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.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Why did the hippy drown in the ocean? He went way to far out, man

A walk on the beach

On my first (and so far only) visit to Hawaii, I was staying at a beautiful little cottage outside Hilo. There's a neat little place called Uncle's Awa Club, where they hold a farmer's market, live music, food of all kinds... Right in the lava zone, very remote.

I'd read about one of the booths there, apparently they serve this really delicious boozy drink made with a whole mishmash of local fruits. Very popular; people go to the Awa Club just to get this drink. And also enjoy the live music of course.

We were leaving Hawaii the next day, and I still hadn't gone, and wanted to go that evening, but I was there with my family, and my wife had the car. The Awa Club was about 15 miles away (24 km).

So I decided to walk. It was a sunny afternoon, pleasant weather, so a walk on the beach seemed reasonable. But after a few kilometres, the warm sun felt blisteringly hot. So I continued my walk through the water.

The cool water was a great relief, and I proceeded happily toward my goal, waves lapping my legs. I was making good time and distance, until I stepped on something sharp... Right through my sandal.

It hurt like hell! I lifted my foot, and there was a sea urchin stuck to the bottom. I hopped around, looking for a stick to knock it off with.

The beach was a desert around here, though; just black sand and lava rock, a few tufts of grass. But I did notice a piece of driftwood about 200m away.

I hobbled over on my heel, avoiding the water for fear of more urchins, and used the driftwood to lever the spiny creature off of my foot. Then I had to contend with the bleeding.

I probably should have turned back, but at this point I was committed. Looking forward to relieving my pain with some music, some food, and the famous cocktail I'd heard about.

So with the sun starting to sink in the sky I hobbled onward with still a few miles to go, trudging through sand and hot sun. I finally arrived at the Awa Club, parched and limping, aching for a drink.

When I got there the bouncer saw I was a mess, but he took pity on me and let me in. I soon spotted the beverage booth, but it was as popular as advertised: the queue was enormous. I dejectedly joined it.

In line in front of me was a friendly local. She noticed how rough I was looking and asked if I was ok. I told her the whole story. She was shocked. "You came all this way just for a drink?"

I nodded. "Wow," she said. "That was a long walk to the punch line."

Saturday, August 11, 2018

How does a vegan cow introduce itself in Spanish? Soy milk!

With all the Spanish that I have been practicing lately trying to learn the language...

In case you don't get that, "Soy" Is Spanish for "I am".

Then again if you have to explain the joke, oh BAH!


Art Collector

An attorney representing a wealthy art collector called his client and said to him, "Paul, I have some good news and I have some bad news."

The art collector replied, "I've had an awful day; let's hear the good news first."
The attorney said, "Well, I met with your wife today, and she informed me that she invested $5,000 in two pictures that she thinks will bring a minimum of $5-10 million. I think she could be right."

Paul replied enthusiastically, "Well done! My wife is a brilliant businesswoman! You've just made my day. Now I know I can handle the bad news. What is it?"
The attorney replied, "The pictures are of you with your secretary."


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Careful What You Say In Front Of Your Dog - They Learn, Rack Did

I remember once I was watching my neighbor's dog, Ellie.

Ellie was trained, pretty well.  She knew to put her paw on you when she needed something.  She was just not too good at explaining what she wanted.

On her best day, she was a dog.  Don't expect them to be human, they don't speak English.

But, they do understand it.  In fact I think it is fair to say, they understand it better than you might expect.

When my nephew Jon was a toddler, he thought I was James Brown the Soul artist.  You see, I can do a pretty good imitation of JB singing "Static!" from the song that was popular back then.

Now mind you I could not pass for James Brown at all, and while I am a fan of his art, I can't say that a 6'4" 220 pound White Dude could lead an iconic Soul group.  Just don't have the "background" for it.

That's the thought that I had in mind lately.  You see, Rack is learning English and doing so
quickly.

The other day I was telling a friend how clocks work and some of the mechanical theory behind it.

For example, A Pendulum where the string or the shaft that holds the weight that is exactly 39.1 inches or 994 mm long is a special pendulum that swings once per second and back in another second is called a Second Pendulum.  Connect that to an escapement wheel and a gear with exactly 60 teeth and you have your second hand.

Rack heard me talking and describing all this, walked over and sat down at my feet.  He then looked up at me with rapt attention like I was describing the mechanics of the universe, and everything, and finished it with the meaning of life.


It is 42, just ask Douglas Adams.  You can't, he's gone, but if you ask the mice and they give you an answer, you may do best to get a towel and prepare for the Vogon Constructor Fleet and the subsequent demolition of Earth.

The point is that Rack, the McNab SuperDog (TM) Is a superb dog.  He knows how to Dog.  He's a dog of a lifetime, but that is because while I talk to him, I don't expect him how to Human.  This isn't Family Guy and he's not Brian.

Although if I could just talk to him with full comprehension for 15 minutes... please?

Oh well.

However that Non-Human-Person presents an interesting school of thought.  People learn Language through repetition and what is important to them.

The first thing I start to teach a dog is "Show Me".  They will learn other things first.  But "Show Me" is very important.  If you show me correctly you get what you want.

My first dog, Lettie, learned this in a week or three.  When she got older and lost her hearing all I had to do was to put my palms upward and she would walk to what she wanted or needed and I'd give it to her.

Much more efficient than rattling off a long list of things and being frustrated.   She knew that and Rack does too.

But he's not quite as perfect at it.  Where Lettie was a lead of the pack Alpha, Rack is a definite Beta at the back of the pack of the beta dogs.  He is learning that when I say "Show Me" I am giving him permission to ask for what he wants.

It's not perfect, on his best day, but he gets things across.

And that's the Dog in him.  There's miscommunication, lack of desire, and sometimes they just want attention.   As you can see, Rack sometimes just sits at my feet or stares up at me with twin brown laser beam eyes and wags his tail looking for a little attention.

Attention is a good thing.  Builds the bond.  Even if it is just sitting next to the chair you are in while you're surfing some mindless web page.

That is how I learned "BC" is Rack for "I am going to the front door and look to see if I can find my friend the little wiggly Border Collie from down the block".

Rack met a young female Border Collie shortly after that dog moved into the neighborhood.  She's also a bit submissive, and her energy is the same as Rack's is, so they get on extremely well.

Apparently I refer to her as The Bee Cee frequently because while paging through the internet, I made an aside comment under my breath.  I said "oh, BC".

Rack got up, looked out the window, came back and gave me a confused look.  He's far too passive to give me attitude.

"Oh, another thing you learned!  How about that!"  I'm learning Spanish so I can get out of the house without alerting him on the weekends.   For other reasons too, but teaching the people in the house that "Listo!" means I am ready to go is so far something he has not learned.

On the other hand, he knows I'm going somewhere because of the order things happen in preparing to leave.  I get full on ears up, tail wagging, brown laser beam eyes, and that gaping mouth open smile we all know. 

"Sorry, Rack, You Stay Home and Watch The House" results in his leaving the room after dropping the act with ears dropping, tail drooping and him begging other people.

Yes, Saturdays and Sundays can be annoying unless I actually find somewhere we can take him with us.

I'm in trouble when my dog learns Spanish.  Maybe Sign Language next, although dogs understand that.   We've already resorted to texting in the house so as not to tip off the boy.

So yes, on his best days he's Still a Dog, but Oh What a Dog!


Sunday, August 5, 2018

42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

A Son Shark tells the Dad Shark that he's hungry...

Dad Shark says "Ok son, well there's some people over there. Let's go eat them, but first we need to swim around them in a circle with our fin barely out of the water. Then we will swim around them again with our fin all of the way out of the water."

They do this and then the Dad Shark says "Now lets eat them".

Once the sharks are done eating them, the Son Shark asks,"Dad, why do we have to swim around them? Can't we just go right up and eat them?"

The Dad Shark replies," We could...but they just seem to taste better after you've scared the crap out of them."



