Monday, December 23, 2013

Hamburgers and fries at the Frosted Mug!

5861 US Hwy 160, Forsyth, MO 65653 *
(417) 546-4149
Even though I've recently changed my diet in a rather drastic way by adopting the Paleo Diet which severely restricts such foods as processed meat, pastas dairy, breads and all pastries – I've still allowed myself two 'open meals' per week where I can stray. This week, my very first open meal was on a Monday and I chose to enjoy a hamburger and fries at a local eatery known as The Frosted Mug. At a cost of only $6.95, this meal really had only one 'bad' thing going for it – those oh so tasty French fries!

Pro bartender Heather was great!
As a food that made it to #3 on the list of 'Five worst foods you can eat', the ubiquitous French fry is not one of the best of foods to eat all the time! It's a fried food and it can add on the pounds in no time! (A much smarter meal would be a hamburger and a small salad for about the same or less money)! Maybe I'll order that next time... then again, maybe not!

Tim Evans
The hamburger, which was cooked by Chef Tim Evans, was top notch! And, to my credit and surprise, I only ate half that order of fries! Note: I also made sure to take a couple of capsules of Fish oil which is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, and as such, helps to balance out the not so good for you Omega-6 acids that come with eating the meal. If you eat a lot of junk food I would highly recommend that you take this supplement! Side note: There is some new evidence that you can overdo supplements, especially Vitamins C,B6, E and A, so be careful.

After staying away from the Mug for a prolonged period of time, I've made I a point to once again frequent this long-lived eating establishment, especially in light of the recent improvements to the cooking and the bar-tending staff. Professionals like Heather help made the experience very enjoyable! If you live in the Forsyth, Mo area, I'd urge you to give them a try!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Meat! It's what's for breakfast!

Call me insane, call me slow, just don't call me late for the dinner bell!

After getting on board with the concept of a Paleo Diet, I have begun to make some form of lean meat a part of every meal! But wait! It's not only meat, but that also includes good healthy servings of veggies and fruit! That combination is similar to what our far distant ancestors ate some million or so year ago. On the flip side, it also means that many of the food items I used to love; taters, toast, hamburgers on buns and such are no longer de rigueur for me personally.

Why would I make such a drastic change? It's all about managing my Omega-6 versus Omega-3 fatty acid intake so as to make it more in line with how my body is genetically programmed. According to Dr. Andrew Weil (creator of Weil Lifestyle, LLC), 'Many nutrition experts believe that before (the agricultural revolution) we relied heavily on processed foods and humans consumed omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in roughly equal amounts. But, to our great detriment, most North Americans and Europeans now get far too much of the omega-6s and not enough of the omega-3s. This dietary imbalance may explain the rise of such diseases as asthma, coronary heart disease, many forms of cancer, autoimmunity and neurodegenerative diseases, all of which are believed to stem from inflammation in the body.' [paraphrased by author]

Pretty heavy stuff, if true! In fact, the eating of breads, canned goods and dairy products can spike the Omega-6 vs 3 ratio to something like 22:1! In addition, the very high salt content of many processed foods has been definitively linked to hypertension and high blood pressure – two conditions that lead to heart attacks which are one of the top killers in America today!

So, the diet requires one to give up many of the comfort foods we all so enjoy. What do you get in return? How about a diet where you don't have to count calories, will lose weight rapidly down to your ideal BMI (see Body Mass Index calculator), have lots more energy and (best of all) that trip to the grocery store will become a breeze!

Government locks out area park!

Baker street entrance to River Run Park
Forsyth, MO. – A federally managed park by the name of River Run located just to the east of the city limits of Forsyth Missouri and was the scene of a new approach by our friendly government officials. It seems one of their agents was sent out to lock up this park because of the 'likelihood of heavy flooding' due to a late December storm. What? The Bull Shoals is currently normal levels (658') with the flood stage at about 700 feet. The agent informed me that they were restricting park access for our protection, implying that I and others in the community were too stupid to know not to drive into the park, if in fact it did flood. Not very likely as the water level would have to rise at least 20 feet in order for that to be a possibility.
Current Bull Shoals lake levels
So, what is going on here? Is this a new expansion of the Nanny State? I'm not sure, but if it is the governments intention to further alienate the citizens of my town, they are sure going about it the right way!

Postscript: In the interest of fairness, it is possible that 'flash flooding' could occur due to runoff from heavy rains. At this time of year, the ground cannot soak up water in the way it can in the warmer months with plenty of biomass in place. In that case, a simple sign would have sufficed!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Paleo Diet startup!

Mixed salad with lean turkey!
An so it began. A diet that would consist of the same sort of food eaten by out ancestors some 600,000 years ago. Well, maybe not exactly, as the meat I eat is store bought and not hunted, nor were some of the vegetables and fruits we eat today even evolved at that time. However, all things being equal it is a far cry from my past diet.

