Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Did You Ever Wonder Why The Watch Maker Takes So Long?

The Man with a Clock has the time.

The Man with Two is never sure.

I have always had a thing for clocks and watches.

Not those quartz things.  They just don't have "a soul" to me.  Sure they are more accurate and don't need maintenance, except a battery every year, but there's just something missing.

I have too many clocks.  I just had to replace a quartz movement over the weekend, and it will be fine until next year.

I mean real clocks.  Mechanical Clocks.  I have a mechanical automatic diver's watch on my left wrist right now.  Seiko.  I wanted one of these since I was a toddler and learned what the difference was.  

It turns out that that particular movement is something of a sought after item.  I'm afraid to have it worked on as a result.

One of the too many is this beast I have on the wall.  Yes it works, but no it is not in the best of shape.

You see, being a big bruiser, I've knocked into it,  The last time I went to wind it, I dropped the pendulum.  It fell to the floor and the weight went to the bottom of the metal strip that hangs it from the mechanism.

The clock itself has fallen from the wall.  The movement works and keeps time but it is insanely fiddly to set.

That is why I have respect for a clock maker's art.

The clock sits up and to the right of me at my computer, in the corner.  

When it chimes at exactly on the hour, I check the time on the computer that sets itself to the same time standard as every other computer on the web.  

Make a note of it.

Wait an hour.  Did you catch it?  No, wait another hour.

You were in the kitchen again?  Water running, didn't hear it?

How about the time you were in the shower? 

Is someone making breakfast and dropped a frying pan?

Finally it's four hours later, and you catch it again.  The chime hit a second earlier.
So in four hours that clock is running a second fast.  Remember to run the pendulum a tiny bit "down".

Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

And don't drop the pendulum again because if you do, it's start over.

So that is one of the projects that exist when you insist on doing things your own way and technology has moved on. 

Oh!  And there is also Mom's Clock... that one hasn't been accurate in a couple years.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

What's blue and not very heavy? Light blue.

A man is driving down a country road going 45mph, and all the sudden he notices a chicken running next to him.

He couldn't believe his eyes, how could a chicken run so fast?

So he speeds up to 60mph to outrun the chicken, and after a few seconds the chicken has caught up to him! He simply can't believe it, he shakes his head and looks back and suddenly the chicken is gone. But no! He looks ahead and the chicken is in front of him now, and in addition to being impossibly fast, it looks like the chicken has 3 legs!

The chicken turns down a driveway leading to a farm and disappears. Well, naturally the man had to follow the chicken to see where it went because he thought he must be going crazy at this point. After a mile or so he pulls up to a farm, where he sees a farmer standing out front.

The man gets out of his car and and walks up to the farmer and asks "sir, did you just see a chicken come blazing past here?".

"Yes." The farmer replied.

"Did that chicken have 3 legs!?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact I breed 3 legged chickens." The farmer said.

"And why do you do that?"

"Well, when we cook a chicken for dinner, I like to have a drumstick, the wife likes to have a drumstick, and my son also wants a drumstick, and by golly I just got sick of fighting over them."

A long pause...while the man scratches his head. He finally asks the farmer, " do they taste?"

The farmer responds with a frustrated tone: "I don't know! I've never been able to catch one!"

Saturday, March 27, 2021

People say time is money - well I don't buy that for a second

Having gotten up two hours before sunrise I have already edited an older Linux post, Growled at an HR drone in an email, and am now debating if we have enough sauce for Pizza tomorrow.

Pizza never sleeps.  We love our Pizza.

So since you should always remember that HR exists to protect the Company's rights and not your own, here is a bit of workplace cynicism for your Saturday Morning. 


100 Bricks

Agency: " Sir, we found 3 candidates as per your requirements. How do you want their placements, sir?"

MD: "Put about 100 bricks in a closed room. Then send the candidates into the room and close the door, leave them alone and come back after a few hours and analyse the situation:

    If they are counting the bricks, put them in Accounts department.

    If they are recounting the bricks, put them in Auditing.

    If they messed up the whole room with the bricks, put them in Engineering.

    If they are arranging the bricks in some strange order, put them in Planning.

    If they are throwing the bricks at each other, put them in Operations.

    If they are sleeping, put them in Security.

    If they broke the bricks into pieces, put them in Information Technology.

    If they are sitting idle, put them in Human Resources.

    If they say they have tried different combinations yet not a single brick has been moved, put them in Sales.

    If they have already left for the day, Put them in Marketing.

    If they are staring out of the window, put them in Strategic Planning. And...

