Slow-Cooker Pot Roast Recipe – low FODMAP, but delicious!

Posted on January 9th, 2017 in Commentary by EngineerBoy
I use this model, it works great...

I use this model, it works great…

Cooking for our family is a minor challenge. I’m a supertaster so I don’t like a lot of ‘normal’ pot roast vegetables – meanwhile, my wife hews to a low FODMAP diet (which is a miracle for people whose digestion improves when they’re gluten-free, but they aren’t strictly gluten intolerent). My preferences eliminate potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables from our pot roast, while my wife’s eliminates onion, garlic, celery, and a lot of other options as well.

On the no onions/garlic front we recently discovered a Indian spice called asafoetida, which is a great, savory flavor enhancer and good replacement for onions/garlic. The below recipe uses asafoetida, along with the green part of green onions and other spices, to make a succulent and delicious pot roast that meets not only my wife’s and my preferences, but everybody else loves it, too.

The ingredients are as follows:

3-4 lbs of prime chuck pot roast
2-3 bunches of green onions (we only use the green part, not the white part because FODMAP)
3 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil (the offending fructins in garlic are not soluble in oil so are FODMAP safe when infused in oil)
2 tbsp truffle oil
3 tbsp clarified butter/ghee
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp asafoetida (can get on Amazon or hipster grocery stores)
2 tbsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp ground cumin/comino
4-6 cups (approximately) chicken/beef stock (we prefer chicken for a lighter taste)
1 cup red wine (we use Merlot)
1 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp corn starch

Take the 3 bunches of green onions and chop only the green parts into small pieces – discard the white part of the onion, or reserve it for use in other recipes.

Divide the dry spices (asafoetida, salt, pepper, cumin/comino) into two portions, unwrap the meat and rub the dry spices into one side of the meat, then flip the meat and rub the other side with the other half. Also be sure to rub the spices into the ‘edges’ of the meat.

Heat a large pot on the stove top to medium-high heat, it should be big enough to hold the pot roast. Add the olive oil, truffle oil, and butter/ghee and allow them to heat up/melt. Now brown the roast for 5-7 minutes on a side, and if possible also stand it on each edge to brown those as well. Remove the meat and place it in the slow cooker for now.

In the pot on the stove, there should still be a layer of olive oil/truffle oil/ghee mixture left, if not add some more and allow to get up to temp. Now add the green onions and saute for 3-5 minutes.

Now add the red wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan (scrape up the crispy meat bits while stirring) and bring to a boil, and let simmer on med-low for ~10-15 minutes. Now add the soy sauce to the pot and bring back

Goodbye, Windows Phone

Posted on November 22nd, 2016 in Commentary by EngineerBoy
My last windows phone - Lumia 640 XL

My last windows phone – Lumia 640 XL

Well, yesterday I ordered my Google Pixel XL, meaning that for me it’s the end of the Windows Phone era, at least for the time being, and on to the Android phone. My ‘smart’ phone history has essentially gone like this: Palm Pilot ==> BlackBerry ==> Windows Phone ==> Android. You’ll notice one fruit-based name missing from that list, and there are not enough pixels on the web for me to describe how clearly I plan to never own any Apple devices.

I have no great love for any phone platform, actually, and am moving to Android by default by virtue of Google introducing the Pixel. The issue with Android, to me, is that the market is fractured and fraught with incompatibilities and divergent ‘standards’, whereas Apple suffers from an exact opposite, but even more deadly (to me) flaw, which is full compatibility that happens to be based on completely proprietary and closed ‘standards’.

There hasn’t been a ‘standard bearer’ for the Android platform, from my perspective, until now, where Google has the potential to become exactly that. That may or may not happen, but I had to make a move – the Windows Phone platform has essentially been abandoned by Microsoft and app developers and I could no longer bide my time waiting for the ‘Surface Phone’ announcement that might never come, and which might also simply be the latest in Microsoft’s long line of disappointing mobile phone initiatives.

The primary reason I’m writing this post about a stupid phone is that I truly lament how badly Microsoft screwed up their mobile offerings. The Windows phone has always been highly functional (for me), and the advances in Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile showed flashes of potential brilliance, but Microsoft couldn’t stop tripping over their own stupidity/incompetence/tone-deafness to get things right.

