Monday, November 30, 2015

A perfect salad mix?

What is it with me and salads? I've posted quite a few lettuce related articles over the past years and sometimes wonder what the attraction is? The thing is, I feel that a good salad mix with an oil and vinegar dressing is good for the cellular engine that we call us! Of all the grocery items I purchase during an average week, produce veggies stand with a unique crowd! Raw meats, fish and produce are non processed foods, and as such have a low cellular carcinogenic impact over time. And, foods like this make them cells very happy!

December marks the start of the cold season!

While the title was meant as a double entrendre, December is a time of year when colds and the flu often make a big jump in the number of individuals affected! The reasons for this are numerous, but most hinge on the fact that the Holidays bring a lot more people together into closer proximity than at any other times of the year!

As the fever of the season sets upon us all, there is a felt and urgent need to get out and shop for Christmas gifts, to hit those office parties and to get together with loved ones. With more people moving about and bumping into each other, there are many more chances for those bad germs to spread! Add in the stress that the Holidays naturally bring, add in a touch of really cold weather and voila! You have the perfect recipe for getting those sniffles, aches and red noses that only colds can bring!

How can you avoid it all? Well, I suppose you could lock yourself away until March, but in general that's not a viable option. For most of us, we'll have to just shoulder through the gauntlet with a hope, aspirin and a prayer! But wait! There are some common sense things you can do to lessen your chances of falling ill, and here they are;

  1. Wash those hands! If everyone would only do that numerous times a day, there would be a lot less illness going around!
  2. Went you're out and about, stay alert! If you're in a crowed venue and you see someone that looks ill, then vacate the premises pronto, even if it's your dear old uncle Ned!
  3. Avoid crowded shopping malls by going on-line or by at least choosing times when those germ pits are less crowded.
  4. Say no to office parties! I know that's hard to do, but do you really wants to mix with highly stressed out co-workers who've just returned from a local malls, loaded with rhino virus?
  5. Buy a can of Lysol and actually use it on door knobs, counter surfaces and such. Flu viruses can last for a long long time on certain 'fomites' – i.e. any object that can support a virus.
  6. Plan ahead and do your grocery shopping, bank visits and such during off times. Early morning is really good as people who are already sick really hate to get out of bed early in the day.
  7. Get a flu shot! Duh! (No, you can't get sick from the shot and yes, people actually do die from not taking this simple precaution).
  8. Exercise, limit you intake of alcohol and eat well – Gee, I'm beginning to sound like someones mother!
  9. Stay well hydrated – Drink 8 cups of water a day, at the very least!
  10. Finally, if you do still manage to get yourself sick, do everyone else a favor and stay home!

     Update: Week 47 (basically through the end of November 2015)
    Let's try and keep that red line on the floor through vigilance, frequent hand washing and making sure everyone you know gets their shot!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Investigating convection oven cooking!

It was getting about time for me to venture into the world of convection ovens! Newly relocated into my newest digs, a condo with a questionable oven, I decided to acquire a Breville BOV800XL Smart Oven 1800-Watt Convection Toaster Oven with Element IQ! A table top unit that had garnered more than a few good reviews on

In the coming weeks and months, I hope to put this unit to the test with a focus on seeing just how energy efficient it is! Stay tuned! One of my first tests will be a foil wrapped Hobo Meal!

Making stir fry meat more tender!

Stir fried meat can often be under cooked!
I like to make a stir fry combo fairly often for a hearty breakfast. Generally, my ingredients include a little oil, cubed stew beef, bell pepper, onion and oregano along with a splash of Worcestershire sauce. This combo generally takes only a few minutes in a skillet over medium high heat to prepare. My problem was that the cheap cuts of meat were generally still tough to chew after so short a cooking time and I wondered if the might be some sort of work around....

The answer, I thought might be to precook the meat and then store it in the fridge until it was ready to use. To that end, I took about 70 to 80 grams of cubed stew meat and placed it into a small ceramic pot over which I covered everything with water. This was brought a brief boil and then simmered for about thirty minutes. Once I thought the meat was tender, I drained off the water and placed the cooked meat in a small baggie in the fridge.
[Normally, the power used to accomplish this would add up over time, but since I made it using a Duxtop induction counter top, my cost was only a couple of cents]!

The next morning, I assembled my ingredients, prepared the stir fry as normal and thoroughly enjoyed the very fork tender meat!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A mini Thanksgiving meal!


A Thanksgiving meal that didn't bust the diet and yet was very satisfying? That was my objective for this effort. I decided on five ingredients for this meal; turkey, mashed potatoes, a slice of white bread, brown gravy, rice and cranberry sauce!

 Turkey, sliced

For the meat portion, I elected to purchase a package of pre-cooked Kentucky Legend sliced turkey! While it was a little on the pricey side, I knew I would use every bit of it up in sandwiches, later on.

Homemade mashed potatoes

My objective for making mashed potatoes was to see if a viable portion could be made from just one medium sized Russet. That in mind, I peeled the potato, cut it into equal chunks and simmered it in salted water for about 20 minutes. 

Lacking a legitimate potato masher, I used a potato ricer, reasoning it would make a decent substitute. And, amazingly, it did a stellar job! I then took a fork and mixed in about a tablespoon of melted butter and two tablespoons of shredded cheese. This was nuked in the microwave to melt it and voila! I was ready to eat it. The calories here for half a cup was about 95 with the butter and cheese! Next, I needed to make some gravy along with a side dish of 'Rice A Roni'!