    If they are talking to each other and not a single brick has been touched, Congratulate them and put them in Top Management.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Char Siu Pork in the Crockpot Express or Instant Pot

I was out for a walk and there was a Crockpot Express sitting in front of the apartments with the
"Free To A Good Home" sign on it.

Yoink.  It had never been used.

So while sitting here thinking of what to write about, I realized I had some Pork Loin sitting in the refrigerator begging for attention.

General Instructions for Pork.

That is what you are reading here.  It's a modification of the recipe I had written years ago.  You see, cooking in a CrockPot Express or Instant Pot is really simple.   It has to be wet.  The Spices can be assembled ahead of time.  It loves marinade.  And take the time to Brown or Saute the meat, the extra flavor is why it is worth it!

But it is really all about the time under pressure and how long you leave it for natural release after the cook time is done.

Pork Shoulder recipes were 20 minutes under pressure, 10 minute natural release.

Sear your meat, fat side down until the fat looks cooked with a little oil.  I seared the outside of the entire piece of pork.

Remove the meat, pour in your liquid, and start the recipe.

Marinade  Add to a bowl, whisk until mixed.

  • 1/2 cup Hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup Brandy, Rum, or Whiskey
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons or 1 Ounce of Dark Sesame Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons or 1 Ounce of Hot Sauce.  Sauces such as Thai Chili, Srirarcha, Tabasco... TO TASTE!  This time it was a bit on the hot side for me personally, I'll cut it down by half next time
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh Ginger - Or 2 Teaspoons powdered Ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Five Spice Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Onion Powder (NOT salt)
  • 2 teaspoons red food coloring - optional

Plus 2-4 pounds of Pork Shoulder or Pork Loin


  1. Heat the Crockpot Express on Saute.
  2. When the Oil warms to shimmer add your Pork fat side down.
  3. Move the Pork around until the fat begins to render and turn translucent.
  4. Repeat until the meat begins to brown on each side.
  5. Remove the meat and set aside.
  6. Turn off the Saute/Brown cycle.
  7. Add the marinade to the bottom and deglaze the pot.
  8. Then add the meat back to the pot turning it so the marinade gets to all sides of the meat.
  9. Seal the pot and cook for 20 minutes with at least 10 minutes for Natural Release.  If you are going to shred the meat, you will want to increase the cook time.
  10. Reduce the sauce that is left in the pot to the desired consistency and serve as needed.


Oh yeah that's the ticket!  The pork was tender, moist, and had a great flavor to it.  I reduced the sauce to a Barbecue Sauce/Catsup consistency after removing the pork and put some on the rice and pork I had for lunch.  It was good but was more spicy than I prefer.  Next time I do this, and I most certainly will, I will cut the hot sauce to 1 Tablespoon or less.

Again, since this was Char Siu (Chinese Barbecue) and not Pulled Pork, I served slices on a bed of rice.   If I were to want this to be Pulled Pork, I would increase the cook time to around 30 minutes for starters and see where it is for next time.  As it was this was an incredible meal for me and Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM)!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

I once worked at a cheap pizzeria to get by. I kneaded the dough.

 It is Sunday.  Sundays here tend to be Pizza Days, although it does not guarantee that we will have an Italian Specialty.  

Now to have a good pizza you need a good sauce.  The Pizza here in South Florida tends to be kind of flat tasting to me, and coming from Philadelphia area, I know good pizza.  This Sauce recipe is as good as most from Up North and better than most.

On the other hand, I spent a good chunk of the afternoon cooking.  8 pounds of beans are easy in the pressure cooker just like this little old church lady needed to have.  That kid of hers would never have caused this to happen if she had one, he couldn't get in trouble!

One of the patrons of the church was cooking a pot of her famous beans for the church potluck. 

Her son, Little Johnny, came running through the house, BB gun in one hand, and a handful of BBs in the other.
He tripped and the BBs, naturally, went right into the pot of beans.
Thinking it over, Little Johnny could think of no reason why he should risk punishment, so he said nothing.

The dinner went well, and, as usual, the beans were one of the favorite dishes.

The next day, the church secretary, Mary, called Little Johnny's mother and said, "Jane, your beans were delicious as usual, but what did you put in them this time?"
Jane replied, "Nothing new, why do you ask?"
"Well," said Mary, "this morning I bent over to feed the cat, and shot the canary!"

Saturday, March 20, 2021

English is a wierd language, Noses run and feet smell!

For the first day of spring, here is one of those stories.

It has been told many times, many ways.  I have to say that it should be considered well loved.

So have a visit with someone who is getting put soundly in his place.

A full scale naval confrontation is just avoided off the Kerry coast.

