Saturday, May 24, 2014

take a bite….it’s Springtime!

Time for love, flowering trees and fern cancer!

Eating fiddlehead ferns in Spring is just like smoking,
 only more delicious.

Available only for three weeks in May, fiddleheads contain ptalquiloside, a carcinogenic toxin identified in 1983.

In testing, the data was very clear that eating the fern causes lesions on the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

Cows eat the young fronds and develop bladder cancer. 
Humans show an increase in gastric and oesophageal cancers in fern-rich areas that leach into the ground water.
But the carcinogenic properties are greatly reduced through boiling, so let’s put some water on and live dangerously.

Wash them well under cold, running water and float off the papery brown chaff.

Some reports suggest boiling them for 12-15 minutes. Others say five minutes is plenty. 

I boiled these for about 5 minutes, then stopped the cooking in a cold water bath.

The rest is simple, hot butter...

Salt and pepper, keep them moving, squeeze of lemon!
Like asparagus. Only weirder. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

let’s not get carried away

Think the French are full of hot air?

You may be right.

The first untethered balloon flight with human passengers was by Frenchmen in Paris, on November 21, 1783.

Since then hot air ballooning has really taken off. Sorry.

This one is owned by BlueDragon, 
in Montgomery County Pennsylvania.

The wicker basket, rigging and propane burner are recycled from his last balloon, but this “envelope” is brand new. 

$23,000. Made in Czech Republic. 

This is just its second flight of perhaps 1000 before the fabric becomes fatigued and frayed. The “crownline” is the rope to the left, used to control the top during stand up.

The white “drop line” anchors the basket to the bumper of the van.

And the red, asymmetrical “scoop” to the left of the flame is like a sail, ensuring the balloon glides off to the left.

Balloons tend to fly early or late in the day so natural cool air contrasts more sharply with the heated air inside,
 enhancing lift.

A fully loaded basket with pilot, passengers, burner, propane tanks and safety equipment can weigh as much as a small car.

Regular shots of heat maintain lift but balloonists are careful not to overheat and have no way to control the climb.

There is no steering either, so a chase vehicle must follow. 
And a traditional bottle of champagne always lives on board for a (potentially) irate landowner on whose property the balloon sets down.

No sound. Spooky.

Only the intermittent roar of the propane burner punctured total silence.

Sorry about that word punctured, too.

Have a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

guest of honor


Comedian George Lopez once joked that a fence to keep out Mexicans would be built by the Mexicans themselves.

He doesn’t joke about that anymore.

Since 1962 the Golden State Fence Company has installed chain link and ornamental iron.

They were selected by the Feds to build a section of the border fence.

But an immigration check found undocumented workers on their payroll. They promised to clean up their act.

But a follow up check a couple years later revealed that not only were those workers still on the job, as many as a third of all their workers were in the USA illegally.


With revenue of $150 million per year, 
Golden State got their wrist slapped.

They were fined $5million with the government settling for a felony conviction and 6 months of house arrest for its President Melvin Kay, while he continued to run the company.

He renamed the firm and launched a new website indicating he’s gonna try to stay out of further trouble.

But his attorney just shrugged and said this case simply proves that construction companies need a guest worker program asap.

stick to your guns