Why is Santa so damn jolly? Because he knows where all the naughty girls live!

Tis the Season and all that. Every time I hear about a little man in a Pointy Red Hat, I have to think about one of Santa’s Elves.

In this little story about a little man in a little hat, if he is indeed one of Santa’s Helpers, he got lost.

The little man in the hat.

There was the short man, about 2-3 ft tall, who had a tall pointy red hat and a big white beard. He would walk around subways and metros and find those people who sit on the ground play music for money.

This man would go up to them and start to stomp and clap a beat for them. Most of the time the musicians would enjoy and encourage the assistance.

One day when this man was off doing his thing, a talent agent who happened to be commuting through the same metro station heard this man’s percussive assistance and had a brilliant idea.

The talent agent realized that his clients, as good as they were with singing lacked a steady rhythm. So the talent agent decided to try to hire this man who had a gift for rhythm.

The agent approached the little man and asked him, “ Hello sir, I represent a certain talent agency that works with famous singers, and I couldn’t stop my self from hearing your rhythmical talents. I was wondering if you would want to come and work for me assisting famous singers maintain a solid beat?”

The little man replies with delight, “Boy, I’d love too!”

The agent says, “Great! What’s your name, I’ll start the paper work as soon as I can and get in touch with you.”

The little man says, “they call me the metro-gnome”.

I called the tinnitus helpline today. It didn’t stop ringing!

Then again, if you were what they called “An Aspirin Baby” your ears would be ringing too.

Lets see, Tylenol simply doesn’t work (for me).

Aspirin has my ears ringing.

Got a headache? Heck let’s have a beer. Beer is proof that God Loves Us and Wants to Keep Us Happy.
Anyway…
An engineer, a psychologist, and a theologian were hunting in the wilderness of northern Canada.

Suddenly, the temperature dropped and a furious snowstorm was upon them. They came across an isolated cabin, far removed from any town. The hunters had heard that the locals in the area were quite hospitable, so they knocked on the door to ask permission to rest.

No one answered their knocks, but they discovered the cabin was unlocked and they entered. It was a simple place … 2 rooms with a minimum of furniture and household equipment. Nothing was unusual about the cabin except the stove. It was large, potbellied, and made of cast-iron. What was strange about it was its location … it was suspended in midair by wires attached to the ceiling beams.

“Fascinating,” said the psychologist. “It is obvious that this lonely trapper, isolated from humanity, has elevated this stove so that he can curl up under it and vicariously experience a return to the womb.”

“Nonsense!” replied the engineer. “The man is practicing the laws of thermodynamics. By elevating his stove, he has discovered a way to distribute heat more evenly throughout the cabin.”

“With all due respect,” interrupted the theologian, “I’m sure that hanging his stove from the ceiling has religious meaning. Fire LIFTED UP has been a religious symbol for centuries.” The three debated the point for several hours without resolving the issue.

When the trapper finally returned, they immediately asked him why he had hung his heavy potbellied stove from the ceiling. His answer was succinct. “Had plenty of wire, not much stove pipe.”

Happy Holidays Where Ever You Are

 

It’s still early, you really can have a good holiday.

Choose one, pick a tradition, it doesn’t even have to be your own.  Then make it your own and enjoy it.

In my case, we’re going to cook Boeuf Borguignon in the Instant Pot.  We’ll have it for lunch and enjoy the company here even if it just talking to the dog and going outside later to get complained at by the Blue Jays that have come down from Up North for the winter.

Now, if you are a good cook and are a little confused about cooking Haute French Cuisine in a pressure cooker, consider that every recipe is a tradition.  It’s a set of instructions that are handed down through the ages to perform an act and receive a result.  Traditions do change but are meant to be adapted to the way you live today.

Since we were gifted the Instant Pot and are taking to it very well, we have decided to adapt that recipe to our own tradition.

Julia Child did that when she simplified and popularized the recipe.

After all, isn’t that exactly what you do with your own holiday traditions?

Heck we didn’t even put up lights or a tree this year.

The lights because we got the house painted and the hooks STILL aren’t up.  The tree because the table has four pounds of soap curing. Plus I felt all Meh about a table top tree.

Oh the batteries are charged for the lights on the table top tree but … well you get the picture.  I even charged them via the Solar Charger so it would be carbon neutral as a point of pride.

