I saw two things yesterday that amused me. One of them much more amusing than the other. This is a test. Which of these do you find funnier? Both are funny. Don’t feel pressured. But I have a theory and want to know which you find funnier.
Vote as a comment.
The current quarantine around the Coronavirus has me feeling generous. So if you went to Michigan State in the ’90s, you definitely had a pizza from Good Times Pizza. My friend Rick and I believe one of the greatest foods ever invented were the Good Times breadsticks. I worked there for years. I memorized the dough recipe. Of the three pizza places where I worked from 1988 thru 1996, Good Times had the best dough. No. I don’t want to hear about your gourmet homemade doughs for thin crusts. This is a dough recipe for making and delivering hundreds of pizzas in a night.
Ya know what I hate about most Blogs with recipes? Too much preamble. So I’ll shut up and here you go…
You can mix it with a fork, but I hope you have a mixer and this dough hook thingy.
Put the dry ingredients into the mixer. Then mix the 6 Tablespoons of oil in with the hot water and slowly pour it into the mixer.
99% of the time, after 6-10 minutes in the mixer, it’s a perfect ball of dough. Form it into a ball about the size of a mini-basketball and cover it. If you can put it in the oven at 145 degrees or less, it will rise. Punch it down every 45 minutes for an hour and a half. Note: You don’t really need all that punching and kneeding, but it does make it rise better when baking.
This much dough will make two medium sized pizzas and an
order batch of breadsticks.
I use two 15-inch stainless steel pizza pans from Sur La Table (because I’m fancy) and a ceramic pizza stone thingy (I don’t know where I got it). Put a nickel size worth of veggie oil on each pan and smear it around. Then, with oily hands, split the dough into three nearly equal balls of dough (about 1 lb and 1 ounce each). The biggest ball should be the breadsticks.
Watch a YouTube video and teach yourself how to throw dough. But throwing the dough really isn’t necessary. You can just mash it and spread the dough out with your fingers. Then add toppings. My family, as you can see, is boring.
Oh, and this is important. Spread the breadsticks out and then cut them BEFORE cooking them, like you see in the images below.
Oven at 420. Timer set to 22 minutes.
Put the pizza with the most toppings in first on the top rack. All by itself. At the 20 minute mark, put the more boring pizza in. Middle rack. At the 18 minute mark, put the breadsticks in on the bottom rack. Now you start watching. Move them about every 6 minutes. Rotate them. Each pizza will want to spend some time on the bottom rack to crisp up the bottom crust.
At 22 minutes (or when they look done and about to burn), take the breadsticks out. Melt 3 TBSPs butter and 1 TSP garlic in a pan and then paint them onto the breadsticks. Then shake a generous amount of parmesan cheese over them.
Then take the other pizzas out and cut ’em up. These pictures make it look like I used yellow cheese. I didn’t and I don’t appreciate you accusing me.
At the time I posted this, we’re in the midst of a nationwide shelter-in-place because of the Coronovirus so try it. Call me if you have questions. If you fail, try again. You’ve got time. If you’ve got wee little kids …first, I’m sorry. Second, let ’em put the toppings on. Experiment. But trust me, when you get it right, you’re gonna thank me. Pizza hasn’t tasted this good since you ordered it at 3:00 a.m. to your dorm in Akers back in 1995.
This is an irresponsible Blog post with only about 45% accurate information. Nonetheless, I’ll touch on three things…
As I write this (March 20th, 2020), we’re about 8-days into the quarantine work-from-home era. Actually, it’s day-6 (in Michigan). I say this because last Friday I spent the entire day in the office, and so did all my co-workers. On Sunday night (March 15th), I decided I should stay home “for a day or two” and my amazing bosses agreed, and by Monday evening, my company ordered everyone to stay home if they had any “non-essential” roles that could only be done in the building.
Point being …not even a week ago, I didn’t have some of these words and phrases in my vocabulary and I’d never thought of how to survive a pandemic. Now? I’m an expert and the following, exhaustive lists come from posting a few things on Facebook and collecting all the comments as pure fact. Print this out and put it on your fridge.