In the Paleo plan there is not salt, no bread, no pastries, no sweets (other than the occasional honey), no packaged meats, no canned goods and no dairy – actually the only other items allowed were walnuts, soy milk (fake milk) and some free range eggs! Of these, I think the bread is the hardest to forgo as I was ingrained from my youth to eat sandwiches, hamburger and the like. As Jack Lalanne was famously quoted as saying -”if man makes it, don't eat it” may be true. Perhaps that's why this famous bodybuilder lived to be 90 while enjoying near perfect health!

The one good thing about the Paleo Diet is the lack of any need for you to count calories! You can eat until you're stuffed without penalty while the pounds begin to drop off. You can eat three meals or six, it's your call. Why that works is described in the book – The Paleo Diet Revised! How will I come out after some weeks? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I've started the Paleo Diet!

What the heck is the Paleo Diet you might well ask? I confess that I had never heard of it until my sister in California turned me on to a video available on Amazon call 'The Perfect Human Diet'! As a decreed biologist and pseudo nutritionist, what I saw and heard made tons of sense to me. I'd urge anyone who is concerned in the least about their health or the health of their family to watch this and see if it doesn't give them pause to think! After I saw the movie, I used my Kindle to search for and then ordered the book, ' The Paleo Diet Revised' by Loren Cordain, Ph.D. It carries on into more detail of what the heck is wrong with the American diet. A very revealing and informative collection of studies done world wide that disclose why our processed food diet of today was not what we were genetically programed for in over two million years of species development.For a beginners guide, go
here!

I plan to get on this diet, completely and will then report my results in a month or so. In the meantime, check out the beginners guide to see if it makes any sense to you personally.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Early December 2013 was sort of wacky!

December is a month where we all get to enter into that three month period of time we call winter. It starts on the 21st of December when the orbit of the sun, which has been dipping lower in the southern sky each day since mid June, begins its long climb back upwards. Ever higher it will go until a time comes when we're all complaining about the heat!

This year's December began on a good note with good warmth in the first four days. That changed quickly with a rapid plunge into the icebox with temperatures that were more reminiscence of a bad January in the Dakota's. Do all the Gods hate us? Where's Al Gore and his theory on global warming when we really need him? (Oh, that's right he has sold out and went to some tropical island to retire).

So, now here I sit at my computer typing out silly thoughts, when I'd really like to be is outside frolicking under sunny skies and warm breezes. (And oh, yes dammit...it's still only the 12th. Winter doesn't even start for another week yet). During this period of time, my mood has worsened and I've found myself wondering just what our fiend Obama is up to? You know, while everyone's focus is currently on his failed Affordable Healthcare Act? I swear like a bear! It's like watching the Devil himself at work. All those busy little fingers of his....working behind the scenes as he puts the finishing touches on a society that even Dante would find troubling...

If there is anything good to write about, it's that we will see a 'warm up' of sorts for most of the coming week. I'm not talking anything awesome mind you. But, I do think it will warm into the mid 40's and that will be okey dokey with me!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Obamacare! A personal tale of woe!

It's now December the 2nd and while the 'front end' of the Healthcare.gov site is now working fairly well, the 'rear end' is becoming hopelessly backed up and in desperate need of a laxative! I should know as I've been trying to get; logged on, verified and enrolled for over two months now!

Acting as a good citizen, I've managed (after many hours and weeks of time) to get an application submitted (I eventually had to do a paper one that was sent in via the USPS) only to find that once it was received, even the Help Center could not get me logged into my account even when they reset my password themselves. I finally started a new account with a new user name and password to get in and to navigate to the section where I could verify who I was. Interestingly, this portion of the problem-plagued site worked for me the very first time! (I've heard stories on the media that even as of this posting that area is often not working). Feeling lucky. I then went to the section where I selected a healthcare provider plan and answered all the other questions that were asked. Everything was checked and double checked! I was ready to progressively move FORWARD!

Finally, (it was now late November and with my heart pounding), I hit the button to 'review and
This last step in the 'rear end' never completes!
enroll'. That took me to a screen that advised me... to wait...and wait...and wait. Actually, over the past week of trying, neither myself nor the Help Desk personnel could ever get me past that last point. Talk about frustration! By this time, I was also getting physically sick due to the insanity of the idiots running the site.

Just today, I heard on the TV that in point of fact, hardly anyone has actually been able to get enrolled in many states – (this was per representatives of the insurance companies who should know)!

The bottom line...millions of Americans may (will) find themselves without any healthcare come January the 1st. A sad statement concerning a President and Democratic Party run Senate that continues to run what was once a great Republic straight into the ground! Thanks President Obama. Thanks for nothing...

Friday, November 1, 2013

Critique: Totino's Party Pizza!

It's Halloween, 2013 and I find myself home alone with nothing but a Totino's Party Pizza to keep me company. Outside, it's dark and all sorts of little rug rats are running to and fro, all under the watchful eyes of parents who sit patiently in their cars burning gas while wondering if they will be able to afford the dental bills that will be sure to arise from their kids eating all that sugar! For my part, I'm hiding inside my home, drapes closed and lights off, hoping the little beasties will stay away. Why, you ask? Have you seen the cost of candy lately?