So have a happy holiday, what ever holiday and which ever tradition you choose.  I’m going to sip coffee until the house wakes up, then try not to get involved.

You know, too many cooks spoil the Adapted French Cuisine, and all that!

That picture?  Seen it before did you?  Then you’re paying attention.  It’s my tradition.  I rather like the picture so I tend to reuse it when I can.  As in once a year.

The nice about putting a strangler behind bars. Is that afterwards everyone can breathe a little bit easier.

One side effect of learning Spanish is that I have found myself wanting to use different syntax and Spanish words in English sentences.

My heart goes out to those learning English because it is a true mutt of a language with influences from many others and has not been “normalized” as much.

So anyone getting confused with linguistics, this one is for us!

 

Shavers only

A man (from Kentucky) has just checked into his ensuite hotel room and is admiring the view of New York City from his window.

He walks into the bathroom and washes his hands. He then sees a sign which reads “shavers only”.

He frowns, curses and then looks at himself in the mirror.

He promptly opens one of the bathroom drawers, finds disposable razors and begins shaving off his entire beard (took him 5 years to grow) and shaves off all his chest and leg hair.

He shakes his head, miserable and depressed.

Later on, he is leaving his hotel to go sightseeing when the man at the check-in desk waves at him with raised eyebrows.

“Hello sir, I hope your room is fine? I see you’ve shaved your beard. You look very different!” The front desk assistant exclaims.

The gruff Kentuckian shakes his head sadly and replies “Yeah, I’m not one to break the law. Never been to New York before, guess they have different laws here. Would have appreciated it if someone had at least told me first.”

The front desk assistant frowns, saying “What do you mean, sir? I’m not sure I understand you…”

The Kentuckian stares back. “Only shavers allowed in that room, huh? Would have liked to have been informed prior to check-in.”

The front desk assistant’s frown deepens and then realization creeps in.

He roars in laughter, “Sir, you mean that sign in the bathroom?! That’s for the SOCKET!!!”

How did the dentist suddenly become a brain surgeon? A slip of the hand.

A Morbid Subject for a story but I do wish I had this one in October.

 

A man dies of a heart attack at 62 years old.

His widowed wife, after days of mourning, has to arrange the funeral service. She goes to the morgue and makes arrangements. During the detailing, she explains his last few wishes.

“He always told me, if he dies without disfigurement, he would like an open casket funeral so he would be remembered for his bravery. He also always stressed that he would like to be buried in his favorite blue suit. Unfortunately, he ripped his blue suit just a month ago, and tossed it out. He was furious. Is there an option for you to provide a blue suit? I’ll pay whatever the cost.”

The morgue employees, with these last wishes, prepared for the service, and it was held on schedule, open casket, the deceased in a strapping blue suit. Great service, very emotional.

Once it was over, the wife goes back and thanks them all profusely, and asks to personally thank the man who got his amazing blue suit. The man comes to the lobby, the wife is so grateful to him, and asks him the cost of the suit.

“Funny story!” Said the man, “As luck would have it, on the day I was scheduled to buy a suit, a different deceased man was taken here, and he was wearing a brand new blue suit! I was amazed, he was the same size measurements and everything! No tears or stains! I double checked, and HIS family did not care for it. They said ‘keep it.'”

“Oh…” Said the woman uncomfortably, “So… you switched the suit over to my husband?”

“No!” He exclaimed, feeling very clever, “I switched the heads!”

Water Roux Or How Wallpaper Paste Can Help Your Bread Baking

This really is a very easy process.

Since I am not doing a video here, but text, I am going into deep detail.  I’m probably overdoing it, and once you do this once, you will remember it forever.

Besides, I’m a perfectionist when it comes to video and a bit camera shy so lets dive into text!

Perhaps it’s a bit silly to call the result of this “wallpaper paste” but it’s the result of an Asian technique for pre-baking some of your flour to get it to retain water.

Flour and Water in the right proportion can stick paper to the wall, make papier mache, and will make your breads and pastries wonderful!

There are various names for the process:  Water Roux, Tangzhong, and others.  The process locks up extra water in the dough, gelatinizes it, and gives extra lift to the breads.

When that is used in baking, it allows your breads to rise taller, last longer, and the resulting loaves are softer and more tender.  I did not notice a difference in the taste however the texture was definitely changed.   Until you get the hang of this, you are going to be more hands on and manual than usual.

Intrigued?  I was, and I tried it.  The best hint I can give you about this is to take your time while mixing.

I can’t say about the longer life because the rolls I made today were the first using this process.  Allow things to “come together” on their own until you get used to the new proportions.

I can say that they were interesting and I certainly will do this again.  Obviously there are times where this process is inappropriate.  For Bagels this would be wrong because you want them to be chewy.  The resulting dough from this process is soft and pliable so it’s best for sandwich rolls and I can see it in pastries as well.  Burger Rolls definitely will be improved by this.

I am using this recipe for the bread dough, Pat’s Pizza Dough.  I have been using it for years, decades really.  I know what the rolls and dough should be like so I was able to tell right off that this technique has its place.

First, that specific recipe uses 10 ounces water, 3 cups of flour.  Since you are going to pre-cook part of that, keep those numbers in mind as you will adjust your normal recipe downward for this process.

Second, of those three cups of flour, you will want to reserve a quarter cup of it.  The Water Roux process absolutely changes the texture of your dough.  Since the dough is changing, you will have to add in either more water at the end.

If you overshoot and end up with a dough that isn’t smooth and silky, adjust as needed.

Third, to make the paste:

  • In a small mixing bowl, I took all 10 ounces of the water from the recipe and added in 2 ounces of flour.
  • I then whisked the flour into the water for 5 minutes by hand.
  • Then warm the flour to 140F/60C (in the microwave) in bursts.
  • Whisk that mixture again until smooth.  You will notice a thicker “gel” forming in the bottom of your mixing bowl.
  • Allow the mixture to cool to 105F/40C or cooler before making your dough.  After all, you want to give your Yeast a chance to thrive!

Fourth, Make your dough.  Add your salt, sugar, yeast, oil.  Mix the roux into the flour slowly, watching how the dough comes together.

Overview: What you just did was to release the proteins in the two ounces of flour.  Those proteins bound to the water in the mix.  Now you really don’t have 10 ounces of water any longer since some of it is bound up, you now have to add back an appropriate amount.

What is appropriate?

For the Pat’s Pizza Dough Recipe, I added in an extra ounce of water to a total of 11 ounces.  For our Metric Audience, each ounce is two tablespoons or 28.3 mL.  283 mL originally plus another 28 mL or so.

Its an adjustment not a whole re-do of things.

The dough is in the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook, and it was now too “wet”.  Adding in one tablespoon of the reserved flour “tightened” the mix back up to where I could make rolls and allow it to rise and bake.

The dough was silky smooth and very easy to work with.  The usual recipe tends to be on the sticky side and a bit rubbery due to my all purpose flour.

You will want to take your time with this process.

What happens is that while baking some of that “extra” water gets released in the form of steam and your dough gets taller.  It acts as Leavening to make for a lighter and more fluffy roll.

At least that was what I found.  Those rolls were sliced open, and had with some tuna salad.  Quite good!

Mountain ranges aren’t just funny, They’re hill areas

I need a raise.

Employee: Excuse me sir, may I talk to you?

Boss: Sure, come on in. What can I do for you?

Employee: Well sir, as you know, I have been an employee of this prestigious firm for over ten years.

Boss: Yes.

Employee: I won’t beat around the bush. Sir, I would like a raise. I currently have four companies after me and so I decided to talk to you first.

Boss: A raise? I would love to give you a raise, but this is just not the right time.

Employee: I understand your position, and I know that the current economic down turn has had a negative impact on sales, but you must also take into consideration my hard work, pro- activeness and loyalty to this company for over a decade.

Boss: Taking into account these factors, and considering I don’t want to start a brain drain, I’m willing to offer you a ten percent raise and an extra five days of vacation time. How does that sound?

Employee: Great! It’s a deal! Thank you, sir!

Boss: Before you go, just out of curiosity, what companies were after you?

Employee: Oh, the Electric Company, Gas Company, Water Company and the Mortgage Company!

You know what really grinds my gears? Insufficient lubrication.

I suppose this could be a joke about a dentist. Unfortunately they are a rather difficult bunch to joke about.

As usual, it ends up being about something else.

 

 

A man phones a dental clinic to inquire about the price of removing a tooth

“Hello. How much is it to get a tooth removed”, asks the man

“That’ll be $700, it includes anesthetic, tooth extraction by myself, and assistance from a nurse”, replies the dentist

“That’s a bit much for me, how much if the nurse extracts it?”

