Sunday, June 29, 2014

Using simple ingredients for cheap, healthy meals!

Times are hard, you find yourself either unemployed, under-employed or on a fixed income. Doesn't matter much which, they all suck! (That's about half this country these days)! Eating well and eating cheaply can sometimes be real hard to do. Here's some ideas that require just a few simple ingredients to make some healthy meals without stripping you penniless!

Ingredients:

Oscar Meyer hotdog, sliced
1/2 cup pork n beans
1/2 medium russet potato, baked
toast, slice
1 c. 2% milk
butter or fake butter
salt (fake optional) and pepper

Total calories ~517

I got a good deal on the hotdogs and potatoes; a package of 12 Oscar Meyer franks for only a buck and a 10 lb bag of russet potatoes for just $3! so, figuring about twenty six 174 gram potatoes per bag, my cost per potato was about 12 cents! Likewise, each wiener worked out to be about 8 cents each and with other items figured in, I would guess one serving would cost in the neighborhood of 67-75 cents! That's affordable even by my standards!

By mixing in just a few more ingredients; sauerkraut, cottage cheese and salad fixings from the garden (you do have a garden, right)? You can come up with an entire group of tasty creations that won't break the budget!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Democrats in heaven!


This was totally so accurate and I apologize...

North Korea threatens war over film!

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea is warning that the release of a new American comedy about a plot to assassinate leader Kim Jong Un would be an "act of war."

If the U.S. government doesn't block the movie's release, it will face "stern" and "merciless" retaliation, an unidentified spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry said in state media Wednesday.

While, he didn't mention the movie by name, he was clearly referring to "The Interview," which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as a producer and talk-show host who land an exclusive interview with the North Korean dictator and are then asked by the CIA to assassinate him.

My response...'Bring it on Fat Boy!'

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Stevie Nicks - Stand Back!

CDale - a love in 1970

A song, from very long ago, so it seems to me now - I was a very different and younger man, in a much earlier time. A man with eyes that saw, (maybe not so clearly) and with a child's fragile heart! An aside - 'Perhaps, I should never have accepted that ring mouth to mouth from a witch - it caused me lots of emotional problems later on (trust me)!' And, those fleas, those dastardly and endlessly circling biters circling that cheap Buddha in that filthy living room who then later dined on me! Not a good thing, but I survived! OMG! Sorry, so this is now a rambling of an old and sick man! My apologies...We all have stories to tell! No wonder, circa 2014, I remain very much a basket case...

Anyway, Stevie Nick reminds me of a very crazy time of life!

Update: 2015 - This bite, by a real 'Lycan', still festers in my soul, to this day. And now I know there was something deeper, something there that transcended that hurt, in spacial time and space. God has perhaps given me a free pass... or maybe, I can now take a much more difficult road in life. Not sure what path I might choose. Perhaps I'll just wait a while for nature's cruel sword to lay me down...

Update: 2017 -Lots of pain, but never felt better!

Disclaimer: The author of this post has no affiliation with Stevie Nicks, her band, her manager, trademarks or any other entities associated with her activities then or at any time in the future. All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

The Moody Blues - Question


circa 1970

So, pick a school lunch. Go ahead!

Here's a typical school lunch as required by new government regulations:

Check out that yummy apple! And, I hope that fish is mercury free!

Next, here's a picture of a 1980's typical school lunch!

Eww! Notice the sharp and deadly metal utensils!!

Which would you prefer? Which will end up mostly in the trash?

As a strong follower of First Lady Michelle and President (please God, may he shine forever) Obama, I am betting you all picked the top meal! After all,it's safe, nutritious and so damned progressive! (Warning! Those of you who didn't pick the correct meal are likely to be tracked with great interest by various government agencies).

Moody Blues! I know you're somewhere out there!


One of the best songs ever produced by the Moody Blues!!
This video frag resurrected from 2012!

The Visa Black Card Scam!


Did you recently get an invitation in the mail to apply for a Visa Black Card? Make sure you check out the terms and conditions page, before applying!

'The Visa Black Card modeled after the American Express Centurion (aka “Black”) card, but this one, issued by Barclays, is more likely to put you in the red. It comes with a hefty annual $495 fee — and you don’t really get all that much for your money, according to CardHub, which labels it the worst general consumer credit card for rewards among the 1,000-plus it evaluated. Cardholders earn a measly one point per dollar spent, while many other rewards cards offer 2 points per dollar (and don’t charge you nearly $500 a year, either). And while we’ve seen many penalty interest rates that hover near the 30% mark, the Visa Black takes it over that threshold, with a default rate of 30.24%.' Think about that insanely high rate for a moment...