As just one example, the Windows Phone had a feature called “Kid’s Corner”, which was a setup you could configure with specific apps and games for your kid. Then, if you wanted to hand your phone to your kid you simply did a swipe gesture to put it into Kid’s Corner (didn’t even have to unlock the phone) and hand the phone over. Your kid (or friend or co-worker) could only see and open the approved apps with no access to any of your other data – no way to see an inappropriate pop-up notification, no way to accidentally reply-all to a work thread, no way to scroll through your potentially inappropriate picture gallery, etc.

It took about 5 seconds for Kid’s Corner to switch on when requested, and returning to normal operation was simply hitting the power off then on button and entering your phone password, which also took about 5 seconds. Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, unceremoniously dropped Kid’s Corner from Windows 10 Mobile and pointed parents to something call “App Corner”, which although it has a similar

Darth Vader’s helmet found on Mars!?

Posted on November 3rd, 2016 in Commentary by EngineerBoy
Search your feelings, you *know* it to be true!

Search your feelings, you *know* it to be true!

So it turns out that “galaxy far, far away” was just across the Solar System – the Mars Curiosity rover has spotted the melted remains of Vader’s helmet (pictured from The Force Awakens) and are using talk of meteors and nickel-iron to hide its origins. However, I think it’s obvious – don’t you??


Why I’m Voting the Way I’m Voting – 2016

Posted on October 12th, 2016 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics by EngineerBoy

I’m With Her

First, a disclaimer: I am not a ‘true believer’ of any political party. No US political party fully represents my worldview, and I have significant objections to the philosophies and actions of them all. Over the years I have voted for Republican, Independent, and Democratic candidates, and I am willing to vote for any candidate that I feel is best for the job.

All that being said, in recent years I have primarily voted Democrat. My basic political underpinnings are as follows:

The entire US election and campaign system needs to be completely overhauled to insure modern, free, and fair elections at every level (local, state, federal). This includes getting the current obscene amounts of money out of the system and eliminating gerrymandering. This, to me, is the single most important issue of our time, because solving all the other issues depends on first solving this one.
The level of destructive animosity and hate in politics needs to be dialed way down, and the level of constructive, civil discourse needs to be dialed way up.
We need to return our focus to a fact-based, science-based government.
Governmental fraud, waste, and cronyism needs to be ruthlessly ferreted out and punished to the point where it is no longer a profitable risk to undertake.
While every person is entitled to their own spiritual beliefs, no one is entitled to impose those beliefs on others.
Our tax system needs to be simplified and rationalized, and the overall tax burden reduced.
Peace and diplomacy are better alternatives to war, except in the most dire circumstances, which in my opinion we have not experienced since World War II.
The US is a wealthy nation, to the point where none of our citizens should be homeless, hungry, or lack basic health care.
Institutions that are necessary, but whose goals are to reduce or eliminate their need to exist (health care, prisons, national defense, police and fire departments, etc), should not be for-profit.
Capitalism is a great system, unregulated capitalism is a disaster, and over-regulated capitalism stifles progress. There needs to be a balance, and there needs to be non-partisan system created to achieve and maintain this balance.

To make a long story short, in the 2016 election there has been only one candidate that I have seen as viable, and that is Hillary Clinton. Do I love her? No, she’s done some questionable things, but so has every single other POTUS candidate in my lifetime, and my take is that her mistakes have been amplified by a multi-decade witch hunt by her enemies. Would she be my first choice? No, and I’m not sure who would be, at this point, because virtually every single candidate at the national federal level is tainted enough, in my opinion, to be unworthy of office.

The one exception to that is Bernie Sanders, and while I think Bernie is the cleanest and most honest national politician of my lifetime, I also think that he would have been unable to get anything

30,000 Emails, That’s a Lot! Or Is It?

Posted on October 10th, 2016 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics by EngineerBoy

How About 600,000+ Emails?

My wife and I have a private email server at home that we don’t use for our primary jobs. We use it to run our lives, hobbies, and side projects. Over the years, between us, we’ve managed to accumulate 600,000+ emails in our two email boxes.  Note that we’re both in the technology business, and we run fairly sophisticated cloud-based commercial spam filtering, so it’s not like our inboxes are filled up with V1agra ads and phony IRS/Apple gift card scams, or something.

