Wednesday, March 30, 2022

How I Make A Perfect Mug Of Coffee

First of all, this is really "subjective".

What I do makes an amazing mug of coffee to my own preferences and standards.  I won't get coffee when I am out because it never tastes as good as it does at home.

But... I was asked by an online friend just exactly how I make my own perfect cup of coffee.  The Best On The Island, so to speak.

First of all, I roast my own beans.  I'm controlling the roast very closely, somewhat obsessively.  This maintains the highest of quality.  It's subjective again, but it is exactly what I like.  I roast a "Single Origin" Guatemalan green coffee bean from a specific region to "Just Past First Crack".  At this point I have been doing my own roasting since about 2008 so I have that process down pat.

So the main thing is that if you like that stuff you bought in the supermarket, stick to it.  I'll keep my own comments to a minimum but I will say that coffee that is pre-ground goes off flavor starting in two weeks especially if exposed to the air.  Commercially Pre-roasted may not last quite as long as expected since it may have been roasted months ago. 

Second, get a grinder and an electronic scale at the thrift shop.  While you are at it, you may need a second one for spices.  If you grind the beans for coffee just before you brew it, you will have a more complex flavor.  I typically only grind enough coffee for two or three days at a time and then keep those grounds in a metal airtight container.

Third, use a French Press for brewing.  Even better if you can drink from it, but a French Press is what I use.  It allows your beans to brew completely and fully.  My French Press is the mug you see in these pictures, and I've had this one for about 12 years now.  I'll use it until it breaks.  It's lined so it keeps the coffee warm and drinkable for hours, the mug I am working on right now is an hour old and it still is warm.  My "mug" holds about 22 ounces of brew, max. 

Fourth, Temperature is crucial.  I have had to make coffee with the power out in the house and really it's just a matter of bringing the water to the right temperature.  However the water I use is always 200F/93C.  My electric kettle has a helpful thermometer on the side and I pull it from the power at 196F/90C.  By the time I walk it across the room it hits 200F.

Why is temperature crucial?  I found that if I pour the water over the beans at a full boil, the resulting coffee is acidic and bitter.  Colder than that and it is weak.  200F is the sweet spot and I get a good brew every time.

Fifth, use the correct amount of beans for the amount of water.  For my mug it is exactly 21 grams.  For those who look at grams and glaze over, it is exactly one quarter cup dry of espresso grind coffee.  You get more flavor when your beans are ground to the consistency of a rough flour.  Nothing more rough than corn meal.  Typical "Italian Espresso Grind".  If you have a thick grit then you are wasting your time. I did say you need a grinder!

I obsessively make 17 ounces of coffee.  The reason is that it is 440ml/15oz to 454ml/16oz of water for the brew plus three ice cubes to cool it to drinking temperature bringing the amount to 500 ml of coffee.  Yes, that is an even half liter.  For those of us who are metrically impaired, it means you can use one typical sport bottle of water brought to temperature, minus a bit.  I always do the pour over with the french press on the scale set to grams.  It gets the numbers right but if you don't have a scale, you can eye ball it easily this way.  Even using a sauce pan or a kettle on a fire, it is foolproof.

Finally before you go too far, you will want sweetener and creamer to taste.  I find it's two packets of saccharine and two rounded teaspoons of coffee creamer powder.  I occasionally use real cream but that tends to just add fat and calories, and the saccharine in the pink packets will dissolve better without rotting your teeth.

So the "recipe" is simple:

454 ml Hot Water at 200F/93C.
21g or 1/4 cup level of GOOD espresso grind coffee grounds
2 packets of sweetener
2 rounded teaspoons of creamer
3 ice cubes to serve.

Process is just as simple:

Add grounds, saccharine, and creamer to the French Press.
Bring water to temperature and add to French Press.
Serve with 3 ice cubes

I won't complain if you add cocoa for Mocha or a dusting of Pumpkin Spice

Sunday, March 27, 2022

What do you call a Finn who dies? Finnished.

I tried, really I did.  I had no luck playing instruments.   Oh, I'm good, in fact excellent, at editing audio and video on the laptop running Linux.  I have cleaned more static pops from audio tapes and edited unwanted segments out of video tapes.  But instruments are a no go.

