the storm.  I was home for the afternoon, and the rain continued to fill the pool with brilliant light shows in the background.

I thought I got off Scot Free until the late walk.   The rain continued from morning to night, and we finally hit a lull around 10pm that was just enough to get him out to do his business.

However, that same dog that didn't care inside about the weather, seemed to be as scared as we were when there was a nearby lightning strike.  In a land that is so flat that the nearest natural highpoint is about 200 miles North, you can see lightning 30 miles away.

That made for an impressive show.

We were two houses down when the flash hit.  Rack looked up, and flattened against the ground by the time the sound hit us.   I knew that I wouldn't have to give him another bath because he flattened right into a 2 inch deep pond on the road.

Not so bullet proof, Mr Dog?

The trick with these sort of fear issues is appropriate amounts of initiation.  A fearful dog will be fearful no matter what, but the fear will fade when the confidence levels get higher.  If a dog can hear, they will be at least aware of the thunder.  If they can't hear, they will feel the percussion in their chests.  It's up to us how we choose to handle that.  Yelling at a fearful dog won't work, it will only build on that fear and make them think you're yelling at the storm just like they would.

Positive reinforcement only in training.  If you raise your hand, you lost your battle.

The rain will come unless you live in the desert, and even then you will get some rain ... eventually.

Acting like it's a big deal, dressing the dog in clothes for the purpose, freaking out over whether you're going to have a panicky dog before you even reach for the front door knob is pointless.  The phrase "They can smell fear" is scientifically correct - you put out stress hormones.  The dog can smell the cortisol on your skin and will start getting afraid.

If you are afraid of the weather, you should cool your heels indoors until YOU can manage yourself.  The dog can be worked with.  It's more your problem than the dog's anyway.

My own favorite saying is "It's a marathon, not a sprint".  You are in this for the long haul, for the lifetime of the dog.  Take charge and help your dog through their fears, don't add to the problem.

Also, a supply of nice bouncy balls never hurt anyone either!

Monday, May 20, 2013

South Florida Needs a Proper Hoagie, Come on Down, Wawa!

Forget that Subway stuff, it's a pale imitation.  The bread is just too Poofy and Bland.

That's the problem, they will tell you here.  The "water is just wrong" to get a good bread.  I will say that there are some places that make some amazing artisanal breads here.  I know, I search them out.

I also make my own bread and sometimes the crust is "right" with just the right amount of crisp.  It's fine for what I use it for, pizza crusts, dinner rolls, and the like.

The last time I had a Proper Hoagie, I was in the Wawa in Orlando.  My best guess is that Wawa has licensed the Amoroso Roll recipe and "process" because the roll in the Wawa there tasted just like I remembered them back in Philly.

A Hoagie.  Not a Sub, Grinder, Zep or what have you.  The name is from Hog Island in Philadelphia.  It came from the Italian Immigrants who worked on Hog Island at the Shipyards during and before The World War One and later.  The women would send their husbands to work with a characteristic sandwich of meats and vegetable on a torpedo roll, and the non-Italians would get jealous. 

Mind you, this same kind of sandwich was popular anywhere you had the lucky accident of Italian families, good cold cuts, the right rolls and the right recipe.  Typically in the Northeast US, Philadelphia, New York, and nearby cities would specialize in these "Italian Hoagies".

They were so common growing up that we never really thought twice about them.   We knew where to get The Best ones, often made with home made meats and cheeses.  Talk about Artisanal food, you can't get much better than sopressatta made by grandpa in the basement, some fresh capicola, proscuitto, extra sharp provolone or Scamorza, parmesan cheese.  Add all that with Lettuce, tomato, and onion, oregano, extra virgin olive oil, and wine vinegar.

The Wine Vinegar would be from Mom's bottle of Chianti that she'd leave a little in the bottom for cooking.  It never went "bad" it just turned into vinegar for sandwiches.

Don't waste that stuff, it's good for you! I would hear.

Food here in South Florida is excellent, but it is not the same.  There are a few Italian Markets, but I'm not seeing what I was used to in those claustrophobic little places near THE Italian Market on 9th and Catherine in South Philly.  Here we have amazing seafood, wonderful Cuban food, and more Thai than I could shake a Bangkok Lady Boy at.  They're all wonderful in their own rights.

But sometimes, you just want that oddball bit of strange food that mom would slap on the table with "Try it, it's from The Market" and you knew you were in for a treat.  Four ingredients and you would have a salad, take the tail end of the salad and add a little meat to a roll and you've got your basic hoagie.

Again, Don't waste that stuff or mom would throw a wooden spoon at you.

I guess that's how I got to be 6'4", finishing off all that food.

But I still haven't stumbled across a Hoagie here in South Florida that would be as good as the "common" Wawa Hoagie.  Wawas were everywhere and what you grew to love when you needed a quick hoagie fix.

