Monday, May 26, 2008

Pretzel twists?

I was eating some Rold Gold Honey Wheat pretzel twists this afternoon (interesting review here; that might be an interesting site for future reference - I didn't even know there was a "snack review web site" - but given my own blog, I shouldn't be so surprised, eh?), and I noticed something: the twists are twisted wrong. That is, take a look at the picture to the right: the twists are not all the same direction! The two twists on the left are clockwise (left-hand threaded) around the pretzel (top to bottom, "top" being at the index-finger/thumb side of my hand), but the one on the right is counter-clockwise (right-hand threaded) top to bottom. Now, you might say, "Who cares? Shut up, you silly person! Quit thinking about these meaningless things!" And you'd probably be right. But my question is regarding economics: why go to the expense of creating the pretzel twists in two directions? I mean, wouldn't that require a completely separate, second setup for creating the twists? I can't think of any way to "accidentally" get a different twist direction. And besides, there are significant amounts of each twist type; when I first noticed this, I found about 2-1 ratio of clockwise to counter-clockwise twists. My point, really, is this: it doesn't really matter to the eater of the pretzel - the taste is the same regardless of the twist direction - so why go to the expense (which presumably would be transferred to us, the consumer) of making a second twist direction? Is there some benefit that I don't realize? Does the pretzel twisting machine have multiple twisters, and having them twist opposite directions nullifies any potential vibration issues and allows them to run at a higher speed without the need for counter-rotating balance shafts (like are commonly found in inline four cylinder engines to promote smoothness and cancel vibration)? How fast do pretzel twisters twist pretzels anyway? Are pretzels and cookies related? Why don't we have chocolate-chip twists? Would the chocolate chips still be molten and gum up (or "chocolate up") the works? Are licorice twists twisted in both directions? Are they made using the same twisting technology as pretzel twists? Why don't they sell Marathon Bars anymore (I loved those, but didn't marry one, of course)? Are Curly Wurly (which I found while looking up a link for the Marathon Bard) as good, and do their "Ice Brix" shipping really keep the candy from melting in transit?

All these questions, all from eating pretzel twists. Oh, yeah, and they're pretty good.

I wonder, though... kids don't (typically) like vegetables. My youngest son, for instance, said, "I don't like this white thing" (referring to cauliflower on his plate) this evening at dinner. I wonder... chocolate covered cauliflower. Wouldn't that be a good idea? Chocolate coated veggies, or hard candy shell coated veggies... what a great idea for getting kids to eat their healthy foods! Disguise them as candy! Here's a sample menu:
  • Jello-looking tomato or chicken soup
  • Chocolate covered mixed veggies
  • Hard-candy-coated kernel corn
  • Mashed potatoes could be colored (for fun) or made to look like vanilla ice cream
  • Fillets (could be meat, fowl, or fish) coated with a thin layer of fruit-snack (you know, similar to Fruit Roll-Ups)
Oh well... maybe not. If you care, I've turned myself into an angry, purple M&M with a mohawk and bunny slippers (if you want to be an M&M yourself, go here - but note that you'll want to turn off your pop-up blocker or pop-up blocking settings in your browser before selecting "download" - or you'll have to wait for it to process twice before you can save your M&M picture). Note the cell phone in my hand: I think that I must have attempted to check my GMail on my phone and found it wasn't working again, and that's why I'm frustrated and angry. So, if anyone wants to contribute a Sony Xperia X1 to alleviate my anger, I'd be happy to accept. (Actually, I'm not particularly angry at the moment, other perhaps than the fact that both my DVD player and my PS2 don't seem to want to play the movie we rented from Blockbuster; I am happy that American Gladiators is back on again... what a great show!)

OK, later, all...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Geocaching Post #3

Well, guess what this post is about?

Ninfa ("the queen") and I ("Kingdad") went geocaching today. Found four altogether, so I'm only another four away from reaching a milestone (maybe "centistone"): 100 caches found! My current tally is 96 (just in case you missed the "four away" reference). We found a couple of urban type micros (ok, one was suburban), and the other two were a nice hike up a portion of Wade Mountain. So, yeah, now we're tired (and no stump pulling involved).