On the other hand...

A man went into a music shop looking for a new instrument.

The owner introduced him to a lot of different instruments: flutes, trumpets, drums and guitars but none of them caught the man's interest.

The man nearly gives up when he spots a saxophone hanging in the corner. He tries it and it really has that sound he was looking for, except it lacks something he can't quite put his finger on.

Man: "I really like this saxophone, but can you do something to improve the sound, perhaps make it more rock'n'roll?"

Owner: "Well I guess I could hook you up to this amplifier?"

Man: "yea that would be great, but what I really want is for the saxophone itself to have that rock'n'roll feeling"

Owner: "I think I've got just the thing!"

So the owner takes the saxophone into the back and comes back some time later. Now the saxophone is fitted with a guitar neck, pick-ups and a cool classic rock paint job.

Owner: "I had some spare parts lying around from an old Fender Stratocaster, so I've modified your saxophone to get that feeling you were after. What do you think?"

The man is besides himself with joy, pays right away and begins to leave to take his new instrument home with him and begin his new career as a rock musician.

Owner: "Hang on! Before you leave. Would you like me to register your new purchase to your name? saves a lot of trouble if there's any problems down the line."

Man: "No way! I'm not gonna bring a registered Sax-o-Fender into my house!"

Saturday, March 26, 2022

A hole was found in the local nudist colony’s wall. Police are looking into it.

I will say that I have a stubborn streak.  When I'm right, I'm right.  When I'm wrong, why did you ask me to do that?

A pair of hunters went moose hunting and chartered a small plane to carry them.

At the end of the day, they had bagged six moose and were about to load them in the plane.

The pilot disagreed with them, saying the plane could only take four safely.

The hunters argued, saying that last year, the pilot had allowed them to carry all six onboard on the same plane.

Rectuantly, the pilot agreed to have all six loaded. But the plane couldn't make it and crashed.

Climbing out of the wreckage, one hunter turned to the other and asked, "Do you remember this place"?

"Yes", replied the other. "This is the same place where we crashed last year".

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Dogs Don't Escape When They Are Treated Well, Your Runner Is Your Fault.

Your dog or cat or iguana or House Moose or whatever you have is your responsibility.

Not mine.

I would say that's the basis of pet care.  If you forget that, you probably should not have a dog or any other pet.

Get a stuffed animal from the toy store.  It's easier.

On the other hand, at 4AM, four-o'clock-in-the-morning, no matter how smart your dog is and no matter how well you trained it, I'm surprised it woke me up.

You see, I sleep with ear plugs.  I have my own dog.  He will tell me if someone is on the property.

In fact my own dog, Rack the McNab SuperDog(TM), lets me regularly know if the Postie or UPS or Fed(Arrow)Ex is here.  In his sleep he waits to see if I need him and will wake and grumble at them when they arrive.

When he's asleep, If I even say OK and start to get up, he gets confused and grumbles at me but that is neither here nor there.  He's inside my house and belongs here.

That may be the point. 

Instead of saying train your dog, maybe part of that is learning how to train yourself.

Case in Point, Kobe.

I think he is owned by basketball fans.  My own attitude is that if I am sitting on a couch or a chair and watching it on TV it is not sports, it is entertainment.  My doctor agrees and so does my last set of "numbers" from my last blood work. 

If you're, well, alive, your body would do best if you got off the couch and did your own favorite sport.  Or find your favorite sport if you haven't.

Usually I get grumbled at by this point in a discussion but there's a point to be made.

Your dog won't run away from home if your dog is happy there. 

What happened was a bit of a story in itself.  The Dog Training Aspect is simple.  I walk my herding dog, a McNab which is a similar breed to the much more common Border Collie, a minimum of 3 miles a day in a neighborhood that is chock full of curiosities and people to meet and grass to sniff.

What that does is that he has a map in his furry black and white head of the lay of the land.  If he sees the bridge "Off the Island" he knows not to cross because I've told him so.  He only crosses the highway early in the morning and before the traffic comes because he's been told.  He has an area mapped out where he knows every single block and a few outside of that.  He can get home if left to his own devices.  He is so smart he looks both ways before crossing the street!

