Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Recipe for Good Pancakes

A few week,s ago we went to the mall shopping and missed dinner at the "Institute", "Home", what ever you want to call where we live. We went down to Cracker Barrel for some pancakes. They were as good as ever but reminded me of the best pancakes I have ever had.

Sixty -seven or -eight years ago, our Boy Scout troop went on a camp-out along with a bunch of other troops. We went on Friday night, set up tents and slept out doors that night. Three or four troop fathers had come along and the next morning they decided that they should do the cooking for breakfast, despite having only the most rudimentary knowledge of the art. A committee of mothers had packed the food supplies (for meals thru Sunday noon). Using these supplies the fathers made the troop pancakes for breakfast and were they ever good!?!

Saturday afternoon were the big knot tieing, etc.,competitions between the tro0ps and all the Moms arrived to watch. Of course, they heard about the delicious pancakes the fathers had cooked. Suspicious, some Moms checked the larder and found that the week-end's supply of eggs had all gone to into one meal's pancakes. The fathers got as close to catching hell as they could come at a Boy Scout affair. But I'll always remember, to make good pancakes throw in all the eggs you have.

To the right of the First Class Scout Badge above is today's Cooking Merit Badge. It looks to me like a souffle or a pop-over behind the silverware. That sure doesn't jibe with the cooking I ate in the Boy Scouts! What's happening to this world?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

South Florida Fair

We went over to the South Florida Fairgrounds yesterday. The Annual Fair is running down. It will close tomorrow. As you can see, they let the little kiddies sit right up close to the ice show, one of the features this year. The Ice Show was surprisingly good. All the performers were top-notch and could bring a gasp to the large audience with their grace and sometimes with their flamboyance.

Each year we see the space given to farm tractors, cows, chickens, rabbits , veggies and the like shrink back. That is a little disappointing to we old timers, but understandable. The entertainment and food areas increase to compensate. This year they had a new outfit in to bring in the rides attractions, etc. It was quite an improvement, particularly in cleanliness.

Everyone should go to a country fair at least once a year.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A Lesson at Harvard

I hope I haven’t told this story before, but, heck, my memory or lack of same is one of my weak points. There was a large group of us attending a summer course at the Harvard Business School on managing Research and Development. There were 60 or 70 of us from all across the country and overseas residing in a dormitory building. The building was on a corner where a local road crossed a bridge over a sunken highway. A characteristic of the course we were taking was the tremendous load of homework we had each evening. The evening when this story took place was “hotter than the hammers of hell” This was before air conditioning was popular and we were all studying in our skivvies with windows wide open and fans spinning at max velocity.

Suddenly, there was the sound of a tremendous explosion! It echoed on and on, mixed with terrifying after-sounds. My first thought was on an atomic bomb and my family. In an instant, everyone was out of their rooms and asking what had happened. Someone ran to the edge of the sunken highway and yelled that there was a horrendous accident. That got our attention and this mob of self anointed Research Directors climbed down to the highway below. (I have no memory of how we did that.) Every one of the 60 or 70 of us sought to take charge. We saw that a truck had found its way on to the “cars only” highway. At high speed it had stripped its top off trying to go under the three feet too-low bridge. Cars following and cars going in the opposite direction were flattening their tires on the wrinkled sheet metal. Out of control, they were crashing into each other and the sides of the depressed highway. Some of we pseudo-executives ran back in both directions to stop on coming traffic. Others sought out the injured and performed first aid, others were tossing debris to the sides of the road.

Believe it or not some order came out of the bedlam. Things quieted down and were well under control when a single voice cried out, “Who called the police?” “Did anyone call the police?” OOOPS! In an instant realization struck and five or six ran for the dorm phone. They must have given a livid report because in no time an army of police and ambulances were there. And that is when the students got a real, live lesson in management and organization! Those officers were great! They were all fully dressed and each performed his function efficiently without panic or fuss. Soon the students filed back to the dorm in their skivvies to mull over the fact that while our performance wasn't that bad for amatuers, we had each forgotten the obvious first, simple step: Call in the professionals. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Advice on Advice

Some colleges that teach courses in Gerontology set up forums online where the students may ask a group of Senior citizens questions covering a wide range of topics, mostly about growing old successfully. The kind, old folks give wise and considered advice on how to live your life so that you will die well-to-do, independent, and well satisfied with yourself. Of course, the advice reflects how the person giving the advice lived his/her life. The flaw in the ointment is that, by the age of 60 or 70, prejudice, bias, close-mindedness is firmly embedded in the way of thinking. I am often reminded of the Army expression, “Follow me – and I’ll lead you to hell!”

History is perhaps the greatest teacher that young people can avail themselves of. But the history of an individual as related by the subject himself is dangerous to trust unedited. Pick and choose from the life paths that are suggested to you. Churchill led a very worthwhile life, but do you want to be all that Churchill was? Do you think your life will be enhanced by strong whiskey and an equally strong cigar every evening? Do you want to be so up-tight about preparing for retirement that you take a pledge never to borrow money, never use a credit card? Drive no car until you have saved the money to pay for it? Several of the online elderly advisors counsel such a monastic life.

Read, listen, hear, and study all the advice you come across. Decide who you are, then pick and chose those bits from each source of advice that will enhance the person you want to be.
A mini-quote from Mortimer….”So the Delphic instructions to know ourselves, Shakespeare’s advice, put in the mouth of Polonius in one of the rare moments when he was being sensible,’ to thine own self be true”, and Montaigne’s announcement that living ‘is my trade and my art’ are made harder by severing relations with the past"

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Post Holidays

I’m sorry that I haven’t posted a blog message in a week or so. School was out, of course, and so we got to have our youngest grandson with us for a couple days. That is more fun than sitting and typing. Then there was some post Christmas sales to be looked into and a movie to see (“Rumor Has It” Movie was good, Shirley McLain was great!). Also there was the matter of Christmas toys to learn to play with. The young grandson can entertain himself for hours with his Game Boy. Once I said to S- that I should get myself one to while away the hours we have spent waiting in doctor’s offices recently. Unbeknownst to me my wife and two of the daughters got on the computer and ordered one for me. I had to ask the 8 ½ year old to teach me how to work it, but now I look forward to sitting in offices driving the others there round the bend with the beeps and gleeps from the Game Boy.

We also got a new DVD/VCR player and recorder. The Twelve Days of Christmas are past and I still haven’t mastered the DVD recording bit. As instructions I think we were given a paper written by a barely literate engineer who was told to write down all he knew about the machine in 100 pages or more. Logical arrangement be damned, just fill the book. We’ll get it, but I’m ready to call in the Game Boy expert.

The tree and decorations are stashed away, the cookies and candy is gone, no one gave us a fruit cake this year, so there is little to stop life from returning to normal. There is the matter of the Super Bowl fuss, but we should take that in stride. Hope your holidays were fun, now go back to work or whatever.