So, my wife and I, a couple of the normalest normals who ever normalled normally, have managed to accumulate 600,000+ personal emails on our home servers.  Yet we hear Trump repeat the mantra of “30,000 emails” over and over again, as if it’s some kind of travesty of a mockery of a sham, when what it actually is is a MacGuffin with no context and no concrete meaning to many who hear it. He repeats it as if it were the most salacious thing imaginable…”30,000 emails”…”THIRTY THOUSAND EMAILS!”

The Clintons have much higher profile lives than we do, to say the least. They’ve been Governor, Senator, Secretary of State, and President of the United States. If it’s accurate that 30,000 personal emails were scrubbed from Hillary’s private email server, the only thing that surprises me is that it was so few. Maybe that’s Trump’s point and we’re all missing it? Maybe he’s calling Hillary out for being a Luddite who only has 30,000 personal emails when she should have millions?

Sadly, Trump’s focus on this will play strongly with those whose lives aren’t wrapped up in technology, because it’s difficult to have a frame of reference for something like this. The younger generations tend to have skipped over email and focus on texting and other forms of messaging. Older folks tend to be minimal adopters of technology – using Facebook to keep up with the family, texting to have some form of communications with the grandkids, etc. There are exceptions, of course, but most people don’t have the exposure to technology to put the “30,000 emails!” accusation in a realistic context.

So that’s what I’m trying to do here – show that a couple of normal, if technologically-enabled, folks can generate far more personal email than what is being bandied about by Trump. And just to put this in perspective, JFK was still alive when I was born and I watched the first moon landing on TV, so it’s not like I’m some kind of outlier child of the technology age.

CleverDonkey’s 2016 Rio Olympic Power Rankings

Posted on August 22nd, 2016 in Commentary,Engineerboy,Politics,Sports,Television by EngineerBoy
2016 Rio Olympics

2016 Rio Olympics

2016-08-21 Final Standings – Congratulations New Zealand!

The 2016 Olympics are history, and congratulations to New Zealand, who squeezed out a one point win to take the Olympic Power title this year! Hungary was a close second, with the Netherlands taking third, and with Azerbaijan, Great Britain, Jamaica, Denmark, Australia, Croatia, and Sweden rounding out the top ten.

The standard sortable chart is below, and I’ve added a graph of power ranking by total population below that here.

The purpose of these charts is to look beyond raw medal count – who cares if countries with hundreds of millions (or even billions) of people win a lot of medals?  They should win a lot of medals, right?  The big question is, which country is kicking ass, pound-for-pound?  The answer is in the table below.

The 2012 London and 2008 Beijing final rankings are also available, and are included as right-hand columns in the table below.

For reference: This table creates a weighted medal score by giving every country three points for each gold medal, two points for each silver, and one point for each bronze.  The country’s Power Rating is calculated by determining how many weighted medal points each country wins per 10,000,000 in population.  And to factor in economics, the population only includes those living above the poverty level (according to CIA poverty estimates).  Also, to eliminate the impact of outliers, countries with excessively large populations are capped at 300,000,000 and countries with exceedingly small populations have a floor of 10,000,000 for the purposes of calculation.

Come back here in four years when we’ll (probably) be doing this again!

CleverDonkey’s 2016 Rio FINAL Olympic Power Rankings
click column headers to sort up/down

