Birds aren’t real, but watching the newly-launched drones sitting on the feeders outside the window waiting for calibration while they munch a few sunflower seeds is entertaining and enlightening. The new drones are scruffy, skittish, and clumsy. Right out of the factory, these remote-controlled feathered forms do not have the correct coloration to perform as effective spies. It takes a few weeks in the sun for them to reach the hues for which they were programmed. It also takes them a bit of time to determine the precise settings for their internal GPS systems. Nothing funnier than a drone that can’t quite land on the branch or feeder it targeted. And finally, the drones have to ascertain the locations of all nearby charging stations. Sometimes, they get sidetracked in doing the latter by bird feeders. Apparently, the need for a power source to communicate their surveillance findings gets tangled in their internal wiring with the need to act like a bird in front of unwitting citizens.
The extermination of all birds and their subsequent replacement with robots started in the 1950’s. (You can read the entire history of the secret government project in the link below). The complexity of such a project exacerbated by the extreme secrecy of it has made slow going for the CIA. However, the modern creation of long-distance, self-flying drones promises great leaps in the project in the near future. So, set up a couple of feeders and keep an eye on drone development right out your window. You know they are watching you and as an adult American citizen, it is your responsibility to be aware of government actions in all respects.
Like so many adult problems, there are multiple solutions to the issues of earwax. Having multiple solutions to a given problem is usually a good thing as there is something for everyone, but with earwax the actual problem is the argument over the effectiveness of the various solutions or even the taboo about cleaning out one’s own ears at all.
Everyone has earwax and no one likes it, with the possible exception of Shrek. There is a great debate over what to do with earwax, at least what to do with it while it is still in your ear. There is probably not much debate about what to do with it after you get it out of your ear. Don’t wanna think about options for that.
Earwax was not a problem when you were young. Your mother poked your ears with a cotton swab, washed them out with a washrag and a pointy finger nail, or simply ignored it. But now as an adult, you are faced with dealing with your own earwax. There are many ways to remove ear wax, which is technically called cerumen. Some methods include cotton swabs, ear candling, paper clips, pencils, toothpicks, ear drops and doctors. Only the last two methods are recommended. (See link below to article from Harvard Medical School).
A gambler would bet that 97% of adults have poked an ear swab (let’s just call a Q-tip a Q-tip, okay) or a toothpick or a pencil or a stick in their ear at one time or another to relieve an itch inside their ear or as a part of their grooming ritual. Never mind that your doctor and your mother told you never to do that. The other 3% of adults probably don’t have ears.
Of the recommendations from Harvard for treating ear wax issues, only one is typically affordable: ear drops. However, if you have ever used ear drops for grooming or medication, then you know they don’t feel particularly good and take a lot longer to work than they should. Ear drops tickle at best and cause extreme itching at worst. It takes a lot longer to get the ear drops out of one’s ear than it takes to put them in. Finally, you might wind up with that annoying sensation of water in your ear as if you had been swimming all day.
Maybe it is worth going to the doctor to get rid of earwax? At least, he could anesthetize you so you would not have any of those horrible water-in-the-ear issues and they could patch up the holes in your eardrum from those toothpicks and pencils.
While having lunch at
a local restaurant, I noticed a woman carrying an overflowing briefcase
accompanied by a teenage boy who was obviously not her son. I was sitting close
enough to overhear some of their conversation (yeah, I know…shame on me). It
seems the woman was a social worker of some sort supposedly helping the young
man who was new to the area. Another woman, who was also working in the
restaurant as I has seen her pecking on her laptop when I entered, approached
their table to discuss her free-lance efforts at saving the world. The second
woman was apparently having trouble finding the appropriate free services for
her non-paying client, so she asked the paid social worker for advice which the
first woman promptly dispatched. This advice was followed by a lengthy
conversation about website development, mutual acquaintances, mutual praise,
and other gossip. On the face of it, this restaurant seems to be a hotbed of
public service providers.
After the second woman
left to go off and save some other poor soul, the first woman asked her charge
how he liked his food and then proceeded to answer a phone call where she
discussed at length another case she was working on. Eventually, she asked the
young man if he wanted to go to his school to check on his schedule for the
upcoming year and they departed. One wonders what the gist of their meeting was
intended to be.
What struck me about
this scenario was that neither the professional nor amateur social worker
respected the young man’s time enough to devote the lunch meeting to him and
whatever his issues were at the time. Nor did they respect the privacy of their
other clients whose issues and names they were bandying about in public.
