Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's Muffaletta Time!

Please Pass The Olive Salad...

I've been screwing around working my way back through my giant stack of recipes--original and printed from the Internet--which currently occupy two FOUR INCH thick three ring binders in my office.

One binder is sort of organized by both style and/or meat base, and the other is punched and bound but is wildly out of order still.

I actually want to double or triple cross reference the recipes by the categories of country of national origin i.e. Moroccan or German or Greek, then by food style like Soup or Salad or Appetizer or Main Course or Desert, and finally by the basic ingredients i.e. chicken or Beef or Pork or Seafood, etc.

There's a really good cookbook buried in there I was going to call "The Redneck Gourmet" and I actually got positive feedback from a publisher in Chattanooga about Six years ago...but they said I needed to do some more editing and add some killer professional photos of my food in order for them to consider publishing at their expense.

Of course with my crazy life and wild eyed lack of focus the project fell on the back burner and the website has basically been ignored since then and other than gaining about 25 pounds cooking for myself and Pat and the Turbo Pup the cookbook has been relegated to "the back burner" so to speak.

Every now and again I get all crazy and have a "do you remember when I made blaa blaa blaa __________ (insert any one of the dozens of dishes I've mastered here)" and this past week it's been the Italian/New Orleans classic deli sandwich Muffaletta.

Needless to say I started wanting one for dinner tonight but didn't get home in time to put everything together, so now in between fiddling around testing some new PLC software I'm making up a giant batch of Olive Salad to marinade overnight so we can have Muffaletta for dinner Sunday Night.

I hear my olive salad calling...Regards Y'All...

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm Getting A Little Loopie here Boss...

Telephone & E-Mail Induced Insanity...

I swear that somewhere this week in some as yet-undisclosed location a bunch of people that either owe me money or should have been doing stuff I've asked them to do or that I've been trying to sell new things to had a meeting and when it was all over with they decided to call me on June 16th.

Seriously, my telephone(s)--Cell and VoIP--rang more yesterday (and possibly the day before) than they have in total in the past MONTH.

Everyone and Anyone wants me to talk to them.

And many of them need me to just do thus and such and so and so so that they can do whatever.

And I'm apparently on the critical path of every SINGLE ENDEAVOR after sitting around here for much of the past month picking my nose and hummimg under my breath while screwing around waiting for people to call and answer a stream of e-mails I've been sending out to prod things along and prevent a couple of fire drills from developing.


Now almost everyone is real interested in the things I've been worrying about--SOLO i.e. ALONE all by my Lonesome--and it's up to me to now jump through a sequence of "flaming hoops" to meet the newly imposed deadlines.

So now you will have to excuse me while I dunk my head and possibly some other body parts in some buckets of ice water and make a plan covering how I'm going to do everything which now needs to be done in the next two weeks on the Calendar.

Someone send up a flare if you don't hear back from me by next Tuesday...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm "Anemometerless"?

Suffering From Weather Forecasting Withdrawal Syndrome...

My regular readers probably remember that seven weeks ago today the Turbo Pup Compound was bombarded with not one but two massive hail storms which came through within a couple of hours of each other. (We had another exciting afternoon today with severe storms all around us and a couple more inches of rain coming down.)

Besides beating most of the little "gravelly thingies" off of the shingles on my roof, the earlier hail also made mince meat out of my freshly planted garden and destroyed a bird feeder and finally...


Seriously, it broke two of the three little "wind cups" off of the body of the weather vane telling me the wind speed and direction.  Since that day I've been blind to what the wind is doing unless I actually walk outside and stick a moistened finger into the air stream.

So any way, I went to the trouble doing the original installation to design and build a 20' tall mast for the weather station components including a relative humidity sensor, a digital thermometer, and a self clearing rain gauge module, and although the rest of the system still works I don't want to abandon the wind speed measurement capability because that singular function is probably the most interesting thing it tells me unless we get 4 inches of rain in 15 minutes some day.

For some weird reason the manufacturer sells all of the replacement components...EXCEPT the anemometer... so I guess that later this summer I'm going to be forced to buy another entire system from them to replace the Hail damaged component.

If I hold out and play my cards right I have a birthday coming up in September--Pat gave me the existing system as a present for Christmas a few years ago--and now I have my eye on a similar upgraded compatible system by the same manufacturer which will work in parallel with the existing components and will allow me to connect the incoming data stream to one of my spare laptop computers.

