Saturday, March 17, 2018

I’m not bragging, but I made six figures this year so they named me the year’s worst employee at the toy factory...

The Thumb King

Once upon a time, there was a Land of Fingers.

Everyone who lived in the Land of Fingers was, appropriately enough, a Finger.

All the Fingers, from mighty Index to cute little Pinky lived together in peace and harmony.

Then one day came Thumb. Thumb was like the Fingers, but different. Shorter, sturdier. Turns out, Thumb worked quite well with the individual Fingers, and everyone found that they could perform better and do more with Thumb's help.

Thumb became so useful to the Fingers that soon they found they could not live without his help.

Thumb began to make demands of the Fingers; first it was just more pay, but then he wanted more and more. A diamond-studded glove, a luxury car, the list of demands became longer and longer.

But what could the Fingers do? They resented Thumb's demands, but needed his help far too much to risk alienating him.

Eventually, Thumb was elected King. And if you think regular Thumb was demanding, King Thumb was worse.

Soon, all the Fingers began to resent King Thumb, for his rulings were tyrannical, and he never, ever trimmed his nail.

The Fingers began to despair, for they feared they would never be able to stand up to King Thumb.

Until one day, when Pinky realized that the Fingers could indeed stand up to the tyranny of King Thumb.

Until then, everyone thought that it was impossible to stand up to Thumb, but Pinky remembered that all Thumbs are, in fact, opposable.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Installing a Software Defined Radio on Debian Linux 9 using RTL-SDR

So this one is so simple that it's only three steps (as root)

  • Get the radio - and a GOOD antenna.  The one that came with the thing is crap. is a good first resource to learn about this stuff, but you should be able to get one online from $10 to $20.
  • Install the driver software - It's in the Repository.  apt install rtl-sdr librtlsdr-dev
  • Install the tuner of your choice - gqrx is in the Repo.  apt install gqrx-sdr

Then have fun.  This was GQRX and the RTL-SDR tuned into Radio Martí En Español from my South Florida home.  Your Income Tax Dollars At Work.  I clearly need a better antenna for Shortwave.

A short description.  RTL-SDR is a Software Defined Radio built on specific set of chips including the RTL tuner as well as others.  They are thumb drive sized and work out of the box from 24MHz give or take and as high as 5GHz on some specialized models.

Some of them using a "Direct Sample" mode or an "Upconverter" will receive from 0 cycles to 29 MHz.

They receive in AM, FM (narrow, wide, and stereo), and Single Side Band.  With companion software you can receive all sorts of things like Baby Monitors, Pagers, Weather Radar, FM Broadcast, and more static and pops and clicks than you will ever figure out what to do with.

In Debian 9 Stretch, everything is found in your software repository.  It is accessible with many of the Debian Derived Distributions such as Ubuntu and Q4OS as well as others.  It's available for Fedora, although I could not tell you a thing about that other than "I read something about that somewhere".

With Debian 8 and earlier you had to compile some of the software.  I never got it working on Debian 7.  There were also distributions of Debian that would have a complete environment set up for you to boot from USB or DVD Rom, and they would work if a bit slow due to DVD I/O speeds.

But this way if you have a Debian Derived computer, you are almost there.

  • One thing to consider.  The Direct Sample Mode is accessed via an entry in gqrx.
  • Select "Other" for your RTL-SDR stick
  • Enter rtl=0,direct_samp=2 in "Configure I/O Devices" or File I/O devices
  • Bandwidth should be 2MHz
However to use it with gqrx
  • Start your stick by Plugging the stick in the port
  • Start gqrx, although SDRSharp works via WINE
  • Select the Device in the Configure I/O Devices prompt, and click OK.
  • Click the Play icon in the toolbar.
  • Change your frequency to test by either hitting the (WFM Stereo) FM band and scanning or in the US weather radio is at Narrow FM 162.45-162.65 MHz

Sunday, March 11, 2018

When does a dad joke become a dad joke? When it's fully groan.

Now that we're all bleary eyed and half awake after the time change here in Florida, and the rest of the world is still pointing and laughing... I have a Dad Joke.  Or rather, this is the kind of Dad Joke my Dad would tell.

Happy Groaning

Do The Wrong Thing

An American soldier, serving in World War II, had just returned from several weeks of intense action on the German front lines. He had finally been granted R&R and was on a train bound for London. The train was very crowded, so the soldier walked the length of the train, looking for an empty seat. The only unoccupied seat was directly adjacent to a well dressed middle aged lady and was being used by her little dog.

The war weary soldier asked, "Please, ma'am, may I sit in that seat?" The English woman looked down her nose at the soldier, sniffed and said, "You Americans. You are such a rude class of people. Can't you see my Little Fifi is using that seat?"

The soldier walked away, determined to find a place to rest, but after another" trip down to the end of the train, found himself again facing the woman with the dog. Again he asked, "Please, lady. May I sit there? I'm very tired."

The English woman wrinkled her nose and snorted, "You Americans! Not only are you rude, you are also arrogant. Imagine!"

The soldier didn't say anything else; he leaned over, picked up the little dog, tossed it out the window of the train and sat down in the empty seat. The woman shrieked and railed, and demanded that someone defend her and chastise the soldier.

An English gentleman sitting across the aisle spoke up, "You know, sir, you Americans do seem to have a penchant for doing the wrong thing. You eat holding the fork in the wrong hand. You drive your autos on the wrong side of the road. And now, sir, you've thrown the wrong bitch out the window."

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Time Change Day Will Take All Day, But Maybe Not Again

Having a weird attachment for Time Pieces, clocks, watches, computers, and loud ticky things that are starting to get on my nerves takes days to find them all.

Twice a year we set our clocks forward or backwards - Spring Ahead, Fall back.

Tomorrow is the official day, but I generally start well before the time change day because over the years I have been given, bought, collected a bunch of clocks.

Like forty-leven-and-a-half of them.

Since I tend to fix anything of my own that breaks, they all work.  Or maybe not.  There's one or two with a broken mainspring somewhere.

That and there's this one clock I have on a wall above my right shoulder that annoys the daylights out of me.  It ticks loud enough to be heard in the bedroom at night and it's in the dining room.  It also has a weird quirk that if it stops, you can't set the correct time since it will drift to about 20 minutes slow. or more.  Then you remove the pendulum and let it run in super-fast mode until it "catches up".

Now you know what I am doing this weekend.  Setting clocks.  Each time I use one.


However, finally, someone is going to do what I have been saying all these years.

Set It And Forget It.

I personally don't care if it is Daylight Savings Time.
I personally don't care if it is Standard Time.

Just stop setting the clocks forward or backwards.

Set it and forget it!

They are considering that here for Florida.  If the law passes, I will cheer.  Why?  It will be Daylight Savings Time all year until someone gets annoyed and repeals the law.

It could as easily be Standard Time for me, I simply don't care.   I just don't want to set that damn wall clock.

It will annoy the rest of the country for the three or so months that we drift out of sync from the rest of the Eastern Time Zone, but everyone outside of Florida thinks we're weird anyway.

From what I see, we might be.  We have iguanas that shred our plants, alerts because pythons are seen eating cats, and sharks in the tidal water about 5 miles from the intracoastal from time to time.

Yep, it's a weird state, but abolishing Daylight Savings Time is a step in the right direction.

So if you will excuse me, that nail that sticks up the highest is about to get hit with a sledge hammer. 

Yes, I have my wall clock to remove a pendulum from. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Training Rack at Lowes or Lost in Hardware

To train a Herding dog you have to keep their minds busy.  Physical exercise and mental exercise.  You know, like a Greek Athlete.

I don't think that my little McNab SuperDog (TM), Rack will ever throw a discus or take a philosophy course but he's an amazing creature.