White bread

When I was just knee high to a grasshopper, I can remember my grandfather tearing up a piece of bread and the ladling brown gravy over the top. If you've never tried this before, please do at least once in your lifetime.

Brown gravy

Making gravy from a mix is so simple even a person like myself can do it in a snap! Four tablespoons poured over the potatoes, bread and turkey equaled about 90 calories.

Rice A Roni

I had a small package of Rice A Roni that had been sitting in my cupboard for some time and decided that it might make a nice addition. This particular package advertised itself as being chicken flavored. I thought that would go nicely with the overall theme of the meal. 

For this prep, you need a large skillet mainly because your going to saute the vermicelli to a golden brown before adding in 2 1/2 cups of water and their 'special' seasoning mix. You briefly bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook it for about 15 to 20 minutes. A half cup will yield about 95 calories.

Cranberry sauce

What kind of Thanksgiving meal would it be if it lacked some cranberry sauce as a tart and tangy counterpoint to the entire offering? I prefer the canned jellied variety and if you find you have a hard time getting it out of the can, try this simple procedure. Remove the lid and then make a small puncture hole in the other end. Enlarge the hole with scissors and while holding the can over the plate, blow with your mouth into the hole while gently squeezing the can. Works like a charm. Note that each 1/2 inch slice will hit you with about 86 calories.

That was it! The whole deal came in at just over 530 calories, and so, was quite diet friendly as well as being very tasty! Note that I did not have any stuffing, as that ingredient literally does bulk up the caloric content very fast!

A Charlie's Thanksgiving in Forsyth MO!

It was November the 26th and a Thanksgiving fever had gripped the land! Everywhere I looked as I entered Charlie's Steak, Ribs and Ale located in Forsyth MO, I observed hungry patrons completely violating sensible dietary standards. And, I was about to join them!

On this day, Charlie's or C's as I like to refer to this venue, was offing a Turkey Meal for just $9.99! As you can see in the picture, it was a really full plate that contained an estimated gazillion calories. Fortunately, I had worn my sans a belt stretch waistline slacks just for that occasion.

Unfortunately,  when I arrived, I had lost my appetite - however I did sit with friends and watched them chow down on what looked to be a great feast!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Reagan had it right! Trust, but verify!

I trusted a priest
I fell to his feet
And he raised me up there
Then cut me off at the knees

I trusted the law
They didn’t help me at all
I wound up black, blue, screwed
In the back of his car..

Billy Idol's opening lyrics in his song 'Save Me Now', rings very true as America slowly turns a corner and becomes ever more secular and anarchistic in both mood and deed! True to his words, Obama stated that by the end of his term, youse guys won't even recognize the place!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A morning salad!

Over the years, my taste for salads has evolved quite a bit. I used to eat nothing but boring iceberg lettuce for a base, along with a smattering of vegetables and that like eating nothing nutritionally.

Now a days, I like to mix Romaine, spinach and Bib lettuce together sprinkled with some bell pepper, shredded cheese and sliced celery. On some days, (like this one), I'll splurge and add a small amount of sliced turkey. My dressing is an interesting mix of virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard! This is a low calorie, low salt and very low cholesterol way to start any day!

Old fashioned oats! The right mix.

I like to make oats for breakfast in cold weather for numerous reasons, not the least of which is the taste! But, I found that getting the mix of water to oats a bit of a challenge. Some days I'd do pretty well, while on other days, the oats were either too dry or too watery.

Rising to the challenge, I decided to try and discover just the right proportions for making a single serving of oats. I knew it might be a hit or miss deal, for a while, and so I kept a log.

First off, I started with the package directions which instruct you to bring a cup of water to a boil. Next, you add in a half cup measure of oats. Stir the oats and simmer them for five minutes, rest the oats for a couple of minutes and then enjoy. A cup of water? At least I had a starting point.

I wanted to get this deal as precisely right as possible and so I brought into play an Escali food scale set to record in gram weights. First, I placed an empty measuring cup on the scale and then hit the tare button to zero it out. Next, I filled the measuring cup to exactly the one cup mark and recorded that weight as 230 grams. That gave me a good starting point for half the ingredients. Now, all I had to do was to find just the right 'half a cup' amount of oats to suit my particular taste.

Date      Water      Oats      Cooking implement      Cook time      Results
11/24      230g      54g          Induction top                  5 min          Good!

As you can see, I quickly zeroed in on what I felt to be a winner on the first try! I then took a piece of paper, wrote down the amounts, and stuck that to the side of the oats carton. Note that should you desire, say two servings, you merely have to double the gram weights of each ingredient! Bon appétit!

Items used for this meal:

Best Choice old fashioned oats
Le Creuset #18 2 quart enameled cast iron pot with lid.
Duxtop induction cooking surface
Metal whisk

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A quiet Thanksgiving repast!

Lord, on this day of special thanks,
I pray you hear a simple man.
Lord, the world outside my door trembles.
On the brink of, I know not what.
Lord, please bring forth a true leader
who might heal the wounds of a troubled earth!

I'm fairly certain that on November the 26th, a large majority of Americans will be sitting down with loved ones to a royal feast as the nation celebrates the bounty that is the United States of America.

Some citizens, maybe more than you'd think, will be working that day and night. No matter what the day or time of year, essential men and women working in an assortment of jobs like police officers, medial technicians and other commercial concerns (to name a few) will be reporting to work while others enjoy an extra day off..

