Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Brown Paper Kid

Sheriff walks into the local saloon. There's your usual crowd of drunks, gamblers and travellers. He walks up to the bartender.

 "I'm looking for the Brown paper Kid. Is there anybody by that name?"

The bartender points at a lanky young man slouched in the corner sitting at a table all by himself.

The sheriff, his Spurs spinning menacingly, struts over across to him real slow.

The man is dressed in brown paper trousers, brown paper shirt, brown paper kerchief and he's even got a brown paper Stetson that he's pulled down over his eyes.

"Are you the Brown paper Kid?" asks the Sheriff.

The man lifts his hat up with a finger, takes a good look at the Sheriff, his badge and his holster.

"Come on then, I'm taking you in," says the Sheriff.

"Sure, but you gotta tell me what crime I committed."

"Rustling, son."

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Three Men, A Philosopher, a Mathematician, and an Idiot are out riding in a car

...when it crashed into a tree. Before anyone knows it, the three men found themselves standing before the pearly gates of Heaven, where St. Peter and the Devil were standing nearby. "Gentlemen," the Devil started, "Due to the fact that Heaven is now overcrowded, St. Peter has agreed to limit the number of people entering Heaven. If anyone of you can ask me a question which I don't know or cannot answer, then you're worthy enough to go to Heaven; if not, then you'll come with me to Hell."

The philosopher then stepped up, "OK, give me the most comprehensive report on Socrates' teachings." With a snap of his finger, a stack of paper appeared next to the Devil. The philosopher read it and concluded it was correct. "Then, go to Hell!" With another snap of his finger, the philosopher disappeared.

The mathematician then asked, "Give me the most complicated formula ever theorized!" With a snap of his finger, another stack of paper appeared next to the Devil. The mathematician read it and reluctantly agreed it was correct. "Then, go to Hell!" With another snap of his finger, the mathematician disappeared too.

The idiot then stepped forward and said, "Bring me a chair!" The Devil brought forward a chair. "Drill 7 holes on the seat." The Devil did just that. The idiot then sat on the chair and let out a very loud fart. Standing up, he asked, "Which hole did my fart come out from?" The Devil inspected the seat and said,"The third hole from the right." "Wrong," said the idiot, "it's from my butt-hole."

And the idiot went to heaven.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Potato Chips Anyone? They're a little ...

Some folks should never be in a kitchen when bored.

I may be one of those people.

You see, it was in the run up to lunch time, late morning.  I was thinking that it was time to put the potatoes in the oven if I wanted to have them with my lunch.

If you're counting on me for a baked potato recipe, it's 450F for 1 hour 15 minutes "Or Until Tender".  I usually go with smaller potatoes because they're typically what are "medium" in this inflated garden basket of food called America.

Don't look at me that way Europe, you lot are just about as fat as most Americans are here, and I'm decidedly not fat.

At any rate.

They run about 1.1 calories for 1 gram of Potatoes on average.  I went with 300 calories worth of potatoes.  I was going to split them in two and eat them over two meals anyway.  But I was bored with baked potatoes.

I started slicing them.  I have a habit of having the knives of death here - they're sharpened to a professional edge.  If you ever use a knife here at my house ... be very careful.

I selected my favorite steak knife.  It's about an 8 inch blade, not serrated, and deadly sharp.

Yes, I mean it.  Be careful

Drew the knife back on the cleaned potato and it gave me a slice that was ridiculously thin.
Repeated it through the two potatoes.

Instead of getting a "comb" of potatoes connected at the bottom so that I could make a Hasselback Potato, I ended up with passably thin potato chips.  Some were thicker than others, most were translucent.  I guess I have a heavy hand when it comes to that kind of precision slicing.  Still getting used to how sharp these knives are myself.

I put the potato slices in a plastic bag, then added two tablespoons of olive oil.  Shaking the bag I made sure they were coated.   That yielded two servings, 250 calories a piece.

Standing at the stove, I thought.  Now, that never is a good thing.  Either put them on a sheet of aluminum foil, or try to pan fry them.

