Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A Little Bit Of Insulation Makes A Big Difference

This might just be From The Land Of Duh, but Insulation Works.

See, the thing is that my house in South Florida had a lot of problems with it.  We bought it with worn out tiles, a bathroom that needed a lot of work, and a Florida Room.

Mind you, that Florida Room is a space that has been upgraded over the years.  We think it was originally simply a non-enclosed porch.  Over the years it got enclosed with Jalousie Windows, Air Conditioning since it does get "warm" here, and then the windows were upgraded to Hurricane Glass.

Hurricane Glass.  The stuff reminds me of a bank teller's window.  Thick enough to stop a speeding bird, then break its neck as it flies into it at full speed.

The latest improvement to the space was to insulate the ceiling.  We also put in some LED lighting.  

The upshot of all of this is that the house may just have gained a new and USABLE room.

By this I mean the house is right now being cooled to 74F/23C.  The only time we were able to get the house that cool was when it was our two weeks of winter and it was "cold" to us.  I live 8 miles south of the freeze line and the coldest it ever gets here is 34F/1C.  Peak of summer when the temps are in the mid 90s, the compressor would run all day long and only cycle after sunset.

All this temperature nonsense aside, we normally kept the place at 76F/24C.  That same room is on the opposite side of the house from the thermostat, and when we were in our normal 90F Plus summer temps (32C), the Florida Room would be as warm as 82F/28C.  There are two air vents in that room and the doorway to the room is always open and you can stand with your arms stretched and not touch the edges.   It's a big open space without a door.

I learned the first summer here that my desk in the Florida Room would not get used because it was just too hot to sit out there.  I took over the dining room and would do my computer and "desk" work there.  It was cooler there, and I simply said to people that there was a thunderstorm difference of temperature in that room.  

Oscar the parrot did not seem to mind the heat and could watch the outdoor birds when they came to visit him.  He would sit there and chatter at both me in the Dining Room, and the Orioles and Hummingbirds that would hide in the Bougainvillea from time to time.

So here I sit, across the street, waiting to be able to move back into my house once all the work is done.  Once it is, I expect to be able to be out there and leave the dining room to be used for dinner.

What a surprise, huh?

So when people harp at you about insulating your attic, take it from my Florida Room, you should.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

I'm a nervous gardener. Sometimes I wet my plants.

 I'm thinking that this is really a bit of "Boomer Humor".  The style is something from what I will generously call an earlier time.  Older references and the like. 

You will see when you get to the punch line.

The Artemis mission is a success, two astronauts land on the moon.

The astronauts are exploring the surface and collecting samples. The mission is going well, but one of the astronauts notices something strange in the distance.

"Hey, what's that thing on the ground?" the astronaut points.

They cannot make out what it is, so the two astronauts approach the thing on the ground. Soon the strange object takes shape as they get closer.

They cannot believe their eyes.

It was a corpse. But not just any corpse.

It was a dead woman. She was not an astronaut, but a normal woman in her street clothes.

She was an American woman who wore a skirt, a shirt, and high heels; her attire was formal for a woman her age.

The astronauts are baffled on how she got up here on the moon. They decide to get a good look at her face...

And their worst fears are confirmed. The big bruise on her kisser was proof enough.

"Good lord!" the astronaut says. "It's Alice Kramden!"

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Mirror.

 As I sit in this little apartment with exactly one large mirror.  I'm not prone to being a magpie or a peacock staring into a dog's dish hubcap but well... Blah.

It is a perfect time to be sitting in my rocking chair, sipping a tankard of half caff coffee, and reading a long story like this one.

So there's this bar in New York called Walter's - it's named after the guy who runs the place, Walter Green. He's an older guy who doesn't understand a lot of technological stuff, and so the bar is plain and simple, just as it was when he first opened it back in the 1960s. One of Walter's regular customers is Joe, a theoretical physicist at a nearby lab who was working on a secretive time travel project. Their idea was that instead of bringing people from the modern day back in time, they could bring notable figures from the past into the present day through effectively making a copy of them - therefore not creating any time paradoxes or stuff like that. After years of work, they managed to finally get a working prototype going.

