Sunday, October 21, 2018

Why shouldn't you tell a joke about an unsharpend pencil? It has no point.

Fred and Mary got married

Fred and Mary got married. But they can't afford a honeymoon, so they go back to Fred's parent's home for their first night together.
In the morning, Johnny, Fred's little brother, gets up and has his breakfast.
As he is going out of the door to go to school, he asks his mom if Fred and Mary are up yet.
She replies, "No".
Johnny asks, "Do you know what I think?"
His mom replies, "I don't want to hear what you think! Just go to school."

Johnny comes home for lunch and asks his mom, "Are Fred and Mary up yet?"
She replies, "No."
Johnny says, "Do you know what I think?"
His mom replies, "Never mind what you think! Eat your lunch and go back to school."

After school, Johnny comes home and asks again, "Are Fred and Mary up yet?"
His mom says "No."
He asks, "Do you know what I think?"
His mom replies, "Ok, ok, tell me what you think!!!"

He says: "Last night Fred came to my room for the Vaseline and I think I gave him my airplane glue."

Saturday, October 20, 2018

What happens when Winter arrives? Autumn Leaves.

In a crowded city at a bus stop, a beautiful young woman was waiting for the bus. She was decked out in a tight leather mini skirt, with matching tight leather boots and jacket...

As the bus rolled up and it became her turn to get on, she became aware that her skirt was too tight to allow her leg to come up to the height of the first step on the bus.

Slightly embarrassed and with a quick smile to the bus driver, she reached behind and unzipped her skirt a little, thinking that this would give her enough slack to raise her leg.

Again, she tried to make the step onto the bus, only to discover she still couldn't!

So, a little more embarrassed, she once again reached behind and unzipped her skirt a little more and for a second time attempted the step and once again, still she could not raise her leg because of the tight skirt.

With a coy little smile to the driver, she again unzipped the offending skirt to give a little more slack and again was unable to make the step.

About this time, a big Texan that was behind her in the line picked her up easily from the waist and placed her lightly on the step of the bus.

Well, she went ballistic and turned on the would-be hero screeching at him, "How dare you touch my body!! I don't even know who you are!"

At this, the Texan drawled, "Well ma'am normally I would agree with you, but after you unzipped my fly three times, I kinda figured that we was friends."

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Save a Pet's Life, or a Person's, and Learn CPR

My morning walks sometimes take a weird turn.

I was wandering around town following the dog.  It was about 2 hours before dawn, normal for us.

I was decidedly allowing my dog, Rack the McNab Superdog (TM) to lead.   We hit the south end of town and were in a parking lot near the park there.  He just veered off to the right to head into the neighborhood there and slowed down wagging his tail.

There I saw, approaching us, my neighbor, Juan.  We greeted as normal, which is to say he was excitedly starting to tell me a story.

"I just about lost my dog!  He was laying there dying!"

Yes, that's a bit dramatic for just before 6AM.  It turns out his dog had either swallowed something or really had just decided to cross that damn Rainbow Bridge on his own.

What he told me was that he picked up "Bear" and performed the Heimlich on the dog followed by chest compressions.

"That is just what my first aid training would have told me to do with a person, I'm glad you saved him!"

Long story short... Bear is alive because someone knew just what to do.

That happened with my nephew, Jon, when he was around 4 years old.  I was at their house.  He ate "something" and it got caught in his windpipe.  Of course being a kid, he ran out of the room and upstairs.  I came calling after him.  He was getting wobbly and blue in the face.

I ordered him (yes, ordered.  That command presence can be very useful!)  to turn around.  He fell against me.  I put my fist into a ball and applied pressure just under the rib cage.

Well, with a gush of air and a splat, the offending piece of food ended up stuck on my Mom's grey wall paper on top of the stairs at her house in Cherry Hill.

My nephew is still alive to this day.

You can do this to yourself.  I did.

Watermelon with seeds are wonderful.  Without seeds they taste like a basketball.  Trust me, I'm from New Jersey.  I bit off more than I could chew and it got stuck in my windpipe.

Relax, don't panic, relax your abdomen, and push sharply on your abdomen.

The fruit popped out of my windpipe immediately.

Whenever possible, I always have maintained my Red Cross First Aid training.  If you get a chance to take it, don't blow it off, you may be that guardian angel that someone or someone's pet needs to survive.

Oh and skip the rawhide "treats".  That stuff is evil and stuffed with questionable chemicals.

It is leather after all.  Would you like to chew on a handbag?  A shoe?

When your dog goes to swallow the "treat", it may form a plug in their throat or windpipe and if you aren't watching, you'll be left in tears as your trusted friend makes that trip across the Rainbow Bridge.

If you do know CPR and the Heimlich maneuver, the actions are similar on a dog or a cat to what you'd do to a person.

Choking, see if you can clear the windpipe or the throat of any obstructions, and if not, apply pressure to the abdomen.  There's a one page PDF here from the SPCA explaining exactly how.

As far as CPR is concerned the instructions are to place your hands on the ribcage and do chest compressions at the rate of 20 per minute, or the speed of "Staying Alive" then two rescue breaths into their nose.  A Better explanation can be found here on the Red Cross.

They all recommend after an issue like this to get your pet to a vet for an exam since they can't talk.

My nephew Jon didn't need a vet.  Nor a doctor.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Why does Atheist Jesus have low self esteem? He doesn't believe in himself.

So since yesterday's rude joke was about a marriage and beer... why not follow it up with this one.

Anyone have a "Fine IPA" handy?



A husband and wife are shopping in their local supermarket.

The husband picks up a case of Budweiser and puts it in the cart. "What do you think you're doing?" asks the wife.

"They're on sale, only $10 for 24 cans" he replies. "Put them back, we can't afford them", demands the wife. They carry on with their shopping. A few aisles farther on, the woman picks up a $20 jar of face cream and puts it in the basket.

"What do you think you're doing?" asks the husband. "It's my face cream. It makes me look beautiful", replies the wife.

Her husband retorts, "So does 24 cans of Budweiser and it's half the price."

I was raised as an only child, which really annoyed my sister.

The rule of the day is never ask rude questions if you don't want a rude answer!


A conversation between a man and a woman

Conversation between a man and a woman. She asks him 5 or 6 questions that he answers quickly and easily. She, however, will remain silent after answering a question asked by the man:

    woman: "Do you drink beer?"

    man: "Yes"

    Woman: "How many beers do you drink a day?"

    man: "Three"

    woman: "How much do you pay for each?"

    man: "$ 5, tip included"

    woman: "How long have you been drinking?"

    man: "Ehm ... more or less for 25 years"

    Woman: "So, if each beer costs you $ 5, and you drink 3 a day, it means you spend $ 450 a month, which is about $ 5,400 in a year.

    man: "Right"

-Women: "If you spend $ 5,400 in a year, without considering inflation, you have spent $ 135,000 over the last 25 years.

    man: "Right"

    Woman: "You are aware of the fact that if you did not drink beer, that money could have made you profit, maybe in some bank that would generate interest, and after accounting for the compound interest of the last 25 years, you could even buy a plane?

    man: "Do you drink beer?"

    woman: "No"

    man: "Where is your plane?"

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Who gets your digital pictures when your gone if nobody can find them? Back up your data.

Who knew FPL would be responsible for my thinking this through.

I take a lot of pictures.  I mean a LOT of pictures.  Anyone who dabbles in Photography does.


The last time I looked, between video I shot, intermediate edits, final edits, pictures, and so forth of things that made it through my hands, there are gigs worth of them.

Just a ludicrous amount.

