Archive for March, 2012


What a Joke -- no, No, NO!

I was going to tell you about “Dockside Classics” Premium CRAB CAKES”, and how great a disappointment they were, and how their packaging was misleading with fantastic images that were not representational of what the product REALLY looked like, and how, instead of lumps of crabmeat like the packaging indicated, the texture was more like ground up cornmeal pudding, and how — although the package said “Made with Real Crabmeat” — the second mystery ingredient was something called “Crab Surimi (?) that turned out to be nothing more than ground up “Alaskan Pollock and/or Whiting”, and how MSG and a host of other unpronounceable and undesirable ingredients were hidden in there, and how terrible “Dockside Classics” Premium CRAB CAKES tasted, but I won’t bother. Stick with SeaPak Crab Cakes!

Instead, I’m going to tell you about a stupid simple Spanish Rice recipe I came up with that tastes like a million bucks:

  • 1, 16-oz can chicken broth,
  • 1, 8-oz can of “RO*TEL ZESTY Tomato & Green Chili” (mild)
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 4-5 pieces cooked crispy bacon, chopped
  • 1-1/2 (+ 1 clenched handful) cups non-sticky converted rice

Combine everything in a microwavable bowl, cover with commercial grade plastic wrap, and nuke at 60% for about 22 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. If you happen to have a small tomato handy, chop it up and throw it in there.

Doesn’t get any better that that.

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Guy Laramee’s “Book Art” blows me away.

mountain ART books.

Once again, thank you, earthstonestation!


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Sometimes it’s difficult figuring out why we’re all here. I mean — no matter what ones’ beliefs — we’re born, we die, we live on forever or we don’t; we’re alone or we’re not; there’s a plan, or maybe not; order, chaos, the same (but different?) or — maybe not. No matter what, one thing’s for certain: we’re born, we die, we live on forever or we don’t; we’re alone or we’re not; there’s a plan or maybe not.

And, no matter what, we’re a part of it.

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(from a former life in Maryland)

Last week I decided to mow my lawn for the first time this year. Normally, this takes about ten minutes.

Let me digress.

Since I mowed hundreds and hundreds of lawns as a teenager, I now hate mowing lawns, especially my own. It’s that simple. So a couple of years ago I bought a very large, over-powered riding lawn tractor even though I have an incredibly small yard. Tim the Tool Man has nothing on me.

RARrfff! RARrfff! RARrfff!

It was with this 52-inch-wide cut lawn tractor in mind that I landscaped my lawn with gentle contours and vast areas of mulch suitable for a one shot (ten minute) lawn mowing operation. I installed a gimbal-mounted sailboat cup holder on the dashboard of the mower which allows me to sip a favorite brew while skimming very quickly across the terrified blades of grass. There’s only time to drink ONE of them. If you hurry.

The lawn tractor’s battery was dead, however. To be expected. I hooked up a charger and pulled a few weeds. Three hours later the mower cranked up smoothly. Then — ran out of gas.

The gas can was empty. When I returned from the gas station and filled the tank, I noticed the flat tire. I jacked up the mower and removed the flat tire, again visiting the same gas station, where I filled the tire to the optimal pressure…

At long last the lawn tractor was ready to tackle my yard. Thoughtfully, I decided to check the oil level, which was low. Very low. Like, as in empty, because I had drained the oil at the onset of winter. I remembered doing that. A third trip to the gas station to buy a couple quarts of oil. Finally — with a cold beer nestled in the sailboat cup holder — I plopped down in the captain-chair seat, adjusted my amber ski glasses just so, and attempted to start the engine.

The battery was dead all over again. The charger hadn’t helped. Screw that. This time, a trip to Sears, where I bought a new one.

It was almost dark when I finished mowing my ten minute lawn. But that’s okay. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have noticed the burned-out headlight. But that could wait until next week.

