Friday, April 02, 2010

Feeding The Masses

Thinking About How Today's Government Would Have Shut Jesus Down...

You do understand that, in spite of not having ADD or ADHD, I wander around all day thinking about a whole bunch of different stuff.

Sometimes I think I should carry a tape recorder because for every good blog I write-other than just diary stuff like "I cooked" or "I'm mad" or "I'm tired" or "I'm busy", I come up with another half dozen good ideas which I promptly forget or otherwise can't remember by the time I wander back in front of the computer.

Seriously, it's gotten to where I actually think in blogger/editorial form.

Something will happen to me or around me or otherwise pop into my mind, and I can outline the subject and think to myself what a great posting it would be and then WHAM something else distracts me and I can't get to the Keyboard before the idea is gone out of my every greying, ever balding head.

And yes...I do actually manage to spend some time away from my computers...I could walk away right now and spend a couple of hours couple of minutes enough seconds to run to the restroom...


I can...

I CAN...

OK...Just this one time I'll stay here in front of the Keyboard...


(taking a big breath here Boss...)

So any way, for some reason--probably because yesterday was Good Friday and Sunday is Easter--I was thinking about stuff and while cooking I was thinking about the story of the Loaves and Fishes.

You know...the one told in Matthew 14, verses 13 through 21?

You can get out your bible like I did and read it, or here on the blog I'll just use this good summary from Wikipedia:

According to the Gospels, when Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been killed, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place near Bethsaida.[3]

The crowds followed Jesus on foot from the towns.

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late.

Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."

Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."

"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.

"Bring them here to me," he said.

Jesus directed the people to sit down on the grass.

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

That's a pretty interesting story, and there is a good deal of speculation as to the exact meaning of the message if you read stuff written by the "biblical scholars," but taking it literally, can you imagine what would happen if Jesus was wandering around here in the United By God States of 'Merica today?

First of all, the local Police Department would probably have arrested him or at least forced the crowd to leave before he was able to perform his miracle because they didn't have a permit for the gathering.

But IF he had the foresight to try to get the disciples to run down and fill out an application and pay the fee, the Zoning Department would most likely have refused to issue a permit because the area was designated D4-Desert and Arid Tundra Areas.

And IF he had managed to get a permit, he'd have had to supply off duty police officers for security and had a bunch of porta-johns delivered to the venue, and issue permits to the street vendors selling the "WWJD" t-shirts and so on...

And then IF the Health Department found out he was serving dinner, they would have come out, made an inspection, and they WOULD HAVE SHUT THE WHOLE THING DOWN...

because the area didn't have potable water, and the kitchen employees didn't have hot water and hand sanitizer to wash their hands when returning from the porta-johns, and they didn't have an OSHA/ASHRAE/ASME approved vent hood system in the kitchen.


You see, ladies and gentlemen, if it were up to our government and the idiots running most of it, the events which are described to have taken place in Matthew 14:13-21 would have never happened.

In fact, in my opinion a good deal of the stuff which happened in the Bible is against the law today.

Water into Wine?

The Federal and State "Revenuers" would come out...Prohibition Style...and arrest him on the spot for illegally making an intoxicating beverage without a license and paying the taxes thereon.

Moses and the Burning Bush?

He would have had to have a burn permit else face a fine.

Parting the Red Sea?

Required by a Federal District Court Judge to have a three year environmental impact study, then PETA and Greenpeace would file endless court protests and the Egyptians would have had free mud bricks and servants today.

Ten Commandments on a Stone Tablet?

Two words...MINING PERMIT ( and see "parting the Sea" above about impact studies and lawsuits...)

Adam and Eve...naked in public.

Just fine in San Francisco, broadcast live on U-Tube, but a little risky here in Eastern Tennessee.

As you can see, I could go on and on and on (Delila cutting hair without a License/permit)and feel free to make up your own examples if you want.