A side benefit is that he knows that he has friends here in the neighborhood and when they say hello, he will squeak a hello noise back at them.

Repeat after me: "AWW HOW ADORABLE!!!".

At 4AM he's by my bed waiting for me to stir.  If there is a problem he knows how to wake me, and I am not an easy rouse. 

This particular 4AM, it wasn't my dog Rack but Kobe, the neighbor's little mix breed, that woke us.

He had been walking around the neighborhood.  The best we can figure is that Kobe had been forgotten in the yard when the owners went to sleep.

While that is (ahem) "Regrettable", I'm flattered that Kobe chose my house to awaken.  I consider it a backhanded complement even if that little dude is screaming for "More".  Kobe is bored out of his furry head and his owners need to be less distracted.

I'm sure that I'll speak with the owners, eventually, once I am actually ... awake and this is a bit more in the past.

You see how it all happened was Kobe came to my house.  He's actually done that more than once.  My yard semi-adjoins their yard.  Kobe being a wee little 20 pounder can't jump the fence and he's gotten himself into the yard that actually is against my property more than once.  Rack hears him rattling around and I end up having to get involved getting him home.

Both dogs.
More than once.

Once I speak with them, I'll have to find out what the story is.  The little guy needs a bit more training and attention and I'm home all day doing who knows what.

So if there's a takeaway from all my blather, it might be this.

Make sure your dog is inside at night.  Your neighbors won't want a visit at 4AM when something wakes your dog and he stands at my bedroom window barking at my window to wake up.  Your dog is smart enough to find me to help him get home when you probably forgot him.

The dream I had about skating with the dog next to me on a long workout was a little strange and fits perfectly with my mind set of what actually happens on a Special Dog Workout.

Just keep the speed down, distance down, and bring extra water.  They're sprinters and not endurance athletes like I am.

When I opened the door, called out "Kobe", the little dude just trotted over to me, walked inside and over to Rack's water, had a drink and sat down at my feet.  He looked up at me, as if to ask "Ok here I am, take me home".

I did, more than once.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Which is faster, hot or cold? Hot. You can catch a cold.

You know, life is easier in Science Fiction.  You go to the sick bay.  Bones waggles a salt shaker over your chest as the wall goes beep-boop in time with your heart.  You lay on a weird chain mail sheet covered bed.  But everyone is healthy and running marathons in the Holodeck.

I may have came close to a copyright infringement with that description but I'll call it Fair Use.

Oh and, there are these two old folks.

Jacob, age 92, and Beth, age 89, are excited about their decision to get married.

They go for a stroll to discuss the wedding and on the way they pass a chemist. Jacob suggests they go in.

Jacob addresses the man behind the counter: "Are you the owner?"... The pharmacist answers "Yes".

Jacob: "We're about to get married. Do you sell heart medication?" Pharmacist: "Of course we do."

Jacob: "How about medicine for circulation?"

Pharmacist: "All kinds."

Jacob: "Medicine for rheumatism, scoliosis?"

Pharmacist: "Definitely."

Jacob:" Medicine for memory problems, arthritis, jaundices?"

Pharmacist: "Yes, a large variety..... the works!"

Jacob: "What about vitamins, sleeping pills, antidotes for Parkinson's Disease?"

Pharmacist: "Absolutely."

Jacob:" You sell wheelchairs and walkers?"

Pharmacist: "All speeds and sizes. Why do you ask? Is there something I can help you with?"

Jacob says to the pharmacist:: "We'd like to nominate your store as our Bridal Gift Shop Registry”

Saturday, March 19, 2022

I wanna have a smoking hot bod for once in my life. That’s why I’ve decided on cremation!

 Whoa!  Where did that one come from!  :)

Well with the dark humor, I may as well double down and use this one I found.  Don't worry, it's not too sad!

Or maybe...

A guy was going on vacation and didn't have anyone to take care of his beloved cat

So he had to leave her with his notoriously irresponsible friend. The very first day the friend left the door open and Muffin ran out and and got hit by a car and killed.

