Thursday, October 21, 2010

How Many Fingers Do You See???

I don't know if you've noticed the recent news frenzy dealing with concussions. Every newspaper sport section, every sport commentary on TV and even that new fangled internet thing has run some kind of report on the "Problem". I even heard today that Major League Baseball is thinking of instating a new shorter CDL (concussion disabled list) mainly for players who suffer from concussions. It seems that concussions, also known as Badly Bruised Banged-around Brain Syndrome (BBBS) has no boundaries. All of us are susceptible . Just a simple palm to the forehead with a verbal "DAH!" can cause a mild case of BBBS. Although the Media has made me very aware of danger of random head banging, it didn't touch home until last weekend as we visited Summer, Reid and Baby Eddie. Eddie, who is in the early stages of crawling 101, was working on his "come from behind, grab Sammy's tail" technique, when he misplaced his little hand (or it could have been his little knee) and bonked his little bean on the floor. It didn't seem to bother him too much but it did make Sammy aware of his intention. The total Bonk was pretty minor but, what if it had been Bonky enough to cause BBBS? The natural protective Grandpa juices started flowing. How can I keep my little Eddie from going on the CDL? I rushed off to my laboratory. (in this case, the upstairs john. I guess that would make it my lavatory) Fortunately I had my slide rule T-square, compass and forceps along on the trip. In no time at all I managed to develop a suitable solution to the infant BBBS problem . . . The Crawler's Cranium Cap. A relatively simple solution. Reid's mom, Rita, is a world class spinner, weaver and knitter so a suitably smartly styled cap could be produced with no problem. The real safety factor lies in the lining of the CCC . . . Bubble Wrap. This material would not only act as a cushion in Bonk situations but the popping sound of the bursting bubbles would alert a possibly snoozing parent that little Junior just had a chance meeting with the floor. The lining could be easily replaced after all of its pop is pooped and the cap could be handed down generation to generation considering the parents decided to extend their family after realizing the apparent dangers involved. As Seen on TV ads were put into the works, a Spokesperson was named, and a price was set - $19.95 RPSLP (Ron Popeil's Suggested List Price) "But Wait if you call now we'll double the offer!!!" Sorry I got a little carried away. And a little ahead of myself. Reid, who is a little more detail oriented than I, took the time to do some research on the net thing and discovered that the "so-called" head case was already covered. Once again blindsided by a bunch of cheap imitators who just wait around for a guy to come up with an ingenious idea and then steal it. This isn't going to discourage me, I will continue to do my best to protect mankind from hidden dangers and Grandkids from Bean Bonks.

CCC spokesperson Marty Feldman states,
"If I had worn a CCC as a child, I might not have become a movie star".

Now, here's one safe kid!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Best Friends Baking?

This past weekend we had the pleasure of taking another run up to "The Cities" to visit Grandkid Eddie and his folks. This is always a treat for Super Granny Jo and usually a multiple treat for me. Although I enjoy seeing and playing with Eddie, Sammy and family, I really love the ride along The River, and, usually, a real highlight is the stuff I find in Summer's kitchen. Summer and her best friend, Lisa, over in Seattle are involved in baking their way through a cookbook. (a dessert cookbook) Regularly they post results, accompanied by photos and commentary, of each project. ( Normally when we go up for a visit we are treated to one of the wonderful desserts that has already been tested on respective hubbies. Once again I wasn't disappointed, little "Molten Dark Chocolate Cakes" were the featured dessert Friday evening. (With a little leftover for an early morning snack) But the culinary world wouldn't be interesting without a well-wishing, good-natured, meddling old guy with a recipe that looked kinda good in the Shopping News. (I've always found that the best place for gourmet dining suggestions is The Shopping News or Neighborhood Advertiser) This particular (or peculiar) recipe was for a Ham and Almond Pastry Ring. At a glance, it looked pretty tasty. But once again, failing to read beyond "pastry ring" was my first mistake. To make a long bad tasting story short, it was awful! Reid, Summer and Jo only managed to down two or three fork fulls before giving up on it and Reid headed into the kitchen to whip up some edible scrambled eggs and toast. Determined to defend my epicurean discovery, I not only finished my first helping but eagerly chowed down on a second portion whereupon I admitted, "actually, the more of this you eat, the worse it tastes". Reid's eggs looked, and I was told, tasted great but, by this time, my appetite had not only left me but took off in the direction of Canada. Needless to say, from now on, I'll keep my recipe suggestions to myself and confine my breakfast menu selections to chocolate doughnuts, pecan rolls and chocolate cake and leave the fancy breakfast creations to ihop and Bob Evans. In the best interest for the health and well being of the family, their home and their belongings, we decided it would be best to vacate the premises long enough for the HAPR to clear through my system. The logical choice, the St Paul, Como Park Zoo. What better place to, shall we say, blend in with the environment. I managed to stay close to open cages and, every now and then point at one of the animals while pinching my nose and waving my hand. This really teed off a group of Howler Monkeys who were involved in some personal hygiene of their own and didn't care to be the butt of my little joke. After a couple of hours out in the fresh air, we felt it was safe to return home and prepare a little less exotic dinner.

