MAIN STREET MEATS

November 18, 2017


I generally do NOT comment on my successes, failures, things I do well, things I do not do well, BUT I am probably one of the world’s best independent experts on “all-meat” hamburgers 😊😊.  Do NOT be fooled by my very quiet demeanor and passive personality.  I’m one of the best.  You might say a connoisseur of burgers—all-meat that is.  A turkey burger is not really a burger.  Let’s get that straight right now.  The best all-meat hamburger in Chattanooga is served by a restaurant called Main Street Meats. I know, I know, those of you who read this post and live in Chattanooga, will say NO, Tremont, Urban Stacks, Slicks; all serving great hamburgers, BUT Main Street Meats is the very best.  Main Street has a burger that would make the Earl of Sandwich giddy with excitement and anticipation!

My wife and I visited “Meats” this past Friday.  This post will give you some perspective as to why I say this is a wonderful experience.   Let’s take a look.

MENU

The menu separates the restaurant from your typical “burger joint”.  Much more expansive and certainly much more complete than a fast-food, hash-slinging, drive-through, down-and- dirty, greasy spoon establishment.   Main Street has a lunch menu and a dinner menu.  Since we went to dinner, I have given you the dinner menu below.

DINNER MENU

– BUTCHER’S SELECTIONS 

Served with House-Pickles, Mustards, and Niedlov’s Baguette

DAILY CHEESE SELECTIONS (1) $7 / (3) $19

DAILY CURED MEAT SELECTIONS (1) $5 / (3) $14 / (5) $23

– STARTERS –

PORK RINDS, Harissa Aioli ~ $5

BEEF TARTARE, Filet Mignon, Sour Carrot, Cornichon, Shallot, Yolk, Baguette Crisps ~ $13

CHICKEN LIVER MOUSSE, Bacon Jam, Parsley, Lemon ~ $9

HUMMUS, Seasonal Vegetables, Grilled PIta ~ $9.5

MSM BRATWURST, House Mustard & Pickles ~ $8

– SOUPS –

TURKEY POTATO, Turnip Greens, Mushrooms, Bacon, Green Onion ~ $6

– SALADS –

FALL GREENS, Buttercup Squash, Pepita, Baked Feta, Sweet Onion Dressing ~ $9

– SANDWICHES –

LOCAL BEEF BURGER, House Pickles, Mustard, Mayo, Caramelized Onions, Bacon, Gruyere ~ $10.25*

FISH TACOS, Spicy Aioli, Cabbage, Radish, Pickled Shallot, Cotija ~ $9

– PLATES –

BUTCHER’S STEAK, Bordelaise, Mashed Potatoes Simpson Farms (TN) Flank ~ $19, Simpson Farms (TN) New York Strip ~ $32, Strauss (NC) Filet Mignon ~ $36, Simpsons Farm (TN) 70 Day Dry Age Ribeye ~ $44

FISH n’ GRITS, Bacon Cheddar Grits, Pickled Okra, Chow Chow ~ $18

GRILLED PORK CHOPS, Roasted Root Vegetable, Apple and Onion Gastrique ~ $26

ROASTED CHICKEN, Sweet Potato, Smoked Ricotta, Pecans, Bourbon Maple Cream Sauce ~ $20

– SIDES –

HOUSE MADE FRIES, Tallow, Maldon Salt ~ $5

GARDINERA ~ $4

BRUSSELS, Apple Glaze, Chili Flake ~ 6

BEANS-N-GREENS, Chow Chow ~ $5

BROCCOLINI, Garlic, Aleppo, Parm ~ $6.5

POTATO SALAD, Scallion, Bacon, Mustard, Mayo ~ $6.5

– DESSERTS –

BANANA PUDDING, ‘Nilla Wafer, Marshmallow ~ $7.5

BREAD PUDDING, Maple Anglaise, Bacon Caramel, Chantilly ~ $7.5

COOKIES & ICE CREAM, Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookie, Clumpies Ice Cream ~ $5