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Grocery lists only work when you remember to take them shopping with you. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. That’s why I’ve begun using “Super Sticky” Post-it pads. The glue is so strong that half a pad can be adhered directly to my refrigerator door, or any smooth surface. Stuck right next to my refrigerator door Post-it pad is a pencil clamped in one of those magnet clips. When my second-to-last box of pasta gets dumped into a pot of boiling water, right over to the fridge I march, and “spaghetti pasta” gets written down on the Post-it pad.

Form follows function. Poetry in motion.

When I go shopping, all I have to do is peel off the top sheet before heading off to the store. As a matter of fact, I have two different pads stuck on my refrigerator. Two different colors — one for the grocery store, and one for the hardware store or other serious in-town shopping.

When I get to the store, I stick that super sticky grocery list right on my shopping cart’s handle, where I use a pen to scratch off items while I fill up my cart. How cool is that?

I even have a Super Sticky Post-it pad adhered to the inside of my front door, along with an accompanying pencil-on-a-string:

“Take out the trash!”

“Don’t forget the SHOPPING LIST!”

Sometimes I’m so clever it hurts.

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While covering the news as a television cameraman, often a story required traveling a great distance. Such it was one day on the back roads of Louisiana. For those unfamiliar with Louisiana’s back roads, let’s just say it is an easy place to get lost. Straight cut roads run for miles and miles, flanked only by non-diminishing rows of sugar cane and Cypress tree-lined bayous, or bridges that lead nowhere.

Upon such occasions roadside bathrooms can be hard to find. Purged by cups and cups of Louisiana’s incredible Community Coffee, it was sometimes necessary to stop frequently along the way. During one such pit stop, and while in the process of taking care of business, I found myself standing on a small chunk of land that separated two bayous from each other. A moment later, a huge alligator crawled up onto the same patch of ground upon which I was intently concentrating.

The fat alligator was no more than 7 feet away.

Who's that peeing in my living room?

I had heard that one should never attempt to run away from a curious bear, but I must admit I was somewhat unsure how I should handle a brooding, ten feet long alligator. I selected to stand perfectly still.

Well, ALMOST perfectly still.

The slow-witted creature watched me fulfilling my mission, then ambled off, unimpressed. It slipped silently into the dark bayou on the other side, swished its powerful tail once, and was gone.

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Today I’m going to sit here and type for a while so you can see how my brain works when I don’t know exactly what it is I’m writing. Pretty much, I am zoned in on the key word “archives” as being the destination point of this article. So, when you see the word “archives” mentioned, you’ll know we’re getting close.

But first, I was reminded of a period of time in my life when writing software manuals was a large part of my job. That, plus providing customer support for the same software about which I wrote. Our customers were television stations who paid hefty monthly license fees to use our television ratings software. As such, the amount of money our customers paid to use our software placed them uniquely high up on the hierarchical food chain. Forget them ever reading my manual: these were people who demanded to bitch to someone — LIVE.

In those days, we support folks had a wonderful term that, unfortunately, we could never use publicly. “RTFM!” Which loosely translates, “Read The Fancy Manual”. After almost every support call — after the phone was politely and safely hung up — you would usually hear a frustrated support person, exclaiming “RTFM!” to nobody but everyone in particular. Since it was MY manual our customers weren’t reading, I was often one of these post phone call “RTFM!” chanters. It was personal.

The other day I was poking around my blog’s “administration” area and discovered something called the “archives widget”, which I slid into my navigation bar without really knowing what it was going to do. Turns out, the archives feature neatly categorizes and places all my past articles in a nifty “archives” pull down window near the top right of my “widgets” bar, immediately underneath the “blogroll” section.

By golly, how cool is that?

Perhaps if my blog folks had written a manual, I would have RTFMed it years ago.

+ + + + +

Tim says. It is now 24 hours later and I am sitting here again, this time wondering why I hadn’t placed the “archives widget” immediately  ABOVE my blogroll widget. Hang on. There we go.

Now, what am I going to write about for today’s article? I think coffee, Coffee, COFFEE will be today’s key words…

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