And please understand that I'm not making fun of the bible and the value of the stories it tells and religious beliefs it supports, I'm just pointing out, tongue in cheek, how far things have slid in the past 2010 years in our lives and our freedoms and government.

The Romans and Egyptians and Persians had nothing in their program of oppression and slavery compared to your local city hall and state capital and the likes of Obamarama and Reid and Pelosi...

It seems to me that the honest, hard working, God fearing Conservative Americans today have been delivered like the Israelites into the hands of the Philistines, and that's just a sad state of affairs.

By the a biblical occurred to me while writing this posting...

2000 years ago, wouldn't it be a "Porta-John the Baptist"?


The Mixer Meets It's MatchProduct

Loaves and Fishes...

Here's a look at "Loaf #1" talking things out with it's maker...

Loaf #2 is still in the oven basking at 350 degrees F.

Here's another view of the Tsoureki Loaf with a Dyed Egg in the middle.

By the way, that is in fact a dyed boiled egg in the middle there (along with other experimental eggs there in the bowl in the back.

You can go here and learn how to use water and vinegar and of all things...yellow onion make a red dye to color eggs. (I'd somehow missed that process in the past 50 years.)

What looks like Brown Eggs is actually some I took out of the dye when I got impatient...but I got several darker ones by letting things sit for a couple of hours after I took them off the stove.

Now it's time to go pull the second loaf out of the oven, let it cool a little, and deliver it to Papa George...

Regards Y'all

Making Baking Bread

I'm Afraid Of My Mixer...

So three or four years ago I decided that I wanted to add a stand mixer to my arsenal my list of kitchen tools.

Since I make pizza about three times every two weeks, it sounded like a good idea at the time.

Then you know me...I couldn't settle for just "any" stand mixer, I wanted something that bolted to the kitchen cabinet or stood in the floor and made the windows rattle when I turned it on and started mixing something.

Something like this 60 quart model would do nicely, don't you think???

Then upon further consideration, realizing that my kitchen was basically 12 feet x 14 feet, I realized that, since I generally only make one or two pizzas at a time, that unless I wanted to have to wheel the monstrosity out into the carport when we had company or when I actually wanted to COOK something...that I should downsize my aspirations and get something a little more portable.

Then I started looking at the KitchenAid mixers which are in every store except possibly AutoZone and the local Men's Big/Tall Shop, but I wasn't satisfied with the speed selections and the fact that the bowl just sat there on the base and could start spinning around while unattended and fly off into space or something.

Finally I found out about the larger capacity KitchenAid Professional 6 quart model...

(except mine's gunmetal grey...remember it's part of my "arsenal" by default...)

which has more motor horsepower and additional speeds, but more importantly it had a lift stand base that allowed me to lock the mixing bowl onto the unit so when I come back from the basement or restroom after ten minutes my dough is still inside the kitchen rather than sitting out in the back yard with the Robins and Nuthatches pecking at it.

I ordered it on sale, online, with free shipping, and when it arrived and I busted it out of the cardboard and Styrofoam and tossed it up on the counter top, and I'm sorry to report that I've only used it once or twice since.

Why, you might ask?

Because it's too large to only make dough for one pizza!

When I dump 2-1/2 cups of flour and a cup of water and a pack of yeast and some salt and white pepper into the bowl and turn it on, the paddle or dough hook barely touches the mixture.

I think that my mixer laughed and taunted me and said "that's all you got" in "Mixer-ese"

Then I had the brilliant idea to take it off the stand and stir things up by hand, and then remount the bowl on the mixer. When I turned the motor back on the dough hook grabbed my little blob of dough and proceeded to make it slowly crawl up to the top of the hook and ride around in circles like some kind of silly kitchen amusement park ride.

I know that when I use yeast I'm basically "fermenting" my I might get "drunken" dough in the process, but spinning my dough around getting it "drunken"???

So any way, in a few minutes when my milk finishes "scalding" and my butter finishes melting, I'm going to make another try at using what has been a giant paperweight for the past two years in my kitchen.