I like looking at my pictures.   Some of you do out there too.  This blog is photography heavy.

My dog, my family, trees, birds, my engine bay of the Jeep.  Just things I like, just things that caught my eye.

Others may say that they're boring.  After all, how exciting can it be when my dog even yawns at me.

I know many of you out there are exactly like me.

We have our family pictures.  Birthdays, Weddings, Thanksgiving pictures.

If you're old.  Well ok, over a Certain Age, if you're being kind, you even have them on paper.

You know, actual Photographs.

Believe it or not, they will last longer.

Why do I say that?  Think of it this way, there have been house fires where the "Family Album" or the wedding album of Aunt Grace and Uncle Jeremiah back in 1910 in front of their flivver featured prominently on the fireplace, survived.

A Flivver I have been told is a Ford Model T where as a Jalopy is an old car from that era.  Jalopy is still used if my arteries to my brain have not hardened and I am not halucinating due to lack of blood flow.

Oh look!  A Shiny Object!

Ahem.

So what about that wonderful digital thing, the digital camera.

Great things aren't they?  You can take them anywhere because they're smaller, a little more sturdy, and even these days fit on the back and front of most cell phones.

Give me a Digital SLR any day, they're much more flexible, and you can get removable lenses.

No, I mean it if you have a spare...

Never mind.  Some day.... Hmmmm....

Anyway.  You have your beautiful DSLR that took the award winning photograph that went viral.  It's really a weed but looks like a giant flower.  It could be the dimple in your two year old's cheeks.  Even could be your dog playing.

All those thousands of pictures.

Remember that fire I was talking about?  It doesn't have to be that drastic.

I had a friend.  Had.  He passed away. 

His pictures won't be making it back to the family. 

They were on a computer because he was as gadget mad as I am. 

Half of his pictures were undoubtedly on his phone.  Those pictures that were left on his phone are lost forever.  By now, his iCloud account has been purged along with whatever photographic treasures that he had set aside. 

Family may want those, are you sure that picture you took might not better be used as a memory of you once you're gone?  You'll need to make sure you put it where they can get to it.

The remainder were splattered between a number of laptops that I maintained for him remotely.

He came up here once and I dropped his pics onto a CD-ROM.  Remember those?

They won't survive a fire but having one here means that a few of his memories will escape onto facebook for whatever good that may bring.

In my case, I found out that I had a problem. 

My power here is shoddy.  Sitting in the living room chair, lights dim, power may surge and hum, relays snap on and off and back on again. 

I get up from the chair and turn off the breaker on the air conditioner...

Yes, it is October, yes I am in Florida, yes I will be air conditioning my house to 24C/76F in January, it's part of the deal.

... and wonder what I lost.

This all comes out of a data recovery project.  How I preserve my pictures is to have them on an
"external hard drive".  Since I have an android phone, I can copy them to my server or my laptop with ease.  Specifically that is why I don't have an iPhone, whether or not it is safer on their iCloud or whatever i's have been left for access and not poked out with a pointed stick.

Just look to the //router/share/pictures directory and have at them.

Why was it a problem?  Those pops and snaps.  Any time your computer or your hard drive is subject to power irregularities, your data could get ruined.

So why am I suggesting keeping them on a fragile hard drive here at home?

For redundancy of course.

Sure you could get an account at one of dozens of online storage sites, but there's a certain something about keeping the data close at hand.

Yes, even for my pictures of my dog.

I cleaned out the corrupt files, lost much less than I expected, decided that I really did not need that third copy of a linux operating system I stopped using years ago, and gave "the rug" a good vacuuming in order to get rid of the chaff on the hard drive.

So consider once you're gone, your family won't have those little pictures.  I'm beginning to think that history will be at a loss as a result of what made it so much easier to share memories.

Even if the Fotomat is long since turned into a couple extra parking places after the whole Film Photography thing went almost completely away.

I THINK the drug stores still do film processing... maybe not!


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Our neighbor's cardiologist is married to an anesthesiologist. She must be a total knock out!

This made me laugh because, yeah, I could see this happening.  I also would probably hear about it on the radio station in Mexicali that I like to listen to "To Help Practice Spanish".

Well, ... or maybe not!


Two Americans decide to open a bungee-jumping business in Mexico.

They set up in the middle of a small village where they gather all the locals to preform a demonstration. Bob jumps, bounces at the end of the cord, and flies back up by the platform. Jeff isn't able to catch his friend, but he notices he has a few cuts and scratches.

Bob falls again, bounces, and comes back up. This time, he is bruised and bleeding. Again, Jeff misses him. The third time it happens, Bob comes back pretty messed up - he's got a couple of broken bones and is almost unconscious. Luckily, Jeff finally catches him and says, "Holy crap, what happened? Was the cord too long?"

Bob looks confused and says, "No, the cord was fine... but what is a piñata?"

Saturday, October 6, 2018

What did the buffalo say when his son left for college? Bison!

Ok so the last one talks about being a consultant.
Guess what, so does this one!  From the Consult-ee's point of view.


A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly

A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a
brand-new BMW advanced out of the dust cloud towards him. The driver, a
young man in a Broni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie,
leaned out the window and asked the shepherd... "If I tell you exactly how
many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?" The shepherd
looked at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looked at his peacefully
grazing flock and calmly answered "sure".

The yuppie parked his car, whipped out his IBM ThinkPad and connected it
to a cell phone, then he surfed to a NASA page on the internet where he
called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, and then
opened up a database and an Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas.

He sent an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, received a
response. Finally, he prints out a 130-page report on his miniaturised
printer then turns to the shepherd and says, "You have exactly 1586 sheep.
"That is correct; take one of the sheep." said the shepherd. He watches
the young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car.
Then the shepherd says: "If I can tell you exactly what your business is,
will you give me back my animal?", "OK, why not." answered the young man.

"Clearly, you are a consultant." said the shepherd. "That's correct." says
the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?" "No guessing required." answers
the shepherd. "You turned up here although nobody called you. You want to
get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and
you don't know crap about my business...... Now give me back my sheep."

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Difference Between Liquid Soap and Solid Soap and Can You Change One To Another


I got started on this weird hobby of soap making because that stuff you buy in the market for
pennies burns my skin.

Strange multi-syllabic chemical names and weird un-placeable scents and bizarre colors added in had rendered my hands into a cracked, dry, and bloody mess in winter.

I moved down here to Florida and that helped my tortured skin a lot.  It wasn't perfect so I searched.

Going onto the web I realized that making soap at home is a trivial task.  Oh sure, you look like you are Walter White in Breaking Bad wearing goggles on the front porch with gloves on the hands and an industrial apron that probably is overkill while mixing chemicals and trying not to breathe them.  Then you bring that stuff inside, using your fractional gram scale and weighing the "product", you are able to create soap.

Did I mention I'm easy to notice since I'm a bruiser of a guy who looks like the High School Football Coach you had who is subbing for the Chemistry Teacher?

So I can throw a batch of soap together in under 30 minutes.  Big deal you say, you can get a brick of 24 Ivory bars for under $5 and wash your stanky butt for months and not have to go through all that work.
Uh ... Huh... you're missing the point but I digress.

Since I'm going for quality and a moisturising and cleansing soap, I get to play with recipes.  Coconut Oil will give me a hard cleansing soap that is ready to use faster.  Olive Oil makes your skin soft and is the basis for Castille soap.  A little Shea Nut Oil or Grape Seed Oil to make your skin silky and moisturized.  An ounce of Essential Oil for scent to 20 ounces of soap and we're done.

Right?

I batched this up and found out not everyone uses bar soap.  Right, My Sister?

