Archive for the ‘alcohol’ Tag

01-03-2016 Journal–Sunshine & Horses!   Leave a comment

With the holidays, the warm weather, and the snow storm behind us it’s time to move along into 2016.  I was pleasantly surprised this morning when all of a sudden the clouds parted and the sun came out to play. It’s still as cold as hell but having that sunshine makes all the difference in the world.

It was time for my better-half and me to get our butts out of the house for a few hours.  We ran a few errands, did a little food shopping, and of course took a few pictures.  Winter pictures tend to be lackluster unless you have a monster storm of some sort.  We decided to take a cruise around the adjacent neighborhoods to check things out.  As you can see in this picture even some of the horses weren’t too happy with the cold which required getting their coats out of storage.

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They all seemed glad to be out of the barn for a few hours and were pretty frisky.  This good looking fellow wanted to visit with me with the hopes that I had an apple, carrot, or sugar cube in my pocket. Unfortunately for him I had nothing with me. In the future I’ll be carrying a few things in the car so as not to disappoint our four legged friends again.

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‘Where’s my snack, Jack?’

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It felt good to get out into the fresh air for a while but we returned home to this scene near the house. I’ve been showing you photo’s of my garden all summer and it’s only fair to show you how sad it looks right now.

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‘Now’

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‘Then’

I think I just succeeded in depressing myself all over again.  Oh well, just five more months of winter (OMG) and things will be green and growing again. It’s going to be a very long, long, long, five months.  Now I do need a drink.

04-08-2015 Journal – My Favorite Addictions!   6 comments

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Over the years I’ve read on a number of occasions about people with addictive personalities. These are people who are drawn to addictive behavior and activities for some unknown reason and can’t ever stop being addicted to something.  I’ve finally decided to admit that I may be one of them.

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My first major addiction started when I was just turning twelve years of age.  Both of my parents were smokers and so were my grandparents. This was before anyone was aware of the dangers of smoking and we all thought it was pretty cool.  Most of my friends smoked as well and we spent more time stealing cigarettes from our families than we did actually smoking them. I was so good at taking their cigarettes they never had a clue. It wasn’t until many years later that I told them about it and we all had a laugh or two. It was either steal from them or take a chance of being caught shoplifting in a store.

There was and still is a price to pay for such behavior and I soon found out what karma was all about.  My best friend at the time was my partner in crime and karma reared it’s ugly head in the following incident we were involved in. It occurred at our elementary school where we accidentally started a fire in a nearby  field while sneaking a cigarette that burned that field just prior to the annual Easter egg hunt.  Lots of fried eggs, firemen, and police officers are all I remember about that day. Karma can be a real bitch.

Marijuana was next on my list and I did my best to smoke as much of it as possible over a five year period.  I slowly weaned myself from both marijuana and cigarettes and finally kicked both nasty habits.  I dabbled with alcohol as well a for a while but I could never get into the projectile vomiting thing.

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After cleaning up my act I fell into two new addictions which I still have to this day. I’m John and I’m a chocoholic and caffeine addict.  I just can’t stay away from these wonderful things and I promise I never will. Unfortunately it may require that I be buried with a bag of Hersey kisses and a hot cup of Hazelnut coffee.  I won’t even get into my bacon issues which are even worse.  It seems like every addiction I’ve ever had has been bad for me and that pisses me off.  Why can’t I find a really healthy addiction?

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My latest and possibly most boring addiction won’t kill me but it does irritate and annoy me. It’s called Words With Friends, a computerized take off of the old Scrabble game and is played on Smart Phones and Tablets.

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I’ve tried on a number of occasions to quit but I keep getting pulled back into it by my friends and family members.  It’s maddening at times because it requires that I respond in a reasonable fashion to their game play. There have been times that I’ve had as many as ten games going on at the same time and at that point it becomes more of a chore than fun. I want to stop but the ever present peer pressure to continue is there and plays heavily on my competitiveness. It becomes even more ridiculous when friends and family members become upset with me if I decline to play or if don’t do an immediate rematch.

I need to find a new addiction and fast.  I’ve never been addicted to sex like some people but I could easily be pulled in that direction. Even that seems like too much work if you think about it.  I want a lazier addiction that I can enjoy without it becoming strenuous. 

I’m being forced to continue my never-ending search but in the meantime does anyone out there know a good four letter word that contains a "Q", an "X", and a "J"? 

Where’s that twelve step program when you need one?