WINE

– SPARKLING –

MEZZA DI MEZZACORONA ~ $8/gl $39/bt

– WHITE –

CASS MR BLANC ’16 ~ $9.5/gl $48/bt

MOUTON NOIR BOTTOMS UP ’14 ~ $48/bt

MOUTON NOIR OREGOGNE ’13 ~ $82.5/bt

UNIQUE SAUVIGNON BLANC ’14 ~ $7.5/gl $37/bt

VIGILANCE CHARDONNAY ’16 ~ $8/gl $40/bt

– ROSE –

AIX PROVENCE ROSE ’16 ~ $9/gl $46/bt

– RED –

BOOMTOWN MERLOT ’14 ~ $8.5/gl $42/bt

CALIFNORNIA SOUL ’11 ~ $9/gl $45/bt

HEITZ INK GRADE VINEYARD ZINFANDEL ’13 ~ $67/bt

HENDRY HWR PINOT NOIR ’14 ~ $9.5 gl/ $48/bt

HIRSCH RESERVE PINOT NOIR ’13 ~ $168/bt

LESSE-FITCH CABERNET ’15 ~ $7.5/gl $36/bt

NEYERS LEFT BANK RED ’15 ~ $65/bt

BEER

– DRAFT –

BLACKBERRY FARMS BOUNDARY TREE SAISON ~ $6.5

GOOD PEOPLE MUMBAI RYE ~ $5.5

ODDSTORY BELGIAN DUBBLE ~ $7

– BOTTLE –

BEARDED IRIS EVER CLEVER ~ $12

BEARDED IRIS SCATTERBRIAN ~ $11

BELL’S WINTER WHITE ~ $5.5

BLACKBERRY FARMS BELGO IPA ~ $15 (375ml)

BLACKBERRY FARMS BLACKBERRY RYE ~ $15 (375ml)

BUY THE KITCHEN A HIGH LIFE ~ $3.25

FOUNDERS PORTER ~ $6

HI-WIRE STRONGMAN COFFEE MILK STOUT ~ $6.5

MILLER HIGH LIFE (7oz.) ~ $2.5

MODELO ESPECIAL ~ $3.5

WISEACRE ADJECTIVE ANIMAL ~ $7.5

YEE-HAW DUNKEL ~ $5.5

BEVERAGES

– BOTTLED BEVERAGES –

ACQUA PANNA BOTTLED WATER ~ $3.75/500ml, $6/1L

DIET COKE ~ $3

FANTA ~ $3.5

MEXICAN COKE ~ $3.75

SAN PELLEGRINO ~ $3.75/500ml

SPRITE ~ $3.5

VELO COLD BREW COFFEE, BUNNY HOP ~ $4.25

VELO COLD BREW COFFEE, RTD ~ $3.75

– COFFEE & TEA –

GREYFRIAR’S COFFEE ~ $2.95

ICED TEA ~ $2.95

When you walk through the front door, you immediately are reminded that this is truly a meat market.  They sell the very best cuts of meat in addition to having a small restaurant.  Take a look.

 

 

In addition to meats, they have an excellent selection of cheeses.  The cooler below is more complete than appears because I took this photo with my cell phone which does not have a wide-angle lens.

The seating area is fairly small with approximately ten (10) tables and one very large table and accommodating groups in the center of the establishment. Main Street is a locally owned and operated operation and they enjoy the small size.

Every restaurant must have a bar and Main Street certainly does also.  The selection includes what you see below and other choices under the bar itself.

Our waiter was a great guy, very knowledgeable and very attentive.  Never an empty water glass and always accommodating.

The JPEG below really does not do justice to the burger itself.  You simply cannot get a feel for the quality of beef, or bread, or “fixings” included with the burger.  Main Street calls this the Local Beef Burger with house pickles, mustard, mayo, caramelized onions, bacon, and Gruyere cheese.  I say—you MUST include the caramelized onions. They establish one element of the overall taste. Also, the bacon is not your microwaved, thin, ready in two minutes bacon.  It’s twelve dollars ($12.00) a pound from the cooler.  Thick and cooked so crispy when eaten.

CONCLUSIONS:

Once again, the good news is—Main Street Meats is in Chattanooga.  The bad news is—Main Street Meats is in Chattanooga.  Most of you reading this post cannot “rush right down” and give this great restaurant a try, BUT you can make the visit to the River City.  Put that visit on your “bucket list”.  As always, I welcome your comments.