He just wants to help.  He wants to be involved.

He wants to come along. 

But we have a long term project.  Low voltage lighting.

You know that weird stuff that can run off of a car battery.  Since it runs at low voltage it doesn't need quite as much protection and anyone can do it.

We figure that we have about 40 watts of the stuff and you can read on my front porch at midnight due to them.

I have a couple of those three AAA battery lights that are basically a flashlight, and they can be converted over to this system.  I have done that already to a coach lamp that is on my fence.

The rest come piece after piece.

This weekend was a Big Project though.  Run 20 feet of conduit, sink a lamppost in the front of the house, and rehang the mailbox.

Don't think it's much?  Stand outside in the front yard holding a post for a solid hour when reinforcements are sent off to the store to get some quick drying concrete.

Since it is winter, do it in full sun, on a cloudless day at 80F/26C.  Give or take a C.

All this activity had Rack confused.  He wanted to come along.  Anywhere.  When he thinks he's taking a ride in the CAR!!! he starts to burble and basically speak in tongues.  Its comical.  He starts running wind sprints back and forth from the front to the back door whining and making weird coffee-percolator sounds. 

Sometimes he is right.

We stopped work so we could take him to the Vet.  That's fine because it's one of his favorite places to go.  We went, he got fussed over and we came home.

But there was a stop first.  We needed another piece of conduit to glue to the first pieces laid in the trench I had dug that morning with Rack sitting at the front door looking hopeful.

We took Rack.

You see, Lowes Hardware has a policy of allowing dogs into the store.  This seems to be as official as can be, and it isn't like some idiot taking a dog into a supermarket, this is a hardware store. 

Securing a cart, I picked Rack up off the ground and placed him in the blue plastic apparatus.

He didn't like that.  Immediately tried to get out.  I did because I didn't want to be asked to leave because my dog decided to water the plants.

We walked into the store with a 47 pound black and white dog being disrupted by the rattling of the cart across the asphalt.   Getting into the store, he wanted no more of that.

When I say SuperDog (TM) I mean it.  He is a McNab Dog.  One of the most intelligent dogs on the face of the Earth.  But he is fearful.  Fearful means to run.

Or in this case, to leap.

From a sitting position.
Inside of a cart.
Right in front of the orchids.

When he landed on the concrete floor, he was flat, legs pointing to the cardinal points on the compass.  Confused.  Looking very surprised that It Worked.

I put him back in the cart and looped a thumb under his harness and we went about our business.

He was thinking "Hmmm.  To attempt this again or not?  Not completely sure."

But, by the time we left, he was enjoying himself.  Not acting quite so crazed.  He actually smiled at a kid walking past.

Yes, certain dogs smile.  Others grimace.  I can tell the difference.

But this was a training expedition.  Rack got about a C+ grade.  A little better than average.   Form on the High Dive was a solid 9.

Not olympic form, but a good solid performance.

That's what training dogs is about.  Taking steps and keeping their minds engaged.

Sometimes all it takes is two sections of PVC Conduit, and a couple bell end 90 degree sections.

(You, British people!  Stop giggling, that's what they're called here!)

Sunday, March 4, 2018

This is one of those jokes that I have heard told a number of times - but it is told very well here for me to share with you.

What organ can expand to 10 times it's size...

The 6th grade science teacher, Mrs. Parks, asked her class, "Which human body part increases to ten times its size when stimulated?"

No one answered so the teacher picked on a random student

Little Mary stood up and said, "You should not be asking sixth graders a question like that! I'm going to tell my parents, and they will go and tell the principal, who will then fire you!"

Mrs. Parks ignored her and asked the question again, "Which body part increases to 10 times its size when stimulated?"

Little Mary's mouth fell open. Then she said to those around her, "Boy, is she going to get in big trouble!"
The teacher continued to ignore her and said to the class, "Anybody?"

Finally, Billy stood up, looked around nervously, and said, "The body part that increases 10 times its size when stimulated is the pupil of the eye."

Mrs. Parks said, "Very good, Billy," then turned to Mary and continued.
"As for you, young lady, I have three things to say: One, you have a dirty mind. Two, you didn't read your homework And three, one day you are going to be very, very disappointed."

Saturday, March 3, 2018

What do you think will happen in 3 years time? I don't know, I don't have 2020 vision.

There existed a small nation with a peculiar practice.
The people of each town chose their mayor by magically imbuing life into inanimate objects and letting the sentient objects dispense laws.

Often the objects they chose and the way those objects acted reflected the spirit of the villagers that created it.

The wealthy village in the north was represented by a big diamond that spoke with a posh accent and tended to be a bit disconnected from the working class.
Meanwhile, a friendly wholesome community in the west was ruled over by a blueberry muffin that was determined to instill strong morals in its village and always spoke kindly of those it met.

In the south there was a rural, backwater village that was unhappy with its mayor: a wooden 2x4 that spoke with an embarrassing hillbilly accent.
His speeches were excruciatingly slow and drawn-out.

The townspeople implored him to speak with a bit more distinction, but the old 2x4 always fell back into his lazy old tongue.
Though the community built around the mayor did indeed reflect its values well enough, they thought they deserved better.
They spent years trying out different objects to varying degrees of success--a haughty but untrustworthy umbrella; a bashful stapler that couldn't quite get the hang of being a government official.

The people of the village tried and tried but always found that the new inanimate-object-turned-mayors they created were never any better than the original.
Eventually they gave up, saying, "Well, back to the old drawling board."

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Crumpets and a Simplified Recipe

 If you write, everyone has their complaints and comments.

If you write about anything that has measurements, and are writing from one of the three Non-Metric countries, you will get some crank somewhere complaining about "You Should Use Metric".

First, shut up.  You are being pointlessly rude.  Blog writers have no control over the government.  I wish we did.

Second in this case, this recipe is easier using Imperial Measurements.  "For Round Numbers."

Actually, that's not completely true, this recipe boils down to a bunch of ratios.  And of course the ratios are forgiving and flexible.  Since the local conditions may effect how much fluids your recipe will "take up", you may add a little more or a little less the next time you try this.  For us, today, in a dehydrated house in Florida's Dry Season, 14 to 10 was fine.  If you think that someone in a farmhouse in the 1700s used 2% milk instead of raw whole milk you just may need to relax a bit.

Crumpets.  The first time it was written down, that we know of, the recipe appeared in a cookbook in 1769.  Metric was not invented, and cooking was simpler back then.  No refrigeration, "critters" were in the house, measuring was a "guess", and so on.

You have so much of this, you add double that amount to it and a spoonful of a third ingredient, and you are done.  Cook until it looks right.

That's this recipe.

As for why the US does not use Metric?  We do, legally.  All "our" measurements are defined in Metric anyway.

The reason was that back when the French offered us an Official Kilogram the first time in the very early days of the Republic, the Official Kilogram was stolen by Pirates, and by the time we could get another one, it was deemed too late to get everyone to switch.

Seriously.  Pirates.  They must have thought that the ship was carrying Spanish Gold Doubloons and they got a Kilogram.  Probably made of brass.  Yarrrr!

Another case of the French helping out the United States that the people should realize here just how good a friend they have been throughout our history.

Thank you, France.

This recipe is all about Ratios. It also comes in two parts.  The yeast mixture, and the ratio of Flour to Fluid.


  • Yeast and Salt - 1 Teaspoon.  I used a common one to measure.
  • Sugar - 2 Teaspoons.  Literally right out of the drawer.  

  • Flour 10 parts
  • Water 7 parts
  • Milk 7 parts.