A man gives a cookie to a child.

He says "you can have this cookie, but you have to dip it in milk for at least a minute." So the kid gladly dunks it in a glass of milk.

45 seconds pass, and it starts to fall apart in the milk. Just when it hits 1 minute, all that is left is a small piece in between his fingers.

"Mr! That's not fair, you knew it was going to fall apart," the kid says.
The man turns to him and says "Well, son, that's just how the cookie crumbles."

Saturday, August 4, 2018

What do you do when your girlfriend starts smoking? You slow down a little bit. Jeez...

After having read that topic line a couple times since I found it, I'm still laughing.  As for the joke below, you tell me!  At any rate, it's that Genie and his Lamp that keeps getting lost.   I picture it as you get your three wishes, then you toss the lamp.  You know, for security.  In case someone knows that you were the last one with it so they can cancel out your wishes.

Or maybe I am just reading way too much into it, right?

Here goes!



A man is walking along the beach with his wife when he stumbles upon an oil lamp poking from the sand...

Intrigued, the man picks it up and begins to rub the sand off it. To his surprise, a genie emerges from the lamp!

The genie says in a mighty voice, "As a reward for releasing me, I shall grant you three wishes. However, your wife shall receive double of what you ask for."

Without hesitation, the man excitedly says, "I want a brand new sports the car, the best one there is!"

"Very well, it shall be done," the genie replies.

With a snap of the genie's fingers, the man is suddenly sitting on the seat of a magnificent new sports car. The man is overwhelmed with joy, but turns to see that his wife has TWO new sports cars, and they're as amazing as his!

"Well honey, looks like I won't have to hear you complain about my driving anymore!" the man's wife says.

Annoyed, but not to be distracted from his new found fortune, the man quickly exclaims, "A million dollars genie! I want a million dollars!"

"Your wish is my command," the genie replies, before stacks of $100 bills materialize out of thin air and fill up the man's car.

The man is delighted and throws his new found wealth into the air, but then he turns and jealously peers at his wife, who has two cars overflowing with money!

Overcome by a jealous rage, the man turns to the genie and shouts, "GENIE, I WANT YOU TO BEAT ME HALF TO DEATH!"

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Dog Food Recipe Fit for a Human - in a Crock Pot

Yes, I sampled my dog's food.  The recipe is at the bottom.



For two thirds of my life I have managed what I eat closely.  I'm not a nutritionist, but that doesn't mean anything in many places in the US - you can say you are and you are one.

If I am going to a restaurant, I will skip a meal or a part of one and "Bank" the calories.   It's the only way to do it here or else you become a stereotype of what someone outside of the country thinks of us.

I have a nasty habit of being able to estimate calories "off the top of my head" and usually come in close since I have done it so long.

The idea of finding a recipe that is healthy is usually something I can do just by skimming it.

I rose to the challenge of getting my dog healthy when we got him. 



Rack is, or was a rescue.  He had worms that needed multiple treatments to clear him out.  He still has an allergy to Chicken and he is sensitive to Grain.

All that made it difficult to find just the right food to feed him. 

Add to that the rather casual attitude dog food manufacturers have towards their products and the constant dog food recalls I have been hearing about meant that eventually we stopped feeding Our Best Friend anything that came in a bag or a can.

The recipe I was using was a powder that I would add to water and ground beef but he's now quite bored with it, and never really liked it.



I guess a dog who doesn't like Broccoli is like most human kids.  Personally I enjoy Beef and Broccoli but my sense of smell isn't as good as his.

We hunted around for a recipe that we liked and I was sent one that cooks in a crock pot.

Basically it's a Beef Hash.  Since I make it with Human Grade ingredients, I had to try it.  Bland but edible.  I guess I would actually like the stuff if there was some curry or some hot sauce added to it.


When I gave it to Rack though, he devoured it.

Normally I have to give him encouragement to eat any food.  Tapping the bowl, shaking it, mixing it up, telling him it's time to eat.  It's tiresome.

With this stuff he started at one side of the bowl after asking for the thing by hovering very expectantly, and then finished it in one breath.



I guess he doesn't need any curry added to his food.

Anyway the Recipe

When selecting canned foods for your dog, make certain that you select the LOW SODIUM varieties since dogs have trouble digesting salt.  If you can't find LOW SODIUM, use Fresh or Frozen.

Again: Fresh is best, Frozen is second, and Canned is third in preference but Low Salt.

The Salt Limit stated here for a 33 pound dog is 100Mg Per Day.

If anything, this exercise made me more aware or the ridiculous amounts of salt we eat on a daily basis!

Ingredients:
  • Ground Beef - 2 1/2 Pounds or 1.13 KG (I used 80% lean)
  • Water - 4 cups or 1 Liter
  • Brown Rice (dry) - 1.5 cups dry - 355g.
  • Kidney Beans - Canned, 15 ounces or 425g washed and drained. 
  • Butternut Squash puree - Canned, 15 ounces or 425g
  • Peas (frozen) - 4 oz or 1/2 cup or 113g 
  • Carrots (Raw is best or frozen) - 15 ounces or 425g

Process:

This uses a 6 quart/Liter crock pot on low for 5-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.  Food should be cooked to a temperature of 165F or 75C 'Internally'.

  • Add the ingredients to the crock pot in any order. 
  • Stir ingredients so that they are evenly mixed.
  • Cover the crock pot and turn it on low for 5-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.
  • Stir periodically, I did every half hour to an hour or so. 
  • Cook to 165F or 75C to allow wholesome goodness for Puppy!
  • Allow this to cool completely before serving.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

What does a selfish cow say? Meeeeeeeeee

Actually, that topic reminds me of a neighbor.  Having a conversation with her meant you were nodding yes while she told you all about her life and her dog and her trials and tribulations.   And here I thought Psychologists got paid $100 an hour, Mrs Me?

Anyway...




There’s a man trying to cross the street. As he steps off the curb a car comes screaming around the corner and heads straight for him.

The man walks faster, trying to hurry across the street, but the car changes lanes and is still coming at him.

So the guy turns around to go back, but the car changes lanes again and is still coming at him.

By now, the car is so close and the man so scared that he just freezes and stops in the middle of the road.

The car gets real close, then swerves at the last possible moment and screeches to a halt right next him.

The driver rolls down the window. The driver is a squirrel. The squirrel says to the man says, “See, it’s not as easy as it looks, is it?”

Saturday, July 28, 2018

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


John was unable to choose between 2 girls, so he asked his friend Gary for help deciding which girl to be with.

John: I'm devoted to Kate but Edith is my dream girl, she's all I've ever wanted.
Gary: Then you should be with Edith.

John: But I love Kate and could never leave her...
Gary: Then you should stay with Kate

John: But I also want to be with Edith, I can't miss this opportunity!
Gary: You can't have your Kate and Edith too.





Two new parents

Dustin and Jane (both blonde) were delighted when finally their long wait to adopt a baby had come to an end.

The adoption center called and told them they had a wonderful Russian baby boy, and the couple took him without hesitation.
On the way home from the adoption center, they stopped by the local college so they each could enroll in night courses.

After they filled out the form, the registration clerk inquired, “What ever possessed you to study Russian?”
The couple said proudly, “We just adopted a Russian baby and in a year or so he’ll start to talk. We just want to be able to understand him.”



The phone rings at FBI headquarters.

“Hello? I’m calling to report my neighbor, Clifford.

He is hiding marijuana inside his firewood!”
“Thank you very much for the call, sir.”

The next day, FBI agents descend on the neighbor’s house.

They search the shed where the firewood is kept.
Using axes, they bust open every piece of wood, but find no marijuana.

They swear at the neighbors and leave.

The phone rings at the neighbors house.

Hey, Clifford, did the FBI come?”
“Yep.”

“Did they chop your firewood?”
“Yep.”