Now I'm trying to sit & relax & watch "Hot Rod" - a nice, wholesome family movie (ok, not really, but it's funny!). Unfortunately, my DVD player isn't working properly, freezing & skipping a lot. Stupid DVD player. Maybe it's time to cough up the $30 for a new one at Wal-Mart or Target. Of course, that would be a really cheap one, and it would probably not last very long either.

Anyway, the frozen pizza is ready... Red Barron Garlic Crust Pepperoni Pizza - it's a really good frozen pizza (well, not so good frozen, I would expect - I've never tried it that way - but it's really good once you've heated it up in the oven!). Go enjoy one yourself!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Still stumped...

Yep, remember those trees I cut down a while back? The one where we left the stump - the stump is still there (there it is, over in the picture to the left, gloating, taunting me with its stumpiness: "nyah-nyah, you can't get me out of the ground!" Well, we'll see about that, mr. evil stump!). Worked on it a while this afternoon; got some more roots up. (There are still some connected to the stump.) Oh, and that fence back there - that's the one under which my middle son (third child) ran our go-cart...

Anyway, I was thinking about living back in colonial and/or explorative times, and how I'm glad I didn't live back then because I just can't hack (sorry, no pun intended) all this physical labor. Then again, if I did live back then, I'd probably be in better physical shape and it wouldn't be such a big deal. But could you imagine having to clear all your land for your home site and/or farm back when Alabama was primarily forest? I mean, think about when you drive along the interstate, and you see all that thick, dense forest... imagine trying to clear out a home site from that using nothing but axes, saws, and your own two hands! And then cutting up the wood to make your log cabin house... wow. Now those guys were real men! (If you don't live in a place where there's lots of forest, you'll have to do your own imagining... consider, for instance, some of the forest you can see in this Google map view.)

Sometimes, when I hear kids complaining about school, I'll try to give them this perspective. I figure, ok, they get up around 6, have to be at school between 7:30 and 8:00, leave around 3:00, and then have most of the rest of the day to play (yeah, there's homework, I know). Contrast this to the life of a farm child back in the 1800s (my view of it):
  • get up around 4 am
  • go do the "early" chores: feeding the chickens, bringing in the firewood, stoking the fire for the cooking, etc.
  • eat breakfast
  • go do the morning chores: milking, feeding animals, etc.
  • bring in more firewood for making lunch
  • eat lunch
  • go do the afternoon chores: weeding, harvesting, feeding the animals (again), etc.
  • somewhere in there, try to get some schooling done
  • bring in more firewood for making dinner
  • eat dinner
  • go do the evening chores: whatever I've not already mentioned, probably cutting some wood for the next day's cooking, etc.
  • get to bed around 10 pm
  • get up at 4 am, repeat
  • do this every day, not just 5 days/week, including on Sunday, when you do get to take a break to clean up and go to church (if there's one within walking/riding distance)
  • do this until you're 16 (not 18, or 22 if you plan to go to college), then get married, find your own plot of land, clear it off, build a house, and do this whole thing and then some (since you're now responsible for the whole thing, not just helping), feeding and taking care of your wife and 13 kids...
Usually they decide that school's not so bad: 8-3 five days/week until you're 18, then continue into college, or find an 8-5 job somewhere.

You know, I'm a bit sore. I realized that when I got up to greet my wife. I think, when I finally get that stump out of the ground, I'm going to do a dance of joy around it, whooping and hollering like a crazy person, then probably burn it in some sort of a ritual of victory over the stump. Or something like that.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Things heard in the family car

We were on our way somewhere, and our youngest said, "Mom, Ronnie's being disgusting!"

Mom then called out, "Well get in the turn lane, then!"

She was, of course, talking to the vehicle in front of her, which had failed to get into the turning lane before us, and was now frantically blinking its blinker in an effort to rectify its mistake.

My less-than-loving comment would probably have been something more like, "Well come on over, idiot, if you're coming!" I know, I need to read Matthew 5:21-22 again. I'm working on that. :)

PS - I'm still "feelin' buggy"...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Feelin' buggy...