My little pizza, which tacitly promises to get me into a party mood cost only $1.34 (it was on sale), sits on the top rack of my oven which I obediently set to 450F. According to the directions, I needed to cook said party pizza for about 15 minutes prior to 'digging in'!

Now, back in October of 2012, I did a short critique on a similar pizza made by Celeste. That pizza could be prepared in either the oven or the microwave and so was a bit more convenient. It cost about a buck and a quarter on sale and so was a little bit cheaper – at least when on sale. Even the calories are similar 370 for the Celeste versus 360 for the Totino's version. So, as you probably have guessed, both these dudes are basically from the same branch of the pizza tree! That is to say they are small and go down really fast.

After heating my party pizza for the required 15 minutes, I sliced it into quarters, poured a glass of milk and sat down to ingest. Frankly, I found this pizza to be pretty bad! The crust was a little hard for my taste and the toppings were somewhat...tasteless. Sadly, I give this one a 4 on a scale of 10. Think I'll be sticking with Celeste in the future, or better yet, I'll just shell out more money for a real fresh baked pizza!

Update: December 2nd, 2014. And yes, I've decided to try this deal again.. (Hey, I'm a sucker for punishment)! This time around, the cost of this Totino's combo pizza was up a few cents, now at $1.39. Still very affordable, but the real question remained. Is there a better way to make the unpalatable more palatable?  So, instead of baking it for 15 minutes at 450F, I brought the time down to 13 minutes, thinking this might improve (as in make softer) the texture of the crust. When the timer dinger went ding ding, I knew it was time to PARTY!

The verdict: Yes! The crust was much softer! And while the taste was still on the bland side, it was edible, none the less! One half the pizza (which I ate) was about 350 calories.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Critique: Lean Cuisine Steak Portabello!

At a sale price of just $2.50, this frozen entree from Lean Cuisine sported a couple of words that I really relate to; the word steak and the bastardization of the word portabelly. I love anything that's steak and happen to sport the other around my waist! And just check out that picture! (How can a mere mortal like myself NOT want to embrace such a sumptuous meal)?

So, I brought this 'incred-a-deal' and got it home post haste. And even though the package looked, how can I say it... a bit on the petite side, I was sure that it would satisfy the hungry man inside me. Well, shouldn't it?

At first glance, the 150 calorie content was bliss to a man on a diet, and while the sodium was a bit high at 450 milligrams, I was still a go! (I just figured that out there in the land of cheap deal meals, they had to use a lot of salt to make it taste...edible). Was I wrong to think that?

The Land of Reality

OK, here is what the dinner looked like after following the simple instruction of making a slit in the plastic and nuking on high for four and half minutes! Sweet! And you know what, I actually liked what I saw! Sure, the amounts were very small (especially the steak), but the taste was all that I could hope for. This creation gets a solid 8 on a scale of 10 and yeah, I'll plan to buy it again in the near future.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The real environmental elephant in the room!

While the media and some politicians prattle on and on about climate change and how it's in everyone's interest to do something about it, no one seems to be addressing a problem that becomes more critical with each passing day and which will unhinge America and other nations in the near term.

While global warming is something the media likes to talk and talk about, and while Obama is pressing for his so-called 'carbon tax' (which is currently stalled in the Senate), there are bigger problems brewing... I'm talking about potable water and the lack of it on planet earth. Strangely enough, for a planet that is covered by some much of the wet stuff, it's sad to state that only about 1% is actually drinkable. And, of that portion, much of that small amount is tied up as ice on both poles! That leaves precious little for the some 7 billion souls now inhabiting mother earth to drink each day!

Here in America, the fresh water is already becoming scarce in some states. Of even more concern are the dropping water tables across the mid section of the country. Reservoirs that experts say will take something like ten thousand years to refill, assuming we all stopped using it today. Our government is now projecting that at least 36 states will soon face severe water shortages because of a combination of rising temperatures, drought, population growth, urban sprawl, waste and excess.

Other continents, like Australia are even now in the midst of a critical shortage of water as wildfires burn up the parched land. (Sadly, Australia's longest river system, the Murray-Darling, which drains a basin the size of France and Spain combined, no longer carries enough water to carve its own path to the sea and must be dredged on a 24/7 basis). You think that will end well these folks? In fact, many of the world's rivers, including the Colorado in America, China's Yellow river and the Tagus, which flows through Spain and Portugal, are suffering a similar plight as increasingly thirsty hordes drain them faster than they can be refilled by rainfall. The truth of the matter is that there are just too many people, too many industries and animals to supply all their needs even today. If these trends continue, experts predict that shortages could become critical in just another decade or so....

Imagine a scenario where over a billion people are suddenly forced to move because they are slowly dying of thirst! Imagine, too, the effect on our world stability as they cross foreign borders in a tidal wave of wild desperation! It won't be a pretty sight and when it does begin to happen it will happen overnight. And yet, what is being done about this pending nightmare? Nothing. The media and the president would rather spend their time talking about global warming and how the CO2 might climb above 400 part per million! Heaven forbid!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Jefferson Airplane 1967 with White Rabbit!