The next phenomenon, and I’m amused by it, is wordplay around “quarantine” and I wonder how many of these will be in Webster’s Dictionary by the end of 2020?
Prevention Tips from Old Wives
My favorite remedies and health-tips are always those that come via “old wives”. If you’re young and aren’t familiar with an “old-wives tale”, it’s…
Old wives’ tale – DescriptionAn old wives’ tale is a supposed truth which is actually spurious or a superstition. It can be said sometimes to be a type of urban legend, said to be passed down by older women to a younger generation. Such tales are considered superstition, folklore or unverified claims with exaggerated and/or inaccurate details.
I think we’re living through a real-life Schrodinger’s Cat scenario. But first…
There are only two types of conversations about the current Coronavirus situation (or “global pandemic” depending on which type of conversation you’re engaged in).
“This is all such bullshit. It’s way overblown. Do you know how many people die from the flu each year? Or in car accidents? We have a car accident epidemic. Why don’t we all self-quarantine and stop driving? Plus, I hear the flu is worse. Kids don’t even get sick if they get COVID. Did you read about Tom Hanks? He says it’s like a really bad cold. I’m not canceling my vacation. I’m still going to work. I had friends over. Everyone who died is, like, 70 and older”
“Better to be safe than sorry. I’m worried about my parents and my aunt. I don’t think I’m going to let my kids have playdates and get-togethers. I wash my hands every 30-minutes, drink water every twenty minutes, and I wiped down every surface in my home. We’re only going out when absolutely necessary. I called my elderly neighbor and asked if I could get him some groceries and I left them on his porch. My boss gave us permission to work from home, so I’m going to. I’ve been watching the daily Presidential task-force press conference.”
And so we have a true, real-life, Schrodinger’s Cat scenario. Is society freaking out for no reason? Shouldn’t we have been washing our hands and practicing self-quarantine procedures every year when the flu hits? This is just common sense? And it’s spreading anyway, despite our best efforts. Or, is it spreading less than it would have if we hadn’t canceled school for three weeks? We’ll never know.
If schools and universities didn’t shut down, wouldn’t it just be a bunch of sick kids all passing it around? Like every day of every school year? Again, we’ll never know.
We also don’t know if it really will only be a danger to the elderly and those with compromised health.
Hence, the Schrodinger’s Cat scenario where we’ll never know which reality we’re carrying out by our decisions.
I love journaling. I love a good journal. But not actually. Journaling stresses me out. I read about why it’s so great. Good for clearing the mind. Get the thoughts out of the brain and onto paper. I read how studies show people who journal report less stress. I saw an article about a family that found a box of their father’s old journals and they turned it into a book. They cried and laughed at learning more about their Dad than they ever knew while he was alive.
So. Much. Pressure.
Journal every day, they say. Don’t edit. Write for 20-minutes even if you don’t know what you want to write about.
If my kids looked at the current page of my journal they would see the following…
If they flipped a page back they’d see a list of names (“Jay/Ken/Jeff”) and a random sequence of numbers (“421 457 621”). I don’t know what any of that means? Why, why, why did I use my journal to jot down random to-do’s?!?!?!
A page before that I began a journal entry with, “Stop reading books.” And above that I wrote, “I have this overwhelming feeling that my family is going to starve and we’re going to lose everything.”
Burn. This. Journal. Somewhere I’ve journaled, maybe more than once, that I think dinosaurs were actually alien cattle and they were dropped off on Earth to graze, and when the had eaten all the plant life, the aliens took their cattle to another planet with vegetation.
“Hey. We found Dad’s old journals.” Four days later, “he never journaled about the people he murdered, but Dad obviously was a serial killer.”
Must. Start. A. New. Journal.
If my kids find the 11 journals I’ve been keeping since college, they’ll think their father was a lunatic. Maybe I am. Thanks, journaling.