I'm tossing together about 6 cups of flour and 6 eggs and a bunch of other stuff and trying to make three or four loaves of Greek Easter Bread.

I'll try to avoid having to repaint the walls or buy new flooring or replace my counter top, or wash flour off of the Turbo Pup in the process.

Wish me luck...if you will...

(And I'm REAL glad I didn't buy that 60 quart model else I'd probably need counseling)

Thursday, April 01, 2010


Couldn't I Be Considered A Fool Almost Every Day???

Yes...locking up my blog until noon today was my weird Blogger "April Fools" joke for 2010.

Hope you enjoyed it...if you stopped by before noon.

I haven't had time to write anything until now this morning because I've been up working since about 4 AM trying to catch up from my lethargy exhibited earlier in the week.

Yesterday I ended up wallowing in the bed with the newspaper listening to Neal Boortz until about 11 AM and then after a couple of hours working in the yard I dedicated a couple more hours to sitting in the sun on my deck smoking a cigar...getting a little pink on my cheeks (the upper ones, not the lower ones), and enjoying the sound and smell of weed eaters and leaf blowers.

Then early this morning I started feeling guilty and spun into a whirlwind of wearing out my uncallosed hands and fingers cranking on socket head cap screws and risking cancer breathing mineral spirits fumes cleaning parts and putting everything back together.

Later today after washing the grease and lawn chemicals from my hands I'm baking a couple of loaves of Tsoureki...a sweat "Greek Easter Bread" for the Family of a friend here in Knoxtown who's dealing with bringing his dad home from the hospital after his first Chemo treatment last weekend.

Harry's become a good friend and business associate in the past six months and with his old line Greek roots (they have a house here and one in Greece) it's been fun talking about Greek food in between technical conversations.

Any way, his mother has her hand's full taking care of Dad and since I was already going to try my hand at baking the stuff before I found about the illness I figure I'll just double the recipe and drop by tomorrow morning and deliver some.

Time to go package things up in bubble wrap and cardboard and spread some fertilizer...

Y'all have a LOVELY day...If you will...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sunshine 1...Taxes 0

Summer-like Weather Has Me Mentally Paralyzed...

Well, I looked at my taxes for a minute this morning.

That is, if you can call walking past the stack of files sitting ominously on the Dining Room table as "looking at."

I had to move them out of my office last weekend because I kept piling other stuff up on top of them and sorting them around accidentally and then after losing one or two of them spending a half hour panicking.

I did manage to open up all eight of the giant pneumatic valves in the new batch and didn't find anything surprising, so I'm promising myself I'll buckle down and get four of them torn down, soaked in solvent, rinsed off, and put back together with new o-rings and seals and out of the building tomorrow, BUT...

right now it's time go sit on the deck in the sun with the Turbo Pup and smoke a cigar and yell at make faces at the guy with the leaf blower.

My Lawn As An Excuse?

Anything To Avoid Finishing My Taxes...

I have to finish three tax returns this week...two personal and one Business.

The company's return was pretty much done last month and just needs a final check, and Pat's is done and just needs a final check and signature...not including the small check we'll put in the mail to the IRS.

Mine, unfortunately, is about fifteen pages long and I don't like the answer I got as to the amount I owe--not enough for a penalty/interest situation-- but after doing some more reading I think that I've found some more stuff which with a little creative accounting...wink...wink...could lower the tax bill if I'll take the time to sort through the receipts and document it properly.

Did I mention how much I hate tax forms, tax form instructions, and the IRS in general? Just wait until they start coming to the hospital to check and make sure you have the right government mandated insurance.

Meanwhile, it's supposed to be near 80 degrees F here at the Turbo Pup Compound on the banks of the Mighty Tennessee River for the next three or four days, and with the recent rains and warmer weather my lawn, weeds and all, is growing like crazy.