I don't get the fascination with liquid soaps but I was making this partly to give away as gifts.

Then I researched the "real" way to make liquid soap and truly it is heinous. 

However that $10 bottle of Liquid Soap has really about $.50 or less of soap in it, and for someone making it at home, you're really talking about a massive $1 to $10 Mark Up in Price.

Or More.

Instead of Sodium Hydroxide Lye (NaOH), you use Potassium Hydroxide (KOH).  A lot more KOH than you would NaOH because it's less efficient.

KOH doesn't just convert fat to soap, it crackles, pops, spits, and makes a LOT of heat.

NaOH is a comparatively mild reaction with your oils to make soap.

I mix my lye in water and then that goes into the oils because NaOH will make some pretty noxious smells, and it may indeed be toxic.  I also live in South Florida and there's a lot of breeze coming off the ocean on any given day.  Colder Climates will have to make soap under a strong stove hood to draw off the gasses.

Yay Science!  Yay Chemistry!

I don't want to attempt that with KOH.

So what to do.  I truly want my sister to enjoy herself, so I did some further research.

It turns out that KOH gives a less firm soap than NaOH.  You end up with a goo instead of a nice firm brick.  Add extra water and you get a liquid soap.

Oh and a lot more time.  As in around 4 hours of cooking and a hot process instead of my 30 minutes or less and a cold process with NaOH.

Can't I just add water to a bar and hope for the best?

That is a big - Maybe.

This is what I just did to test the theory and the drawbacks are that you have to judge for yourself how much water to add back.

You know?  At Your Own Risk and Your Mileage May Vary?

Also it is possible that your specific bar of soap may be one where the chemistry turns your liquid soap back into a gel that may be too thick for the pump bottle.  Err towards it being a little thin.  Mine was, and it was a nice hand lotion thickness the next day after the bubbles popped and the soap turned from white to translucent.

It is also introducing water to the soap which will dilute it and make it possible for the soap to spoil.  If you start seeing orange spots, your soap has turned.


But my process was simple.

  • Weigh the bar of soap so you know how much water to add in.  (I had 80 Grams or 2.8 oz)
  • Grate the bar of soap to shavings.
  • Add the soap shavings to a mixing container.
  • Boil your water.  It will help deter spoilage of the liquid soap.
  • Add an equal weight of boiling water to the soap so that it is a 1 to 1 ratio.  ( I had again 80 Grams or 2.8 oz)
  • Get a stick blender and mix this until it is fully smooth.
  • Remix the soap and water longer than you did because there will always be chunks leftover.
  • At this point I had a product that looked like a good Icing for a Cake.
  • Now from here on it is a judgement call:
  • Add a tablespoon (14 grams) of boiling water.
  • Use the stick blender and reincorporate the water into the soap.
  • Repeat this water/mix cycle until the soap is at a proper liquid soap consistency.
  • My lotion ended up a little wetter than a commercial liquid soap and I used a total of 1.5 parts water to 1 part Soap.
  • Yes, it can be as much as 1.5 parts water to 1 part soap.
If I haven't scared you away, here's where I found the information that I'm going on about above.

It worked great the first day, and I may have cheated and got what my sister wants.  The second day I ended up with a clear soap with the remnants of bubbles on top. 

If that's the case, Pat, yes, I can send you liquid soap.  I believe you liked Orange Scent.

Just use it fast.  I can't guarantee that this won't give Orange Spots.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

I'd be a millionaire.. if I wasn't so badly paid.

As a Consultant, this is the sort of thing that you have to be very careful to watch out for - The Law Of Unintended Consequences.

The Consultant

A timeless lesson on how Consultants can make a difference.

Last week, we took some friends out to a new restaurant, and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket. It seemed a little strange. When the busboy brought our water and utensils, I noticed he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket. Then I looked around saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets.

When the waiter came back to serve our soup I asked, "Why the spoon?" Well," he explained, "the restaurant's owners hired Kurt Salmon Associates to revamp all our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon is the most frequently dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour. If our personnel are better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours per shift."

As luck would have it, I dropped my spoon and he was able to replace it with his spare. "I'll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen instead of making an extra trip to get it right now." I was impressed.

I also noticed that there was a string hanging out of the waiter's fly. Looking around, I noticed that all the waiters had the same string hanging from their flies. So before he walked off, I asked the waiter, "Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?"

"Oh, certainly!" Then he lowered his voice. "Not everyone is so observant. That consulting firm I mentioned also found out that we can save time in the restroom. By tying this string to the tip of you know what, we can pull it out without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39%."

"After you get it out, how do you put it back?"

Well," he whispered, "I don't know about the others, but I use the spoon."

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Did you hear about the invention of the wheel? They say it started a revolution.

I'm betting that my friends in England will enjoy this.

To the rest of my European readers... Sorry! 


A German, an Italian, a Frenchman and an Englishman are having a philosophical debate.

The question arises: What separates man from the animals?

"Technology," says the German. "Other creatures have tools, yet none can match the heights of engineering we have accomplished. It is our industry that separates us from the beasts."

"I disagree," announces the Italian. "It is our food. The creatures of the wild eat, but they do not cook. Humans on the other hand, create amazing dishes and new combination that make eating a most enjoyable experience."

"I say it's art," decides the Frenchman. "No other being can create art. From our earliest days we have painted, and now we sculpt, write and compose as well. The wild animals cannot ever know what it is like to cry over a beautiful piece of art."

All three now look towards the Englishman, expecting his answer. He takes a long sip of tea before answering.

"The Channel."

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Wag Right For Yes, Left For Maybe Not, or How I Talk To My Dog In The Predawn Hours

There was this BBC Article that made a splash a while back.  It said that dogs are like people, their brains are wired with a preference to sides.  Left Hand and Right Hand.

There's a difference.

With dogs, it's Right Hand is Pleasing, Left Hand is Unsure.

Human says nice things to me and I understand so my tail wags towards the right.
Human says something I don't like or don't understand, I'll wag my tail towards the left because my human is great.

Or something approaching that.

But hey, we can work with that, right, Rack?

Rack being my McNab SuperDog(TM).

The first walk of the day can be as much as two and a half hours before dawn here.  Sometimes I am even awake at that ludicrous hour.  Four-Stupid-Go-Back-To-Bed-O'Clock-You-Moron is what my watch can say.  I almost never sleep in until sunrise.

It seems that the stupid is strong in my head at that time because I tend to talk with Rack at that hour more than I do when it's a little later.

I may not be as lucid as I would normally be later on in the day, but this works.

I go on about our circuit of the city, walking around in a big loop and I'm muttering along.  Why not, the only person awake at that hour is my dog, and perhaps the cleaning crew in the stores and bars here.

Nobody seems to mind.

I do have to be careful when I'm talking and telling jokes and generally muttering along because Rack listens.

Having read that article while trying to clear out my folder of web links, I will say that this time, it stuck in mind.

Rack is one of the happiest dogs out there that I have ever met.  He's constantly wagging his tail.  If your dog, whether a herding dog or not, does not have a tail, you are missing something.

We'd be walking along and I'd ask him what he sees.  Sometimes I know already, its' that cute Border Collie "teen" girl down the way. He'll wag right because he really likes her even if he's now a full adult and she isn't quite.

Other times, I ask, and he isn't sure, so he wags left.

He heard someone talking and recognized the voice, but heard some banging as well, so it started wag right then left.

There are some incredibly badly trained dogs around here.  He's now learned how to spot them.  Some are seen every day or so and he knows them by scent.  After all, Dogs are primarily led by their noses.  If he catches that scent or hears their bark, the tail wag stops completely.