When I traveled through Orlando to get to Deltona to get the dog from the rescue, we detoured an hour just to hit that "Southernmost Wawa" on South Semoran Blvd.  It was a flashback for me.  The hoagie was just as good as the little Wawa that used to be five houses down from my home in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. 

I sunk my teeth in and realized "They Got The Roll Right".   In Florida, they got the roll RIGHT!

They weren't shipped in either.  These rolls were made on the premises and I could not taste a difference from the Amoroso's Rolls from my youth.  Heaven on a Foot-long roll in a cabinet coming out dozens at a time.

Getting That Roll Right has been a challenge for me.  It's gotten me started baking again.  I don't have the recipe down, which is fine.  It's right for other uses, and head and shoulders better than the usual "Bakery" rolls down from the supermarket.

But it just doesn't beat a Wawa Hoagie.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Panda - Humor

The Panda

A panda bear walks into a bar and orders a sandwich. The waiter brings him the sandwich.
The panda bear eats it, pulls out a pistol, kills the waiter, and gets up and starts to walk out.

The bartender yells for him to stop. The panda bear asks, "What do you want?"
The bartender replies, "First you come in here, order food, kill my waiter, then try to go
without paying for your food."

The panda bear turns around and says, "Hey! I'm a Panda. Google it!
The bartender goes into the back room and does a Google search for Panda, which comes back with:

"Panda: a bear-like marsupial originating in Asian regions. Eats shoots and leaves."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Four Short Relationship Jokes - Humor

Ok, try not to read the third one like "Bob and Doug McKenzie", eh?

Spent Paycheck

Wife: Okay, Friday's pay day. Where's your pay envelope?
Man: I already spent all my pay. I bought something for the house.
Wife: What? What could you buy for the house that cost $580?
Man: Eight rounds of drinks.


While reading the newspaper, Walter came across an article about a beautiful actress and model who married a boxer who was not noted for his IQ.
"I'll never understand," he said to his wife, "why the biggest jerks get the most attractive wives."
His wife replied, "Why, thank you, dear."

A Canadian
... is walking down the street with a case of beer under his arm.
His friend Doug stops him and asks, "Hey Bob! Whacha get the case of beer for?"
"I got it for my wife, eh." answers Bob.
"Oh!" exclaims Doug, "Good trade."

 He said
.. Do you love me just because my father left me a fortune?
She said.. Not at all honey, I would love you no matter who left you the money.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hiding from The Parrot Zone

We had just returned from our dog walk, and were settling in.

Rack was through with his Perimeter Search, had a few whines at the closed door to the bathroom, and then went to the den between the couch and the coffee table where he'd be for the rest of the morning.

I made my Honey and Cinnamon drink, and turned on the internet radio.   I was in a Retro Mood this morning, so it was going to be some Disco.

Taking the first sip of the sweet concoction, I grabbed the laptop and did some professional research.   My mornings are geared around keeping Professionally Fit, so there's a lot of reading to do.

The music was playing in the background until there was a song I hadn't heard in a while.   That particular song really hit the spot.  I was in a Cerrone mood.  Some Symphonic Disco for the morning routine instead of the usual Uplifting Trance.

That was when I decided to try to push the music just a bit louder.

Oscar the parrot has a constant background chatter.   There's a trick.  Try to get the music so he isn't getting into the whole groove of it all.   After all, Parrots do Dance. 

If you want to listen to anything loud here, get the headphones out.  Noise cancelling headphones are the best for that.

However, this day Oscar was having none of it.

Why?  Well, this Green "Old Buzzard" does a pretty passable imitation of a String Section in an old Disco hit.

Between Cerrone's Paradise playing a rhythmic background and Oscar joining in to add an extra Violin-whistle, this house was anything but quiet.

Instead of begrudging the old bird his pleasure, I did the next best thing.   I grabbed those headphones, then searched for the track below.  Happily cancelling out the background noise once the radio went onto another song that I didn't care for, I changed the channel to some uplifting trance, then stopped it.

Headphones on, I was able to get my fill while letting the green bird have his.  Besides, every time I get stuck on Cerrone, I end up listening to more than just that one track.  Force of habit I'm afraid.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

How Rack Found His Lost Voice

For an 8 month old dog to be silent, there has to be a reason.

In the case of Rack, the Ridiculously Photogenic McNab Dog, it was his history.

Rack was an owner surrender at around 6 months.  He was bounced around between some shelters that seemed more like concentration camps by description.

He then wound up at The Dog Liberator, an excellent rescue specializing in Herding Breeds in Deltona, Florida where Giselle began to repair the damage to his psyche.

That was where I came in.

For two weeks there was not a single sound out of this dog.  Not even that weird grunting that some dogs do when sleeping was heard.

After being told by some breeders of McNabs out in California, that no this isn't normal, but not to worry he'll start to relax, he did exactly that.

Walking Rack, we noticed that he liked other dogs.  By that, I mean REALLY likes other dogs.  He sees them and started to wag his tail, and then start to dance, then finally made a sound.   A plaintive little whine with his mouth open in a full yawn.