Their first test was bringing Albert Einstein into the present day, as they thought he'd be interested in their invention. After they achieved this, they explained how it works. Einstein was absolutely astonished at their work, and congratulated them profusely. After this, the team, plus Einstein, went out for a drink at Walter's, as they thought the bar wouldn't overwhelm their guest too much with new technology. They all had the best night of their lives - Einstein got incredibly drunk and nearly forgot he'd been brought to the future until he stepped outside again.

The next day, after saying their farewells to Einstein, they struggled to figure out who to bring back next. Joe had been reading a book about the history of communications in America, and the idea of bringing back Samuel Morse came to mind. The others agreed that he would be an interesting person to talk to, and so they set about bringing him to the present. After they went through the same explanation as they did with Einstein, they decided to try and re-create the experience they gave him.

The team walked down to Walter's again, Samuel Morse in tow. However, this time, there was a problem. When they entered the bar, Morse was disgusted, and explained that he was a committed teetotaler who had not drunk a drop of alcohol in his life. No matter how they insisted, he simply refused to even try a drink. Running out of ideas, the rest of the team brought Morse back to the lab. Joe stayed behind to apologise to his friend about the angry reaction they got from Samuel Morse.

"I just don't see what his problem was. Einstein had a great time here, but Morse just wasn't having it at all."

Walter poured himself a drink, and took a long sip before replying to Joe:

"You know what they say; you can take Morse to Walter's, but you can't make him drink."

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Welcome to Florida, Our Stinkhorn Mushrooms Are Fruiting and Not A Dog Toy


When writing a blog, you get to see what you write that makes people interested in what you say.  One of the articles I wrote many years ago was a picture of a Black Racer Snake perched in my Bougainvillea in the backyard of my house.  It was thawing in the morning sun, and even if it had lunged at me, it would not have been fatal.  They are non venomous.

It's a big hit in India and surrounding nations.  I'm not sure why.  But the videos of Cobras being "Charmed" in the streets always gives me a bit of a pause for concern.

Here in South Florida, we have a weirdly diverse wildlife.  It's not strange enough that the river that surrounds the island on which I live occasionally gets alligators, and I believe sharks have been spotted.   People come down here and call the place weird because we have Ball Pythons, Boa Constrictors, Iguanas, Ducks, Monkeys, and Parrots.  Everything has relocated here as a result of being released from captivity, either intentionally or not.  

I'm sure that I am leaving a few out.  The stories of people "finding" lost dogs and cats that turn out to be abandoned in a remote area are many and unfortunate.

In this case, this is a dog toy looking thing that is a mushroom.  Don't let your dog play with it.  It's most likely poison.

The fruiting body comes up, pops open, and smells like rotting meat.  The smell attracts flies and the flies land on it.  Spores get on the flies and the plant will have a chance at having more of its kind in the area.  The next day, the "dog toy" shrivels up and looks like a deflated balloon.

The Circle Of Life continues in another place.

So if you are coming down here, please look but don't touch the weird wildlife.  It may have been from Cousin Jane from Toledo, Ohio but now it's feral and may bite.   That thing under the hedge is not a dog toy, it smells like a burger that has gone off.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Why is that fighter smiling? Because he's gladiator.

 A Sunday Two-fer...

A man enters the confessional after not attending church for many years. He pulls the curtain and sits inside. Surprised, he notices that there is a small bar with crystal glasses, nice cognacs and even a tap for draft beer. There is also a selection of luxury cigars, and on the wall is a calendar with gorgeous ladies who forgot to dress.

He hears the priest enter:

"Father, forgive me for so many years since my last confession!" As I look at things, things have improved a lot, it's much more cozy here now than it was before.

The priest answers:

"Come out, you idiot!" You're in my half!

... and ...

A man’s printer started printing more and more faintly, so he called a local repair shop.

A friendly young man informed him, “Well, you could bring it in for a cleaning, but we charge $50 for that, so you might be better off just reading the manual and trying the job yourself.”