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THEY GOT IT ALL WRONG

November 15, 2017


We all have heard that necessity is the mother of invention.  There have been wonderful advances in technology since the Industrial Revolution but some inventions haven’t really captured the imagination of many people, including several of the smartest people on the planet.

Consider, for example, this group: Thomas Edison, Lord Kelvin, Steve Ballmer, Robert Metcalfe, and Albert Augustus Pope. Despite backgrounds of amazing achievement and even brilliance, all share the dubious distinction of making some of the worst technological predictions in history and I mean the very worst.

Had they been right, history would be radically different and today, there would be no airplanes, moon landings, home computers, iPhones, or Internet. Fortunately, they were wrong.  And that should tell us something: Even those who shape the future can’t always get a handle on it.

Let’s take a look at several forecasts that were most publically, painfully, incorrect. From Edison to Kelvin to Ballmer, click through for 10 of the worst technological predictions in history.

“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” William Thomson (often referred to as Lord Kelvin), mathematical physicist and engineer, President, Royal Society, in 1895.

A prolific scientific scholar whose name is commonly associated with the history of math and science, Lord Kelvin was nevertheless skeptical about flight. In retrospect, it is often said that Kelvin was quoted out of context, but his aversion to flying machines was well known. At one point, he is said to have publically declared that he “had not the smallest molecule of faith in aerial navigation.” OK, go tell that to Wilber and Orville.

“Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. No one will use it, ever. Thomas Edison, 1889.

Thomas Edison’s brilliance was unassailable. A prolific inventor, he earned 1,093 patents in areas ranging from electric power to sound recording to motion pictures and light bulbs. But he believed that alternating current (AC) was unworkable and its high voltages were dangerous.As a result, he battled those who supported the technology. His so-called “war of currents” came to an end, however, when AC grabbed a larger market share, and he was forced out of the control of his own company.

 

“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” Popular Mechanics Magazine, 1949.

The oft-repeated quotation, which has virtually taken on a life of its own over the years, is actually condensed. The original quote was: “Where a calculator like the ENIAC today is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh only 1.5 tons.” Stated either way, though, the quotation delivers a clear message: Computers are mammoth machines, and always will be. Prior to the emergence of the transistor as a computing tool, no one, including Popular Mechanics, foresaw the incredible miniaturization that was about to begin.

 

“Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” Darryl Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, 1946.

Hollywood film producer Darryl Zanuck earned three Academy Awards for Best Picture, but proved he had little understanding of the tastes of Americans when it came to technology. Television provided an alternative to the big screen and a superior means of influencing public opinion, despite Zanuck’s dire predictions. Moreover, the technology didn’t wither after six months; it blossomed. By the 1950s, many homes had TVs. In 2013, 79% of the world’s households had them.

 

“I predict the Internet will go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse.” Robert Metcalfe, founder of 3Com, in 1995.

An MIT-educated electrical engineer who co-invented Ethernet and founded 3Com, Robert Metcalfe is a holder of the National Medal of Technology, as well as an IEEE Medal of Honor. Still, he apparently was one of many who failed to foresee the unbelievable potential of the Internet. Today, 47% of the 7.3 billion people on the planet use the Internet. Metcalfe is currently a professor of innovation and Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise at the University of Texas at Austin.

“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” Steve Ballmer, former CEO, Microsoft Corp., in 2007.

Some magna cum laude Harvard math graduate with an estimated $33 billion in personal wealth, Steve Ballmer had an amazing tenure at Microsoft. Under his leadership, Microsoft’s annual revenue surged from $25 billion to $70 billion, and its net income jumped 215%. Still, his insights failed him when it came to the iPhone. Apple sold 6.7 million iPhones in its first five quarters, and by end of fiscal year 2010, its sales had grown to 73.5 million.

 

 

“After the rocket quits our air and starts on its longer journey, its flight would be neither accelerated nor maintained by the explosion of the charges it then might have left.” The New York Times,1920.

The New York Times was sensationally wrong when it assessed the future of rocketry in 1920, but few people of the era were in a position to dispute their declaration. Forty-one years later, astronaut Alan Shepard was the first American to enter space and 49 years later, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, laying waste to the idea that rocketry wouldn’t work. When Apollo 11 was on its way to the moon in 1969, the Times finally acknowledged the famous quotation and amended its view on the subject.