Silent no more.

This got more and more intense as the third week went on.   He met The Girls, two Samoyeds around the block who have the reputation of being two of the most playful and bouncy dogs you could meet. 

Men, cover yourself, the girls are here... OOF!

Rack met other dogs and unless they were acting grumpy toward him, he would always become very excited.   Not every dog liked a bouncy black and white puppy bounding towards them, so I remembered that I really do have control over this and started watching closely what the other dog's owner did in response. 

For the most part, walks were exciting places where other dogs were until we hit the chaos and noise of Wilton Drive.   He'd cringe as trucks would pass, try extreme avoidance tactics over noisy grates, and walking past the bars meant my arm was stretched out to the limit as he tried to avoid the front doors and any patrons inside.

We're avoiding the bars directly, people aren't his favorite, and frankly I don't care about your dog you left behind in Ohio or Colorado, bring them next time.

The whole while, my house was in uproar.   We had a massive line of thunderstorms come through and ruin the water heater.  The repairs took two solid days of drilling and workers in the house.

Rack was not amused, he made himself scarce by running into the back bedroom and hiding in his crate, or just curling into a DogBall (TM) between the coffee table and the couch.   I guess the little guy just wanted a den.

Finally the chaos was too much.

Eric the plumber wanted to talk to us after coming and going a couple times.  He needed to run out to the big box stores just a mile away for supply and approached the front door. 

A soft knock and... BARKBARKBARKBARK!

Yes, four strong barks from a voice stilled by abandonment and trauma. 

Our little boy is healing!

Just four.  It wasn't excessive, someone had stepped inside HIS house and he was warning his dads that this was happening.

The look on our faces as well as Rack's was shock and a little confusion.   Even he didn't know he could do that. 

Sheepishly, the shepherd dog looked at us for approval as we both were laughing.  I guess it's OK to use my voice.

This repeated itself about 4 hours later when Eric stuck his head in the door after a quiet tapping on the door.  BarkBarkBarkBarkWOOWOOWOOWOO!

OK, boy, I get it!  You can talk now!

Sure, it will be a training issue, but our boy is relaxing.  He's home.  His home, and home is a good thing.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sweet Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken Recipe

Right off.... for my Vegetarian and Vegan Readers - swap out Tofu or similar for 2 to 3 pounds of chicken.

Want an easy dinner?
Something you can throw together in 5 to 10 minutes?
Only Four Ingredients for the main course?

The only complaint I had about this recipe was that it was quite wet.  I will make it again, but I'll cut back on the Soy sauce.   It made up about 10-12 ounces of a sweet brown sauce that went well with the chicken, but it was too much even if you served it on top of rice.

So here you go:


  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup light soy sauce
  • 2 pounds chicken breast tenderloins.


  • All ingredients into the crock pot.
  • Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  • The chicken will fall apart on the fork when done.
  • Serve on a bed of rice, optional.

When I did make this, I used a mix of chicken breasts and thighs.   Personally I'm a thigh man.  Always have been. 

It's a mildly sweet recipe, so it should work well with any poultry, as well as being interesting with Pork.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Windows Update Makes Me Miss Bill Gates

I've been using Windows since the bad old days of Windows 3.0. I even used some of the older versions once or twice. Those were truly ugly, but things have changed over the years.

Back then, things would crash once you launched a program... or they didn't. It was part of the charm of using Windows. Software would get better, and there were alternatives.

 I disliked that "charm" of Windows so much that when OS/2 came around I happily jumped ship and stayed there much longer than most. It was A Better Windows than Windows, and remained so until Windows 2000 came out.  I also embraced Linux and still use that daily to this day.  Developing software and web pages on Linux have a freedom that you just don't get in some other environment.

Around that time we started seeing updates on a regular basis. Some would work, others not. Thanks to the politics of Microsoft, we were forced to install some rather onerous protection schemes inside of Windows whether we wanted it or not. It didn't protect the person sitting at the computer, just Microsoft.

 That would be another reason why I stayed with OS/2 as long as I did. Windows update would run whether you wanted it to or not, unless you went in and told it not to. But you dare not do that. Never do that because we know what you really want, really we do...

By the time everyone was happily running Windows XP, including me, we learned how to dodge the whole Windows Update nightmare until we wanted it, taming the beast just enough to get work done.

I went from XP to Windows 7 in a leap and I've been very happy with it.  They changed that Windows Update beast to allow you to tell it not to restart immediately.  Now you can delay it for up to Four Hours, and keep repeating that delay.

We won't talk about Windows Vista or Windows 8.  Those were a mistake and hopefully will go away without another word.  That's what happens when you let Focus Groups and Marketing run rampant within a software organization.

That delay is a very good thing since it would take that much for me to close up all my programs and windows and get to a "Logical Breakpoint".  It also let me hide insipid software such as the Bing Desktop and Silverlight.  Useless software from my view.  