“Well I guess we could do that, it might not be as painless if I did it, but we’ll do that for $500”

“Hmmm…”, thinks the man. “Still a bit high, what if we didn’t have any anesthetic?”

“That would be highly unusual and very painful, but I could do that for $300”, explains the dentist

“I don’t know, I’m not made of money. Could your receptionist tie a string around the tooth and yank it as hard as they can, how much for that?”

“This is extremely uncommon, but I suppose we could that for $100”

“Great!”, the man says excitedly. “I’ll book an appointment for my wife for next Tuesday please”.

Propagating Bougainvillea – Two Months Later

It may sound strange to you if you live in an area where the temperatures are closer to freezing, or below, instead of being a Beach Day in the middle of December, but I did manage to catch the season right for planting.

In October.

When I went to propagate the Bougainvillea, it was because the vines were being eaten away by Subterranean Termites.

We get those termites here in South Florida, and protecting things here requires creating a toxic soup barrier around your house.

I expect that the Bougainvillea arbor that is the “mother plant” is just outside of the Toxic Soup Zone.

These vines are as thick as my thighs in some places, and I have very large thighs as I am an inline skater who considers a 2200 calorie workout “light”.  But these vines were also eaten to the point where I may lose the plant in a year or so.

They wobble freely on their roots.

I trimmed off random sections of the older growth to start new plants.

Half of them began putting out tiny leaves, the others sat there looking like dead sticks.

Since this is my life, weirdness ensued.

The ones with the tiny leaves either died or went dormant.   I will leave these alone in my highly watered propagation pots.

However the ones with no growth on them began to sprout leaves and some are already blooming.  On a two month old cutting.  In a pot.

I find it strange too.

My expected date of planting is the first day of Spring, March 21.  It is currently (looks at my watch) December 10th.

So I have more time to grow.

The Sticks not withstanding, are fine.  The ones that have gone “dormant” or have died will have until March to make up their flowery mind whether to live or to be turned into mulch.

In the interim I have high hopes for some cuttings that I made from the mother plants that were new growth.   Yes, in December, these things are putting out new shoots.

They are in the “nursery pots” and are not drying up like some of the other cuttings have been, so who knows.

I’m also nursing 55 Rosemary cuttings and none of them have decided to curl up and die yet.  We will be using them for ground cover.  Ground cover you can use to make a pizza or spaghetti sauce.

March, being three months away, gives me time to obsess and wait to see what survives.

 

All that Rosemary came from what a good friend of mine in Atlanta described as “One of those sad little xmas trees that they try to guilt you into buying at the supermarket”.

 

I’ve been told that I truly need to stop doing this though.  I’m seriously running out of space.  Just this morning, I snipped what I thought was a twig.  Finger thickness branch was cut off the salmon bougainvillea.

 

By the time I got that “twig” to the ground, it had pulled off two other “twigs” with it and was over six feet long.  Two meters of nasty bitey thorn filled branches.

If I get any spare bougainvillea I’ll let people know.  FOB My Front Porch.  I never have any luck giving anything away but I will make the offers.

That Gardening Bug.  I guess really it is “Landscaping” because I’m rapidly approaching an industrial scale.  It gets under your skin and makes you feel like you’re doing something productive.

Guess what?  You are.

 

I was washing a car with a friend until he said “Can you use a sponge?”

This deal with the jokes on the weekend… At least this joke. It had me laugh out loud, over the noise of the dishwasher.

I’ve always liked jokes and comedy. It was a bone of contention with my mother since in those days we had one big TV and smaller ones in the Bedrooms. The thing was, it was always better to watch things on the big TV. So since she wanted to watch her cop dramas, we’d have to “discuss” things and share.

Remembering those evenings, I think I was being given the benefit of the share more nights than I wasn’t.
The police came to my door today and told me that they had to take my dog to court.

At first, I refused, but when they showed me the warrant, I was forced to let them take him.
I couldn’t believe it! My precious pit, going to court!

“How long is this going to take?” I asked.

The officer replied, “Well, if he’s a good boy, it shouldn’t take too long. But if he’d been a good boy in the first place, this conversation wouldn’t be happening.”

I was still confused. I watched the officer walk back to his car and get in before I found my voice again. I ran to the car and asked the cop, “But what did he do? Why is he being brought into court?”

He looked at me, an uncaring look on his face, as he said, “Unpaid barking tickets.”