The guy called his friend the next day to see how Muffin was doing and he said "Oh, sorry, the cat's dead. Got hit by a car".

The guy was heartbroken and furious with his friend "Jesus! You know I loved that cat! Couldn't you be a little more understanding?"
"Like how?" his friend replied.

"Well, I don't know! You could have broke the news to me with a little more empathy and not just blasted me with it like that! Like you could have said today when I called, ' Joe I'm really sorry, Muffin climbed up on the roof and I can't get her to come down'. Then tomorrow something like 'Oh, Joe, Muffin fell off the roof and she's at the hospital' then maybe the next day 'I'm so sorry Joe, Muffin passed away.' That way it wouldn't be such a shock!"

"Oh, I get it." the friend said. "Sorry."

"And Joe, I have some other bad news for you. Um..., your grandmother climbed up on the roof and I can't get her to come down".

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Soft Snickerdoodles - Or Discovering a New Cookie Recipe can be Fun

This was a cookie I had always heard of but never tried until I was in the Middle Aged Crazy years.

Yes, I am rebelling by discovering new foods.  You reap the rewards.

In this specific case, the Snickerdoodle is really simple, the hardest part is waiting for the butter to come up to room temperature with the eggs.  I keep both in my refrigerator and it does take forever when you want to bake NOW to wait for this stuff.

Since I am usually up at 5AM, that's the solution - plan to bake an hour or so before dawn, two hours before breakfast.  That way everything is ready for or after breakfast.



  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175C.
  2. Mix butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs thoroughly in a large bowl.
  3. Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
  4. Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture.
  5. Chill dough, and chill an ungreased cookie sheet for about 10-15 minutes in the fridge.
  • Meanwhile, mix 3 tablespoons sugar, and 3 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl.
  1. Scoop 1 inch globs of dough into the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  2. Coat by gently rolling balls of the soft dough in the sugar mixture.
  3. Place on chilled ungreased cookie sheet, and bake 12-15 minutes.
  4. Remove from cookie sheet immediately to cool.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

A scientist tried to make gum out of eggs. It was an egg spearmint.

So, did you set your clocks ahead in the US?  Some parts of the world have decided this whole daylight saving time is silly, in my mind, rightfully so.

Come on folks, pick one and stick with it!!!!

John gets extremely drunk with his friends at a hotel.
After they're done, he can barely stand up. He gets in a cab and says to the driver, slurring, "Take me to the nearest hotel."
The driver looks at him, confused. "You're literally outside a hotel."
John, being very, very, drunk, replies, "Oh, really? We're already here? Wow, this cab has gotta be the fastest thing on earth!" He pulls out a 20 dollar bill and says, "Here, but next time, don't drive so fast!"

A doctor and a lawyer were talking at a party. However, their conversation was constantly interrupted by people describing their ailments and asking the doctor for free medical advice.

After an hour of this, the exasperated doctor asked the lawyer, "What do you do to stop people from asking you for legal advice when you're out of the office?"

"I give it to them," replied the lawyer, "and then I send them a bill."

The doctor was shocked, but agreed to give it a try. The next day, still feeling slightly guilty, the doctor prepared the bills.

When he went to place them in his mailbox, he found a bill from the lawyer.

Bach, the great composer, was having a difficult time writing new music.

With 20 kids in the house, it was hard for him to find quiet time to work.

So he decided to find a quiet place outdoors, and found a small shed in the woods. Unfortunately, it was so far from his home, that by the time he got there and started writing, it was time to go back home for lunch.

His wife came up with an idea, and started packing him sandwiches and snacks in a small bag to take with him. Brilliant!

And to this day, we can thank her for one of history's greatest inventions, the Bach's Lunch.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

I'm a 21-year-old multimillionaire. Here's how I did it. When on the internet, I lie.

You know... that title is about the same as the old meme "On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog".

A Desperate Prayer

A grandfather takes his grandchildren to the beach.

They’re playing in the sand when suddenly, a massive wave comes and pulls the smallest grandson out into the water. Panicked, the grandfather prays to God. “Oh God, please bring him back! Please let him live, in your mercy. I'll do anything and worship you forever!”

Almost immediately, an even bigger wave bursts out of the ocean, setting the little boy down right at his grandfather’s feet.

