It’s Made Out Of WHAT?!?!?

Curt-lineby Curt Kovener
Knowledge is power but sometimes things are best left unknown. My ‘Bathroom Book Of Lists’ (and maybe THAT is more information than you want to know) listed how some frequently used foods are processed for human consumption.
Gelatin: Used as a thickener in foods like Jell-O and marshmallows, gelatin is collagen, the protein found in connective tissue. It is not made from horns and hooves, as is often thought. Pig and cattle bones and skin are broken down in hot water or acid and then dried, refined and purified into gelatin. For use as a thickener, gelatin is ground into granules or powder.
Imitation Crabmeat: Found most frequently at Chinese buffets, fake crabmeat is mainly fish, usually Pollock that is cleaned, minced, mixed with starch, salt, a bit of real crabmeat, egg white and flavoring. Then the mixture is ground into a paste, which is pressed into sheets and cooked. To give it that crabby look, the skeets are cut into thin strands and then colored. Then the genuine imitation faux crabmeat is cooked again and vacuum packed for your favorite restaurants to prepare.
Bologna: Supermarket bologna earns its ‘mystery meat’ reputation. The process begins with unused bits of beef, pork, and sometimes poultry. Which bits is the mystery. But the mystery bits get ground up and liquefied into a paste and a blend of secret spices are added. The pasty concoction is extruded into a casing, then boiled or smoked, sliced and packaged for your favorite sandwich or pickling for a masculine meaty treat with beer.
Evaporated and Condensed Milk: To extend the shelf life of milk, it is ‘evaporated’ through pasteurization by putting it in a pressure lower than atmospheric pressure (vacuum) container and then boiled. This vacuum evaporation process concentrates the milk to 30%-40% solids which delays the spoiling. Then it is homogenized to keep the cream from separating and sealed into cans. The difference between evaporated and condensed milk is that the later has lots of sugar added. Which makes it great for holiday candy making…if you can get past the fact that the former fresh milk from a cow may be a year old before you use it.
Jawbreakers: The main ingredient is granulated sugar. It is poured into a round kettle that rotates over heat. The second ingredient— liquid sugar— is added into the rotating heated kettle. It sticks to the granulated sugar and little balls of sweetness begin to form. More liquid sugar is added periodically over then next several days—sometimes up to 100 coats— into the rotating kettle. When the jawbreakers are near full size, color and flavor (such as cinnamon oil) are added. Finally the now hard sugar balls are spun with a foodgrade wax and placed into bags for your candy store or grocery’s shelf.
SPAM: Once short for SPiced hAM, only about 10% of the product is actually ham. The other 90% is pork shoulder, Hormel®, which has made Spam since the 1930’s says it’s short for Shoulder of Pork and hAM. The meat is ground, then dropped below freezing before secret spices are added along with sodium nitrite…a preservative that give the product its pick color. It is mixed in a machine with an airtight seal to keep the amount of water being released low. The uncooked mixture is plopped into cans which are sealed and then the entire can is cooked in hot water.
Over 122 million cans of Spam are sold every year.
After reading all of this, maybe you, like me, will conclude it is appropriate such information be found in a Bathroom Book of Lists.