Pleasantly surprised by this candor, the man said, “Thanks, son. Does your boss know that you discourage business?”

“Actually, it was my boss’s idea,” said the young employee. “He says that if we let people try to fix things themselves first, we end up making even more money!”

Saturday, September 18, 2021

You know what would make your bad day even worse? Finding out your toaster is water-proof.

Having watched Red Dwarf, I completely believe this could be a cat.  Even a big cat!  No matter how evolved that cat might be, it's still a cat.

(You'd have to watch Red Dwarf to get that I guess.)

Well, there was this tiger who woke up one morning, and just felt great

(yes, just like Tony the Tiger: GREAAAAAAT).

Anyway, he just felt so good, he went out and cornered a small monkey and roared at him: "WHO IS THE MIGHTIEST OF ALL THE JUNGLE ANIMALS?"
And this poor quaking little monkey replied: "You are of course, no one is mightier than you."

A little while later this tiger confronts a deer, and just bellows out: "WHO IS THE GREATEST AND STRONGEST OF ALL THE JUNGLE ANIMALS?"
The deer is shaking so hard it can barely speak, but manages to stammer: "Oh great tiger, you are by far the mightiest animal in the jungle."

The tiger, being on a roll, swaggered, up to an elephant that was quietly munching on some weeds, and roared at the top of his voice: "WHO IS THE MIGHTIEST OF ALL THE ANIMALS IN THE JUNGLE?"

Well, this elephant grabs the tiger with his trunk, picks him up, slams him down; picks him up again, and shakes him until the tiger is just a blur of orange and black; and finally throws him violently into a nearby tree.

The tiger staggers to his feet, looks at the elephant and says: "Man, you don't have to get so angry, just because you don't know the answer!"

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Ok, I give up, I'll get a new heat gun.

OK, I give up.

I try hard not to buy tools online or in a store.  There are too many thrift stores around me to justify splashing out on a brand spanking new thing but in this case, well blah here we go.

Hey, feel like a trip to the hardware store?

Yep.  I'm off.  You see, I'm in the middle of this month of self imposed exile from the trails.  It gave me plenty of time to give a long hard look at my skates and a couple other projects here, and I came to the conclusion that I need to buy a new heat gun.

The hair dryer did not work, it just is not hot enough to melt the plastic sufficiently. 

Mind you, the skates I bought last year are great but they have a quirk in the fitting that I need to remedy.  It rests against a bone under my right ankle as I give power to the wheels and it needs to be heated and pushed outwards to give me a little more room.

The standard skater tricks of surgical tape and double socks only worked so far and I am convinced a heat gun will do the trick.

There are also a few things that need to be "melted".  Having a Jeep Wrangler means that you have grey plastic parts after a while, and treating them with a heat gun will turn them back to black.

The first thing I did was to take stock of what was online and find a benchmark for price.  $10 is a great price but I didn't want to drive to Miami in a Jeep that gets 18MPG highway (23 with a tail wind on the overseas highway to the Keys). 

Then to one thrift store more.  Nope.

Then I went onto the online retailers and found it for $17. 

Even went to a craft store and they had a low end one for $26.  No, those sell online for under $10 thanks.

Oh and those plastic bottles everyone seems to love to hate?  If you wrap one around something and blast it with a heat gun it turns into shrink wrap that you'll never get it free without cutting it!

Cool huh?  Better than "Recycling" it because you understand nobody has figured out how to recycle plastic.

By The Way... use a reusable bottle for your water needs.  Mother Earth will thank you, and so will I.

Supposedly if you do it right, it can be used for heat shrinking and making things waterproof and ... 

You get the picture.  I got the heat gun last night.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Dogs can’t operate an MRI machine. Catscan.

Two friends are walking their dogs — a Dalmatian and a Chihuahua — when they smell something delicious coming from a nearby restaurant.

The guy with the Dalmatian says, “Let’s get something to eat.”

But the guy with the Chihuahua says, “We can’t go in there, we have dogs with us.”

So the first guy says, “Just follow my lead.” He puts on a pair of sunglasses and walks into the restaurant.