Now to codify this a bit to a proper recipe:


  • Yeast - 1 Teaspoon or about 5 Ml
  • Salt - 1 Teaspoon or about 5 Ml
  • Sugar - 2 Teaspoons or about 10 Ml

  • Flour - 10 ounces or about 283 Grams
  • Water - 7 ounces or about 198 Grams
  • Milk - 7 ounces or about 198 Grams


  • Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl except the Flour.
  • Whisk the Flour into the mixture slowly until you have a smooth loose batter.
  • Cover the batter with a towel and allow to double in size and there are bubbles forming.


  • Preheat your griddle to about 350F/175C.
  • Generously grease the griddle with butter or oil if you prefer.
  • If your griddle begins to smoke, reduce temperature.
  • Generously grease the Crumpet Rings, if you use them, with butter and place on griddle to warm.
  • Add batter to the middle of the Crumpet rings until they are filled side to side but do not overfill vertically.  About half way up the Crumpet ring for a Crumpet.  Thicker Crumpets won't bubble as well but will produce a slice-able English Muffin.
  • Cook Crumpets until they begin to bubble, then wait until the tops are rubbery and perhaps dry to the touch.
  • Remove each Crumpet from their ring gently, and flip it to the uncooked side.
  • Cook until they begin to brown.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

I heard there will be curling in the Olympics, so I told my sister who's a hairdresser. Boy did I get that one wrong.

So you know "Proofing" your yeast is making sure it actually is alive by adding it to some lukewarm water and a little sugar before adding it all to bread dough.
(watch I'll get that one a little off)

A pair of bakers were experiencing a supernatural crisis.

A magical, living snowman had laid a curse on their bakery and they could no longer produce anything.
No pastries, no cookies, no muffins, or cakes. Their proofing oven no longer allowed dough to rise.
Their refrigerator couldn't keep a chill.
Stovetops were cool to the touch.

Unsure of how to proceed, they called in a specialist in obscure curses to diagnose the issue.
They put some cookie dough on a sheet tray and set it in the oven, but it just would not cook!
The oven felt hot. The dough was made correctly.
It was as if the ability to bake had completely fled the confines of the oven.

"Well," the old curse expert started, "it seems the functionality of all your appliances are, in fact, still here in the bakery, they have just somehow been displaced to other areas."

"What do you mean?" a baker asked.
"For example, if we put a lump of bread dough back in the storage racks, it begins to rise as if it is proofing. This must mean that the functionality of your proofing oven still exists, it's just been relocated. It is all very strange."

"Is there anything we can do?"
"We will need to break the curse by cancelling it out with some magic of our own. Do you own anything that might be imbued with a hex or charm?"

One of the bakers chimed in that his grandmother had left a silicon baking mat that she purportedly charmed to magically prevent her cookies from burning.
It had been stored away in a dusty old box for years, but surely there was still an ounce of power that remained.

The baker went home to dig up the old mat while his coworker and the curse specialist mapped out where the different functionalities of the appliances had moved to.

The ability to bake, they determined, had been relocated to the bathroom.

It would make a suitable testing ground for their experiment to see if the two conflicting curses would break one another.
When the other baker returned, they lined a cookie sheet with the silicon mat and headed for the toilet.

Years later, the old curse expert was telling the story at a convention for the supernatural.

He got up on stage and recalled, "They crossed he; the snowman. He's a fairy tale they say. He's made of snow, but now the bakers know how he ruined their life one day. But there must have been some magic in that old Silpat they found. For when they placed it in the head, the dough began to brown."

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Why did the otter cross the river? To get to the otter side

Okay - I finally understand my life.

On the first day, God created the dog and said, "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years."The dog said, "That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?"
So God agreed...... On the second day, God created the monkey and said, "Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span."

The monkey said, "Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the dog did?"
And God agreed......

On the third day, God created the cow and said, "You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years."
The cow said, "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?"
And God agreed again......

On the fourth day, God created humans and said, "Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years."
But the human said, "Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?"
"Okay," said God. "You asked for it."

So that is why for our first twenty years, we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves.
For the next forty years, we slave in the sun to support our family.
For the next ten years, we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren.
And for the last ten years, we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained to you.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Sunny Anderson Was Right, Low and Slow is the Way To Go when roasting Pork

The recipe is simple.

The night before, marinade. 

I used a half of a bottle of store bought Barbecue Sauce to 2 1/2 pounds (1 KG or so) of Pork Loin that was thawed.  Lets call that about a pint or a half liter of sauce.  Pick one you like, we won't judge.

Place all that in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and allow to sit overnight.

The next morning, or about 5 hours before the meal, pour your marinaded pork into a baking pan, uncovered, and make sure the marinade gets into the pan with your pork.

Slide in oven and cook at 250F/120C for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours per pound.

Cook until tender, however I cooked to 175F/80C internally and got THE BEST PORK I EVER HAD.

So that back story.  There's always a backstory.  And if you're looking for a recipe, you probably don't care, huh?

You see, Dad cooked Pork Chops when I was a child.  I could have used them to resole some work boots. 

Shake and Bake coated, Dry and Hard, horrendous.

But that was normal back then.  You HAD to cook pork well.  There were parasites back then.  The rule was cook it well, and hope for the best.

Or so I remember from the bad old "analog" days back when dates started with a 19.  You know, when I was a kid, everything was black and white, and my pet was a house sized Triceratops named Trixie?

According to popular theory (word of mouth, maybe a lot of crap),  Pork wasn't a very clean food.  I suspect that someone in the back woods somewhere got sick and it became A Thing that you had to do. 

Since then, The Pork Industry cleaned up its act.  So much so that the USDA has lowered the temperature that you cook pork to from 165F/75C to 140F/60C with a 3 minute resting time.

There are supposed to be no more parasites in USDA inspected Pork than there are in Beef, and that is at 1/3 to 1/4 the cost. 

If cooked right, Pork Loin is tender and mild flavored. 

So I have been thinking that I should get some of that pork loin out of the freezer and try again.  While I was planning this meal, I heard that bubbly TV Personality, Sunny Anderson say "Low and Slow! Low and Slow is the way to go!" over and over and over in my head.

I had tried making this recipe in a crock pot, and it was much better than Dad's Pork, but it could be better.

I wonder should I try Low and Slow in the oven?  Can I Do it?

I started researching recipes.  Some cooked low at 225F, some as high as 300F.  I settled on 250F because it seemed to be what the majority of the web pages cooked at.

That was the Low.  The Slow makes sense.  The longer amount of time the meat takes to get "done" the more likely that the muscle fibers will break down. 

That's what we call "tender". 

Since there was a lot of marinade and a lot of humidity in the environment, and the lower temperature, I did not expect it to dry out.

Barbecue?  I have a lot of recipes for this, but I wanted just to make it easy so I used a commerically prepared sauce I liked.  I do have a couple different recipes on this blog for

and Chinese Barbecue

But I wanted quick and simple and I wanted something that I couldn't mess up by adding too much of something in it.

I dumped that half bottle in the bag, sealed it the night before, and cooked in a slow oven starting at breakfast. 

Yes, 6:45 on a Sunday Morning, I was making Lunch.

The alarm went off on the electronic thermometer around 10:30 when the internal temp hit 165F.

But it stayed there for the next hour.

I was watching that temperature closely because I was basting this meat in Barbecue sauce from the pan every 30 minutes to an hour. 

When it hit 175F, it was just before 12 Noon. 

I poked that meat with a steak knife.

The knife went into that meat like it was butter.  Plunged right into it.  The last time I saw something like that, I was in a beautiful Polynesian restaurant and paying $26 for a Pork Tenderloin dinner that was perfectly and artfully made.

Mine was Pork Loin, a lesser cut, and this was as good as that meal.