Just this morning, an hour and a half before dawn since I slept in a bit, I said "when we get home, we're going to open up some of that new food.  You like that new food, don't you?"

Well at this point I knew he was listening.  He looked back and did that dog-smile with mouth agape and wagged strongly to the right.

Trust in Dog, they know what they want.

I am sure it won't work for everyone.  Some people just never figured out a strong bond with
their dogs.  Other dogs are just too happy for words and you can't really convince them to say "no" to anything.  Not us, he knows.

Last night I wanted a late snacek.  A piece of cheese off that block of Jarlsberg that I use in my Mac and Cheese.  It tastes like Swiss and has a strong scent to it.

Rack was laying down and asleep.  I had carved off three slices of the cheese and sat down in the chair.

About mid way through the first slice, he stood up.  Deciding to come over, he wanted some but was definitely not sure whether he should beg for it.  After all we have a no begging policy here that is unevenly enforced.

Wag left.  Wag strongly left.

Definitely unsure but since I did not chase him off, that shifted to an equal wag, then a decidedly strong wag right.

He had his head wedged between my leg and the arm of the chair.

"Rack what do you want?"

He really wanted that cheese.  Strong wag right.

"You know you should not be begging!"  Wag Left.  Strong wag left.  Walked away practicing Avoidance.

I finished part 1 of 3.  Setting the rest of the cheese on the handrest of the laptop, it was out of sight.  Not that that matters to dogs, mind you.

He walked over to his mat and instead of sitting on it, he sat next to it boring holes through me with twin brown laser beams.  His tail was back to wagging right.

I took a tiny piece of cheese rind and sat it on the arm of the chair.

I had some fool idea that a high value treat like a morsel of Jarlsberg was going to work for training him to stay put.

It was gone in a flash.

"Are you sure you don't have some Labrador Retriever in you?"

I don't think he understood that but definite Wag Right behavior there.  He was convinced that he was getting more cheese.

He would be right.  But only when I finished.

I did give him that cheese eventually but this just goes to prove.  If you watch your dog closely, and learn what he is saying to you, you may be able to have a conversation with them.

You just have to listen.


 Wag Right!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

What do you call 100 rabbits walking backwards? A receding hare line.

This "hole" one came out of left field.  Or rather, it ended up that way because I wasn't expecting the ending on it at all.




A man is walking in the forest and finds a GIANT hole in the ground...

Wanting to see how deep it is, he finds a small stone and throws it in

He listens for it to land but doesn’t hear anything...

“Geez that’s deep” he thinks, and begins looking for for an even bigger stone to try with

He finds a good sized boulder and tosses it in..

Once again, he doesn’t hear anything

Dumbstruck he looks around and finally he finds this huge log which he manages to lug over and push in

While he’s listening for it to land, all of the sudden, this goat comes running like a bat out of hell and runs right past him and jumps right in the hole!

Shaken, scared, and feeling like he’s in the Twilight Zone, the man runs out of the forest

As he’s walking out, he comes across a farmer..

“Hey, just so you know, there is an absolute abyss in those woods back there” the man tells the farmer

“Never mind that, have you seen a goat by chance?” the farmer asks

“Uhhh, yes, as a matter of fact I did. In fact this goat ran as fast as you would ever imagine and jumped right in that hole I was talking about!!”

“Nah, that couldn’t have been my goat”, says the farmer.

“My goat was tied to a log”

Saturday, September 22, 2018

What would a pirate say on his 80th birthday? "Aye matey!".

Hey!  Wasn't Talk Like A Pirate Day the other day?  Arrrr!


I own a series of vending macines

You know, in parks and stuff, you can get a coke, ginger ale, fanta, etc.

Business was going really well, so well I had to hire a guy to help. Right after I hired him though, sales plummeted.

Trying to figure out why, I went to a few of my machines. The snacks were fine, but the drinks had a weird noise coming from them, like a wailing, crying. It was disconcerting, and I didn't blame people for not buying.

The next month was terrible. I spent thousands having techs look at the machines, switching out the cans, nothing worked. Sales plummeted more, and I didn't have any answers.

At the end of my rope I decided to follow my new guy around as he restocked the machines. I found out every machine he would go to, he JAMMED as many cans and bottles as he could in, filling the machines to the brim. I finally found the problem.

When you squeeze coke, fanta and ginger ale in the machines so tight, of course they start crying-

They become soda pressed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Espresso Brittle in about 10 Minutes

I have always said that if you don't have a good Ethnic Market near where you live, Move.

When I lived in Philadelphia, I would shop Asian Markets heavily.  Chinese, Japanese, Thai.  That also went for the markets that specialized in Latin Groceries. 

Go to the source.

As a result, I have a taste for "weird" candies.  One in particular is a small hard candy that is made in Japan that tastes like coffee.  Not too strong, not too sweet. 

Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly easy to find this in South Florida.  I've found a good Asian Market that sells my Japanese Candy, as well as Durian, Porcelain, Kitchen Ware, and of course, my Oolong Tea.  I may have to go to North Miami Beach on NE 163rd street for it, but it's worth the trip.

What does that have to do with my Espresso Brittle? 

This candy tastes exactly like it. 

I was making a pot of it, someone "repossessed" it and took it to his office where he reported that "The whole damn office is buzzing on this stuff".  I have to laugh because the entire batch has about the caffeine of 1/4 cup of coffee.  If you eat an entire batch, it's less than 1000 calories.  You'll be sick of it before you put on weight or get buzzed on anything but the sugar.

The trick is that you use either decaf or half caff for the candy.  If you want high test, go for it there really isn't a lot of coffee in it.  For the recipe you only use 1 tablespoon of the stuff.  One Scoop of grounds - your choice!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup (238mL) Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (5 grams by weight) Finely Ground Coffee Grounds (your choice)
  • 2 Tablespoons (1/2 ounce or 14g) of ROOM TEMPERATURE butter
  • 2 Ounces (59mL) water

Prepare Ingredients: 
  • Butter is room temperature and cut down into small pieces.
  • Coffee grounds are fine to espresso grind.
  • Grease a large cookie sheet or line with aluminium foil that has been oiled or greased. 

Process:

  1. Place 1 cup of sugar into 2 quart/liter or larger sauce pan
  2. Add to sauce pan 2 ounces (59mL) of water and stir until sugar is evenly dissolved.
  3. Turn on heat to medium high.
  4. Continue to stir or slosh the mixture while it comes to a boil.
  5. Cook the mixture until it turns an appropriate tan color.  
  6. Add the butter and the coffee grounds quickly and stir the mixture until it is even.
  7. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and pour onto the cookie sheet evenly.
  8. Allow to cool and break apart before serving.  

Resulting candy, I have found, to be quite thin and shatters into pieces for easy eating but the pieces will be sharp.

Enjoy!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

My friend: What Rhymes With Orange? Me: It Doesn’t.

I'm not certain whether I posted this one before so I added a short one at the bottom in case I did!

A guy was on his boat fishing in a pond...

...and caught way over the bag limit. He was heading back to the dock when the game warden stopped him and asked to check what he caught.
The warden opens the fishermen's cooler and sees that the guy has surpassed his limit by about 20 fish.
The warden tells the man he has too many fish and he is going to cite the fishermen.
The fishermen says "No, you see these are my pet fish. I didn't catch them I called them to me".
The warden doesn't believe the guy, and so the fishermen tells the warden he will show him.
The guy dumps the cooler of fish in the water.

The warden waits a minute and says to the guy "ok now call the fish back". ... "What fish?"