OK, this is just wrong! I remember the Airplane and gee, it can't be all that long ago... but yet, it was. Still, watching Gracie Slick and those penetrating eyes of hers and remembering all that was part of that time in our history. Well, it was special... very special to me and to a generation! Crank it up and enjoy! Now, what the heck happened to my Valium>???

Cell phone canceled due to Obamacare!

Today, I had to call my representative at Verizon and told her to cancel my cell phone account. Her name was Kelly and she felt sad to see me go after so many years as a valued subscriber. The thing was, I would still be a customer had had it not been for ObamaCare and the high costs associated with it. And, on reflection, I couldn't help but wonder if there will be a tidal wave of future cell phone cancellations that will sweep America, as millions come to the realization that some of the conveniences they took for granted may no longer be easily affordable.

I'm also guessing that phone companies all across the nation will be experiencing smaller bottom lines come the spring of 2014. The real question is, will they be just the tip of a much larger iceberg?

Monday, October 14, 2013

The ubiquitous cheeseburger and fries at McDonald's!

Eat Me!
Going to McDonald's is a love hate relationship for me. Over the years, I come to a sort of détente as I've learned to eighty-six the Big Mac and extra large fries for the more reasonable cheeseburger and medium fry. The two combined contain 630 calories for a cost of $2.81(valid at Forsyth MO as of the 14th of October 2013), which is a livable set of totals for me as long as I keep the visits down to about once a week. As I'm currently on a 1,800 calorie per day diet, this one meal (usually eaten at lunchtime) puts a large dent in my overall meal planning and thus requires I either skimp on breakfast or exercise. Usually it's both!

So, is the awesome taste worth the hassle? For me it is even after they jacked the price up another dime on the 15th! Was this due to a tax or was it the franchise? Who knows...

Easy to make spaghetti sauce - the movie!


A good homemade spaghetti sauce should be easy to make, taste delicious and actually be healthy to eat! Prego can maybe make two of those claims, but not all three!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Red beans, rice and a hotdog! Not that bad!

Kids would like this!
Go figure. One evening when I found nothing in the fridge to make for dinner, I foraged here and there for something to 'throw together'. I came up with a lone hot dog, some leftover instant rice and a can of red beans! OK, I thought... How bad could this be? So, into the microwave it went. After a minute, or so, on high I retrieved my plate and retired to an easy chair to enjoy. Hmm. Not all that bad! Actually, it was frigging good! Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! Note: this meal came in just over 400 calories! Here's looking at ya kiddo!

Friday, October 11, 2013

We the People, four years hence...


A 2009 speech that is now aging and old, and yet... it portended so much for today!
Wake up America! You're about to be handed your hat..

and

and as of October 2013... we the 'sheeple' still hide in our homes bleating like sheep. Now, it's 2014 and we are coming undone...

Bangles! If she knew what she wants!

Susan Hoff and the Bangles!

Just preserving the past...Like as in embers from a fireplace, we spark brightly, and then are heard from no more...

Pasta and potatoes on a diet! Sure! Why not?

Click on picture to enlarge
I have been told that 'when on a sensible diet', you must avoid pasta and potatoes like the plague! Well, I'm here to say that is simply not true! Like everything we do in our daily nutritional lives, moderation is the key. This very filling meal (just under half a pound of food all told) came in at just over 300 calories! And, if you were to sub in fake butter instead of the real thing, the total would be even less!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The cost of veggies at the local grocery – October 2013!

Thank goodness that my eight or so pepper plants are motoring right along late in the season and are still producing some fine banana, bell and long red cayenne peppers! And, while the harvest has not ever been overwhelming, it has been steady enough to service my stir fries and salads.

I feel blessed to have at that one vegetable (which I use frequently at a cheap cost), because the other guys I buy at the local grocery – well, that's not so much the case. Here is a sampling of the cost of some of the vegetables as of the day of this post:

Bell peppers $0.89 each
Carrots $0.99 1 lb bag
Celery $1.49 1 lb pkg
Lettuce $1.79 Iceberg or head lettuce – no reason given for the high cost
Onions $1.49 per lb
Potatoes 2.99 5 lb sack

Here's a post I did earlier in the year in January, 2013 that lists some of the prices back then. Thankfully, the cost of gas is currently down some, now at 3.129 a gallon for unleaded. I fear that this lower cost, however, is more due to the terrible economy and the shutdown of the government than anything else. Everywhere, all across the nation people are blaming one side or the other or both for the shutdown. (For my part, I'm certain this was a Democratic Party and far left engineered deal that was spear-headed by a very evil and despicable President Obama). [Forsythkid]

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Making do with cheap cuts of meat!

Sometimes I just have to laugh out loud when I see our President speaking on the TV, telling everyone how much better off we all are in this, his 5th year in office. Well, maybe the poor are better off (and I'm pretty positive the rich are not hurting too badly), it's just us common working folks who are caught in the middle and who are making the tough choices!