“With over 15 types of foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big share of the market for itself.” Business Week, August 2, 1968.

Business Week seemed to be on safe ground in 1968, when it predicted that Japanese market share in the auto industry would be miniscule. But the magazine’s editors underestimated the American consumer’s growing distaste for the domestic concept of planned obsolescence. By the 1970s, Americans were flocking to Japanese dealerships, in large part because Japanese manufacturers made inexpensive, reliable cars. That trend has continued over the past 40 years. In 2016, Japanese automakers built more cars in the US than Detroit did.

“You cannot get people to sit over an explosion.” Albert Augustus Pope, founder, Pope Manufacturing, in the early 1900s.

Albert Augustus Pope thought he saw the future when he launched production of electric cars in Hartford, CT, in 1897. Listening to the quiet performance of the electrics, he made his now-famous declaration about the future of the internal combustion engine. Despite his preference for electrics, however, Pope also built gasoline-burning cars, laying the groundwork for future generations of IC engines. In 2010, there were more than one billion vehicles in the world, the majority of which used internal combustion propulsion.

 

 

 

“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked to the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” Editor, Prentice Hall Books,1957.

The concept of data processing was a head-scratcher in 1957, especially for the unnamed Prentice Hall editor who uttered the oft-quoted prediction of its demise. The prediction has since been used in countless technical presentations, usually as an example of our inability to see the future. Amazingly, the editor’s forecast has recently begun to look even worse, as Internet of Things users search for ways to process the mountains of data coming from a new breed of connected devices. By 2020, experts predict there will be 30 to 50 billion such connected devices sending their data to computers for processing.

CONCLUSIONS:

Last but not least, Charles Holland Duell in 1898 was appointed as the United States Commissioner of Patents, and held that post until 1901.  In that role, he is famous for purportedly saying “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”  Well Charlie, maybe not.


Portions of this post are taken from the publication “Industry Week”, Bloomberg View, 30 October 2017.

The Bloomberg report begins by stating: “The industrial conglomerate has lost $100 billion in market value this year as investors came to terms with the dawning reality that GE’s businesses don’t generate enough cash to support its rich dividend.”

Do you in your wildest dreams think that Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, would have produced results such as this?  I do NOT think so.  Welch “lived” with the guys on Wall Street.  These pitiful results come to us from Mr. Jeffery Immelt.  It’s also now clear that years of streamlining didn’t go far enough as challenges of dumpster-fire proportions at its power and energy divisions overshadowed what were actually pretty good third-quarter health-care and aviation numbers.  Let me mention right now that I can sound off at the results.  I retired from a GE facility—The Roper Corporation, in 2005.

The new CEO John Flannery’s pledged to divest twenty billion ($20 billion) in assets perhaps is risking another piecemeal breakup but as details leak on the divestitures and other changes Flannery’s contemplating, there’s at least a shot he could be positioning the company for something more drastic.  Now back to Immelt.

Immelt took over the top position at GE in 2001. Early attempts at changing the culture to meet Immelt’s ideas about what the corporate culture should look like were not very successful. It was during the financial crisis that he began to think differently. It seems as if his thinking followed three paths. First, get rid of the financial areas of the company because they were just a diversion to what needed to be done. Second, make GE into a company focused upon industrial goods. And, third, create a company that would tie the industrial goods to information technology so that the physical and the informational would all be of one package. The results of Immelt’s thinking are not impressive and did not position GE for company growth in the twenty-first century.

Any potential downsizing by Flannery will please investors who have viewed the digital foray as an expensive pet project of Immelt’s, but it’s sort of a weird thing to do if you still want to turn GE into a top-ten software company — as is the divestiture of the digital-facing Centricity health-care IT operations that GE is reportedly contemplating.  Perhaps a wholesale breakup of General Electric Co. isn’t such an improbable idea after all.

GE has lost one hundred billion ($100 billion) in market value this year as investors came to terms with the dawning reality that GE’s businesses don’t generate enough cash to support its rich dividend. It’s also now clear that years of streamlining didn’t go far enough as challenges of dumpster fire proportions at its power and energy divisions overshadowed what were actually pretty good third-quarter health-care and aviation numbers.