A mugger

Late one night, a mugger wearing a ski mask jumped into the path of a well-dressed man and stuck a gun in his ribs.
"Give me your money," he demanded.
Indignant, the affluent man replied, "You can't do this, I'm a United States Congressman!"
"In that case," replied the mugger, "give me MY money."

Saturday, September 15, 2018

What do you call a failed astronaut? A cosmo-NOT!

The Red Indian chief just died right before the winter, after ruling for 40 years. His son became the new chief.

According to the tradition, to prove his worth as the leader, he has to correctly speculate how cold would be the winter this year.

With his guidance, people will gather right amount of wood for the whole winter season before it starts.

So, in the morning, without knowing what to say, the new chief told everybody that there would be somewhat moderate cold this year, so they don't need a lot of wood.

Everyone from the village went to the forest to chop the trees and gather wood.


However, the new chief became really nervous about what he said. So he sneaked into the nearest town and bought a small radio to get the local weather forecast.

That night, tuning the radio, he heard that the weather guy is saying, this year the winter will be cold and asking everyone to get prepared for it.

Hearing this, the new chief decided to gather some more wood, just to be in the safe side.


The next day, he gathered everyone and told them to gather some more, as the winter would be colder than he anticipated earlier.

That night, he again turned on the radio and to his dismay, he found out that now the radio is saying this season will be much colder.


So, the next day he asked everyone to chop some more. Again, at night he found out with sheer frustration that the radio is saying, this year the temperature would reach the lowest among the last few years.

So, he told his people to get more wood. This time, he found that the radio is saying, this year the temperature would reach such low that it would break any previous record.


Hearing this, he went berserk and stormed to the radio office, and asked the weather guy, what is your problem? Why are you changing the forecast every single day?

The weather guy replied, okay, we actually guess the severity of the winter from the amount of wood the Red Indians gather. This year, they started nice and slow and we broadcasted that it would be a moderate winter, then they increased speed and we assumed it would be a little more cold; but now, now they are cutting down the whole forest!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Upgrading Kraft Dinner To Mac and Port Wine Cheese

If you want a TL/DR just skip to the bottom of the article.

This was where my Hurricane Prep, Bulk Shopping, and Training Diet OCD collided. 

What came out of it was a truly intriguing recipe.

First, The Hurricane Prep.

Every year we'd get food that is room temp stable.   Add water, and if you are lucky, you have something edible.  Ok, we're not talking the Cordon Bleu here, but stuff you can eat in a No Electricity And Power Down situation.

We have a grill, we have a burner, and they run off a Propane Bottle.

Therefore I can boil water and grill if I need to.  Fried Sausage and Eggs on the Lanai served with a fine dusting of storm damage!

While our own prep got more elaborate over the years to when Irma hit and we had no electricity for two weeks, I was able to count on Electricity from the generator.  At least enough electricity to power the fridge.  Run it for an hour, power off for three.   We tested that out a year ago.

Second, Who said you have to follow the recipe on the box?

A lot of mixes are excellent on their own.  There's a specific Sourdough Bread mix that I can't find anymore that was simply perfect.  Add water, knead, put in pan and bake.  Krusteaz Sourdough Bread Mix.

There are others that are a bit ... lacking.

Kraft Mac and Cheese Dinner is one of them.  It's also known by other names as Kraft Dinner or KD.  It isn't bad, but it does taste a bit too salty and the Day Glow Orange powder that you add to the meal is kind of flavorless - other than salt.

So I improvised.

My own diet is 600 calories per meal plus 200 calories each meal for dessert.  I am an active and somewhat fit man, and my weight is stable.  The numbers on the box imply, if I am reading it right, that a box packaged as is is 750 Calories. 

Add 100 calories for a tablespoon of butter and 30 for 2 ounces of milk, it nets to 880 as prepared.

So I took the KD, added one tablespoon of butter only.  Right there, I am cutting calories off the box.  They say As Prepared, the recipe is 1200 Calories.

Now add back.

I would have to have something else and split the KD in two to make it work with my "training diet".

I thought that I could increase the calories to 1200 and therefore have two meals.  How to do that?

I had some small sausages and some cheese to a total of 300 calories.

Basically that did tend to grow, and I went "On the high side" when I made it last but I made it was incredible.

Third:  The Port Wine Mac and Cheese.

Those wine and cheese parties are usually a red wine paired with the cheese.  If you want Port or Red Wine, you need a sharp cheese.

The Sausage was deleted.

I started adding back. 

The last time I made this, I made it with an ounce of Feta, another of Parmesan, and an ounce of Jarlsberg.

The Feta and Parm are sharp.  The Jarlsberg is slightly sharp, and it gives back chewy texture I needed.

Then I added in an ounce of Port Wine.  Specifically some 10 year old aged Tawny Port that was really quite excellent on its own.

If you are counting with me, that's 1300 calories.  Yeah I slipped by 100 calories.  I'll keep that in mind for later.

Remember kids: 100 Calories a Day means A Pound Heavier in a Year!

The result?  Oh my that extra 50 calories per serving was worth it!  The meal tasted like a less salty version of the Port Wine spread you get at a better market.

So we will do it again and it was just as good second day.

Now, Presented as a Recipe:

Ingredients at room temp to allow for proper melting in saucepan:

1 Box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner - or your favorite equivalent.
1 Tablespoon (1/2 ounce or 14g) - Unsalted Butter, room temp.
2 Tablespoons (1 ounce or 30mL) - Port Wine or other Red Wine, room temp.
2 Ounces (56mL) - Milk, room temp.
3 Ounces - Sharp Cheese, Grated or Cubed, room temp.  

Your Choice of Cheeses - I used:
  • 1 ounce Feta Crumbles
  • 1 ounce grated fresh Parmesan
  • 1 ounce Jarlsberg grated or diced finely

Process:

  • Boil your noodles from the package for about 7 minutes or until tender.
  • Drain noodles and return them to the saucepan.
  • Add Butter and allow to begin to melt in the bottom of the pan.
  • Add Cheese Powder Package and stir to mix.
  • Add the three cheeses to the sauce pan and stir to mix.
  • When the Cheeses and the butter have melted, add milk to the pan.
  • Finally, add the Port Wine to the mix and stir until smooth.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

What do you call a convoy of trucks hauling cheddar? A cheesy pickup line

Ok, this one here... it is just an evil joke!  I really do need to find some different ones.




A bus full of senators and deputies crashed and felled down a cliff.

A man happened to be walking by when the accident took place.

The man immediately started to bury all the senators and deputies involved in the accident.

A few minutes later, the police showed up on site.

Cop: What happened?! Where's everyone?!

Man: I buried them.

Cop: What?! None of them survived?

Man: Well some of them said they were still alive and stuff like that but you know how politicians are, I didn't believe them.



I can't just let that one be the only joke today so here's another evil one for you to cringe at!



Proposal

A married couple are out one night at a dance club.
There’s a guy on the dance floor giving it large: break dancing, moon walking, back flips, the works.

The wife turns to her husband and says, "See that guy? Twenty years ago he proposed to me and I turned him down."
The husband says, "Looks like he’s still celebrating!"

Saturday, September 8, 2018

3 geese hit their headwalk on a metal rod at the Fowl bar. The fourth one ducks.

Joe went on vacation to Cuba and asked his best friend to care of his mom and his cat.
After a week in Cuba, Joe gets a call from his friend.

Joe: Hey what's up man, how's everything back home?
Friend: Your cat died.