09-27-2014 Journal Entry-Drinking Wine Before It’s Time!   Leave a comment

With most of the gardening chores completed things have slowed down around here a bit.  Who am I kidding?  We’re just killing time until the day the “Fair” opens.  That would be the Fair held every year in Fryeburg, Maine.  It’s by far the largest event in the state and it’s a week long party for the many thousands of attendees from all over the country.  We’ll be attending next week and it will be twelve hours of farm animals, large crowds, crazy good food, and hundreds and hundreds of photographs.  So like I said we’re just killing time until the Fair.

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Today I’ve been completing a number of small projects which required very little effort on my part.  As I was walking through the house I remembered one thing that I absolutely had to do sooner rather than later.  It was time for the Concord grape wine to be bottled.  It’s been almost three months in the making and the fermentation has finally stopped.

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The final product is a beautiful dry ruby red wine with an unbelievable bouquet. So it’s a half hour of washing bottles and making my usual mess.  I tend to be a bit clumsy and if I don’t spill at least one bottle of wine in the process I just don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything.

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There’s nothing like siphoning wine through a little plastic tube, spilling it on the floor, down your leg, and onto nearby books, papers, and house pets. Curiosity may have killed the cat but in this house a good squirt of wine onto a persistently nosy cat is as good as it gets.

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After filling and corking nineteen bottles it was then time to put on the fancy gold PVC covers.  This requires a large pot of boiling water into which the bottle tops are quickly dipped causing the cover to shrink and seal the corks. It’s imperative that the bottle not remain in the hot water for more than a few seconds or there will be trouble. That truth became immediately evident when my first cool glass bottle was held into the boiling water for more than four or five seconds and the top exploded.  Now I’m down to eighteen bottles but with a much better understanding of things I shouldn’t do.

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I finished the remainder of the job but held back another bottle for the better-half and I to have with dinner.  I poured myself a large glassful and waited for her arrival from work.  I found out in the middle of the second glass that there was definitely a sufficient amount of alcohol in the wine.  I had a wonderful glow on which translated to my canceling dinner. There was no way I could safely cook without possibly burning down the house.

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When the better-half arrived home she drank a couple of mouthfuls of the wine, declared it delicious, and then immediately opened a beer (she isn’t much of a wine lover).  She made her own meal and I ended up having an off-the-cuff snack consisting of Wheat Thins, a dab of Smart Balance and peanut butter with a dash of triple berry jam.

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This batch of wine has passed my final acid test.  Any wine that can make me eat this slop for dinner  contains more than enough alcohol.  I tested it with my vinometer and it contain just a hair more than 9 percent.  That makes for an excellent batch of 18 proof red wine, more than enough to make almost any food edible.

06-21-2014 Journal Entry – Little Old Winemaker!   Leave a comment

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“I really believe that the feet give the wine that little “special something”. LOL

I’ve been in heaven for the last few days.  We’ve been having San Diego style weather and that’s damn unusual for sure.  I’m pretty good at adapting to change so I’ll be just fine, really!  I’ve been tending the garden, completing a host of BS projects from my better-half’s To-Do List and generally feeling relaxed and at peace with things.

I took a ride without her today (she’s working) and decided to hit a few of the dozens of yard sales in the area.  You just never know what you might find and I do love surprises.  Unfortunately yard sales have been losing their charm for me of late and today was no different. Too many people watching too many TV shows that have convinced everyone that every piece of crap that would have been thrown away in the past is now a precious antique worth big bucks.  I visited three yard  sales in a short period of time and it was all I could do not to say something totally inappropriate like “Are you f…ing kidding me!”.  No purchases today for me and much less interest in visiting any more this summer.  It’s just ridiculous and really getting out of control.

I returned home and decided to take a few minutes to check the wine I’ve been making. I racked the red wine.  For those of you not familiar with home brewing terminology racking means siphoning off the clear wine after the yeast had settled to the bottom of the fermentation container.  This is done two or three times during the winemaking process until the batch is crystal clear.

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I think this may turn into a rather nice medium sweet red wine.  I haven’t used Concord grapes in the past and now I’m thinking I probably should have. The wine has a beautiful almost black color and it cleared itself of yeast very quickly.  I started out with four and a half gallons and lost a half in the siphoning process. I should be bottling approximately 18-20 bottles in a month or so.

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The Dandelion wine will continue to ferment for a while longer. I think it may end up being rather dry with a fairly high alcohol content.  I can’t wait to taste the final product because dandelion is one of my favorites.