It's May in Florida.  Mid to upper 80s that day.  A bit warm to put that much heat in the house by running the oven, I got out the Electric Griddle.

Potato Chip Nirvana?

Not quite.  The thinnest ones cooked almost immediately, the thicker ones were a bit soft in the middle.  I did this by eye.  Once they started to brown up, I flipped and repeated.  The entire griddle was covered with little "coins".  Golden coins of Potato Goodness.

Muwahahah, My mind thought!  If Only It Were Real!  Right, Scrooge McDuck?

I think they took about 3 minutes to cook per side, this was the fastest way I had ever discovered to make potatoes, and since I controlled the oil, I could control the calories.

Luckily, I had a "small" breakfast that day.  Only 400 calories when I budget 600.  Yes, I count EVERYTHING.

I "snuck" a chip.  Needed a wee bit of salt.  But... these were GOOD. 

I tried another one.  Another, and another.  I was in trouble.  There went my 200 calorie cushion.  I stopped midway through the cookie sheet.  I was like the cookie monster with these chips.  Fresh off the griddle, they were good!

I washed up the griddle, cleaned up the kitchen and walked away.

At lunch time I devoured the rest.  Ok, so the thick ones were cold and not crispy, the thin ones were crunchy but this was a start. "Ten out of Ten I'll do it again!" I told myself.

Next time... Thinner!  Yeah that's the ticket!  Thinner!  Use the Mandolin Slicer you Simple Moose!

I had once had an actual company tour at a potato chip factory years back.  They fry their chips in an oil bath.  Seemed to me a bit imprecise, but they also got a more uniform and predictable result.   If you want to take shortcuts you'll end up with variations.

That's what I see in every recipe I have made.  This one was shortcutted from the start.  I was playing in the kitchen, entertaining myself with food.

I know many people who say they can't cook or won't try.  It's all about giving yourself the freedom to fail.  If Failure Is An Option, Success comes with a Gift of Knowledge.  Mom was wrong, Play With Your Food!  Go ahead!  You may just find that you are learning a valuable skill for your future.

Oh sure, there are people who never use their kitchens, save for storage.  Hanging their laundry where they should be browning meat, or some other such activity.  Silly people, you'll never know!

In the meantime, I have to plan out a pork dinner.  Cooked to 145F.  Now, what kind of cuisine?  Mexican?  American?  Chinese?

That's what I gave myself years ago, the joy of allowing myself to come up with a mistake from time to time.  You never know what you'll get when you experiment, do you?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Aboard the worn-out Kleeshae

There was once a spaceship Kleeshae that was minding its own business until one day it was shot by a fleet of Zarii alien ships.

Although they got away in time, most of the already-small Kleeshae crew had died in the attack, leaving only the first officer Sharon Yule alive, and the captain, who was gravely wounded. Fuel and food supplies were running low and they had to land soon to repair and replenish.

The nearest two possible landing locations presented a tough decision to Captain Dirk.

One option was to land on the close-by planet Zarii, which was home to the hostile, power-hungry Zarrs, whose nickname "the Tsars" was well-earned.

The second option was to use the remaining ship energy to warp to Zarii's only moon, home to the Ringos, the peaceful minority Zarrs who were outcasts from the home planet. However, the moon was on the furthest point of its orbit away from the ship, and the warp drive, having been damaged, would not be all too reliable.

The first officer looked worriedly at the captain and asked for a directive.

The captain closed my eyes in deep thought, only to open them upon his final decision, saying as he clutched his wounded side:

"Shoot for the moon... even if you, Miss Yule, land among the Tsars..."

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Man Sat Quietly Reading His Morning Paper One Sunday When

A man sat quietly reading his morning paper one Sunday When:

Suddenly, he is knocked almost senseless by his wife, who stands behind him holding a frying pan in hand.

"What was that for?" he asked.

"Why do you have a piece of paper in your pocket with 'Daisy; written on it?" his wife demanded.

"Oh honey, don't you remember two weeks ago when I went to the horse races? Daisy was the name of the horse I bet on," explained the husband.

The wife was satisfied, and apologized for bonking him.