The moral of this story is two-fold. First, if you are meeting with someone give them your full attention, especially if you are getting paid to meet with them (even if it is only taxpayers or non-profits paying you). Second, just because the person you are paid to meet with is a teenager doesn’t mean they don’t deserve your respect. This goes for small children, elderly persons, handicapped persons, persons of different skin tones, basically everyone. You get the idea. Karma works two ways; don’t tempt her.
As an adult, male or female, you should be able to prepare
one entire tasty meal completely, competently, and quickly on your own that
feeds four adults. Assuming you have
access to a stove and a refrigerator, you don’t need a microwave oven. Plus, the credibility you earn from not
using a microwave will only enhance your status in the eyes of your fellow
If you are a fan of cooking, then branch out and make a chicken and vegetable stir fry – a dish that is very flexible and forgiving though a bit time-consuming because of all the chopping required. (Contact me and I will send you an easy recipe for stir fry). If you are a bit nervous about cooking a meal with or without a microwave, then stick to basic Americanized spaghetti (recipe below). Both are appetizing and can stretch to feed another person at the last minute.
Part 1) Sauce:
Start with one finely chopped onion and one pound of 90/10
ground beef. If you are feeling
authentic, use one pound of ground Italian sausage in place of the ground beef.
Pour 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (less if you are using sausage) in a large
skillet or sauce pan. Heat oil on
medium-high and toss in the onions. Pay
attention and don’t let the onions get too brown. Burnt onions are icky and you have to start
over. When onions are translucent and
tender, put the meat in the same skillet.
Turn the heat down a bit and separate the beef as it cooks. When there are no pink bits, add the next
ingredients which consist of a jar of good spaghetti sauce – Bertolli, Paul Newman,
365, whatever. You are not striving for
authenticity here, just a hearty meal.
Add a little water along with some red wine if you are feeling really
adventurous and bring the meat and sauce to a boil. Immediately lower heat a lot and let it
simmer at least 30 minutes while you make the rest of the meal. Cover the pan while cooking the sauce to keep
it from evaporating and splattering. Stir
in a bit more water and continue to cook if the sauce starts to look too thick
or too dry.
Part 2) Noodles:
Fill a giant pot about ¾ full of water. Add a couple dashes of salt. Bring to a full, rolling boil – strive for big bubbles, not tiny ones. Add as many spaghetti noodles as you need for your friends and cook as long as the package says to. Taste test a noodle for doneness; no one wants raw chewy spaghetti. Then drain the pasta well. Cook the pasta right before you are ready to serve the meal after the sauce is done and salad prepared.
Part 3) Salad:
Open a large package of fresh mixed greens into a large
bowl. Add whatever extras you like –
grape tomatoes, pinion nuts, onions, cucumbers, flax seeds, etc. Just before serving, pour just a medium
amount of good Italian salad dressing over the greens; no one wants soggy
salad. Toss well just before
serving. More casually, put the bottle
on the table and let everyone help themselves.
Part 4) Bread:
Buy a loaf of pre-sliced sourdough or french bread. Lay the slices in one layer on a cookie sheet
and lightly butter one side of each slice.
A faint sprinkle of garlic powder over the butter will keep away
vampires. Turn oven on to ‘low’ broil,
put the cookie sheet in the oven, and watch those babies like a hawk. The smell of burned bread takes a while to
To serve, have the bread and salad on the table to serve
family-style. Of course, you already
have silverware, napkins, drinking glasses and a small bowl of real
grated parmesan cheese on the table, right?
Dishing up the pasta in the kitchen simplifies things. Do not mix the noodles and sauce together in
one pot. Trust me – it is against the
law in Italy. Place an equal amount of
noodles on each plate. Carefully ladle
an equal and generous amount of sauce on the top of the noodles. Clean up the edge of the plate with a damp
paper towel (not your finger) if the sauce drips. If you are really going all out, sprinkle a bit
of basil on top of the sauce and serve your entrée to the delight of your
Preparing dessert is optional. An ideal, easy post-spaghetti dessert is to scoop some high-quality gelato into small cute bowls and serve. If you make a stir fry, simply provide an assortment of fortune cookies and debate the merits of the advice they dispense. You can provide your diners a more lavish dessert the next time they come over and if you do this right, they will be clamoring to dine at your place again!