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Everything posted by MickinMD

  1. Leftover lasagna today. Tomorrow: leftover baked chicken thighs with Weber BBQ rub and Knorr Asian Chicken Flavor Fried Rice with fried onions and frozen peas and carrots nuked with it. In my freezer are two three pound beef briskets (one for a Texas brisket recipe and one for a Jewish brisket recipe) and a 3 lb chuck roast (I usually pressure cook it in a cream of mushroom soup-based gravy) and will probably make one in the next week unless I'm getting so much yard work done I'm too tired to cook. In that case, I have a 30+ oz. shepherd's pie and a 30+ oz. Stauffer's Lagasna Italiano in the freezer, each good for two meals for me and both nukable.
  2. I have a pair of sneakers with two velcro straps on each shoe. Easy on, easy off. They're not as tight as laces but shoes that are a little loose but not too loose work for me if I'm just shopping in stores, and not needing serious traction. I have a pair of Wrangler fisherman's sandals with velcro straps. They work great but I don't think Wrangler makes them anymore. I wore a pair of them on the rocky Caribbean beach at Costa Maya in 2017, a made-up tourist trap on the Yucatan Peninsula. To rent cheap slippers to swim in cost $20. I wore my $15.95 sandals in the water, hosed them down in my cruise ship cabin, and they lasted another year, velcro and all. A couple others in my extended-family group wore their cheap sandals and they fell apart from the salt water within a day or so. Now that I think of it, that beach was one of the few places we stopped that had free Wifi Internet (I didn't pay for it on the ship) and I sent pictures from that beach to here back then:
  3. I have a lot of lawn work to do. I mowed the lawn Wednesday, then had a couple bad days with four excellent days forecast beginning tomorrow. So I'll try to get everything cut, trimmed, etc. that's growing in the wrong places.
  4. That brain vitamin commercial is the one thing I find dislikeable about her. There are a couple things she says involving specific vitamins making you smarter that sound suspicious to me. And her claim that she should know because she's a Ph.D. neurobiologist doesn't quite ring true. It's like saying you're an expert in washing machines just because you're a mechanic. Her Ph.D. Thesis was on diseases, not on the nutrients that make the neurons work better or how they get into the system.
  5. I've never heard the line about being strong to run. I know what it's like to be out of shape and not running and to run at least 6 miles/day and be in shape with a low heart and pulse rate because you're so fit. Running - and cycling - and even walking make you stronger than when you're not doing so.
  6. Your monetary analysis is right. Also, maybe a decade ago, I read reports where 15% alcohol caused auto engines to wear out faster than 0% alcohol. I don't know if that's true with more recent vehicles, but I would think that 85% alcohol could have a serious effect: gasoline, mostly octane and octane-like hydrocarbons, are non-polar and don't have much attraction for the metal atoms in the engine. But alcohol is a polar molecule, with a slightly negative oxygen atom that forms an attraction to the metal atoms in the engine much weaker but similar to the way water causes rust. 85% ethanol is a little scary to me.
  7. I get a kick out of reading writings in historical figures' own words about what happened or the words of those who were with them. That includes Conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo's account of the Conquest of Mexico and Winston Churchill's History of World War II. I recently have read a little of Julius Caesars Commentaries, particularly the Gallic Wars. It's interesting reading his own translated words, though the fact he writes in third person ("Then Caesar order the cavalry...") takes a little away from it. What I'm reading now: I've recently learned that Augustus Caesar, the first Roman Emperor though he kept up the pretense of a Republic, wrote "Res Gestae," his account of his achievements. I got an ebook version of it and, while it's got more than a little propaganda in it, it's a little more thrilling to read his report in the first person than a historians, It begins: Annos undeviginti natus exercitum privato consilio et privata impensa comparavi, per quern rem publicam a dominatione factionis oppressam in libertatem vindicavi. ... Qui parentem meum trucidaverunt, eos in exilium expuli iudiciis legitimis ultus eorum facinus, et postea bellum inferentis reipublicae vici bis acie. ... Cum scripsi haec annum agebam septuagensumum sextum. Fortunately, since I didn't actually learn the language outside of what I had to recite when I was an altar boy during the Catholic Latin Mass, the open book is in Latin on each left page and English on the right: At the age of nineteen on my own responsibility and at my own expense I raised an army, with which I successfully championed the liberty of the republic when it was oppressed by the tyranny of a faction. ...I drove into exile the murderers of my father [Julius Caesar, by adoption] avenging their crime through tribunals established by law; and afterwards, when they made war on the republic, I twice defeated them in battle. ... At the time of writing I am in my seventy-sixth year.