2016 Rank IOC Code Country 2016 Power Ranking Gold Medals Silver Medals Bronze Medals Total Medals Weighted Medals Population (above poverty) 2012 Final Power Ranking 2008 Final Power Ranking
1 NZL New Zealand 35.0 4 9 5 18 35 4,709,044 26.0 16.0
2 HUN Hungary 34.0 8 3 4 15 34 8,359,373 37.0 21.0
3 NED Netherlands 27.1 8 7 4 19 42 15,475,907 25.4 23.8
4 AZE Azerbaijan 27.0 1 7 10 18 27 9,146,670 16.0 11.0
5 GBR Great Britain 26.0 27 23 17 67 144 55,343,500 26.2 18.8
6 JAM Jamaica 26.0 6 3 2 11 26 2,273,910 24.0 26.0
7 DEN Denmark 25.0 2 6 7 15 25 4,950,934 17.0 13.0
8 AUS Australia 23.2 8 11 10 29 56 24,141,810 28.7 41.6
9 CRO Croatia 23.0 5 3 2 10 23 3,373,489 13.0 7.0
10 SWE Sweden 21.0 2 6 3 11 21 8,509,604 14.0 9.0
11 CUB Cuba 20.5 5 2 4 11 23 11,239,004 24.0 34.6
12 KAZ Kazakhstan 16.7 3 5 9 17 28 16,812,280 18.2 15.8
13 SRB Serbia 16.0 2 4 2 8 16 6,425,346 6.0 4.0
14 BLR Belarus 15.0 1 4 4 9 15 8,900,282 24.0 32.0
14 SUI Switzerland 15.0 3 2 2 7 15 7,707,638 10.0 10.0
16 CZE Czech Republic 14.0 1 2 7 10 14 9,650,491 21.0 14.4
17 ITA Italy 13.2 8 12 8 28 56 42,526,551 8.7 9.1
18 FRA France 13.0 10 18 14 42 80 61,330,384 10.9 11.6
19 GRE Greece 13.0 3 1 2 6 13 6,949,132 2.0 5.4
20 GER Germany 12.4 17 10 15 42 86 69,096,411 12.3 11.3
21 BEL Belgium 12.0 2 2 2 6 12 9,612,950 4.0 5.0
21 GEO Georgia 12.0 2 1 4 7 12 3,378,123 12.0 12.0
23 KEN Kenya 11.6 6 6 1 13 31 26,744,066 8.9 15.4
24 CAN Canada 10.1 4 3 15 22 33 32,756,871 7.9 11.1
25 SVK Slovakia 10.0 2 2 0 4 10 4,742,544 5.0 14.0
26 KOR South Korea 9.7 9 3 9 21 42 43,226,956 15.0 16.3
27 ESP Spain 9.6 7 4 6 17 35 36,639,915 8.9 10.3
28 USA United States 9.1 46 37 38 121 250 275,233,065 22.5 8.2
29 ARM Armenia 9.0 1 3 0 4 9 2,036,668 4.0 6.0
30 UZB Uzbekistan 8.7 4 2 7 13 23 26,399,810 2.8 5.5
31 RUS Russia 8.6 19 18 19 56 112 130,180,075 15.5 11.6
32 SLO Slovenia 8.0 1 2 1 4 8 1,784,816 7.0 9.0
33 JPN Japan 6.9 12 8 21 41 73 106,544,610 7.0 3.8
34 UKR Ukraine 6.2 2 5 4 11 20 32,389,498 12.5 16.0
35 POL Poland 5.7 2 3 6 11 18 31,787,597 5.0 7.0
36 RSA South Africa 5.6 2 6 2 10 20 35,673,992 5.5 0.8
37 PRK North Korea 5.5 2 3 2 7 14 25,281,000 5.7 4.6
38 ROU Romania 5.2 1 1 3 5 8 15,412,136 12.0 10.6
39 BRN Bahrain 5.0 1 1 0 2 5 1,404,900 1.0 3.0
39 LTU Lithuania 5.0 0 1 3 4 5 2,754,902 10.0 7.0
41 CHN China 4.7 26 18 26 70 140 1,293,840,725 19.0 7.4
42 COL Colombia 4.5 3 2 3 8 16 35,236,270 5.0 1.3
43 BAH Bahamas, The 4.0 1 0 1 2 4 342,882 3.0 3.0
43 BUL Bulgaria 4.0 0 1 2 3 4 5,594,259 3.0 8.0
43 IRL Ireland 4.0 0 2 0 2 4 4,496,287 8.0 4.0
43 NOR Norway 4.0 0 0 4 4 4 5,223,256 9.0 21.0
47 ARG Argentina 3.6 3 1 0 4 11 30,513,280 2.5 3.2
48 CIV Ivory Coast 3.0 1 0 1 2 4 13,149,372 0.0 0.0
49 FIJ Fiji 3.0 1 0 0 1 3 598,230 0.0 0.0
49 JOR Jordan 3.0 1 0 0 1 3 8,178,209 0.0 0.0
49 KOS Kosovo 3.0 1 0 0 1 3 1,285,885 0.0 0.0
49 MGL Mongolia 3.0 0 1 1 2 3 2,429,106 7.0 10.0
49 PUR Puerto Rico 3.0 1 0 0 1 3 3,474,182 2.8 0.0
49 SIN Singapore 3.0 1 0 0 1 3 5,535,000 2.0 2.0
49 TJK Tajikistan 3.0 1 0 0 1 3 5,534,278 0.8 3.0
49 TUN Tunisia 3.0 0 0 3 3 3 9,425,468 5.8 3.0
57 MAS Malaysia 3.0 0 4 1 5 9 30,243,294 1.1 0.8
58 BRA Brazil 2.4 7 6 6 19 39 162,129,063 3.0 2.0
59 IRI Iran 2.3 3 1 4 8 15 64,587,566 4.1 0.7
60 TPE Chinese Taipei 2.2 1 0 2 3 5 23,155,737 0.0 1.8
61 THA Thailand 2.1 2 2 2 6 12 57,112,047 1.0 1.8
62 BDI Burundi 2.0 0 1 0 1 2 3,236,642 0.0 0.0
62 GRN Grenada 2.0 0 1 0 1 2 64,063 3.0 0.0
62 ISR Israel 2.0 0 0 2 2 2 6,661,980 0.0 1.0
62 NIG Niger 2.0 0 1 0 1 2 7,664,550 0.0 0.0
62 QAT Qatar 2.0 0 1 0 1 2 2,477,113 2.0 0.0
67 TUR Turkey 2.0 1 3 4 8 13 65,433,815 1.8 2.5
68 VEN Venezuela 1.9 0 1 2 3 4 21,068,487 1.5 0.6
69 ETH Ethiopia 1.8 1 2 5 8 12 64,913,028 2.4 3.3
70 MEX Mexico 1.4 0 3 2 5 8 58,324,447 1.3 0.8
71 ALG Algeria 1.3 0 2 0 2 4 31,108,000 1.1 1.2
72 AUT Austria 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 8,376,894 0.0 4.0
72 DOM Dominican Republic 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 5,934,202 4.4 5.0
72 EST Estonia 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 1,031,700 3.0 5.0
72 FIN Finland 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 5,491,817 4.0 7.0
72 MDA Moldova 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 2,814,055 2.0 1.0
72 POR Portugal 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 8,407,501 2.0 4.7
72 TTO Trinidad and Tobago 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 1,120,224 0.0 0.0
72 UAE United Arab Emirates 1.0 0 0 1 1 1 7,934,080 0.0 0.0
80 VIE Vietnam 0.6 1 1 0 2 5 82,224,900 0.0 0.3
81 EGY Egypt 0.4 0 0 3 3 3 68,344,077 0.6 0.2
82 MAR Morocco 0.3 0 0 1 1 1 28,904,250 0.4 1.1
83 INA Indonesia 0.3 1 2 0 3 7 229,471,335 0.3 0.4
84 PHI Philippines 0.3 0 1 0 1 2 77,356,514 0.0 0.0
85 NGR Nigeria 0.2 0 0 1 1 1 56,096,400 0.0 1.1
86 IND India 0.1 0 1 1 2 3 907,680,100 0.8 0.2