Radio transcript.

Irish: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South, to avoid a collision.
British: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the North, to avoid a collision.

Irish: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.
British: This is the captain of a British navy ship. I say again, divert your course.

Irish: Negative. I say again, You will have to divert your course
British: This is the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible. The second largest ship in the British atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, two missile cruisers, and numerous support vessels. I demand that you change your course, 15 degrees north, I say again, that is 15 degrees north, or counter-measures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship.

Irish: We are a lighthouse. Your call.

Yank: By the way, this is merely a good story and not a true one.  Enjoy the humo(u)r!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Try A Clone Of Your Disk When Moving To A New Computer With Linux

Forward:  Here I am two weeks later.  The original upgrade worked like a champ.  I'm on it right now and it is happy.

Then I tried again with a very different pair of machines.  There were some pretty big problems with the upgrade.  The problem boiled down to the internal assignment of the hardware to Debian.  You can check this with a live CD.

Where the old System V Unix hardware assignments of /dev/sda for your first drive have been used since the 1980s under Linux, the new machine, a Thinkpad Carbon with a m.2 hard drive came up as /dev/nvme0p1 which broke Apt. 

I'm currently reevaluating.   If the new machine starts with the disc drive being assigned to /dev/sda then the following write-up should work.  I have been advised to use a permanent symbolic link to restore fidelity but I am unsure whether I will proceed or just throw up my hands and install Debian from scratch, then import the software manifest from Synaptic and upgrade.

Stay tuned.


With Linux, there are a couple things that people in a home situation are told frequently.

Try it out and enjoy the journey is one of the first things I keep saying.  After all you grew up with people around you using Windows or Mac.  The Linux software is new, it does things differently, the rules have changed.  Don't forget it is completely customizable and can be changed easily.

The next one is if you are going to do it, do it right and get a used Thinkpad.  The hardware is usually repairable and pretty much bulletproof.  I have done an install on some rather crusty old Thinkpads and they just seem to work.  The documents on how to repair these machines are available on PDF and the detail is down to which screws to remove first.

Debian with the "Non-Free" .ISO files copied onto a USB stick.  Boot and install.

Debian Swirl Logo

However, what do you do if you have a new-to-you computer?   It is much easier than on Windows. 

The scenerio was I was given a newer Thinkpad T550.  I have my mature, four year old Debian install on the older Thinkpad Yoga. The hardware is similar but not exactly identical.

Old was an 8GB i7 Yoga with an SSD and Touchscreen.

New was a 16GB i7 Thinkpad T550 with an SSD and no Touchscreen.

Typical Debian with XFCE4 Desktop

So I had four years of experience on the old machine.  Four years of installing software, tweaking the machine for "silky smooth" running, and a software library that suits my needs.  I did not want to go through the whole creation routine, although the information is available on this blog on how to do it.

I was not going to encrypt the new machine, although that will be done in the future.  

It was fairly simple.  

I have an external drive case for the SSD in the Yoga.  I merely put the Yoga's drive in the case and booted the T550 from the external drive.  

Step 2 was once I knew I was running on the Yoga's drive, dd the drive across to the T550's internal drive.

To determine what was going on, I verified what I was doing via running gparted and looking at where I was booted from.

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

Wait four or five hours for it all to finish.

Shut down the T550 and unplug the external drive caddy.

On boot, it put me in single user mode where I had to "fsck /dev/sda1" as well as sda2 and sda5.

Power off and boot again.

I was staring at my normal log in screen on the new machine.  No weird special software, it's all a part of the operating system.  All my tweaks, shares, installed software was in place.  I could take time to move in but really there was no need to worry.

That's it.  All done.

The reason why it works is because the hardware basis was similar.  I was going to hardware that was supported by Linux's kernel, and drivers were already there for the more basic hardware.  I was also lucky, nothing was missing.  It would be enumerated with the boot and missing drivers could be found by looking through "sudo dmesg".

I have also done this trick with a Dell Precision and a Thinkpad.  And back.  Linux is more forgiving than its reputation gives it.  Again the hardware between the two computers was not that different and I did have to make sure that drivers were not missing on boot.

 You can't do that in Windows so easily because over the years they purposely took the ability to do this away.  It was able to be done back as far as the early XP days, but I would not even attempt that now.  Plus I left the Windows world when they started turning a rather popular operating system into a steaming pile of spyware with a god awful user interface.

The problem with this process is that you wind up with your machine exactly the way it was before on the old hardware.   If there were problems in the software before it won't fix it, and being on old drivers will result in a possibly less efficient machine.

