Friday, January 31, 2014

Random Thoughts for the end of January 2014!

Increasingly and with advancing age, the month of January has gotten harder each times it comes around. Perhaps it's the cold air or the lack of sports or maybe it's just all the dead brown trees, but what ever the cause I'm always glad to see it in the back mirror. That's not to say February is much better...

Another winter storm to hit the Midwest!

Bless my frozen heart. We've got us yet another winter storm coming our way. It's timed to make early February noteworthy with some slide offs and fender benders. That's the latest news out of the National Weather Service at any rate. It's supposed to hit sometime late on Monday, so the Tuesday commute could be problematic for some. I plan to stay safely inside after going out for groceries on early Monday morning.

Sadly, after paying for a second back to back all time high electric bill, I was hoping for a real early spring to hit my area in southwest Missouri. This storm doesn't make that look very promising. See more at www.taneyservices.com!

How about that State of the Union address?

My question after listening to the entire diatribe is – 'what the heck did he talk about other than tax and spend and then spend some more?' Seriously, I feel President Obama has done more to set the black cause back than any other man I can think of. That not me just saying that either - see this article. And, now we will have a chance to elect the first women president in 2016. How do you think that will turn out? Still, I think old Nutcracker Hilliary would be an interesting follow up to the cluster 'you know what' we've all endured right before her.

Keystone pipeline report to be out soon!

The rumors now flying around Washington that the environmental impact of running the pipeline will not be that big of a deal is sure to disappoint some of the left wing segments of our population who seem against the United States energy interests. Fortunately for them, the State Department wants to launch a new review based on the complaints that the pipeline may look too phallic for some sensitive females who might spot it while traveling around in their cars. This review could also take years to reach any conclusions. In the meantime, the rest of us can sit around at home because we can't afford to buy gas.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The perfect pasta sauce?

What constitutes the perfect spaghetti sauce? I'm not sure, but for one thing, it has to be mon treś economical. (After the Feds wrecked the Republic for all time, I can't afford anything too expensive). Next, it must be the kind of sauce you will come back to and make time and again. (Sort of like a favorite whore or old dog). And finally, it must be able to support all sorts of addons every guy and gal likes; meats, veggies and spices to name just a few...

Ingredients:

8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 oz water
1 oz red wine
dash of oregano
dash of garlic salt

Directions:

In a small drying pan combine the above ingredients and simmer long enough to reduce to a nice pasta style sauce. That's it! I said it was simple.

Note: If you want something slightly more 'filling' or exciting – add finely diced bell pepper and onion and mushrooms to the pan beforehand and sauté for a minute before adding the rest of the ingredients. That's what I did for this recipe. Makes 4 servings.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Stir fry deluxe with rice!

In the recent past, I've posted a couple of blogs that were dedicated to simple beef stir fry recipes. I like to prepare these for a number of reasons; 1) the recipe satisfies my desire for meat, 2) they are easy to make and 3) they taste so darn good! This ez recipe is a take-off on those ideas:

Ingredients:

1 cup instant rice
145 grams cubed beef
35g cherry tomatoes, cut in half
58g bell pepper, chopped
58g red onion, chopped
34g mushrooms, sliced thin
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp olive oil
dash garlic salt
pepper to taste

Directions:

Make the instant rice up before hand. Heat a small frying pan to medium heat and add the oil. Add the veggies and sauté for a couple of minutes, then add in the beef and other seasonings. Cook for about three minutes, plate on top of a pile of rice and your all done!

Al Gore – His top ten stupid weather quotes!

Al Gore, the author of the controversial 'Inconvenient Truth' and who currently resides in Nashville TN is no doubt currently fielding questions concerning the recent spate of cold weather from friends and media alike.

What the United States and Canada are experiencing right now is making global warming alarmists such as Al Gore look quite foolish. The following are 10 of Al Gore’s stupidest global warming quotes…

#1 In 2008, Al Gore boldly declared to a German audience that “the entire North ‘polarized’ cap will disappear in 5 years.” (Needless to say, that did not happen. In fact, the ice cap in the Arctic actually got 200% larger this year.)