I was able to hand slice that meat down into "Cold Cut Thin" slices. 

The proof was in the tasting, this was awesome.  So good that Rack the SuperDog (TM) was hovering around asking for some. 

Rack liked it too!

So Sunny Anderson, you were right, Low and Slow!

The Sandwich I made from that meat the next day was just as good.  I had a winner of a recipe.

Here it is, story and all, I saved it for my family, myself, and you all.

I am thinking this "process" should work on Beef Brisket as well, but that's a task to research for later.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Two tomatoes were crossing a road when one of them suddenly got run over by a truck. Then the other tomato said: come on ketchup, lets go.

As I write this, I'm passing on breakfast to go out to lunch later with a very good friend, indeed.   I guess I'm hungry, so here's a food related joke.

Three chefs had operated a successful restaurant for many years thanks to the deeply popular specialty dishes that each of the chefs were known for.

The first chef was a master of searing beef and her exceptional skills landed her the nickname "T-Bone."

Her sister preferred a lighter approach and was better known for working with flakey, white-fleshed fish: tilapia, cod, haddock. But her specialty, the pickerel, landed her a nickname of her own: Walleye, another name for the fish that had driven so many sales, especially during Lent.

The youngest chef was a bit more wild and experimental. He loved habaneros, Carolina reapers, anchos. If it was full of capsaichin, it ended up in his dish. He especially loved to add this young peoples' gambit as a twist to classically "old people" foods, resulting in strange menu listings such as the Ghost Pepper Liver & Onions, the Habanero Bread Pudding, or the Chipotle Green Bean Casserole. Only the bravest diners found themselves ordering these spicy plates, but it added a challenging dimension to an otherwise standard-fare menu. His love for the heat earned him his simple nickname: Chili.

But there was a problem. A smarmy new French restaurant had opened down the street and they were recieving quite a bit of hype over their menu: duck breast with blueberry demi-glaze.
Slow-roasted pheasant. Smoked goose. These were fatty, rich delicassies that delighted the tastebuds and the three chefs had to do something lest they continue bleeding out sales.

So, they decided to add a new spin to the menu: black-throated loon that had been cooked long and slow in a slurry of red wine, vinegars, brines, and lemon juice.
Unfortunately, the new menu item did not go over well. Perhaps it was because the loon was not considered a food-animal by the general population or perhaps the flavors were just off.

To find answers, the young chefs sent out surveys to their customers. They got only one very short, straight-forward response from an old regular:

T-Bone, Walleye, & Chili: Don't go braising waterfowls. Please stick to the livers and the steaks that you're used to.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

My parents told me ANYONE could become president. I didn't know it was a warning.

A man who'd just died is delivered to a local mortuary and he's wearing an expensive, expertly tailored black suit.

The mortician asks the deceased's wife how she would like the body dressed, pointing out that the man does look good in the black suit he is already wearing.
The widow, however, says that she always thought her husband looked his best in blue, and that she wants him in a blue suit. She gives the mortician a blank check and says, 'I don't care what it costs, but please have my husband in a blue suit for the viewing.'

The woman returns the next day and to her delight, she finds her husband dressed in a gorgeous blue suit with a subtle chalk stripe; the suit fits him perfectly.

She says to the mortician, 'Whatever this cost, I'm very satisfied.. You did an excellent job and I'm very grateful. How much did you spend?'
To her astonishment, the mortician presents her with the blank check, 'There's no charge.'

'No, really, I must compensate you for the cost of that exquisite blue suit,' she says.
'Honestly, ma'am,' the mortician says, 'it cost nothing. You see, a deceased gentleman of about your husband's size was brought in shortly after you left yesterday, and he was wearing an attractive blue suit. I asked his wife if she minded him going to his grave wearing a black suit instead, and she said it made no difference as long as he looked nice.'

'So I just switched the heads.'

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Peanut and Banana Sandwich by Squirrel

To quote a wise man from San Juan, Costa Rica:

We live in the tropics.  If you drop a seed on the ground, it will grow.

I noticed that here years ago when I moved in.  People have plants dripping with plants dripping with more plants.

If you don't want a giant mess in your yard, if you're looking for something a bit groomed, don't blink.  That "clean" look takes a lot of work here in Florida.

I could go a while before weeding my backyard in Philadelphia.  The soil was somewhat fertile, but things took their time to grow.  Sun angle up there is 14 degrees lower at any given moment than it is here so it will be proportionally less effective, proportionally less bright.

I have a yard inspection every morning, on a clear morning, at 7:30.  I have to inspect the irrigation systems, clear out the palm fronds, remove any debris that falls from the trees into the pools, and basically police the perimeters of the yard.

I have help with me.  Mr Dog, my one and only Dingus, Rack the SuperDog (TM)  will follow me around the yard, and go into places that my own nearly two meter height will not fit.

I found out that he will answer to Dingus because when someone does something a bit wrong, a bit silly, and a bit dumb, I have a habit of calling them a Dingus for doing it. 

I am not exactly sure that it is even officially a Word according to the O.E.D., or Webster, or anyone else, but I use it.


So much so that my Dog adopted it as one of his names.   He figured out that he is Mr Dog early on, so why should I be surprised?

Stepping outside, we hear chattering and rustling in the Utility Easement behind the property.  It is, predictably, very thick with plantings, even though Rack goes back there for relaxation.  Yes, we shall call it Relaxation.  As in Rest Stop at mile marker 108.

I see something grey flash in my right eye and go on about my own business.  Spray the Milkweed for Aphids.  Wiggle the drip-feed water bubblers to clear them from any debris inside that blocks the flow.  Inspecting the pots in the backyard is a daily occurrence.

I get to the banana tree that I have been babying and think "What on earth is going on back there" when I spot that the tree had been planted itself. 

There was a peanut.  Wedged deeply enough that it would have to be removed or else I'd have a Peanut and Banana sandwich there about chest height.

Then I woke up.  I realized what was going on.  The chattering got more insistent, so I walked to the corner of the yard.  Deep Jungle, or what passes for it here in Florida.

I had Squirrels.  Arguing.  Loudly.  For dominance.  Who knew?  I thought they were a peaceful species.

Squirrels arguing was like a pillow fight with Marshmallows.  Nobody really was going to get hurt but they were really going at it full blast.  It looked like a Cartoon.

I threw that errant peanut into the corner hoping the squirrels would break it up and move on, but it wasn't enough.  I was within a yard of them as they're running up and down the telephone pole and the palms and the bamboo back there. 

Realizing that I am taller than my banana tree without the peanut, I had to back up.  They were running on the outside of the plants back there instead of back in the brush, and I was concerned that they'd mistake my own self for a tree.

Luckily I was dressed in Blue, not Green.  Squirrels are not terribly smart.

Shrugging, I thought to get involved.   I clapped my hands loudly.

They stopped for a second.  Then I got cursed out in whatever Rodential Squirrelish Language that they use here that I am not aware of.

Back to it they went.  Running up and down the pole when one of them, the smaller of the two, ran back to the other side of the yard, up my banana tree, looked around then ran off into the distance.

Argument was over.  It was now about time for the drip-feed irrigation to stop for the day.  Today's Squirrel War had ended.  Who knows who was victorious, whether it was about a Peanut and Banana Sandwich, or whether anyone really cared.

Peace was once again supreme in my strange little yard full of constrained banana trees, Bonsai, and cultivated plants.  Rack got to my side, leaned into my right leg, and looked up.

"Yes, boy, it's time to go inside.  Coffee is calling."

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Don't live backwards. It's evil.

Men Will Try Anything!

A salesman checked into a futuristic hotel in Tokyo Japan.