“Sorry,” says the owner, “no pets allowed.”

“But this is my seeing-eye dog,” the guy with the Dalmatian says.

“A Dalmatian?”

“Yes, they’re using them now.”

The owner says, “Very well, then, come on in.”

The guy with the Chihuahua repeats the process and gets the same response from the owner: “Sorry, pal, no pets allowed.”

“But this is my seeing-eye dog,” says the second guy.

“A Chihuahua?” asks the incredulous owner.

“A Chihuahua?!,” says the man in the dark glasses. “They gave me a Chihuahua?!”

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Remember, 20 years on.

September 11, 2021.  20 years on.  

A Joke on a Saturday, as is customary, would just not be right on this day.  

But today I did have a choice that thousands who were murdered by extremists did not have.  I was able to get up, early as usual, and complain that I should have known better to put on the BBC World Service to get the news.  As Usual.

Coverage saying President Biden would be visiting all three sites for memorials.  New York, Pentagon, and Shenksville PA I assumed. 

BBC went on to review the last 20 years of actions in the middle east.  

Usual has changed.

That morning in 2001, I was sitting in my office at my desk trying to get to any news outlet online that would connect.  The internet was flooded with requests and I was working at a major university in Philadelphia.  This was not a place that should have had problems connecting to a news site.

Today, though, I went on to walk the dog.  Or rather to be towed around the block by my own dog.

I did have that choice.

Running into a neighbor, I pulled the headphones from my ears and said "I should have known better than to listen to the BBC on 9/11".  I got lecture of a list of ways to avoid media ending with his plan to watch "Old Sitcoms".  That's what I do on a normal evening so I smiled.

I did have that choice.

I did also put the BBC back on my headphones and continued to the house.  

Remember, You have the choice.

I kept thinking of when they had stopped all flights as of that day and the later resumption of the flights.  On the day of resumption, I was out in Fairmount Park skating a marathon as usual.  It was a clear day and I was talking to a random bicyclist heading south on West River Drive when a jet passed overhead on its way to Philadelphia International Airport.  I remarked that it was the first plane in "weeks" and we both rolled to a stop and watched it.

It's 20 years on.   There's a generation of children that grew up in its wake.  They will never know what it was like before.  If you wanted to say something had past for a while you simply said "That is so September Tenth" and went on.  

We who can, should remember.  After all, we do have the choice.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Rack's Dog Food Recipe or How To Meal Prep For A Dog

Basically Rack is a trial to feed.  He's got grain allergies, and he's got poultry allergies.  Since we lost Lettie before due to one of those Dog Food Scares, we refuse to feed Rack anything that is not home made.

Making dog food is not a difficult thing to do, but it takes a fair amount of preparation.  I do everything from scratch, if you are a long time reader of this blog, search for recipes and you will find that I home roast coffee, churn butter, make scratch biscuits, and many recipes for bread.

The ingredient list is simple however, I will explain at the end how I actually prepare EACH ingredient.  If you do things that way, you can shortcut the recipe to under 1/2 hour of cooking.

 Ingredients are in "Imperial" and converted to Metric.

All Ingredients are UNSALTED or LOW SALT:

  • 2.5 pounds/1.1kg ground beef (I use 77% Lean or better)
  • 24 ounces/3 cups/710ml water
  • 3 ounces/90g unsalted pre-cooked green peas
  • 5 ounces/150g finely shredded partially pre-cooked carrots
  • 15-16 ounces/450g pre-cooked Kidney Beans (I have also used Pinto Beans)
  • 1 can/15-16 ounces/450g Butternut Squash or Pumpkin - NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING
  • 21 ounces/600g pre-cooked white rice (I prefer Jasmine but that's because I can get it)


  • Brown and drain the ground beef in a large pot of about a gallon/4 liters
  • Return beef to the pot and add water.
  • Turn on the heat again and begin to warm the water to simmer.
  • Add ingredients in the order listed allowing the water to come back to simmer between each ingredient
  • Allow the food to cool before serving.  Dogs will eat things that are too hot for them but you don't want to harm your friend.  The pre-cooked rice will soak up extra water when stored in the refrigerator.