He scoops him up in a huge hug, crying with relief. Then he stares up at the sky and says, “He had a hat.”

Air Postal Service

A man sets down three pieces of luggage at a very famous International Airlines (that shall not be named) check-in counter and says, "I want the brown bag to go to London, the black one to go to Paris," he said. "And keep the third bag here till my return from Australia next week for pick up."

The check-in clerk blinked. A supervisor standing behind him overheard the request and came up. "I am sorry sir, but we are not the post office," he said, "we can't do that."

"Why not?" the irate passenger said, raising his voice, "That's what you did the last time!"

A group of friends were hiking a mountain and were planning on having a picnic up there..

One of the friends stutters a lot on the starts of sentences... On the way up he kept saying "w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-" until they made it to the top of the mountain he was finally able to say "We forgot our food", everyone got mad and sad and started their way back down.

The joke doesn't end here... on the way down he kept saying "J-j-j-j-j-j-j-j-j-j..." until they made it to where they had parked their car he was finally able to say "Just kidding".

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

I Solved The Great Toilet Paper Roll Debate. It Goes Both Ways!

I'm that guy.  I like to see the world burn.  When I go to a party, I find the bathroom and turn the toilet paper roll around just to see if someone notices.

When I lived with someone and I noticed that I was being the one who was always caught putting a new roll on the holder... I put it on "wrong".

I don't care about conventions or patents or what yo' Mama said.  I'll do what I feel like doing in my own house.

So all that grumbling aside, I had recently lived through a major remodeling of my house.

By that I mean strip some walls to the studs, pull all the floors up, paint everything.

The other day I finished the last of the toilet bowl cleaner and the new bottle was covered in construction dust from the summer, so yes, there are corners that I am still cleaning up after.

They pulled the walls off the bathroom and removed the tub so I won't be doing any more write ups about how to repair a gap in the tub and wall, or similar.  We went so far that we discovered subterranean termites had formed a mud tunnel to the studs and that one of the studs in the bathroom was basically paper board and old dead termites.

If your tub is leaking or there's a crack in the wall you will end up having termites, it's a matter of time.  By that time, installing a backer rod will help but only temporarily.  You really should find out why the tub is sagging.

In Florida there are two kinds of people - Those who have Termites, and Those who WILL have Termites.  Give it time.

The team came through and started asking us some very basic questions and eventually it came to the toilet paper holder.  The bathroom is not a large room, I can stand and touch both walls in one direction.  We wanted to save every inch we could, or centimeter since I can do both.  We opted for a two gang toilet paper holder.

Yes, Two Rolls of Toilet Paper on display at one time! 

And yes, you guessed it, I have one roll "over the top" and the other "around the back".

Because I like to see the world burn.

Yes, it will annoy someone with OCD.
Yes, you are welcome to "fix" the direction to the "right" way.
No, I won't stop mounting rolls "wrong".
No, it does not bother me.

So enjoy this picture.  It should annoy someone out there in internet land.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

The Mailman just told me a joke. It wasn't that funny, but it was delivered really well.

 Maybe I should have saved this one for Easter but the timing is about right... Nothing like a somewhat offensive joke for Sunday, huh?

Two brothers start up a company that manufactures nails, one is in charge of sales and the other marketing.
They needed a commercial, so the one in charge of marketing got to work.

A few weeks later he excitedly shows the footage to his brother.
It starts with a wide shot of a mob of people on a hill, and zooms in.
Eventually it is clear there are angry people, Roman soldiers, and 3 men on a cross, it zooms in further to one of the men who is Jesus.
The shot zooms in even further to one of the nails in Jesus’ hand and on the head of the nail it reads “MURPHY’S NAILS”.
The brother in charge of sales is in shock for a few moments before exploding, “you IDIOT now our nails are associated with the crucifixion of Jesus, fix this immediately or we are ruined!”
His brother apologizes saying “sorry brother, give me a few days and I will fix this don’t worry!”.