Realizing he needed a haircut before the next day's meeting he called down to the desk clerk to ask if there was a barber on the premises. 'I'm afraid not, sir,' the clerk told him apologetically, 'but down the hall from your room is a vending machine that should serve your purposes.'

Skeptical but intrigued, the salesman located the machine, inserted $15.00, and stuck his head into the opening, at which time the machine started to buzz and whirl. Fifteen seconds later the salesman pulled out his head and surveyed his reflection, which reflected the best haircut of his life.

Two feet away was another machine with a sign that read, 'Manicures, $20.00'. 'Why not?' thought the salesman.

He paid the money, inserted his hands into the slot, and the machine started to buzz and whirl. Fifteen seconds later he pulled out his hands and they were perfectly manicured.

The next machine had a sign that read, 'This Machine Provides a Service Men Need When Away from Their Wives, 50 Cents.'

The salesman looked both ways, put fifty cents in the machine, unzipped his fly, and with some anticipation, stuck his manhood into the opening. When the machine started buzzing, the guy let out a shriek of agony and almost passed out. Fifteen seconds later it shut off.

With trembling hands, the salesman was able to withdraw his tender unit..... which now had a button sewn neatly on the end!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Roses are gray, violets are gray, everything is gray. I'm a dog.

From my friend John H. on FB

Sounds like a RamblingMoose story .....

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Nova Scotia back country.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn't stop for directions.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight.

There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late.

I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around.  I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this homeless man.

And as I played "Amazing Grace", the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head was hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "I never seen anything like that before, and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Rack Can’t Help Fix A Cellphone, or Can He?

I’m that guy. I can repair a piece of electronics down to “the board level” and replace the components that are on it.

Lets be fair, some of the components are beyond me, smaller than a grain of sand. But the larger things are possible.

If I go out and buy a piece of electronics, I look into how repairable it is. I’ve replaced volume controls on a transistor radio, and the USB port on an external hard drive case.

I guess I was lucky that time, everything was spaced out just so.

Some of that can take a small forever to fix too, but I will give it all a try.

Once the warranty is up, I’m going to at least look inside the case of something.

In this case, it was much more involved. “It” was my HTC One M9 Cellphone. “It” was also rated “Very Difficult” to work on by and that was fair.

You see these days, you find things sealed up, glued together and made so that you the owner never have a chance of putting a knob back on something. Specifically I am thinking of anything that comes out of Apple these days.

It’s also why I don’t use Apple laptops. I’ve had to replace bits on my own Thinkpads, Dell, and HP computers. There’s a limit with those too, but I demand the ability to easily replace the hard drive and the memory.

Try that on a Mac. I’ll wait.

Didn’t think so!

I waited for the house to be empty. Had to. Humans being social, they demand attention. Since the replacement of the battery on iFixIt was rated "Very Difficult" and at 30 minutes, I knew that I would probably have to take double the time to put a new battery in the phone.

It took a half hour alone to find the tools to do the job, and I have the tools. We keep them here specifically to do this sort of thing.

Started the whole mess at about 10:30. It would give me time to get it done, shower before lunch, and do it in a leisurely manner.


That first half hour of very carefully taking off the plastic fascia, and a few very strange screws had me stressed.

Then the wet nose happened.

Rack was checking in. He padded across the tile floor in the quiet house without my knowing. I had a tickle at my elbow and looked over at the familiar black and white face.

Then I glanced at the clock. 11:30. I frittered away an hour getting tools, and a plastic sliver off the top of my phone.

Oh and two “T5” Torx screws from the top of the thing. I wasn’t completely lost.

Basically I was taking it slow. It’s a beautiful piece of hardware, but it’s ridiculously difficult to work with.  In comparison, my older Samsung Galaxy S4 snaps open with a plastic cover in the back I can run a fingernail under.  The battery is user replaceable as well as my SIM and my memory chip.  Done in seconds.

I took the rest of the time to Noon to get the entire case open and splayed out in front of me.

Sighing, I got up and let Rack out for a walk in the back yard, and to make my lunch.

Lunch, Shower, and back at it in about a half hour.

The disassembly of the phone is a fourteen step process.
Remove screws.
Remove antenna wires.
Remove ribbon cables held in by ZIF connectors.
Lift motherboard.
Remove battery.

It was about 3 in the afternoon before I had the thing disassembled and reassembled.

Each half hour I had a wet nose looking in on me. I guess that I was worried, Rack probably smelled it. He’d come in, look in on me, sit down, make me clear my head.

I’m glad he did. Oh he can’t handle a screwdriver or a soldering iron. He doesn’t have opposable thumbs. But he did serve a very good purpose.

He made me pause and look around. These pieces are so small that in some cases I used another cell phone to take a picture, zoom in, and look at it.

As a result Rack stopped me from having total vision failure from eye strain induced by bad design and teeny tiny itsy bitsy electronic parts.

Well, great! Time for a Smoke Test. You know, press the magic button and see if it comes on?

Oddly enough I had bumped it trying to seal the back and the phone came on before it was snapped in place.

Camera did not work. Flashlight did not work.

Rack came back. I paid attention to him. Set that phone down. I couldn’t see the monitor without
being right on top of the thing now.

When Rack left, I pried it all apart and re-seated all the connections.

Success! I could tighten those screws down and begin to charge the battery.

That half hour repair took me six hours.

Including lunch and a shower and letting Rack out when he needed it.

I think I needed that pause more than he did but I’m not letting him know that.

Trust In Dog, They Know.

That’s a mantra here. There’s a certain something that having a Herding Dog around the house will enhance. They learn. More importantly, they learn YOU. They also know when you need a distraction.

It’s not a weirdly bark at anything that moves thing. He actually knows when there’s too much going on, time to take a break.

There’s that wet nose.

Postie coming by and you’re involved in something? “Moof.” Rack says. Pay attention. Go get the mail, there’s a wee little box in there as long as some circulars and a J. Peterman catalog.

Like I said, Trust In Dog, They Know.

Now the Parrot? He’s shady. Needs to be watched over. He’s got his eye on the woodwork in this house...

Sunday, February 4, 2018

What do you call a disrespectful chicken? A rudester.

Diogenes' thug Life

Plato was discoursing on his theory of ideas and, pointing to the cups on the table before him, said while there are many cups in the world, there is only one `idea’ of a cup, and this cupness precedes the existence of all particular cups.

“I can see the cups on the table,” said Diogenes, “but I can’t see the 'cupness'”.

“That’s because you have the eyes to see the cup,” said Plato, “but”, tapping his head with his forefinger, “you don’t have the intellect with which to comprehend `cupness’.”

Diogenes walked up to the table, examined a cup and, looking inside, asked, “Is it empty?” Plato nodded. “Where is the 'emptiness' which precedes this empty cup?” asked Diogenes.

Plato allowed himself a few moments to collect his thoughts, but Diogenes reached over and, tapping Plato’s head with his finger, said “I think you will find here is the 'emptiness'.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Did you hear the one about the speed bump and the cymbal? Ba-dum, tish.

Seems to me that both of these are old Borscht Belt jokes, but who am I to judge?

A midwife calls a doctor

“Doctor she’s been in labor for 36 hours we need to do a c section.” “Not so fast,” says the doctor “there’s one more thing to try”

He goes to the obviously pained mother to be and says “what do you call maids in space.”

After the woman gives him a blank stare the doctor says “Vacuum cleaners”

Upon hearing this joke the woman cringes so hard that she expels the healthy crying baby.

Relieved the new mother says “Thank you doctor but that’s the worst joke I ever heard”

The doctor smiled and said “the punchline sucks but the delivery was perfect”

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Rye Beer Bread Recipe

I needed bread in the house.

I wanted something different.