Joe: What?! You can't just call me and tell me my cat died.
    You could have made a first call and say: "Your cat is stuck in a tree and won't come down.
    Then a second call where you would say: "Your cat broke his foot while trying to come down."
    Finally, you could have made a third call and then said: "Your cat died."
But on the first call, that's just too blunt man. Anyways, how's my mom?

Friend: Your mom is stuck in a tree and won't come down.





On The Other Hand...

I lost my watch at a party once. Saw a guy stepping on it while harassing a girl.
I walked up to the dude, punched him straight in the nose. No one does that to a girl.. not on my watch

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Mushrooms and The Morning After Gordon

It was a noisy night.

It had been raining the day before, and well into the night.  The Radar here showed random clouds that had gathered themselves into something remotely resembling bands, Lines of Thunderstorms to non-Floridians.

This was the normal way a storm develops here.  Pop Up Thunderstorms generate over the warm water East of me, move their way over land, drop their water, then peter out.  Or they end up working their way across the state in one of a dozen directions.

These storms, though, had kept grabbing the heat of the water that was just off the coast and turned themselves into a storm of interest.  That grew into a Tropical Depression by morning.

That also had me wake up at 4AM.  If I am up that early, I'm up.  I would not go back to sleep.

Rack, the McNab SuperDog (TM) was unhappy.  He hates T Storms on a good day and this was well into the second good day.  I could hear him shivering in the dark.

Turning on the phone, launching a Radar program, I was able to see tell-tale banding and thought that this was going to turn into something that bears watching.

Yep.  By now this would be Tropical Storm Gordon, and did hit somewhere near the Mississippi and Alabama border on their Gulf Coasts as a strong Tropical Storm.

Here it was a minor nuisance.  Lots of rain.  The next day I found out it was 2.65 inches of rain.

All the South Floridians grumbling about their Labor Day holiday being a wash out, and so on.

I sat up in bed and looked down the line of pots by my pool and under the Mango Tree I saw
something that looked like it had landed in the yard, but could not tell.  Since it was raining so heavily, I'll wait for Sunrise before inspecting.

We went for our dog walk and a couple hours later I revisited the what was it in the yard.

It turned out to be four very large, six inch in diameter, palm sized white mushrooms.

I have lived here for more than 12 years now and I have never seen a Mushroom in the yard, let alone something this massive.  I guess it was always too hot, but with the cooler air due to the storms, and all that rain, it decided to send these fruiting bodies out and spread spores.

Quickly.

Weird.  It looked like a scene from Lost In Space where the Jupiter 2 had landed on the planet of the big grasses, and one of the other had ditched on its side. 

If it were, there would be fire, people running around screaming, a monster that was a cat with things stuck on it or perhaps a giant 40 foot tall chimp looking thing that went "Bloop Bloop" coming off an attack space ship that was in reality a kitchen utensil.

My money is on a whisk.  If you hand a child a whisk and tell them to play, they're going to make it fly.  Trust me.

But there the mushrooms were.

Since they didn't bother anyone, I let them alone, and went inside.  It was raining again, and would all through the night and into the next morning at 4AM.

Luckily we slept through that.  In fact, we slept so well that I was lucky enough to see the
Sunrise.  The sun coming up over the Bahamas lighting the clouds below, turned them purple and mauve, later changing to some fiery reds and oranges.

It was so stunning a sunrise that along with my mushroom pictures and sunrise picture, many other people on social media showed off their own pictures there.

I mean, come on, how often does a space ship land in your back yard under your mango tree?

Sunday, September 2, 2018

My body-building Italian uncle died.... He pasta whey.

If you are a weightlifter of note... you'll get that topic.  :)


There was an old town with a haunted graveyard.

Every night at midnight, a coffin would rise out of the ground.

A man moves into the town and everyone warns him not to go through the graveyard at night.

One night he was on a jog late in the evening. It soon started to pour down rain. The man wanted to get home quickly so he cut through the graveyard, despite the warnings.

Soon he hears a loud THUD THUD sound. He turns around to see the coffin rise from the ground and slide toward him. He starts running away, still hearing the THUD THUD sounds.

He turns back to see it catching up with him. He reaches the town and tries desperately knocking on doors to have someone help him. THUD THUD the coffin gets even closer.

He runs to the drugstore and grabs a bottle of cough syrup. And that stopped the coffin

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Dad, its sunny here. Son, it's daddy here

I really do enjoy a good story where someone "gets away" with something, especially when the rules are simply pointless.



A man has a doctor appointment the next day that he wants to cancel.

So he goes into the office and asks the person at the desk, "Can I cancel my appointment?"

The person at the desk responds, "Of course, but there is a $100 cancellation fee if the appointment is in less than a week."

The man thinks for a minute than asks, "Is there a fee to reschedule my appointment?" The person at the desk responds, "No, when do you want to reschedule it to?"

The man says, "In one week, please." The person sets the appointment and the man says, "Alright can I please cancel that appointment?"


And because I am feeling generous...


I got fired on the first day of my new job for asking customers if they would prefer "Smoking or Non-Smoking."
Apparently, the correct phrase is, "Cremation or Burial."

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Walk Through The Garden

My routine is stable.  You might even describe it as calcified.

Up early, even if "early" can be as late as sunrise.

That late is rather rare.

At any rate, haul my bulk out of bed, get the dog up, get him out to water the garden, and the walk.

When I get back, there's Dawdle Time.  Depending on how much time there is I can get a lot done in Dawdle Time.   I've said I get more done before sunrise than many people do some days.

But Sunrise varies, and I have to be outside at 7:30 AM every day, unless it is raining.

All of these plants do require care.  Sometimes they require care by others, and I can find homes for the extras, other times, I end up watching for where the water is being irrigated and putting out new plants.

South Florida has a wet and hot tropical climate.  It never freezes here, the USDA freeze line for Coastal Eastern South Florida is 8 miles North of me.  Clint Moore Road in Boca Raton.  Ok, sure that's a bit silly to be that specific, we know there is little difference whether something is actually "freezing" or thawed at 1/2 degree warmer, but hey, it's a talking point.  Even if the line could be well north of that on any given year.

But the other thing about this climate is that we get 50 inches of rain per year.  Give or take, Depending on whether a tropical storm deposits itself overhead.  But on average it's 50 inches or about 125 cm. 

Since that is 40 inches or 100 cm in the wet season, and the rest in the other six months of the dry season (December to May),  it's been described as a part time desert.  It requires irrigation.  Twice a week for certain hours sprinklers may be used, or every day if you have drip feed irrigation.

If you don't, your flowers die.  This is a very artificial look here that we have.  Those
Hibiscus hedges and Palm trees are not native.  The soil is Beach Sand, and now the ground water is suffering from Salt Intrusion because too many people from other places don't want to freeze in the winter and have settled here.

Like me, guilty.

But for now, the Global Warming that isn't supposed to exist, hasn't really hit my specific area too hard.  I'm at High Ground - 15 feet above sea level the charts tell me.  Miami Beach on the other hand has regular floods due to tides.

Outside of the ash piles called "Mount Trashmore", the next natural hill is 200 miles North of me.  Florida is flatter than Kansas.

I putter in the garden and am followed around as I decide what to prune, and what to propagate. Milkweed from cuttings have gravitated to being hidden in the hedges because when they are found, they get eaten to sticks.

Coleus is literally everywhere because they readily go to seed.  Cut the tops off and the seeds are tiny, get flung into pots.

Snapping a bit of Coleus off and tossing it into the garden means the stuff grows where it's tossed.

There is a story told to me about a groundskeeper in San Jose, Costa Rica.  A wise man who said, "Señor, estamos en las tropicas.  Arrojar una semilla en el suelo y crecerá."

