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 d├ętente 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 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... Another story and a chapter in a scrap book of a time of my life, when being clueless was a way of life for me.... Sad.. I spent way too many years desperately seeking Susan...

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 of the Apocalypse?

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

“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!