Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2021

Archive for the month “March, 2021”

Microwave Madness

I love my Microwave Oven.

It does what I ask of it. It makes me feel well fed and it warms my innards. There aren’t many things in this world that can make that claim.

I use my Microwave Oven to heat up my favorite frozen burritos. I use it to make my favorite instant Oatmeal. What more can I ask?

My Microwave is a Thousand Watt device and I know just how long I need to set the timer thingy to get my yummy stuff done properly. I know just what I need to do and, PRESTO! I have a bowl of hot Oatmeal! I don’t need to think about it. If I do have to think about it…that’s where I get into trouble and my Oatmeal goes airborne.

If I am at home, in our own kitchen, with our own warm and friendly Microwave, Life is good and so is my Oatmeal. I know that I can trust that Microwave. I know that it will not trick me or try to fool me into exploding my frozen burritos.

Trust is important in a Microwave.

Earlier this year my wife, The Lovely and not a fan of frozen burritos, Dawn, and I had traveled to visit with Family in Texas. While the visiting was grand the traveling presented me with a variety of Alien Microwave Ovens.

On the road we were faced with different Microwaves in each hotel along the way. I knew that would be the case. I just knew it! This was not my first rodeo. So, to avoid crushing problems with my Oatmeal and/or frozen burritos, I didn’t use those Alien machines for anything other than heating up a pastry copped from the Hotel Lobby Breakfast and Coffee Buffet. Their Microwaves were of questionable quality and wattage. I wasn’t about trust them with anything as important as my morning Oatmeal.

Once we arrived at our destination in Texas I felt that my Microwave Angst could safely be shed. One Microwave. One new and reliable machine. One good steaming bowl of Oatmeal and/or formerly frozen burrito.

My needs are simple.

In my dreams.

I discovered, much to my dismay and the need for a fresh roll of paper towels, that the Microwave Oven in our temporary kitchen was not a 1000 Watt appliance, but a 1200 Watt Destructo-Matic Furnace. While I knew that 90 seconds in our Microwave at home produced flawless Oatmeal this 1200 Watt Hiroshima Machine worked much faster and hotter.

90 Seconds at home. 55 Seconds in Texas.

“Houston, we have a problem!”

In a sense of misplaced trust I set the timer for 90 seconds and walked away. While I was away in blissful ignorance that Steel-Making Blast Furnace heated my Oatmeal into a Quasi-Magma and erupted – sending my Oatmeal off on a 360 degree Diaspora onto the walls and rotating base of the Microwave.

I never knew that Oatmeal could fly with such force.

Later that day, as my need for a hot lunch arose, I popped a pair of frozen burritos into that same, now Untrustworthy Microwave.

My Mama didn’t raise no fools! A couple of whining neurotics perhaps, but no fools! I wasn’t going to leave my frozen burritos alone inside that Microchipped Inferno. At home I would have set the timer at a few seconds shy of three minutes. In Texas I set it for a minute less and hit the Start button. I stayed, staring at my burritos as they rode the merry-go-round in the Microwave.

At little more than one minute my lunch began to twitch on the plate. Ten seconds later they began to disassemble themselves. The tortillas opened up and the filling oozed like a Hawaiian lava flow. I hit “Stop” and rescued my now Soft Tacos. They were still quite edible, but just mutated from their original form.

Lesson Learned: Never trust an unknown Microwave.

Other Lesson Learned: Hyper-Microwaved Oatmeal is not easy to clean from the rotating base without a mild abrasive and a few curse words.

It’s not easy, but it can be done.

Let’s Eat!

She Just “Sort of” Robbed The Bank

Today’s post is an “Oldie But A Goodie” from September of 2015.  It is one of my personal favorites and, as bizarre as it seems, I assure you that it is completely true.

 

I WAS CHATTING WITH THE USUAL SUSPECTS the other day when the topic of bank robbery came up. Sometimes they scare me. This bunch of Geezers couldn’t rob the Food Bank, let alone an actual – “Money in the vault, Can I see some ID, please,” type of bank. This group would be called the “Don’t forget to take your meds gang.” Even so, they would be a bigger threat than a person I once knew who really did try to rob a bank.

Read more…

Crunchy Lunch Anyone?

As I have mentioned before my wife, the lovely and talented, Dawn, and I have been watching a lot of cooking shows recently and we have had some really tasty dishes cross our table as a result. I think part of these new and delicious meals is an attempt to expand my diet beyond frozen Mexican food and Manwich.

Inadvertently, I think that I may have killed that golden (and crispy) culinary goose.

Can I help it if I mentioned a news story that has been voted an appetite killer in our home? Yes, I suppose I can.