Sir, we are in the tropics.  Throw a seed on the ground it will grow.

But puttering isn't always interesting those who don't have a putter.  You get followed around lost in your thoughts and the noises of the feral Parrots that are having their Call To Flock in that first hour after Sunrise.  The Pigeons call to you "Meh! Meh!" like grey feathered Simpsons characters.

And the Dog.  Rack.  Bored with what you're doing, and having finished fertilizing the fence posts, tells me it is time to go inside.  Move onto the next task and into the house.  Besides, there's breakfast to make, and you have already decided which trees to fell five times over. 

Time to go in.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

It is not that I'm nocturnal, it is that I live in the wrong timezone!


At Friday night services, Morris went to his friend Irving and said,

“I need a favor. I’m sleeping with the Rabbi’s wife. Can you hold him in the synagogue for an hour after services for me?”

Irving was not very fond of the idea, but being Morris’ lifelong friend, he reluctantly agreed.

After services, he struck up a conversation with the Rabbi, asking him all sorts of stupid questions – just to keep him occupied.

After some time the wise Rabbi beame suspicious and asked, “Irving what are you really up to?”

Irving, filled with feelings of guilt and remorse confessed to the Rabbi, “I’m sorry, Rabbi. My friend is sleeping with your wife right now, so he asked me to keep you occupied.”

The Rabbi smiled, put a brotherly hand on Irving’s shoulder and said, “You’d better hurry home, Irving. My wife died two years ago!”

Saturday, August 25, 2018

What do you call 100 rabbits walking backwards? A receding hare line.

A man is walking in the forest and finds a GIANT hole in the ground...

Wanting to see how deep it is, he finds a small stone and throws it in

He listens for it to land but doesn’t hear anything...

“Geez that’s deep” he thinks, and begins looking for for an even bigger stone to try with

He finds a good sized boulder and tosses it in..

Once again, he doesn’t hear anything

Dumbstruck he looks around and finally he finds this huge log which he manages to lug over and push in

While he’s listening for it to land, all of the sudden, this goat comes running like a bat out of hell and runs right past him and jumps right in the hole!

Shaken, scared, and feeling like he’s in the Twilight Zone, the man runs out of the forest

As he’s walking out, he comes across a farmer..

“Hey, just so you know, there is an absolute abyss in those woods back there” the man tells the farmer

“Never mind that, have you seen a goat by chance?” the farmer asks

“Uhhh, yes, as a matter of fact I did. In fact this goat ran as fast as you would ever imagine and jumped right in that hole I was talking about!!”

“Nah, that couldn’t have been my goat”, says the farmer.

“My goat was tied to a log”

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Removing the Failing Code-Alarm From a 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ

I'm phrasing this title carefully, in case another Jeeper needs some help out there.

And your standard Internet Warranty applies - at no time does Ramblingmoose.com take any responsibilities for any actions that come from this article.  You perform any work on your car at your own risk.  If you feel uncomfortable with working on your car, take it to a qualified professional.  I'm not a qualified professional, I merely took the time to find the files out there to remove the alarm from my car.

Again - take this as help, but you are doing this at your own risk.  It "worked for me".



In the 16 years I have had the Jeep, I have done only two mods to it that effect the electrical system.

I upgraded the radio,  and that is powered off when the key is removed.

I ordered an alarm installed at purchase by the dealer.

That is the problem.  Since the car sits for a while between uses, the alarm was draining the battery dead.

I know that because whenever I went to run the car, it either would not start, or pressing the Disarm button would make a strangled noise from the alarm.  Most of the time the alarm was not working at all.

So in an effort to diagnose my electrical system, the thing had to go.

The goal is to render the car back to original manufacture or as close as possible to it.  Since the alarm noise maker under the hood had rusted to the point where it may do more damage than good in removing it, I'll leave that and the valet switch in place.

I also ended up removing the bypass switch from the glove box and repurposing it as an ignition kill switch.

So the car starts without the alarm now as long as that switch is in the right position.

To determine whether you have the right alarm system, you have to look at the alarm itself. 
Luckily for me, I had the model sticker still on the front after 16 years.

Taking that sticker and the number on it, I had to search to see if it made any sense. 

No, it hadn't.

I went back out into the car and flipped the thing over. 

On any electronic appliance that transmits  over the radio waves in the US, there must have been an FCC Sticker.  That sticker has and FCC ID Number.  The FCC never forgets, and that information can be searched on. 

That number told me that it was from Code-Alarm and that it was an EVS II (two).  It told me who was responsible for this at Code-Alarm and some other information that was all worthless.   You see, Code-Alarm, having being bought up by Audiovox which became Voxx International, those people and the original documentation are not completely available.

Documentation you will want to get.  This is a link to the original instructions by Code Alarm and Chrysler to the tech on how to actually install the alarm system.  In case my instructions get to be too much, check this link.

The View Behind the Knee Kick Panel of the Wiring Bundle After Work


To achieve this, you need to remove the knee kick panel under the steering column.  Two Phillips screws.

Then remove the shroud from around the steering column and key.  Two Phillips screws.

Both will give you ample room to work with.  I had a lot of trouble working in the tight spaces, and really could have used a "Jeep Chick" with her smaller hands and body.  But you do what you can with what you have, even if you are a bruiser of a guy like me.

The way I did this was to remove both connectors from the alarm control computer box and that rendered the car immobile.

There are two connectors, a 6 pin and a 22 pin connector.  The connection to the ignition is in the smaller 6 pin connector.  The wires in question are the two yellow ones of the same thickness - one is solid yellow and the other is yellow with a black stripe. 

There is a third yellow wire on the 6 pin connector that goes to a kill switch in the glove box compartment.  I used this wire for testing and later for a kill switch.



Ignore the other wire harness for now.  I actually left it in place because I had to travel somewhere, but that is the feed to the alarm emitter under the hood (black and red), plus a bypass (brown wires).  The remaining wires are to a shock sensor, hood switch, light sensor, and back door switch.  I am purposely ignoring them for now since as I said, I left that harness in place.

From the original installation document:
  • Blue - Jumpered off the ignition harness (To be Cut)
  • Red - Jumpered off the 12+ Volt line in the ignition harness (To be Cut)
  • Yellow - To Ignition Side of the yellow ignition line (To be re-joined at harness)
  • Yellow with Black Stripe - To Starter Motor side of the yellow ignition line (To be re-joined with the yellow ignition line above)
  • Black - To Ground (To be Cut)
  • Yellow - Thinner solid yellow line - (To door on/off switch.  Reuse as kill switch)

Trace the thicker yellow and yellow black striped wires from the 6 pin harness back to the steering column.  In mine, everything was wrapped in electrical tape.  

There is a yellow wire that goes from the wiring harness on the left of the steering column, and in mine, it was cut and spliced to the yellow and striped wires that came from the six pin connector.

I removed the spliced-in wires and had the original yellow wire parts from the jeep exposed.

Those two pieces must be reconnected to be able to start the car.  You can test it by clamping the ends together.  At this point the car was disconnected from the alarm, and the car was able to start when I connected the wires together.



Now, a variation.

In order to clear out the alarm box, the box was now hanging on the floor with its two wires.  The grey wire is the antenna to the alarm.  The yellow wire runs under the dash to behind the glove box.  That yellow wire had a switch on it and I wanted to use that switch as a kill switch.  Flip it one way and the car can be started, the other way and it's never going to start.

Good idea huh?

Since the yellow wire on the steering column was too short for me to comfortably connect using butt connectors on that 88 degree (31 c) morning, I got frustrated and this idea.