I was actually thinking about the Rye bagels I used to get as a kid in Cherry Hill, NJ. 

If you couldn't get a good, proper, and Kosher bagel in Cherry Hill, you couldn't get it. 

Say what you will about NJ, but South Jersey was different, and you could get great Kosher there.  I would go to the Bagel Place on Chapel and Kings Highway and talk to Mrs H there, and she would get my bagels. 

Mrs H is long gone, I moved away, and I understand there's still "A" Bagel Place there, although I am not sure if it is still using her recipes so maybe it isn't or maybe it really "Is" THE Bagel Place.  I'll leave it to someone up there in Jersey to find out for me.

Another quirk about South Jersey was that you could get excellent Ethnic food there.  Being that close to Philly, I think it was a requirement.

But that Rye Bread.  I knew I would never make a proper Jewish Rye bread, because there's just a certain something about a loaf of bread with that little sticker on the side.

This was close.

It was good.  Had a proper chewy body to it.  Everyone who had some of this loaf commented about it, long and loud.

I will certainly make it again.

Oh - and it was one of those "why not" moments.

I was a cup down on the flour and simply poured in as an add-in a cup of Rye Flour.

The recipe below... Substitute 1 cup Rye Flour (or more to taste) to get this awesome loaf of bread.


For "Sponge" or "Poolish":
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of yeast
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water - 100 degrees F or 40 degrees C
  • you may need a few drops more water depending on conditions

For the rest of the bread:
  • 4 Cups All Purpose Flour - Substitute 1 cup Rye for Rye Bread
  • 12 ounce bottle of ROOM TEMPERATURE Beer, your choice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • you may need extra water depending on your conditions

For Dusting:
  • Cornmeal for dusting the pan and Parchment Paper
  • Flour for dusting the loaf


I used a stand mixer and it's bowl to prepare this recipe, Poolish and Dough, but you may choose to use a large mixing bowl and your hands.  This dough will be sticky and result in a silky smooth dough - so enjoy the texture.  I did finish this out on the counter by hand.


  • To your mixing bowl add yeast, flour, and warm water.
  • Mix the ingredients with fork or whisk.
  • The resulting mix will be like a pancake batter, it should stir easily.  
  • Add an extra tablespoon of water if needed.
  • Allow your Poolish to brew in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  • My own warm place is inside a cold oven with the light on.
Making the dough

  • To your mixing bowl and the Poolish add the Beer, Flour, and Salt one by one.
  • Mix the dough by hand or with a dough hook until it is even and pulls away from the walls of the bowl.
  • The dough will be sticky and thick.
  • Cover the dough with a wet towel, and place back in your warm place for two hours or until it is at least doubled in size.
Forming the Loaf

  • Scrape your dough out of the bowl with your hands or spatula.
  • Place the dough onto the floured board and dust well with more flour.
  • Roll the dough out into a loaf shape.
  • The dough should be silky and a little sticky.
  • You may divide the dough into two loaves for convenience.
  • Move each loaf onto a baking sheet that is generously dusted with cornmeal.
  • Dust the top of the loaves with more flour,
  • Return your loaves to the warm place for another half hour or more.

Baking your loaf
  • Preheat the oven to 425F with a pan of water for humidity.
  • Slash some slits in the top of the loaf to allow growth.
  • Bake each loaf for 30 minutes or until they sound hollow when thumped.
  • Allow your bread to cool before serving. 

Or don't allow your bread to cool.  I couldn't wait, this stuff was amazing!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

What vegetable is always burnt? Chard.

After having spent time emptying the dishwasher, making coffee, making dog food, of course I am thinking about making breakfast. 

Just like this wonderful lady! 

The Drunk Man comes home at 3am completely wasted.

Staggering into everything he knocks over the tv, breaks all of the china, and passes out on the floor.

The next morning he wakes up tucked into bed, with a rose and an I love you note beside the bed.

The man walks cautiously into the kitchen, where he smells bacon and eggs being cooked. He cautiously sits at the table and tells his wife good morning.

With a huge smile on her face she asks if he would like 2 pieces of bacon or 4 this morning.

The man says 4 please. But what happened last night?

The wife proceeded to tell him what happened...

Wife: Well you walked in drunk at 3am.. You broke our tv.. destroyed our china... and passed out on the floor.

Husband: Then why are you treating me so well this morning!?

Wife: Well, when I went to pull your pants off to bring you to bed.. You were kicking and screaming.. telling me NO NO, I'm married!

TV: $150 ... China $450 ... Saying the right thing at the right time... Priceless!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

I’m seriously thinking about re-marrying my ex-wife but I’m pretty sure she’ll figure out I’m just after my money.

Two jokes that go well together. 

Or so my mind thinks after having my grey matter fried doing Spanish Language Training and banging it against the wall!

A man picks up a phone in the mall...

A man picks up and answers a phone in a mall. A woman is on the other end.

"Hello darling" she says," I recently saw a necklace in a catalog and I want it, so do you mind if i use your credit card?"

"How expensive is it?" the man says.
"Just $1200."
"That cheap? Hell, get four of them for you so you can wear a different one each season."

"You're so generous honey. Oh, I also want a ring."
"How expensive?"
"Um, only $5000."
"Get two, one for each hand."

"Thank you! Oh, and I also want a new car, it's $40000."
"Sure, why not."
"I love you so much dear! I gotta go, bye."

After that the man looks around the mall and loudly asks, "Did anyone drop a phone?"

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Coffee and Backups don't mix well, or how I broke and rebuilt my Debian Linux install in two hours

Maybe the universe wanted me to slow down.
Maybe I just wanted a second mug of coffee.

Or maybe my fascination with automation went a little too far.

I never used Mac OS for long.  Their walled garden approach of curated software just wasn't for me.  Too limited.  I don't care for handcuffs, whether they're steel or lined with "mink".

I got away from Windows when the current approach of Microsoft insisting that You Are The Product with Windows 10 and putting in "Telemetry" so they can know how their software is doing.  You agreed to it when you clicked through the user license.

Spyware.  It is offensive.  They watch everything you are doing. 

So here I am on Debian Linux.  Happy. 

Linux does not hold your hand.  It doesn't make happy noises at you.  It does the job extremely well if you are a casual user who just wants to surf the web. 

It does not advertise at you in exchange for spying on you while you look at news, sports, or weather.  I'm looking at you Windows.

It has its own drawbacks.

Linux isn't great with cutting edge, absolutely new out of the bleeding edge hardware.  Battery management is a bit lackluster, battery life is reduced on Linux as they work to improve the drivers.

It can run some Windows software if you know what you are doing in WINE, and it can even run Windows in its own box if you want to be fancy.   But to be fair, you can run Linux on a Windows computer using the same sort of software.  It's called a Virtual Machine, and that's pretty cool. 

Basically "Yo dawg, I heard you like computers, so I put a computer inside your computer, so you can run computers".

I have done the same with Windows in a Virtual Machine many times but I keep an old machine with Windows 8.1 gathering dust under the furniture for an emergency.  I also have the entire complete environment that I was using on my old Windows XP install back when I started the blog.  I can run it, virtually, on my Linux computer.

But never mind that...

All that software has to be backed up no matter what you run, right?

You are backing things up aren't you?

You aren't?  I will let you decide if you are being brave, or just stupid, and leave it at that.

I will put up with the quirks in Debian Linux in exchange for stability, when I don't break it.  My one computer has been Hibernated 170 times as of last night in a little more than 180 days and is still stable.  I don't reboot when I don't have to.

I back things up, about twice a week.  I don't have to do it so frequently, but I do "Author Content" like this blog, as well as Video and Audio, Graphics, and my laptop does duty as a TV/Radio/Graphics Arts studio on multiple levels.