One argument against a breakup of GE was that it would detract from the breadth of expertise and resources that set the company apart in the push to make industrial machinery of all kinds run more efficiently. But now, GE’s approach to digital appears to be changing. Rather than trying to be everything for everyone, the company is refocusing digital marketing efforts on customers in its core businesses and deepening partnerships with tech giants including Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc. It hasn’t announced any financial backers yet, but that’s a possibility former CEO Jeff Immelt intimated before he departed. GE’s digital spending is a likely target of its cost-cutting push.

This downsizing will please investors who have viewed digital as an expensive pet project of Immelt’s, but it’s sort of a weird thing to do if you still want to turn GE into a top-10 software company — as is the divestiture of the digital-facing Centricity health-care IT operations that GE is reportedly contemplating.

The company is unlikely to abandon digital altogether. Industrial customers have been trained to expect data-enhanced efficiency, and GE has to offer that to be competitive. As Flannery said at GE’s Minds and Machines conference last week, “A company that just builds machines will not survive.” But if all we’re ultimately talking about here is smarter equipment, as opposed to a whole new software ecosystem, GE doesn’t necessarily need a health-care, aviation and power business.

Creating four or five mini-GEs would likely mean tax penalties.  That’s not in and of itself a reason to maintain a portfolio that’s not working. If it was, GE wouldn’t also be contemplating a sale of its transportation division. But one of GE’s flaws in the minds of investors right now is its financial complexity, and there’s something to be said for a complete rethinking of the way it’s put together. For what it’s worth, the average of JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst Steve Tusa’s sum-of-the-parts analyses points to a twenty-dollar ($20) valuation — almost in line with GE’s closing price of $20.79 on Friday. Whatever premium the whole company once commanded over the value of its parts has been significantly weakened.

Wall Street is torn on General Electric, the one-time favorite blue chip for long-term investors, which is now facing an identity crisis and possible dividend cut. Major research shops downgraded and upgraded the industrial company following its third-quarter earnings miss this past Friday. The firm’s September quarter profits were hit by restructuring costs and weak performance from its power and oil and gas businesses. It was the company’s first earnings report under CEO John Flannery, who replaced Jeff Immelt in August. Two firms reduced their ratings for General Electric shares due to concerns about dividend cuts at its Nov. 13 analyst meeting. The company has a 4.2 percent dividend yield. General Electric shares declined 6.3 percent Monday to close at $22.32 a share after the reports. The percentage drop is the largest for the stock in six years. Its shares are down twenty-five (25%) percent year to date through Friday versus the S&P 500’s fifteen (15%) percent return.

At the end of the day, it comes down to what kind of company GE wants to be. The financial realities of a breakup might be painful, but so would years’ worth of pain in its power business as weak demand and pricing pressures drive a decline to a new normal of lower profitability. Does it really matter, then, what the growth opportunities are in aviation and health care? As head of M&A at GE, Flannery was at least partly responsible for the Alstom SA acquisition that swelled the size of the now-troubled power unit inside GE. If there really are “no sacred cows,” he has a chance to rewrite that legacy.

CONCLUSIONS:

Times are changing and GE had better change with those times or the company faces significant additional difficulties.  Direction must be left to the board of directors but it’s very obvious that accommodations to suite the present business climate are definitely in order.

HILLBILLY ELEGY

November 9, 2017


Hillbilly Elegy is without a doubt one of the best-written, most important books I have ever read.  A remarkably insightful account of J.D. Vance growing up in a significantly dysfunctional family but only realizing that fact as he became older and compared his family with others.  As you read this book, you realize it is a “major miracle” he escaped the continuing system of mental and physical abuse prevalent with poor, white, Eastern Kentucky “hillbilly” families.  When moving to Ohio, the abuse continued.  Even though financial conditions improved, conditions remained ingrained relative to family behavior.