I connected one end of the switch to one end of the yellow steering column wire that came from the ignition key switch.  The second end of the kill switch went to the other end of the yellow steering wire.  That second end of the wire disappeared in the wiring harness of the car.  Both ends were tidied up with crimp connectors, then taped over with electrical tape.

The kill switch was tested and then left in the car on the on position.

I got out of the car after putting all panels back in place and taping any dangling wires down.


End note:  I was at the point where the car would not start on the third day after driving it enough to charge the battery.  I just got back this Wednesday morning.  This was done and mostly written on Saturday after working on the car as I did it.  As I tested the connections, I'd turn the ignition enough to see if the starter motor would start.  Made sure to test it each intervening day but never drove it - so the battery was not really topped off.   This morning the car started like a champ and said that it's ready for duty.  (He's a Jeep after all) 

So we're golden and I found the problem!


Some History about Code Alarm and what happened with them after I got my Jeep.

Code-Alarm was a company that contracted with Chrysler for their installed car alarms.  The Jeep TJs were not coming from the factory with an alarm.  The alarm was installed at the dealer.  My dealer in Norristown, PA did a fine job of putting everything in place and it worked well for 15 years.

In the intervening years, the niche manufacturer Code-Alarm got bought out by Audiovox.  Audiovox later renamed itself as Voxx and that is where it is today.

So the Alarm in my Jeep is an orphan product.  If you have one in your car, it may be a good idea to look into removing it or replacing it.  In my case a wee little switch is enough.

Maybe Voxx International can help.  Or perhaps Chrysler/Jeep or whoever is owning them these days.  Or maybe they could just bring back the Jeepster...

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Why are postmen so good at telling jokes? They’re great at delivery.

Since it is Sunday when I post this, it's perfect for today.   And, Hey! It's a double feature too!



A new pastor was visiting in the homes of his parishioners.
 
At one house it seemed obvious that someone was at home, but no answer came to his repeated knocks at the door.
 
He took out a business card, wrote 'Revelation 3:20' on the back of it and stuck it in the door.
 
When the offering was processed the following Sunday, he found that his card had been returned. Added to it was this cryptic message, 'Genesis 3:10..'
 
Reaching for his Bible to check out the citation, he broke up in gales of laughter.
 
Revelation 3:20 begins 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock.'
Genesis 3:10 reads, 'I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid for I was naked.'





An oldie, adapted, and a goodie.


A plane was about to crash. It had four passengers, but only three parachutes.

First out was a top football player. He said: "My team counts on me, and my millions of fans will be devestated if I die". He took one of the chutes and jumped out.

Next was Donald Trump. He said: "I’m the smartest president america has ever had, and I’m loved all over the world." He took the second chute and jumped out.

The last two were the pope and a 10 year old boy. The pope said to the boy: "I’m old and don’t have many years left, you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. Also, I’m sure to go to heaven. You take the last parachute, and God be with you."

The boy replied: "Thank you for thinking of me, but there is no need for that. The worlds smartest president took my backpack."

Saturday, August 18, 2018

I had to quit my job as a personal trainer. Yeah, I gave em my too weak notice

As I am in the driveway at 9am or so on a Saturday Morning, it's already 87 or 30C.  I'm up to my elbows in trying to remove something electrical from the Jeep.  You see, 16 year old cars have things that ... fail.

If it is 87F/30C (and a wee bit) even with the breeze coming in off the ocean, it's hot.   It's going to get hotter later so got to get this done.

At any rate, enough whining, at least the car starts, right?

Here is a short one for you in case you're paying attention.



Phillips screw head.jpg

By en:User:Cburnett - Own work. Canon Digital Rebel with a 100mm macro lens., CC BY-SA 3.0, Link


Damn, I used to hate these things!

Oh and if someone tells you to get the "Blinker Fluid" from a car parts store... they are trying to get you to embarrass yourself, there is no such thing!




Get me a phillips screwdriver

Based on a true story.

A mechanic was working on a car that was outside the workshop. He needed a phillips screwdriver. He told his new apprentice 'Get me a phillips screwdriver'.

The apprentice ran off into the workshop. After 20 minutes he still hadn't returned. Frustrated, the mechanic went and got the tool himself and finished the job. Another 15 minutes passed and the apprentice comes huffing and puffing and flustered.

'Where the hell have you been?'
'I couldn't find Phillip!!!!'

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Propagating Croton

When I got this house, we had Litrope in front.  It's a thick grass that looks rather nice as a ground cover but it had intermingled with the Macho Ferns and a whole host of weeds that were in those spaces. 

Yes, it really was called Macho Fern.
No, I don't know why.

Problem was that it looked like hell warmed over with all that mixing going on so I took it all out with a weedeater over a period of weeks.

I put in some landscape cloth to hold the weeds back and mulched over it but it looked sterile.

We wanted some plants we could grow that did not grow too quickly, gave color, and needed only a little care.

Liking the look of it, we settled on Croton.  They are always colorful with a riot of red, yellow, and orange leaves.  Very slow growing in our beach sand soil here.  And no spines like my bougainvillea.

I swear I give a pint of blood every time I work with bougainvillea.

But most everything else on the property is from cuttings that I took here or there.  Since I live where you vacation, I knew that Screw Palms were easy to propagate, so I put two stands of it in the island in front of the house.  My Podocarpus was propagated into a new hedge to block the trash cans, there's some variegated Hibiscus that grows just about anywhere from cuttings - just snip and stick into the ground.

And I waited.  The Screw Palms established themselves immediately but that Croton is doing what it does, grow slowly.  

The Croton got leggy so I did what they do at any real landscaper would do - I took cuttings of that.  They almost all started to grow - slowly.

So if you are planning on doing this on your own, expect between 80% and 90% success rate on Croton. 

Here are the steps I took to propagate:

1) Find a length of branch that is about 8 to 12 inches long (20 to 30cm).  Make sure that there are leaves at the end and no obvious pest infestations.  Trim most of the leaves up the branch.

2) Rooting Hormone.  Yes, this is required for Croton.  Dip the end of the branch to about a half of a thumb length into the powder.  Be generous with it.

3) The planting.  I have had success with simply sticking cuttings into the soil, however my front garden is well watered.  If you use a pot with good potting soil, make sure that it is well drained.

4) The Watering.  Every single day.  Without fail.   For a Month.  Two months is better.

5) The Waiting.  A month should do it, but again, two is better.  This will allow roots to become
established and for you to find some green leaves begin to show.  During this time, most if not all of the original leaves will drop off.   The cuttings will look like they are dead after they drop off those leaves but give them time.  The ones in my "nursery pot" only have two wee little leaves at the top on some of those sticks, and the ones in the front garden are younger on the left, the more established on the right of that first picture.

6) Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  That first picture up top is a couple iterations of this process.   I started when the rains started back in April.  Since we have distinct wet/dry seasons, I'll be able to get one more "crop" in before the rains stop in December.   The ones on the left of the first picture will be joined by the ones in the nursery pot, and I will start more very shortly from that tall leggy beast on either side of the lower growing ones.

None of these plants are really that old, I started this back in spring.  They do take their time getting established but they will grow.

Oh and an aside, if you find any scale insect or any other pests, a good removal spray is a teaspoon of dish soap and a tablespoon of vinegar to about 20 ounces or 600mL of water in a spray bottle.  I had one of those Crotons that was infested with scale that died before I tried the spray.  That was what got me started with all of this

Sure the plants are not all that expensive, but I like a good challenge, and plants that I created is always a good way to make sure that I'll continue an interest.