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About MickinMD

  • Birthday 10/01/1950

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    Baltimore, Maryland
  • Interests
    chess, cycling, science, politics, history

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    cheap mountain bike

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  1. MickinMD

    The Russians are coming

    Russian classical musicians are superb - even though they're not forced to practice 12 hours/day since the fall of communism. In 2014, I watched the Moscow Ballet do The Great Russian Nutcracker. It was around $90/ticket for the medium-good seats but it was fantastic! I always wanted to see it performed in the traditional way with a real, live orchestra, which was actually under the stage with the conductor the only musician visible, conducting from below the middle-front of the stage so he could see and stay in sync with the ballet. For a long time, I've considered Tchaikovsky's Waltz of the Flowers to be the most beautiful piece of instrumental music ever written, so this part was the thrill of the show for me:
  2. MickinMD

    The science of being clean

    My brother's niece went to Greece last summer after high school graduation and returned in time to join our fishing, rafting, etc. Western Maryland Vacation in July. Having toured there, I asked her what she thought of toilet paper disposal in Greece. "Oh, God! That was disgusting!" The waste pipes in Athens, etc. are too small to handle toilet paper so there's a separate bin for them, making each public stall smell like an outhouse.
  3. MickinMD

    So what is the BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe?

    I was always happy with the one on the bag of Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, adding walnuts to it and usually a little more chocolate and walnuts than called for. The dough tastes just fine! There's "15 min. Prep Time, 9 min. Cooking Time, Skill Level: Easy." I can vouch for all that. I don't know how they compare to the Neiman Marcus cookies except to say you have to question the judgement of anyone who would pay $250 for cookies (remember the old Folger's Instant Coffee commercial where they replaced an expensive restaurant's coffee with Folger's Instant and the customers all thought the high-priced stuff was excellent?) and with the Nestle recipe you don't have blended oatmeal and you don't have to grate Hershey bars and they're still excellent! They are always gone fast enough that they retain the right amount of softness while they last. Here's the recipe (https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/18476/original-nestle-toll-house-chocolate-chip-cookies) "The chocolate chip cookie that started it all! NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® original chocolate chip cookies are a true classic:" Makes about 5 dozen cookies: Ingredients: 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 large eggs 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels 1 cup chopped nuts Instructions: PREHEAT oven to 375° F. COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars. SLICE AND BAKE COOKIE VARIATION: PREPARE dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies. * May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks. FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes. Helpful comment from site (though I never worried about kitchen, pans, dough etc. being too warm or cold and my cookies were always great): This has been my Go-To Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe for 25 years..baking is a science, so if you’re having trouble with the result, I’m here to tell you the recipe is perfect. As a baker, these tips should help those producing flat cookies: 1. Do NOT use margarine! Use BUTTER...softened does NOT mean practically melted...it should still maintain shape when you cut it. 2. Do NOT use warm pans...You should have at least 2 cookie sheets to rotate in your oven while baking...put one in the oven, prep the second...when you take the first out and replace with the second, let the 1st pan cool before you prep it to go back in the oven. 3. Measure all ingredient accurately...like I said baking is a science...too little flour makes flat cookies...too much flour makes clumpy dry cookies...and check your dates...if your baking soda, baking powder, and flour ingredients are no good, you’re cookies won’t be either. 4. Dough...is your kitchen too warm? Maybe your dough is too! Put it in the refrigerator for an hour or as much as overnight. If it’s too warm, you’re cookies will run flat! Also, do NOT overbeat your mix...cream your butter and sugar until it’s smooth and fluffy, but once you start adding your egg you should only be mixing to combine your ingredients so your cookies are soft and fluffy too! 5. Oven temp...is your oven temp too low?? You should be preheating and baking at 350...if you lower your temp you may be lowering the height of your cookie. 6. If you are worried about dark bottoms...use parchment paper! Also your baking pans should not be dark...I find Wilton makes the best light pans for cookies...do not use cooking spray or oils on your baking sheets! Keep your baking sheets for baked goods and keep your food cooking in Pyrex, Corning Ware or other oven safe dishes. Or dedicate separate pans for baking and cooking! I really hope this helps everyone!! Happy baking!! * I did not compare the recipe to the back of the nestle roll house bag of chocolate chips...the Internet is not always reliable..so use the recipe on the bag to make your own recipe card so you have the right measurements and temps!!
  4. MickinMD

    Prayers, vibes etc needed

    Vibes sent!
  5. MickinMD

    Skip To The Front Of The Line?

    I'm fat enough that I make any bike jumpy in crosswinds! I hope to keep dropping weight, though my diabetes diet/meds adjustment has resulted in more water-weight gain.
  6. MickinMD


    Muntin! Now there's a word I didn't know!
  7. MickinMD

    So, Besides China and South Korea...

    When I was in China in 2001, I learned that most of the Chinese are horrified that anyone would eat a dog. The practice there, I was told, is confined to a small province in Central China and only one kind of dog is eaten: Chou and preferably pot-sized Chou pups. The meat is a delicacy and costs 10x the best cuts of beef. Consequently, you don't have to worry about being served dog as a substitute for other meats. Of course, if people were starving, I guess they'd turn to dogs like the 1800's Donner Party ate their dead human members when stuck in snow trying to cross the Sierra Nevadas into California. But malnutrition is very rare in China today.
  8. MickinMD

    Print is too small to read....

    On my Windows 10 laptop, I just hold the Ctrl key and then + to make the print bigger or - to make it smaller for a lot of programs (Firefox Browser, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Thunderbird Email Client, etc.).
  9. MickinMD

    Do you like to offer unsolicited advice?

    Yes - if I know the topic and it's not about religion, relationships, politics, etc. Maybe it's my training as a scientist, but I, like Socrates in Plato's The Apology, sometimes think I'm the only man in the world who realizes how little I know. Back in the '90's when gasoline for pleasure boats along the Chesapeake Bay was around $1/gallon, my brother-in-law and I bought at 21' motorboat to go fishing. We kept it in a marina just off the bay. It had a 201 HP V6 Inboard-Outdrive motor and we could go 50 mph on the water in April. But, by June, we were lucky if it would go 20 mph. When we'd take people fishing, it seemed EVERYONE was a passionate expert: it's the motor, it's the outdrive gearing, it's the propeller, you've got the rear stabilizing planes set wrong, etc. etc. Finally, on the 4th of July we pulled up on the water near a wealthy family's beachfront house where a friend of my brother was playing in a band and a party was going on. A bunch of boats were alongside each other, listening to the music and partying. The boat of another friend of my brother pulled alongside and he said to me, "I bet you're not making 20 mph with your boat!" I replied that was true and asked how he knew. "Barnacles." I learned we were supposed to have painted the hull with anti-fouling paint (which they make with environmentally-friendly ingredients). A teacher off for the summer, we had the boat hauled out of the water and I spent the next week very carefully sanding the barnacles off without sanding off the hull and then applying the paint. After that, we kept the "Reel Busy" in a boatel where it was only put in the water when we wanted to use it. When gasoline prices jumped like crazy around 2008, we decided it had become a money pit and sold it since we often burned 50-60 gallons of gasoline each day we fished.
  10. MickinMD

    I can’t do what ten people tell me to do.

    I'm not sittin' on the dock of the Bay, but I'm sittin' within a mile of it!
  11. MickinMD

    What's that odd earthy smell wafting over from Canada?

    28 seconds+ into the clip, Honey (Rhea Perlman) tells us what Canada smells like:
  12. MickinMD

    Which kind of person are you?

    I'm a chemist with a graduate degree from IIT, but I may never have called anything un-ionized, though it's a good word. I just called it neutral! Water, etc. can be deionized. But a solution that isn't ionic is generally called nonpolar or nonelectrolytic. On the other hand, since I spent most of my working career as a public school teacher, I was unionized and spent some years as my school's union rep. In Maryland, teachers do not have the right to strike and when, in the '80's, the state pointed out the State Teachers Pension was too high to be sustainable, the teachers unions quickly voted to reduce the pension benefits going forward. Now, with the teachers and local systems contributing 14.65% of salary to the pension, it's said that if an incompetent manager ran the fund, it wouldn't run out of money for at least 40 years. We also get no benefits from the pension - low-cost but near-Cadillac retiree health insurance is subsidized by the working teachers taking a hit in pay when contract negotiations are done. Working teachers will never stop supporting it because they know they'll get the same huge-company-low-rate and subsidized insurance when they retire, whereas states that pay such benefits could decide to stop them. So our system works for me! So we don't have as much confrontation between the teachers unions and the school boards and governments in Maryland compared to most states except in some places where the pay is particularly low - like Baltimore City where teaching is so stressful that they can't find enough applicants and 10%-15% of the teachers are recruited from the Philippines. They should all get combat pay there.
  13. MickinMD

    I story of how I got bad gas this morning.

    The gas station should be able to instantly void the extra charge - and apologize for it. I pay for most things by credit card for the cash-back bonuses. When I used to pay by cash I never checked the total on the receipt when I got it because I knew exactly what I had just paid in cash. Now I should be checking the total on the receipts paid by credit card since the total isn't always visible or mentioned when checking out, but I have developed the bad habit of not looking at the receipt until I put the receipt numbers into my budget spreadsheet. Once I was charged $184 for a pound of lunch meat because the deli counter guy entered the wrong info and neither he nor I checked the price sticker. The cashier probably just scanned the package without looking at the price. I saw the error only after I got home. It couldn't have been a store 5 min. from home but one 1/2 hour away. The store corrected the charges quickly and, over an hour after discovering the error, I was back home promising myself to check the receipts when handed them. I still slip up every once in a while.
  14. MickinMD

    USB cables

    The same thing for the micro-USB charger on my Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone. I look for the logo on the plug, making sure it's facing up, before I plug it in.
  15. MickinMD

    Cheapness! And a puppy!

    I don't keep my old computers. I had Apple II Plus serial no. 00802. Maybe I should have saved it for a future Antiques Roadshow. I did get a Microsoft Office 2000 disc with a computer back then and kept using it - or copies made of the two discs - until a couple years ago when I started using the freeware WPS Office (https://www.wps.com/office-free) that's virtually the same as M.S. Office 2016.