 I grew up poor, in the Rust Belt, in an Ohio steel town that has been hemorrhaging jobs and hope for as long as I can remember.” That’s how J. D. Vance begins one of the saddest and most fascinating books, “Hillbilly Elegy:  A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. Published by Harper, this book has been on the NYT best seller list since its first publication and has rarely dipped below number ten on anyone’s list. Vance was born in Kentucky and raised by his grandparents, as a self-described “hillbilly,” in Middletown, Ohio, home of the once-mighty Armco Steel. His family struggled with poverty and domestic violence, of which he and his sister were victims. His mother was addicted to drugs—first to painkillers, then to heroin. Many of his neighbors were jobless and on welfare. Vance escaped their fate by joining the Marines after high school and serving in Iraq. Afterward, he attended Ohio State and Yale Law School, where he was mentored by Amy Chua, a law professor and tiger mom. He now lives in San Francisco, and works at Mithril Capital Management the investment firm helmed by Peter Thiel. It seems safe to say that Vance, who is now in his early thirties, has seen a wider swath of America than most people.  The life he has lived during his adolescent years is absolutely foreign to the life this writer has lived.  This makes the descriptive information in his book valuable and gives a glimpse into another way of life.

“Hillbilly Elegy” is a regional memoir about Vance’s Scots-Irish family, one of many who have lived and worked in Appalachia for generations. For perhaps a century, Vance explains, the region was on an upward trajectory. Family men worked as sharecroppers, then as coal miners, then as steelworkers; families inched their way toward prosperity, often moving north in pursuit of work.  Vance’s family moved about a hundred miles, from Kentucky to Ohio; like many families, they are “hillbilly transplants.” In mid-century Middletown, where Armco Steel built schools and parks along the Great Miami River, Vance’s grandparents were able to live a middle-class life, driving back to the hollers of Kentucky every weekend to visit relatives and friends. Many families, on a regular basis, sent money back to their relatives in Appalachian Kentucky for aid and support consequently “keeping their boat afloat”.

Middletown’s industrial jobs began to disappear in the seventies and eighties. Today, its main street is full of shuttered storefronts, and is a haven for drug dealers at night. Vance reports that, in 2014, more people died from drug overdoses than from natural causes in Butler County, where Middletown is located. Families are disintegrating: neighbors listen as kitchen-table squabbles escalate and come to blows, and single mothers raise the majority of children (Vance himself had fifteen “stepdads” while growing up). Although many people identify as religious, church attendance is at historic lows. High-school graduation rates are sinking, and few students go on to college. Columbus, Ohio, one of the fastest-growing cities in America, is just ninety minutes’ drive from Middletown, but the distance feels unbridgeable. Vance uses the psychological term “learned helplessness” to describe the resignation of his peers, many of whom have given up on the idea of upward mobility in a region that they see as permanently left behind. Writing in a higher register, he says that there is something “almost spiritual about the cynicism” in his home town.

Mr. Vance mentions Martin Seligman as being one psychologist that aids his efforts in understanding the “mechanics” of his family life. Commonly known as the founder of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman is a leading authority in the fields of Positive Psychology, resilience, learned helplessness, depression, optimism and pessimism. He is also a recognized authority on interventions that prevent depression, and build strengths and well-being.

Learned helplessness, in psychology, a mental state in which an organism forced to bear aversive stimuli, or stimuli that are painful or otherwise unpleasant, becomes unable or unwilling to avoid subsequent encounters with those stimuli, even if they are “escapable,” presumably because it has learned that it cannot.  This describes the culture that Mr. Vance grew up in and the culture he desperately had tried to escape—helplessness.

Vance makes the proper decision when he enlists in the Marine Corps for four (4) years.  This action took place after high school graduation.  Just graduating from high school is remarkable.  The Marine Corps instilled in Vance a spirit in which just about anything is possible including enrolling and completing study at Ohio State University and then going on to Yale Law School.  He escapes his environment but has difficulty in escaping his lack of understanding of how the world works.  There are several chapters in his book that give a vivid description of those social necessities he lacks. “You can take the boy out of Kentucky but you can’t take Kentucky out of the boy”.  This is one of my favorite quotes from the book and Vance lives that quote but works diligently to make course corrections as he progresses through Yale and beyond.