“Great, now it’s your turn to call.
I need my garden plowed.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Walking The Dog and Eating Venus

I've always tried to live a little "off peak".

Restaurants are a perfect example.  When I lived in Philadelphia, and worked in Center City, I knew that if I hit a restaurant at 12 Noon Exactly, I'd be there with dozens of other office workers all jockeying for that table and that choice burger and fries.

Rarely a burger, I prefer ethnic foods at any rate.

It even effects when I walk the dog.  Rack, The McNab SuperDog (TM) has a habit of greeting his friends, vigorously.

I don't mean a simple tail wag, but a full on, jumping shoulder high off the ground, wagging,
whining mess.  Then he sits down, dusting the pavement, and waiting to be told that he can visit.

I can tell who he considers his friends because if he passes you with a mellow attitude, he's either just seen you or he's cool on you.

So since I am up before the chickens, we walk before dawn.

I see some amazing sunrises as a result.  The quiet of the morning before you have had your shower, and I'm out walking in large lazy circles around my town is a nice cool time.  Me, Rack, a few joggers, and the parrots in the trees waking up.

The evenings can be just as perfect.  Being smack dab in the middle of the 120 mile long by 15 mile wide suburban sprawl that is South Florida, there are not many things in the skies to watch.

The sun goes down, fading from gold to blue, blue to black, and the few stars come out. 

The first thing I do when leaving the house is to look up at the skies.  It's a method of weather prediction, and a good way to make sure you don't smell like Wet Dog.  If it is summer, it is hot.  Winter is cool.  It never freezes, and if it was comfortable yesterday, it will be comfortable today in this Tropics Adjacent area.

It's July.  It is hot.  It will remain so until October.  We hit 99F/39C last week which is the hottest it has ever been that I have seen since moving here.

I once was sitting on the Art Museum Wall in Philadelphia listening to the news station there and heard them report that temperature.  I stood up, and got on my inline skates for another 9 miles shrugging that it's more comfortable to move at a slow pace than sit down on a hot granite wall
 in boxer shorts.

In comparison, England complains when it hits 76F, 24C.  I cool my house DOWN to that and if I skip breakfast, I'm cold by lunch and complaining about it.

So looking at the skies, that night it was perfectly clear.  No clouds at all.  There's usually one errant cloud somewhere looking like cotton candy but not that night.  Heading out East towards the beach, I looked over my left shoulder and saw what I thought was an airplane heading into Fort Lauderdale Airport.  The landing paths are East West here, and they tend to float just to the North of downtown.

But, it didn't move.

Mind you, I can spot Mars just about any given night, but this was white.  It stared at me like it was about to be eaten by a crescent moon. 

We walked around town with a shrug, and I borrowed a nearby mailbox.  Sitting a camera on it, I grabbed a picture wondering what it was.  That Star being eaten by the Moon turned out to be Venus, setting over South Florida.

So when you take your dog out for a walk around town, look over your shoulder.  You never know if that airplane turns out to be a hungry satellite eating a planet.


Sunday, July 22, 2018

What do you call a substance which fails to reduce friction? lubrican't

Some rules to life:
Always prepare when you have work to do, and always have proper protection.

This guy didn't and you can see what it got him!

A boy walks up to a pirate

A boy walks up to a pirate and curious about his missing leg, arm, and eye, asks about them.
"Why are your arm and leg missing?" the boy asks.

"Well, I was attacked by a gator while burying me treasure. Now I got me a wooden peg and hook for me hand"

"Then what happened to your eye?"
"Stupid seagull pooped in it."

"A bird pooping in your eye made it fall right out?" The boy asks, surprised.
"No, lad. That was the first day I had my hook!"

Saturday, July 21, 2018

What did the gold miner shout to the thief as he ran away...Au you got my gold.

Yeah, it's an old chestnut, but a great story. 

Just remember, the lottery is a tax on people who can not do math!

Dear god, please let me win the lottery

A man is broke and has lost all of his money due to medical bills. His wife is ready to take the kids and leave him. He is about to lose his house and all of his possessions. Out of desperation, he prays to god: "Dear Lord, please let me win the lottery, I'm about to lose my house!!!". The lottery comes and goes, and the man doesn't win, and the bank forecloses on his house.

So next week comes along and he prays to god again "Dear Lord, please, I need to win the lottery. I am homeless and if I don't win, my wife and kids are going to leave me!". Again, the lottery goes by and he doesn't win. His wife leaves and takes the kids with her.

Finally, the man, completely filled with despair, says to god "Dear god, this is it. I have lost my house, my family, everything! If I don't win the lottery this week then I am going to kill myself".

Suddenly, a huge booming light flashes in the sky and the man hears a loud voice from the sky say "Okay buddy, you gotta help me out here and buy a freaking ticket!"

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Making A Pallet into Planter Boxes Freestyle

I guess you could say that this all started with Hurricane Irma.

We made it through fine.  The folks elsewhere had much more to deal with than we did here, because, we had been planning for it since we moved here in 2006.

However, we did learn in the two weeks power was out that we needed to upgrade our generator.

That generator has arrived and came on a pallet. 

If you ever got something that came on a pallet, you also know that the pallets tend to stick
around for a while.  If you don't use the wood up, you have to chop it up and find a way to toss it out. 

Being the creative type, I also know that the pallets are a great source of wood for projects.  Some are quite elaborate, some simple.

This Project Can Be Completed In An Hour.

Ok, so Caveat - you need tools.  I used a battery powered Sawsall and a battery powered screwdriver. 

I did say we were prepared. Those tools were rescued from people who don't realize that you can both replace the battery pack and you can retro fit the packs with fresh batteries.  So thanks to whoever it was that left them outside with a sign saying "Free to a good home" because yeah, I can fix that.

That pallet pictured is marked off where I cut the thing apart.  With 12 cuts into the wood itself, plus some extra cuts between the slats to remove them from the base, the whole thing was in pieces in about 15 minutes.

Then I took a few pictures to show my handywork.  The thing is that with the right tools, this is trivial.  The Sawsall is like an electrically powered hack saw that is a must have for a homeowner.  I used mine the other day to take down 7 palm trees in the yard, and while there are at least a dozen more that need to go, the tool is great for the job.

I'm still on the "first charge" of the battery pack after downing the trees and cutting up this pallet.

You will notice that I am not giving dimensions to this project, either.  Pallet wood is never very good.  Mine was brittle, and the pieces were there to hold a generator steady, not to be pretty for use in furniture or planter boxes.  The cuts have to be made as a Judgement Call.  You have to figure out for yourself where the cuts go.  You also have to determine for yourself whether you want to use a somewhat dangerous tool to cut through the nails that hold it all together - Standard Internet Warning Applies - Do This At Your Own Risk and Take Precautions to Keep Yourself Safe.

Or get Mommy or Daddy to do it.  I'm not taking responsibility for any damage or injury, you're an adult, figure out the tool use.

Ok, so I sound like your big brother.  I am someone's big brother, and my kid sister will tell you that I have my own way of teaching.

Boy did I open myself up there....

So once the rough cuts are done, you need pieces to reassemble these boxes into the end
result.  The pallets are made with a semi-solid deck on one side, and three support beams in the bottom.  Those three support beams are where the cuts happen.  They are also going to be the easiest place to make your cuts since you already have four out of six sides of a box assembled for you.

Take some of the extra wood from the scattered pieces, and nail them in place.  The scattered pieces were in differing levels of usability - some were split before I got to them, others were quite solid and could be screwed into the thing to serve as a base.

I used the electric screwdriver and some "Drywall Screws" and it was done in short order.  Be sure to use enough screws to hold the boxes together.  I used two on each end of the plank, and two in the middle.

From what I can see, the only thing that will take these apart will be time, water, and termites.  They're sturdy enough to hold my weight, although you may not have that luck depending on wood, weight, and other variables.  In fact, forget I said it.  They don't have to be tested that thoroughly, don't go standing on it.