In the rest of the world, some three billion human souls, I'm told, exist on less than $2 a day. You can bet that their grand 'turkey feast' will be much, much more muted... (For some finding any morsel to eat would be a celebration unto itself).

For my personal 'feast' on this 26th day of November, I plan to enjoy a very simple fare consisting of some sliced turkey, mashed potatoes, brown gravy and maybe a slice of white bread. (Could I afford more)? Sure, but I'd rather spend this Holiday thinking about our great Republic and thanking God Almighty for the chance to be born and raised in America!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Superior dijon? I don't think so!

The Dijon mustard container manufactured by Best Choice out of Canada doesn't work well for me. I think it could be re-engineered so that the mustard doesn't plop out in large chunks. Perhaps a complete redesign is in order.

For my money, I think I'll look at other brands, perhaps even the venerable Grey Poupon glass jar.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving in Funkitville MO!

Not far from the town of Forsyth Missouri is a twin city known by the name of Funkitville. And while Forsyth sports some great eateries, her twin... well not so much! But being the adventurous sort, I decided to drive over there to see what they were offering for a Thanksgiving repast!

The Frote Mugster
WTF is that thing?

My first stop brought me to the venerable (or possibly venereal, as in the disease) Frote Mugster, a long running and maybe now a bit run down bar and restaurant where only those with excellent immune systems even dare to venture. I sat myself down at the bar and ordered up their 'Birdy Special', as the locals called it. The menu had informed me that I would be getting some meat and a baked potato all swimming in a nice pesto sauce. How International! I snapped a picture, observed something moving in the sauce and promptly left, still hungry.

Charles Steak It to Ya

Thinking I might have better luck elsewhere, I walked down the road to what I been told would be a more upscale restaurant called Charles Steak It to Ya. Upon entering, I noticed right off that most of the tables appeared to be non-grimy – a big plus. I got myself a booth in the back and ordered the 'Meaty Thanksgiving Special'. The menu promised I would get turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, French green beans and pearl onions in a white sauce. I want to tell you, just the thought got my gastric juices a running strong!

The reality, however, was something of a visual jolt! For one thing the turkey meat felt a bit hard to my fork. (I think 'rigor mortise' had set in before it was cooked). The potatoes were also very stiff and those green beans emitted a rather unpleasant odor. I nibbled at my plate for just a second before feigning intense stomach cramps. Then, I was off to the next venue with my stomach now positively growling.

The Long'n'hornie

Of the three eateries, the Long'n'hornie proved to be the real pick of the litter. Inside the restaurant, there were actual people sitting down and eating with no one running for the bathroom. Wow, I thought. I'd found a small piece of culinary heaven right there in Funkitville Missouri!

The menu description for the Thanksgiving meal informed me that I'd be getting a real 'leg up' food wise. I also noticed that all the 'normal' ingredients appeared to be in place; there was meat, corn, mashed regular and sweet potatoes, and even green beans that looked like green beans! I ordered this and stuffed my napkin up under my chin in drooling anticipation...

A few minutes later I was served and then ate heartily. (I swear, the sight of me gnawing on that big old turkey leg must have garnered a few stares, but I figured what the hell). After all, it was Thanksgiving! Well, I finished up with a clean plate and then wandered over to the checkout counter.

While I was waiting to pay, I asked one of the servers as to what exactly that brown lump on my plate was. It had a very nutty flavor that I hadn't experienced before. The server called over to the kitchen,' Hey George! Your dog is crapping in the food again!' I shrugged, paid my bill and left.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Critique: Banquet's Salisbury Steak Meal!

Banquet occasionally puts together a decent frozen meal. The key word here is occasionally. Other offerings are a culinary kiss of death, if you are older and are watching your salt intake! That said, let us venture forward!

Banquet's Salisbury Steak Meal, Now with Mac & Cheese caught my eye while perusing the offering in the frozen food isle at a local grocery. Gosh, it was only a buck and nine cents, a gold mine these days!Quickly, I grabbed one and went bravely onto the next isle..

Once I got home, the smallish meal went into the freezer. There it sat in lonely solitary as I ate up much more healthy choices. Then, one evening, I came up short. There wasn't much in the fridge and so I investigated the freezer compartment. Ah! There in a corner was my little Banquet meal a deal. Out it came and squinting at the small print I readied it for the microwave...

Preparing most Banquet offering are pretty simple; slit the film, nuke for 2 minutes, reseal and nuke for 2 more minutes. Here is what it saw after placing the plastic tray on my plate;

Welcome to the 21st Century, brave souls! Way back in the 70's, I think I saw this very same image on a NASA Apollo mission. Now, here in 2015, I was faced with the same sort of crap!

OK, at only 300 calories, this did fit into my diet plan. But, then I noticed that the sodium level was an astounding 1,110 mg! Ah, no wonder it tasted pretty good! It was the salt!

Well, lesson learned! Some of Banquets meal are not bad - others are best consumed by twenty somethings. I scored this one at an 8 for taste, but don't plan on buying it ever again!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Area eateries offer a Thanksgiving meal!

