Friday, March 29, 2013

Saving the Republican Party: Let Those People Go!

I just read today that Mike Huckabee is threatening that if the Republican Party decides to support Gay Marriage that the Evangelists will leave the Party and form a third party.

Excellent. Now I don't have to write an entire blog on why the Republicans need to find a way to control the crazies, just like Stephen Harper has done so well in Canada.

My advice, paraphrased from Moses, "Let those people go!"

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Seven Days in Florida

(sung to the tune of "Six Days on the Road")

We pulled out of Buffalo
 and went flying down the eastern sea board
We were excited to see the Nanny
 and the rest of the Schiller hoard
We had our luggage fully packed
With carry on in a sack
Ten hours start to finish, now I feel that sun on my back.
We had a beautiful house
With the intercoastal and a pool way out back
We ate all ‘cept the kitchen sink
And the Nanny drank a 32 oz. drink
Seven days in sunny Florida and the forecast said home will be snowing, they think.
Dina, Arnie, Petey, Lisa, Joe and Holly
We made merry and were all very jolly
Everyone is doing fine
Lisa’s new house is just divine
And, they still over feed you at the Melting Pot at dinner time.
Now that we’ve got Dina
joining into the family
Food is just great with lasagne and
Chicken Piacenti
And the love that those two have
It makes us smile and feel so glad
They just bought a brand new home
And I think it’s gonna be a love pad

Now we’re home back up North
and the weather is still way too cold
There’s no more pool and sun
And no alligators or lizards for fun
Seven days in sunny Florida and now I weigh a ton

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Boys Are Coming, The Boys Are Coming

Sung to the tune of "I just Can't Wait to be King" (from the Lion King)

It’s gonna be a mighty time, so happy it’s today
The boys are coming into town, that’s all I have to say
The toys are ready throughout the house
So neatly in a row
They’re waiting for the boys to come
And, then, to start the show

Oh, I just can’t wait for the boys

They ‘ll say let’s do this
Then let’s do that
Then how bout the train
And the railroad track

Oh, I just can't wait for the boys

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Stompin' Tom Connors

When I heard the news on the radio this morning that Stompin' Tom had passed away, I immediately thought of that wonderful song Tillsonburg. I'm a lyrics guy, and in my opinion, the most amazing thing about Stompin' Tom was his lyrics.
So, I began to start preparing my blog in my head when I went to the CBC website and found their tribute to Stompin' Tom, which includes comments from other Canadian greats in the music industry, like Raffi, Burton Cummings, Jann Arden, k.d. lang, and they keep on pouring in.
So, let me share the CBC link with you, but, just before that, in case you've never paid much attention to his lyrics, here are the lyrics to Tillsonburg, when it was a tobacco picking industry town:

Hey Tom, You ever been to Tillsonburg?
Tillsonburg? My back still aches when I hear that word
While, a way down Southern Ontario
I never had a nickle or a dime to show
A fella beeped up in an automobile
He said "You want to work in the Tobacco field's of

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) x2
My back still aches when I hear that word

He said I'll only give ya seven bucks a day
But if you're any good you'll get a raise in pay
Your beds already on the bunkhouse floor
If it gets a little chilly ya can close the door

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg)
It was Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) 
My back still aches when I hear that word

I was feelin' in the morning anything but fine
The farmer said I'm gonna teach ya how to prime
He said ya gotta don a pair of oil skin pants
If ya want to work in the Tobacco plants of

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) x2
My back still aches when I hear that word

We landed in a field that was long and wide
With one ol' horse and five more guys
I asked them where to find the cigarette trees
When he said bend over I was ready to leave

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) x2
My back still aches when I hear that word

He said just to pick the bottom leaves
And don't start crawling on your hands and knees
Prime your load cause you'll get no pay
For standin' there pickin' at your nose all day 'round

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) x2
My back still aches when I hear that word

With a broken back bendin' over there
I was wet right through to the underwear
And it was stuck to my skin like glue
From the nicotine tar on the morning dew of

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) x2
My back still aches when I hear that word

Now the nearest river was two miles from
The place where they was waitin' for the boat to come
When I heard some talk of makin' the kill
I was down the highway and over the hill from

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) x2
My back still aches when I hear that word

Now there is one thing you can always bet
If I never smoke another cigarette
I might get taken in alot of deals
But I won't go workin' the tobacco fields of

Tillsonburg (Tillsonburg) x2
My back still aches when I hear that word

My back still aches when I hear that word(x4)

And, as promised, here is the link to the CBC tribute page:

Link to Stompin' Tom tribute click here

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Slow Death of Coffee

I have been drinking coffee for the past 48 years, and currently, I am good for around 6 cups a day. Therefore, I think I am qualified to judge the devolution of the cup of coffee. What has caused this tragic degeneration of coffee from a tasty liquid delivery system for caffeine to a bland brown coloured and limply flavoured liquid delivery system for caffeine is speed and simplicity of preparation.

This process has been going on since I've been drinking the beautiful brown liquid. Let me explain.

When I first began drinking coffee, it was brewed in a pot that looked a lot like this.
 Inside the pot taking up the top third of the container was a basket which you filled with ground coffee.
 The stem of this basket was hollow and as you see above, the stand was shaped such that water could get inside the stand. When this water boiled, pressure forced it up into the stem, it hit the top of the pot, cascaded down the basket, through the ground coffee beans, and back into the boiling liquid. (note: this process is called percolating). Approximately 20 minutes later, voila, you had a brewed pot of coffee.

In 1968, my mother, one of the original Beauty Sisters, purchased a "cold water" brewing coffee maker, for me, from Faberware.
 Through the re-design of the stem and making it spring loaded, coffee could now begin brewing even before the water came to a boil. The result was a savings of about 5 minutes of time (25%), and, an almost just as good, but not quite, cup of coffee.

In 1972, Mr. Coffee(r) came out with the drip coffee machine.
This signaled the death of percolated coffee. The drip coffee machine used a slightly different process to brew coffee. Rather than having the water flow through the basket of grinds, Mr. Coffee accumulated boiling water inside a basket and forced the water to flow through the grinds as it eventually made its way through a small hole in the middle of the basket into the coffee pot. This process reduced the brewing time to approximately 10 minutes (another 5 minute time saver), and again, with a only a minimal degradation of flavour, and certainly, an improvement in reduced acidity.  Perhaps that why the process has had such a long life, it can actually point to an improvement over percolated coffee.

In the early 2000's, the single cup brewing machine came onto the commercially available market.
While this technology converted the process of coffee making into an almost instantaneous event, under 1 minute, it destroyed the flavour of a cup of coffee. Not only that, it created a giant amount of waste, just what we didn't need more of.
According to the experts, the Six Most Important Things For Making a Great Cup of Coffee are, in order of importance:
 Using the Best Beans
         Grinding Your Own Beans
     The Right Coffee Maker
            Cleanliness of Coffeee Maker
              A Stainless Steel Insulated Pot
The Water
You can't grind your own beans just before making your coffee when you use the single cup packet machine, and to me, that's one of the two big problems with the single cup brewers.

The second big problem is the conversion of a 10 cup drip basket to a 1 cup basket. With the 10 cup drip basket, the first 3-4 cups are extremely strong because they are going through fresh beans. The middle cups are somewhat diluted, and by the end of the process, the last few cups are weak. Nevertheless, the blend is perfect. We've all taken coffee from the pot before it was finished dripping and know how bad it is. In the single cup drip process, there just aren't enough grounds in total to allow the water to extract enough flavour to make a great cup of coffee.
To paraphrase an old truism, FASTER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER.