March 7, 2017: Dangerous Cats, Biking in Wind, Broken Glass, Muffin Bread, Spring, Carrion
Cats serve humans as surrogate non-needy friends, or as substitute children. Setting aside the disagreeable task of cleaning their litter boxes, they do pose significant actual dangers to humans. They get underfoot and can trip the unsuspecting and cause broken wrists, broken hips, and brain-threatening concussions. Even when falling is avoided, they trigger emotional distress when humans step on them and make them yowl.
“Gawdamit! Sorry, cat! I did not mean to step on you. Stoopid cat. Get out from under my frisking feet.”
Some seconds later, when panic begins to fade, to self, muttering, “Geezus I hope I did not break that cat’s leg. Crimony. Not my fault. Fricking cat.”
Most concerning are the cat-born diseases. Toxoplasmosis can be transmitted by felines and is a parasite that may negatively impact risk assessment. No human needs to be worse at risk assessment: their skill level is horrible in the modern world. Infection rates among adult humans in the USA are about 18%.to 19%. Look it up. Approximately 60 million adults in the USA are/have been infected with Toxoplasmosis. This figure roughly corresponds with the number of humans who voted for he who must not be named. Coincidence?
Androp went biking in winds that hovered near 12 mph on an overcast, 50 F morning. Riding out into the wind was brutal. Riding back was a breeze (pun intended). Hint: ride out into the wind, and back with the wind. Pay attention. Also, when a rider reaches 8 to 10 mph on a bike, nearly all of the riding resistance comes from wind. The weight of the bike matters little: given a human weighting 200 lbs, pedaling a bike that weights 35 lbs versus 25 lbs only add 4.4% to the load. Riding resistance is impacted even less. Likewise, tire tread and tire circumference add little riding resistance. Google Sheldon Brown (insert biking subject) for more information.
Speaking of biking and broken glass: the wife successfully sleuthed the source of puddles of broken glass that appear on the street in our cul-de-sac: garbage trucks. This is bad news for biking, especially for non-puncture-resistant youth bike tires. Bummer.
The culinary notes are sparse: Androp made pulled pork, coleslaw, baked beans, green beans, and fresh English muffin bread this week for the family Sunday meal. Pulled pork and coleslaw on buns is yummy. Cook the pork slowly for tenderness: in the oven at about 310 for 4 hours. Use a fatty roast, such as “butt roast” or “Boston Butt” or “shoulder roast.” These are all from the shoulder area. Pork loin sucks for pulled pork: too lean. English muffin bread (also called toasting bread) is probably the easiest yeast loaf to make for the first-time baker. No kneading, no stand or hand mixer needed, and only one rise required. The loaves are firm and can be sliced thin for toasting. All recipes for this loaf are similar. Pleasing, bigger loaves will result if the baker adds about 25% to all ingredients from most recipes.
Signs of spring are abundant in Androp’s home town: decorative magnolia trees and Bradford pears are in bloom. Generally, this means one more freeze on the year.
Finally, Androp has a friend who feeds carrion to Turkey Vultures in his back year. They need to eat, too. An interesting note: no wintering Turkey Vultures were recorded in Androp’s home town during the Christmas bird counts until the 1990’s. More than a dozen were observed along Missouri River bluffs during Saturday’s bike ride. The reason is unknown, but the appearance of vultures does correspond with the building of sewage ponds, and of wildlife conservation ponds, in the area. Could dead ducks have attracted the wintering vultures? The curious await a better explanation.