As of this post, Thanksgiving was just ten days away! So, on Thursday, November 26 many folks will be sitting down to reflect. Traditionally, that means a table full of all sorts of wondrous food. Thanksgiving is a time to feast and to reflect on the good fortune we all enjoy in the land of the free. However, for many reasons, not all of us have the opportunity or the time to go to all the fuss and bother of creating a multi course meal for ourselves or our loved ones! Thankfully, (for those of us who live in the small town of Forsyth Missouri), there are some really great alternatives!

A few Forsyth area restaurants will be open to help make your Thanksgiving the best it can be!  In this post, I'd like to mention a few that I'm aware of:

Charlie's Steak, Ribs and Ale - A very popular and upscale eatery that features a full service bar and plenty of seating space. Charlie's is offering a special Thanksgiving plate that will include; turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, stuffing and a roll! I'm assuming that there will also be plenty of gravy and butter to go with this wonderful feast! The cost is only $9.99  a plate and this  wonderful meal is being offered from 11AM to close (8PM). For those who want to enjoy a good breakfast, Charlie's will be open at 7AM! Charlie's is located at 139 Hwy Y in Forsyth and they can be reached at (417) 546-2011 for inquiries.


Frosted Mug
The Frosted Mug - A venerable location located on Hwy 160 will also offer a Thanksgiving meal experience that has become a Forsyth tradition over decades! The Mug is a down home dining eatery that features a full service bar and great food. I understand they have a great Thanksgiving meal, but currently have no idea (417) 546-4149.
The Longhorn Family Dining
how much it will cost. They can be reached at

The Longhorn - I eaten at the Longhorn over many years and have never been disappointed with the food or the clientele. This venue is a Forsyth favorite with fast service and great tasting food hallmarks! The eatery is located at 16039 US Hwy160 and can be reached at (417) 546-9751. I've been told they have a great meal for $9.99! Call them for the hours this meal will be available.

These kind folks who are giving up their Holiday in order to serve you, are very special people. Please make sure and tip them to the best of your ability!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Critique: Rigatoni & Italian Sausage with Meatballs!

In past posts, I've often hammered the Banquet brand, (and for good reason). This critique will not be along the sames lines. Yeah..

For lack of a better descriptor, I'll call these products from Banquet, Mini Meals. This particular meal deal was billed as a 'Rigatoni & Italian Sausage with Meatballs'! Oh yummy! As with most of Banquets $1 meals, I've generally found them best to consumed when you are also somewhat consumed with alcohol!

The directions were pretty easy, as is the case for most of the Banquet dollar offerings. Slit the film, nuke for 2 minutes, open the film and stir and the seal and nuke for 2 more minutes. I found I could even do that!

OK, for a pasta and meat meal deal, I do confess to have enjoyed the taste! And, lo and behold! The sodium was only 650 mg which nicely complimented the also low calorie count of 300! Likewise saturated fats were about 20% and so very livable.

Be still, my heart! But, I think I may just order this one again! Gave it a solid 8!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

What would an American Indian thought?

America reacts!

In response to the carnage witnessed over in Paris, the President has placed all America on a HEIGHTENED ALERT STATUS! Obama has also issued the following directives and advice to take effect immediately:
  1. Obama has ordered the TSA to make airline passengers go through the scanners TWICE, prior to boarding. That should work out well....
  2. Obama has DRAWN A NEW LINE in the sand, daring ISIS to cross it! Well, he did!
  3. Obama wants NYC to go on full alert! You know that city with a police force that doesn't give a crap. [Also Ferguson MO is locked down to prevent potential rioting]!
  4. Obama will immediately ask Congress for MORE MONEY! Billions of which will go to the 50 special forces on the ground in Syria to enable them to train a few kurds in the fine art of retreat and surrender. What?
  5. Obama plans to make himself much harder for terrorists to fine. (Rumors place him on a golf course somewhere for the duration of his term).
Remember citizens, if you see a terrorist charging at you...DUCK AND COVER, DUCK AND COVER! Uh wait, wasn't that for something else??

Editors note: I fully understand the gravity of events unfolding all around the globe. But, if lose our sense of humor, then we can only become grim and of sour disposition.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Critique: Banquet's new mini meal offering!

In past posts, I've often hammered the Banquet brand, and for good reason. This critique will also be along the sames lines. Sigh..

For lack of a better descriptor, I'll call these products from Banquet, Mini Meals. This particular meal deal was billed as a Salisbury steak with mac and cheese! Oh yummy! Interestingly, that 'steak' is comprised mostly of chicken and pork! So, it might be better termed a 'Salischicknpork' patty. Not sure how well that would fly...

The directions are pretty easy, as is the case for most of the Banquet offerings. Slit the film, nuke for two minutes, open the film and stir and the seal and nuke for two more minutes. See! Easy sleezy. At just 300 calories, you'd think this would be a pretty good tasting diet meal. And you'd be correct assuming you were like fifteen years old. If you're an adult and one that is concerned with your salt intake, then take a major pass! This small meal deals out about 50% of your daily sodium allowance! And, yes! That's why it taste pretty good! Add enough salt to crap and it might be edible....

Bottom line, a 7 score for taste and a 0 for health. You could this stuff, from time to time, just don't bet your life on it!

Country Mart offers take home Turkey dinners for the Holiday!

Just in time for the Thanksgiving Holiday, when many of us are stressed out from working, doing choirs are having relatives over for a feast, Country Mart located in Forsyth MO is offering three varieties of Thanksgiving meals with all the fixings!

As you enter the store, on the left, is a table with application forms. Just fill one out well before November the 26th, get it over to the Deli and your all set! I've included a copy of the form below.