Preparing the ingredients.

Carrots:  I peel carrots and grate them finely in a food processor.  A Box Grater will work if you are patient.  Portion the carrots in bags and freeze the carrots.  Thaw before use.  This freeze/thaw cycle will "cook" the carrots and make them more palatable to the dog.

Beans:  If you can find a low or no sodium bean in a can you can use this.  I buy dry kidney beans in bulk because they are vastly cheaper than in a can.   Also, there is very little difference between varieties of beans for nutrition.   Buy what is in season or cheapest, I do.

To cook beans using an Instant Pot or a Crock Pot Express, rinse beans, add 3 cups of water to 1 cup of beans.  Cook on High Pressure for 45 minutes and Natural Release for 15 minutes.  Beans should be portioned as needed and for the dog food, mash them partially to make them more bio-available.

Rice:  Rinse rice.  3 parts rice to 4 parts water.  Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to the water before sealing the Rice Cooker or Instant Pot.  

For the Instant Pot/Crock Pot Express, use the Rice Button but reduce time to 6 minutes.  Turn off the Keep Warm button.  I tend to allow the rice to sit in the pot for about 5 minutes or so for Natural Release, then carefully vent the pot.  Don't burn yourself!

Peas:  I use frozen peas that are warmed in the microwave before adding to the mix.  Mash the peas in a bowl/cup before adding to make them more bio-available.

Water:  Since I have access to filtered water, I always use that.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

What do they call Pringles in Spain? Prespañol.

I have a can of Prespañol on the counter.  Less Salt it promises, but I'll charge through it in short order!

So I guess I'll keep this on a theme.  After all, I've got quite a few of these clergy related jokes, and who doesn't like tweaking a Nun?


Hospital bill

A man suffered a serious heart attack while shopping in a store.
The store clerk called 911 when they saw him collapse to the floor.
The paramedics rushed the man to the nearest hospital where he had emergency open heart bypass surgery.

He awakened from the surgery to find himself in the care of nuns at the Catholic Hospital.
A nun was seated next to his bed holding a clipboard loaded with several forms, and a pen.
She asked him how he was going to pay for his treatment. "Do you have health insurance?"

He replied in a raspy voice, "No health insurance."
The nun asked, "Do you have money in the bank?"He replied, "No money in the bank."
"Do you have a relative who could help you with the payments?" asked the irritated nun.

He said, "I only have a spinster sister, and she is a nun."
The nun became agitated and announced loudly, " Nuns are not spinsters*! Nuns are married to God.." 

The patient replied, "Perfect... Send the bill to my brother-in-law"

Saturday, September 4, 2021

The military is now using gender neutral terms like cannonfodder and expendable.

 And speaking of fodder, a lot of the stories I came across that I liked were to do with the clergy.   No idea why, I guess we are all effected by them in our own ways!

Even if this is a little more "PG" than my usual weekend fare...

A nun and a priest were traveling across the desert and realized halfway across that the camel they were using for transportation was about to die. They set up a make-shift camp, hoping someone would come to their rescue, but to no avail. Soon the camel died.

After several days of waiting, they agreed that they were not going to be rescued. They prayed a lot (of course), and they discussed their predicament in great depth. Finally the priest said to the nun, "You know, Sister, I am about to die, and there's always been one thing I've wanted here on earth - to see a woman naked. Would you mind taking off your clothes so I can look at you?"

The nun thought about his request for several seconds and then agreed to take off her clothes. As she was doing so, she remarked, "Well, Father, now that I think about it, I've never seen a man naked, either. Would you mind taking off your clothes, too?"

With little hesitation, the priest also stripped. Suddenly the nun exclaimed, "Father! What is that little thing hanging between your legs?"

The priest patiently answered, "That, my child, is a gift from God. If I put it in you, it creates a new life."

"Well," responded the nun, "forget about me. Stick it in the camel!"

