Monday, April 6, 2015

UVa Fraternity vs. Rolling Stone Magazine

I hope the University of Virginia fraternity ends up owning Rolling Stone magazine. And in case you're wondering why Rolling Stone didn't fire the reporter, it was because she did exactly what magazine wanted her to do, i.e., get the magazine's name out in the public. They didn't care if the story was true or not they just wanted to be the center of a national furor and increase their circulation numbers. Well, they got it. They are certainly at the center of a furor now. That's what they get for having an attitude just like Sen. Harry Reid, "Truth be damned. The ends justify the means."

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How to cook a steak

I seldom eat steaks out. They are easy to grill at home and $20 will buy you a nice sized chunk of filet or prime rib at your local meat market or grocery store whereas $20 at your local steakhouse will get you a piece of steak you can carry in a thimble.

Keys to cooking a good steak are:
1) take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before grilling
2) salt it liberally preferably shortly after taking it out of the fridge, the salt helps develop a crust
3) I also like to lightly rub in some chopped garlic, black pepper and olive oil before grilling
4) gill the steak over high heat
5) don't fiddle with the steak on the grill and only turn it once
6) cook your steak underdone and then (and this is very important for a juicy steak) take it off the grill and let it "rest" for at least 5, but preferably 10, minutes before cutting into it.

During the rest it will continue cooking and the juices will redistribute throughout the steak. During grilling the high heat causes pressure which makes the juices move towards the outer edge of the steak. So if you cut into it right after you take it off the grill the juices just run out into your plate instead of staying in the steak.

Once you master it you'll seldom want to order steak at a restaurant again.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

On College Football Playoffs

If I had my way, and believe me the world would be a much better place if I did, statistics and sports writers and university presidents and AD's would have no place in deciding the national championship. I would expand Division I (or the FBS or whatever you want to call it) to include the largest 128 schools by enrolled student population. They would be divided into 8 sixteen team conferences mostly along regional boundaries. Each conference would be divided into 2 eight team divisions. Each team in the division would play every other team in the division plus 2 non-division opponents for a regular season of 9 games. Division championships would be determined by W-L within the division. Tie breakers are to be determined by each conference. Then the winners of each conference's divisions would meet in week 10 for the conference championship weekend (Wouldn't that be a great weekend of football!) Weeks 11, 12 and 13 would be a 8 team playoff among the conference champions. Seeding would be determined by a selection committee... or maybe by drawing straws... or maybe a cheerleader bikini jello wrestling tournament between week 10 & 11 (that would bring in some extra TV revenue!) Anyways, that's my two cents worth. In this system the championship is determined on the field where it should be.

I'm excited about the playoffs. Although, to be honest, I preferred it the way it was when I was growing up. The SEC champ went to the Sugar Bowl vs. an open bid. Rose was Big 10 & PAC 12. Orange was Big 8 and open bid. And then you had all the arguing afterwards. I liked the arguing. I also liked knowing you were going to New Orleans if your SEC team played well. New Orleans is definitely the place to be for New Years. It beats LA and Miami hands down! I've been to LA a bunch of times, the Big 10 & PAC 12 are welcome to it IMHO!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tony Steward and Kevin Ward

I'm not a Tony Stewart fan. In fact, if anything, I'm a Tony Stewart anti-fan. I've watched more than a little racing and I've never driven a race car but in my opinion there's only one person to blame for Kevin Ward's unfortunate death and that person is Kevin Ward. If he had stayed in his car he would be alive and well today. But, instead, he let his temper get the best of him and he chose to get out of his car and walk into the traffic on the race track.

If anything good can come from this let it be that these driver's stop acting like spoiled children and climbing out of their cars and getting out on the track to throw their helmets at the drivers they are mad at as they drive by. Temper tantrums are unbecoming in 3 year old children. They are even more so in grown men. You can take out your frustrations on the track if you are still in your car. If you are no longer in your car then you take out your frustrations in the pits or garages after the race. That's what fist fights are for.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My thoughts on the Hobby Lobby case

The ruling applies only to small, closely held, i.e. family owned, corporations. When the Government intrudes and attempts to force a family to provide services which the family feels are immoral for their employees then in my humble opinion, the Government is wrong.

This is not a widely and publicly help corporation where the stockholders number in the hundreds or thousands and come from all walks of life. This is a family owned corporation. So they are being forced, by the Government, to take money out of their pockets and pay for services which they believe are immoral and wrong and thereby, according to their beliefs, putting their own souls in danger. Just because you start a corporation doesn't give the Government the right to force you to give up your religious beliefs.