It's depressing to be depressed!

One of the pitfalls of living in the 'information society' we all currently exist in, is how overwhelming it has all become. Whether it is cell phones, computers or pads, the staggering array of devices we now sport, insure that we are continuously 'future shocked' about to death! And to add insult to injury, getting informed is addictive, especially among the younger citizens. If you doubt this, just get out and observe the young set. I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut, any kid you spot will likely have their faces buried in a smart phone! While they are pursuing a a virtual social life, the real thing is passing them by!

I would contend that all that information, impacting our central nervous system for most of our waking hours, can have a depressing effect over time. Personally, I've begun to try and wean myself off the addiction by making what I hope are a few intelligent moves;

  1. I gave up my smart phone for a dumb phone.
  2. I limit my time on my computer to just a few hours per day.
  3. I try and keep the TV off during the morning and evening hours.
  4. I try to get out more and to interact with others.
  5. Most evenings I sate my addiction by reading a good book!

And guess what, my personal periods of depression have begun to shrink! Sure, I may no longer be fully aware of what is 'happening now', but in the full course of time, did it ever really matter?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Random Thoughts for November 2015

Posting in the 21st Century is troubling for lots of reasons. At any given micro second, here in 2015, there are hundreds of millions of words, blogs and mindless texts being created by would be authors who toss their creations out into the ether we all know as the Internet. The vast majority of which, like sperm striving to impregnate some intellectual egg, will ultimately fail and be rejected by an unfeeling digital matrix. (I completely understand that reality and personally have billions of dead sperm words lying stillborn about my feet). Still, I rise up each day, and hit the keyboard as though it was a blushing virgin and I an anxious teen.... Well then, let us go bravely forward...

Mediacom, just a symptom of the times or a full blown Internet disgrace?

When one finds oneself intimately [or at least contractually] associated with an Internet service provider, (which is all too often the only Internet provider available), well one might take a pause before dissing said partner in print! Truth be told. I no longer really care. As the recipient of substandard service over a protracted period of time, I've grown very accustomed to inferior or substandard performance. Even the simple act of writing out this blog entry was subject to problems.

But, I do dwaddle and so apologize to my very few readers. Let me now get to the real meat of this issue. (For as I have been often told, the meat is sweetest as one gets nearer to the bone of an issue).

Mediacom is really just a simple phone company. Did you know that? That's how the government classifies them, at any rate. They are licensed under the FCC, and are charged with providing  reliable Internet communication. Ah, but as Shakespeare might well have intoned, there is a rub. Q: Is their concept of the word 'reliable' the same as mine or yours? Put another way, are they providing the very best service they can or, are they performing a crude balancing act? You know, where you max corporate profits even as you test the patience of your subscribers to near a breaking point! And, are you charging very healthy corporate fees while riding on the back of an antiquated, rotting and aging digital infrastructure? Good questions to ask. After all, wasn't it President Obama, who boldly promised America a better and faster Internet for all in 2008? I dunno. Personally, I've become pretty disgusted with this group over the past decade and suspect the problems I experience are shared with many of the other providers. What say you?

Fox News! A media gem surrounded by really horrific advertising!

I get it that the stuff that comes over my TV daily is politically massaged by whatever station I happen to listen to. It's fun, at times, to switch my channel to MSNBC or ABC or CBS or even CNN which tries to look like a politically centralist channel, so damn hard, it makes one cry. And then there is the Fox Channel - a real gem in that they seem to actually try and be fair in what ever story they happen to be 'reporting'. I mean, they even have token Left leaning commentators who are black for chrissakes! What's more fair than that?

But, let me get right to the chase! Of all the media reporting channels I watch, none are as insulting as the sheer advertising crapola put out by Fox. I find them to be either insulting (pills for that special moment), degrading of the poor (what's in your gold portfolio), or downright scary as a cadre of pharmaceutical propaganda machines attempt to convince you that you must take their Cadillac crap.

And, sadly, this media outlet is offering a GOP debate - you know men and women candidates that may dictate your future if elected - only people like me will not have the ability to watch it on my cable TV as Mediacom doesn't feel like offering it as part of a basic package to the like of me... nope, I'd have to pay for a premium service package. What the fuck is wrong with you people that you are letting a bunch of bat wing leftists take over this Republic?

[More on this topic later in a later rant].

Hillary marches boldly on!

In truth, I secretly respect Hillary and those humongous balls she must have hidden somewhere under her skirt. The word scandal clings to her persona like a second skin. These days, she's like some insane General marching madly down a hill in WWII, filled with exploding bombs and whizzing bullets! The women appears almost magical. And should she become our next President, I will die laughing!

Think I'll pass on Trump! My picks for Presidential candidates!

Trump, to me anyway, is first and foremost a performer of the comedic ilk. He's a lot like the one we've had in office for almost seven years, and frankly, my sense of humor has waned.

Let me see now. What have we got in terms of looking at both party's viable candidates? I think the number is something like this:

Democratic Candidates

Hillary Clinton - Here' someone so mired in one scandal after another, it's hard to keep track! I'm betting she will be indicted shortly and thus not a player.

Bernie Sanders - Whoa boy! This Marxist wannabee actually strikes a chord with our fringe population. Other than that he's all show and a no go.

Joe Biden - Now here's a potential winner for the left. Joe baby is kinda hanging out while he waits for the hammer to come down on Hillary - I think he has the best potential to carry forth the far left and their dingbat concepts.