Three days later he is again sitting reading the paper when, once again, he is bonked on the head with the frying pan.

"What's that for this time?" he asked as he felt the bump rising on his head.

"Your horse called," said his wife.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dragonfly on Ruellia Stem

This certainly isn't the largest one I have ever seen.  That one was on Cape Cod, MA, and had a wingspan of about six inches, the length of your hand and fingers.

But it was a beautiful one.

You see I was out in the yard committing the unforgivable crime of gardening.  Actually I had just taken an electric hedge clipper and hacked the daylights out of my Ruellia.  Ruellia is Mexican Petunias and it has the habit of being rather fast growing.  Beautiful purple flowers that don't show up well on a digital photograph, they tend to grow on semi woody stems.

They also tend to grow through my fence, my hedges, and my borders. 

They are very easy to propagate also, just stick them in wet soil and keep it wet for about a month.  I was starting pot after pot of the stuff to fill in some gaps in the ground cover in the yard on the East side, and they are just too easy to grow.

As a result, they spread over top of the roof tiles I use to define the garden.  I completely lost my roof tiles and went looking for them that day and decided I had had enough.  Starting at one end of the yard, I cut a pile of the stuff that ended up being a full trash can.  4 feet tall,  2 feet square.  16 cubic feet of nothing but Ruellia by my count.

I could easily have used that to re-flower the neighborhood, but instead I hefted that mass into the city supplied trash cans and sent it on its way to generate electricity.  Trash to Electricity in the incinerator here.

Having gathered up all that "salad" I was trying to straighten my back out and catch my breath when I saw this little shiny object.  It really did not care that I was there.  It may have been staying there watching me and waiting for me to do something stupid.

Instead, I took a picture.  I liked the picture so much that I have saved it off.

A complex looking little creature, I can understand why so many pieces of Jewelry are made to look like them.

Plus they eat mosquitoes so they're welcome here any time, usually two days after a solid rain.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Dog and the Leopard

The dog and the leopard

A man decided to go on a safari. He took his faithful dog along for company.

One day the dog starts chasing butterflies and before long the dog discovers that he is lost. So, wandering about, he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the obvious intention of having lunch.

The dog thinks, "Oh boy, I'm in deep stuff now." Then he notices some bones lying nearby on the ground and immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat.

Just as the leopard is about to leap, the dog exclaims loudly, "That was one delicious leopard. I wonder if there are any more around here?"

Hearing this, the leopard halts his attack in mid-stride, and slinks away into the trees. "Whew", says the leopard. "That was close. That dog nearly had me."

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard.

So off he goes.

But the dog sees him heading off after the leopard and figures that something is amiss.

The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans about the dog's ruse and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.

The leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Hop on my back, monkey, and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine. "

Now the dog sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back, and thinks, "Oh boy, it looks like I've really had it now."

But instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to the leopard and the monkey and pretends that he hasn't seen them.  Just when they get close enough to hear him, the dog says... "Where is that monkey? .. I sent him off an hour ago to get me another leopard and he's still not back."

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Ol Blue

A young man goes off to college. Half way through the semester, having foolishly squandered all of his money on his girlfriend, he calls home.

"Dad," he says, "you won't believe what modern education is developing! They actually have a program here at college that will teach our dog, Ole' Blue, how to talk!"
"That's amazing," his Dad says. "How do I get Ole' Blue in that program?"

"Just send him over here with $1,000," the young man says, "and I'll get him in the course."
So, his Father sends the dog and $1,000.

About two-thirds of the way through the semester, the money again runs out.
 The boy calls home. "So how's Ole' Blue doing son?" his Father asks.
"Awesome, Dad, he's talking up a storm," he says, "but you just won't believe this. They've had such good results they have started to teach the animals how to read!"
"Read!?" says his Father, "No kidding! How do we get Blue in that program?"
"Just send $2,500, I'll get him in the class."
The money promptly arrives.

At the end of the year, his Father will find out the dog can neither talk, nor read. Even though he was always pretty much able to lie his way out of trouble, the fellow asked his girlfriend to help him think of a really good lie to tell his Dad. She very quickly came up with a plan for him. She has him shoot the dog.