Local ‘Alternative Facts’ You Likely Didn’t Know

Curt-lineby Curt Kovener

An unusual concept came loudly into public view recently when senior White House advisor Kellyanne Conway said presidential press secretary Sean Spicer (gratefully no relation to Crothersville School Board president Bob Spicer) used “alternative facts” when he made not so slightly inaccurate claims about the size of the crowd at President Trump’s inauguration.
As a result, we have uncovered some alternative facts about Jackson and Scott County that the elitist, liberal, lying media (I guess that’s me) hasn’t been willing to report.
•Local fields and roads do not flood. It is the occasional, precipatory inspired act-of-God expansion of the borders of fisheraries. It is a method of natural irrigation to benefit farmers.
•There are no potholes in our roads. They are naturally occurring inverted speed bumps implemented to control travel time. They also serve as an economic development tool to improve the local economy of tire and suspension repair businesses.
•Pizza King and Dairy Queen both have soverign immunity from local regulations.
•Re-construction of the Shieldstown Covered Bridge is right on schedule, and always has been.
•Our area does not have a homeless problem. Business is so good in our downtowns that shoppers simply can’t all fit into the stores at the same time.
•If you think you see a protest, you are wrong! According to some of our area state representatives and senators, those people are merely walking for exercise.
•Birds surround our courthouses, town and city halls every day to participate in local democracy. What they leave on parked vehicles is public discourse.
•Despite what others may tell you, Jackson County was named for the deceased Hoosier icon Michael Jackson.
•Scott County was named for Scut Farkus, the neighborhood bully in the holiday classic ‘Christmas Story’ which was set in Indiana. Some people thought it was named for Randolph Scott or Scott McKain…but it’s not.
•It is not difficult to find a place to park at Wal-Mart; it’s simply a competitive exercise to help sharpen the driving skills of the motoring customers and to speed up slow moving Walmart customers.
The above are ‘alternative facts’ which means they are not facts at all so please don’t treat them as such.
Actually, “alternative facts” is nothing new. I sometimes used them in my youth—much to the chagrin of my parents—who, before the age of child abuse charges, showed me the error of my thinking.
And perhaps that is an answer to today’s alternative facts.
– – – – –
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”    ~Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Creative Puns for Educated Minds

Curt-lineby Curt Kovener

Puns, it can be said, are a sign of a superior intellect. They are a sign of an expanded vocabulary, play on words and word meanings. Some puns dribble off the tongue with ease; some require some thought.
But I enjoy the eye-rolling, corny groaner of a pun like these:
• The roundest knight at King Arthur’s round table Was Sir Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
• I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
• She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.
• A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra Class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
• The butcher backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his orders.
• No matter how much you push or pull the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.
• A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
• Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
• A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The Police are looking into it.
• Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, ‘You stay here; I’ll go on a head.’
• A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a Hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse Said, ‘No change yet.’
• A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
• The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a “small medium at large.”
• The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
• A backward poet writes inverse.
• When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of Religion.
• Don’t join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects!

Speak Precisely And Don’t Be Homo-phobic

Curt-lineby Curt Kovener

A homonym, as Mrs. Lewis’ CHS English students will no doubt recall, is a word that sounds like another or perhaps is spelled the same as another but has a different meaning.
And homonyms are one of the reasons English is so difficult to learn. That and when to use lie, lay laid, lain have always been difficult for me.
Their and there, for and fore, meet and meat, hear and here are homonyms however, Southern Hoosiers, far and fire are not homonyms. At least, they are not supposed to be pronounced alike.
But some of the more confusing aspects of the Southern Hoosier brand of English we use to communicate is when two words are spelled the same but pronounced differently.
Take these homonymic examples for instance:
•We must polish the Polish furniture.
•He could lead if he would get the lead out.
•The farm was used to produce produce.
•The landfill was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
•The soldier decided to desert in the desert.
•This was a good time to present the present
•A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
•When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
•I did not object to the object, for I was being objective.
•The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
•The bandage was wound around the wound.
•There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
•They were too close to the door to close it.
•The buck does funny things when the does are present.
•They sent a sewer down to stitch the tear in the sewer line.
•To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
•The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
•After a number of injections my jaw got number.
•Upon seeing the tear in my clothes I shed a tear.
•How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
•I had to subject the subject to a series of tests on various subjects.
It was usually the subject of high school English where Mrs. Lewis’ students subjected themselves to her knowledge as well as subject to frustration trying to comprehend such a confusing subject.