On Linux, all that software is free.  That also includes my office software, but you go on paying for Microsoft office. 

Backing up your computer on Linux is fairly painless.  When I am through, the end result is a complete clone of what I have on the computer.  Remove the hard drive, swap in the external drive, and I am back running with just one file system check "fsck /dev/sda" and a reboot.

Just like on Windows or Mac, you need an external hard drive.  USB 3 for the speed, please, and it has to be at least as large as your internal hard drive.

From that point onwards it is just technique.

Technique was what I was lacking on that Saturday. 

You see, I wrote a script for the computer to follow.  The script works if everything is correct and in place.  It backs up my chip where I save my personal writings to the hard drive, then backs up the hard drive.  Then to take it one step further it updates the computer's software, checks to see if there are any spies lurking on the hard drive by scanning for viruses and root kits.  Finally it plays a chime to tell me that it was finished and you were a good person for running it.

Well maybe not that last bit but it is complete.

I also got a little slick and simply told it to do everything without waiting.  Should not have done that.  It's a lot to stand on its own with the stack of old hardware that I use on a daily basis.

Oh the hardware works, but the wet-ware doesn't always.

I set the thing going, stood up and just as it started to run to backup the disk, it barfed.

The clone of the hard disk, the actual backup, failed when I bumped the cable and it fell out of the front of the "Destination" disk.

Then it went ahead and updated the operating system, and did all that other stuff.


When it ended I had a computer that showed me everything that I had done wrong to it over the last couple weeks by not starting up again.

I was presented with a black screen telling me that the boot process had stopped and I should try again.

I did, and it repeated itself.

Linux is one of the last refuges of the computer tinkerer.  If you like to do that sort of thing, you can tweak to your heart's content.  Mine looks a lot like Windows 7.  I could just as easily make it into something that looks identical to a Mac, but I want speed.  It runs about twice as fast as this same computer runs under Windows, so I have it.

When I went to enable the second video chip inside the computer, I followed an old guide on how to do it and predictably it had failed.  That was what showed when I booted the computer.

So Linux kiddies like myself, don't go and over-automate.   Step by step.  Sure, your machine CAN do it, but if you're sitting at a desk, wanting another mug of coffee, be certain not to knock the cable out of your backup drive because if the next step is a full upgrade of your computer, you may just be stuffed.

However annoying as all that is... it's a fast fix.

I reinstalled the operating system, Debian Linux 9, in about 15 minutes.
Brought it up to date in another 30 minutes.
Copied over my "home directories" in another 90 minutes.  It was massive.

Computer back to normal from a bare bones install in about 2 hours.
A few more tweaks to get file sharing working, and making it able to play DVDs.

Lesson learned, slow down.

Oh and if you're following along and wondering, the specifics are here since I use this as a scratch pad for my memory.

My computer's C Drive shows up on /dev/sda with operating system on /dev/sda1, swap on /dev/sda5

The backup D Drive shows up on /dev/sdb and will be a perfect clone of the computer.

The syntax of the clone is one line run as root (administrator for windows people)

dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb conv=noerror,sync status=progress

Just copy the chip to a place on the hard drive manually first.

*sigh*  And don't get a mug of coffee by putting your hand on your back up drive when you get out of the chair!

If you will excuse me, now, I have a mug of coffee to make.  Some home roasted Guatemala Huehuetenango that I roasted last week.  Should be just perfect this morning.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Why did the poorly made shoe go to confession? Because it had a bad sole!

Once again, bringing you the best in bad puns, Dad Jokes, and humor your preteen kid might groan at...

Hey, I like this crap too!

You just might have to explain this one to a Pre-teen.  Or not, they're more advanced than I was back when I was a kid.

Miss Beatrice, the church organist, was in her 80s

Though never married, she was admired for her sweetness and kindness to all.

One afternoon the pastor came to call on her and she showed him into her quaint sitting room. Miss Beatrice invited him to have a seat while she prepared tea.

As he sat facing her old Hammond organ, the young minister noticed a glass bowl sitting on top of it. The bowl was filled with water, and in the water floated of all things, a condom!

When she returned with tea and scones, they began to chat. The pastor tried to stifle his curiosity about the bowl of water and its strange floater, but soon it got the better of him and he could no longer resist.

'Miss Beatrice', he said, 'I wonder if you would tell me about this?', as he pointed to the bowl.

'Oh, yes,' she replied, 'Isn't it wonderful? I was walking through the park a few months ago and I found this little package on the ground. The directions said to place it on the organ, keep it wet, and that it would prevent the spread of disease.'

'Do you know I haven't had the flu all winter.'

Saturday, January 20, 2018

My brother picked up a fight with me and threw me on the street. The joke's on him, the police fined him for littering.

I guess in this case, they're Alaska Police.

The day after his wife disappeared in a kayaking accident, an Anchorage man answered the door to find two grim-faced Alaska State Troopers.

"We're sorry Mr. Wilkens, but we have some information about your wife." said one trooper... "Tell me, please! Did you find her?" Wilkens shouted.

The troopers looked at each other. One said, "We have some bad news, some good news, and some really great news. Which do you want to hear first?"

Fearing the worst, an ashen Mr. Wilkens said, "Give me the bad news first."

The trooper said, "I'm sorry to tell you, sir, but this morning we found your wife's body in Kachemak Bay..."

"Oh my God!" exclaimed Wilkens. Swallowing hard, he asked, "Well, what's the good news?"

The trooper continued, "When we pulled her up, she had 12 twenty-five pound King crabs and 6 good-size Dungeness crabs clinging to her and we feel you are entitled to a share in the catch."

Stunned, Mr. Wilkens demanded, "If that's the good news, what's the great news?"

The trooper said, "We're going to pull her up again tomorrow.."

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Using Aftermarket 18650 Lithium Batteries in a Rechargeable Garden Tool

Let me start out with saying the lawyer words:

This is at your own risk.

The batteries I am using are Lithium Ion batteries scavenged from (one or more) laptops.  If you puncture, overheat, or otherwise damage one of these batteries it is possible that they may catch fire.

Do not short circuit these batteries.  Use a charger designed for these batteries specifically.

This is at your own risk.

The Science Words:

The batteries were scavenged from laptops, and you can get 18650 batteries online that will be of full capacity.  I am using scavenged batteries because I had a couple old laptops that were going to be recycled.

From what I have learned, you can not charge these Lithium batteries in series.  Connected as a block, the batteries will overheat when charged and they may catch fire.  The circuitry in a laptop will charge the individual cells separately.

They are 3.7 VDC cells, which makes them attractive for this project.  The saw took 14.4 VDC which is four cells.  I had 4 2 cell blocks which gave me more amperage to push into the saw.

I get around all the warnings doing it this way because the cells can be removed, and charged individually in a charger made for 18650 Lithium Ion batteries.

Or so it says when I bought it from a Chinese Supplier - and we all know how trustworthy Chinese Suppliers can be.

Or not.

Sarcasm aside, here's how I did it.

I had a Saw that was given to me as an oddball item.  No battery pack, No Charger.

I had all these batteries.

I ordered the battery holder (that black thing with the blue cells in them) for emergency purposes.

Connecting four batteries gives me 14.4 VDC so I was able to test the saw by connecting the terminals directly.  The motor worked.

Waiting for a reason to heat up the hot glue gun, I decided to do this one sunday morning.  It took me about an hour.

Step 1 disassembly.

Remove all screws and set the mechanicals aside.  I was lucky that the parts did not fall out onto the table when I went to open the saw, and nothing was plastic welded together.

Luckily, the electronics were simple, and the plug into which the original battery pack was to fit was obvious.  I could slide that connector out and solder my battery pack to that connector permanently, glue the battery pack in place, and screw things back together.

