Rants and Riffs Installment #17: Face-touching outlawed and other Gordian knots

 

1. Yep, I’m all for health and safety precautions in these Covid-19 times, but a news article reminded readers of the health risks of face-fondling and offered some solutions.

Another solution…masks. And really, wouldn’t it make life more interesting?

2. As for the article itself, nowadays, it’s not all that easy to find a straightforward objective just the facts, ma’am’ article. Everything has morphed into ‘commentary’, ‘analysis’, or ‘opinion’. Gggaaaaaahhhhh! Just give us information! [and without the ‘Breaking news!’ notices…]

3. Please don’t make me compare ‘apples’ to ‘oranges’. It’s just not fair to either one.

4. Used car prices…insane.
wrecked carYou expect me to match your price for that unsafe-at-any-speed death trap with mushy brakes and a not-as–serpentine-as-it-should-be belt? I’ll show you*…right this minute I can saunter into a showroom and pick up a new model, complete with the dozen soon-to-be-released-at-inconvenient-intervals recall notices.

5. We can put a man on the moon, but most veterinarians still prescribe those insane, post-surgery e-collars. The poor dog is probably groggy and waaay unsettled and the technician snaps that opaque inverted dome around the patient’s head. Yep, real vet training would include putting students inside one of those for a day and expect them to follow through on daily tasks–yes, all daily tasks–and then sleep through the night.

Queen Elizabeth I
This is a start. I wouldn’t even expect vets to wear the jewelry or puffy shirt. I’m not a complete Philistine.

6. And those dumb hypersensitive Chromebook/laptop track pads? One brush of my lithe and slender pinky knuckle and, unbeknownst** to me, the cursor wanders off to some obscure location in my latest masterpiece. At least with handwritten work, there is no roving cursor to track down. And if there is, well, I have bigger problems.


* Who is ‘you’, anyways?

** Hey, when I use the word ‘unbeknownst’, you know I’m fired up!

Rants and Riffs Installment #16: Dogs as therapy. Pie too.

  1. Okay, I admit it…on my DVR, I still have 40 minutes of Hallmark’s A Happy and Friends Yule Log. Gotta say, it’s nice to watch cavorting puppies and kittens to break from the daily chaos and mayhem…and I’m just talking about my latest forays in the kitchen. Such as…

sunshine squash pieRecipe at bottom of post

2. Could someone please tell me where the TV remote is? I know, I know, one of you out there is going to snark that I’d track it better if I didn’t mindlessly pop it in my pocket and drop it off, say, in the garage.

3. I  know, I know…snark is a noun. Language snobs notwithstanding, it works just as well as a verb.

4. Shouldn’t there be holsters for TV remotes?

5. And finally, here’s a very useful and interesting language website that answers the age-old teacher question of, ‘How is that word used in a sentence?’.sentencedict.com


Sunshine Squash Pie

I picked up this recipe from denisonfarms.com, our CSA supplier.

Squash Pie

Sunshine squash makes excellent “pumpkin” pie. This recipe comes from the 1975 edition Joy of Cooking:

1. Line a pie pan with pie dough.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

3. Mix until well blended:

  • 2 cups cooked, mashed squash (see newsletter week 20 for instructions to bake squash)
  • 1 1/2 cups undiluted evaporated milk or rich cream (or coconut milk for dairy-free)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar & 1/2 cup white sugar (I usually reduce the sugar, since squash is sweeter than pumpkin)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt,
  • 1 tsp cinnamon,
  • 1/2 tsp dried ginger (or 1 tsp grated fresh ginger),
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg,
  • 1/8 tsp cloves,
  • 2 slightly beaten eggs

4. Pour mixture into pie shell.

5. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 45 min. longer.

[Notes from TH: Blind baking the crust worked out pretty well for me. I also add lots more spice than recipe calls for.]

Rants and Riffs Installment #15: Leaf blowers and bloviators…

a man in despair with head in hand1. Leaf blowers…the scourge of Western civilization.

2. On a similar note…I hear these bubbleheads/celebrities/semi-celebrities with the cash to buy radio time to spout their views of the world order [or disorder—take your pick]. Lately, I’ve caught myself telling them to just shut up…and it doesn’t even seem to matter whether I agree with them or disagree with them. Huh…go figure. I think I’m just tired of all the noise. [Unless, of course, it’s legit noise from cranky pantses vilifying leaf blowers.]

3. Why don’t presenters armed with PowerPoints and expert knowledge take a couple of minutes to learn how to zoom their projector’s image so the audience can actually see what the laser pointer is aimed at?

Rants and Riffs Installment #14: In these tumultuous times, ready to take a stand…

1. I realize with the fevered divisions in our society today, this might be off-putting, but I’m sorry. It’s time…

Marzipan? Bleeaack!    **        ***

baby crying
I mean it! That faux-almond flavor is distressing to the nth degree!

2. Trying to decide if it’s worth changing my Medicare Part D coverage.

Something tells me the time I’ve spent reviewing options has cost me more in ‘life currency’ than the couple of bucks I might save on Medicare monthly premiums for the upcoming ‘season’. [It does feel a bit like open season on us doddering old 65-year-olds.]

I mean, I could be watching a Hallmark Christmas rerun in the time I’ve crafted this verbal masterpiece…

3. I guess I’m wrong, but it seems that Amazon could at least cover my tax bill for this year. The accountants think otherwise.