#2 “CO2 is the exhaling breath of our civilization, literally. … Changing that pattern requires a scope, a scale, a speed of change that is beyond what we have done in the past.” (Actually, without carbon dioxide life on earth would not exist.)

#3 “The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor. If the doctor says you need to intervene here, you don’t say, ‘Well, I read a science fiction novel that told me it’s not a problem.’ If the crib’s on fire, you don’t speculate that the baby is flame retardant. You take action.”

#4 During a speech at NYU Law School in 2006, Al Gore made the following statement: “Many scientists are now warning that we are moving closer to several “tipping points” that could — within as little as 10 years — make it impossible for us to avoid irretrievable damage to the planet’s habitability for human civilization.”

#5 “Here is the truth: The Earth is round; Saddam Hussein did not attack us on 9/11; Elvis is dead; Obama was born in the United States; and the climate crisis is real.”

#6 “The interior of the earth is extremely hot – several million degrees.” (It actually peaks out at about 11,000 degrees.)

#7 “There is an air of unreality in debating these arcane points when the world is changing in such dramatic ways right in front of our eyes because of global warming.”

#8 “It would be an enormous relief if the recent attacks on the science of global warming actually indicated that we do not face an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.”

#9 “The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk. And even more — if more should be required — the future of human civilization is at stake.”

#10 “We ought to approach this challenge [of global warming] with a sense of profound joy and gratitude: that we are the generation about which, a thousand years from now, philharmonic orchestras and poets and singers will celebrate by saying, they were the ones that found it within themselves to solve this crisis and lay the basis for a bright and optimistic human future.”

In point of fact, climate change is an on-going process that will continue long after mankind is gone from the earth.Most recently, Al is now preaching the benefits of 'fertility control' to force population control on the world. Good luck with that one!

Speaking of weather, please check out www.taneyservices.com for the latest in weather in and around Taney County Missouri!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Big Mac and fries! So bad, they're good!

Never mind the fact that eating too many Big Macs will turn you into one. Never mind that those French fries will quickly turn your legs into slabs of cottage cheese. The sad truth is that all that greasy fat is oh so desirable to us poor humans! And, while I severely limit my trips to the Double Arches to just once or so a week, I'm pretty certain I will never totally get off the habit of chowing down on them. (Fast food, like the lead in the pipes of ancient Rome may yet be the downfall of mankind).

Calorie-wise, a Big Mac and a medium order of French fries will slam a person's body with 550 and 380 calories respectively. That adds up to 930 calories in just the one sitting! So, if you are making this an item to eat on any given day, just make sure to have a salad or two to help balance everything out. Ideally, an average person should not consume more than 2,500 calories in a given day. I say average, because those of us who are very active can pump that figure up quite a bit! (I've heard of some arctic explorers who need to eat at least 6,000 calories a day just to stay alive)!

The original McDonald's hamburger at 250 calories
My biggest complaint about this popular combination is the high price. At my local McDonald's, this pair cost me a total of $6.15 with no beverage. This is a far cry from the original fifteen cent hamburger that was sold when I was growing up in the late fifties! Oh, yeah and those French fries cost you only a thin dime back then! Now, I understand that if the minimum wage goes up, so will the cost of eating these for consumers. This brings a question to my mind... at what point will I have to give up the habit? Perhaps it's time we went back to the smaller, cheaper and more nutritious fare...

Friday, January 24, 2014

Random Thoughts for Jan 2014

Heating bill sticker shock!

While this winter season has been very close to 'normal' in terms of high and low temperatures, tell that to many of the residents of southwest Missouri who are paying heating bills that are as much a twice the amounts they paid a year before!