Recently, I went to my local grocery store with the idea of buying myself a good steak, but the sticker shock caused me to immediately downgrade to something a little cheaper... (Those small strip steaks I used to by for about three bucks were now way up there! And, those really good tasting New York strips and Fillet Mignon's? Nope! No way Jose)!
$15! No way...

So, pictured above is what I was able to buy for just about $2.70. As you can see, not very appetizing. Reminded me of something out of Portnoy's Complaint. But, let's see what I can do with it.

Hmm, stir fry came immediately to my mind. I began by slicing one of the 'steaks' into thin strips. These were then placed into a plastic baggie along with a 'secret marinade1' overnight in the
fridge. Theoretically, a good marinade will act to break down any tough fibers thereby making that cheap cut of meat easier to chew.

This next morning, I cut up bell pepper and and half a small onion and stir-fried everything in a hot skillet that contained olive oil, rosemary, basil and oregano. How'd this deal smell while it was cooking? You'd have to be there. But, suffice it to say, it was heavenly.

For the recipe base, I elected to make up some instant rice – always a good idea with any stir fry recipe. As you can see, this dish not only looks appetizing, but it also tasted out of this world!

1 – My secret marinade consisted of mustard, white wine, tobacco sauce, A1 and minced garlic.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What is the white horse? I give you Goldfrapp!

Goldfrapp is an English band. I, on the other hand, am just a messenger of ill repute!

“And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer" Revelation 6:2. 

The four horsemen of the Apocalypse


Monday, October 7, 2013

River Run Park enters 2nd week of shutdown!

Those who forget the past are doomed to relive it!
Sparing no effort to hurt or inconvenience the citizens of this Republic, park rangers continue to make life as unpleasant as possible for everyone they can touch. A sad state of affairs for what used to be a patriotic and vital Corp of Engineers. I'm now left to wonder how soon they will switch to wearing black jack boots...

Friday, October 4, 2013

Another use for a canning pot – making distilled water!



After I discovered that one byproduct of chlorinated water is a substance known as chloroform a highly cancerous substance1 that is implicated in increased rate of colorectal and bladder cancers2, I began buying distilled water at the local grocery store for about a buck a gallon. That worked for a bit, but then I found myself awash in a sea of plastic jugs that I was forced to throw out in the trash. That wasn't good for the environment and was wasteful to boot.

So, what I did was to do a little more research on ways to generate distilled water that would be both safe and economical. One method, I was surprised to learn was to set out clean containers to collect rainwater. Note: This only works especially well when it really pours which is not often!

Another method is pictured here. I took a canning pot that was collecting dust, cleaned it out and
filled it about a quarter full with tap water. I then placed a clean glass casserole dish on top of the canning jar rack that came with the pot. All I had to do then was turn the heat on the stove to low, place the lid on top in an inverted fashion, as shown, and then dump some ice onto the lid! Twenty minutes later I had about a cup of pure water at a cost in electricity of about 4 cents. To make a quart of distilled water, then, should take about an hour at an estimated cost of 16 cents (just a guesstimate) in power. This was something to try, but I didn't see me going with that process for very long.

Next, I turned to the Culligan water people where I learned that they did, in fact, offer distilled water at a rate of $7.50 (valid at the time of this post) per 5 gallon jug of water. They also were offering a cooler tower for a lease rate of $10 per month. Not bad, I thought, so I sat down to try and figure out just how much water I typically would consume in an average day. Turns out it was just about 4 cups a day or 7 gallons a month! That would translate into a cost of about $9.10 for water or $19.10 for the jug of water and a tower per month. My cost, by comparison, for getting my water from the grocery would equal only about $7 to $8! So, it looks like I will be going with that option and damn the environment.

1 - International Agency for Research on Cancer. Chlorinated Drinking Water; Chlorinated By-Products; Some Other Halogenated Compounds; Cobalt and Cobalt Compounds. IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risk to Humans, Vol. 52; IARC: Lyon, France, 1991.

2 - Morris, R. D.; Audet, A. M.; Angelillo, I. F.; Chalmers, T. C.; Mosteller, F. Am. J. Public Health 1992, 82, 955–963.

What future?

I took a picture from Facebook of two kids standing around a campfire and thought to make the following statement.

The fact is, our kids, the young and the innocent, have no clue as to what their parents have done to their future. College? Forget it. A house of their own? Not gonna happen for most of them. A chance at a rich and prosperous future? I don't think so...

Seventeen trillion dollars! The fact is, that baring a revolution, there is no way for a National Debt of this magnitude to be retired in any one lifetime...perhaps not in many lifetimes. So, what's that mean for these two kids? I don't know and I'm not sure I want to...