Yes, you do get access to airport lounges along with some other perks, but there are plenty of cards that offer airport lounge access and similar benefits for less than $495. CardHub calls it a “cheap imitation” of the AmEx Black Card. I call it a scam for slow witted people to embrace!

Sorry Visa but, this slow witted person ain't buying what you're offering...

Disclaimer: All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

On the topic of political parsing!

Def: Parse - to analyze (something, as a speech or behavior) to discover its implications or uncover a deeper meaning.

Politicians are masters at the ability to parse the meanings of what they say in such a way as to obscure another, deeper meaning. I would submit that President Obama holds a PhD in this ability.

When the president stated that there was not a 'smidgen of evidence' concerning corruption in the IRS. This careful parsing of words is interesting in that it can be taken in one of two ways; either he meant that there was absolutely no corruption (and he's staking his honor on it) or that you all haven't yet discovered the corruption (smiling like a fox). I'd tend to believe in the second meaning. Just another example of what a snake in the grass I believe this president has turned out to be!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Leslie Gore - 1965 - It's My Party!


At least this 1965 song by Leslie Gore is commercial free! I don't plan to tweet this old video or do anything that might cause the authorities to notice... Can you see how bad it is?

Watching and waiting! As a whole generation wonders what happened to the American Dream!

This old song, by the Moody Blues, encompasses some of what I feel it was to be an American in times past. The key words, for me, are ' there's no one here to stop you - from trying'. Back then, we 'went for it' and created wild companies that did crazy things, with a tiny government looking on, that was powerless to stop what became the Industrial Revolution and the birth of a powerful Republic!

Today, Americans are being frustrated and discouraged by a bloated, dysfunctional and even cancerous government the is squeezing the life out of all! Please, let us all work together to fix this!

[Note: I didn't bother to try and download and then link this iconic song directly from my YouTube account - as the ads they promote, like carrion flies that are now on every song, are not worth the time of my audience, small though it may be]!

Disclaimer: All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Gas hikes affecting everyone!

That the cost of gas is going up (now at $3.47) is no real surprise what with all the troubled in the Middle East! At least that's how it would appear at first glance. The thing is, these recent rates increases have absolutely nothing to do with the supply or the demand. We have a surplus of gasoline in the US currently and prices should be stable. Just don't blame Baghdad as the people who are currently jerking your fuel strings! But everyone should understand a simple economical rule.

As the cost of gas rises, the amount of money citizens will have for fun and entertainment purchases will plummet. That's because many key utilities are also going up in cost. (Electrical rates for Empire customers are 7% higher than they were at the start of the year with more increases scheduled to come). Food prices, especially for items like meat and coffee have also dramatically risen. The large health Big insurance companies are about to publish their rates for 2015 and the rumor is that they won't be pretty! As a matter of fact, hundreds of thousands of consumers nationwide who bought insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act will face a choice this fall: swallow higher premiums to stay in their plan, or save money by switching. (Recent studies show an increase in premiums of between 8.5% and 22.8% for next year, according to a Wall Street Journal review of the filings).

So, consumers are starting to get it from all sides. The question is, who will suffer the most. Will it be the small local businesses? As everyone tightens their purse strings, will Internet site begin to suffer? And, then the question is 'could this all have a domino effect on the economy as a whole?

For my part, I plan to do the following;
  1. Curtail my trips in the auto as much as possible. No more eating out!
  2. Plan not to attend events that might cost me money.
  3. Cut back on extras at the grocery mart and shop only for generics.
  4. Keep the thermostat up as high as I can tolerate it during the summer.
  5. Cut back drastically on purchases over the net.
In other words, I plan to live as cheaply as possible until such time as things improve!

Disclaimer: All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Deutsch Pfanne Katastrophe?

I should have known I'd be in over my head after viewing a post by a FB friend, Brenda Holmes Oliver. But, it looked too good to pass up, so I checked and sure enough, I had all the ingredients to make my own version of a German Skillet Dinner! After all, I figured that since I was part German, it should be a breeze to make! Right?

I started off on what I thought might be the wrong foot by deciding to use a small Le Creuset instead of the regular frying pan that the recipe calls for. Turned out that even when I cut the recipe in half, it fill the pot to almost overflowing. Meine Güte! I also thought it a great idea to use a convection stove top instead of a regular electric range. Another not so good idea. But, I soldiered on anyway, inserted the following ingredients and covered it with a lid:


1 tbsp butter or margarine – (I used olive oil)
¼ wedge cabbage , uncooked & chopped
½ c uncooked rice (I used minute rice)
1 med onion, chopped
1 lb hamburger (75/25 mix)
14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
Fake salt and real pepper to taste


Directions:
At 11:00 AM on that morning I followed the directions for making this dish - 'Melt butter (oil in my case) in skillet (pot), layer cabbage, uncooked rice, onion, raw crumbled hamburger, salt and pepper, then tomatoes. Cover with lid and simmer 25-35 minutes until rice, cabbage and burger are done. Do not stir or lift lid until done'. [Heck, I was peaking all the time].