Before you know it I wouldn't be surprised if representatives of NASA and NOAA could be stopping by my house and Jim Cantori with the Weather Channel would come calling to get free copies of my local weather data base and interview me on "Storm Stories" some evening.

Until then, I have to go now and continue my shopping and weather metrics system design efforts...Y'all have a LOVELY day now...If you will...

Seasonal Synapse Based Funk

Having A Hard Time Mentally These Days...

There's a crap load of stuff out there in my life that needs tending to right now, but circumstances are keeping me sequestered here in Eastern Tennessee for the moment while a good deal of the things needing doing are situated elsewhere on the planet.

For instance, my Mom's having minor surgery later today and I'm not able to make a trip to Lower Alabama to supervise and lend moral support, and there's other things which could probably benefit from my attention but the realities of cost and geographic location prevent me from doing anything but extending my good wishes long distance.

I hate to admit that I find it difficult bearing the responsibility of being the second oldest male on my Father's side of the Family Tree these days. 

It's hard to just sit by and watch people doing stuff by themselves when my Father or Grandfather or Uncle would normally rush to the scene and take charge of the proceedings.

I guess that at least it doesn't reflect entirely negatively on me that I don't at least consider my situation, but my ability to respond in a positive manner over the past few years is a bit depressing.

I think I smell my pasta sauce burning, so I have to go now and feed my face.

Regards Y'all...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

1000 Days

Get Ready If You Live On The Atlantic Or Gulf Coast...

So I'm sitting here this morning trying to finish up some technical crap with one hand and eyeball while watching my live streaming cable TV feed on my computer with my other eye--this time tuned to the NBC owned hysterical "Weather Channel"--and I noticed that they mentioned that it has been over 1000 days since we had a land falling Hurricane here in the US.

Pretty cool...Huh?

Almost three whole years without a hurricane on shore in the good old US of A.

Not unprecedented...but still...

And of course the sniveling, booger eating, tree hugging, Kumbaya singing, tye died Global Warming idiots absolutely hate this kind of weather pattern because it does not fit the template which they are trying to use to force our government to pass legislation taking more of our money and giving it to the United Nations and other ill conceived causes working against "climate change."

...and Further...if it wasn't for the current real estate bust... would also be three years where people would have been flocking to the shores between Dolphin Island, Alabama and Apalachicola, Florida and on around through Cedar Key...down past Sannibell and Captiva and Port Charlotte and Boca Grande and Key West and then north toward the Outer banks of North Carolina buying houses and condos laying within a few hundred yards of the high tide line.


I guarandamntee you that this season--sometime most likely out there in late July or August and most definitely in September--Mother Nature will likely deliver to the wild eyed "Owl Gore Man Made Global Warming Alarmists" some ample News fodder so they can stand around in front of TV cameras and microphones blubbering stuff like this...

"we was totally surprised that that there ocean jumped up and flooded out our trailer while the wind blew down our satellite dish and took the roof off of grandma's double wide next door..."

I say that the past three years are just normal years on the calendar, just like the years in the mid late 1990's with Hurricane Opal and the mid 2000's with Katrina were also normal years with "above average" tropical activity.

Hear me now and Understand me later if you must...

Heat energy will constantly and endlessly re-distribute itself in our atmosphere...whether it is local phenomena like Thunderstorms/Hail/tornadoes or Tropical Depressions/Storms/Hurricanes.

And if you want to stay away from all of that kind of crap...MOVE TO ALASKA AND RISK FREEZING TO DEATH.

Otherwise, shut the heck up and deal with the prospects.

And now if you will excuse me I have to go now and continue planning my Hurricane Tour 2011 beach trip...

Regards Y'all...

Monday, June 13, 2011

"Pizza Eureka!"

Another "Small Step Giant Leap For Mankind" Made In My Humble Kitchen...

As I've written many times before here on this blog and over on my much neglected cooking blog, The Redneck Gourmet, I spend a good deal of time attempting to master the art of cooking Pizza in a home oven.

It's been slow progress over the past ten years.

First there were the issues of the design and consistency of the dough.

Then later I moved off of a metal Pizza Pan in favor of a Pizza stone--today owning two very well seasoned stones.

And then toppings and sauce and so on have been areas of interest through the ages of experimentation, and now with my efforts approaching something in the numbers...a guestimate of around 400 to 500 crusts later...the actual progress has slowed to a snails pace.

That said, that doesn't mean things are bad around here on Pizza night in my household, because the actual QUALITY of my home made Pizzas--dough/crust and sauce--I'd put up against almost any Pizzaria found anywhere in the country.