All of this came into my mind today in a flash when I saw the helpful little bubble in the lower right asking me if I wanted to update my Windows.   *shudder*

The thing is that there was an update to Windows that said "This may require a restart".   That's why I miss old Bill Gates.  He may have ruined my nice little OS/2, but he also was a force to reckon with.  There's a story or an urban legend about him that said if you had a change that would require a restart of Windows, you had to present it to Bill Gates himself.   Climb that Ivory Tower to the Executive Suite, prostate yourself, and put your neck on the line.  Hopefully you didn't have that neck chopped off!

Things have gotten a bit more sloppy since Bill Gates went on to being a professional philanthropist.  I've noticed a forced restart once or twice, and that sent me back on my little tirade.  Damn Windows!

Luckily, today wasn't that kind of an update.  It took things in stride in my case.  I went in and hid the Bing Desktop (Yuck) and the Silverlight (useless software that slows down Windows 7) and went on my way to do the other updates.

The computer later blew a bubble at me saying Windows Update had completed and I smiled at the little black Asus laptop.  I was up to date and I didn't have to close the five windows of Firefox with over 100 tabs open, three copies of Excel, one of Libre Office, and all the rest of the work I was deeply involved in.

Now if they could just get rid of that wart called Internet Explorer.  I truly hate when I have to run that piece of slop that has worked its way into Windows like mold in cheese.

But that is a rant for another day.

Thanks, Bill Gates... I'll get back to work now.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Signs Your Rescue Dog Is Coming Alive - Picture and Video

The other day my dog, Rack, was whining.

We have only had him for 2 1/2 weeks at this point, and that was the first sound we heard come from his mouth.

It wasn't a pain whine, we all know that blood curdling scream you hear from a dog when they're hurt.   This was a plaintive high pitched squeak.

My little guy was bored.  Bored is a good thing.

When The Dog Liberator had rescued him, I had a rather scary story about his history.  Basically we had a very smart dog that was an owner surrender who went through some very bad shelters. 

A Shut Down dog resulted.   That's more likely in intelligent breeds like my Mc Nab, and others like the Border Collie, Aussie Shepards, Poodles and so on.   Less intelligent breeds would go with the flow and bark away.

As time went on in those first few days, we noticed that Rack really enjoyed his walks.  He was still afraid of loud noises, but he handled them better each day.   The walks would be accompanied by a similar sound coming from him when he would see another dog, what we called a Whine of Joy.  He would get so excited that he would lapse into a dancing and bouncing performance complete with little open mouthed sounds.

We realized that he loved his walks and other dogs.  That's a big plus because recovering a shut down dog without a motivator is decidedly difficult.   Making the walks as long as we could manage was the best thing we could do for the little guy.  These days the walks stretch very close to 2 miles each.

I'll be getting some new sneakers as a result.

That has outside taken care of, but what about indoors?

The usual tricks of bouncing a ball or offering food just didn't work yet.   I tried the tennis ball trick where you slice one open and put a cookie inside.  As long as he saw the cookie he would go for it but not work for it if it disappeared inside the hollow ball.

The toys did eventually wear him down.  An old vinyl ball that squeaks when you squeeze it was his first toy that he took to.  This was followed by a beat up teddy bear that he managed to chew the nose off in short order.

Playtime is very important.  When you have a dog that refuses to play, it's an abnormal situation.  They have to relax to their environment.  In our case, getting to tearing the teddy bear apart only took 15 days.

As for that teddy bear, its done it's duty before.  There's a black stitching down its back where my old dog Lettie had shredded it once before.  It will get shredded again.   Soft toys are best for that sort of thing since you'll notice very fast when you find little clouds of stuffing all over your living room.

After all, a destroyed toy means a happy dog, and a happy dog is what we're after.

The proof is in the video below - complete with The Minute Waltz!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Blond and a Horse - Humor

A Blond and a Horse

Standing beside a valiant stallion, a beautiful blonde decides she must ride this animal despite having no previous riding experience. Soon, she finds herself atop the horse's back, galloping through a lush green meadow.

Unsuspecting, the horse suddenly picks up speed and she finds herself euphoric over the freedom she is experiencing.

Once again, the magnificent animal picks up speed except this time her inexperience gets the better of her. She finds herself barely able to hang on.

The startled horse is now in a dead run and the beautiful blonde finds herself hanging off to one side of the horse, her head just inches from the ground... catastrophe seconds away.

She begins to frantically scream for help when all of a sudden.........

Frank, the Wal-Mart door man, calmly walks up and unplugs the ride.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Jesus and Satan - Humor (for geeks)

Jesus and Satan have a discussion as to who is the better programmer. This goes on for a few hours until they come to an agreement to hold a contest, with God as the judge.

They sit themselves at their computers and begin. They type furiously, lines of code streaming up the screen, for several hours straight. Seconds before the end of the competition, a bolt of lightning strikes, taking out the electricity. Moments later, the power is restored, and God announces that the contest is over.