After the requisite 30 minutes, I ventured a quick peak only to find the hamburger was still pink (as in uncooked)! Apparently I had not mastered the control of the convection stove top! So, I increased the heat and set the timer for another twenty minutes....

As I was waiting, I decided to prep a large skillet with a foil cover, just in case (it's an OCD thing).... The time was 11:30 AM and I figured I still had plenty of time before the noon hour!
Ten minutes later, I glanced over and saw a plume of steam rising from the pot! I went over and decided it might be a good idea to reduce the heat a bit.... It was now over thirty minutes into a cooking cycle that should not have taken longer than thirty five...I began to suspect a true katastrophe was in progress!

By the time that forty minutes had passed, I decided it was time to face the firing squad, as it were, and try a small sample plate. It was almost noon and my stomach was steadily growling.

Wunderbar!

What a very pleasant surprise! This recipe not only came out, it was actually very delicious! I'd give this dish high marks and am now wondering how it would taste over pasta! Cooking time was 40 minutes and I made enough to serve at least 6-8 people!

Note: I used fake salt, so that figure in the nutritional panel would be highly inflated.

A Tim Ernst photograph!


Tim Ernst does amazing photography. You can visit him on Face Book!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

All the pasta you can eat at the Frosted Mug? A great special!

Whenever I see a menu special that states it's 'all you can eat' and when I see that it's also at a really good price, my BS antenna begins to hum. I ask myself, just why would that be so? Did someone over order too much highly volatile food that was in the process of spoiling? Or, did they just score a real good deal from a supplier and are now willing to pass on the good fortune to a smuck like myself? I never seem to know the answer to those questions and so I tend to take a pass. (Especially if any of the ingredients contained the words fish or Bearnaise)! Hey! Life is short enough as it is...and, as the cartoon on the left hints at, you have to be careful in your choice of specials!

However, on this occasion, a local Forsyth MO eatery called The Frosted Mug was advertising an 'all you can eat' spaghetti platter for only $6.50 ($1.50 extra for meatballs). Included in the meal was home style garlic bread. This looked good to me! So, I stopped there shortly before noon on a warm Sunday in June and placed an order while sitting at the bar.

After I had ordered, I had a chance to sip my glass of water (yeah, I know this is a beer joint but today was Sunday after all) and take a look around at the moderate crowd. I was hoping to see some other customer already engaged in the same dish I'd just ordered. I wanted to watch them closely for signs of weird expressions (or perhaps even spot a gag reflex) as they ate. Sadly, no one else seemed to have 'glommed' onto this great deal at that particular time. So, I was evidently on my own.... 

The bartender, who was a great looking woman by the name of Heather, brought me a rather full and great looking plate of food which smelled simply delicious! (She had to move pretty fast too, as my order prompted two or three more patrons to order the same dish)!

After just a few mouthfuls, I had to admit the taste matched up perfectly with both the aroma and visual presentation! The verdict was in! In my view, the food at the Frosted Mug has steadily improved as has the service, cleanliness and professionalism of the staff. My hat also goes off to the chef who prepared this awesome meal, Tim Evans!


Disclaimer: All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Quote about President Obama from Gov Bobby Jundal!

"Are we witnessing right now the most radically, extremely liberal, ideological president of our entire lifetime right here in the United States of America, or are we witnessing the most incompetent president of the United States of America in the history of our lifetimes? You know, it is a difficult question. I've thought long and hard about it. Here's the only answer I've come up with, and I'm going to quote Secretary Clinton: `What difference does it make?"' 
 Gov. Bobby Jindal 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Irina - Kymmenen kirosanaa


Have no words... well, the microwave worked!

A Hamburger & egg breakfast!

While this may look like the internal organs of a wombat, it was pretty good!
'The secret to a well balanced digestive system is to follow one simple rule; eat everything, just make sure it's in moderation!' As long as you can follow that rule, you should be good to go!

On this particular morn, I decided to really mix things up a bit for my breakfast by employing a hamburger patty, a fried egg, toast and a glass of low fat milk!