(Standard internet warning applies - blahblahblah don't hurt yourself blahblahblah)

At any rate, the only other oddball thing I have been considering was to line these with some landscaper's cloth to hold soil in place while the boxes are hung on my fence in the yard.  That is not strictly necessary since I'm also considering using one or more of these to hold orchids.

You can also paint them if you desire, but I'm leaving them "wood" colored because my fence is rather "wood" colored as well.

But yes, I got these boxes done in under an hour.  Electric tools help.  Using a rip saw and #2 Phillips Screwdriver by hand would make this a rather painful process.   As is my right thumb got a blister from the Sawsall vibrations and I felt it the next day.

Just be careful.  I'd like you to visit again some day without thinking this fool gave me an idea that I did and I broke a nail or something else doing.

Hey, tools can be fun, but they can be dangerous.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

During an Italian meal... You pasta sauce around the table.

Wholesale supermarket

So, the other day my wife texted me, said we were having salad for dinner, and asked me to grab a head of lettuce on my way home from work.

I said OK and decide to try the new discount supermarket that opened right off the highway.

When I get in, it's clear that this place specializes in wholesale: there are giant boxes of things everywhere.

I didn't need more than a head of lettuce though, so I grab one out of a box and head up to the front.

The cashier looks at the lettuce, looks at me, and says, "I'm sorry, sir, but I can't sell you that."

"Why not?"

"Well, sir, we only sell the entire box. You can go back and get the entire box and buy that or you need to return the lettuce."

"That's ridiculous!" I say, "There must be over a hundred heads in each of those boxes."

"That's right, sir. There's one hundred and forty-four."

"You mean you have to buy one hundred and forty-four heads of lettuce?? That's absurd! Who would need that much!" I was so upset at that point that I just left the lettuce with the cashier. I looked her straight in the eye and said, "This is the worst supermarket I've ever seen."

She shakes her head and answers, "You have us all wrong. We're not a supermarket, we're a gross-ery store."

Saturday, July 14, 2018

What do you call a baby frog? A toadler.

I described this first one to a good friend as one that would get a room full of Second Graders laughing loudly. 

See if you agree:

A frog walks into a bank.

The frog walks up to the teller and sees her name tag witch says Patricia Wack and the frog says "my name is Kermit Jagger, son of Mick Jagger, i need a loan to go on a holiday, how about $3000?"

The teller says "woah, thats alot of money, do you have any collaterals we can keep if you don't pay us back?"

The frog says "sure" and pulls out a small pink porcelain elephant and asks "will this do?"

The teller says "let me go ask my manager" so she goes to her boss and shows him the little elephant and says "a frog wants a loan with this as the collateral, i mean, what even is this"

And the boss says "it's a nick-nack patty wack give that frog a loan, his old man's a rolling stone"


And since that was a little short...


Meat on the roof

A man walks into a bar and immediately sees lots of meat hanging from the roof and precedes to query the bartender.
“What’s with all the meat on the roof?!” the man questions.

The bartender replies, “We have a competition. You can try to jump up and touch the meat; if you touch it, you get all your drinks paid for all night, but if you miss, you have to pay for everyone’s drinks all night. Would you like to have a go?”

The man looks up as he ponders and states, “no, I think the steaks are too high.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

What you have to do to mail a letter these days.

Funny what passes through what I call my mind when I am reading a joke.  I started to free-associate with changes and modern life and technology and I'm laughing at myself because while technology is easy for me, Printing is not.

I'll be making up a nice new sign for the Jeep to tell people that there is nothing of value in the car and it's not for sale, and to beg them to leave it alone.

In two languages!  With Pictures!  In glorious Grey Scale and Black And White!

But yes, I did end up with a Robin Williams Style Rant here.  Hang on for a ride.  There's a Bounce-Bar by your knees if you need to hold on.

Anyway, I suspect that this joke way below is one of those "older" offices.  Having a lot of paper around the place seems to be a bit anachronistic.  While I personally "need" to be "able" to print, I think I am on the same ream of paper that we got for the house back in 2010 and I still have "Special Resume Grade Paper" from the 90s.  You know, the good heavy weight stuff that isn't pure white so it sticks out in a crowd.

Remember having to mail a resume?
Remember actually writing a Pen Pal?

I write maybe four actual letters per year.  They get dropped into a box to go along with some "goodies" that I send off in a care package explaining what crap I have loaded into the thing.

In order to get ink to physical piece of paper, I had to have a printer.

Since "technology" happens, I had to have a server for that printer so I could print from any computer on my network.

Install an operating system, a version of Debian Linux, Of course.

Get it working to print something out.  Share that printer across the network.  Start up Libre Office because I refuse to run anything Microsoft if I can avoid both it and the spyware that they insist in putting in their software.  Write the letter and save it.

All that?  Took about a week of thrashing because there was some weird inconsistency between Raspbian on ARM and a pure Debian on X86 that I am used to...

So now to print, turn on the RaspberryPi, wait for it to boot in about 2 minutes, then turn on the printer.  Rush back to the laptop and tell it to print to the printer "Tucked in a corner of Bill's Desk Somewhere".

Yes, I called it that.

I had to get a physical piece of paper to my financial advisor a while back and I ended up having them send me the form to sign so that I could physically carry the thing to the Post Office that is two miles away.

Get into the Jeep, hope it starts because I simply don't drive that often.

Look around as I drive the car like a puppy out the window.  Oooh!  look!  Moving Things!  Shiny Objects!  Other People!

Drive out into traffic and get confused by which lane to choose when at that bizarre five way intersection that everyone knows here as Five Points.

I truly hate driving through Five Points.   It's generally done with a horn or an extended gesture that is caused by some damn tourist using the wrong lanes or forgetting to get the hell off the phone because the light changed.

Then I am invisible because nobody actually follows the Uniform Vehicle Code any more and am trying to jockey for the Curb Lane because I am only going a mile which involves two stop lights on Dixie Highway, crossing a major rail corridor, and who knows what other shiny objects might be hanging out at the next intersection.

I prefer to walk.

Stand in line and hand it to the people at the Oakland Park, FL Post Office.  Truly nice people there.  Sure, it looks like a throwback to the early 1970s and probably has not been painted since then, but I end up with a smile on my face, even if I do have to stand in line.

After it gets there, lather, rinse, repeat and go home.  I'll take the back roads, I'll need a sedative if I have to go through Five Points twice in one day!

Beep Beep!  I'm a Jeep!
Careful, Nervous Driver On Board!

As Carl Sagan said "To make a cake, you first have to invent the universe".

Anyway, all of this rant was triggered by this joke I promised you below.




A young manager was finishing up late at work

When he was leaving there was only one other person in the office.

He noticed it was the owner of the company standing by a Shredder with a sheet of paper looking confused.
He approached him and asked if he was alright.

The owner said "my secretary has gone home and she always does these things for me", and asked "do you know how to work this machine".
The manager said "yes", turned on the Shredder and stuck the sheet in and said "all done".
The owner said "brilliant, now I need three more copies."



Ok I guess you had to be there!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Why do seagulls live by the sea? Because if they lived by the bay they'd be bagels.

That title is a one liner I found somewhere but it reminds me of a business meeting I had with a client in NYC.

This rather intelligent woman I worked with had a comment that everyone took as a mental lapse, but weirdly it has stuck with me over the years.  So I will share this ear-worm of a story with you.  Maybe you can figure out that mental process.

We were sitting at a window with a great view of the bridges leading over to Brooklyn when she piped up about her meal.

"You know!  I can tell these are Sea Scallops!
These are from the sea and the sea is big!
The Bay Scallops are from the bay and the bay is small!"

The table looked around at each other for a solid Ten Count and then the conversation just started over.  She never really followed it up with any further explanation, just sat there and looked proud of it.

As silly as that sounds, yes, that is how I remember sizes of Scallops - not that I tend to get them since they're so expensive.

Sweet lady, I guess you had to be there!