In a fit of well intended lawn improvement shopping last weekend I bought fertilizer and a giant bag of grass seed to do some over seeding and try to crowd the wild onions and clover and Dandelions out of the way.

Our yard guys lawn maintenance technicians have promised to come by and assault my ears with a weed eater and blow grass clippings all over my cars and carport give everything a fresh going over and haul off another giant pile of tree limbs and shrubbery prunings which are green and/or I'm just too lazy to burn.

That's pretty dang lazy when a guy is too lazy to stand in his yard with a beer and watch a fire burn, isn't it?

Sorta like being too drunk to FISH, I guess...

So any way, I have to try to get the minimum done in the yard while at the same time getting the taxes out the door because I'm supposed to be out of town visiting a client next week and I don't want to make taxes a last minute fire drill this year.

If I start now doing the final filings certainly in 15 days I can get things out the door and into the mailbox.

OK...maybe not...because I also have to rebuild 12 more pneumatic valves which will take a couple of days at least, depending on what I find when I get inside them.

It's nice being busy again and making more money than I spend every month after bumbling and stumbling around with sporadic Consulting Forensic Injuneering work every month or so.

But it's hard to teach an old dog old Pirate new tricks, so I guess I'll go lay back down and read the newspaper and take a nap...

Regards Y'all.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Capitolism With A Kapitol "K" Capitol "C"

The Ground's Shaking Under My Feet...

Man did I ever have a GREAT day on Monday.

The phone was ringing and I was wheeling and dealing and stuff went out the door at the end of the day with invoices attached.

Politicians just levy taxes when they need money, but I was doing what is historically known as conducting "Business."

Those that know me in real life know that I suffered a catastrophic business blow out in the late 1990's and pretty much mentally parked my ship in the harbor for a few years and elected to do nothing all day.

That is, if you don't count fishing or sitting in a bar bending my elbow or possibly eating and/or cooking.

I was burned out and angry that nine years of hard effort had been wiped out when a couple of my customers decided to go out of business and in the process take me with them by not paying their bills.

For most of the subsequent ten years I pretty much swore out loud that there was no amount of money or circumstance that would cause me to ever again be responsible for turning off and on the lights and handling payroll and shipping and receiving for anything with my name on it.

If you've read this blog for a while, you'll remember that from time to time I did, like this guy...

...consider a number of other employment opportunities including newspaper writer (I actually had an interview), line chef in a four star restaurant (interviewed for that too), and then like Jethro the Brain Surgeon and Fry Cook opportunities which never came along for some reason.

Then slowly but surely things changed in the last year or so, and the old fires re-ignited, and through a convoluted series of events and circumstances today finds me again living life as President of a Corporation--currently with only two employees--but looking at what I believe could be a pretty interesting future here as we go into the second quarter of 2010 at the Turbo Pup Compound on the Banks of the Mighty Tennessee River.

If the damn Democrats and the "across the isle reaching" Republicans would get out of the way and stop stimulating themselves and their constituents with other people's money I believe that the business world could actually develop a good head of steam and put some people back to work in spite of their idiotic efforts in the next year.

My new little company has already "injected" over ten thousand dollars back into the economy, not to mention me and my associate spending almost 1000 hours into the development and production of new custom products and most recently in a totally new rebuild process for a component used on a bunch of multi-million dollar machines both here in the US and in Europe and Asia...something which could be our ticket to not only our survival as a company but some amazing success in the near term.

With the latest PLC panel in route to our New England client and now weekly shipments of rebuilt valves into and out of our impromptu basement "loading dock," and with finally receiving payments and having an at least break even funding situation we're poised to launch into a limited national marketing effort for our products and services.

Of course I, being a professional pirate and beach bum and blogger, still intend to keep a generous portion of my calendar open to the prospect of doing absolutely nothing all day, but when the opportunity presents itself and I feel like getting off my butt and making someone want to give me their money to do something productive, I'll certainly read the fine print and further entertain their offer.