  8. I haven't needed the heat for several days after several days with short, take-the-chill-off, periods of furnace heat. Sunshine through the window and storm door glass has had a nice greenhouse effect and new exterior walls, roof, windows, and doors have high, modern insulation. This morning, my thermostat read 74° and the outside temperature never got higher than 70°. Right now, 8 pm, the thermostat reads 77° and, despite temps in the 50's overnight, should be around 74° tomorrow morning when I get up. If slightly cooler, normal temperatures occur for the rest of October, my gas and electric bill for October's usage should be in the $50 - $75 range. For the 4 years before the fire, the bill for October (paid in November) was between $99.87 and $118.12. I hope the savings hold up as we move from most of the bill being electricity to mostly natural gas.
  9. I just finished leftover lasagna with some cottage cheese and dill pickles on the side. I ate late because I got a phone call from a friend that lasted an hour. Thankfully I just had to nuke the lasagna. I'm also feeling good for the first time since a small cut on a toe followed by 10 minutes before I found the bandaids, two nights ago, pumped enough adrenaline into my system to keep me from sleeping until halftime in the Browns-Broncos game last night. Some catnaps today and healthy food (oatmeal and fruit for lunch) got me back to normal.
  10. That's a cool looking plate! I like it better than the Chesapeake plate I'll probably get next time and the standard state-flag-at-bottom plate.
  11. My experience is that the more complex the system, the longer those weak in IT skills will take to do anything about it, and then often make weird choices. At one point in the 1990's, my countywide school system set up an intranet system connected to the Internet. My Senior Aide, 17 years old, ran his own small ISP system and screamed at officials visiting from the school board that the school's new system had no protection. So they hired him, part time for peanuts, to install and run the systems' anti-virus stuff, firewalls, etc. It was the easy way out!
  12. No. My pre-fire house had a double sink in the kitchen. I decided I wanted one big, 33" single stainless steel sink even though I have limited counter space. Being single and not wanting to pile stuff up in the dishwasher, I wash dishes by hand and have a dish rack that sits above about 40% of the sink. That also helps me keep the sink itself from getting too grungy. Here's my 33" kitchen and it's not perfect, but not bad - most of the dark areas are shadows due to a picture taken at dusk. The few dirty items will be washed while supper, leftovers, are being nuked. The nozzle of the faucet, visible at the top, has a hose that allows it to be pulled out so I can spray all over the bottom without hitting the counter-space-saving dish rack.
  13. As a kid, I always wondered why most of the funerals I attended in Maryland tended to be somber, but the one's I attended in my mother's hometown, Wilkes-Barre, PA, were joyous with lots of polka music, etc. I learned that it has typically been the attitude of Polish-American funerals to celebrate the death, with the idea the deceased is going on to a better existence. When my mother passed away, at the Catholic Church funeral mass the priest said my mother was one who always got his attention and made her opinions known. Just then, the lights in the Church flickered out for a few seconds then came back on. The priest continued, "And I think she's getting our attention even now." Everyone laughed and left the church with smiles on their faces. That is an expected thing to do at a funeral in a high-percentage Polish-congregation church.
  14. This is true, but the average wage has become a much smaller percentage of corporate profits as the top dogs take a bigger slice of the pie. When Hostess went into bankruptcy, it forced its bakers to take a 25% pay cut then a 40% cut. Meanwhile, the CEO's pay was increased from $1.1 million to 2.2 million and the VP's, Treasurer, etc. got similar raises. When Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton, he used a trick of merger laws to move $25 million out of the employees pension fund allowed when "the company needs the money." As a result, the board awarded Cheney a $20 million increase in his pension! The total compensation for large company CEO's was 29x the avg. worker wage in 1979. It's around 350x now. They also now own their own fleets of planes, huge skyscrapers, etc. So I think it's reasonable for workers to get a bigger slice of the pie and for management to cut back on management expenses.
  15. YES! My job had me locked-in because of pension benefits. The pension amount is back-loaded and partly based on the last 3 years avg. salary. The Cadillac-level health retirement insurance benefits in Maryland's countywide public school systems fall off drastically if you don't have 20 years in the system from which you retire, from about 75% for 20 years or more to 25% to 0% if you have 19 years or less. I had to grin and bear it for several years as the system went to hell in the 2000's.