The placement of the new battery pack was by eyeball, and made sense to me.  Your placement will probably vary.  See my last picture for what I'm getting at.

Step 2 solder the connection.

I realized I could thread the two wires from the battery pack through the air vents in the side of the saw without drilling holes.  Of course, if you are modifying a different tool, your placement will vary.

Using Hot Glue, I was able to attach the battery holder to the side of the saw and only covered up one of the multiple screw holes on the side.

When that was placed, then I could connect the block's wires to the Red, Positive connector to the Saw's Electronics with Solder.  Red-to-red - to keep the polarity of my connections correct.

I then did the same for the Black, Negative connection.  Again, Black-to-Black to keep the polarity of my connections correct.

I did a test to make sure that the wires were soldered to the connector block like in the picture above.  The motor groaned to life, the wires held, and I noted that the batteries needed a charge.

I then disconnected all of the batteries and wrangled the connector block back into place, seated the wires, and screwed the Saw back together.

Step 3 the finished product.

Once I seated the wires inside the saw back in their original channels, I could close the unit up back as normal.

After it was placed back together, I tested the saw once again and everything worked.


Step 4 Why I did it this way instead of getting a battery pack.

So yeah I could have thrown money at this saw.  The thing was that I knew that I would not need it much.  Having a lot of these batteries around, as well as the battery packs from last Hurricane Season, I knew that I could rig a lot of this sort of thing together.

I had a couple of other tools in the shed that I could have done this with, but the Saw was the only oddball that ran at 14.4VDC.  The other tools were powered by 18VDC and we had gotten a charger and a battery for them.

So my red saw being the only odd man out was going to get "hacked".

Safety would dictate not doing it this way, but I do have the batteries, and I did have a little better than basic knowledge of electronics being able to replace individual components on an electronic appliance.

"I do board level repairs" on electronics, when they are readily apparent as to what needs to be replaced.  This kind of a mod is trivial.

It rendered it "more safe" because the batteries are taken out of the unit and charged separately.

But ultimately this kind of thing is at your own risk since it is what a pharmaceutical would call an Off Label Use of the product.

But really ....

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Today in church they asked what a Bishop does. Apparently “move diagonally” wasn't the answer they were looking for.

Hungry?  You won't be after this...


A tour bus driver is driving with a bus load of seniors down a highway when he is tapped on his shoulder by a little old lady.
She offers him a handful of peanuts, which he gratefully munches up.

After about 15 minutes, she taps him on his shoulder again and she hands him another handful of peanuts.
She repeats this gesture about five more times.

When she is about to hand him another batch again he asks the little old lady, ‘Why don’t you eat the peanuts yourself?’
‘We can’t chew them because we’ve no teeth’, she replied.

The puzzled driver asks, ‘Why do you buy them then?’
The old lady replied, ‘We just love the chocolate around them.’

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Where does Poland keep its armies? Up its sleevies.

I don't care for Ethnic Jokes, so I don't generally put them here.  Not that the topic was anything but your basic pun. 

Basically, I have a couple hard and fast rules.  Has to be "broadcastable" on US TV even in a repressed area such as your basic republican red state.

Dad Jokes are good for me.  Your basic dumb pun works great.

Oh and it has to make me laugh, and that's not really a test.  I laugh often.

A man walks into a bar.

The barman asks "Why the long face?"
The man replies "I just found out my wife is sleeping with another man. So I have decided I'm going to drink myself to death."

The barman looks shocked and says "I'm sorry I can't help you commit suicide at all let alone in my pub!"
The man asks "Well what would you do in my situation?"

The barman leans in and says "If I found out a guy was sleeping with my wife I wouldn't sit around feeling sorry for myself, I'd kill the guy."
The man jumps up from his stool and shouts "That's a great idea! Thanks!" and runs out of the pub.

A couple hours goes by and the barman is starting to get nervous when the man walks back into the pub with a smile on his face.

"Did you kill the guy?" The barman asks nervously.
"Nope! I slept with your wife. Whiskey please.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Teaching Rack to Eat - A Slow Eater Gets Much Better With Water and Heat.

Rack is a fascinating character.

My dog, Rack, has some quirks.  Some of those quirks are endearing.  He greets me in the house, despite other people living there, first.

Mind you since I'm the one that tends to grab the heaviest bags from the back of the car, that's not always comfortable.  That wet nose has found itself in places it never should have been.

He sleeps in his bed, but only until I have drifted to sleep.  Many nights, in the glow of the clocks and

Dogs live by their noses, and will curl up next to their favorite people, and barring that, their clothes so
that they are comforted by the scent.
lights in the bedroom, I open an eye and see that he's moved to the bath mat I keep next to the bed and my boots.  I would have thought it is more comfortable in his bed that is chock full of foam rubber, but he'd rather curl up on a flat mat next to my shoes and my bed. 

Ok, Boy, as long as you don't chew anything.

But one of those quirks has bothered me since day one, and is something I will have to watch for the rest of his time. 

Food.  He's a terrible eater. 

Many dogs are too fast.  They eat so fast that they bloat and you end up turning the bowl over, or get a Maze bowl to force them to slow down.

Lettie was fine, although she was a bit too quick on snacks.  Just watch your fingers, she thought her snout was shorter than it actually was.

In Rack's case, Food is an Afterthought.

He has severe food allergies.  Grain and Poultry are a definite no.  We went through quite a few meals followed by projectile "Soft Serve" and diarrhea until we figured that out.

Cheap food is full of grain.  Dogs don't need grain.  They are omnivores, but more toward being a carnivore than we are.  So cut out the grain.  Chickens and Turkeys eat grains.  So whatever was in that grain gets stored in the muscle tissue, and whatever else, that is used to make the dog food and more "Soft Serve".

We found a couple of foods that he could eat safely, but the damage was done.  He gets extremely picky.

Since one of the foods was a dry kibble, he would take as much as a half hour or more to eat on a normal feeding.  Twice a day and I was spending an hour tapping and shaking the food bowl to motivate him to eat. I would get frustrated, start nagging him to eat.

Not good.  Nobody likes to be nagged.

So I hit on an idea.

Take the food in the bowl, ours is purple plastic, and add an ounce of water or so.  Just enough to puddle a little bit in the bottom of the bowl.  Coat all of the food with the water.  Shake and stir it around.

Then microwave it for 15 seconds.  Just enough to warm things.

The last dry day he had was 27 minutes of crunching.  Lettie would have had that done in short order and ask for more.

The first wet day he was done so fast that I had to do a double take.  It took three minutes.

So the rule is that he gets bored and needs variety.

The main rule is that even just an ounce of water to warm and soak things is a help.

Reading this you may say to "Give him 10 minutes then remove the food, he'll eat when he's hungry".

No.  "I mean are you stupid? No."

I have a dog with a very low prey drive, and a very low food drive.  He will starve himself.  As in "I'll lose 20% of my body weight and still ignore that food."

It simply is not a priority and removing food from a dog is unnecessarily cruel.  Better to try something positive and see if you can change things.

Of course we're also dealing with a dog who was still growing when I got him from the rescue, so he

You see, Puppies are wonderful and beautiful balls of love.  However taking a dog away from Mom means that it does not learn what is acceptable in a pack.  Feeding is one of those things that is effected and you end up with a painfully fussy dog. 

He was almost certainly taken from his mother early and not socialized properly. 

When your pup is in a pack of 8 brothers and sisters, you eat or you go hungry.  Being picky means failure to thrive.  If you aren't taught that lesson, it may linger.

In our case it did.

So a little water, and 15 minutes in the microwave may just do the trick.  It did with us.