The main thing I've learned a couple of times (which means I didn't really learn it the first time,) is that you have to have enough spare time in life to enjoy the money you're making when you time is not "spare." If you can never leave the office you tend to burn out and burn up your brain and then things get ugly...

I reference 1998 and 1999 in my life as an example.

Maturity and discipline are one thing, but being a slave driver to anyone including myself has long ago been crossed off of my To-Do list.

I'm truly blessed to still be here physically and mentally after the crap I've been through in the past 50 years, and as we go into this Easter week I can't help but want to thank my family and friends for their endurance of my weaknesses and their support in my efforts, and of course the Man upstairs and his Son Jesus Christ who gave all of us our frailties and delivered us from same.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Late Night TV Shopping

I'm Retiring From Working And Blogging Once UPS Gets Here...

I'm excited to report that I made the first of three "three easy payments" tonight...on four different products...for somewhere between $19.99 and $39.99 each.

First I got myself into "Winning in the Cashflow Business" and I'm sitting here on the phone waiting for all of the people out there holding all the underutilized "cash flow notes" to give me a ring.

I'm also busy planning on spending most of this week standing by the mailbox when the phone is not ringing waiting for my checks to arrive.

Then, in anticipation of collecting my first half million dollars in cold hard cash, I bought myself a membership in two hair replacement systems, ordered my free samples of Extenz, and in a last minute fit of vanity I bought the Luminess Air "airbrush" makeup system to make my buttocks and nose look good after I move down to the nudist colony sporting a six foot long penis.

(I'm also seriously thinking of Botoxing my Buttocks...but I have to wait for the "cash flow system" money to come in first)

Is there anyone out there but me that doesn't understand why almost everything sold on TV after about 3 or 4 AM is called a "system?"

There must be some kind of state or federal law or something...or maybe the United Nations has a rule that stupid people only have their money legally stolen from them over the airwaves in return for buying something with the word "System" in the name.

Let me know if you find out because it worries me a great deal, but meanwhile I've got to go now and place an order for "Your Baby Can Read" because I anticipate needing that "system" shortly after the ladies get a look at my new airbrushed, hair covered head and erection lasting longer than four hours.

(Just in case you mis-understand, this late night TV marketing crap makes me crazy when I see it for five seconds let alone five minutes, and I think Comcast should just show me this...

instead of making me endure flipping past the insanity on over half of the channels I'm paying for. Just like junk mail, I think 99.99% of it deserves to go in the garbage unopened.)

While I'm at it, the same goes for Home Shopping Networks.

Dang I'm cranky...time for a nap I guess...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Brunch, Anyone? this...

I'm still feeling a little lethargic today--mentally and physically.

Our brunch on this rainy, lazy morning here on the Banks of the Mighty Tennessee River consisted of scratch made Crepes I tossed together in an unexpected fit of cooking energy.

I make a really good crepe after about a decade of's not hard really.

Two kinds of crepes actually, and in support of my efforts I have a giant electric griddle which allows me to cook three or four crepes at one time in just a couple of minutes. If I'm cooking for a larger group it even has a warming tray underneath which keeps things ready to go while you produce even a dozen thin little pancakes.

Now I figure that a lot of people are saying to themselves..."Of all things...Virgil..."




I know...I Know...I KNOW...

You're thinking, like I used to, that somewhere out there it is implyed that "Real Men" don't eat Crepes.


You're right, I've heard that too...BUT...

No matter, my answer to that comment is to quote the words of comic Steve Martin...

"Well excuuuuuusssssss Me..."

And all that said, I'm here to tell you that this former "real man" which is today either "less real" or "more real"... depending on your perspective...not only enjoys EATing Crepes, but I have more than a couple of pretty good ideas about the how's and when's and why's gained from my personal experience with cooking Crepes.

For instance, here's what happened at the Turbo Pup Compound this morning.