But here I am a month down the road and my T550 is running great.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

A Thirteen Shorts for Pi Day

 Knowing that I find my jokes online for the blog, I thought that geekdom would come to my rescue.  Not really, I'm filling this out with other shorts and one liners.

Here, it's time change day (Spring Ahead and Fall Back) and hopefully we can put an end to that silliness once and for all.  

Set it and forget it for crying out loud!  Not everything old Ben Franklin came up with makes sense!

Also here, it is Pi Day.  We have this idea that writing dates as Month/Day/Year makes sense.  Being a Lead Project Manager, I insisted on Year/Month/Date when dates were stored.  Now that everything is a database, it's not so important, just define the field as a date.

Anyway, here you go!

An opinion without 3.14 is just an onion.
What do you call a 3.14 long sea raider?  A pi-rate.
I know all the digits of pi.  Just not in order.
What do you call a snake that is 3.14 feet long?  A pi-thon.
What do you get if you eat 3.14 cakes?  Fat. You get fat.
My wife is irrational and her problems are never ending.  She was born on π day.

What did the step ladder say to the ladder?  You’re not my real dad!
How do you get down from an elephant?  You don’t, you get down from a goose.
How do you stop a bull from charging?  You unplug it.

And a few "short" jokes to send you on your way.

The 3 hardest things to say:

I was wrong.
I need help.
Worcestershire Sauce

Two friends are driving through a town...

They see a billboard saying:

Vodka + water = kidney problems;
Rum + water = liver problems;
Whiskey + water = heart issues;
Gin + water = brain damage;

Says one to the other “dude, looks like there are some serious issues with water supply in this town”

Soldier: A horse is definitely man's best friend.

His wife: I thought dogs were man's best friend.

Soldier: Ever done a hasty retreat from a losing battle on a chihuahua.

The air in my apartment was so dry that we were getting shocked every time we touched a faucet or door knob. So, was I happy that my landlord finally installed a humidifier ?

I was ecstatic.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

What did the step ladder say to the ladder? You’re not my real dad!

I have driven Jeep Wranglers for quite a while.  I have a vehicle that can take me anywhere that there is a hit of a road.  The one I have is 19 years old, and is as sound as the day I bought it.  It is thirsty and if I can find gas for it, it will probably outlast me.  With only 50,000 miles, it's just a baby.

That combination of the 4 Liter Inline Six designed by AMC and a Manual Five Speed Transmission is usually described as unkillable.

It's taken me to some amazing places where I got to indulge my desires to commune with Nature, see the sunrise over the New Jersey Pine Forests, and see the wildlife where they live.

Take nothing but memories, leave nothing but footprints, and tread lightly.

I never was the kind of Jeep Bro who would carve out water channels through the muck because it just was not my way.  But it was fun to get out to places where once your motor is turned off, the only thing you would hear is the cooling of the heat shields and the breezes through the forest.  

Wildlife was always nearby and you could get out and hike a bit while you are at it.

Just remember When Hiking Near Bears.

The National Park Rangers are advising hikers in Glacier National Park and other Rocky Mountain parks to be alert for bears and take extra precautions to avoid an encounter.

They advise park visitors to wear little bells on their clothes so they make noise when hiking.
The bell noise allows bears to hear them coming from a distance and not be startled by a hiker accidentally sneaking up on them. This might cause a bear to charge.

Visitors should also carry a pepper spray can just in case a bear is encountered. S
praying the pepper into the air will irritate the bear's sensitive nose and it will run away.

It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for fresh bear scat so you have an idea if bears are in the area.
People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.
Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur.
Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Sharing A Moment With A Dragonfly

Every day, I have to visit the backyard.  At least twice every day, I inspect the pool, the irrigation, the orchids, the plants.

You get the idea.

This particular day I was standing out back staring at the pool and the plants and noticed that there was something buzzing around my head.  The Monarch Butterfly that had been fluttering around had gone, there are new plantings of Milkweed at the nearby park and I think she got blown off course.

I hope so, I need more seeds to start more plants.  The park's plants are down to sticks only a week after planting.

The buzzing went on, and I noticed the piece of bamboo in a nursery pot was leaning.  It was not due to a bit of weight because there was something sitting there.  A Dragonfly.  I am sure that the Gecko that has colonized the particular stake was inside of it, it's a nice place for a lizard, but this Dragonfly was just sitting there.

From my experience, Dragonflies will not sit there long, especially if you are Too Close.  I was able to reach out to the little creature, but did not.  I did not want to disturb it.

I think it was watching me as I was watching it.  