Note: I got curious as to whether the Power Ranking distribution was skewed by population, meaning, for example, did smaller countries tend to have higher rankings, or vice versa. So for my own curiosity I ginned up a chart that shows all countries that medalled from smallest to largest population (orange line), with their corresponding Power Rankings (blue bars). It appears to my half-trained eye that the distribution does not seem to trend along population lines, and confirms that the Power Ranking algorithm, while crude, appears to remove the advantage of population, which is one of the primary goals of this excercise:

Olympic Power Ranking by Population

Olympic Power Ranking by Population

Oat Flour Swedish Pancakes Recipe (gluten free and FODMAP friendly)

Posted on August 19th, 2016 in Engineerboy,Recipes by EngineerBoy
Oat Flour Swedish Pancakes

Oat Flour Swedish Pancakes

I’ve been making Swedish pancakes for years, but my wife has started leaning towards FODMAP friendly foods for health reasons, and wheat is definitely a no-no. I hated the thought of giving up on our traditional Sunday morning Swedish pancake family breakfasts, so I did some experimenting and came up with an alternative using oat flour, and, quite honestly, they taste even better than the wheat ones.

The key is getting the oat flour, what we do is buy Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats at our local grocery store, and then pulsate them in our Vitamix blender until they are of flour-like consistency. The steel cut oats are about the size of smallish rice grains, and blend into flour nicely. Some places also offer oat flour directly, so choose whichever works for you.

One note of personal preference in preparing these pancakes, I like using a 9.5″ crepe pan like this one. They’re made from iron, but aren’t as thick or heavy as a cast iron pan. They heat well and release easily with a little butter. And, full disclosure, I like that pan so much I bought a second one, and now I cook two pancakes at a time, which cuts prep time in half.