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I need to get these two batches completed and in the bottle as soon as possible.  I suspect I’ll be doing two more batches of fruit and berry wine this fall and need to make a little room for them.  All in all it should be an excellent year for winemaking.

01-29-2014 Journal Entry – Coffee Trivia I   Leave a comment

“Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and as sweet as love.”       Turkish Proverb

Let’s talk about coffee. It’s the only major addiction I have left and I cherish it. When I stopped smoking twenty-eight years ago it was coffee that helped me through all those terrible days without nicotine.  That and Tootsie Pops of course. I don’t know for sure how many Tootsie Pops are in a pound but I gained thirty-five pounds eating them over the course of five months.  Coffee helped to keep me going until I was free of the damn nicotine and then the Tootsie Pops.  Unfortunately by the time that was all over I was also addicted to the coffee as well.  I replaced one killer addiction with a much milder version and was happy as hell about it.

My second major addiction was alcohol.  I never drank enough to join that infamous club of alcoholics but I drank my share.  Now at this stage of my life I’ve given up up drinking almost completely.  Coffee again has been there to help replace the stimulation I received from alcohol with a much milder version.

My third big addiction was eating.  Not the food itself but the eating of the food.  I’ve been a nervous eater for most of my life and once my metabolism slowed it became a problem.  With each passing year it became more of an issue but I waged a good battle to maintain my weight. My good buddy “Coffee” again came to my rescue and for that I’m grateful.

I decided to take a closer look at coffee and to learn as much as I could in the context of this blog..  Today will be Coffee Trivia Day.  I’m celebrating my last great addiction that has made it possible for me to defeat three others.  Here is a list of twenty trivia tidbits, the first of three Coffee Trivia  planned postings.

“A 41-inch bust and a lot of perseverance will get you more than a cup of coffee – a lot more.” ~Jayne Mansfield

  •  Until the 18th century coffee was almost always boiled.
  • Until the late 1800’s, people roasted their coffee at home. Popcorn poppers and stove-top frying pans were favored.
  • When a coffee seed is planted, it takes five years to yield consumable fruit.
  • William Penn purchased a pound of coffee in New York in 1683 for $4.68.
  • Hawaii is the only state that commercially grows coffee.
  • In the ancient Arab culture there was only one way a woman could legally divorce: If her husband didn’t provide enough coffee.
  • 52% of Americans drink coffee.
  • A acre of coffee trees can produce up to 10,000 pounds of coffee cherries. That amounts to approximately 2000 pounds of beans after hulling or milling.
  • A scientific report form the University of California found that the steam rising from a cup of coffee contains the same amounts of antioxidants as three oranges. The antioxidants are heterocyclic compounds which prevents cancer and heart disease.
  • Adding sugar to coffee is believed to have started in 1715, in the court of King Louis XIV, the French monarch.
  • Advertisements for coffee in London in 1657 claimed that the beverage was a cure for scurvy, gout and other ills.

“Decaffeinated coffee is the devil’s blend.”  ~Author Unknown

  • Espresso Coffee has just one third of the caffeine content of ordinary coffee.
  • Coffee beans are really berries. Each berry contains two beans (pips).
  • An expert in preparing Turkish coffee is known as a “kahveci”.
  • Irish coffee was actually invented to warm up cold American plane passengers leaving from Ireland.
  • And lastly, Teddy Roosevelt is and was the greatest American coffee drinker, consuming a gallon a day. But you probably shouldn’t attempt to do that.
  • An Arabica coffee tree can produce up to 12 pounds of coffee a year, depending on soil and climate.
  • Australians consume 60% more coffee than tea, a six-fold increase since 1940.
  • Caffeine is on the International Olympic Committee list of prohibited substances. Athletes who test positive for more than 12 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of urine may be banned from the Olympic Games. This level may be reached after drinking about 5 cups of coffee.
  • Citrus has been added to coffee for several hundred years.

“Coffee, the finest organic suspension ever devised.”  ~Star Trek: Voyager

MORE TO COME

08-17-2013   Leave a comment

EVERY USELESS THING UNIVERSITY

Class is now in session, so please take your seats, pay close attention, and prepare to become a little smarter.  Our lessons for today are as follows:

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Lesson #7 – Why Does Alcohol Cause People to Urinate?

The reason why people urinate so frequently while drinking alcohol is because it is a diuretic i.e., a drug that increases the amount of urine produced by the kidneys. Caffeine, too, is a diuretic.