Three tortoises go on a picnic...

Three tortoises, Mick, Alan and Les, decide to go on a picnic.

So Mick packs the picnic basket with beer and sandwiches.

The trouble is the picnic site is ten miles away so it takes them ten days to get there.
When they get there Mick unpacks the food and beer. "Ok Les Give me the bottle opener."

"I didn't bring it," says Les. "I thought you packed it."
Mick gets worried, He turns to Alan, "Did you bring the bottle opener??"
Naturally Alan didn't bring it.

So they're stuck ten miles from Home without a bottle opener.
Mick and Alan beg Les to go back for It, but he refuses as he says they will eat all the sandwiches.

After two hours, and after they have sworn on their tortoise Lives that they will not eat the sandwiches, he finally agrees.

So Les sets off down the road at a steady pace.

Twenty days pass and he still isn't back and Mick and Alan are starving, but a promise is a promise.

Another five days and he still isn't back, but a promise is a promise.

Finally they can't take it any longer so they take out a Sandwich each, and just as they are about to eat it, Les pops up from behind a rock and shouts........
"I KNEW IT!......I'M NOT GOING!"

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Have you heard about the submarine industry? It's really taking a dive..

English can be a very imprecise language.  When talking with someone, if you describe an object, you can specify exactly what you are talking about by using very descriptive words like its name and colors and position, or it is equally as valid to use a word like "That".

If you use "That" frequently in such a situation... I hate you.


A factory burned in a fire

One of the survivors, a worker from the factory, goes home to his wife “Honey, there was a fire, the factory burned down and many of my coworkers died”
“That’s horrible!” She replied

“Tragic... The company is insuring the families of the deceased with hundreds of thousands of dollars”
“How did you survive?” The wife asked.

“I stepped outside for a smoke when it caught fire” said the husband, to which the wife replied “This is why I’ve told you a million times to quit smoking!”

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Fourth Of July, Now, Please Go Protect Your Pets

I am beginning to see the truth in the way New Jersey handled this back in the day.

They banned anything that went "bang".

Luckily we have some "doggy downers" from the vet in the house.  I have learned to dose him about a half hour before sunset which takes the edge off. 

Rack, my McNab SuperDog (TM) is like just about every other dog I can think of.  He hates Thunderstorms and Fireworks.  It turns him into a shivering mess.

This is the day where more dogs go missing than any other.  He will be hiding in the corner, trying to merge with the couch.  It's where I sit at night until the sun comes in the front window, then again where I reappear when the sun goes behind the taller buildings to my west.

I expect that since the rednecks down the block are staying here instead of going to someplace else where they can get bit by mosquitoes and go Fish in' and Hun tin', they will be shooting off an obscene amount of fireworks tonight.  If not them, someone else will pick up the slack.

Rack is in for it.

Mind you, I like fireworks and the way they look.  Ooh and Ahh and all that.  I used to go to a park in Cherry Hill NJ near the house and watch a number of professional fireworks from a chair or in the comfort of my car.  A good friend Laurie cued me into that you can park in a lot in Cooper River Park and see more fireworks than you could possibly consider firing off in a lifetime from there.  Plus the reflection on the river itself was rather nice.

Bring a camera, preferrably a time lapse one.

So since sundown here is 8:16 PM, We will have gotten our walk in, and I'll give him his happy pills about a half hour before that.  Hopefully we will get back before they turn this street into a war zone.

Then again, it is wet season and we have an 80% chance of rain.  I'm praying for rain.

On the other hand, I do have a time lapse camera and a porch, and I know how to use them.

Watch over your dogs.  This is not a night to leave them out.  Cats too should be brought inside, well every day since an Outdoor Cat is merely a stray.  People can be evil to strays.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

I saw a new color in a dream last night. It was a pigment of my imagination.

Ok, maybe I should have added this one to the bottom of yesterday's post.  Judging from the international response I got...

There are a lot of you out there that like my disturbed jokes!



A couple that has been married for 20 years...

There was this couple that had been married for 20 years. Every morning, the husband would wake up and blast out the biggest, loudest fart in bed. The wife was quite disgusted with the practice and repeatedly asked him to stop, but he just chuckled. She told him "One of these days you are going to fart your guts out".

The practice continued, unabated. Finally the wife decided to play a trick. While at the butcher she picked up some chicken entrails. The next morning she awoke early and carefully put the entrails into her husband's boxers while he slept. Then she went to the kitchen to wait.

Sure enough, a few minutes later there was a trumpet blast from her husband's ass. She chuckled to herself and waited, sipping her coffee, for him to come out.

It took quite some time, but when he came to the kitchen he was looking a bit ashen. She waited and he told her...

"Well, you were right. This morning I did fart my guts out. But, by the grace of god and with these two fingers, I pushed them all back in."

Saturday, June 30, 2018

What do you call a grizzly bear without teeth? A gummy bear!

A Lady goes to buy her grandson a fishing rod.

She goes into Cabela’s to buy a rod and reel for her grandson’s birthday. She doesn’t know which one to get, so she just grabs one and goes over to the counter.

The clerk was standing behind the counter wearing dark glasses. She says to him, “Excuse me, sir. Can you tell me anything about this rod and reel?”
He says, “Ma’am, I’m completely blind; but if you’ll drop it on the counter, I can tell you everything from the sound it makes.”

She doesn’t believe him but drops it on the counter anyway. He says, “That’s a 6-foot Shakespeare graphite rod with a Zebco 404 reel and 10-pound test line. It’s a good all-around combination, and it’s on sale this week for only $20.”

She says, “It’s amazing that you can tell all that just by the sound of it dropping on the counter. I’ll take it!”
As she opens her purse, her credit card drops on the floor. “Oh, that sounds like a MasterCard,” he says.

She bends down to pick it up and accidentally farts. At first she is really embarrassed, but then realizes there is no way the blind clerk could tell it was her who tooted. Being blind, he wouldn’t know that she was the only person around?
The man rings up the sale and says, “That’ll be $34.50 please.”

The woman is totally confused by this and asks, “Didn’t you tell me the rod and reel were on sale for $20? How did you get $34.50?”
He replies, “Yes, ma’am. The rod and reel is $20, but the Duck Call is $11, and the Catfish Bait is $3.50.”

She paid it and left without saying a word.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Lemon Curd in the Microwave in Under Three Minutes

I never really intended to write a food blog but my curiosity gets the best of me.   I never knew a Kitchen Hack I didn't like.

On the other hand, if I search for this particular food, I find the Microwave version first.  I guess I've just been hiding away from the world too long!

Lemon Curd is an English confection that the closest thing we have in America is the filling for a Lemon Meringue Pie.

But it's much more creamy and silky than that.

It also takes about 1/2 hour of standing by a stove babying it and making sure it does not boil on a medium to low heat.

This cooks in the microwave in under 3 minutes.

Yes.  It took me 2:45 to get it done.

The hardest part is making absolutely certain that your thermometer is reasonably accurate.  Mine was not, and read 10F high, so the Lemon Curd came out a little loose.

Oh, and I made mine in a recycle-able plastic Cottage Cheese container, then poured it into a jelly sized Mason Jar for storage.

Use within a couple weeks - that's why I cut down the recipe in 1/2.

This all hit the web a couple weeks back as a Kitchen Hack, I tried it, and yeah, it works.  It turns a fiddly recipe into something anyone can make in under 10 minutes if you're quick about it.

On a Bagel, English Muffin, or Home Made Crumpet, this stuff can't be beat especially if you have cream cheese to go with it all.    I use this Lemon Curd for Lemon Tarts as well.  If you have a ready made pie shell, just dump the Lemon Curd in, and top with some whipped cream or perhaps prepare a meringue for it.

Oh and of the Variations I have tried - Key Lime or Grapefruit are my personal favorites.

Ingredients for this are 1/2 of my original recipe but I will repeat them here, adjusted for size.