Forsyth MO – Many customers, like myself, who use Empire Electric have been clobbered with two increases this past December; a doubling of heating costs and a 13% increase in the base cost of electrical power. In my case, that translated to a $100 increase on a home budget that just saw a 200% increase in the cost of health insurance (courtesy of President Obama et al). Adding to the pain were continued high food and gas prices! – A case study in the old adage of the straw breaking some camel's back. Just call me Mr. Camel!

But wait! There's more! As January 2014 winds on down, the chilly trend looks like it will continue as we ride a roller coaster up and down that has seen below zero readings twice this month with another week to go!

How low will Obama's ratings go?

Over time, President Obama's rating have gone from 59% early in his first term, down to the mid thirties by the beginning of his second. Like a car that gets water in its gas line, the Democratic Engine that could, has begun to sputter. Continue poor economic performance, high unemployment and energy prices are partly to blame. Increasingly, however, more and more eyes are turning to Obamacare as a hammer that may drive the last nail into the national casket! Even the most ardent and hard-line Democrat now admits that the ACA roll out was an unmitigated disaster. A monolithic nightmare of tangled and malfunctioning computer code that has now left more people uninsured than was the case before it went into effect! This was exactly opposite the intended effect and even the most optimistic predict a difficult road ahead. Charles Krauthammer was quoted as stating that “this (Obamacare) isn't just a wrinkle, this is a train wreck!” Like many others, he fully understands that if the Administration cannot get approximately seven million young and healthy citizens signed upped by mid March, the entire construct will collapse of its own weight. Adding to the anxiety are mega insurance conglomerates like Aetna's CEO, Mark Bertolini, who is now threatening to pull out of the program all together!

One has to wonder what all this will do to the President's ratings come March and, more importantly, what it will do to the Democratic Party at large come the fall elections...

California shoots itself in the foot...again!

A new gun law proponents say helps law enforcement has driven Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger out of California, and affirmed the suspicions of firearms rights advocates that the measure is really about making handguns obsolete.

The problems stem from efforts by some legislators to have a 'special technology' employed on guns sold in the state that would imprint a special id code onto any bullets a particular handgun fired. Smith and Wesson, in a statement, noted that “a number of studies have indicated that microstamping is unreliable, serves no safety purpose, is cost prohibitive and, most importantly, is not proven to aid in preventing or solving crimes.” According to Chuck Michel, a member of the West Coast consul for the NRA, “This is the latest attempt to undermine the Second Amendment in California by politicians with little to no knowledge of firearms, who seek to impose their liberal values upon those who choose to protect their families with the constitutional right to own a handgun...” I would have to agree with that statement...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Diamondback band with Water Under the Bridge!

Apparently a band I am friends with now have a song topping the charts on ReverbNation! Here is an original video remake I did some years ago. See http://youtu.be/2fAjqskLXJQ for the song.






Stagflation! Is it coming?

What do you get when you mix slow economic growth, high unemployment and inflation all together at the same time? It's called 'stagflation' and it can quickly wreck an economy like the one found in the United States if allowed to develop.

In early January of 2014, most economists are expecting some growth in the GDP, an slowly improving unemployment figure and a 2.4% inflation rate. All factors that would tend to make one think things will be OK. However, what has not been factored into these figures are three impressive blows to the infrastructure of the Republic; ACA, drought conditions in California and the EPA.

ACA Impacts

As many are now aware, the Affordable Health-care Act has kicked in as of January the first and millions of Americans have seen dramatic increases in the cost of health insurance. Huge premium increases are now predicted (by the government) with as many as forty million people affected. Much of these increases are set to occur shortly before the fall elections. With many millions of working class individuals and families living week to week to make ends meet, one wonders what a large increase in the monthly bill for healthcare will do...

California drought

California has been suffering from a severe drought for many years and now the reservoirs are at all time lows. California provides as much as 50% of all the produce grown in the United States. Any disruption in that flow would have serious and long term impacts on the cost of food for everyone. See Droughts: Threats to Water and Food Security.