Besides paranoia, anyone know what "feeling like I have bugs crawling on me" is a symptom of? I mean, anyone know of what "feeling like I have bugs crawling on me" is a symptom? (Didn't want to end my sentence - although it was a question - in a preposition.) Oh, and also besides, "Means you have bugs on you." I'm thinking possible medical issues.

I also need to check into why my label cloud (that little thing over on the right with all the labels of my posts) isn't working.

Oh, and check out the latest at Not-tional Geographic... I think you'll enjoy it. Of course, it is another interruption of the "colonize the solar system" series, but that one will resume soon.

Sorry for the lack of posts over the last week... been busy, then I took off over the weekend to celebrate my anniversary (which, coincidentally, was also my wife's! But I must pass credit for this thought - "my anniversary falls on the same date as my wife's" - to Dean... who beat me to 17 anniversaries by only a few weeks).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Geocaching post #2

Been a while... sorry about that, got busy. If you liked the last post on global warming, be sure to check out Not-tional Geographic (there'll be a new GW-related post soon - like, when I finish this one). Anyway, we went geocaching again this weekend, and I suppose, since I have "geocaching" listed as an interest, I should post about that every now and then.

Saturday we (75% of my children and I) attended a "World Wide Flash Mob" - an event where a bunch of people suddenly arrive at a place, do something (typically something a bit out of the ordinary), and then quickly leave. We were at the one indicated at the link above (although we were a few minutes late arriving), and there were simultaneous WWFMs all over the globe. Pretty neat idea. Wish I'd been on time.

Sunday we took mom out for a stroll on a nice, nearby greenway, and managed to find a fairly new cache while we were out (and not find one as well). Most of the ones on this greenway we've already found. It was a nice day, not too hot, but we did take a long walk (about 3.8 miles - a lot for a guy who mainly walks to & from the car!).

Ok, time to go do the other blog now (if I can fit it into also watching "Last of the Mohicans" - if not, look for it soon!).

UPDATE: new post on Not-tional Geographic... check it out!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Interesting Global Warming Info

I ran across this article discussing global average temperatures (note: it's a two-part article, so be sure to read both parts). The short of this guy's analysis of the available data:
  • The data doesn't necessarily support the typical "global warming" rates
  • Since 2001, we've been in a decreasing trend
  • Altogether, this means we're probably not going to be sustaining the rising temperature rates over the next few decades that anthropogenic global warming advocates tend to suggest
Link this back to the fact that we're on the ending-side of an ice age, thus temperatures would naturally tend to increase, and you can see that there's not a lot that we need to do. And check out the sunspots (or lack thereof) at the sun image over on SpaceWeather... and the seeming correlation between sun activity and earth's average temperature, which leads toward a lowering temperature (instead of rising temperature). Oh, and the NOAA says March in the US was 4 degrees below the 20th century mean - you'd think, if we were in the midst of rising temps, that we'd see the US (North American) temperatures rising, too. (Yes, they also indicate that, globally, temps were higher... but search "global average temperature" on Google and you'll see that "global average temperature" is a questionable entity anyway.)

Just some thoughts (based on statistical analysis of available temperature data and trends; well, that first part was, anyway). Do your research, make up your own mind, and know why you believe what you believe.

Oh, and by the way, this global warming stuff really doesn't matter, anyway... and I think my PS2 just broke (we use it to play DVDs since our DVD player won't usually, and now the PS2 doesn't seem to want to spin the disc... I may have to take it apart in a little while, but not tonight, since it's late, and my hands hurt from working on getting that stump out of the ground... and it's still in the ground at this point...).

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hard to type

I took down (and apart) another tree today (again, with an axe). This one was a hardwood, though, not a pine, and it was bigger around. Now my back hurts, my allergies are killing me, and (despite my wearing gloves) I have a blister on each hand that formed & ripped open, on my left hand palm between my ring & pinky fingers, and on my right palm near my thumb. Makes it hard to type... ouch.