Alcohols diuretic effect works by preventing the blood regulation function of vasopressin, and antidiuretic hormone that acts on the kidneys, compelling them to concentrate urine by increasing the resorption of water. Decrease in vasopressin therefore reduces the amount of water reabsorbed by the kidneys, resulting in the production of larger amounts of urine. This diuretic effect draws water from the body and causes a person to urinate more fluid than they imbibe.

The diuretic effect (or diuresis) is caused not by the volume of liquid drunk but by the alcohol content of the drink itself. A shot of spirits will generally cause a person to generate as much urine as they would if they drink a pint of beer.

Now you know the reason for the consistently long lines at restrooms during sporting events.  The next time your at a party and you hear the phrase “I could piss like a race horse”, get out of the way and let that person pass.  You certainly don’t want any back splash on your shoes.

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Lesson #8 – Why Does the Penis Shrink When It’s Cold?

In cold weather or water, a man’s penis will often retract and reduce considerably in size. This phenomenon sometimes referred to as “shrinkage”, and it occurs for a number of reasons, primarily that of temperature regulation. The testicles are contained in the scrotum and suspended away from the body, owing to the fact that sperm can be produced only when conditions are slightly cooler than the core temperature of the body. The temperature range in which sperm can be produced is very narrow, varying by only a couple of degrees, and when the environment gets too cold the scrotum retracts, drawing the testicles closer to the body to increase the temperature. As the penis is attached to the scrotum, this retraction pulls up the penis along with it.

A sufficient steep drop in temperature will also prompt the body to reduce the amount of blood circulating to the extremities and appendages, and concentrate blood flow in the core of the body in order to check the vital organs. As the size of the penis is affected greatly by the amount of blood that it receives, when a drop in temperature causes a reduction in the amount of blood reaches it, the penis shrivels and decreases in size.

Penis can also reduce in size when a man is startled or frighten, again because the body retracts the scrotum to the body for maximum protection, following the penis and with it.

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Now all of you ladies out there have the inside scoop.  You should no longer take it personally if a man fails to respond to your many charms since he’s either cold, wet, startled or even  frightened.  If he is none of those things then you have a serious problem that can only be solved by kicking him to the curb and moving on.

CLASS DISMISSED

05-22-2013   Leave a comment

Today I get to play winemaker.  I’ve been making homemade wines for more than twenty years and plan on making it for twenty more.  My better-half became so interested that she began making her own batches about five years ago.  She leans toward berry wines and her specialty has become Tripleberry Wine. It’s made from a mix of blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries.  I have to admit it’s damn tasty and goes well with almost any dish.

For years I only made your basic wines.  Some were made from fresh fruit while other were made from professionally produced concentrates.  I’ve always tried to be creative with my winemaking and I’ve even made excellent wine from the fruit of the Mountain Ash tree.  My all time favorite over the years has been dandelion wine made from blossoms collected from nearby fields. It’s a killer to make because you sit for hours removing only the yellow petals.  The first time I attempted making it I found out much too late that rubber gloves should be worn.  I had really disgusting yellow fingers and hands for weeks.

I enjoy experimenting a great deal and in recent years have made a number of cooking wines which turned out rather well.  I first made onion and garlic wine which turned out to be an incredible marinade.  Then I made twenty-five bottles of habanero wine to be used for marinades and cooking.  I found as time went by it actually became hotter as it sat in the bottle.  Some people actually like drinking it but that’s not for me.  If your doing a stir-fry adding a cup of it will spark things up nicely.  Again a safety tip, when making anything with habaneros wear a double layer of latex gloves.

Today is bottling day for a fifteen bottle batch of the better-half’s wine and a twenty-five bottle batch of my latest experiment, gin wine.  I’m a big fan of gin but drinking the hard stuff is a little much sometimes.  I decided to make a wine out of the same ingredients that actual gin brewers use.  If recent taste tests are any indicator this batch isn’t all that good.  It has an alcohol content of about ten percent and might just make a great tar remover for our cars.  The smell of gin is there but that’s about it.  It tastes like a cross between battery acid and Lysol.  I’ll bottle up a few bottles for long term storage but the rest will unfortunately be discarded.  The better-half’s Tripleberry tastes great and will be bottled and stored today.

Making wine is always risky and ever so often you’ll get a batch that is just God awful. I’m hoping this summer is hot and sunny making our blackberry crop fat and juicy.  We have a few secret spots in certain areas of the county where we harvest blackberries by the bucket full.  They make the best jams and wines and we’re looking forward to doing it again this summer.

I’ll be sure to have a glass or two today to toast the arrival of Spring and the demise of the gin wine.