Republican Candidates

Donald Trump - Old Donald has been a great distraction for everyone who is sick an tired of career politicians and their get nothing done mantra. It's too bad he also comes off as narcissistic, authoritarian and brutish. A big turnoff for a lot of conservative voters.

Dr. Ben Carson - What Donald lacks in the social graces, the doctor practically oozes out of his pores. I personally like this man and could stand to see him elected as my leader. What he might lack in experience would be more than made up for by his cabinet to be.

Ted Cruz - A real sleeper, in my view. This guy has experience out the yahoo and appeals to a large segment of Hispanic and Latino voters. A man that will bear watching as we head into the meat of the season.

Carly Fiorina - Now here's a person who I consider to be a real pit bull. She's a fighter, a successful business woman and a lady who spots a really thick skin. and while I don't think she has a chance as President, she would make for a dynamite VP with Presidential potential on down the road.

So who do I think will win the big enchilada? 

Critique: Bean with Bacon soup!

I was somewhat surprised to find that many individuals out there don't think they would like Bean with Bacon soup! That is, until I remembered a time in my distant past that my dad made me eat some for lunch. after that I was hooked on the wonderful taste and texture!

As with most soups that emerge from a can, BwB is easy to fix for a fast lunch and the cans store well in the cupboard. At about ninety cents per can and figuring you can make up two hearty meals, it is therefore somewhat cost effective if your on a tight budget. Nutritionally, you get about 140 calories from a half cup serving. There's little in the way of saturated fats (1g) and the cholesterol is also a very low 5 mg. The only fly in this culinary ointment is the sodium content. It comes in at a whopping 980 milligrams, and no matter which way the debate is currently raging about salt in our diets, I just don't feel comfortable with the high amount!

As I said earlier, fixing up a batch is simplicity itself; just dump a can into a small pot, add a can of water, heat to boiling and she's ready to go! Please give this a try and see if you don't also make it a regular staple at your home!

Well, this country's seen worst times!

Perhaps it's just me, but over the past few year's, under the Big Mac Daddy's lordship things seem somehow no right. Now don't get me wrong, I actually like that big old queer-ball aka Barrack Obama. He makes for a great comedian and can get me to laughing right along with him, as he muddles his way toward the end of a long and lackluster pair of terms in office. As a matter of fact, the biggest joke of all was that we elected this nut-job twice! (It's like we just couldn't get enough of a dose of abject failure and had to have just a little bit more). Well, now we're all positively gagging!

So, here we are, circa 2015 with just a couple more months to go. And, as I look around myself I've taken note of a few of the more obvious cracks in the Republic's foundation:
  1. The economy is limping along like an old man trying to get a bowl of free soup back to his table. My bet is he doesn't quite make it.
  2. My money is shrinking faster than a salted slug courtesy of the Fed diluting its value for nigh on seven years!
  3. As more and more of the Baby Boom generation stagger into old age, there is exactly zero jobs offered to them, that is if you don't count mopping the floors at a local McDonald's.
  4. Like flies to shit, the flow of the desperate souls across our southern border is increasing as their lives in Mexico and South America are even crappier than here at home!
  5. The rise of extreme homosexuality, atheists and the mentally disturbed is almost as alarming as the number of hardened drug dealers Obama just let out of prison!
  6. Illegal aliens are being handed life on a silver platter while honest to God Americans are being shuffled to the back of the bus.
  7. There is no money left for major entitlement programs no matter what the media or political spin is; Listen carefully to the General Accounting Office and read their lips! Do it again!
  8. The media no longer reports the news, they make up the news to suit their personal agendas.
  9. The healthcare system is in complete disarray and that trickle of sick souls that are currently being rejected by their physicians will soon become a tsunami flooding and then overwhelming our emergency wards. Eventually, the government will respond by asking us to 'just deal with it'!
  10. Sadly, as a nation, it appears we are preparing to elect yet another corrupt Democrat into office perhaps so that we might show the world just how incredibly dumbed-down we have all become.
I could have gone like that on for some time, but I'm sure my dear reader (I have only one), can come up with a few cracks and potholes of their own.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Cameras in the wilderness! A good thing?

In general, I am not a big fan of the Federal government. I consider it a bloated and ill beast that often causes more loss than gain. However, on rare occasions, there is something to be said for a few of its departments and one of them is the Corps of Engineers.

The CoE is a U.S. federal agency under the Department of Defense and a major Army command made up of some 37,000 civilian and military personnel, making it one of the world's largest public engineering, design, and construction management agencies. That government to civilian connect makes it rather unique, in my view. Unlike the Bureau of Land Management which is a complete cluster fuck, the CoE actually can get some good things done and one of them would be to help us all keep an eye on our public forests, parks and wilderness areas.

The problem that needs addressing are the small yet growing number of miscreants that like to use our public lands as their personal dump sites. These are often the same group of individuals who often pooch game illegally, cook drugs in secluded spots and generally leave a trail of trash where ever they happen to wander. In their small minds, they get away with this form of misconduct because there's nobody around to watch them. I'd like to propose we change that!

My plan is really quite simple and would be a great benefit to many groups. What I would propose is that the CoE embark on a project like 'Operation Lookout' that would allow them to place surveillance cameras in random areas in select locations that could be changed from time to time. These cameras would be linked to the Internet and would be available 24/7 for public view. This kind of arrangement could benefit all sorts of groups including land owners, parks, animal lovers, etc. More importantly, such an arrangement would pose a great deterrent to people who make trashing our landscape a lifestyle.