I guarandamntee you that 9 out of 10 of my Pizza efforts yield a Pizza Pie better than anything made by Pizza Hut and Dominoes and Pappa Johns and most of the local pizza houses in your area...


when it comes to really thin crust Pizza in general and when the restaurant kitchen is running a real wood fired pizza oven.

You see, by cooking a pizza in a real pizza oven they are able to attain temperatures between 700 and 800 degrees Fahrenheit, while in my home oven I'm only able to get up to between 500 and 550 degrees F, and that temperature limitation makes all of the difference in the world when it comes to getting the right "crispy crunch" on Pizza Crust.

So any way, I cooked a standard crust Pizza last Thursday Night, and as usual we had a little less than half of it left over.

Then Sunday night I was going to re-heat the left over which had been wrapped tightly in aluminum foil sitting in the fridge since, when I got a wild hair and decided to make a quick test Pizza with a rapid dough rise and attempt another thin crust experiment.

I normally let my dough proof for over two hours including a small batch pre-rise starter ( see my recipe here ), but on this effort I just tossed the yeast into some warm water, let it foam up, then mixed it all together with the salt and white pepper and the rest of the flour and stepped back from the process while "nature took its course."

In the mean time I was Googling around for some ideas on getting my Pizza stone pre-heated in the oven at 550 degrees F while being able to roll out the dough and put the pizza together on another stone or pan, then somehow sliding the finished pizza off onto the hot stone in the oven...without using a Pizza Peal. (I'm buying a wooden Pizza Peal--or paddle--as we speak.)

In the process I tripped over this couples' web site called "" where they told me something I had never thought of in cooking Pizza.


I knew that bakers used parchment paper in spring form pans and on cookie sheets to keep things from sticking while cooking in the oven, but I never thought about the idea of using the stuff under a pizza crust before.

So any way, I finished up my pizza with a quick hour rise, tossed and wrestled the dough around and rolled it out real thin, then I built the pizza on a stone on top of a wide sheet of parchment paper cut to size while my other stone sat in the oven at 550 degrees F getting smoking hot.

Then with Pat's assistance I picked up the Pizza stone with the raw pizza on top and moved it over to the smoking hot stone sitting on the bottom rack of the oven and grabbed the edges of the parchment paper and the Pizza slid right off into place on the hot stone.

Then you know what we had only TEN MINUTES LATER?

The BEST DANG CRISPY THIN CRUST PIZZA that's ever come out of my kitchen.


I'm tempted to cook Pizza every day for the next month...but I can't...

...because I ran out of yeast in that effort (I usually only buy three to six packs at a time to keep them fresh.)

So later tomorrow I'm heading back to the grocery store for more yeast and possibly some different flour.

Rumor has it that the King Arthur Blue Bread Flour like I'm using for my thick crust is inferior to plain King Arthur Red Multipurpose Flour for thin Pizza crust because of the differences in gluten content and the amount of moisture it will hold...but that detail is beyond the scope of this discussion and you need to catch up with me if you want to start arguing things like Gluten while making Pizza.

Regardless, I really think that I'm on to something here with the Parchment paper idea supporting a good thin crust pizza in a 550 degree F oven.  Now I have to cook it another half dozen times in the name of science to prove my theory.

Feel free to stop by about 7 PM tomorrow night for a sample...and so much for losing weight this summer I guess, you know?

The Wussification Of America--Part Deaux

They've Even Screwed Up The Soapbox Derby Races?

Have I ever mentioned that way back in the summer of 1968 I gained my first and only experience as a winning race car driver?

That's true.

That year I won 3rd place in the local Soapbox Derby Races conducted by our Cub Scout troop down in Ozark, Alabama.

Two of my idols at that time were Richard Petty who had won the 1967 "Grand National" (later called the Winston Cup and now called the Sprint Cup) and Mario Andrette who won the Indianapolis 500 race the following year.

And in between wanting to be a brain surgeon, a fry cook, and a rocket scientist astronaut, with the Soapbox Derby it was a good deal easier to design and build a race car powered by something free--GRAVITY--and our town had such an event annually.

All you had to do was pay your entry fee which included the two "regulation" round steel axles and four "official approved" spoked rubber tires, and EVERYTHING ELSE WAS UP TO YOU (AND YOUR DAD.)

So we paid our fee and dragged the tires and axles home.

Then Dad got out his ruler and pencil and we measured my butt and my head and my legs and my arms and the design for a custom car took shape on paper.