Ingredients:

70 grams of cooked hamburger
1 medium fried egg
1 slice toast
1 cup 2% milk
1 tsp ketchup

I used a Foreman grill to quickly cook the hamburger in just a few minutes. I also fried the egg and prepared a single slice of toast. Total calories, only about 400. This meal deal doesn't take long to prepare, and so makes for a fast breakfast. As you can see in the nutritional panel, this is a very doable meal for anyone one a fairly sane diet.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hot pepper mash beef stir fry!

Thanks to some good friends (Nancy and Ron), I was recently the very lucky recipient of a jar of – how can I put it – a distillation of hot pepper mash that was created after they made another, milder formulation. Nancy said 'throw it out'! Ron said 'let's bottle it up and give it to Dan'! I accepted and was now in the possession of culinary dynamite! So, this beef stir fry was going to be a real test of the old taste buds, as it were. Not something for the timid chef to try.

Ingredients:

70 grams of steak cut into chunks
70 grams of bell pepper, sliced thin
70 grams of onion, roughly chopped
40 grams of mushroom pieces
40 grams of slice cherry tomatoes
1 tsp hot pepper mash
1 tsp olive oil
¼ tsp dried oregano
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
A sprig of fresh Rosemary

Heat the olive oil over medium heat, then dump everything else into a medium frying pan! Wham-Bam thank you ma'am! Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently and serve. Serves one!

At a time where steak is getting rather expensive, this stir fry mix is still very affordable. Also, feet free to experiment. For this particular do, I elected to toss in some pineapple chunks! I also prepared a bed of pasta, as I like the mix!

So, how was it?

Well, as there were Habanero's were in there somewhere, this was a fairly hot dish, for sure. However, the overall heat of the frying pan definitely did a good jog on reducing the overall hotness and thus brought forth the essence of capsaicin down to a much more modified and enjoyable form. My nose also ran for about ten minutes afterwards. That said, this was a recipe I intend to repeat often!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Chikungunya virus is coming!

First things first. You pronounce this virus Chi-kung-un-ya. Go ahead and practice that tongue twister a few times so you can impress your friends later on!

The chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne illness that causes high fevers and sometimes intense pain, is spreading rapidly throughout the Caribbean. In some ways it's similar to dengue fever which is also known as break bone fever!

In 2013, the CDC reported that the disease is now endemic in the Caribbean, with up to 17 different countries reporting outbreaks. Now experts concede that it's only a matter of time before it makes its way onto US shores.

Once a person becomes infected, there’s an incubation period of three to seven days before symptoms present. The most common signs of the virus are fever and joint pain, typically in multiple different joints. Like any viral syndrome, chikungunya can also cause muscle aches, headaches, rash and joint swelling. As one health care worker put it, 'while it won't kill you, you just may wish you were dead!'

Citizens can reduce their exposure to mosquitoes by wearing protective clothing, utilizing insect repellents and staying indoors on hot days. Additionally, people should avoid or eliminate any standing water near their home, as it can serve as a mosquito breeding site.

Now, get out there and enjoy your summer!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Obama actually has no plan!

OK, so Iraq is being overrun by insane terrorists,
A move that will spike gas here above $6 a gallon.
And, America is doing nothing!

But, that's OK – our President has a plan!

Our President is now working with Iran,
sort of an enemy of our enemy is now a friend thing!
Well, work together to kill those sick people...
that were trained by Iran.

But that's OK! Our President has a plan!

A tidal wave of humanity – Illegal South American children,
are crossing over our southern border as I post this...
and then being bused to other states to live with relatives!

But, that's OK! Obama has a plan...

My question is.. mom and dad?
When you stare in the bathroom mirror each morning,
was this YOUR PLAN?

I didn't even cover his abuse of the IRS...

Please, Congress, I want you all to grow a pair and consider...

IMPEACHMENT! 

Here was a typical response to this post on a popular social channel....

CS - "I've made my comment...I'm not going to debate...we won't ever agree. By looking at your wall, you have the same four or five people that like your political posts. I have no desire to engage with them anymore than you. Just posting my comment so you know I think you're being absurd. Enjoy the rest of your day." I will CS!!
 -------------------------------------------
I encouraged my social site friend to share this post for debate... so far 0. Look everyone, when the jack boots break down your door in the distant future... understand this! You had it so coming! 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Critique: Michelina's Fried Chicken Fritter

I'm a real sucker for any TV dinner (no matter how minuscule it might be) that can be had for just a buck, so I sprang a moldy dollar out of my wallet and bought one! I was a little concerned about that word 'fritter', however and so looked it up as soon as I got home...

Fritter – def: a small piece of food that has been coated in a flour and egg mixture and fried.