** Ditto spaghetti squash

*** Double-ditto sea urchin. Haven’t tried it, but I’ve seen those things inverted during my years at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I’m sorry, I’d eat spaghetti squash enveloped in marzipan before dining on that poor invertebrate. [And, might I add that some people eat them with a raw quail egg. Quadruple gag!]

Rants and Riffs Installment #13: Not-so volumizing shampoo, having an eco-conscience…

megaphone

1. Yep, still waiting for that volumizing shampoo to take effect. Meanwhile, the marked retreat of the scalp line continues, unabated. Damnable Proctor & Gamble!

2, Meanwhile, in the kitchen…measuring spoons on a ring…such an annoyance. You use one, you have to wash all five. Simply takes the joy out of life. [Okay, slight exaggeration.]

3. Food shopping…not so fun anymore…

Great deal on hummus! Yes! I grab two. And then the voices kick in… “So, what’re you gonna do with that container when you’re done?” Visions of Everest-level landfills pop into my head [with an occasional appearance by that drifting island of trash in the mid-Pacific]. I put the hummus back and trudge forward.

Rants and Riffs Installment #12: Greeting cards, too-early calendars, and cable companies

infant ranting
Greeting card makers…since when did your product need that glued-down third ‘page’? The minute I pull a card from the case and feel that extra heft, I know that baby’s going to cost an extra buck.

Moving on…
A curious question from a snail mail donation plea…”How are you enjoying our 2020 calendar?” It’s September of 2019! Why would I have a calendar out three months ahead of time? And really, enjoying a calendar?

And finally…
Cable companies forcing you into ‘bundles’. All I want is fast Internet access! No, I do not want Keeping Up with the Kardashians, meaningless statistics spewed by sports networks, or some poor mosquito-bitten shlub relying on a palm frond [if we’re lucky] for warmth.

 

Rants and Riffs Installment #10: July 4th Fireworks ‘Solution’

black dog asleep

Total rant: We’re doing it all wrong.

Rather than go to the trouble of buying and administering tranquilizers to skittish pets on July 4th, how about we track down and tranquilize the mouth-breathers who set off fireworks in the late night?

Not enough? Partial lobotomies or personality transplants come to mind.

“No need to pay a fine, you guys. Just step right in for a quick noise abatement orientation…”

***

And while I’m at it, how many of the folks who slap together those fireworks stands for a quick buck are also owners of skittish pets?

 

Rants and Riffs: Installment #7–Bobbleheads, dandelions, and…and…attention span

Bobble head doll of Charles Darwin
Not sure what his lifetime batting average was…

Bobblehead dolls…please. 40,000 of them on a given night at a major league ballpark.

And often to commemorate a player of marginal ability. [Not daring to use names here.]

If those petroleum-based cluttermeisters even make it home, they’re headed straight to the closet and/or the landfill.

Question 1: What is the half-life of a bobblehead doll of a shortstop who batted .234 lifetime?  450-800 years

Question 2: What does the guy’s batting average have to do with degradation of plastic?

Answer: Nothing. Nothing at all.


girl in field of dandelions
Worn down by the taunts and jeers

Topic: Dandelions. Fellow gardeners…or at least, those of us doing mindless grunt work with hoe and shovel…don’t you think dandelions simply mock us?

The big ones—”Neaner, neaner, neeeeaner! You’re oblivious and I’m huuuuge!”

The small ones—”We’re baaaaack!”


lawn mowing strategy

Topic: Clear sign of a vanishing attention span—my lawn mowing has regressed to ‘forward-and-back-in-one-5′ x 5′ square at a time’. Anything beyond that, all bets are off.


Hey, we’re all in this together [whatever ‘this’ is]. Any frustrations niggling at you? Share them below.

Rants and Riffs: Installment #6

weed whacker

First of all, doubt your dominance over nature? Git yerself a weedwhacker.


lady blowing her nose

2. Allergy season. Anyone suffer so much that the only practical way to deal with the messy symptoms is to hook a roll of paper towels to your belt?
Still on hay fever…nose-blowin’ guys with the cool 5 o’clock stubble: the inevitable remaining tissue-flivvle…not a good look.


fuel meter
3. Car rental agencies…love to give you a car with a partially-filled tank. They know darn well you’re:

  • too busy [or not math-fluent enough] to estimate how much is needed to return that midsize at the required level.

  • going to forget you started with a partial tank

  • therefore going to fill well beyond the required level.

Cha-Ching!


Hey, we’re all in this together [whatever ‘this’ is]. Any frustrations niggling at you? Share them below.

Rants and Riffs: Installment #5

dog chewing on toy
Pretty sure he didn’t order this ‘toy’ online.

–If you want to crank out a substandard product and still make a little cash, look to the world of pet products. After all, how can you guarantee the entertainment value of a dog toy? And so, it’s a wide open marketplace. “Barkley couldn’t live without his Squiggly Squirrel” goes the testimonial. What we’re not told is Barkley would equally relish an empty milk container.


Nike cloth bag
Shouldn’t I be collecting a little cash for this convenient product placement?

–Nike, Under Armour, Adidas… Shouldn’t you be paying us to advertise your products as we wear them?


man with long hair and beard
I want this guy’s shampoo.

–I am still waiting for that blasted ‘volumizing’ shampoo to kick in after years of use. My forehead continues its relentless advance.