Actually they are quite beautiful, and I purposely do not treat my lawn with insecticides because I want to allow them to stay here.  After all, they do eat the mosquitoes that are a pestilence here.  

After a rain, wait a day or three and you find squadrons of these little jewels come through to clear the air in advanced formations.

This was none of that.   We stood there, watching each other.  I realized it was content to stay there and watch me as I pulled out my camera and got quite close to it to get three pictures.  The one up top was the best of them.  

Mind you it is really quite rare when you can get that close to an insect, and in this case I was less than a hand width away when I took the picture.

One of the benefits of not killing all the wildlife that inhabits your yard is that they will allow you to watch them at times.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

What is faster Hot or cold? Hot because you can catch a cold.

Sometimes, it is just best to hold your tongue in a given situation, ya know?

A priest, an alcoholic, and an engineer are sentenced to death.

They are to be killed by the guillotine.

First is the priest. The executioner says "You can go on the guillotine either face up or face down". The priest says "I want to die face up, looking up to the heavens". So the priest lies face up. The executioner releases the blade; the blade falls rapidly but suddenly stops just 1 inch from the priest's neck. Given the miracle, the priest is allowed to walk free.

Next comes the alcoholic. The executioner offers him the same choice, "Do you want to lie facing up or facing down?". The alcoholic says "I want to face up... to remember my glorious drinking days". So the alcoholic lies face up. The executioner releases the blade, and again, it suddenly stops just 1 inch from the man's neck. Given the miracle, the alcoholic is allowed to walk free.

Finally, it's the engineer's turn. Once again, the executioner offers him the same choice, "Face up or face down?". The engineer scratches his head and says "face up I guess". So the engineer lies face up. Just as the executioner is about to release the blade, the engineer starts shouting. "WAIT WAIT!! .... I found the problem!".

Saturday, March 6, 2021

How did the preacher get people to have faith in his words? He became a scientist.

I have someone near me talking about going to the gastroenterologist for an annual exam, so if you have an appointment looming, you may take some solace in this particular story.


On the subject of Colonoscopies...

Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous..... A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:

    Take it easy Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before.

    'Find Amelia Earhart yet?'

    'Can you hear me NOW?'

    'Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?'

    'You know, in Arkansas, we're now legally married.'

    'Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?'

    'You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out...'

    'Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!'

    'If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!'

    'Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.'

    'You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?'

    'God, now I know why I am not gay.'

And the best one of all:

13. 'Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?'

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

First the Lemon, Now the Orange, I Guess I'll Put The Comforter Away Until Next Time

Last week I noticed that the Lemon Tree was shaking off the winter chill.  It's growing and is taller than I am in its pot.  It's also sprouting all sorts of little leaves.  I'm going to need to go out back and try to cut some Bamboo to stake the thing up.

While out there, I noticed that all the Mango Inflorescences have begun to form little bright green pea sized Mangoes.  There were flies and bees all over the thing pollenating the flowers, so I am hoping it will be a good year.  I have promised one person already that I would try to start some Mango trees for her.  I will probably have more than that one, especially if I am blessed with a lot of fruit.  The tree is even throwing out a lot of leaves so I know that once fruiting season is over in early summer, I'll be out there pretending I know what I am doing and trimming it back like a tree surgeon.

They don't really like that and will pout next year.

Now, I walk past my Orange tree.  It's a Honeybell Orange, which if you don't come down here to Florida you probably don't know.  It's my favorite kind of Orange, very similar in taste and texture to a Mineola Tangelo.  Soft, sweet, and floral, they have a lot of juice to give.

I planted it shortly after we moved into the house so I'd say it was there since 2008 or so.  It's in a bad house, next to the fence and the carport so it gets hotter than it prefers.  We routed the outflow from the air conditioning to it so it gets passively watered by "free water".  It had stopped flowering about two years later, and never really gives fruit let alone blossoms.

But there was a flower on it.  Popped open and smelling amazing.  Then I looked along the branches and there were dozens of blossoms waiting to open.

Yes, it will be a good fruiting season.

I used to marvel at the orange groves up in central Florida when I would ride through on the way here.  There are groves planted right up to the edge of the road right of way and you could literally pick fruit without much effort.  

But the nicest thing about driving past a flowering orange grove is the intensity of that sweet smell that wafts off them.  I am getting that same smell here at the house.  I walked out to the tree and just took it all in.

Mind you, Honeybells are not supposed to have seeds, but if I do have one that puts out seeds, I'll plant them. 

I'll let you know how that will go if they do.  I many not be able to harvest anything until next winter anyway, they have a season that is later in the year.