First of all the crepe batter is easy...I use this when cooking breakfast for two:

1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
dash of salt
teaspoon sugar
1 cup milk
(dash of vanilla if you want and are only using sweet fillings/toppings)

Basically you put all of the dry ingredients into a bowl, add the wet ingredients, and then whisk or beat the mixture together until smooth...I use a hand mixer with a whisk attachment.

For smooth uniform crepes you need to make up your batter mixture and then let it rest in the refrigerator for a half hour or so to allow the air bubbles to come out so you get a good consistency with your cooked crepes.

Then the filling can be almost anything you want, but I usually make mine from a combination of ham and asparagus with slices of cream cheese, then I make up some Knorr Holandaise sauce and toss it on top on the plate after baking the finished crepes for 20 minutes or so in the oven .

Google the details because it's easy and everybody does it basically the same.

Then the other thing which goes good for breakfast is to make some sort of sweet crepe to go with your savory crepes.

Again, using the basic crepe as a wrapper around some slices of cream cheese, this morning I put together a mixture of sliced fresh strawberries and canned pineapple. You dump the pineapple juice into a skillet with the berries and pineapple chunks, saute everything for a few minutes with a quarter stick of butter (and I'm sorry...some BACON grease...don't tell my cardiologist...), then add a tablespoon of sugar, a tablespoon of honey, and a teaspoon of good Balsamic Vinegar to the mixture and cook it down until it thickens like you like it.

Pull the hot baked crepe/cream cheese roll out of the oven and spoon your fruit topping up on top, shake a little powdered sugar over everything if you want, and EAT.

I felt like I'd been somewhere for breakfast when it was all said and done, except there was a sink load of dishes somebody had to do.

Time to start thinking about cooking my soon to be famous "Rustic Greek Pasta" for dinner now...

Feel free to stop by about 7 PM if you happen to be in the neighborhood.

Mental Day Off

Excelling At Doing Not Much Of Anything...

Just in case you didn't notice, I'm pretty sure that I didn't write two dozen words yesterday.

I hardly read any (words) yesterday either, unless you count things like "Stop" and "Go", and "Men's" and Women's" and stuff like that. Single words...or just a few words standing alone all by themselves..phrases shorter than the 26 letters of the alphabet.

(trivial factoid of the name has 26 letters and or spaces in it if you count the comma before III, thereby making it virtually impossible to fill in the blanks on most government forms when they demand that they tell you your "full name.")

Wait a minute...I did go shopping Saturday and had to go through the checkout at the dry cleaners and Home Depot and Kroger and also signed a couple of receipts for lunch and dinner along the way.

Any hoooo....The most significant thing I've learned through the years in "attempting" to develop some skills as a writer is that when it comes to "creative" writing, you can't force it.

Wait...OK...let me modify that theory while the ink is still wet.

You CAN force it, but the results most of the time will allow the stress and strain found in the process to slowly, insidiously ooze out onto your paper or computer screen, and your reader will detect the mental conflict and/or the lack of any real underlying substance in the manuscript and reject it out of hand go find something better to do with their time.

Here in the blog universe, I say that you can see that there's a lot of that (people writing with nothing to write about) going on at any given time, and it's even worse on places like Twitter and Facebook.

I don't consider writing the words "Getting dressed and going outside" or "believe I'll change my underwear and put on clean socks" worth blogging about, but you'll find stuff like that written all the time on Facebook.

And see how I was able to issue both statements here and get away with writing them because I have a larger point to make other than just blithering about freshly laundered underwear and socks?

It's all in the context of the discussion I guess, and making subjects like personal hygiene interesting to total strangers is an art form which escapes most everyone but Martha Stewart or your mother (or possibly your personal physician.)

And now I've attempted it ("it" being trying to make underwear and socks interesting.)

Hah...I got I've got to stop fooling around on the computer, since I really have nothing to say, and go put on clean socks and underwear and get into the shop and get some work done.

Talk to y'all later...hopefully...