  • 1 1/2 Lemons, Zested and Juiced (About a quarter cup juice)
  • 3/4 cup (170g) granulated Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter (2 Ounces, 60g)  - Room Temperature and cut into small pieces

Process

  • To a microwave safe bowl, add all your ingredients.
  • Stir the ingredients until smooth or run them through a blender.
  • Place Microwave Safe bowl in microwave and cook on High for 30 seconds.
  • Stir ingredients thoroughly to prevent hot spots.
  • Repeat the microwave and stir cycle until the temperature at least reaches 185F (85C).
  • The Lemon Curd will begin to noticeably thicken when you reach temperature.
  • Again, Do not allow to boil but make sure you hit that magic temperature of 185F/85C.
  • Pour the finished product into jars and refrigerate or run through strainer to capture any lemon zest or egg that might cause lumps.

Picture from wikipedia shows how it will look close up and personal!

Lemon Curd courtesy of wikipedia.com

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Can a kangaroo jump higher than a house? Of course, a house doesn’t jump at all.

Since we're on the subject of Kangaroos, here's a story about an Aussie in London.


A young Aussie lad moved to London and went to Harrods looking for a job

The manager asked 'Do you have any sales experience?'
The young man answered 'Yeah, I was a salesman back home in Mundubbera Queensland ..'
The manager liked the Aussie so he gave him the job.

His first day was challenging and busy, but he got through it.

After the store was locked up, the manager came down and asked, 'OK, so how many sales did you make today?'

The Aussie said 'One!'
The manager groaned and continued, 'Just one? Our sales people average 20 or 30 sales a day. How much was the sale for?'

'£124,237.64p.'
The manager choked and exclaimed, '£124,237.64!! What the hell did you sell him?'

'Well, first I sold him a small fish hook, then a medium fish hook and then I sold him a new fishing rod.'
'Then I asked him where he was going fishing and he said down at the coast, so I told him he would need a boat, so we went down to the boat department and I sold him that twin-engine Power Cat.'
'Then he said he didn't think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to car sales and I sold him the 4 x4.'

The manager, incredulous, said, 'You mean to tell me...a guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and a 4x4?'

'No, no, no... he came in here to buy a box of tampons for his lady friend and I said... 'Well, since your weekend's buggered, you might as well go fishing...'

Saturday, June 23, 2018

What's the dumbest animal in the jungle? The polar bear

... and how did that bear get in the jungle in the first place.

Anyway, I think in the case of this story, you have to classify this as Men Can Be So Dumb...


Three construction workers have had it with their sandwiches...

Three construction workers have had it with their sandwiches being the same for the last 20 years!

So they struck a deal, if their wives make them same sandwiches yet again, tomorrow,
they're gonna throw themselves off the building.

So tomorrow comes, and one opens his lunchbox, sees the same sandwich, and jumps to his death.
The second one opens his lunchbox, same story, jumps.
And the third one opens his, sees another same sandwich as yesterday, and jumps off to his demise.

At their funeral, the first construction worker's wife cries, and through her tears says
"He should have told me, I would have made him a different sandwich".

The second wife totally devastated whimpers
"He never complained about his sandwich, I should have known...", and continues crying.
And the third one cries "Oh what an idiot I married, he made his own sandwiches"

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

How to Break Your Dog Using Generic Store-Brand Cereal

I'm on a quest.

You see, every time I go to the market, I buy a different brand of Generic Cereal.   The stuff that looks like if you planted it in the backyard, you would get a bagel growing.  Bagel Seeds.

I mean, Cheerios look like bagel seeds, so you end up getting ... well never mind, that simile is stretched to its breaking point.

However you could do worse.  One Gram Of Sugar, It's Not A Lot.  Per serving that is.  I'm taller than average, so I have one and a half grams in my own Moose Sized Servings.

However, Rack, The McNab SuperDog (TM) knows though that I can be a soft touch.

He follows me around the kitchen and watches.  Since the world is not sized for my own Six-Foot-Four-Inch-One-Hundred-Ninety-Three-Centimeter, 220-Pound-One-Hundred-Kilo frame, I drop things.  Constantly.  Reach into the ice bin in the fridge and I get my five cubes for coffee and drop one.

That hardened into a ritual where he hears the freezer door open, listen for the rattle of my right hand grabbing those cubes, and he gets up and pads into there and waits.

Which is to say I get twin laser beams of brown eyes staring a hole through me.

First mug of coffee ONLY.  I merely say when I hear him get up, "Nope", and he sits down when I go in for the second mug of coffee.

Being a dog of a lifetime. he currently speaks English well enough that I am learning Spanish to avoid him knowing when I am doing something.  Yeah right, he has figured out that he can also go into the kitchen when I am getting a snack.  Bilingual dog in the making.  What's next, sign language?

Like those Bagel Seeds.   Generic, of course.

The Generic ones come in various kinds.  The best tasting ones are the ones with mostly oats, and wheat instead of only oats.  The "real" cheerios are Gluten Free and taste like cardboard, only cardboard.  Ok, not quite so bad, they taste like Only Oats which can be fine in making oatmeal with milk and a blob of lemon curd on top and ...


But the Generic-with-wheat fake-Cheerios that I like taste sweeter.  No more added sugar, I hope, but I'll eat them out of hand standing in the middle of the kitchen dropping them on my damn boot as they roll under the refrigerator.

Being a dog, he's also part vacuum cleaner.  He'll trot in there and vacuum up the things.

Being me, I upgraded him.  Once.

I took a handful of the bagel seeds and put them in his bowl.   Add milk.  Just a splash.

Now, my dog, is broke.   This dog who has the genetics of being the smartest creature in the pasture has learned that I have the power of milk.

Yes, you guessed it.  He won't eat them if I don't put the milk over them and merely gives me That Stare.

"Where's my milk?!?!?!"

Indeed.  "I didn't even give myself any milk!"

I ignored him and put the cereal away.  He walked to his hiding corner next to my big green chair and waited.

When I finally sat down he decided it was not going to happen, fifteen minutes later, and had his treat without milk.

I have GOT to stop feeding this dog people food!

It's bad enough that he knows that the rawhides are stored within reach of my desk.

He'll do the same thing.  Walk to my left elbow.  Wag his tail for attention.  Stare holes in me, wait for me to ask "What?  Show me!".  Pad over to the rawhide bag and then lasers.

A beggar of my own creation!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Why was the fishing show so successful? They had a great cast

Proper Etiquettes

During one of her daily classes, a teacher trying to teach good manners, asked her students the following question:

"Michael, if you were on a date having dinner with a nice young lady, how would you tell her that you have to go to the bathroom?

Michael said, "Just a minute I have to go pee." The teacher responded by saying, "That would be rude and impolite. What about you Sherman, how would you say it?" Sherman said, "I am sorry, but I really need to go to the bathroom. I'll be right back."

"That's better, but it's still not very nice to say the word bathroom at the dinner table. And you, little Edward, can you use your brain for once and show us your good manners?"

"I would say: Darling, may I please be excused for a moment? I have to shake hands with a very dear friend of mine, who I hope to introduce you to after dinner."

Saturday, June 16, 2018

I want to tell you a joke about procrastination. . . tomorrow.

A family is driving in their car on a holiday.

A frog crosses the road and the husband, who is driving, is able to stop the car. He gets out an takes the frog and carries him to the side of the road.

Frog is grateful, thanks the man for saving his life, and tells him that he will grant him a wish.

The man says, "please make my dog win the next dog race."

Frog asks to look at the dog which jumps out of the car. The frog notices that the dog has only got three legs and tells the man that he thinks it is almost impossible to fulfill his wish and asks that the man will tell him another wish.

The man says, "Well, then please help that my wife will win the next beauty contest in the area."

Frog asks him to tell his wife to get out of the car. Wife comes out of the car and approaches the frog. The frog looks at the man and says, "Could I please have another look at the dog?"


