DisAnDat

Spring is sprung.

The grass is riz.

I wonders where the birdies is?

The birds is on the wing, I’ve heard.

Hmm, I thought the wings was on the bird.

It’s official weather fans, at least in this part of Southern Ontario, the back of winter is officially broken.  Oh, we may still get a cold snap, or even another good snowfall, but we’ve had almost a week of above-freezing temps, and clear sunny days.  My driveway is finally devoid of any snow or ice.  There’s a foot and a half of grass at the edge of the driveway, and the path I pounded down in the backyard for the dog, is turning green.  I have heard, though not actually seen, robins, for the last two weeks.  Houselights which used to be turned on by 4:30, are now not needed till after six.

This is the type of spring where I used to have my motorcycle on the road by March 15, instead of April 1.  The son and I went to a Chapters bookstore on Sunday, and there were several bikes out, enjoying the first decent riding day.

On Saturday, March 2, we took a slightly different route to the farmers’ market.  Just after our most recent snowstorm, we passed a house where, instead of building the usual snowman, someone had carved 6 or 7 Easter Island Moas out of snow.  Easter IslandWe weren’t the only ones impressed.  Monday morning a picture was on the front page of the local paper.  The wife downloaded it for me, and I’ve included it to show local artistic talent.

“Lost” shopping carts, taken off the property by various people, for various reasons, are a problem for supermarkets.  There’s a man near the daughter’s place, who made part of his earnings by driving around in his pick-up, and returning carts to stores.  Several local markets have installed a buried magnetic strip around the property.  If a cart crosses the mag-strip, it causes one of the wheels to lock.  The number of abandoned carts has decreased significantly.

My favorite market decided to go a different way.  They got rid of their old carts, and brought in a new batch which require the insertion of a quarter to release a chain, which not everybody likes, or has a ready quarter for.  This not only reduces the number removed from the property, but tends to insure that they’re not abandoned in parking spaces….or so the theory says.

In practice, lazy, inconsiderate fools will continue to be lazy, inconsiderate fools, even when it costs them 25 cents.  I was in the store last week, and two asshats had abandoned carts which were blocking the exit doors.  I’ll put them away for 50 cents.  The next day, I went back for something else, and removed two from parking spots, including a handicap spot.  I’m still doing what I used to do and bitch about, only now I get paid for it.  C’monnn  asshats!  Retirement is expensive.

I was in a different market last week, and saw the backs of several boxes of different spices.  The identification on the boxes simply read, Mt. Scio Farm, Mt. Scio Road, and gave a 7-digit phone number, no town, city, province or state, and no area code.  Always curious, I plugged it into an internet search-engine.  Man, you can find anything on the webz, if you know how to ask.  Turns out this farm is about a mile from KayJai’s place in Newfoundland.  Anything’s possible, but gourmet spices and The Rock, just don’t seem likely to happen in the same sentence.

The Pope has resigned, and the Catholic Church is in the midst of choosing another Pope.  Anyone who wants some God/Pope jokes, ask, and I’ll email them to you privately.  All I’m going to say is:  There is a Bishop in England, who has been accused of homosexually assaulting three priests and an ex-priest.  (You can be an ex-priest??  I thought it was like the Mafia, or the Hells Angels, you were in it till you were dead.)

The man who is most responsible for hushing up the story, and allowing this man time to quietly resign from the Church, is Cardinal Marc Ouellette, the Canadian with a good chance of becoming the next Pope.  It’s depressing to see that it’s still business as usual for the Holy, infallible Church.

Several years ago, while visiting Niagara Falls, I picked up what appeared to be a folded American one-dollar bill.  When I unfolded it, I saw a message which read, “Disappointed?  Not as disappointed as you’ll be, when you find that you’re going to Hell, because you haven’t accepted Jesus as your savior.”

Recently, I picked up a “Smart Card”, a business-card sized document.  Good thick card-stock, rounded corners, gloss finish on both sides and an inch-square fractal-metallic “hologram” area on the front.  This is an expensively produced artifact.  The card instructed the finder to press his/her thumb on the square “for exactly 15 seconds” to see if you were a “good person”.  If you are, the square will turn bright green.