He asks Satan to show what he has come up with.

Satan is visibly upset, and cries, "I have nothing. I lost it all when the power went out."

"Very well, then," says God, "let us see if Jesus fared any better."

Jesus enters a command, and the screen comes to life in vivid display, the voices of an angelic choir pour forth from the speakers.

Satan is astonished.

He stutters, "B-b-but how? I lost everything, yet Jesus' program is intact. How did he do it?"

God smiled all-knowingly, "Jesus saves."

Friday, May 10, 2013

Cinnamon Tortilla Chips Recipe with Bonus Honey Drink Recipe

I figured, hey this is going up on Friday and most of this week has been recipes, so... lets ruin the diet again!

On the other hand, each of those tortillas as prepared is right around 100 calories.  Once you break them into chunks, then the calories get smaller right? 

Here is another one of those Dead Simple Recipes that I like to share!  Besides, it's a rare kid that didn't make Cinnamon Toast when they were a wee brat like we did...

Right, Pat?


  • 4 Small Flour Tortillas - I used 6 inch Tortillas.
  • 1 Teaspoon of melted butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar


  • Line cookie sheet with Foil or Silpat or Parchment.
  • Preheat Oven to 350F or 180C (if you must)
  • Melt the Butter in a small bowl.
  • Coat both sides of each tortilla with a light amount of butter.   I used a pastry brush.
  • Place all four Tortillas evenly on a cookie sheet so they do not touch.
  • If you are going to cut the tortillas evenly, now is the time.  I did not cut mine since I wanted a more homey feel to the presentation.
  • Dust each Tortilla with Cinnamon and Sugar - To Taste.  I used a prepared cinnamon sugar mix that was sent to me over the Holidays... Thanks Pat!
  • Bake for 8 to 12 minutes until they are crisp.
  • Break into "bite sized" pieces.
  • Enjoy.
This is one of those recipes that is tough to get wrong.

I guess if you are distracted and walk away from the oven you could burn them, but Cinnamon and Sugar is a wonderful taste so you really can't ruin this even if you are banned from every kitchen on the face of the planet.  If you only wanted one, you could even do this recipe in a toaster oven. 

Oh as a drink to wash this down, have a tablespoon of Cinnamon, two tablespoons of honey, and add 8 to 10 ounces of boiling water.   Allow to cool and serve with Ice.   Healthy drink that has only 120 calories!

There, did that drink redeem me?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Have A Mango - Picture

I was helping the neighbor this weekend.

They had a problem.  About 100 pounds of mangoes.  On a tree.  A BIG tree with BIG mangoes. Oh... there may be a second crop this year on that tree too.

The largest of that giant pile of fruit is around 2 pounds.  Almost a Kilogram for my Metric Readers. 

If one of those monsters fall from the sky, you're going to have a bad day.  Or you will lose windshield. 

The neighbor knows that I like mangoes, and since I won't eat all of them, I'll pass some of them out to friends who do.  After all, who can eat 100 pounds of fruit?   On top of it all, this is a Haden Mango tree.  There are many varieties of Mangoes in the world, but this one is my favorite.

The tree is right next to the driveway so that was the first side that we hit.  The tree being 30 feet tall, it took some effort to get to the ones that were highest.

We stood on the corner with a fruit pole extended to its maximum, then duct taped another pole to it for another 10 feet.  Since I was the tallest one around, I was elected.  Picking two at a time meant that there were four pounds of the fruit in a little metal basket on the end of a 20 foot tall pole.  Think of a lever.   We only lost one or two from the weight at the end getting out of control.

Beyond giving passers by some entertainment, we ended up with three large buckets of fruit, which gave me a totally full kitchen sink and a little more to spare.  After all, you don't stand on a busy corner with a long pole that has an orange basket on the end pulling fruit down without having a bit of a crowd.  Bucket after bucket went home, the work ended and the result was a kitchen sink full of the stuff.

The Spring bounty of fruit has arrived.  We'll be looking for a good Mango recipe or five.  I want to find a decent Mango Jelly, perhaps a Mango Butter, and yes they are different things.  I remember this recipe we made called Mango Chicken.  First you take mangoes, add Lemon Juice, puree... what happened after that didn't matter because you then had to keep me out of the mixing bowl with my trusty teaspoon because that was some of the finest pudding I have ever had.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Really Simple Pineapple Angel Food Cake Recipe With Just Two Ingredients

You got this far. 

You must either like Cake, like Pineapple, or just like my writing and are wondering what I'm banging on about.

You may just like my picture.  Sweet, isn't it?

Let me put it this way... You can bake this cake.

It took me about 5 minutes to make, and about 30 minutes to bake.

I saw the recipe float by on a feed of recipes, er... well you know what I mean by that... on Facebook and I thought I have the ingredients and didn't have cake laying around so why not?

Angel Food Cake is very light, even recommended on some diets if you are going to have a snack.