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Baking or Soap Making it could be Engineering Tolerances that are causing you problems

I was an electronics geek back when I was a teen. 

Everything in Electronics had a percentage of tolerance engineered in.  Any particular theoretical Resistor may have been intended to be 220K, but in reality it had a 10 % tolerance built in and could have been as much as  22K off.  Say 200 Ohm to 242K ohm. 

And since everything else had a 10% tolerance it just may work!  After all, analog electronics always had a trimming capacitor or potentiometer somewhere to tune the circuit to make it all work.

I have a habit of scaling recipes.  That Engineering Tolerance can get in the way.

It makes too much, cut the recipe down.  If it doesn't make enough, double it.

In fact, my favorite bread recipe, Pat's Pizza Dough works great in thirds.  I can take that third and make a rather nice sized pizza for two or a couple rolls for sandwiches and it works well.

My preferred way to make a pizza crust is to toss the ingredients into a bag, add an extra teaspoon or tablespoon to texture, and squish it around until it is properly mixed and kneaded.

What if I want one single roll?

No, seriously, just one.  After all you're not eating two rolls at a time, right?  It may not turn out just right.

After all, you took a recipe that you cut down from 3 cups to 1 cup, and it worked out right, but what about going smaller.

Metric measurements may help.  

But here is the rub.  Many recipes were converted from very old measurements and work well in one specific climate, but move them they don't work.  Others were converted into Metric measurements and are rounded up or down.

I have seen conversion factors varying between 28 and 30 grams to the ounce where the official measurement is 28.35 (by my search) grams to the ounce.

28 and lets-call-it-a-third grams to the ounce.

(See what I did there?  Added an Engineering Tolerance?)

Have you ever accurately measured one gram in a kitchen?   - No.
How about 1/3 of a gram.  - No.
Does it matter? - Maybe.

"Cooking" may not be effected.  Your measurements can be a little off when you're making a roast from Grandma's recipe but "it's the way we like it" would be the answer.

Baking, well that can be finicky.  I'm just not going to try to figure out 9.45 Grams of anything.  My scale is not THAT accurate, and frankly that's only the 1/3 ounce.  A single roll needs 1/9th of a teaspoon of salt and of sugar. 

Settle down, if you go up or down slightly, it should still work but you probably have a freezer that would take the other two rolls if you went to the 1/3rd recipe.

My point is that it is a rare kitchen that can measure in tiny fractions of a gram.  If it is. it is probably cooking something that you would see in Breaking Bad.

After all, I remember my high school chemistry very well and used to get ridiculously accurate measurements in a true Laboratory with balance scales and graduated cylinders and Scientific House weights and measures, and MY kitchen is not equipped!

Since my High School Chem teacher was a stoner, learning Chemistry well was self-preservation around all those possibly toxic ingredients.

The one gram weight was, by the way, a small square of brass that was about the size of a quarter of a common postage stamp.  Now cut that down to a third.

Just stop right there.  My point is with food, it just might not be a problem and you can always have leftovers since that oven isn't exactly free to run.

But soap?  Don't try this at home kiddies!

The size reduction... Soap Making is easy but take your time with measurements.

You see, making larger batches of soap seem to be fine.  Bread Loaf sized batches mean that you can do your measurements in ounces and your kitchen scale will be happy to oblige.  Use Grams if you like and be more precise.   Anything over 500 Grams or a Pound (you choose) and the numbers get nice and round.

Since you are using less than 100% of the Lye you need in the recipe to leave things nice and moisturized after washing  your hide with it, coming in a wee bit low makes things happy. 

My first batch was at 96%.  That soap was so good that my skin problem cleared up.  Add to it that I only ever use Human Food Grade Ingredients for making soap and you can really see why.

Then I got "creative".  "Lets make One Single Bar Of Soap." I said, in earnest!  "After all, how difficult can it be?"

Hah!  You jest.

You see, the measurement came in wanting a fraction of a gram of lye. 8.45 grams, to be specific.

No.  Just no. 

Since different oils have different properties, I fiddled with the soap calculator web page and came up with a combination that ended up being exactly 8.00 grams of Lye, even round numbered gram amounts of oils, and 17 1/2 grams of water.

Why such small amounts?  I wanted One Single Bar of Soap that was going to be 3 ounces. 

Actually I wanted two of them but one had scent and the other did not.

When I was through, the same measurements gave me two bars through two separate preparations of ingredients.

Bar one was 86 Grams.
Bar two was 79 Grams.

From the same measurements.

Bar one was fine and made the house smell like peppermint, and that was intentional.

Bar two had no scent and a sheen of "something" clear on top.  I don't know if it was oil or water but it all "digested" into the bar and was (semi) solid the next day.

Don't ask, I have no idea why.

They are both curing until they are ready to use.  Bar One will probably be too strongly scented and Bar Two might be harsh.  I won't know until I use them.

So if you're wondering why it does not work out when you do all that weird calculations and get different results, well, you made a measuring mistake and it happens.

Go with larger batches next time.  I will.  My mold will make six bars of soap, each 3 ounces.  I will calculate 21 ounces and see what I get.  I'll let you know how that worked out.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Why did the snake exterminator cross the road? To get to the adder cide.

A redneck calls up the White House...
Redneck: I’d like to sign me up to be the next President of the United States!

Receptionist: What are you, an idiot?
Redneck: I dunno, is that required?


The latest report from Mars indicates the presence of large ring structures of precious stones and a dusting of glitter almost everywhere

Apparently, efforts are underway to tiara-form the planet.




A man was standing in front of his bathroom mirror shaving
His young son came in the room and said: "Dad, when I grow up I want to be just like you!"

The man puffed up his chest proudly and asked: "Why's that son?"
His son replied: "So I can have a son just like me"




So what do you do?
I sell prosthetic limbs to various countries.

So you're like a med rep, but for amputees?
I prefer international arms dealer.



A bear walks into a bar and says, "give me a whiskey and.... cola."

"Why the big pause?" asks the bartender.
The bear then answered. "I'm not sure, I was born with them."


A gentleman walks into a store tells the sales associate “I need an anniversary gift. Do you have any perfume?”
Lady shows him a bottle, he asks “how much?”
She replies “$50”.

He asks for a cheaper bottle.
She shows him another bottle.

“How much?”, “$20” she replied.
He asks again “anything cheaper?

She shows him a mirror.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

My boss ordered me to take a diversity awareness program. I shouldn't have said I was lactose intolerant.

Three construction workers have had it with their sandwiches...

Three construction workers have had it with their sandwiches being the same for the last 20 years!

So they struck a deal, if their wives make them same sandwiches yet again, tomorrow, they're gonna throw themselves off the building.

So tomorrow comes, and one opens his lunchbox, sees the same sandwich, and jumps to his death. The second one opens his lunchbox, same story, jumps. And the third one opens his, sees another same sandwich as yesterday, and jumps off to his demise.

At their funeral, the first construction worker's wife cries, and through her tears says "He should have told me, I would have made him a different sandwich".
The second wife totally devastated whimpers "He never complained about his sandwich, I should have known...", and continues crying.
And the third one cries "Oh what an idiot I married, he made his own sandwiches"

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Florida Is No Place If You Hate Spiders

I'm up early.  Usually about early enough to get a good long dog walk in and feed both of us before dawn even struggles to send first light over the hedge.

Being tall, you should thank me.  It is a public service that I do.

What service would that be, you ask?

I clear spider webs from the walks and paths of this town.

Terrified of spiders?

I am not, in fact, generally I ignore them.  Their purpose is to eat the creatures that I do not care for like the mosquitoes and gnats.

Yes, this being the tropics, or tropics adjacent - depending on your definition, we do have mosquitoes.  Legions of the blasted creatures.  Evil blood sucking things.

This being the tropics here in South Florida, everything grows.   Fast.  Quick.  Assertively.

