Saturday, January 28, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Hard Truth From Orlando

When the Mayor of Las Vegas, Nevada, issued the challenge; can you live off of less than $5 a day for food, responder Ms. Cottrell said what I’ve been saying for several years.

Ms. Cottrell said:
“Absolutely. We can make meals that will feed both my husband and I for at least two, sometimes three, meals for less than $10. Meals that are delicious! In fact, we eat better than a lot of people I know. The trick is knowing HOW TO COOK. I'll admit I am not as creative as my husband. I can't believe the meals he can put together on just a few dollars. What we need are more community programs to each people how to make delicious meals on a strict budget. (Now for the bad news, you're going to have to give up your coffee, sodas, cookies, and daily McDonalds runs. I know, what a horrible life).”

Ms. Cottrell has it exactly right. A bag of dried black beans is 89 cents. An onion and a can of stewed tomatoes (or raw, in-season vegetables/fruits) can both be purchased for less than a dollar. A small bag of rice can be purchased for less than a dollar. Most people have salt and pepper on hand. Most people have cooking oil on hand. If you know how to cook beans and rice, add the onion and stewed tomatoes, salt and pepper, and you’ll have a dish that is easily two or three meals, very nutritious, tasty and less than $5. You can buy a “tube” of ground turkey for $1.65, box of spaghetti for under $1, a can of Hunt’s Spaghetti Sauce for 89 cents, an onion if you like, and make enough spaghetti for one person to eat for up to four meals.

Plain, inexpensive oatmeal, not in individual serving packets but in the quart-size cardboard container, is a good source of several meals. Most Americans have never tried oatmeal as anything but breakfast material or in a cookie. Oatmeal can be cooked with soy sauce, spices, mixed with vegetables, fried and baked. And oatmeal is nutritious, filling and easy to prepare…if you think outside the stereotypical norm.

The problem is people today don’t know how to cook. They don’t know how to shop, and most importantly, they don’t really know how to problem-solve. Most suburban and urban folks have forgotten or were never taught the basics of survival. They don’t know how to prepare food, so they don’t know what to buy in bulk versus what they can onesie-twosie within their budgets to maximize their food supply with what money they have.

Remember home economics? Those of us who are older remember it was mandatory for all the girls to take in junior high and high school. And I’ve always believed it was the beginning of “unlearning” basic survival skills. There was very little cooking taught, but a whole lot of presentation. How to properly set a table, present a centerpiece, decorate, coordinate – but almost nothing of nutrition, food preparation, cooking. Well, in those days, they pre-supposed that you were learning it at home. But we were already in the generation of frozen food and TV dinners. Drive-through windows and fast-food were becoming the standard – not the Leave It To Beaver sit-down dinner that mom cooked and everybody ate.

We’re running out of time to get smarter in our choices. The economic situation is not going to get better. Gas and energy prices are going to drive the cost of food sky-high. Other countries’ citizens spend 80% or more of their disposable incomes for food. We might not reach that point, but ff we’re going to learn to survive in the new economy of making do with less and less, we better re-discover some basic culinary skills – or be prepared to go hungry.

Budgeting for $5 a day in food costs is a good place to start practicing. Take the challenge and be prepared for when it becomes a necessity rather than a personal experiment. Game on.

   Florida Cracker

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Thought For Today

"The most ridiculous concept ever perpetrated by Homo Sapiens is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of the Universes, wants the sacharrine adoration of his creations, that he can be persuaded by their prayers, and becomes petulant if he does not recieve this flattery. Yet this ridiculous notion, without one real shred of evidence to bolster it, has gone on to found one of the oldest, largest and least productive industries in history." - Robert Heinlein

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Neil Gaiman on Fairy Tales

In the wake of the British release in theaters of Neil Gaiman's Stardust, he wrote an interesting piece about fairy tales and their relationship to his novel for Britain's Guardian Unlimited. Of particular note, he makes the point that fairy tales originally were tales of the fantastic for adults. But you knew that, didn't you?