The back of the card, which is covered in fine print, says, “Sorry….you’re just like the rest of us.  The dictionary says “good” is to be “morally excellent.”  Let’s check the standard – The Ten Commandments.”  It then rambles on for about 500 words about, accept Jesus, obey God, don’t lie, don’t lust, forgive sins and read the Bible, but assumes that the only way to be “good”, was through the Ten Commandments.

I am singularly unimpressed with any organization, or those who claim to represent the agency, who feel that this degree of trickery is needed to advance their moral position.

 

 

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It’s Chili Inside

All right, I warned you I was gonna pass out my recipe for chili.  You can try it and pass out later.

We never had chili when I was a kid.  We lived too far north to even hear of it.  Didn’t know what chili powder was.  My Mom’s spice rack had salt and pepper.  Ketchup was adventurous, although just after the ice-age, we called it catsup.  We were one of the first, daring families in our town to try Chef Boy-Ar-Dee’s boxed pizza mix.  We didn’t have a pizza tin, so we made it on a 9 X 13 cookie tray.  Perforce, it was a thin-crust pizza.  I learned to add a bit of flour to increase the crust, and add barbecue sauce or tomato juice to the kit’s little can of pizza sauce.  I grated extra cheddar for the top, but my mom couldn’t tell me what was in the spice mixture.  The wife has two racks, with 36 spices, and 24 herbs

Chili is a poor family’s meal.  Chili con carne means with meat, and is a small step up.  Often people saved money by adding things to the basic recipe, to stretch it, to feed more kids.  My wife’s family had nine kids.  They needed to stretch it as far as they could.

Basic chili con carne has meat, tomatoes, beans and chili powder.  After that, you can be as creative as you want.  Normally, the con carne means ground beef, but you can use ground pork, ground turkey – dark meat or light.  You can put in steak chunks if you can afford it.  The wife’s family’s recipe is below, complete with secret ingredient.  With lots of exceptions, women are often, merely cooks, following recipes, and men are the more creative chef types.  What I’m saying is, don’t get hung up on how many grains of salt.  Find out what works for you and your family, and go with it.

List Of Ingredients

1 to 1 ½ lbs lean ground beef

1 large cooking onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon chopped/grated garlic, fresh pressed or bottled – more, or less, to taste

1 – 29 oz. Can diced tomatoes

1 – 19 oz. Can red kidney beans

1 – 12 oz. Can Chili-style beans – Optional – if available, or any type of baked beans

1 – 10 oz. Can mushroom stems and pieces – optional

2  tablespoons chili powder – more, or less, to taste

Tabasco sauce, or equivalent, optional, know your eaters’ tastes and limits

Secret Ingredient/Chili Extender – leftover spaghetti, chopped to 1 to 2 inch pieces.  Adds a bit more meat and tomato flavor, as well as cheap carbs.  Strictly optional.

 

Preparation/Cooking Instructions

Basic instruction, Stir, stir, stir.  This is a thick soup/stew.

Chop onion fine

Add onion and garlic, salt and pepper to ground meat in large pot.  Break meat up fine and mix with onion/garlic.   Cook till done and liquid is driven off.  Add tomatoes.  Bring back to light boil.  Add kidney beans, bring back to heat.  Add chili-style or baked beans, bring back to heat.  Add mushrooms, if desired, and chopped, cooked spaghetti, a double handful, or as far as you want to stretch it, bring back to heat.  I add 6 or 7 drops of Tabasco.  BrainRants would use Sriracha.  Your tongue may differ.  Add desired amount of chili powder and stir well. Total preparation time to this point, including chopping onion and garlic, 45 minutes.  Turn heat to minimum and allow to meld.  Stir occasionally.  A half hour to hour allows flavors to blend.  You can add small chunks of cheddar, Monterey Jack, or other cheese to go con queso, stir in, or serve separately.  Serve with saltine crackers, nacho-style chips, or toast.  Serves four to five hungry men, or an entire church social.

I had a hilarious story about super-hot Texas Chili that I was going to include, but I’ve rambled on too long with this cooking show, and I can’t seem to find it in the computer files.  What I think I’ll do is wait a couple of days, until you are allowed back in the house after all these beans, and then post the chili story as a follow-up, when I can find it.  Happy eating.