Well gee, that didn't sound too bad! Although, that word 'small' concerned me to some extent. At just 227 grams for the entire meal, including the mashed potatoes, I had the distinct impression that my culinary brush with poultry would be somewhat fleeting! Also, the nutritional panel indicates the meal is practically swimming in salt! Twelve hundred milligrams is about half the recommended daily intake, and that's for a young healthy adult! The other parameters didn't bother me so much and the measly 310 calories for the whole meal indicated that I might need to supplement it with some sort of side dish.

Like many meals of similar elk from Michelina, this is a peel the edge up, nuke, stir and nuke again meal to prepare. The stir part is the potatoes and occurs after 3 ½ minutes on high – then you nuke it again for another minute and a half. Not to difficult. I just wish they could figure out how to sell mashed potatoes that don't require the mixing.

Commercial picture. Well, it looks pretty decent!
My amateur picture!
For a side, I elected to add a small amount of green beans, mostly for added bulk. I then compared my preparation against the commercial picture they have on their web page. Hmmm...

Comments posted on their site were few with most saying that while the flavor was rated as good, some felt that the portion was too small while others felt the salt was an issue also. How did I feel about this dollar dish? I gave it a 7 as I thought it was fairly tasty! But, I really felt that this might be better served to really young kids. There's just not enough there to satisfy even a smallish adult!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Random Thoughts for June 2014

A pasta beef stir fry! Can you even do that?

Can you successfully mix pasta with a beef stir fry? Sure, why not! That was what was on my mind one Sunday morning, in June, while I searched for something to eat for breakfast.

My beef stir fry preparations have been covered, ad nauseam, in other recent blogs. I like to make them often, mainly because they are fast and nutritious! The pasta had already been made a day before and needed to be used. So, I figured, what the heck let's do a combo!

Wham Bam thank you ma'am! The finished creation met all my expectations! Note that I elected to mix in a very small amount of spaghetti sauce – it added a tasty perk and nicely helped to finish the dish.


The IRS loses Lois Lerner's emails! Really?

The Internal Revenue Service told Congress Friday it has lost a trove of emails to and from Lois
Lerner, a central figure in the agency's Tea Party controversy, sparking outrage from congressional investigators who have been probing the agency for more than a year.

The IRS said it cannot locate many of Lerner's emails prior to 2011 because her computer crashed during the summer of that year.... Bull shit!

Shear claptrap and perhaps the crowning mis-achievement of an Obama Administration that has been saturated with lies, deceptions and half truths almost since the day he took office back in 2008! (Is Obama really a congenital liar? In my view, he would find it hard to tell the truth even if that simple act were to help him, his Party or his Liberal buddies)!

In addition, this single individual has managed set the black cause back at least half a century. Pundits may well see his election as one of the most grievous mistakes of this Republic, ever in its century's long history! And the sad fact is, we have two more years of his curious brand of incompetence! Will America survive? Who knows...

Speaking of our foreign policy....


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Moody Blues - Isn't Life Strange!


A chance encounter with fame, no matter how ephemeral or brief it was, leaves a mark that carries forth forever... A memory snip - I was at a p;ace called Quick Silver on the Hwy 51 strip in Carbondale. The year was 1970 and this song played on the jukebox. I looked out the window, on the street and saw you for just a second. Your name was SZ and I will never forget you....

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pasta! Is it really OK to eat these days?

Over the years, I've heard so many horror stories about pasta that I'm still not sure if those little slimy strands are very healthy to eat! After all, this is the 21st Century and science should have some hard evidence by now... right? Well, maybe not...

The thing is, if you have taken the time to listen to the so-called experts, most everything has been considered bad for you, at one point in time or another. (I won't bother to go into the minutiae of the stories put out by the various publications over the years and years, you can look them up).

The truth is, most of the dire warnings about harmful foods are based upon sometimes dubious reports by experts who are often; biased, promoting a corporate agenda for profit or are just plain wrong! These same individuals have published flawed and ill-conceived studies, that over time, have been revealed as incorrect! Smoke and mirrors science, don't you know. I'm sure it was good media press at the time...

So, if you've managed to get beyond all the hype and smoke, let's look at a this rather simplistic breakfast creation! It's 67 grams pasta in a plain tomato sauce (also about 67 grams) with toast and a cup milk. The nutritional panel shows


that the calories were just 317 with low saturated fats, some fiber and a nice dose of protein. By any measure, this is an excellent 'diet' conscious meal that is possibly only lacking a small salad to complete it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A new asteroid danger – rubbernecking spotters!


The opportunity to see a big space rock slam into our planet will likely prove too alluring for some brave and reckless souls to resist.

