Saturday, May 31, 2014

Right wing skunk works heroes

The right wing is turning me into a bigot. I despise their champions. Or do I despise their nonsense?

Heroes from the right wing skunk works currently include:

--Joe the Plumber who says your dead kids don’t trump his constitutional rights.
--Cliven Bundy and his insights about The Negro.
--The Duck Dynasty clan leader who spoke at the GOP leadership conference in Louisiana.
--Rising star Ben Carson (be patient, you’ll see).
--And Sarah Palin for her lifetime achievement.

Then there’s Ted Cruz who lied to church leaders claiming liberals were going to try to repeal the First Amendment. He knows in his heart that is a lie.

Shameless demagoguery. Brazen. Divisive. Bad for America.

I don’t know which is worse: believing this crazy stuff or just throwing red meat to the other crazies. This little list is just the start.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Clink. Fun hobby. Clink.

The new chardonnay is corked. 17 bottles. Of course, we have to let it age an hour.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Intelligent design, my ass 

As promised, the angry red spots and splotches have faded from my scalp. Caustic medicine. But handsomeness has returned.

And it was good -- for about two days. 

Then, on a Friday before the long holiday weekend, the false tooth in front of my smile cracked and broke from its moorings. Right away, I noticed it was difficult saying f-words with a missing front tooth. Plus an extra hole in your face seriously messes with handsomeness.

Let’s see. So far this year there’s been pacemaker surgery, gout, a broken tooth, caustic scalp stuff, another broken tooth…

I may be past my expiration date.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

No photos, please

Good news. The red dots that have been eating my face are retreating back into my skull. The skin doctor prescribed a nightly slather of this bad-ass cream to cauterize scuffs on my face and scalp before they morph into cancer. Hope the treatment works. It was 40 days of nasty. But the angry red blotches are fading to a friendlier shade of pink. Likely all gone in a week or so.

Sure would like to fill the vacant space left behind with new hair. Do they make a cream for that?

Dreams die hard.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

 Avoiding Melanoma is worth the trip

If you don’t count visits to the doctor, I haven’t been out of the house in 38 days. I know because I started marking the calendar the first night I slathered my head with this caustic cream that eats your face an makes you look like the bastard child of Erik the Red and Jabba the Hut.

The prescription stuff is to combat skin cancer while it is still precancerous. But the cure is nasty. It stings, burn, itches and preys on your vanity. Ohhh. I look like a walking adv for a connect the dots game. A red marks-a-lot is recommended. Should clear up in a few weeks.

The source? Too much West Texas sun as a teenager. Pale winters chased by sun burned spring. Remember smelling of vinegar as your skin would marinade into summer?

Like most geezers in my demographic, I’ve had several bouts with several kinds of skin cancer. I've won every time. So far, so good. You, too?

Here’s the deal – show your face to your grandchildren when you look your worst. Melanoma is serious stuff.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Top o' the morning

Wine-making update: Is it wine? Or is it Aqua Velva? Enough of the particulates have drifted to the bottom of the carboy so we can siphon a sample for two tests to determine whether it is really wine.

I’m entitled to be nervous. This is my first solo batch.

First, the hydrometer. It appears to be floating at the right marker.
Second, the clarity test. The liquid is a little dark but clear.
Third, the taste test.  Yep. By the second glass, I can report a slight buzz.

It’s official. It’s wine.

Good thing. I’ve invested several hundred bucks in equipment and I’m up to my ass in corks.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Did the Gallo brothers start this way?

Since Christmas, we’ve made 75 bottles of wine. Damn good wine. Piesporter. But I had help from Chuck, my mentor. He produces 125 bottles at a time twice a year.

This time, I tried to go it alone. How hard could it be? I had printed instructions, plus the experience gleaned from making three batches this year, and I had Chuck’s phone number. Good thing.

There are not many ways to screw up making wine at home. But I found three.

First, I strangled the yeast. That’s what everybody said at the wine store. It seems I forgot to add one little quart of water at a critical juncture. So the air lock wouldn’t bubble. No incentive from fermentation gasses. No fermentation either. The fix – more yeast, more water.

Next, the room was too cold at 68 degrees. We live in the mountains. Wine likes 71 to 75 degrees. Too hot for us, so we wrapped the fermentation bucket in a blanket and sat it on a heating pad. Damn near baked up a grape casserole. Too hot. The fix – turn the heating pad to “low.”

Then…mix in the flavor packets, stir like hell, and add the clearing agent that magically makes the floating particles settle to the bottom. The problem – I mixed the concoction in the opaque plastic bucket rather than the see-through plastic jug (called a carboy for some reason). If you can’t see the mixture, you don’t know when it is ready to bottle. The fix – siphon the five gallons of elixir back into the carboy. I haven’t used a siphon this much since I left Oklahoma.

With luck, we’ll have new wine in a week or two.

Chuck says I can hang up the phone now.

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