Such an operation could be funded from numerous sources form Federal, State and local resources. The cameras could be placed high enough to cover large swaths of ground and, (just like in a grocery store), would act as a potential deterrent to evil doers everywhere. The only downside I see in such an endeavor would be objections by people who might accuse the agencies involved in spying on them. To that I have no answer other than to say we live in a far different world than that of our grandparents and must weigh our privacy issues carefully before we implement any potential solution.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Democrats wet dream scenario!

Concept: Changing a flat tire!
  1. Bring in the head of the IRS to raise taxes to fund a new tire changing bureau!
  2. Appoint the head of the new Department of Tire Regulations (DTR).
  3. Draft 2000 pages via a regulatory Congressman regarding the act of tire changing.
  4. Hire a firm (WEDOIT) to print up fifty million tire regulation brochures.
  5. Bring in the EPA to regulate any environmental concerns.

    Reid's nightly prayer: Let us bow our heads in prayer. Lord please let us live day to day, with one hand in thy brothers pocket and another thumbing through pages of new regulations; so Lord that we may show others how to live their lives forever. Amen!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Saturated fats for us dummies!

For all youse guys out there who've ever wondered about that term 'saturated fats', here's the real low down.

Think of your body as a finely tuned gasoline engine and think of saturated fats as engine oil gunk! When you eat certain foods (like all the foods us men normally like to eat), it's the same as adding gunk to your engine oil. Pretty soon you'll note that the oil pressure light is going on pretty much all the time! And, that's not a good thing, buddy.

Now, while you can always change your engine oil and make things right, you really can't do that to your body, as draining out all your blood is generally terminal. But, what you can do is to develop a strategy to start diluting the gunk by eating certain foods like veggies, fruits, whole grains and nuts while hitting McDonald's maybe a little bit less often. If ya just gotta eat some meat, go for the lean stuff like skinless chicken or fish!

So how much meat is too much? Here's a good rule of thumb. Take the amounts that generally satisfy you and then cut them in half. That would be all red meats, butter, potato chips and the like. Sub in a serving of broccoli or a salad or beans instead. Keep that up and your 'engine' will likely run for a long time!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Table salt. The hidden dangers!

Commercial table salt (you know the stuff you get at the store) is created by taking natural salt (or crude oil flake leftovers) and cooking it at 1200° Fahrenheit. Once the unprocessed salt is heated up to this temperature, it starts to lose the majority of the eighty important elements that are naturally occurring.

Commonly purchased iodized salts, available at super markets or sitting on the table of your favorite restaurant, have synthetic chemicals added to them. These chemicals include everything from manufactured forms of sodium solo-co-aluminate, iodide, sodium bicarbonate, fluoride, anti-caking agents, toxic amounts of potassium iodide and aluminum derivatives. It may come as a shock, but most table salt is not only unhealthy, but can sometimes be toxic . WTH?

Natural salt is a whole different animal! Real forms of salt boost the creation of digestive enzymes and juices that allow us to extract and assimilate other vitamins and nutrients from the food we eat. Real salt contain alkaline minerals that help keep us hydrated, balance our sodium-potassium ratios, as well as fill the body with powerful electrolytes. They also contain all of the trace elements needed for proper immune, thyroid and adrenal function (items that are completely stripped out of table salt). A double WTF may be called for here!

But wait! There's more!

Using table excessive salt causes your blood pressure to rise rapidly because the blood is attempting to move the toxic elements rapidly away from the heart. This is why doctors will often tell people with high blood pressure to stop the intake of salt. Duh! Moreover, excessive table salt causes us to retain waters and other fluids. Many chronic imbalances such as diabetes, gout and obesity can be worsened or even partially caused by excessive intake of common table salt. And be aware, this salt is not just the stuff in your shaker!! Most packaged and processed foods contain astronomical amounts of the stuff. These preservatives can cause swelling and, over time, major kidney, thyroid and liver problems, as well as the development of goiters, asedema, hypertension, heart disease, strained elimination systems, muscle cramps, water retention, edema, stroke, heart failure, PMS, and even major nervous system disorders such as anxiety and depression. Whoa there Nellie! It pays to be aware!

Remember, everything in moderation (as Thoreau was apt to say). Salt used carefully has many health benefits, but you when used excessively, it can or may have some dangers. I personally stopped using traditional table salt, and switched to reduced amounts of Himalayan salt years back.... If your interested, please check out sites like Amazon for some great savings!

Update: In the interest of being fair, a FB friend Roger Kelly submitted this argument put forth by Scientific American -

This information was excerpted from an article by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

McDonald's Quarter Pounder! An old man's perspective!

I've come to the hard won conclusion that eating food from McDonald's is best left strictly to the young and the able bodied! Twenty somethings can easily shrug off the boatload of calories, salt and saturated fats that comprise so many of this venue's offerings. Aging wrecks, such as myself, not so much so...

After arising at my normal hour of 11AM and performing my limited exercise routine; going to the bathroom and getting some breakfast, I was ready to get serious about what I was going to have for lunch! Yes I'm old, retired and sport a rather large gut these days; a sad requiem to a more svelte shape now gone by! But, knowing that did not stop me from visiting what I like to call the Emporium of Salt, aka McDonald's!