Wilderness Yoga

Curt-lineby Curt Kovener

New Years Day dawned gratefully sunny, dry and outdoors workable comfortable. I took that as an omen to get some overgrown briars, weeds, leaning trees and low hanging branches manicured in the wilderness.
I sit on a newly formed county-wide committee to educate the public to deal with from a farm perspective noxious and potentially toxic weeds for livestock and (from my perspective) invasive woodland plants.
Since the best kind of leadership is an active hands-on style which instills real world knowledge, I put on my old work clothes, got the pruners, clippers and chainsaw and went to work reclaiming the lane and trails.
I have written frequently about blackberries and raspberries. But they can become weeds when they grow where they shouldn’t. Forsythia planted along the creek years ago provides pretty yellow early spring flowers. But left to their own, like multiflora roses, greenbriar, and autumn olive, they can take over.
So to take back the area, I engage in wilderness yoga. Yoga is a form of exercise which employs stretching, interesting and sometime provocative positions, breathing and meditation. And I employ all of those as I duck, crouch, wiggle and meander, stretch and contort under and above overhanging sometime briar filled branches.
After the cutting there is the pulling, detangling, and dragging the newly pruned vegetation to the stick pile for composting.
And throughout all of that is breathing. Heavy breathing… but not the kind you may think. The kind brought on my sitting in front of a computer too much. They kind where walking Emma the Great Pyrenees causes some gasping for air as I try to keep up with the now 1 year old and 90-pound puppy wannabe guard dog as she romps about the wilderness.
When we go inside she has bunches of woodland burrs in her fur and loves the attention she receives as I gently work them out of her long white coat. She considers it a sign of affection and enjoys standing or lying while I prospect for weed seeds.
I soon am reminded that too much time in front of a computer results is tired muscles and aching joints way before the work is done.
But, tomorrow or the next day more work can be addressed. Right now a nap in the recliner in front of the fireplace seems to be a good culmination of my wilderness yoga sessions.

Quotes On Christmas

Curt-linecompiled by Curt Kovener
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
~ Dr. Seuss
“The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.”
~George Carlin
“How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, His precepts!”
~Benjamin Franklin
“Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.”
~Steve Maraboli
“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.”
~Laura Ingalls Wilder
“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”
~Bob Hope
“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. ”
~Mary Ellen Chase
“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!”
~Dave Barry
“Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously?”
~Bill Watterson, cartoonist for Calvin and Hobbes
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”
~Hamilton Wright Mabie
“The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin.”
~Jay Leno
“If my Valentine you won’t be, I’ll hang myself on your Christmas tree.”
~Ernest Hemingway
“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.”
~Andy Rooney
“What kind of Christmas present would Jesus ask Santa for?”
~Salman Rushdie
“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart. ”
~Washington Irving
“Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.”
~G.K. Chesterton
“As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is.”
~Eric Sevareid
“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’.”
~Bing Crosby
“I think commercialism helps Christmas and I think that the more capitalism we can inject into the Christmas holiday the more spiritual I feel about it ”
~Craig Ferguson
“Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies!”
~Francis Pharcellus Church
“Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out any quicker than the Christmas spirit”
~Kin Hubbard
“A Christmas candle is a lovely thing; It makes no noise at all, But softly gives itself away; While quite unselfish, it grows small.”
~Eva K. Logue
“It’s not about presents but it is about your presence. Therein lies the spirit of the holiday season.”
~Julieanne O’Connor
“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes – and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent”
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German Theologian
“Christmas makes me schmaltzy. I’m proud to be level-headed, even a little tough most of the time. But once a year I like to believe that peace on earth may be possible and calories don’t count.”
~Sue Merrell
“…freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin – inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night…”
~John Geddes
“Instead of protesting and cursing others because they write “X-Mas” instead of “Christmas”; try being Christmas. Live Christmas. Breathe Christmas. Act Christmas. Speak Christmas. Reflect Christmas. Listen and feel Christmas. Christ doesn’t care how you write Christmas; He cares how you live Christmas all year long.”
~Sandra Chami Kassis
“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”
~Norman Vincent Peale
Don’t boil yourself in the Christmas jam
Of unwise spending and social cram.
Preserve your fruit with the spiritual things,
And the lasting joy the holiday brings.
“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”
~Oren Arnold
“There are some people who want to throw their arms round you simply because it is Christmas; there are other people who want to strangle you simply because it is Christmas.”
~Robert Lynd
“I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas
with a note on it saying, toys not included.”
~Bernard Manning
“You know you’re getting old, when Santa starts looking younger.”
~Robert Paul
“The one thing women don’t want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband.”
~Joan Rivers
“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when my mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph.”
~Shirley Temple