Even as this post went up, our President along with a 
I think I see some friends! Maybe I'll jump too...
a host of Democrats are in process of destroying the Republic! And why are they doing this? Simply put, it's over pride. The saying that 'pride goith before a great fall' has never been more true. The only problem is that, like lemmings, many of us are mindlessly following what amounts to insane leadership. No family in America could continue to spend money they didn't have without dire consequences ensuing. And now, I'm afraid, America is now much like the Titanic; only we aren't getting the benefit of a band as we sink beneath the waves.... Go now everyone and watch as the National Debt Clock ticks away your children's future....then go home and prepare them for a future that, in all likelihood, will be both brutal as well as short!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Scenario's for national calamity!

As of 2013, most every form of communication (or at least the bulk of it) is in some way tied in with the Internet. Our emails, online order sites and bill payments are widely used by a large and ever growing portion of the American public. There are over 100 billion emails sent in the US each and every day! And, while I have no idea how many of us do our banking or manage our credit cards, I'm sure its a number that would stagger the imagination...

Now, imagine for a minute, a coordinated terrorist strike that cripples this very essential service! Imagine the effect it would have on an already weak economy. Imagine if your TV and cell phone no longer worked or worked sporadically at best! Imagine food shipments that are mostly now computer automated, suddenly not making it to stores across the nation. The same would go for gasoline shipments and other essential deliver services like FedEx or UPS. Imagine the sheer chaos that would ensue. Think it couldn't happen! Then check out this article entitled 'Four ways the Internet could go down'. The article covers space weather, Cyberwarfare, political mandate and even cable cutting as four viable ways we could be screwed big time!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Local parks and access roads shut down!

The Corp of Engineers apparently have received instructions to close off access to River Run Park effective in 24 hours. This park (and presumably parks like it across the US), are being closed because Obama & friends want to send everyone a clear message that if you mess with him he's going to mess with you. In  my opinion, this is just the tip of a movement by the President to eventually shut down America!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Background radiation, muons and us!

A cell's DNA takes a direct muon hit!
Radiation coming from both the sky and the earth, in all its forms, is a fact of life here on earth. Most of it is very beneficial; we wouldn't be here were it not for the light and heat coming from the sun. some of it, however, can be harmful. Ever since humans (and all life forms for that matter) first evolved, we've been bombarded by radiation, of one type or another, both from outer space and from radioactive materials in the Earth itself. We've all seen this solar electromagnetic spectrum chart (see below), that depicts the wide range of energy that can affect us daily. Most of the energy, including the visible spectrum and everything to the left are innocuous at normal levels.


This is not the case for energy of higher frequencies found on the left side of the visible spectrum. Because they vibrate so much faster, they can ionize any organic matter that they strike. Most people know that too much exposure to UV-B waves can cause sunburns that, over a long period of time, can result in some for of cancer for an unlucky few. We are even more susceptible to X-Rays and Gamma rays, but thankfully, our thick atmosphere filters most of these out before they can reach the surface!

Were all that not enough, there are also the very harmful Cosmic particles that come to our planet either from deep space or, more infrequently, from mass corneal ejections of the sun. The majority (80%) of these particles are single protons which are simply hydrogen atoms that have been stripped of their electrons (although heavier nuclei like iron can come blasting in). They are created when a star somewhere in this or another galaxy goes nova and so ejects material at great velocities. And, since these particles have mass and are traveling at close to the speed of light, they can really pack a wallop if they hit a living cell! (Thankfully, the magnetic field around the earth helps to shield us from much of this nastiness). Of the cosmic rays that do hit the atmosphere, most smash into air molecules (most often nitrogen) and cause a billiard ball effect or 'air showers' of secondary particles (see below).

The little blue spheres are the muons!

Once again and thanks to the thickness of our atmosphere (35 miles), most of the cosmic rays never make it to the ground as their energies are absorbed by the constant collisions with other air molecules. How many do make it? On a surface of about the size of a hand, approximately one secondary particle hits every second. And of these, most are little nasties called muons which I like to think of as fat electrons. While extremely light (just 200 x's more heavy than an electron), muons can do a real number on a humans DNA over time and constitute about a third of the ionizing radiation our bodies have to deal with. [Note: The closer you live to sea level, the better. People living in mountainous areas like Denver Colorado receive over 300% more of these bad guys that those of us living lower down, like say Chicago...Sure hope the view there is worth it]!

The good news, in all this, is that we've been living with radiation ever since life evolved and have long ago developed repair mechanisms that mediate most all of the damage. Radiation dosages are often measured in Sieverts with a dose of one Sievert per year responsible for about a 5.5% increase in the rate of cancer. Here, where I live in Forsyth Missouri, the background levels of radiation are actually quite low – about .11 uSv/h (micro Sieverts per hour). That's a tenth of a thousandths of a Sievert per hour, or put another way it would take a level of 114.1 μSv/h every day for a whole year to equal a dose of just 1 Sievert! Now that's a background level of radiation I can live with!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Critique: Gorton's Grilled Tilapia!