On what was a crisp November morning, I had gotten it in my head to go and enjoy a Quarter Pounder with cheese along with a medium order of French fries. (I would have ordered the large fries, but wanted to make at least a token effort at being nutritionally responsible). So, of course when I ambled up to the counter that day, I ordered the 'extra value meal' which included a Coke and a large French fry! [Hey, at least I'd given that physical accountability thing a try]!

After paying for and then gathering up my culinary prize, I moved over to a table, only to remember that I had forgotten to fill my cup and also pump a little cup full of ketchup for my fries. (As I shuffled back to do this, I got knowing smirks from the other ancients scattered around the joint). So what if I get easily distracted these days... sue me!

Finally, with everything now in order, I was able to sit down and enjoy my burger, sip my Coke and munch on a few fries. (Heaven quickly descended upon me like a soft cloud). Now, after reaching a form of satisfied contentment, I gazed around at the other tables which were populated by a mish mash of humanity. While there were a couple of youngish looking customers scattered about, most were molding old derelicts like myself. A closer inspection made it plain to me that none of them looked to be in very good condition either. (Not surprising considering where they choose to eat)! I would swear one lady even looked to be dressed in her pajamas with wild hair to match. I'm guessing it must have been casual Wednesday.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Random thoughts for November 2015!

Surviving a trip to McDonald's!

I was going to write about how wonderful it would be to visit my local McDonald's and sit down to a meal consisting of a Big Mac, medium fry and diet Coke. But alas, my common sense got a hold of me just in the nick of time! At 880 calories and 1160 milligrams of salt, they gotta be jacking me! No way Jose am I going to do that shit!

So, I settled instead for their plain Jane .89 cent burger (480 calories) and a small French fry (150 calories). (While that caloric total was still up there for someone on a 1500 calorie per day diet, it was manageable). In addition, the cost was not through the roof as I elected to do the drive through and not order a beverage that was basically a glass of water with flavoring. My total came to just $3.55 with tax.

By the way, this very same burger cost only 15 cents not so very long ago...

Could someone just please just shoot Obama?

It's not that I'm advocating an assassination attempt here. No, I'm thinking more along the lines of saving this poor creature from the dawning realization that there will be precious little to place on the walls of his Presidential Library, when he retires in another year. Personally, I cannot think of one thing Obama has done over the course of seven years that hasn't turned into a complete and utter shambles. I would therefore ask for anyone to please advise me of some of his accomplishments as I'm a total blank on this subject...

Mediacom, the gift that just keeps on giving!

I like to look upon Mediacom as though it was an onion. Lots and lots of layers! And like that game Whack a Mole, just when one problem gets solved, another seem to always pop up. What fun.

Recently, I spent over two weeks with absolutely terrible Internet service while everyone at Mediacom stood around scratching their heads. After much investigation by a goodhearted tech, we discovered the problem was with their cable modem. (They had replaced two of these and both proved to be defective).

Finally, the addition of a different modem unit cleared the problem up. Things then went swimmingly... for a couple of days anyway. Then, a new problem 'popped up'. And this time, it seems that it may never get properly fixed as it may stem from a case of simple network congestion. (A problem caused by overloading the existing cable bandwidth with too many subscribers)! A good example of how this works is the way in which the airlines like to overbook their flights. The end result being that a lot of would be passengers end up at terminals cooling their heels. The same analogy works here as the end result is a really slow network connection. (A problem that is all the more aggregating as I currently pay extra for a faster than normal bandwidth)!

Will Mediacom ever improve? More than likely, the answer is no. At least in the areas where they enjoy a virtual monopoly. You know, like where I live, for instance. [Note: Refer back to the second story here. Does anyone remember how a younger Obama promised a better Internet for all back in 2008? Like so much else in this era of Hope and was all smoke and mirrors...]

A tale of two restaurants!

It's around noonish and time for lunch! But, you're at work and that thirty minute lunch period goes by pretty fast! So, do you do the McDonald's thing or do you seek out a more upscale establishment like Charlie's Ribs Steak and Ale both located in Forsyth MO? Here I compare some important considerations like the time you will need to spend, the cost and the nutritional impact of fast food versus a sit your ass down dining experience.

As I didn't desire to completely blow out my diet in just one day, I choose to go to McDonald's on a Monday and then to Charlie's the following Tuesday (hopefully). Both venues were to be 'sit down' affairs, (although it's understood that you can drive through one and order takeout at the other if your in a big hurry to get back to your cubicle).

The infamous play area!
November 2, 2015 at 11:30 AM – McDonald's - A typical Monday workday with low traffic levels, but I arrived a little early anyway to insure I would get a decent table. At the counter, I ordered a plain Jane hamburger, a small French fry and diet coke. The total cost was $3.56 Wait wise, it took me no time to get to the front of the line, and only another 2 minutes to get and pay for my order. I also had to fill my cup at the beverage dispenser and then had to get napkins and a cup of ketchup from yet another dispenser area. (Always one to observe proper hygiene though, I used a napkin to push down on the ketchup plunger).

The food was about what I've grown used to over the years. Good tasting stuff that is loaded with salt and saturated fats. Just what an aging old gnome needs to insure an early end to life and living! I ate my meager 480 calorie meal and was out of there in ~ 15 minutes! And, yes! I was still hungry...

Coming soon - a trip to an upscale restaurant!