Personally I just really enjoy Pineapple.


  • 1 box of Angel Food Cake Mix.
  • 1 12 ounce can of Pineapple chunks - IN JUICE.  Syrup will mess the recipe up and besides you don't really need the sugar.


  • To a large mixing bowl, add the box of Angel food Cake Mix.
  • Add to the mixing bowl the can of Pineapple chunks and all of the juice.
  • Stir until the mix is smooth.  It will foam a bit to give body to the cake.   That's what you want!
  • Add the entire mix to a GREASED 13x9 Baking Pan.  Yes, you do not normally grease an Angel Food Cake, but it worked fine for me when I did this.
  • Bake as per the instructions on the box or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  My instructions said 375 for about 30 minutes.

Variation - Mash the pineapple chunks in a bowl before adding to the mixing bowl until they are smallish.   It will make the cake smoother and not quite as chunky.  Unless you like that sort of thing.  I have another box of Angel Food cake mix so next time, I'll try it with mashed Pineapple.  Just use a big salad fork and take your frustrations out on the Pineapple!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Discovering the Bonus Amaryllis - Picture

I'll admit it, I'm a bit of a lousy gardener.

Oh sure, I can get some things to grow or come back, but when it comes to keeping the flower beds tidy and free of weeds, I'm overwhelmed.

I was out back the other day trying to get the dog used to his new home.  Since he's terrified of any loud noises, I have to be aware of where he is at any moment.  

We have only had him for a little over two weeks, so he's still getting used to us and the environment.

First, dragging him outside the back door was a training issue.  You see the back door is a heavy sliding glass door that makes a lot of noise when it is moved. 

It reminds me of a trolley rolling down hill. 
Out of control. 
On rusty rails. 
Over the speed-limit.

So how did I solve that?  I added to the noise by hanging some bells on the door.   Now when the door is opened, it sounds like someone put an elephant on that trolley and is holding a wedding ceremony.   At least that is where I got the original set of bells, from my sister's wedding.   She may not have her bells any longer but I have those and the candles that were on the table displays that she didn't want.

Yes, Pat, I kept them.  They make me feel happy.

They don't make my dog, Rack, feel happy at all.

The first time he went to that door, and I opened the latch, he was gone in a flash of black and white fur.  I calmed him down, and managed to get him back to the door.   Picking the bar out of place sent him running a second time.  The door was actually opened with him there, but my hand firmly planted under his collar.

Purple collar.   Stands for a dog that has some issues.   He's not a Red Collar dog, by any means.

So we finally got outside and well away from the trolley tracks and eventually calmed down.

What to do with him that I have him out there?  

He managed to follow me around the yard, distantly, after sniffing the pool and judging that maybe it isn't quite right for a fearful little guy, and found his spot.   He has two of them, one under the big palm that can be seen from space.  It's a 30 footer, and quite imposing, so I suspect a little dog felt safe under it.   The second spot is next to the Tiki Bar under the Jasmine Hedge.  

I prefer the palm tree since it is out in the open.   I don't have to wrestle with plants if I want to get him inside quickly.

Walking around the yard I pretended to know what I was doing while pulling weeds from the pots and noticed the Amaryllis.  Just like the Mango tree around the corner, it's putting out a second set of blooms.  Rack couldn't care less, he just parked at Dog Rest Station closest to me and let me go about my little fantasy of knowing what to pull in the pots.  

If it's a vine, pull it, which is ironic since my yard is the perfect place for Virginia Creeper, Stinkweed Vines, and Asparagus Ferns.

After an hour of communing with nature and considering the benefits of Napalm use on the residential Floridian gardening scene as well as the possibility of introducing a goat to the yard, I realized that a mostly black dog with white accents might be a bit warm on a mid-80s day and my own back was striped with perspiration.  

Time to go inside and recuperate from the fearful back door drama.  Come on, Boy! Time to go!  I need to get to the home improvement store and get some asphalt.  The yard will look great dressed in Basic Black!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Honeybell Orange Blossom Picture

Wandering around the yard with a camera, you see some things pop up in Spring. 

My front yard that day smelled sweet, and floral.  The Honeybell Orange Tree was in Blossom.

That doesn't mean that there will be oranges on the tree.  I've had some bad luck the last few years.  Last year, nothing.  I didn't get a single fruit.   In fact, we were worried that the tree was done for.

This tree is too close to the carport, too close to the fence.  While oranges grow well in this town, and in Broward County, they don't like to be "too hot". 

Over the winter, we made sure it got its fair share of water when the twice weekly irrigation was done.   The drip feed lines were extended and pipes run out to the tree.   It also gets some water from the air conditioning as well.  May as well use that water instead of creating a home for more of my pet mosquitoes and algae. 

Every year we fret about this tree, but somehow it manages to hang on.  I want to dig it up and move it to a new spot, but I am afraid it would hate the experience and give up on us. 