New EPA regulations

The EPA is now in the process of finalizing greenhouse gas regulations for existing coal-fueled power plants. Regulations now being considered would likely cause the shutdown of many of our nations coal-fueled electrical generators and cause the cost of electrical power to skyrocket in coming years. See Proposed EPA Regulations Threaten to Drive UP Electricity Prices

I think that these (and many other) unpublicized increases in 2014 could easily sink the economy at a time when the Fed has been employing QE (Quantitative Easing) for many years while restricting interest rates to near zero levels. The next effect would be unrestricted stagflation similar to those seen in the waning days of the Weimar Republic.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A massage by a friend in Colorado - with Nick Drake

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A massage and a  song by Nick Drake....

A White Horse!

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 Sometimes I think we are all in the midst of an apocalyptic forest that is burning and so we can't quite clearly see in any direction. Are the Four Horseman foretold in the Bible riding our way? Not sure! Think about it and what you see all around you, and then please get back to me!
Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
— Revelation 6:1-2˄ New American Standard Bible (NASB)

February 2017 update - Are those horseman even now stampeding our way?
Would  anyone even take notice?
I'd bet against it...but, then again, I've always been the odd man out.

Homemade vegetable soup!

Soup that's cheap, nutritious and filling!
During a cold month like January, a good hot cup of vegetable beef soup sure goes a long way! I like to make mine in a simple and stupid fashion;

Ingredients:
½ cup diced beef
6 oz can tomato sauce
1 carrot, sliced
1 potato, peeled and sliced into chunks
1 celery stick, sliced
1/4 cup of peas
¼ peeled and chopped onion
wedge of cabbage
1 cup of water
salt and pepper to taste

I begin by braising the beef in the bottom of a ceramic-iron pot with just a little bit of olive oil. I then add the rest of the ingredients, stir and heat briefly to boiling. At that point the heat is reduced to a slow simmer and the pot is covered. About 90 minutes later, you have a hearty and filling soup to help speed you through the day!

Are Americans being phased out of the business of eating?

Things could be worst - look at Japan!
A quick trip through the local grocery mart, these days, is an eye opening experience for many. Prices on just about everything have what I'd call the creep-ups. Every week, it seems a few more cents get tagged on to food items we all used to think of as staple. Bread at $4 a loaf, iceberg lettuce at a buck and a half and don't even get me started on the prices of meat! Milk is still only about $2 bucks a half gallon, but that's only because of the farm subsidies...

The problem is, I can't see an end in sight! At a time where our country is 'progressively' entering a new phase called stagflation, more and more people are finding themselves either out of work or underemployed. And now, the cost of eating has grown to be a real and ever present burden on millions of people. (Rather than buying a single orange at the cost of a dollar, more of us are opting for that 5 pound bag of potatoes)! Are we becoming another Ireland? I guess things could be worst. In Japan, a cantaloupe can cost $20 and if you want a steak, be prepared for some real sticker shock!

The thing is, this country seems to be headed in all the wrong directions! Whatever Washington is doing, they need to stop! Otherwise, food riots may not be all that far off...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Exotic fish, it's what's for lunch!

A great midday repast was recently enjoyed by the author as he sat down to a noon time treat that included a Swai fish fillet along with small servings of broccoli, fruit and a glass of red wine!

Swai, along with basa and tra (two related varieties) are appearing at more and more stores due to their lower cost! They belong to what’s called the Pangasius family and they’re very similar in character and taste to catfish. In fact, the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, which has an authoritative site that tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the fish that end up on our dinner plates, describes Swai as a river-farmed catfish, sometimes simply referred to in the U.S. only as catfish (be sure to look for country of origin labeling at the fish counter to determine whether your catfish is from the Mekong Delta or the Mississippi Delta). I found the taste to be enjoyable with the flesh white and fork flaky, once cooked.
Swai can grow as large as a tuna!

This meal, as pictured above, came in at only about 300 calories, including the glass of red wine. It tasted delicious and I would encourage everyone to give this 'exotic' fish a try especially if the cost of seafood is a concern. It's now available at many local stores in the frozen food section.