Now to the recipe, the ingredients are pretty simple:

1 cup oat flour
10 eggs
4 cups whole milk
splash of vanilla
2 tsp salt
butter for the pan

That’s it! Preparation is similarly simple, as follows:

Heat the crepe pan – it doesn’t have to be super hot, but you want to let it fully heat to get even cooking. On my stove I set it at the third notch up out of seven total, and let the pans heat while doing all the prep work.

Also, and this is optional, put an oven-safe plate in the oven on it’s lowest setting to begin heating. This plate will be used to hold the pancakes and keep them warm on the table.

Combine the oat flour and milk and blend them on medium high until fully combined. Note that the oat flour takes longer than wheat to combine, so make sure to give it enough time. If it doesn’t fully combine, you may end up with some oat silt leftover in the bottom of your bowl after making your crepes, it won’t really hurt anything, but you may have to experiment to get the blend time correct here.

Once the oat flour and milk are combine, add all of the remaining ingredients (not the butter, that’s just for cooking) and blend for a minute or two on medium-low, just to combine them.

Put a pat-and-a-half in the heated pan, let it melt, and swirl it to cover the entire surface of the pan.

Use a standard soup ladle to put one full ladle of batter into the pan – it should spread out over the entire pan to between about 1/8″ and 1/4″ in thickness, about half the thickness of

Garlic and Onion Clarified Butter Recipe

Posted on August 16th, 2016 in Commentary by EngineerBoy
Savory Nectar of the God

Savory Nectar of the Gods

My wife follows the FODMAP diet, and two of the big no-nos are garlic and onion, specifically the solid parts of both – she’s okay to have the oils and juices. The other day I was making an omelette and in order to give it some flavor without adding physical bits of onion and garlic, I first sauteed some garlic and onion in butter, then strained out the solids and cooked the eggs in the now-flavored liquid butter.

It then occurred to me that I could create this garlic onion butter in advance, and even have it be clarified for easier cooking. It may be TMI, but the entire family did NOT suffer from the usual digestive secondary effects of garlic and onion eggs, but we still got the nice savory flavor. Your mileage may vary, but if you have digestive issues with garlic and/or onions but you like cooking with them, this might be an alternative worth trying (I am NOT a doctor!)

This post details the recipe and shows the process, as follows:

2 lbs salted butter
3 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 smallish sweet onion

Slice the onion into thin slices, but no need to chop finely
Add the butter, garlic, and sliced onion to a sauce pan and place on low heat, for reference on my stove it would be Low-and-a-Half
Do not cover the pot
Let it simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring gently every 45 minutes or so
Note that the golden butter you see here is after 2 hours, if you let it cook for 3 hours it will be a bit darker with a stronger flavor
Set up a strainer over a bowl, with a (preferably white, not dyed) paper towel lining the inside of the strainer
Pour the cooked mixture into the strainer, including all the onions and garlic from the bottom, and allow it to drip/drain for a few minutes to get all the good stuff into the bowl
Remove and discard the onion and garlic in the paper towel (although I’ve been thinking there might be some secondary use for them at some point)
Allow the clarified butter to cool down a bit, 15-20 minutes, then pour into a mason jar – the cool down period is to prevent cracking the jar (which I have done in the past when in a rush)

That’s it! This stuff doesn’t go bad in any short-term period of time, and I leave it out on my counter or in a nearby cabinet (not refrigerated) for use when cooking. NOTE: I am not a food scientist nor a health inspector, so use your own judgment as to whether you’re comfortable not refrigerating this stuff! 

This stuff is great for cooking – clarified butter is more like cooking oil, it’s much more heat tolerant than regular butter, and with the garlic/onion infusion it adds a great savory taste to foods cooked in it. It’s also FANTASTIC warmed up

Possible Trump Candidacy Outcomes

Posted on August 3rd, 2016 in Commentary,Politics by EngineerBoy
Trump Outcomes

Trump Outcomes

Disclaimer: the article below represents the noodlings of a dumbass who is talking about things way over his head, but which he nonetheless finds interesting as a mental exercise.

At this point, I think it’s clear that the results of the 2016 US presidential race will be extraordinarily strange, and that strangeness primarily comes from Donald Trump’s candidacy. His campaign has been unlike any in my lifetime, and he’s certainly been a unique major party candidate.