Personally, I think it's just plain wrong that the Government can force a corporation to "give" employees "benefits" of any kind. Benefits were originally used as enticements to lure employees to take a job. It is wrong to force a corporation to provide services if the corporation doesn't want to provide them. What's next? Is the Government going to force companies to give two weeks of paid vacation? Why not force companies to provide free food and free coffee for their employees? Why not force companies to offer 401k plans to all their employees. Why not force the employees to participate in the 401k plans? Why not force companies to give employees stock options? Why not force companies to provide a car for it's employees? Corporations should not even be forced to pay you for your work. If you're willing to work for free to get experience and make contacts, i.e. interning, what concern is it of the Governments, other than the fact that Government feels cheated because they can't tax you for your income?

To those who say Hobby Lobby is imposing their religion on their employees:

The Constitution says absolutely nothing about preventing a non-Government entity from imposing their religion upon you. It does say that the Government cannot impose religion
upon the people. And Hobby Lobby is not saying, "If you use one of these four forms of 'birth control' then we will fire you." What Hobby Lobby is saying is, "We'll pay for you to use any of these 16 forms of birth control but we're not going to pay for these 4 other choices."

How is that imposing religion? It's as if Hobby Lobby said "We'll pay for our employees to eat, but we're not going to pay for sushi, caviar, filet mignon and jelly beans" and every one screaming that they are trying to starve their employees to death.

Just my two cents worth (and it probably ain't even really worth that much).

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The best thing in the kitchen

This is my first real blog entry. I don't really count the mission statement.

I recently discovered that quite a few people I know don't have any idea that all the black and brown crud left in the bottom of a pan is some of the most flavor packed and best tasting stuff in their kitchen.

After you pan fry or saute anything there is usually some black and brown crud left on the bottom of the pan. This "crud", for the lack of a better word is probably the best tasting thing in your kitchen. This is where deglazing comes into play. Pour most of the fat out of the pan making sure to leave all the caramelized bits, i.e. the crud. Return the pan to the heat and add a liquid. Almost any liquid will do. It can be as simple as water. Stock and broth are both good choices. Wine is also an excellent choice. Just add the liquid to the pan and using a wooden spoon scrape until all the all the stuck on bits are no longer stuck on the bottom of the pan.

At this point you have what is known as a fond.* It's a French word meaning base or foundation. You can serve the fond as is if you want a thin sauce, sometimes called a jus. Or you can thicken it by adding butter or flour or cornstarch. If you decide to use flour make sure you cook the sauce for several minutes after adding the flour. If you don't all you will be able to taste is the raw flour and believe me, you would be better off serving elementary school library paste with your dinner.

* Just for the sake of clarity, you should know that many cooks also use the word "fond" to describe the crud in the bottom of the pan.

Sausage Gravy
1. In a large skillet, preferably cast iron and definitely do not use a non-stick pan, brown 1 lb of sausage.
2. After the sausage has browned remove it from the pan leaving about 4 tablespoons of fat in the pan.
3. Place the pan on a medium-high burner.
4. Add 4 tablespoons of flour to the pan and cook until the flour and fat mixture, also called a roux, is light brown in color, about 5 - 10 minutes.
5. Add 3 cups of milk to the pan and stir making sure to scrape all the goodness off the bottom of the pan. Stir until it comes to a boil. Be careful, once it gets hot enough to start boiling it will quickly (very quickly) get hot enough to boil over and out of the pan and all over the top of the stove, the front of the stove and even onto the kitchen floor..
6. Add salt, pepper and cracked red pepper to taste.

It will thicken as it cools.

If it is too thick add more milk, if it's too thin you can leave it on the burner and reduce it by boiling water off. And remember what I just said above, it will thicken as it cools.

Mission Statement

Having been to so many corporate training seminars and business classes the first thing to pop into my head when I thought about starting a blog was, "I'll need a mission statement." I guess that's a good thing... at least it maybe indicates a certain predilection for organization... and that can be a good thing, or it could indicate a minor case of OCD. Although a look around my desk will quickly put to rest any ideas about me having any kind of an organization OCD problem.

Anyway, I thought my first post should talk a little bit about what I plan to blog about. First of all, it's not really going to be about me and my life and how I feel deep down inside. I find that pretty boring to talk about and even more boring to write about and don't even want to think about reading it. I don't really like writing about me. No, this blog is going to be more about things I like and dislike. There's going to be politics, there's going to be technology, there's going to be cooking and stories and dogs and jokes, lots of jokes, I like jokes. I also don't know how often I'll write (I'm going to try to avoid using the term "blog" as a verb.)

So that's my mission statement. I really feel like I should end this first post with something noteworthy. Something to make you think, "Gee, that's cool. I need to read a lot more of this kind of stuff!" I would like to do that but right now I don't have anything that fits the bill so I'm just going to end it.