Whenever a massive asteroid lines a city up in its cross hairs (and it's just a matter of time before this happens), if humanity doesn't take some defensive measures, experts stress — a few rubberneckers (like moi) are bound to ignore evacuation orders and head toward the impact site to get an eyeful of a once-in-a-lifetime event. Duh! People are curious by nature!

"I think the emergency management folks really would have to worry about looky-loos and tourists and people who want to see it, because this would be one of the most spectacular natural event in human history - probably the most spectacular event, and [one that will be] predicted very precisely", this statement by asteroid impact expert Mark Boslough of Sandia Labs in New Mexico!


Monday, June 9, 2014

Marketing keys to success!

 A few random thoughts about the value of advertising in a competitive marketplace.

In order to survive in a highly competitive market, a small business needs to use most every trick in the trade in order to survive. No where is this more true, than in the restaurant industry, where eatery's can be stacked cheek-to-jowl even in small towns such Forsyth. Forsyth Missouri only has a population of something like 1200, it's small even by most small town standards and is basically laid out on one highway – Hwy160. From one end to the other, is not much above 4 miles and most of the ten or so eateries are all situated along about a one mile distance. Talk about crowding!

Of course, all these venues stay competitive price-wise within the framework of like or similar establishments. The two fast food joints (McDonald's and Wendy's) watch each others price points as does the other 'meat' houses, two American, two Asian and two specialty houses. Each sub group offers up a unique eating experience to be sure, but the shear numbers (10 establishments?) crammed so close together mean that garnering the money from any particular diners pocket will be challenging!

What sets each establishment apart and either makes them more or less attractive, in my mind, is as follows:
  1. Good signage – Are they easy to spot from the road!
  2. Cleanliness – Are there any rumors of disease? Has the Health Dept. been there often?
  3. Ambiance – How the venue makes you feel when you enter!
  4. Service – Are they fast to take and create your order?
  5. Parking – Can you find a parking spot during typical rush times?
  6. Menu – Does the venue offer a good choice of food? Does the food reflect the establishment?
  7. Prices – Is the place affordable and in line with demographics of that area?
  8. Longevity – Has the venue been around for some time?
  9. Amenities – Does the venue offer something 'extra' like a bar, specials, WiFi or a drive thru?
  10. Advertising – What media channels does the venue employ to garner new business?
This last item in the list is, to my mind, one of the most important and yet most often abused of anything else on the list! Some establishment do everything right with the exception that the advertising of their presence really sucks! The five channels that are realistically available to them (TV is not for most) would typically include:
  1. Word of mouth – Getting people to talk about an establishment is very effective!
  2. Radio – Expensive, but also effective over the long haul! A plug for KRZK radio!
  3. Local newspapers – Helps to announce, maintain interest, promote specials, etc.
  4. Flyers – Time consuming and marginal in overall effectiveness, in my opinion.
  5. The Internet (web pages, Facebook, Blogs, etc.) - Can make or break a venue, in my view.

Which venue is prospering the most, I wonder?
Very few of the local establishments make use of all five outlets or exploit them to full advantage. To my mind, the one that comes closest is Fat Daddy's, followed closely behind by Charlie's and perhaps the Mug. All three are visible on the Internet and use Facebook extensively. What about Sonic and McDonald's? Note: I don't really like to count national chains as they are in a whole different ballpark when compared to the small business owner – even when they are individually owned and managed, they typically have access to a very well run advertising machine!

A reminder: Today's eating crowd is a whole lot more techno-savvy than they were even just a few years prior. Even grandpa and grandma jump on the net, without nary a thought, when they want to check out a new or exiting eatery. In today's very fast paced and hi tech world, a well maintained Facebook, web page or blog can sell what you got for literally pennies a day! In additional, establishments that actively promote the collection of Email addresses have a ready made method of communication without resort to expensive snail mail! After all, one email blast to a thousand customers costs exactly zilch! 

Disclaimer: I'm sure there are many other aspects to helping a business succeed. The ones presented here were off the top of my aging head!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Just what was Dean Martin really smoking?


While Dean drank in moderation, when on video his 'drink' was most often apple juice. Also, that smoke was what? I have no idea!  - Dean Martin died of acute respiratory disease at 78. Feel free to go full screen!

Energy costs to skyrocket, states Chamber of Commerce!

According to to a recent article by the Chamber of Commerce, energy costs are about to skyrocket! One estimate I heard on the media was for Americans to expect a $2400 increase in electric bills in 2015. That's two hundred dollars a month tacked on to whatever you're already paying! And the kicker, they say, is that the new EPA regulations affecting coal fired power plants will not move the world pollution needle even a tenth of a degree. That's due to the fact that other countries, notably China and India, are opening new plants on a average of one a week!

