Friday, December 22, 2017

Fettuccine Alfredo. The real story!

Fettuccine Alfredo or fettuccine al burro is a pasta dish made from fettuccine tossed with Parmesan cheese and butter. As the cheese melts, it emulsifies the liquids to form a smooth and rich sauce coating on the pasta. That's what the history books would have you believe anyway..

The real story concerned a young Italian Lad by the name of Fettuchini (Italian for weak chinned) who owned a burro that he called Alfredo! Interestingly, old Alfredo was a real uptight burro that would jump at the smallest sound. And so it was one day, while Futtuchini was making normal spaghetti pasta, that he accidentally dropped his spatula, which startled the burro who got all crazy, jumped and knocked over a freshly made pile of regular spaghetti onto the floor. In the confusion, he also ran over and stomped the noodles flat. Then, as Fettuchini was beating the burro, some butter and cheese got spilled right into the whole mess. Being poor, Fettuchini scraped it up as best he could and ate it anyway! And a new recipe was born! The only problem being that the historians got his name spelled wrong...

Alfredo the burro, as a side note, was shot the next day and made into stew. A true story.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

On the weather and taxes!

The coming cold snap!

Christmas in Forsyth MO. – When a forecast Canadian blast of frigid air blasts through southwest Missouri on Sunday December the 24th, we will all be likely shivering in our boots! The weather for Christmas Day looks to stay at or just below freezing for the highs with snow flurries much in evidence. A far cry from the relatively balmy temperatures we've all grown accustomed to... Everyone, please bundle up!

Taxes taxes taxes!

No matter what political side we all line up with, the tax reform package being pushed by the Republicans will have numerous short term benefits. Yes, one of those is a direct benefit to large corporation due to decreasing their tax burden from 35 to 21 percent! The hope is that the lower tax level ( a level more in line with the rest of the world) will entice those who left America to come back home and to bring trillions of dollars with them. Should that happen, there will be more jobs at higher pay as the economy gets a real kick in the butt!

The other big benefit, abet one that is somewhat selective, will be the easements given the Middle Class. (True, some wealthy individuals living in Red States like New York and California will take it in the ass, but that is how the cookie crumbles what with the Republicans in power). The real deal for most working class stiffs will be more money in their paychecks. (Many families will get to keep about two thousand dollars per year and that ain't chicken feed brother)! The economic idea behind this is a sound one, as people with more money tend to spend more money! I would expect to see a three plus percent rate of economic growth as we move forward. Boom times ahead! Also, the Individual Mandate that requires you to either have health insurance, or pay a fine, is also gone. That was one very stupid law to begin with.

On the down side will be the fact that these individual tax breaks will expire in ten years. The Democrats have made a big deal sounding off about how Corporate breaks will be permanent while individual breaks are not. This is somewhat twisted form thinking as they are talking about apples and oranges. Really they amount to scare tactics. Just remember that should things go south over the next couple of years, there will be nothing to stop the Democrats from reversing everything once they re assume power from a disgruntled population.

While I'm neither a Republican or Democrat, I can see how this bill will sadly further the ever growing divide that exists between two halves of America. The really sad thing is that both sides refuse to see the true elephant in the room. We have a spending problem, not a tax problem and until we get our arms around that central issue, any and all fixes by either side will be temporary...

---------------TRUE STORY--------------------------

Mr. Squat: 'Oh! Yes. Hi – my name is Doily Squat and I noticed I've reached my credit limit... again. And I was wondering if you all could just go ahead and raise that old limit up.. again?'

Visa: 'Well, yes. I have your records right here, Mr. Squat. It shows that we've raised your spending limit over fifteen times. I also noted that not only do you only make minimum payments, but that you've never made any money. Is that correct?'

Mr. Squat: 'Why yes. But you see, I have a lot of dependents and my family keeps growing by leaps and bounds – heck, I even adopted a load of illegal aliens last month and they also have needs....'

Visa: 'Seriously, Mr. Squat. It shows that you are in very serious debt, have been spending money like there's no tomorrow and now you're telling me your family's grown even larger? I'm sorry sir, but the answer is no. We would happy to send you a free booklet, however. It's entitled, You and Fiscal Responsibility'.