Then after a trip to the local hardware store/lumber yard (there was no Home Depot or even Ace hardware back then in Lower Alabama) we came home with a couple of sheets of plywood, some 2x4's and screws and nails and commandeered the garage.

Our new 1968 Chevy Nomad Station Wagon was relegated to the driveway while we made sawdust and epoxy resin fumes inside, and a couple of weeks later we rolled out our "Richard Petty Blue" colored Race Car.

It had real "STP Oil Treatment" decals and my custom stenciled number (I think that it was #2) on the tail fin. (Yes my car had a tail fin in addition to a real hand laid fiberglass hood and nose cone.)

The details are a little fuzzy since all of this happened 43 years ago now, but on a Saturday morning we loaded my car and my other racing stuff (tools and "3 in 1 oil" and powdered graphite "lubricant") and headed over to the entry street of my school--the "recently constructed Harry N. Mixon Elementary."

There were twenty or twenty five other entrants that year, and after much "heeing and hawing" and final fine tuning of the racing machines and other mandatory "pomp and circumstance" the racing two car heats based on a random drawing of positions, and when it was all said and done...

four or five races later I was the driver in the third place car.

The guy that beat neighbor little George Dennis who was a year younger and 25 pounds lighter, won first place so I can't complain.

I have to admit that I took more pride in the effort, accomplishments, and achievement associated with that event--THE SOAPBOX DERBY--for YEARS afterwards than I have in many...MANY...many more profitable things I've done later in life.

Fast forward today...


The freaking snivelling, booger eating, tie died, patchouli stinking politically correct Liberals have totally screwed up the Soapbox Derby just like NASCAR has converted their races into generic events featuring cars which all look alike except under the hood and in regard to their paint colors.

First back in the 1980's they demanded that the girls get to race.


If they can win bring them on.

Look at the Indy 500 and NASCAR today...and look at the success of women and "minorities" given an equal playing field and the realities of actually having to hold on to the steering wheel going 200 MPH for three or four hours.


And now apparently this politically correct "societal engineering experiment" has been extended to the Soapbox Derby.

I was asleep at the Helm and not paying attention, but I am incensed at the prospects...

Now apparently they have decided that it is unfair that I had an aptitude at age 8 to scratch build model airplanes which fly and had a Army Test Pilot Father that could help me design and build a car to fit my body that could be competitive.

Nooo0000...'taint fair because so many of today's "chirrun" in today's world don't have fathers at home and their mother's and their mothers' "significant others" aren't injuneers...


So you know what the "All American Soapbox Derby" demands today?

You can't get out your pencil.

You can't get out your tape measure.

You can't get out your paper and calculator.

NoooooOOOOOOOO Sireeee.

You can't design and build your own car with hand stenciled letters and tail fins and custom hand laid fiberglass hoods and nose cones.



To the tune of between $500 and $650 delivered.

You can't even paint the basic have to buy it pre colored...other children might feel inferior if you show up with a custom "Richard Petty Blue" paint job with air brushed and pin stripped flames.

And even on the fancier kit there are a crap load of rules and regulations.

And in the instruction they say you can build the basic kit in 4 to 6 hours.

The fancy kit?

A little more time but still...we spent a couple of WEEKs designing and building our car's (there was actually a second car the next year that only placed fifth--out of the trophy standings)

Sorry Ladies and Gentlemen, but I think that they've organized and legislated the original concepts and intentions out of this process just like all the Liberal "do-gooders" do with everything else they get their stinking hands on the past quarter/half century.

What happened to the ideas of originality and innovation and competition?

It's not about people's FEELINGS...PARENTS OR Child's.
It's about the realities of competition and winning, in my considered Redneck opinion.

No wonder so many of today's kids not only can't read and write and do basic math...

...but they also don't understand how to really be creative and make something better that is worth getting paid to construct. 

Just showing up at work is only a quarter of the have to actually PRODUCE SOMETHING which is worth more to your company than they pay you in order to justfy keeping you employed.

So many people...especially UNION morons and Government Employees...don't understand that fundamental concept.
I swear Ladies and Gentlemen...we get exactly what we ask for these days when we ask for it.

We're currently raising by and large a generation of mindless, limp wristed, pansy assed government educated IDIOTS unable to think and fend for themselves because of things like this...letting the rules cause shear luck to determine the outcome of what should be a technical endeavor.

This is exactly why as of this summer with the final Shuttle launch the US will be unable to launch a Human Being into Space...and it's just a crying freaking shame.

I'm sorry, but I have to go now before my head explodes...