Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cheeta - Who Knew?

As a young lad I was an early riser. On Saturday's, that is!

The TV festival started early and I didn't want to miss a bit of it. Sky King. Commander Cody. Bullwinkle and Friends. And, of course, Tarzan Theater.

We all loved Tarzan, Jane and Cheeta the mischevious chimp. Tarzan saving the explorers, Jane soothing Tarzan's fevered brow (or so we thought) and Cheeta stealing the important jewel, map, key or one of a thousand important things to steal. Cheeta came through in the end, though, and there was a happy ending.

Of all the actors and actresses in all the Tarzan films from the 30's and 40's, one actor remains: Cheeta.

Yes, Cheeta the Chimp is alive and well and living the Life of Riley. He's 76 years old which makes him the oldest chimpanzee on record. He's also an accomplished artist and produces what has been called "ape-stract" paintings.

And, believe it or not, you can purchase a painting from Cheeta and support him through his old age.

Just go to the Cheeta website and navigate to the Want a Picture link to make your contribution. In a few weeks you will receive your very own, unique painting by Cheeta, a couple of autographed photographs and a Certificate of Authenticity.

Here's my painting. The black smudge at the botton right is a thumbprint.



And here's a picture of Cheeta with Tarzan star Johnny Weissmuller. Cheeta is on the right.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Chickened Out

If you have been watching the news then you may have seen the report about ConocoPhillips teaming up with Tyson Foods to produce a hybrid fuel based on chicken fat.

Now, what exactly does that mean?

Well, I can tell you that the CEO’s of the two companies were mighty pleased with themselves during the announcement. Mighty pleased.

“The bonus to consumers may even meet the level of my annual bonus,” the Oil CEO squawked, a feather clinging to his lips.

“You’re kidding,” the Chicken CEO clucked, who’s bonus was chickenfeed by comparison.

“Yes, I’m kidding,” the Oil CEO confessed, “my little joke.”

And the two CEO’s fell about laughing and slapping each other on the back; feathers flew.

Now, think about this for a moment.

A chicken in your tank. What does that mean?

I’ve heard of a tiger in your tank, but I’ve never heard of a chicken in your tank.

Tiger. Sleek jungle animal racing through the underbrush in pursuit of prey. Fierce, strong, agile, fast. Claw and fang.

Chicken. Clumsy bird that can’t fly, can’t cross the road, in pursuit of cracked corn. Cowardly, one might say “chicken,” weak and tastes like chicken. Beak and egg.

Which would you rather have in your tank? Tiger? Chicken? Tiger? Chicken?

Just imagine. You’re driving down the freeway in your Binford 3000 Cobra XTi and, bing, the low fuel indicator chimes.

To your left is an Exxon station featuring Tiger Gas. Put a Tiger in your tank, you hunky guy, you!

To your right is a ConocoPhillips station featuring Chicken Gas (reminding you of that bad episode with KFC last weekend.) Put a Chicken in your tank, you total loser. Braaakkk!!

What are you going to do?

Well, I can tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to go out and buy a couple of Hummers and some Exxon stock!

But, that’s all hypothetical. I mean, who’s going to drive around with a fake chicken’s head hanging out of their gas tank like people did with tiger tails? More important to consider is how the fuel is going to be made.

Think about it. Chicken fuel.

They’re going to, like, pump chicken fat from the chicken farm in Arkansas to the oil refinery in Texas. Does this mean they’ll have to construct a chicken fat pipeline through Louisiana? What are the environmental considerations? What if there’s a chicken fat rupture in Monroe?

“Monroe schools were evacuated today following a rupture of the Chicken Fat Pipeline. Hazardous material specialists from Shreveport were flown in to contain the spill which was being channeled into a local bayou where the fat was consumed by local alligators. Protesters from POTA, Prevent Obese Treatment of Alligators, were present, objecting to the industry practice of using alligators to clean up chicken fat spills.”

No, I think this a bad move. It’s going to encourage copycat fat fuel refining. No telling where this will end.

BP: Put a pork pie in your tank!

Shell: Put an oyster in your tank!

Valero: Put a bull in your tank!

Believe me, this is a slippery slope for oil companies to be on. I mean, what if the chickens don’t produce enough fat? How will it be made up?

Chicken fat production is down. Meanwhile, at Big Oil Company headquarters the annual employee physical…

“Whoa, Bill, looks like you’ve gained a few pounds! Been at those donuts at staff meeting have you? Well, we’re going to have to transfer you to refining. Yes, to refining. You’ll do well at refining…”

And in the Big Oil cafeteria a new line of Soylent Green wraps opens.