Mr. Squat: 'Noooooooooo'

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Cincinnati Chili with a twist!

For many years, I've enjoyed making a slow cooked chili and then trowing some of that over a nice steaming plate of chili! After adding a couple of topping like cheese and chopped onions, I enjoyed what amount to Cincinnati chili! A true winter time comfort food!

However, being a normal male with a smattering of curiosity, I decided to experiment by adding a small amount of spaghetti sauce I had made earlier using only a small can of tomato sauce and some seasonings! (Is that being a little too nit picky)? Sure, but I wanted to see if there might be some taste improvement to be gained. [Spatula in hand, I marched forward]...

This luncheon styled meal came together very quickly (around ten minutes or so). I had already made the chili and sauce a day before, so all that was needed was to boil some pasta in water, chop some onion up and then sprinkle on a little shredded cheese! I my view, this is very filling Italian styled repast would be great for both kids and old men, such as myself. (If you count pennies, as I do, this is also a pretty cheap eat)!

TASTE: After mixing in some chili into the spaghetti sauce in a 2 to 1 ratio, I sat down and tried to impartially judge the result in terms of overall taste. My immediate reaction was that I liked it. I felt that the taste of the added sauce mellowed out the chili in a flattering manner. I also thought this to be a winning idea, as I'm always on the lookout to find ways to bulk up my meals in a cheaper manner.

CALORIES: If you happen to be twenty something and fit, then you can wolf down all of this stuff you want. If your not particularly fit and or older, then you may definitely want to keep an eye on how much you eat. As a rough rule of thumb, I have calculated that the combination of pasta and chili comes in at about 1.8 calories per gram – so the 150 gram serving equaled out to be about 270 calories. Not all that bad when you consider what I was eating. (Note that 150 grams is a very small amount. I supplemented this sitting by adding in some fruit and garlic bread)!

Friday, December 15, 2017

An open letter to ABC News!

It was with no small amount of shock and some bewilderment that I've noticed how your advertising partners are doing such a poor job at portraying every racial and gender conscious group in a fair an impartial manner. Sure, they to throw in a few blacks here and I appreciate it, but I cannot even remember one single commercial that featured a woman wearing a burka or of Sunni men wearing sporty jalabiyyah's! Exclusion of these very important racial and religious orders is tantamount to your company being labeled as racist, in my opinion, and so I encourage your program directors to please mend their ways post haste.

Lastly, and in a desire to be completely fair and progressive, I think you should air a few commercials that are friendly towards our gender disoriented men and women. (I'm sure you may have a few working for you right at this time)! And you know what? A few atheists thrown in to some of your daytime programming might just add a certain flavor that would endear my future and devoted patronage...


Dan Owen
Center for the Underexposed!

McCallisters and the Gumdrop!

In the small town of Narge, somewhere in the USA, lived two small venues. One was upscale while the other one was no scale at all. Both served food and booze and had loyal followers. McCallisters offered a clean environment in which to eat with clean air to breath as you did so. Families frequented the establishment and most said they were content with the experience. The other facility lurked quietly on the same road, although it did not share in the same type of sparkle that it might have. You see the Gumdrop had grown a tad seedy over the years and decades. Entering the place, one had a sense of wandering onto the set of the Twilight Zone. That is if you could see very clearly through the wafting clouds of cancerous smog the constantly pervaded the air and which caressed every surface. Ah yes, two venues that could not be further apart and in the end only one survived!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Rumors about alien object abound!

Recently, an object from another solar system buzzed ours! Named 'Oumuamua', the craft shaped object was first spotted on Oct. 19 2017, by astronomers using the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii. It was initially classified as a comet, but then regarded as an asteroid after further observations revealed no evidence of a coma (the fuzzy cloud of gas and dust that surrounds a comet's core). Very rapidly, the object made its entrance, swung around the sun and is now exiting stage right! Some people, like the author, remained alarmed.

Noted theorist, Dan Owen, speculated that it's approach angle was not unlike that of some sort of an attack run. 'If true', Mr. Owen went on to speculate, 'One has to wonder if perhaps it dropped off some sort of surprise for all of humanity!'