Special health note: Swai are farm-raised which some health conscious people shy away from. If you are eating fish solely for the health benefits, *wild caught*, cold water, fatty fish like pacific (Alaskan) cod and salmon are what all your health reports are talking about...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Is River Run Park in Federal disarray?

One side open and the other closed! Why??
As a long time resident of Forsyth and one who happens to live adjacent to River Run Park, I could not help but note the rather odd behavior I've observed lately by the folks that run that piece of Federal land. Back in late December I was returning home from a shopping trip and took Baker street through the park to be to my home. As I came out of the park, I noticed a government vehicle ahead of me with a man who was locking one of two gates that allow entrance this 'Public Use' area that is
Why were these canopies removed?
very popular among area residents. When I stopped and asked why the park was being locked, I was informed that a 'ten foot wall of water' was expected any time due to forecast storms that were expected to hit the area. The gentleman was kind enough to let me proceed past the gate which was then locked. A day later the rains did come and the Bull Shoal water level barely rose and inch or two....

What will be the cost to taxpayers?
In addition to locking the park, a crew also removed all the canopies that cover the picnic tables all the Bull Shoals river way. Why? I don't know, other than the fact that I'm sure that the cost of that operation came out of taxpayers pockets. It's now early January and those canopies are still scattered here and there on the ground to no apparent purpose.

As of this writing, interestingly, one gate is now unlocked while gate guarding the entrance to the entrance of Highway 76 remains closed. So, in effect, you are allowed access to the park but not the ability to drive through the park from the Valley View Village complex to the main highway. All very perplexing to a simple person such as myself. [Editorial published in Taney Times News on Jan 15, 2014]

Followup: Interestingly, the day after this article was published in the paper, the Hwy 76 gate was re-opened.... As I drove through the park, I noticed two couples walking their dogs. Nice to see that again!

Here is the single response I rec'd from an email I sent the Corps of Engineers asking why the park had been closed:

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

It was closed, but it is back open now.
 Have a nice day!

Carrie Lamb/Ranger
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Mountain Home Project Office
324 W. 7th Street
Mountain Home, AR 72653
Phone: 870-425-2700 Ext 1400
Fax: 870-425-3795
Email: mailto:carrie.l.lamb@usace.army.mil

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

I think that about sums up their attitude. No explanation, just take it or lump it.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A hot property that is priced to sell!

287 Sunken Forest Dr. Forsyth Mo.
Recently, I came across a nice 3 bedroom, 1 bath home situated right in the middle of Forsyth Missouri that is definitely priced to sell and sell soon!
Two lots with a full carport!

From what I could gather, after talking to the owners, the home was built in 1968, has baseboard heat along with a propane furnace, is on two lots with a carport and is as well maintained as it could be! The owners are motivated to sell and have the home listed at only $65,000! This could be a real bargain for the right buyer!

You can reach the owner, Ron at 417-546-5379 for any questions or to get directions to see what I feel is an exceptional value! This home is listed with Table Rock Realty in Branson - the MLS number is 356176 !

Pork prices set to soar?

A virus that kills young pigs is rapidly spreading among 22 states in the United States and is now threatening to create even more pain for food shoppers everywhere!

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or the PED virus, appeared in the U.S. for the first time in April and has killed thousands of piglets since then. The virus, which causes severe diarrhea and vomiting, is fatal only to young pigs and poses no threat to human health or food safety, according to swine veterinarians. (The U.S. strain is nearly identical to a version that curbed hog production in China in 2012).

"This is the toughest disease we've ever gone through," said Mike Brandherm, a general manager with Hitch Pork Producers, a Guymon, Okla., livestock producer that lost 30,000 piglets in six weeks in a 2013 outbreak. "It was stunning how fast the disease spread. You feel helpless."

My thought is that, despite the assurances from swine vets, I have to wonder how likely it would be for this virus to mutate and then go on to affect humans. We are, after all, 98% genetically identical. What ever the outcome, this disease will bear watching closely...