One year that it did give fruit, I had the pleasure of walking to the yard, picking a ripe honeybell, and standing in the yard while eating it.  Yes, the Florida Trifecta of Home Ownership was won - the ability of growing fruit, eating it off your own tree, and doing so in your yard on a pleasant day.  That was pointed out to me by a tourist who was walking down the street.

No, I didn't give him the other orange from the tree.  It was a very small crop.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Some "Good" Questions - Humor

Why is it considered necessary to nail down the lid of a coffin?

Why don't you ever see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?

Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

Why is it that doctors call what they do "practice"?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

Why can't they make the whole plane out of the same substance that little indestructible black box is?

Can fat people go skinny-dipping?

If a person with multiple personalities threatens suicide, is that considered a hostage situation?

If a cow laughed, would milk come out her nose?

So what's the speed of dark?

How come abbreviated is such a long word?

Since light travels faster than sound, isn't that why some people appear bright until you hear them speak?

Ever wonder what the speed of lightning would be if it didn't zigzag?

If it's true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the OTHERS here for?

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a Train stops. On my desk, I have a work station..

If Fed Ex and UPS were to merge, would they call it Fed UP?

If quitters never win, and winners never quit, what fool came up with, "Quit while you're ahead"?

Do Lipton employees take coffee breaks?

What hair color do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?

Should women put pictures of missing husbands on beer cans?

Why do people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older ... they were cramming for their finals!

Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office?

What are we supposed to do . . . write to these men?

How much deeper would oceans be if sponges didn't live there?

Clones are people two.

If a man says something in the woods and there are no women there, is he still wrong?

After eating, do amphibians need to wait an hour before getting OUT of the water?

If you're sending someone some Styrofoam, what do you pack it in?

Why do they sterilize needles for lethal injections?

Is it true that cannibals don't eat clowns because they taste funny?

Whose cruel idea was it for the word "lisp" to have an "s" in it?

Why do so many old people eat at cafeterias?

Why does Wendy's have square hamburgers?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Golf Accident on a Sunny Saturday Morning - Humor

A couple of women were playing golf one sunny Saturday morning. The first of the twosome teed off and watched in horror as her ball headed directly toward a foursome of men playing the next hole.

Indeed, the ball hit one of the men, and he immediately clasped his hands together at his crotch, fell to the ground and proceeded to roll around in evident agony.

The woman rushed down to the man and immediately began to apologize. She explained that she was a physical therapist: "Please allow me to help. I'm a physical therapist and I know I could relieve your pain if you'd allow me", she told him earnestly.

Ummph, oooh, nnooo, I'll be alright...I'll be fine in a few minutes, he replied breathlessly as he remained in the fetal position still clasping his hands together at his crotch.

But she persisted, and he finally allowed her to help him. She gently took his hands away and laid them to the side, she loosened his pants, and she put her hands inside and began to massage him. She then asked him: How does that feel? To which he replied: It feels great, but my thumb still hurts like hell.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The World's Most Dangerous Recipe - One Single Cupcake!

Why is this so dangerous?

ANYONE can make this in under 5 minutes.



Well... there is a catch.  This is from a mix.

I used a mix that called for 1/3 cup of mix for one serving.  There was only one ingredient other than that, water.

So if you have a mix that only calls for Mix and Water... you're done.


  • Cake Mix - 1.65 ounces or 47 grams.  Measure this by weight.
  • Water - 1 ounce or 28 grams.  1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons.


  • To a large coffee mug or small mixing bowl, add the cake mix.
  • Add 1 ounce of water.  That is two tablespoons or 28 Grams.
  • Mix it up until it's smooth.
  • Take one Muffin Paper or Cupcake Paper.  
  • Insert into a coffee mug that allows it to sit inside.  This will hold the paper upright so you get the Cupcake Shape.
  • Microwave at full power for 2 minutes.  My microwave is 1200 watts.  Yours might not be and you will have to watch this timing.  Your Mileage May Vary!

My cupcake turned out fine, if a wee bit over done.  Next time, I will shave 10 seconds off.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Training the Dog to Stay Out Of The Trash

When I hear myself tell this story, I wonder whether it is Dog Training or Humor.

I think it really is a little bit of both and more.

We just got Rack, our little Mc Nab Dog rescue home.  Mind you, every dog has inborn curiosity.  Puppies are usually very curious.  They have to be taught what the rules are.

This being taught is usually something that Momma Dog will do, and if you are not in a puppy mill situation, the puppy should never go to their new home before 8 weeks.   Some say more, some say less.  Be conservative.  Momma Dog will teach the puppy how to play.   If those razor sharp teeth nip too hard, puppy will get taught just how that can feel.   Nippy puppies would most likely be the ones that didn't get taught by Momma.

Momma knows best.

So if you're lucky, you will find yourself with a warm bundle of fur that will be a companion for the rest of their life, knowing that you don't pull on the next dog's tail or bite its ear. 

After all, nobody likes their tail getting bit, do they?