Two days later the brother in charge of marketing tells his brother that he has fixed the commercial and it is ready to broadcast.
It starts again with a wide shot of a mob of people, as it zooms in there are angry citizens and Roman soldiers chasing a figure in bloody robes that is clearly a depiction of Jesus.
It finally zooms in on a lone Roman Centurion who shrugs at the camera and says “we should have used Murphy’s Nails”.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

I hope I never get addicted to skiing but it's a slippery slope

I hate the cold weather.  I don't mind watching it on TV but I hope never to be somewhere at the same time there is snow or ice on the ground again.  I'll leave that to "y'all up North"!


 Revenge of the penguins

There is this large group of penguins living their peaceful, penguin lives.

One day, a ship crashes and sinks nearby. A polar bear swims to the ice from the sinking ship and quickly falls asleep, obviously exhausted from his ordeal.

The penguins, having never seen a polar bear, think nothing of it and go about their daily routines.

When the polar bear wakes up, he is hungry and starts eating penguins. This, as you would expect, causes concern amongst the colony.

After a few days of this carnage, the penguins have a meeting. Their leader says, "We need to cut a big hole in the ice where there is no water beneath it." For penguins, this was a difficult task, but they trusted in their leader. It took a while, but they cut the large hole.

"Now, we need to gather a bunch of fish and put it around the hole." The penguins were not happy to be catching fish for them not to eat, but they completed the task.

"What was the purpose of this?" asked one penguin. "He will eat the fish, then eat all of us!"

The leader says, "When the bear is eating the fish, he will be bent way over, next to the edge of the void we created. We will simply walk up behind him and kick him right in the ice hole!"

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Planting Basil, Replenishing the Milkweed, and Sneaking In An Extra Dog Walk

 I'm still picking up the house from the interior remodel we had done over the fall.  

It's not the highest of priorities, we had the holidays and some other more pressing projects in between.  

I came back from an appointment today and rapidly got bored.  You can only watch so much news until it warps your brain.

There is a box that is camping out on my table.  Well, really, mom's table but that brown furniture has a habit of getting passed along.  Solid Maple drop leaf table in the dining room with a box on top.  It has strange items in it and the box exists because I ordered some things once and realized it was a great way to corral some home improvement items together.

White glue,
Shipping Tape,
Tiny Paint Brushes...

That sort of thing.  A Party in the Home Improvement Store's Aisle kind of stuff.

It also had an old worn plastic bag in it.  That bag has gold in it in the form of my collected seeds.

Flower seeds from a good friend's celebration of life.
Some Basil seeds, and trust me, you want fresh basil on your pizza.
Bell Pepper seeds from a particularly tasty orange bell pepper years back.
And my stash of Mexican Milkweed seeds.

I got a Bright Idea.  I get those.  Particularly in the arm pit of an afternoon when the weather is nice and I'm sitting around looking to do creative things.

I grabbed the Basil and the Milkweed and had a walk around the property.  The property has drip feed irrigation all around.  I use that because it can be depended upon to be legal to water plants with this even in a drought in the dry season.  Typically where I have a pot under irrigation, I have a second one lower so that it can catch the overflow.  The pots are a playground for me to dump cuttings and seeds.  The ones on the ground tend to be propagation and the higher ones are where the Orchids grow.

It makes for a nice display when the plants are in bloom, and an ecological display for when they are not.

I started walking around looking into pots and dropping seeds.  Since the Monarchs can't eat Basil, I was able to mix the Milkweed in with them.  Like the Corn-Beans-Squash three sisters, there are certain things that just work.

I get my beans and corn from the market anyway.

So among my weeds are some seeds.  I'll have Basil to go with the pizza and the Monarchs which are currently in chrysalis will have food for the future little wrigglies.

Since I was not able to use all my Milkweed, I'll pass some on to the nature preserve at M. E. DePalma park on the next dog walk.  There are a few little milkweed plants there and you never have milkweed for long!

And who knows.  The last time I found an "Air Plant", Tillandsia, it had a seed pod that was ripe.   That kept me entertained on a long walk around town and through the park setting rare species seeds back into an appropriate habitat.  I know that they survived because strangely there are some more air plants around here than there were before.

Bottom line is if you like air, plant a tree.
If you want to fight climate change, plant a tree.
Just plant a damn tree regardless!