Ranch or BBQ?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Egged On, Not!

I’m an expert cook. Who says? Me!

I can cook anything. Moose? I’ll do a moose mousse. Pig? A pit I’ll dig. Squab? Give me a kibab.

Boil an egg. Please, don’t insult me. I can boil water and I can boil an egg, thank you very much.

Hard boiled or soft boiled? I can calculate the time to within a nanosecond of perfection. Hah! Egg, bring it on.

So I thought.

Egg Number 1.

Ever the consummate expert I prepared the landscape: Canadian bacon in the microwave to heat up, crumpets in the toaster to toast. Boiled egg with Canadian bacon on crumpet…yum-o! What’s not to like?

The crumpets popped up right on cue as the microwave beeped and and the stove timer chirped that the egg was done.

Taking the egg to the sink all looked right with the world. The crumpets were brown and warm, the Canadian bacon at the right temperature and, sure enough, the egg was cooked to perfection.

Carefully, I broke the shell on the edge of the sink and worked the shell off. I nearly had the egg shelled when…

Then, without warning, a furry paw reached around, snagged the egg and pulled it out of my hands.

“No!” I shouted, but it was too late! The egg and Kink’s furry paw fell to the floor in a yellow and white splatter on the tile. Kink proceeded to lick up his kill and I entertained thoughts of killing.

Egg number 2.

Undaunted, I left Kink to his ill-gotten gains and pulled another egg out of the fridge. Come on, I’ve cooked chocolate souffl├ęs and Moose mousses. What could be difficult about a boiled egg? I placed the egg in the pan of water, turned up the heat and let it go. Meanwhile, Kink was licking the kitchen tiles. Good for you, Kink, point to you. Kink 1, Egg 0.

Bang! What bang? There was a bang, a clank and a fire. Soon I realized that the egg in the pot had exploded and blasted egg white and yoke all over the stove. I looked in the pot and the eggshell was empty. The egg had inverted itself and was a slimy mess.

Dang.

Egg number 3.

I will not be defeated by an egg. I’m an expert cook. I’m a pro. Boiling an egg is like the most elementary of dishes.

I can boil an egg.

I cleaned out the pot, filled it with water, selected a nice, free range, brown egg and set the timer. Boil, boil it went. Tick tock went the timer.

Ding!

Egg done and a perfectly cooked egg if I must say so myself. Smugly, I cracked the shell on the sink and proceeded to unwrap my lunch treasure.

Purple spots. Wha? There were purple spots on my egg! No, purple spots shouldn’t be on eggs. I examined the spots closely and in the end decided it wasn’t worth the risk to eat the egg.



You know, I’ve gone off the whole idea of eating altogether. Just as well. I could use losing a few pounds.

Kool Kink

Repeat

I've said it once and I'll say it again:

Annie Lennox

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Catnip Jones

Sandy never showed an interest in gardening until we bought some catnip.

Now he's doing a month at Betty Ford.

Day at a time, Sandy old pal, day at a time.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Migas




Migas is a Mexican egg dish that has as it's core onions, corn tortillas and eggs. I am on a journey with migas having only just discovered it. I feel like Christopher Columbus in this endevour. A New World.

Migas means "crumbs" and there are migas-like dishes from around the world.

I'll concentrate on the Southwestern variety using leftover corn tortillas torn into little bits. A general recipe for migas would be as follows:

Saute some chopped onions in oil. When they are well cooked and turning brown toss in a handful or more of corn tortillas torn into little pieces, about half an inch in size. Cook this for a while. Meanwhile, beat some eggs with a little milk, then add the eggs to the onions and tortillas. Cook for a few seconds then add some chopped tomatoes and nopalitos (if you have them). Season with salt, cumin and anything else you like. Toss in some chopped jalapenos, for example. When the eggs start to set crumble in some Mexican hard cheese or feta cheese or grate some sharp chedder on top. Reduce the heat to very low, cover and let cook for a few minutes.

Uncover and shout, "Migas!"

For a small migas:

1 onion chopped
2 tomatoes chopped
6 corn tortillas, torn to pieces
2 eggs
3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup shredded cheese

For a large migas, serving 6-8:

2 onions
3 tomatoes
12 eggs
10 corn tortillas
1/4 cup milk
1 cup cheese

Additional things that could be added are chopped jalapenos, nopalitos, bell pepper, garlic and other stuff you think might be good to eat. Since this recipe is sort of like a flan, then chopped ham, bacon or sausage would work.