As November approaches, I can’t help but consider the possible outcomes, as follows (from most to least likely, in my opinion):

Trump Drops Out: I think the most likely scenario is that Trump will realize he can’t win and so drops out of the race because that prevents “losing”.  Also, he’d never come right out and say that he’s dropping out, he would wrap it in some kind of faux drama, like:

Has a business deal going that is too big to pass up, but it would be a conflict of interest to continue his candidacy
The fix is in and he’s not going to play along in a corrupt system
Some kind of family drama (wife having issues, kid sick, etc)
Assassination attempt (real or contrived) and he quits for the good of his family
A mysterious walking away and steadfast refusal to explain, with hints of a nefarious cause

Trump Stays In, Loses: It’s possible that even if he sees he won’t win he’ll stay in to the bitter end, most likely culminating with lawsuits and the launching of TrumpTV.

Trump Concocts a Legal Challenge, Delays the Election: He’s got floors full of lawyers who make their living off of Trumpian litigation, he could spin up some kind of legal challenge that causes a friendly court to stay the election until resolution (and/or virtually certain reversal by SCOTUS).

The Republican Party Disavows Trump: In order to try to preserve and rebuild their brand, the Republican party could choose to disavow Trump as their candidate, and possibly even run an alternate candidate. This move would virtually guarantee a win by Hillary, but the Republicans might see it as necessary for cutting their losses and reducing the damage to their party in the long term.

Trump Runs Third-Party: If the Republicans disavow Trump, or he senses it is imminent, he could spin up a third-party candidacy in order to try to remain in the race.

Trump Stays In, Wins: I think at this point this is an unlikely, but not impossible, scenario. It would, in my opinion, require a Clinton scandal of incredible proportions to swing the momentum at this point. If he does win, I’d expect him to either resign before the first term was done, or be impeached and removed from office.

As per the disclaimer at the top of this post, I’m just another dumbass with a blog spouting nonsense. However, this election is going to be different from any in my lifetime, and however it ends it’s going to be with a bang.

How I Beat Insomnia (Updated)

Posted on September 29th, 2015 in Commentary by EngineerBoy

Don’t watch this to go to sleep…

Update 2015-09-29: This post is now over four years old, so I wanted to come back and update it. Happily, I still have no problems with sleeping (knock on wood). Second, the technology originally described below has been updated. I now use a small tablet (an old Microsoft Surface RT) that I set on top of the open middle drawer of my nightstand, and still use the Sleepphones plugged into the Surface. I then use our NetFlix, Hulu Plus (now commercial free tier!), and Amazon Instant/Prime Video for my viewing selections.

I have all of the video players configured to only play a single episode, then stop, which prevents video from playing all night. The position on top of the middle drawer means the screen is lower than my body line in bed, so there is no direct light shining over to Marie’s side. And I still keep the brightness at the lowest setting, to reduce flicker.

Over the years I have gone through a number of different series as my sleep-shows. The rotation has included Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Larry Sanders Show, Community, and 30 Rock. Suffice it to say that I have seen every episode of those sitcoms several times, so watch out if we ever play trivia games about any of them. To reiterate, the selection of viewing choice, for me, is based on the following criteria:

Something I already know, so it’s not engaging in the sense of keeping me awake to find out what happens next. I already know all the details of all the episodes for these shows, so I’m never kept awake waiting for a narrative surprise.
Something that’s funny. There are certainly dramatic/scary shows that I enjoy, but they don’t relax me and, for me, don’t hold up on repeat viewing in the way that a well-done sitcom can. Plus, I’d much rather go to sleep smiling and laughing as opposed to grimacing.
Something I like and that holds up to repeat viewings. This narrows it down to the shows that are, to me, reasonably timeless with their sense of humor.
No current events. If they are fresh they stir up my righteous outrage, and if they are old they irritate the heck out of me.
Nothing violent or scary, even if it’s funny. I’m a regular consumer of shows and movies that contain violence, horror, and scares, but not as a sleep aid, thank you very much.
No movies. This is a more recent guideline. Back in the day I used to watch movies to fall asleep all the time, but that was when I was just learning this technique and my sleep routine was still subject to regular disruption. The comfort of a two hour movie gave a nice runway to insure that I had enough distraction to get to the sleep part, even if it took a couple of hours. Now, however, I go to sleep within

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