Ham and Almond Pastry Ring being given a suitable sendoff.
(We tried sending it to "those starving kids overseas", they sent it back!)

The trip home on Sunday was fairly uneventful as I chose to take the route through the migrating swan feeding area only to find that they haven;t arrived yet. Maybe in a couple of weeks.

The geese are lining up, jockeying for good seats to watch the upcoming Swan Show.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wild Swan Chase

Last Monday I decided to take advantage of the beautiful Native American Summer weather by driving up The River to check on the annual Tundra Swan migration. Just south of La Crosse, Wisconsin on the west side of the Mississippi River is an area where thousands of Tundra Swans, and other migratory water fowl, stop to rest and carb up for their journey to their wintering grounds. I thought it might be a little early in the season and with the warm weather, the chances of large numbers of birds would be pretty slim. But, it was nearly eighty degrees and a good excuse for a car ride. I guess I wasn't the only one yearning for a road trip. On my little journey I saw more top down convertibles than I had seen all summer. Anyway, I was right! On the way "up" I drove the Wisconsin side of The River and saw no wild life other than a couple of elderly ladies dueling for the same handicap parking spot at Walmart. Proceeding "down" the Minnesota side I finally spotted a Blue Heron and then small groups of Canada Geese. (barely a gaggle) When I arrived at the area that Our Government has designated as an authorized Swan Rest Stop I could see three or four groups of swans out in the center of The River. Even my zoom lens didn't make it worth while to try shooting photos of them. As a matter of fact I'm not even sure if they were swans or not. They could have been pelicans or white rhinos for all I could tell. Can't consider the trip a complete waste of time. Because after arriving back home, while downloading my camera, I discovered that I had captured quite an interesting shot. As I drive up to The Cities this weekend you can be sure that I'll be a lot more aware of what's out in that river.

It's amazing that I didn't notice the fall color on the opposite shore.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Undercover Boss

Maybe you wonder where I've been for the past week. (Probably not, but so what. I needed a theme) Actually, intrigued by the TV show "Undercover Boss", I decided to go undercover in my company. I must admit that I really don't have a company. But, if I did, I would want to look into the inner workings of it. I started off by disguising myself so not to be recognized by my imaginary employees. (I fooled all but one of them) After just one day of performing the menial tasks that normally go undone, I discovered how tired I would get on a daily basis if I did all the stuff that needed doing. I must admit as I looked throughout my room...I mean company I found almost no disgruntled employees. As a matter of fact we are all very gruntled. As in any other company the size of mine there are always things and procedures that can and should be improved. Since returning to overcover I have instituted a few things that will make the company a better place to (pardon the expression) work. Bowls of chocolate, in some form, shall be placed throughout the plant. Pie will be served with most lunch entrees and plates of freshly baked cookies will be available for emergency munching. I am initiating extra coffee breaks for noncoffee drinkers. These will be know as Root Beer Float/Chocolate Malt breaks. And, lastly I am setting up a scholarship fund for all employees who wish to further their education by pursuing degrees in clock setting, battery replacement and pastry chefmanship. I am sure that if you should call into the "company" in the future you will encounter a holier, happier and probably fatter reception from a holier, happier and probably fatter me. I think that this has been a very successful undercover week and should be picked up by CBS to air on a TV near you. Now if I can get this stupid beard off, I'll get back to work.
(It gets all messy from the chocolate frosting on my triple chocolate cake.)