When he arrives home at the end of the year, his Father is all excited. "Where's Ole' Blue? I just can't wait to see him read something and talk!"

"Dad," the boy says, "I have some grim news. Yesterday morning, just before we left to drive home, Ole' Blue was in the living room, kicked back in the recliner, reading the Wall Street Journal, like he usually does". "Then Ole' Blue turned to me and asked, 'So, is your Daddy still messing around with that little redhead who lives down the street?'"

The Father went white and exclaimed, "I hope you shot that lying dog before he talks to your Mother!"

"I sure did, Dad!"
"That's my boy!"

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How to Ruin a Decent Cookie - Just Wait!

I am sure that I am not the only person who ruined a "Bulletproof" baking mix this way.

I am also sure that I do it from a slightly different angle than most since I have a long list of "quick and dirty" baking treats that I make on a whim.

But there are only so many treats you can have around the house.

You see, while I am baking scratch mixes, blending chocolate with fruit or nuts to make candy bars, or even going so far as to make pretzels, I forgot.

I forgot that I have a shelf.   We all have that shelf.  If you bake at all, you have a collection of boxed mixes. 

You picked that mix up from the supermarket and thought Hmmm, That's Tasty!

You drop that mix into the cart and then wander off paying for it on your way out.

I even have a habit of quickly scanning the bins at the back of the market where there are mixes that are close to their expiration date.  You know the ones.  They're being discontinued or they weren't all that popular.   They've got the badge of shame on them.  Big red sticker saying "Discount!  Half Off" or less.

Yeah, those.  I'm that guy.

I really do prefer home made cookies to what you can get at the mall or the store.  My chocolate chip cookies are asked for when I am invited to parties because how can you compete with freshly churned butter, toasted nuts, and scratch ingredients?

But that also means that I have to watch what I have on hand. 

That Shelf is in clear view.  In fact when you step over the threshold into my house it is in clear view of the front door on top of a bread rack.

It's a Logical Place.  That also means it is doomed.

Those "special" mixes are waiting for a "special" occasion. 

When I went looking for something the other day, I believe it was the crock pot but it easily could have been treats for the dog or some tea for Iced Tea, I spotted them.

Then I noticed that there was actually dust on top of the box.

DUST!  On top of a mix of Lemon Squares!

That. Is. Not. Good.

I checked the expiration date and found it expired four years ago.  April 2012.

Going through that stack, I found that there were five other mixes that were more than just a few weeks over their Best By date.

Not good. 

That Lemon Square mix was a simple one, add egg and water.   It smelled funny.  Tasted worse.  I took one bite and out it went.

Next the Snickerdoodles.  They were January 2013.  Open the package and the mix smelled reasonably wholesome.  Of course there was that problem of how do you know how long to cook something that looks "done" when they go into the oven and come out soft? 

I didn't.  They ended up crunchy.  They're supposed to be soft.  Still tasted "ok" and nobody got sick.

I followed that up with some Whoopie Pies.  When I opened up the mix my eyes watered.  Right into the bin!

So at this point the oldest mix is from June 2015, a full 11 months overdue.  It will get used before the end of this month.  I'm just going to have to stop "Baking for the Blog"!

Boxed Baking Mixes.  Ugh.  So ... blah!  Where's the challenge in that?

I'll tell you, the challenge is to use the stuff up before it goes funny and I had a whole shelf of mixes just laughing at me!

This week, we're going to enjoy a cake.  It's a "Holiday" cake.  Peppermint and Chocolate, great for your holiday celebrations!  It was just within the "safe" zone. 

I'm sure I will enjoy it.  But those mixes?  I have to be more careful since I do enjoy them, I really do.

I'm just a bit absent minded!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Jet Booze

Believe it or not, I never heard this one told this way!

Shane and Phil were a couple of drinking buddies who worked as aircraft engineers in Melbourne, Australia. .

One day the airport was fogged in and they were stuck in the hangar with nothing to do. .

Phil said, 'Man, I wish we had something to drink!' . .
Shane says, 'Me too. Y'know, I've heard you can drink jet fuel and get a buzz. You wanna try it?' . .

So they pour themselves a couple of glasses of high octane booze, get completely smashed, and have a great evening. . .

The next morning Phil wakes up and is surprised at how good he feels. In fact he feels GREAT! NO hangover! NO bad side effects. Nothing! .

 Then the phone rings. It's Shane.

Shane says, 'Hey, how are you this morning?' . .

Phil says, 'I feel great, how about you?'
Shane, 'I feel great, too. You don't have a hangover?' . .

Phil says, 'No that jet fuel is great stuff -- no hangover, nothing. We ought to do this more often. In fact I'm going to be having only jet fuel from now on' . .

 Shane,'Yeah, well... there is just one thing.' . . 'What's that?' .
'Have you farted yet?' . . . . 'No.' . . . . 'Well, DON'T, 'cause I'm in New Zealand'

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Girl and The Flagpole

Yes, it is THAT joke! 

I remember being told this joke by an older kid when I was in grade school.  Standing in front of the Stafford School in Cherry Hill, staring up at the flag pole and wondering why a kid would want to climb the blasted thing in the first place.

Typical kid response!

The Girl and The Flagpole

Boy: I'll pay you 10 bucks to climb up the flagpole.
Girl: Okay. (climbs the flagpole)

Girl: Mommy Mommy a boy paid me 10 bucks to climb the flagpole.
Mom: He just wanted to see your underwear!

...Next Day...

(Same boy): I'll pay you 20 bucks to climb the flagpole!
Girl: OK thanks! (climbs the flagpole)

Girl: Mommy Mommy today the boy paid me 20 bucks for climbing the flagpole, but today I tricked him this time I wasn't wearing underwear.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Command Shrapnel and the Collateral Damage Dog

Admit it.  Most dogs are badly trained.

Actually I should say that most if not almost all owners are badly trained and their dogs show it as a result.

Walking around the neighborhood, I see far too many stereotypes of small dogs.  Yapping, barking, straining at the leash.  The owner is apologizing, or worse.  Whispering comments of "No, Dear" does not instill any confidence.  The three pound bedroom slipper had decided a long time ago that this clown at the other end of the leash is not the leader, so I will be.


If you think it's only yappers that do that, you're mistaken.

See, I don't normally worry about the middle of the pack.  The comfortable 40 to 50 pound dogs.  For some reason people see them as the sweet spot.  Not consciously, but in how they treat them.  It is rare that I see a midsized dog acting stupidly untrained as a bedroom slipper.  But it does happen, rarely.

However, you get to the big boys and now you have a different problem.  The Loaded Gun.  Somehow that 70 plus pound dog realizes that Mr Owner is not quite where he could be.  Mrs Owner is trying to walk a 100 pound beast and the pup knows that she can get pulled down.  So they're sly and wait.  There will come a chance when they can have a little bit of freedom.  They may be runners, or barkers, or worse.

What happens in any of those cases? 

I'm learning that Rack is learning.  We know that the easiest thing that you can do with a Herding Breed dog is to get them out and keep their minds busy.  Long walks.  Very long walks.  It helps that I am up before 5AM every day for the most part.  At 5AM the neighborhood is quiet.  Trucks are just starting to refuel the businesses for the next day.  The bus lines are beginning to get moving.  But not like another hour later when everyone is rushing for the office.

So, walk we do.  That first walk is usually around a mile and a half.  Helps keep the weight off both of us.  I'm rather happy not to be a stereotype of the fat dude sitting polishing a chair all day with his butt.

The good thing is it also keeps Rack happy.  He gets going and it requires a lot of management.  Lots of Come On, and Good Boy, and Lets Go, and This Way.

Where it gets amusing is when Command Shrapnel hits my dog and causes him to become Collateral Damage.

We'll be walking along and I'm doing basically what boils down to Threat Assessment. 

You hear barking first. 
Then you spot the dog.
It's already seen you, but you knew that.
Rack's tail had been wagging, then it stopped. 
Now the tail is hanging behind him.
Ears were perked, but have been flicking nervously.

