Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Doesn’t everybody make their hamburgers exactly the same way we do?

Obviously the one and only right way to make a hamburger is to grill a quarter-pound (~110 gram) ground beef patty (flipping it once), and then serve it on a 4” (100 mm) diameter bun. But that’s a dangerous fallacy.

Even right here in Boise Big Juds is well-known for serving one-pound beef burgers on double-sized buns. Over at Carl’s Jr. you can find a plant-based Beyond Burger and turkey burgers.

When you look in the frozen-foods section of a supermarket, you also will find the little 2-1/2” square White Castle ‘sliders’ with five holes, as shown above. They were steam-grilled on a bed of chopped onions and never ever flipped.

In New Mexico the default is a green chile cheeseburger. In Salt Lake City, the cheeseburgers also include pastrami. See the Serious Eats article titled Salt Lake City: Tracking Utah’s Pastrami Burger at Crown Burger which says “Greek immigrants in a Mormon town take an all-American food and top it with Jewish luncheon meat.” Near Oklahoma City they mash ribbons of onion right into the meat patty, as is described in a Parade magazine article titled Try Oklahoma’s famous fried onion burger.

There is no one right way. The hamburger image came from Len Rizzi at the National Cancer Institute.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Living profoundly

Michael Kroth’s Profound Living is one of the blogs I enjoy reading. He is a University of Idaho professor. Michael thinks and writes essays about getting deeply into serious topics without getting overly pompous, as indicated by the sculpture shown above at the Portland Zoo. (For example, look at his January 6, 2019 post titled Thinking About Irreverence).

Back in June 2009 Michael and I wrote a web article titled You are not alone: fear of public speaking affects one in five Americans.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Too many hand gestures – are you playing an invisible accordion?

Almost as soon as Beto O’Rourke announced as a Democratic candidate for President, Donald Trump mocked him for his "crazy” hand gestures – as shown above in a clip from The Daily Show. In reply Tevor Noah said that:
“…Every single Trump speech looks like he’s conducting every orchestra in the world at the same time.”

An article in the March 15, 2019 Washington Post by Allyson Chiu was titled ‘You’re playing an invisible accordion’: Trump ripped for mocking Beto O’Rourke’s ‘crazy’ hand gestures. (She quoted Seth Myers assessment of Trump).

I think both Beto and Donald are overdoing things to where it is distracting.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

What are the biggest fears in Wyoming?

 Radio stations need interesting content to talk about, like polls about fears. On July 10, 2017 there was a web article at the KISS Casper (radio 104.7 FM, in Wyoming) web site titled What are Wyomingites biggest phobias [poll results]. They reported results from a poll but omitted details of who was polled, when they were polled, and how many replied. Results are shown in a bar chart (click on it to see a larger, clearer view).

They really reported fears rather than phobias. Back on October 11, 2011 I blogged about What’s the difference between a fear and as phobia? Apparently they asked directly about fears of spiders, snakes, and heights (and maybe more), and also had written-in answers for others. Results are shown above in a bar chart scaled from their bar chart. Their text had reported somewhat higher numbers, like 22% for spiders rather than the 20% shown in the chart. I don’t recall having seen fear of slime reported in any other polls.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

What warnings should be in the operating instructions for a magic wand?

A product can be considered defective if there was inadequate instruction or lack of appropriate warnings. This is known as Failure to Warn. (You didn’t warn me not to do something dumb, so I did). It is discussed at great length in a law review article from 2000 titled Warning! Failure to Read this Article May Be Hazardous to Your Failure to Warn Defense. 

If we think about failure to warn and the Harry Potter books (involving use of magic wands), then we find a paradox. How could you write the instructions and warnings for an infinitely abusable product? Perhaps they would look something like this:


1]   Read all operating instructions before using this product. Keep these instructions with the product at all times.

2]  Always wear eye protection when using this product.

3]   Grasp straight end firmly. Wave pointed end using a vigorous circular motion, and chant an appropriate incantation. Speak clearly and distinctly.

4]   Keep away from sparks and open flames. May be used to cause sparks, flames, lightning bolts, and volcanic eruptions.

5]   Use only with adequate ventilation. May be used to create breezes or minor gales. Avoid causing excessively high winds.

6]   Keep away from corrosive chemicals or excessive moisture.

7]   Do not place in microwave oven. May be used in place of microwave oven.

8]   Handle with care. Keep away from small children and attorneys.

9]   For external use only. May cause skin irritation. If swallowed, do not induce vomiting.

10] Hand wash only. Blot dry. Do not iron. Do not place in electric dryer. Do not dry clean. Do not fold, bend, spindle, or mutilate.

11] This product complies with applicable FCC regulations (Subpart J of FCC Part 15). It will not cause interference with electronic equipment - unless you want it to.

12] Do not place this product in the glove compartment of a motor vehicle, or any location where it will be subject to temperatures higher than 140 F or lower than 0 F.

13] To avoid hazard of electrical shock, do not open this product. Opening product voids warranty. Batteries are not included (or necessary).

14] This product is warranted to operate for a period of not less than three years, after which it will turn back into an ordinary soda straw.

15] Do not abuse this product. Don’t worry, be happy.

These instructions and warnings are much shorter than the infamous Standard Disclaimer supposedly written by R. Bruce Farnsworth. An image of a magic wand was adapted from one at Wikimedia Commons.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Does the Dalai Lama eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast?

No, instead he has a roasted barley flour product, as was discussed in a January 10, 2015 article by Rebecca Seal in The Guardian titled Breakfast of champions: the Dalai Lama’s tsampa. (It is dangerous to assume that everyone else obviously does things the same way that we do). On Feb 20, 2019 there was a Harvard Business Review web article by him titled The Dalai Lama on why leaders should be mindful, selfless, and compassionate.

I read about tsampa in a 2008 book by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid titled Beyond the Great Wall: recipes and travels in the other China. As shown above, I tried making some from pearled barley. It is an interesting instant alternative to oatmeal. Another is an Indian rice flake product called poha, which I discussed in a September 29, 2013 post titled What did you have for breakfast this fall morning?

In Korea they also make a tea called boricha from roasted barley, which I had read about it on page 667 of Mark Bittman’s 2005 book The Best Recipes in the World. I brewed a cup of it, but was not impressed.   

An image of a bowl of oatmeal came from Renee Comet at the National Cancer Institute.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A warning on the tailgate of a rally pickup truck

On February 6th, as I waited for the light to turn green so I could exit the Overland Park Shopping Center here in Boise, I was right behind a rally pickup truck. I used my cell phone to capture the image shown above. An upside-down warning at the bottom of the tailgate says:

That SVT Raptor version of a Ford F150 has a 6.2 L (379 cubic inch) V8 engine which produces a very serious 411 horsepower.