“After spending almost two decades underground, Brood 10 cicadas are due to appear in U.S. states between Georgia and New York this spring…”

And Indiana, and a bunch of other states.

It wasn’t so much that I mentioned this story about these pesky bugs, it was that I reminded Dawn about a visit to an Indiana State Park we enjoyed (up to a point) a few years ago.

We had rented a cabin in the Park and were just kicking back and relaxing when the State Park Rangers announced that there was going to be a presentation open to all Park visitors…a presentation of recipes on how to cook, eat, and theoretically enjoy, the millions of Cicadas that were infesting the Park.

If you are unfamiliar with Cicadas allow me to inform you about them.

They are a truly ugly, noisy, and prolific species of insect. There entire purpose seems to be to hatch from their buried eggs by the millions, fly into the trees, bushes, and any place they can. They then start making a loud and annoying mating call (up to 100 decibels). They mate. Then they bury their eggs underground, and then they die. Their ugly little corpses pile up until they are eaten by other critters. Actually, that’s a lot like the life cycle of Hollywood Starlets and some Comedians I’ve known.

The very thought of cooking and eating them is enough to make my body trigger a number of unpleasant reflexes. We did not attend the Park Ranger’s presentation. We’ve never even been back to that State Park.

Now I am seeing news stories about this year’s expected inundation of the ugly little bugs. There are different kinds of Cicadas that have different hatching schedules. Some hatch every year while others stretch it out as long as seventeen years. That’s the bunch we are going to get this year. Billions and Billions of noisy seventeen year old teenagers. Thank God they don’t drive.

Even though the very thought of eating Cicadas does not appeal to me I know that there are some people walking the streets like zombies for whom a Cicada Sandwich sounds tasty. I don’t care if they are crunchy, low carb, and gluten free, I’m not going there. I’ll stick to my frozen burritos and Sloppy Joes.

For those of you who are interested in chowing down on Cicadas I am including some disgusting information for you.

Ordinarily I would wish you a cheerful “Bon Appetit,” but in this case all I can come up with is “Save Yourselves!”

Here is a ten hour loop of Cicada Sounds. Pleasant dreams.

Cooking With Cicadas

One Man’s Collection Is Another Man’s Trash

Lately I have been seeing a lot of things online about people and their collections of this that and the other thing. It seems that if it exists there is someone who collects it. I was never much of a collector. I left all of that to my older brother.

Jimmy was just a little guy when someone gave him some stamps and an album to stick them in. That gift lit the fuse in him and he became a serious stamp collector…or a “Philatelist” as he chose to be called. He kept on collecting for decades and turned his hobby into a significant bankroll.

I saw how much pleasure he got out of his stamp collection so I figured that I’d try it.

I found it to be mind numbingly boring and my collection soon found its way into one of my brother’s albums.

“Stamps: Free to a good home.”

I tried coin collecting. I was a failure at being a Numismatist too. At least the stamps were colorful. The coins were as exciting as dirt.

As the years passed and my brother and I moved on our separate paths his collecting gene kept him accumulating stuff while I went in the other direction and worked hard at getting rid of things. I began to suspect that one of us was adopted. He was dark and muscular. I was pale and flabby, but I had seen our birth certificates so there was no doubt about our lineage.

It was in the 1970s when the next Great Collection Storm began. I started collecting British Sports Cars. I didn’t let it get out of hand. My collection topped out at One. They take up room.

I was living in Cleveland. He was in the suburbs of Washington D.C. It had been awhile since I had driven down there to visit him, his wife and kids. I just assumed that he was still into Stamps. The stamps had become residents in a safe deposit box silently gathering in value. He had started a new collection that gave him both pleasure and the need for additional space.

I was both shocked and mystified when I walked into their den and saw row after row of shelves on

every wall filled with Beer Cans. Empty beer cans.

It had never occurred to me that anyone would collect beer cans. I don’t drink beer. I don’t like beer. I don’t have even one beer can, full or empty, in my life. He had hundreds. Of course I was given a detailed tour informing me about the “vintage” of each can. My brother made a good docent. The tour did not end in a gift shop. I have to admit that his display was both overwhelming and disturbing. Someone had to have chugged all that beer. His wife was nurse and couldn’t show up for work smelling like she hung out with Clydesdales and their daughters were significantly underage.

People love to collect things. They all have their own reasons, much like I have my reasons for not collecting things. My reasons result in a lot less dusting, but who am I to shake my head and go “tsk, tsk.”

I never criticized or belittled my brother’s collection of beer cans. It could have been worse. He could have collected Italian Sports Cars.

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