I start to hear the commands.
The other person is saying things like "quiet" or "down".

Then a "Sit!"
Rack Sits.

The other owner gets confused.
He barks another order.  "Come here!".

While his dog is being insane about the presence of another person and heaven forfend, another dog, on its planet, he is firing off a volley of commands to his dog.

None of them work.  He simply does not have any kind of control over his relationship with the dog, the environment, and basically life.

What he has done is to give us a lot of information among the firing range approach of commanding a dog.

Not that it works, mind you.

But what he has done was to inform us that he has no idea what he is doing with his own dog. 

He's also amazed.  Rack Sat.  "How did you do that?" 

He's a McNab dog.  If you can't train a McNab, you can't train a dog.  I say "I didn't, he listens."

"He's collateral damage.  He was listening to you, decided this was for the best."

I'm getting a really confused look at this point from the other owner. 

"Rack?"  I get brown eyes in a field of black with a white stripe looking up at me.  A Smile on Canine lips.
"Rack, come on, lets go!"

Rack happily agrees and we plod on our way.

He's learning.  While other dogs can be fun, the crazed leaping of a greeting is only to be reserved for friends.  He is also part Mountain Goat, especially where D. O. G. is involved.

D. O. G. is one of two Rottweilers in my area.  For a while, they were the dog-weapon of choice.  Now they moved onto Pit Bulls and have ruined that breed's reputation.  D. O. G. is just a sweet pile of 165 pounds of love inside a big block of a head.

So much so that he will whine when he's out front of his house so that I will come over to visit.  Now mind you, the entire time, I'm firing off my own Command Barrage.  Rack DOES listen, but when he's excited there's a limit to that.   D. O. G. is one of his favorite "people".  He will actually whine at my front door when he spots him through the glass.  His owner makes Rack forget just about all training and become a stupid wiggly puppy goofball love sponge that doesn't understand how to follow the rules until he blows off some energy.

I'll hold him back to burn some of that off and let Kirby, D. O. G.'s Owner approach at his own speed.

Yes "Deeohgee".  Or "Dio".  Or giant love sponge.  You choose.

At this point the leaping goes nova and Rack is climbing higher to get closer to Kirby who he has been casting googoo eyes at through the glass all day.  Every time Kirby's car or motorcycle starts, Rack does his ground hog impression and peeks at him through the window. 

Yes. Rack has jumped on top of D. O. G.'s back.  And Dio is just too sweet to stop him.  Kirby pets Rack a bit, then helps him off or I help him off Dio's back, I forget exactly which. 

But yes, even well trained dogs have their stupid moments.  Luckily for me, my own Omega, Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) is  not snapping at others.

He just ends up being Collateral Damage from Shrapnel in a Command Barrage.

It even happens when watching TV.  He's "Come Here" to the TV.  "Sit" to Cesar.  Even "Roll Over" to other shows. 

I didn't know he knew that and it didn't happen often.

But what do you expect?  After all, he knows how to say "Yes" by nodding his head when you ask him if he wants to go out, or even in, or for a ride.

That's a McNab.  They sometimes even train themselves.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Man and a Woman have an Accident

A Man and a Woman have an Accident, a bad one. Both of their cars are totally demolished, but amazingly neither of them is hurt.

After they crawl out of their cars, the woman says, 'Wow, just look at our cars! There's nothing left, but fortunately we are unhurt. This must be a sign from God that we were destined to meet and be friends for the rest of our days.'

The man replies, 'I agree with you completely. This must be a sign from God!'
The woman continues, 'And look at this, here's another miracle. My car is completely demolished but this bottle of wine didn't break. Surely God wants us to drink this wine and celebrate our good fortune.'

Then she hands the bottle to the man. The man nods his head in agreement, opens it and drinks half the bottle before handing it back to the woman.
The woman takes the bottle, immediately puts the cap back on, and hands it to the man.

The man asks, 'Aren't you having any?'
The woman replies, 'No, I think I'll just wait for the police...'