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Covid 19 is Killing My Outdoor Workout... Again

Over the months of this long drawn out epic, my mindset has changed.

If you don't want to get a vaccine, great.  When you get sick, don't go to the hospital and tough it out.  You made your choice, and you Lab Rats are effecting the rest of society badly.

And while I don't like repeating things I wrote, this situation has been on my mind lately.

You see, November 23, 2020, I wiped out on my skates.  Now when I say I wiped out, I say a nut from a tree fell from a tree in front of my lead wheel on my right foot and tripped me when I went under it.  Literally, no time to react.  I went down without realizing that I had been slammed into the pavement until after I "came to".  Broke my right clavicle.  First major injury since I started skating in 1993.  22,427 miles.

I've been hearing reports that the lab rats have been filling up the emergency rooms in South Florida because they have been getting sick.  I've also heard that there are some vaccinated who are getting sick and ending up there in much smaller numbers of about 1/2 of 1%.  

So basically the ERs are full.  Or nearing capacity.  A Hospital does not want an empty bed because it's a For Profit business and it means they can't charge an obscene amount of money for that bed that night, but it does not mean that you want to be there.  

When I was there in November 2020, I was greeted with a green flag on my door.  I was the only one.  The rest was full of poor souls that were struggling to remain alive.  So while they gave me happy pills and let me watch Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory and laughing my head off waiting for the Doctors to make a decision on what to do, people were dying around me and there I was laughing at the oompa loompas like a weird unicorn.

To say it was a surreal situation is quite an understatement.

Fast forward to today. 

Someone pointed me to a local South Florida inline skating group.  (Sorry, Facebook link.)  The page read just like old times.  The same vibe of the skaters getting together, having fun, doing marathons, skating new places.  I was deeply involved in the scene in the 1990s and 2000s in Philadelphia, and continued skating to this day.

And then... speed bump.  One of their skaters broke his clavicle in NYC and now has a gofundme page for his injury.  Luckily my insurance is better than that.  Or else I would be in the same spot.

We need socialized, single payer health care.  Nobody should be bankrupted by 20 dollar aspirin and 180 dollar shoulder braces.  And stuff your fox "news" republican infested nonsense, the rest of the world came to this conclusion decades ago.

If you dislike my opinion feel free to write your own blog.

That speed bump is way too close to home.

I am an elite inline skater.  I specialize in distance.  Endurance.  For me to burn through 2000 calories in a workout is nothing.  I have skated 54 miles in one workout.  Total to date I have skated 22,700 miles or 36,532 KM. 

For comparison, the Equator is 24,901 miles or 40,075 KM.  That is my goal.  I will get there eventually and I will pass that.  

Yes, always on a measured trail and yes I always have kept count since 1993.  For me to strap on a heart monitor and skate with a GPS is a normal thing.

But for now, I am transitioning to a different exercise "For The Duration".  Assuming it does not blow out my knees, I'll be jogging.  I used to jog at Valley Forge National Park, three times a week for 10K.  I'd power up that one hill past all the ramparts and down the other side.  Pennsylvania can be quite hilly.

Back then I had a shortwave radio and listened to the BBC World Service jogging in a park devoted to the US Revolution.  The irony was not lost on me.

I can at least jog here in town and don't have to get out into the Jeep to drive to the park in Pompano Beach.  Once I get some distance going, I'll go up there for a change of pace, but these little warm up jogs are just training exercises to keep my weight down and to get used to this kind of workout.  I've lost 28 pounds since the beginning of lockdowns last year, and I will not get fat.  You see, obese people get sicker faster with Covid, it's a co-factor.

For now.  Someone else will use my parking space under the tree near the fire-hall in the park.  I don't want to chance being back in the ER.  Driving a manual transmission is a circus act when your right shoulder is not working due to a broken collarbone.

All you lab rats?  Do what you want but if you get sick, don't make it worse for the rest of us.  I'm already wearing a mask when I go to a mall and got my vaccines so I'm carrying your weight too.  When Grandma or your kid gets sick, don't run to me because you gave it to them, the rest of the world is sick of your garbage.