In addition to rising energy costs, the same study also cited enormous losses in jobs all across the United States! See the news release issued by House Energy and Commerce Committee, quoting Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), June 2, 2014

Saturday, June 7, 2014

On this day!


I'm never sure where I go in the world - my only beacon is God -  a very bright and shining star on stormy seas! And strangely, I'm very sure of His existence, whereas others are not...

OK – so now the Democrats want to regulate sex!

SB 967, amended last week by state Sen. Kevin de Leon (D - Los Angeles), would mandate that college students obtain “an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.”

Note: If you want to read the entire bill as written – go here for the amended version. If you want to go throw up, please use a bathroom. If you're looking for some sanity, try Finland.

Everyone, please read my lips. There exists no biological, family, social, financial or religious function that some group of nuts somewhere doesn't want to regulate, so as to make your life more 'controlled and acceptable' vis-à-vis by using their vast knowledge about what's good for each and every citizen in the United States! Often these regulations are buried behind the words 'public safety' and 'fairness'. You can find most (not all) of these idiots hanging around the Far Left crowd each of whom is generally out looking for another free lunch...but, then again who isn't!

While this bill is currently being aired to the California loons ( a state just crazy enough to pass it), I feel that most clear thinking folks will see it as nothing more than another attempt to continue in the crusade to regulate everything that 300 million say, do or think! Sorry, but I'm not buying it, you, your party or the mentally disturbed individuals that finance such foolishness...

Friday, June 6, 2014

Asteroid dubbed 'The Beast' to near miss Earth on June 8th!


 
This Sunday (June 8), the near-Earth asteroid 2014 HQ124 — which some observers have nicknamed "The Beast" — will give the planet a relatively close shave, coming within 777,000 miles (1.25 million kilometers) at its closest approach, or about 3.25 times the distance from Earth to the moon.

Asteroid 2014 HQ124 is currently traveling about 31,000 mph (50,000 km/h) relative to Earth, Boslough said. But if the asteroid were on a collision course, our planet's gravity would boost its speed up to about 40,000 mph (64,000 km/h) at the time of impact.

If 2014 HQ124 is one solid piece of rock — its composition isn't known for certain — the strike would unleash an explosion with a yield of about 2,000 megatons, Boslough added. For comparison, the atomic bomb the United States dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War II packed about 15 kilotons. (One megaton is equivalent to 1,000 kilotons.)

"You'd end up with a crater about 3 miles across," Boslough added. "An event like that would break windows over 100 kilometers away."

Asteroid 2014 HQ124 was discovered on April 23, just six weeks ago — not nearly enough time to deflect the asteroid if it were on a collision course with Earth. But that doesn't mean the asteroid would kill millions of people if it struck New York City or Tokyo.

"Once it's within radar distance, the precision is remarkably good on its position and speed," Boslough said. "So the folks at JPL [NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory] would be able to predict its impact point to within the nearest kilometer and its time to within the nearest second."

There would thus probably be plenty of time to organize an effective evacuation campaign if 2014 HQ124 were headed straight for us. But that isn't always always the case, as some (smaller) space rocks slam into the planet without ever being detected.

In February 2013, for example, a 65-foot-wide (20 m) asteroid detonated without warning in the sky above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, shattering thousands of windows and injuring more than 1,200 people. And there are many more objects out there like the Chelyabinsk asteroid — small space rocks cruising unnamed through the dark depths of space.

Scientists estimates that they've found about 95 percent of the potential "civilization-enders" out there — mountain-size asteroids at least 0.6 miles (1 km) across. But there are probably more than 1 million near-Earth asteroids at least 100 feet (30 m) wide, and less than 1 percent of them have been discovered.

Presidential Response: It is my understanding that the Obama Administration would also kick into high gear in the event of a life ending strike....I'm pretty sure he would express outrage, blame Bush, send the whole thing to committee and then go play a game of golf....

A Stirpotsal meal!

Was Stirpotsal some weird meal I brought back from my last visit to the Orient? No. That time I only brought back a bad case of Jinga Jinga. No, nothing so exciting as that. This is just another in my now endless line of stir fry combinations – meals I make for breakfast and which combine protein, carbohydrates and fiber! OK! Sigh... so what's in it?

Glad you asked. Actually, Stirpotsal is nothing more than a combination of beef stir fry, a baked potato and a salad! Who would have thought? I brings a fairly nice balance of nutrients to the morning meal and tastes good to boot! Caution, however, when combined with toast and milk it brings over 600 calories to the total diet mix! That makes this meal a bit fk'd up calorie wise, but the taste makes up for it!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Cosmic Barber!