I thought it to be way past time to try out a fish dish and so I made it a point to pick up a box or two of Gorton's Grilled Tilapia at the grocery. One of the boxes contained Tilapia which is a mainly freshwater fish that inhabits shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes and which is now grown commercially. They have been served as far back as 2000 years ago! On a good note, they are very low in mercury, and on a bad note they are not very high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Oh well...

According to the package instructions you preheat an oven to 400°F and bake them in a shallow pan for 18 to 20 minutes. Easy greasy! I like to eat my fish with a dab or two of a 'special' sauce. Interestingly this sauce was being served over 2000 years ago and is still popular today. The ingredients are mentioned in the collection of ancient Roman recipes called the Apicius and are a combination of 'liquamen (Garum), pepper, cayenne, eggs, lemon, olive oil, white wine, anchovies, onions, tarragon, pickled cucumbers, parsley, chervil, hard boiled eggs, capers, green peppers and mustard. Give up? We call it tartar sauce and, like the ancient Romans, I feel it is a must have addition whenever I eat fish!

After cooking, I sat down at the dinner table, added a bit of the aforementioned sauce and dug in. (For a side, I had prepared a package of 'country mix' vegetables which I thought added greatly to the overall look of this dish)! The calories for just the fish came in at a modest 80. I also got 25 mg of Omega-3 fatty acids which was better than a sharp stick in the eye and the taste was really quite good. I gave this Gorton's fish offering a solid 8 and will plan on making their fish offerings a regular item on my table.

Monday, September 16, 2013

There be 12 of us apes dancing tonight!


There was a time when I was one of the apes!

We do not need any love on this planet - Dof Codo!


Original real video was circa 1983. A better time for everyone! Fast, forward, then to 2017. And, Dof Codo is becoming more meaningful every day vis a vie ISIS... at least for me!  Dieser Song ist Eva Libre denen ich arbeitete mit so langer gehen gewidmet!

Brain-eating amoeba attacking New Orleans!

Naegleria fowleri amoeba
Just when you thought it safe to travel back on down to the Big Easy, officials have discovered a brain eating amoeba in the water supply.

Test results from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the Naegleria fowleri amoeba was found in four locations of the St. Bernard Parish water system, the state Department of Health and Hospitals announced Thursday. Ground zero is St. Bernard Parish, a suburb of New Orleans, after the state linked the amoeba to the encephalitis death of the child, a 4-year-old boy from Mississippi who was visiting a home in the parish.

Boil your water and avoid getting any in your nose, warned one health official. Apparently that's how this monster makes inside the body where it can find easy transport to the brain. Officials caution that this brain dissolving organism can now be found 'all over'.

Critique: Lean Gourmet Salisbury Steak

At just 180 calories, you'd think that no matter how good or bad it might taste, this would be a great entrée for anyone grinding through a diet. And, please don't get me wrong. 'Taters and meatloaf' are alrighty with me – true comfort foods that they are. (But, at a mere 213 grams, just be prepared for not all that much comfort)!

You'll note that the picture on the package looks pretty enticing. Those heaping mashed potatoes and that big old hunk of meat! Wow! I may have to loosen my belt a notch for this meal! But, then, things begin to go a little bit sideways...

The directions, which are on the back of the package, ask you to grasp a corner and lift to vent the meal. OK... You then are supposed to nuke the whole thing for 3 minutes at which point you need to remove the package, open the top and stir them that potaters. The problem is, by that point, I'd forgotten the rest of the instructions and had to lift the whole thing carefully over my head to read them – awkward! Ah, yes – the instructions continue by asking that you re-close the lid (hard to do) and then nuke it for another 2 minutes to finish the cooking cycle. Well, in order to keep that lid closed I had to place a plat on top of it! A heads up Michelina – please consider putting them instructions on the front of the package and rework the lid so it doesn't want to curl up! Duh!

Well, here is the finished meal! (It reminded me of my last ugly date)! You'll note I stuck a piece of toast in there as otherwise this deal
would look like an abortion that had been left out in the sun awhile. And, while the taste wasn't all that bad (score it a 7), I don't feel it was worth the money.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Critique: Chicken Margherita by Healthy Choice!

Take a pass unless you like overcooked pasta!
This frozen TV dinner from Healthy Choice informs me in no uncertain terms... 'Attention all taste buds! This deliciously inspired dish marries juicy chicken breast tenderloins with al dente angel hair pasta, roasted garlic and tomatoes, and a rich balsamic vinaigrette sauce. It’s a meal worth savoring and without a single preservative.' Wow! Now that's some recommendation. And,at a sale price of just $2.50 each, I felt I just had to gloom one up and take it home for dinner.

Nutritionally, this is not a bad deal. Like most all of the Healthy Choice line of frozen meals, you're talking both low calories and low salt. Two items that are important to most every obese American (which is most Americans now a days).

After nuking this meal for 4 minutes and then eating it, I'd give the whole affair a middling score of 7. The main problem – the pasta was overdone! That fact took down my overall enjoyment considerably. If the pasta problem ever gets fixed, it would be a pretty good meal deal.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Five things President Obama hasn't done wrong!