And I can never decide what kinda journal I want. I like my current Moleskin. Two of my journals are composition books. I have a cool one (a third full) that’s leather bound and says “Seize the Day” on the cover. But now my friend Nick bought an old-timey journal that looks like it was found on a pirate ship. I think I want that. I’m sure I would journal less-crazy things if I had a journal that looked old. Right?
Mostly, I wish I had journals like Indiana Jones and his father, Sean Connery. They sketch things. They take notes and draw maps. They contain the secrets of the universe and God. The Joneses, and lots of people in movies with journals, remember things at important times and then furiously thumb through their journals to find what they wrote down and then frantically show other people and say things like, “see …Chester Copperpot …pieces of eight!!! Eight is the number needed to make the flux capacitor work. Great Scott!!!”
Me? I can frantically show someone the number for Cobra Benefits should they ever quit a job and need super expensive health insurance.
I’m nearing the last page of my Moleskin and I’ll need a new journal. This time, it’s going to look cool, be filled with interesting things ONLY, and maybe help my kids find buried treasure or the lost city of some ancient civilization. Dammit.
I’m a history buff. I rarely read fiction. I like reading about history. But who has the time?
I like watching movies.
So, a few months ago I decided to merge two things I love into a more efficient time management system and I decided I am only going to learn my history through Hollywood movies (and the occasional foreign movie). I will accept the inaccuracy and bias, willingly, and will treat the movie as fact. The actual people from history books are never as good-looking at the actors and actresses portraying them, historical things with don’t have dramatic musical scores, and for entertainment purposes, screenwriters, directors, and actors add things (including dialogue) to make history better.
I will, from now on, happily accept it all.
Last month, I watched The Report and I do not want to know how biased it is. If you want to convince me of something different, make a movie, please.
I just watched Operation Finale, about Adolf Eichmann hiding out in Argentina and a group of special forces Israelis that snatched him out of Argentina and brought him back to Israel to stand trial and be executed. If I had wanted to learn about this in some other way than watching a two-hour movie, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I might not have even known about it at all (it’s embarrassing how little I actually know about stuff). I mean …just watch the trailer below!!! Who wouldn’t want to learn about history by watching Ben Kingsley deliver an emotional and pleading performance that invokes rage, sympathy, and horror in the viewer? In real life, there’s no way all of it went down like this movie shows it did. Who could ever know if one of his captors shaved him and gave him a cigarette? Some black and white stock footage and a historian being lit from the side and telling you about history is never going to be better than learning history from an Academy Award winner.
Next up on my History by Hollywood tour is…
Now …watch this trailer and learn a little something.
Here’s what I said I would do for Lent…
I think if you put the above into a spreadsheet and analyzed the results, I’m having about a 55% success rate. Will I ever be valedictorian of Lent? No. Because even if, starting today, I consistently do everything above for the rest of Lent, I won’t get to 100% (unless I Blog twice in a day and exercise for 60-minutes and make up the gap, but that would require some really, really intense math …maybe I’ll ask my brainy son to work on that).
Here’s the point – if at first you don’t succeed …try, try again. Hmmm. I should write that down. I’m pretty sure I invented that quote. Life ain’t “all or nothing.” We should remember that. Nobody …and I mean nobody …is perfect. Even if they appear to be, it’s only what they want you to see.
Task complete. I Bloggded. I invented a quote about “trying” and “succeeding”. And I’m also gonna share that I’m obsessed with Alanis Morissette’s new song.
Mark today on your calendar. Today is the day, after more than a decade of Blogging, that I’ve finally figured out what my Blog is gonna be and how I’m gonna organize it.
I’m into stuff. So my Blog is going to be about all the “stuff” I’m in to.
And there’ll be other stuff.
Trust me, this is exciting stuff. I’m hopeful that someday it can be a lesson to my many friends who’ve started stuff, and then stopped doing stuff, that it’s OK.