  16. Last Spring was the last time all the way inside to the Credit Union's (SECU's) main office: every few months I step inside SECU's lobby to get cash, which I rarely use - one ATM machine there lets you specify how many 1's, 5's, 10's, 20's, or 50's you want. When I get a check in the mail, I personally deposit it inside at SECU with a teller - though the tellers are at a different location and you only see them on a large monitor. I don't trust the drop-off box to not lose it and I haven't done the take-a-picture app because I don't want to put my banking information on my phone. Maybe I'll do an online picture next time if that's available - my computer is tremendously more protected from viruses, etc. than my cell phone. Also, if I get a new CD, I like to go to SECU and do it, because they'll tell me if a new, better rate is coming up and I can take my sister with me - I put her name as secondary owner on my CD's and she has to sign personally at SECU. I sold some shares of several stocks last Spring that I own through DRIP plans when I had additions done, paid for termite damage, etc. to the house while it was being repaired. I had not set it up so the DRIP's would deposit the money paid to me directly to my checking account and it would take a couple weeks before such a request went into effect, so I got some paper checks last Spring to cover it. I now have it set up so all my accounts for stocks and Series-I Savings Bonds can mail the money directly to my checking account.
  17. Sherpa-lined? I don't have anything made out of human skin except me.
  18. The Broncos were 3-0 before the Ravens whipped them something like 26-6, with the Ravens' top 3 running backs, All Pro cornerback, and key offensive line members out, but the 3 teams the Broncos had beaten were 0-9 through the first 3 weeks. The Broncos haven't won since. But the Broncos were, perhaps, more limited by injuries than the Browns. The Browns had an accomplished, good backup QB working behind a very good offensive line while the Broncos had to play banged-up Teddy Bridgewater who would limp in pain after each time he threw the ball - and which one announcer said was probably the reason he was intercepted in the endzone. The O-line is very important! Some QB's have gone from so-so to excellent moving to a team with a good O-line and receivers, like Ryan Tannehill going from Miami to Tennessee and Matt Stafford from Detroit to L.A. That O-line plus receivers like Landry and Beckham helped Keenum. Meanwhile, the Browns still had a strong running game without Chubb and Hunt, thanks a lot to their O-line. Remember what a great running back Le'Veon Bell was behind a great Steelers O-line and then how ordinary he looked playing for the Jets? Why the Broncos didn't go with Drew Lock at QB is unknown: local polls show Denver fans strongly prefer him over Bridgewater, who threw 3 interceptions week 6 and looked awful in the 1st half, and even the announcers expected Lock in the 2nd half Thursday. The Broncos also lost their one great-pass-rusher, Von Miller at the end of the 1st half.
  19. I have gone out of my way to look for ghosts and NEVER have seen one. I have relatives who are visited in dreams by the deceased who leave them with messages like, "I'm ok," then walk into the light. I have dreams about the deceased but NEVER realize in the dream they're supposed to be deceased. My father's brother Tom married, Ceil, the girl next door, whose mother, Amelia Davis, was a "coffee grounds reader" of some note in Altoona, PA. She once read the future for Eleanor Roosevelt. After my Aunt Ceil died young, Uncle Tom married a woman, Della, who was a bitch. She blamed Tom & Ceil's daughter, Linda, for tearing up dresses Della had in a locked footlocker in the attic. Linda told me that she never did it, that they saw her mother's ghost in the hallways until Uncle Tom divorced Della, and the ghostly presence was why they sold their house and bought a different one. Ceil's mother Amelia told me she saw Ceil's ghost in that house. On the day my father, in a WW2 Darby's Rangers raid, was wounded - eventually losing 3 fingers on his left hand - behind the lines north of Anzio in 1944, Amelia phoned my father's mother and asked, "What happened to Lou?" My grandmother said she had no news and Amelia said, "I don't want to worry you, but something serious has happened to Lou and it involves a dead woman." I remember growing up "knowing" that the only thing "Grandma" Amelia Davis got wrong was the dead woman - there was none. Then, my father told the Amelia story at a Ranger Reunion in 1964. Another Ranger, James Altieri, said, "Lou, don't you know the name of that farm village where you got hit? 'Femina Morte,' Italian for "Dead Woman." That is the ONE unexplainable, supernatural experience I've been associated with.