Tuna salad sandwiches and nutrition!

As is generally known by many, tuna salad is a simple mix of tuna, mayo and relish. I generally like to make up just enough for two sandwiches by purchasing the small 3 ounce cans at the local grocery store. I make sure to buy my tuna packed in water as opposed to oil as I feel this is more healthy.

Recipe
1 3 oz can Tuna, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp (34 g) Mayo
1 (34 g) tbsp relish

Directions

Mix well and use about ½ of the tuna salad per whole sandwich. Simple, fast and delicious!

I like to make just ½ a sandwich which also helps to make this recipe stretch even further! Here's the nutritional breakout:

Calories: 126
Cal from fat: 38
Cholesterol: 11
Sodium: 200
Carbs: 15
Protein: 8

Combining this with a simple garden salad would satisfy even the most strict of diets!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Plane removed from icy Bull Shoals waters!

FORSYTH, Mo. – Remarkably, only minor injuries are reported in a plane crash in Bull Shoals Lake near Shadow Rock Park in Forsyth.

The pilot and passenger were able to escape from the plane and swim to safety after the aircraft emergency landed at approximately 7:45 p.m. Friday, January 3rd.

Billy Rader is the public information officer for the Forsyth Fire Department…

The Federal Aviation Administration is conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash. The identities of the men have not yet been released. However, the Highway Patrol says the men are from Texas, and the aircraft is a 1960s Piper 6 single-engine.

Other responding agencies included Taney County Ambulance District, Central Taney County Fire Protection District, Taney County Sheriff’s Office and the Highway Patrol Water Division. [Article posted by Sam Clanton].
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The plane was successfully removed a week later on Friday, January the 10th by a crew of six and appeared to be in good overall condition other than so cosmetic damage around the lower portion of the engine cowling.

By 3:00 PM - the ill-fated plane had had its wings removed and was loaded on a flatbed bound for parts unknown. I sure hope this 1960 relic of a time bygone flies again soon!

Looking back at 1960; some fun facts!

Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.46% 
 
The average cost of new house was $12,700.00!

More! The average monthly rent was $98.00!  The cost of a gallon of gas was 25 cents! The average cost of a new car $2,600.00! 

Where, oh where, did we go wrong?

Back to the food basics!

After posting and then following a 'Palaeolithic Diet', I have come to learn (actually experience) some new facts about eating, diets and how you may feel in the aftermath of making dietary changes too quickly!

First, and foremost, I feel that any extreme or sudden change in the food you regularly consume is probably not a very good idea. For instance, if you are used to eating dairy products and breads all the time, then by all means you may want to continue to do so. The key is to focus on moderating these and other processed foods while bringing more and more 'fresh' fruits and vegetables to the table over time. I highlighted the word 'fresh' as canned vegetables and fruits are usually found to be literally swimming in salt and simple sugars! Two substances that are scientifically known to be bad for your health when consumed in large quantities over long terms of time. (If you find you must use a can of beans or corn, for instance, just make sure to rinse them well to get out as much sodium as possible). Likewise, eating breads and pastries are basically the same as eating white sugar, in that they are quickly converted to glucose in your blood stream – This action dramatically raises your glycemic load and thus stresses the pancreas and can lead to a problem known as insulin resistance. Young people who are not overweight can get away with this for a time before the resulting weight gain begins to turn them more and more toward problems like diabetes. The bottom line of all this is the term 'moderation' (a line from Andria, written in the second century B.C. by the Roman playwright Terence). I like to think of the 80-20 Rule in that you can eat so-called bad foods 20% of the time just so long as the bulk of your diet is fresh veggies, fruits and lean (not processed or packaged) meats, poultry and seafood. Bon apetite!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Logical Song!

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'There are times when all the world's asleep, when questions run too deep...'

I too have had such thoughts, and in so doing..

I've realized and do now gladly embraced the sheer insanity that surrounds me!