Just because you wanted to be a novelist and never wrote a novel, well, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it now. Want to write a screenplay? Do it. Want to have a Podcast? Want to be a chef? Want to start a new job? Want to get in shape, exercise and be healthy?
Doesn’t matter when you start, or how many times you’ve started and stopped.
Welcome to a new category on the Blog …Dad Stuff.
Ours is a house divided. How? Gender-specific bathrooms (I know …not very “woke”). However it happened, the girls (Mom, teen-daughter #1, and teen-daughter #2) have the upstairs, remodeled, pretty bathroom, and the boys (Dad and teen-age son) have the less-pretty basement bathroom. The boy’s shower isn’t much to look at and looks dirty even when clean, but it does have the best shower head, great water pressure, and most of all …it has super-hot water.
Teen-daughter #1 like to use the boy’s shower.
The boy’s shower, and bathroom, follows a minimalist’s vision. A single bar of soap for Dad. A single bottle of body wash for the boy. One bottle of shampoo for both. That’s it. Everything has its place. Nothing changes. We like it that way.
Teen-daughter brings multiple bottles of body wash, shave creams, various shampoos, a razor, more shampoo, and more body washes. The bottles are squeezed and contorted in such ways you would think they belong to King Kong. When teen-daughter leaves the bathroom, after very long showers, the bathroom is trashed. Bottles are strewn about the shower floor, some balanced precariously on the shower door rail, some in the rack (where they should go) and it takes Dad a few minutes to put everything away after teen-daughter wreaks havoc.
Dad has warned her.
“We don’t mind you using our bathroom, but could you please take the various products back up to your bathroom when you are done? Or, at least, not leave so many laying on the floor?”
Teen-daughter ignores her pushover father.
But no more.
I’ve now threatened to evict her from our bathroom. Enough is enough. We must return our shower to neatness and simpleness. We cannot have our boy-bathroom overrun and begin to smell like, and look like, a girl-bathroom.
Granted, the exfoliating foot wash is quite nice …but NO!
This will not stand. She has been warned.
Like everyone who adopts a plant-based diet, I’m telling you all about it. I like to think I’m a little different because mine isn’t about weight loss, but mine is about eating a phlegm-free diet in order to help my lungs. I’m not doing it to save the planet or because I love animals. I’m doing it because when I eat shitty food, I get sick. And when I get sick, I cough and cough and cough …and cough because of my bronchiectasis.
For the record, I ate pepperoni pizza twice in the past week. I had regular butter a few times. I ate a crab cake sandwich on a thick, white-bread bun with fries. I ate every last French fry. I just did. Dipped it in ranch.
And then I stop.
Being plant-based 95% of the time for 7-weeks has reduced my cravings for greasy meaty stuff. Being plant-based takes practice. I’ve added a few recipes (like this vegan waffle recipe that I eat smothered in almond butter and strawberry fruit preserves). My downfall was always cravings I couldn’t control. I would tell myself, “Don. Just go get a Five Guys and all those fries and today will be your send-off. Your swan song. Enjoy the Five Guys and then …that’s it.” I know junk-food leads to more junk-food. The adrenaline rush of a Five Guys burger and fries makes me want it again. The quick burst of happiness that comes when I buy 2 Jimmy John’s subs only makes me want it again.
It’s a mental battle every day, but when the chemical processes in my brain stop whispering to me, “hey, Don …eat that Five Guys …go get a Big Mac …drink that Pepsi over ice with a big bucket of popcorn and don’t forget the free refills …don’t worry …this is your moment of weakness, Don …tomorrow and every day forward you’re gonna be amazing.”
Those whispers, after 7-weeks of bullying myself, have started to whisper, “hey, Don …take 10 deep breaths …notice you didn’t cough or wheeze …didn’t you enjoy that deep sleep last night …make that smoothie with all the add-ins …do you enjoy how your clothes fit?”
It doesn’t happen overnight. The junk-food devil-on-my-shoulder didn’t want me to stick with this, but he’s talking to me alot less nowadays.