To obfuscate – verb. To render obscure, unclear or unintelligible

Taking unearned credit for the accomplishments of others!

Whenever a great events happens, like the take down of Osama Bin Laden, for instance, Obama has never mentioned himself, but rather is always praising Seal Team 6. 'My' is not a word in his vocabulary! Atta-a-boy prez!

Pointing a finger at others when he was at fault!

Our boy stands right up and makes that buck stop at his desk. I'd mention NRAgate, IRSgate and Bengazigate just to mention a few of the times when he really took it on the chin and accepted full blame. Can you believe this guy? This man needs another Nobel prize, toute sweet!

Waffling as the Commander and Chief!

When that 'red line' got crossed in Syria, our boy took immediate and crafty action...by doing nothing. That a boy O'Bamer! After all, it wasn't really his red line, now was it?

Put the kabash on America's energy future.

When it comes to caution, you have to give it up for da Man. Take that bad old pipeline coming down from Canada, for instance. For five years now, he's been the only bastion of dissent in a sea of overwhelming acceptance even by the likes of the EPA. This man of detail wants to 'study' it some more. Is it any wonder that Americans everywhere love and adore this icon of a man?

Thrown America's healthcare to the wolves!

Who else but someone like Barry would craft such a gem of a document as is the Affordable Healthcare Act. Just reading it will tend to make your jaw drop as you discover many of its inner complexities. It's good to know that everyone will be so well taken care of... And, gosh he's still got another two more years to help fundamentally change our collective arses. I wonder what he'll do next?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Fast and easy spaghetti sauce for two!



Cheap and under 200 calories!

Like many other people, I've purchased the ready made bottles of spaghetti sauce like Prego and Ragu which taste great! But, since I live alone, I always end up placing that expensive leftover sauce in the fridge only to throw it out some time later. A real waste, in my opinion.

Nowadays I've licked that problem by making my own sauce (enough for two) on the fly with little, if any, fuss or muss. Here are the ingredients:

Could maybe use some sliced mushrooms
8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 tbsp onion, minced
1 tbsp bell pepper, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp dried basil
1 tsp olive oil
3 tbsp white wine

I make this by heating a small frying pan over medium heat, adding the oil and then the onions, peppers and garlic. I allow this to cook for a few minutes until the onion is just translucent. Next, I add in the tomato sauce and the herbs. The wine is added to just dilute the sauce a bit and the the sauce is reduced to the proper consistency (about ten minutes). Voilà! You have a perfectly great tasting sauce that cost just a few cents!

Sunbathing is so back in!


After decades of being told to avoid the sun by many doctors and the media, now some leading researchers are telling us just the opposite!

The problem began back in the 70's when everyone was warned of the dangers of getting too much sun and then all those 'sun blocker lotions' hit the market. As a nation, we began to really take all this to heart and collectively moved from the outdoors into electronic 'man caves' where we've been lurking ever since. (If you think I'm wrong, just take a hard look at how pasty white everyone looks at the local market)! As a result, many of us (especially dark skinned individuals) are not getting enough vitamin D, a substance that is now thought to be one of the best anticancer agents ever discovered! How bad is it? Well, according to the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), some '600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancers could be prevented each year if everyone would just maintain effective levels of vitamin D3'!

So, how's it made (for techno's)?

Although vitamin D is firmly enshrined as one of the four fat-soluble vitamins, it is not technically a vitamin. True, it’s essential for health, and only minuscule amounts are required. But it breaks the other rules for vitamins because it’s produced in the human body, it’s absent from all natural foods except fish and egg yolks, and even when it’s obtained from foods, it must be transformed by the body before it can do any good.

Vitamin D is not one chemical but many. The natural type is produced in the skin from a universally present form of cholesterol, 7-dehydrocholesterol. Sunlight is the key: Its ultraviolet B (UVB)
energy converts the precursor to vitamin D3. In contrast, most dietary supplements are manufactured by exposing a plant sterol to ultraviolet energy, thus producing vitamin D2. Because their function is almost identical, D2 and D3 are lumped together under the name vitamin D — but neither will function until the body works its magic (see graphic).

The first stop is in the liver, where vitamin D picks up extra oxygen and hydrogen molecules to become 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D. This is the chemical that doctors should measure to diagnose vitamin D deficiencies. But although 25(OH)D is used for diagnosis, it can’t function until it travels to the kidney. There it acquires a final pair of oxygen and hydrogen molecules to become 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D; scientists know this active form of the vitamin as 1,25(OH)2D, or calcitriol, but for ordinary folks, like you and me, the name vitamin D is accurate enough. [ Harvard Health Publications].

What can be taken away from this last techno-babble is that, absent your ability to get enough sun, you could take a Vitamin D supplement! But, be forewarned that this may or may not do as good a job as the old sol. Even the venerable Readers Digest has suggested; 'Get a little sun. Just 10 to 15 minutes of midday sunshine (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) several days a week may do the trick (apply sunscreen after those few minutes)'. Sounds like fine advice to me!