  20. If I was going to be imprisoned on a desert island for years and could take the video files of 10 TV series with me, Seinfeld would probably be one. I really liked that show. It ran from 1989 - 1998, years when I was coaching high school sports and often missed the show, so I loved the fact that the episodes story lines were mostly independent of each other and I could watch it not having missed something important in a previous episode. And there were some memorable episodes like the Soup Nazi, etc. I could use in school. Just when my physics students would be getting bored and losing attention I'd ask someone a question, get a wrong answer, then scream, "No soup for you!" and wake up the class.
  21. It depends on the job as being overdressed may give an out-of-touch impression, but in general I would wear a tie to an interview. You're showing respect to the interviewer and the job and that you don't overlook or ignore details and I think it would have a more positive than negative effect. When I wanted to go into teaching in the early 80's - with a graduate degree but no teaching certificate (earned at night two years later) - I was given a tryout as a substitute teacher. One day I showed up and was told to sub a gym teacher's classes, who reported to the outdoors sports fields. I did it in the suit and tie I showed up for work in! That got a lot of laughs from the teachers but, I soon after got a 2-months-long-term sub position, including upper-level math classes and the principal then recommended me to our countywide school system's personnel manager for a full-time job, which I got. They knew they had someone who took the job seriously. As I took the night school classes to get a teaching certificate, fellow students would ask me, "Who do you know in Anne Arundel County Schools that you got a full-time teaching position without a teaching certificate?" The usual requirement of 8-16 weeks of student teaching to get the certificate was waived and, by my 3rd year I had the Advanced Teaching Certificate with Qualifications to teach AP (college level) Chemistry and Physics. That suit and tie sure didn't hurt! I always hated ties - I would slide a small rubber band around the top button, through the hole, and back to the button, hidden under the Windsor knot, and giving me room to breathe. I didn't wear a suit/sports coat but did wear a tie in the classroom on non-lab days, noticing how the teenagers didn't seem to respect the jean-clad, no-tie teachers very much. Every little symbol of authority is worth it in today's schools.
  22. I've been considering doing the same thing. I'm getting at least 15 nuisance calls/day, especially now that the Medicare Enrollment Period is active. I have such great, pension-based, mostly-subsidized Medicare Supplemental BCBS insurance with prescription, dental, and vision, that doing any alternative would be insane. I've mentioned that to the callers and then get the same asshole calling me later. Now I just hang up. I have the same landline number, beginning with "789," since it was my parents' number, listed as "STate 9" in the 50's. For a while, I had a phone-line based DSL internet service, then I was told the land line was useful if the power went out and the phone towers weren't working, I could call the phone, power, etc. companies. But I always give my cell number to people because that's the phone that's with me all the time. So, I may do the same thing.
  23. Long before we sci-fi nuts knew "Qapla!" was Klingon for "Success!" we knew "Klaatu barada nicto" were words in a space alien language. I even played in a chess tournament in the '70's where that was the name of the tournament! I woke up early, channel surfed and there it was: The old black-and-white movie classic I hadn't seen in years, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951), starring Michael Rennie as space alien Klaatu and Patricia Neal as Helen Benson, the earth woman who helps him! I had to watch it! The climax begins when Klaatu tells Helen to say to his giant robot Gort who was guarding his spaceship: "Helen, if anything happens to me, go to Gort and say, 'Klaatu barada nikto.'" Apparently women in 1951 could run for blocks in high heels and only two guards, that Gort vaporized, were assigned to guard a spaceship on the Mall at D.C.! Apparently, those three alien words translate to, "Don't turn the Earth into a burned out cinder, carry Helen into our flying saucer, lock her in a room, locate and get me, Klaatu, carry me back to the saucer and revive me." or maybe it's just "Code nicto for Klaatu," and Gort was programmed to do the rest.
  24. In some European cities, there are bike racks with public, single speed bikes for riding from one rack to another for free. I've wondered how easy they are to use. Even back when I was a teenager in the 60's, I had graduated to a 3-speed and couldn't imagine riding a one-speed bike.
  25. Driving here was good - empty freeways - until the Fall of 2020, when it slowly returned to close to normal by the end of the year. The Baltimore-Washington area has heavily congested traffic in normal times and it's been heavily congested most of this year.
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