Some barbers in this world actually give you your monies worth! Not happening here in the US, sad to say....but, seriously... a haircut and a head massage!

Announcing DanO's Greasy Spoon! Uh, sorry we're closed!

Since my small town of Forsyth already had over ten eateries, I said to myself - 'What this town needs is another eatery!' So, to that end I've made the necessary preparations to open what I feel would be a unique dining experience! OK, so I was wrong....

I think my problems began, early on, when the sign people screwed up the name of the establishment! And, then they wouldn't redo it or offer a refund, so I had to change the name accordingly. That was a mistake, I can see that now! Grease, people can live with. Grit, not so much so!

My next problem and big hurdle was the bad deal I got on my kitchen equipment! I had purchased everything as a package deal from a country over in Asia. After it all arrived, I did my best to keep my patrons out of the kitchen area, but some managed to sneak in anyway. OK, I'll admit that the stove was a tiny bit dirty....
Then, there was the cook I hired to prepare the meals. After a week of watching him work, I began to suspect he had no cooking experience at all! Later, in court,, I discovered he was actually a patient from a nearby mental institution that had gone AWOL! But seriously, when he showed up for the interview, I just couldn't say no to him. (He really scared me to death)! And speaking of death, more than one of my diners had a brush or two with that very thing after dining in my establishment. In court proceedings, and after the fact, I did bring up the defense that you had to be pretty darn crazy yourself to even take a step into a joint like that! (As a matter of fact, towards the end, I had even put up a sign that read, 'Enter at your own risk!)' Ha Ha.

So, in the end, I figure it was a combination of the sign, and maybe the lousy food combined with those pesky cockroaches and strange cook that put the big kabash on my success. No biggie! I was thinking of entering politics anyway!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's an eggish & stir fry morning! And, you know what? That's not such a bad thing!

Beef stir fry, egg, toast and 2% milk!
OK, I'll admit that I have a couple of really bad food addictions, namely eggs and beef! My eggs are fried (horrors of horrors) and my beef is mixed with olive oil, peppers and onions to form a most satisfying and potentially cancerous stir fry! Is there any hope for me? At the ripe old age of 64, do I really care? Well, let's get down to it....

First off, the jury is now out as to a number of culinary topics relating to some foods. Saturated fats have been in the news as of late. Gee. And, it seems that the original studies done in the 50's and 60's were very flawed!! 'Heavens to Murgatroid' as the character Snagglepuss may have put it! Did the the experts lie? Yeah, probably so, as it turns out. In reality, these types of fats may not actually be bad for you, over the long term! Go figure....

Well, what about that evil beef your eating, you complete and utter savage? Same deal, folks... studies by many scientists who have looked at humankind's diet over millions of years, have been struck by how very healthy the Paleolithic man was! No evidence has been found of heart disease, coronary problems, tooth decay or actually any disease in early man such as we all suffer from today. (If you question this statement, please do you own research)! The facts are, these early people died most of gross injury and predation by other animals! (Had they had all the comforts of modern technology and medicine, they might all have lived as long as Moses). A cravat: the Paleo diet includes lot of fresh vegetables and fruits!

OK, OK – so granted that the stir fry thing just might be acceptable, what about them fried eggs! The average egg yolk contains enough cholesterol to sink the Titanic, right? Well, actually that pretty much wrong also. While eggs do add a goodly amount of cholesterol to the blood stream, the key issue is the ratio of so-called bad cholesterol (HDL) to good cholesterol (LDL) exists at any one time in a person's blood. When the ratio's are pretty close to being equal, well that's really not such a bad thing as it turns out. The human body produces cholesterol naturally and this substance is a needed ingredient to good health. It's when the ratio gets out of whack – either way, that you might want to be concerned. So, get you blood cholesterol levels measured on a regular basis, exercise frequently and eat! Eat what you crave, but in moderation. Then, run out and explore the world!

"The human body is a biological process of incredible complexity. It was designed to grow strongly, heal itself through a period of time and then age to a point of failure. God did well..."

Monday, June 2, 2014

Obama drives what could be the fatal spike into the heart of a Republic!

The Obama administration took aim at the coal industry on Monday by mandating a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions at fossil fuel-burning power plants by 2030 -- despite claims the regulation will cost nearly a quarter-million jobs a year and force plants across the country to close. The 654 page book of new regulations (set to go into full effect next year) will add even more ' regulatory smoke' to the ability of our coal-fired power plants to stay in operation with any increased costs going right to the taxpayers in the form of skyrocketing energy costs!

In my opinion, this bone-headed move by Obama aught to be the last straw in breaking the financial backs of millions of Americans! Stay tuned everyone, things are about to get very interesting!