Now, the natural state of Canis Familiaris is to be a companion.  The Dog is not a Wolf, they do badly if they're out in the wild left to fend for themselves.  They will find food where they can and the best you can hope for is to be found by someone and taken in.  Given a job, a dog is most happy, but they do need to learn how to behave in a house.

House broken, don't chew on the furniture, paws off the counters.  These are all things we have to teach our Best Friends.

When I got my little guy, Rack, he had been through a lot.  A shelter that sounded more like a Concentration Camp, followed by a better one, and then an excellent shelter for Herding Dog breeds at The Dog Liberator

Being a fearful and shy dog, he didn't have much of a chance to be taught indoor manners.  Intelligent dogs suffer terribly by being in a shelter, they collapse under the stress.  That was how I got Rack.  He needs a steady and gentle hand for training for The Next Level.

The first night was exciting enough, we placed him in his crate and allowed him to rest.   It was a lot to take in when you're only 7 months old.

The next day was exciting.  He came out of his crate, we got to see the other dogs, we walked around the neighborhood learning the lay of the land.   We realized that he's pretty much housebroken, which is a major benefit of having a Rescued dog.   They are vetted for that sort of thing and the most important things like hygene are dealt with.

As he relaxed, he began to show his intelligence and curiosity.  

Rack sniffed Oscar the Parrot's cage.  Oscar is named well, being Green and Crotchety, he lunged at the curious puppy and banged his beak on the side of the cage.   Rack backed off realizing this bird is not looking to be friendly.

Then he went for an exploring run.

We heard the thump of the lid on the kitchen trash.  Looking at each other we realized that we had to make sure that he didn't tear the place apart.

Yes, you guessed it, there's that stainless steel dog bowl perched on top of the trash as a result.

Five minutes later, Rack went back.

Momma Dog is not here, Daddy Bill is.  School is in.

We didn't hear the lid of the trash can thump.  What we heard was the CRASH! of that metal bowl as it hit the hard tile floor in the kitchen.   Immediately we heard Rack's toes try to make a purchase on that floor.  He came with his paws overly trimmed, toenails didn't reach the floor quite yet, but we heard them that time...

I saw a black and white streak come running around the corner, past the crate.   He was still scrabbling to get a purchase.  I smiled thinking that outdoors, he's going to be a fast little boy.

I also realized he wouldn't be in the trash again.

Shooting past the crate, his momentum carried him across the living room, around the coffee table, and past my legs.   He ran from the one side of the living room into the crate.

Panting from the effort, the little dog got his lesson. 

And that was how we stopped the dog from sniffing the trash can. 

He's been in the kitchen before but he carefully avoids that can.  It's a useful barrier. 

I will say that instead of a steel bowl, from this point onwards, I have some "jingle bells" that I got last holiday season.  I'll have a little festive warning instead of a crash.   I don't think I'll need it until the next time he is left unsupervised, but for now, I'll use it as a crutch or much more gentle reminder.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Rack, The Ridiculously Photogenic Dog - Picture and Video

I've been trying to get Rack to be more involved.  When he's indoors, he is very low impact still.  He's still that Shy Dog that I was told about when we adopted him, but he's opening up.

After a week plus of having him here, he still hasn't explored the entire house.   There's a spot in front of the couch in the living room between it and the coffee table that he's adopted as a lair.  He'll lay on the floor absorbing the cool almost all day.

When I stand up to do something, he'll look up and I'll get a wag or three out of his tail, sometimes a smile, and he'll go back to being mellow and lazy.

Since he's afraid of doors, yes, doors, I have to make an effort to get him outside.  Once he's outside, he's a different dog.   He's engaged, although still very laid back.  It's giving me an excuse to go out and weed the pots and planter boxes in the yard.   When I go from side to side on the yard, he'll wait until I'm at a spot before he will wander over.

The other day I was weeding the Mango tree's pot, and he plopped himself down, in the sun.  Absorbing power for a later charge-up, I'm assuming.  I looked over, got a tail wag and a smile and he went back to grooving on the Springtime sunshine.

A goodly sniff of what was on the air was in order when I realized that I had brought the camera out for a reason.   This dog was posing whether he realized it or not.  It's not even the best pose, although it is the best picture.

Ask anyone who takes a lot of pictures and they'll tell you about the one that got away.  It's something that any photographer worth their nose spot on the back of the SLR will tell you they have in common with a fisherman.

The nice thing is that if you have the camera with you, you can capture some memories before they move out of the sun and plant themselves under the bougainvillea to be weeded around.

It's only been a week and a half, but this shy little guy is blossoming.  Every day is something new.  Neighbors are noticing more confidence and he's more engaging.   He has dogs in the neighborhood that he really enjoys meeting.  We approach them and he's making little squeals of excitement and joy.   That says a lot for a dog who was cowering in the corner of an extremely noisy shelter just three weeks ago before he landed at The Dog Liberator in Deltona.

Thanks, Kevin for the Video!