Recalling my recent gardening post, and wondering whether it might not be easier to "garden" puppies, I thought I'd post a link to a website I ran across today: PETSorFOOD. Their ground chihuahua is on sale right now (especially for educational customers). They also have some "while they last" specials, including freshly clubbed and frozen baby seal meat (working with a Russian peltier), and if you hurry you can get one of their allotted 3 komodo dragons per year (of course, the cost on the komodo is a bit high: $100,099.99). They also have a special on hamsters, but you could probably raise those yourself (have I mentioned my idea for an environmentally friendly, ecologically sound lawn care service using a fleet of guinea pigs? I'll go back and check my posts later and, if I haven't, enlighten you in a future post).

You know, I wonder why people really have a problem with this kind of idea. I mean, we raise, slaughter, and eat cows, pigs, chickens, fish, shrimp, goats, etc. Why is it a problem to do the same with other critters? I mean, dogs & cats are overpopulating the world, mainly due to lack of predators since they are domesticated animals, so why not use them to help curb the hunger issues around the world? I'm sure that some hungry, homeless person somewhere wouldn't mind eating it. It's better than not eating, right?

Ah well, my hamburger's ready (yes, folks, it's only ground cow). Talk to you later!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Should I garden?

I've been wondering, with all the prices on everything going up, should my family start a garden? We could make it a Mexican-style garden, and grow things like tomatoes, jalapeƱos, refried beans, corn chips, etc. Those are all garden-growable things, right? I've never seen a corn-chip plant, but certainly that's from where corn chips are harvested.

I think, based on level and frequency of consumption, Mexican food must be my family's favorite type of food. We have just about spent our tax rebate on delicious Casa Blanca entrees. (Weird: a French-based word, "entree," used to describe a Mexican dish. Maybe I should use the term "entrada" - thanks to Alta Vista Babel Fish for the translation!) Actually, my favorite type of food is probably Asian, but often, at least in America, this is more expensive, and we're usually looking for a cheaper more inexpensive meal.

So, to garden, or not to garden? That is the question that haunts me. (For a few moments, anyway.) Actually, I'd probably spend a lot of time (and some money) on it and kill some very nice plants in the process. But it's a thought... one that haunts me (wait, I already mentioned that). Perhaps I should instead look for others' gardens, make friends with them, and if they won't be my friend or won't share, help them learn how to share (by taking some produce at opportune moments, such as 2 am). Kidding! I'd never do such a thing, so don't worry, that reader of mine who's already starting a garden. It's not me who's stealing your squash...

Actually, we briefly discussed the relative ease of raising puppies instead of gardening... they pretty much take care of themselves (well, momma-dog does for a while at first, of course). And they're definitely a renewable resource. Now, my daughter said she wouldn't eat such meat, and I said she might have already without knowing it, and she revised her statement to "I wouldn't knowingly eat it!" So there's the solution already: don't tell her the source of the meat. "Mom, this is really good, but I can't tell - is it beef or pork or chicken?" "If you don't ask, I won't tell."

In case you haven't heard, we have puppies (anybody want a puppy?). Six of them, courtesy of the stray my wife rescued from being harassed by kids in a nearby neighborhood (personally, I think the dog could have taken care of itself, but I'm not as nice as my lovely wife). Today someone recommended that we put them in the paper, "That's a good way to get rid of them quickly." Well, I don't know... seems like they would have to be put in the Sunday paper, because the regular papers aren't big enough, but they might suffocate in that plastic bag they put on the Sunday papers. And how do you figure out which 6 houses are deserving of having a puppy put in their Sunday paper? And how do you fit the little critters in there in the first place? Seems like a bit of hassle to me, but I guess she did it and it worked for her, so maybe I'll give it a shot.

Ah well, back to my aching. I mean, my back is aching. I cut down a tree today (with an axe), and then tried to move the thing. Drug it partway across the yard before hurting my back the first time, then wised up a bit and cut it in half. Picked up the big end, balanced it on my shoulder & worked my way up under it, then lifted it on my arms and carried it to the "big pile" by the street and threw it over the fence into the pile (that carry was where I hurt my back the second time). But I sure felt like a macho man while carrying that log! (Unfortunately, the next few days I'll feel like a mucho-mature [old] man as my back says, "That was a really, really stupid thing to do, you numskull!") Later, have to go get some Tylenol...