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Thought For Today

"Why should we take advice on sex from the pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn't!" - George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012




Saturday, January 14, 2012

User Manual, users guide, operation instruction

User Manual, users guide, operation instruction

Got an older TV, computer, VCR or other electronic equipment whose operating manual got sucked into a black hole years ago? You might be able to find a replacement here. If you're planning on a garage sale soon, having a manual will help sales too.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Media Mistakes

Media people goof on occasion, in case you haven't noticed. Regret the Error tells us all about it. Now if only there was a publicly available correction list for all the errors -- not to mention flat out untruths -- that blogsters make...

Friday, January 06, 2012

The Thought For Today

“The truth of that would be apparent to a crackhead wino with one eye.” - Circuit Court Judge Anthony H. Johnson

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Thought For Today

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." - Roger Caras

The Hard Truth From Orlando

I went to Port Orange last weekend. Saw a poor starving hound some SOB hunter had abandoned on Osteen Road . I could not persuade the thing up to me and didn’t have enough treats to sustain it. I did call the ASPCA to report it but I doubt anyone will come to get it. Beautiful animal; white with pale brown spots – and the bones pushing out from under its hide, desperately prowling by the road and watching each vehicle as it passed.

I used to see that all the time up in North Central Florida. Bastards would abandon their dogs in the woods because “that dog don’t hunt,” or it was gun-shy, or they didn’t want to keep it past hunting season, or they stole the dog to use it for hunting season and then dumped it. These dogs don’t survive. They starve to death slowly and hideously unless they’re lucky enough to be struck by a car and instantly killed instead of crippled, maimed, to die an even more painful death by the road.

Sportsmen, my butt. They’re neither sporting nor men who perpetrate this kind of evil. I think hunters should have to have each dog licensed, micro-chipped, collared with GPS, and registered before they get a hunting permit and then the dog has to be produced at the end of the season, either to the regulators or ASPCA for certificate of surrender, or they never get another hunting license again. The viciousness of these people astonishes me. I don’t care if they hunt. I don’t care if they shoot Bambi’s mother to cull the herd. I care if they are irresponsible and cruel.

And you’ll always hear some other hunter who DOES take care of his dogs, has them numbered, tagged and trained, who protests regulation. Well, he’s the exception to this ugly little subculture. Ask any guy who goes out hunting and he can tell you the name of one or more from his hunting clique who has abandoned or does abandon or will abandon a dog in the woods to die. It’s that common.

And the other thing that astonishes me is that it’s most common in areas that are overloaded with churches and the usual Come-To-Jesus hypocrisy. It is hypocrisy. Not because they hunt and are members of the NRA and like to shoot Bambi’s mom. It’s hypocrisy because if they really believed in being compassionate and kind and the sanctity of life, they’d never abandon any animal to a slow death when there are so many more reasonable, legal alternatives – if they weren’t too damn lazy and mean to take them.

If I believed in Hell, I’d want to go there and work for the Bad Guy in that ice-cold level of Hell reserved for traitors, which is where these so-called sportsmen and hunters belong. They’ve betrayed their dogs’ trust in them. They’ve betrayed the best friend most of them could hope to have. They’ve betrayed their four-legged benefactors. There is no salvation for anyone whose heart is so cold he commits this crime – much less does it every hunting season. I want to see them suffer a sentence like that they passed on these poor animals – an agonizingly slow death of hunger, cold, loneliness and misery.

That poor hound still haunts me. I’m going to start traveling with an extra leash and dog food in the car in case I run into another lost creature. I hope to salvage what I can. Vicious Michael Vicks’ dogs were largely saved and went on to good, loving homes; there’s no reason these poor devils can’t be rehabilitated and given to decent people who will show them the kindness, comfort and companionship should have been theirs from the beginning.

And from my heart of darkness, I’m going to pray for a pandemic that makes all dogs precious and few, so that they can never be considered disposable by anyone ever again.

     Florida Cracker