When queried further on what exactly he meant, Mr. Owen went on to explain that he had long been worried that an advanced alien civilization may have it in for us homo sapiens, even to the extent that they may have directed some sort of viral bomb that could even now be headed for earth.

'I'll tell you all,' Mr Owen went on, 'that rather than calling it Oumuamua, which means "a messenger from afar arriving first" in Hawaiian, a better term might be Shitstormsacoming!' Even Stephen Hawking seems worried!

Astronomers have been running exhaustive tests to try and determine if anything did, in fact ,break off of the object in such a way as to intersect with earths orbit. Those results are still pending....

Flu on the rise in early December!

Taney County MO - There is little doubt that the 2017-18 flu season is going to be a rougher ride than what we all had become used to in the past. As the graphic above illustrates, the incident of flu like illness is quite a bit more widespread in 2017 that it was during the same week last year.

Here in Taney county the numbers had ratcheted up from almost none in the last week of November to thirteen confirmed cases this year! Those kind of increases are somewhat concerning when they occur so early in a season that normally doesn't peak until February! As a result, health professionals are encouraging just about everyone to get out and get a flu shot as soon as possible. They admonish that it takes about a month of time for average person to build up any resistance after getting the shot! so, if you're just getting around to it in Week 48, then you won't see much in the way of benefits until sometime in January!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Flu rate doubles in early December 2017!

December 6, 2017 – It was with no small amount of concern when I read a Fox New article proclaiming that the incidence of flu cases had more than doubled over what was the case this time last year! According to the story, 'More than 7,000 cases of influenza have been confirmed in the U.S. so far this flu season -- more than double the number this time last year, CBS News reported, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.' Sobering new, so early in the flu season.

And the bad guy or virus seems to be the H3N2 Type A which did such a number on people in the southern hemisphere during their period of winter. The continent of Australia reported the worst number of cases in 2017 ever recorded with over 70,000 taken ill! And the thinking by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is that these nasty bugs are now headed for us up in the north! At the time of this writing, it appeared that the south central portion of the United States seemed to be leading the charge, as it were.

As we are heading into the early stages of the Christmas holiday season, now would be a good time for families to remember that one of the best ways to avoid catching the flu is to wash your hands frequently! I also did a short piece on some ways to avoid the flu for anyone with an interest!

Monday, December 4, 2017

It's early December and the flu is on the move!

A number of factors may make the 2017-18 season for flu something rather special! Already, the bug is showing up in more states than is 'normal' for the time of year. And, as the graphic above shows, it looks to be making significant headway in the central southern states! So, why do I think we might be in for a rougher than normal flu ride? Let me count out a few....

1) Every year, scientists look towards the Southern Hemisphere to help hone their predictions for what might happen here. When choosing strains for the coming year’s flu vaccine, they consider what’s circulating in that part of the world. That’s the good news. The culprit in Australia was the H3N2 strain of flu, which is included in this year’s vaccine and which dates back to Hong Kong in 2014. The bad news is that the H3N2 strains are some of the hardest ones for the flu vaccine to combat. All flu viruses make frequent genetic changes that help them slip around a vaccine. Influenza H3N2 viruses are particularly adept at changing as the vaccine is being made, rendering this year's vaccine less effective against them. Some experts cite an effectiveness rating of only about 10%!

2) Most of the patients that have tested positive, as of late November, tested positive for the H3 Type A strain. The same virus that did such a number in the southern hemisphere...

3) Only about 47% of American citizens even bother to get a flu shot, citing their robust health as a reason. Sadly, the virus doesn't really care about who it infects. It treats everyone the same!

4) There is some growing evidence that more Gen X shoppers are flocking to the malls, not so much for the shopping aspect as for the socializing aspects.

5) There is some evidence that the H3 strain may be more deadly that what had been normal

Flu season off to a tough start!
Flu shot may only be partially effective.
Mom of 2 dies day after flu diagnosis!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

DanO's Place cafe!

Quietly nestled in a back alley, near the heart of a business district somewhere, is DanO's Place. A startup cafe, that while it may still be a bit rough on the outside, is soft and gooey once you come inside! And yes. That corpse over on the left was not a customer!