That sidewalk I depend on has palm fronds on it, every block, that I have to dodge.  You may not, but I most certainly do.

If the frond wasn't there yesterday, it's here today.  People don't tend to clear walkways to seven feet or 2 and a half meters, or what ever measure your area thinks is traditionally appropriate.

Sometimes I may help that along, but it can be a lot of work trimming leaves.

That open area is where the spider web clearing comes along.

Sorry, Charlotte, but your web was in my way.  I'll be sure to take a bit home with me in my hair
or on my arms or clothes.  Thanks, but I really don't need that.

Getting in to feed the dog, I brush myself down looking for hitchhikers and calling it good, I prepare for a later foray into the yard.

The 7:30AM yard inspection is just after sunrise by a bit.  As they say "Lather, Rinse, Repeat" and I am back outside trying to avoid bugs.

That has its own reward.  This is more human scaled agriculture, or rather my own human scaled.  I look over closely the plants I do want in the yard, remove those I don't and sometimes spot something.

In this case, Bougainvillea.  It blooms almost all year around.  I can't think of when it isn't blooming.  If you get just the right angle, it makes for quite a nice display.

If you don't just remember that those things will bite you with the spikes on the limbs.

I never work on a bougainvillea without a little blood loss.

Not from the spiders, but the spines.  Spiders are everywhere, even if you don't see them in the flowers.

Go eat a mosquito, spider, I'll leave you alone.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

My favourite word is "confidential". I can't tell you why.

I'm watching my neighbor who owns a pair of apartment buildings walk around on his roof.  We're commenting "Careful, if you fall through that roof, who will you sue?"  


So of course this one is appropriate.


Some bloke wants to become a lawyer

The guy (lets call him John) has been dreaming about being the greatest lawyer in the state for years, and has spent the past half a decade working super hard at law school to achieve this goal.

One day, he gets an interview for a highly successful law firm called "Anderson and Nelson At Law" which has an opening for a new lawyer position.

So on the big day, John gets dressed in a sharp and finely tailored suit and drives out to the firm's building. He finally gets there about 15 minutes early, but he can't find a parking space. He drives around the building a few times but still doesn't find one.

About 10 minutes pass and he starts to panic, this was his dream! It took him months to have his resume accepted by a firm, and he is worried it may take much longer for another to accept if he misses this interview slot.

As he drives around the building, he starts to pray to God for a parking space.

"God, I don't know if you exist or not. But I promise, if you give me a parking space right now I'll go to church every Sunday, I'll give 25% of my income to charity and I'll start being a better man."

All of a sudden, a car pulls in front of him and he notices an open parking space.

He says: "Oh, nevermind God! There's one now!"

Saturday, June 2, 2018

I'm giving away my roof for free! Don't worry, it's on the house.

A filthy rich Florida man decided that he wanted to throw a party and invited all of his buddies and neighbors. He also invited Leroy, the only redneck in the neighborhood.

He held the party around the pool in the backyard of his mansion. Leroy was having a good time drinking, dancing, eating shrimp, oysters and BBQ and flirting with all the women.

At the height of the party, the host said, 'I have a 10 foot man-eating gator in my pool and I'll give a million dollars to anyone who has the nerve to jump in.'
The words were barely out of his mouth when there was a loud splash.

Everyone turned around and saw Leroy in the pool!

Leroy was fighting the gator and kicking its ass! Leroy was jabbing it in the eyes with his thumbs, throwing punches, head butts and choke holds, biting the gator on the tail and flipping it through the air like some kind of judo instructor.

The water was churning and splashing everywhere. Both Leroy and the gator were screaming and raising hell. Finally Leroy strangled the gator and let it float to the top like a dime store goldfish. Leroy then slowly climbed out of the pool.

Everybody was just staring at him in disbelief.
Finally the host says, 'Well, Leroy, I reckon I owe you a million dollars.

'No, that's okay. I don't want it,' said Leroy.

The rich man said, 'Man, I have to give you something. You won the bet. How about half a million bucks then?'

No thanks, I don't want it,' answered Leroy.

The host said, 'Come on, I insist on giving you something! That was amazing!
How about a new Porsche and a Rolex and some stock options?'

Again Leroy said no.

Confused, the rich man asked, 'Well, Leroy, then what do you want?'
Leroy said, 'I want the name of the sumbich who pushed me in the pool!'

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

wakeonlan - remotely starting another computer

This is something I have been using for literally decades.  Since I have been setting this up in my home office, I am reminded that some people just may not have an idea this exists, and that they almost certainly have it on their computers.  Just a matter of turning it on.

I would have my "big" machine in a room away from where I was seated, then I'd wander off and sit on the couch with the little machine. Then I would need something on the big machine across the network. Since it was typically on my third floor it was impractical to take the laptop upstairs when the TV was on in the downstairs living room. To make it handy I wanted to turn that beast on so I could play music in the kitchen or read a document I have on it on my little machine. This little trick would let me do it.

"Wake On Lan" is simple conceptually. You send a "Magic Packet" to another computer on your network, or across the internet. The packet talks to the ethernet card, some wifi cards reportedly work but I have never figured that bit out. When the packet gets there, the computer turns itself on.

Think "Magic Bullet" to wake the computer sleeping at home while you are at work.

Mind you, there are steps to get this to work.:

You have to turn it on in your BIOS.
Ok, better said, you have to find out where it is in the pages of your BIOS, then turn it on.
If you have ever seen your BIOS, and know what's up in there, you probably are in a small minority of people, but trust me there are good things there.

You look for a prompt that says "Enable Wake On Lan" and make sure it says yes or is turned on or "selected", then save and reboot the computer.

That computer must be using a wired connection to the internet - an ethernet connection must be used and not Wifi, although I have seen that some people have managed to get this to work on Wifi.

Technically that's all you need on the "distant" computer you want to wake up, however you do need a few bits of information.

Every network card has a "MAC Address". Think of it as a telephone number. That network card, and only that network card has that specific number. I have mine, you have yours. Same thing as the phone number on your phone, or your IMEI number on the phone. You and only you have THAT number. It may also be in your BIOS, but every BIOS may vary.

You feed it into a wee little program and it fires off a magic packet to your network.

The packet wanders around your network and the ethernet card is listening. If that packet matches the address on the card, the card will wake up the computer from hibernation or turn it on with a "cold boot".

Then you can get your "stuff".

The business of across the internet is a bit more complex. You actually would have to punch a hole in your firewall for the purpose, and this is beyond this posting of "Hey look at this cool stuff".

RaspberryPi users, sorry, you can't wake a Pi across the network, and I really wish you could! The hardware is built more simply, and the Ethernet port actually sit on the USB Bus.

For Linux users (and BSD) with Debian XFCE, you can find out your MAC Address by looking at the connection information when you right click on the Network Connections icon in the status bar or in the Settings, Network Connections on the applications menu. Right click on the Wired Connection you have hooked up. Look for "Hardware Address:: and you will find a number that looks like 01:23:45:67:89:AB

Windows users, check your hardware manager under My Computer.

Mac, sorry, one isn't handy to me but the base commands should be there under your network manager.

Look for the Mac Address, again it's six pairs of Hex numerals that look like 01:23:45:67:89:ab, and write them down.

To test, hibernate or shut "this" distant computer down. Then go to the "other" computer, and launch a Wake On LAN Client. There are many, and they are generally free. Mine is called "wakeonlan" on Linux. It runs at a command line (gasp!) by typing (horrors!) in "wakeonlan 01:23:45:67:89:ab".  You can easily encapsulate it in a bash shell, of course.

Then after a short pause, the computer turns itself on and presents itself at a login prompt.

Your network shares will be available on that machine, or you can use Remote Desktop or VNC to use it directly from where you sit.

Wake on Lan clients are available:
Linux - called wakeonlan and is available by "apt install wakeonlan" in Debian.
Windows - there are a bunch of them that are available here.
Mac OSX - wakeonlan is available here.