In my opinion, this is a “must-read” book. As a matter of fact, it should be read more than once to fully understand the details presented.  READ THIS BOOK.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

October 31, 2017


I certainly hope you are ready for Halloween.  I can promise you NASA and NASA followers are.  Now, when you consider adopting a NASA costume for Halloween you had better be prepared to design and put together your outfit.  There are never any “off-the-shelf” NASA gear, “shovel-ready” for “All-Saints-Day”.  Let’s take a look.

These ladies are trying to show you how important the Rings of Saturn really are.  (Somewhat lame but at least they tried.)

These two kids have the right idea.  I’m assuming we are looking at “rocket man” and his little brother, Mr. Radio Telescope.

This is actually the ISS (International Space Station) crew wishing you a very Happy Halloween.  Everyone, even those out of this world, have the spirit.

Obviously, the Rings of Saturn but not too sure what the flames are supposed to represent.

As Jimmy Durante says: “Everyone has to get into the act.

I love the “little rocket”.

OK, this one really cracks me up.   This kid is really into “Rocket Science” for babies.  Notice the focus and intensity.

Don’t ask—I have no idea.

Just too weird.

The baby is my favorite then this guy.  How much time do you think it took to assemble this get-up?

Notice the flames from the rocket are represented by the young lady’s dress.  Really creative. The little guy is ready for lift off.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our dreams of “going where no man has gone before” still exist with some people. Space is definitely the Final Frontier.  Hope you all have a very HAPPY HALLOWEEN.

 

IROCO RESTURANTE

October 27, 2017


Is there anyone out there who does NOT like to eat?  Anyone who would turn down a wonderful gourmet meal?  OK, I don’t think so.

A few years ago, my wife and I cashed in a few Delta frequent flyer points and flew to Madrid for our anniversary.  Just the two of us!!!!  The city was in the process of making repairs due to an Olympic bid so there was construction on many of the main streets, including the one you see below.   Calle Vasquez was located in Central Madrid and in walking distance from our hotel.  The IROCO Resturante was recommended by the hotel staff as being one destination that would give us a taste of authentic Spanish cuisine.  This turned out to be the case.  (You do NOT eat “American” when you visit Spain.)  As you can see, orange barrels and construction signs on Calle Vasquez marking repairs and construction for the entire length of the street.  That did not stop the determined from making the trip.

The logo for IROCO is given below.  This placard was positioned prominently on both sides of the main entrance.

As we entered the building and what I thought was the main dining hall, I was NOT impressed.  I discovered after a few steps that we were being directed to a marvelous garden adjoining the kitchen. Wonderfully lighted with tables and umbrellas well-positioned throughout the garden.  The digital photograph will indicate the basic layout of the garden.

 

It’s hard to tell which is leafier—the dining room walls covered with botanical prints or the back-garden terrace where tables sit among potted trees and shrubs. Either is a good place to enjoy contemporary Spanish cooking that sometimes roams the globe for ingredients. The delicious plate of paella-style rice with cilantro and crisply fried squid is stained black with huitalacoche (corn smut) to make a lighter and more original version of a Catalan arròs negre, or black rice. Iroco’s slow-roasted, boneless kid glazed with honey and served with a turnip purée makes goat a revelation. Garden service carries a ten percent (10%) surcharge but worth the price.

Even though we ate in the garden, the “cave” was really intriguing.  This was a below-ground annex to the garden with additional tables, a wine cellar and a fully-stocked bar with just about any liquor you would ask for.

As you can see from the digital below, there is seating in the “cave”.  You can enjoy a drink or order from the full menu.  We chose the garden because it was a beautiful clear night with not-to-hot temperature and a very soft breeze blowing.

We went all out on this one including desert and were not in the least disappointed with the offerings or the service.  I can certainly recommend this restaurant to you if and when you are ever in Madrid.  As always, my recommendation does not mean that much so I want to indicate what others are saying about IROCO.

As always, I welcome your comments

Astrolabe

October 25, 2017


Information for the following post was taken from an article entitled “It’s Official: Earliest Known Marine Astrolabe Found in Shipwreck” by Laura Geggel, senior writer for LiveScience, 25 October 2017.

It’s amazing to me how much history is yet to be discovered, understood and transmitted to readers such as you and me.   I read a fascinating article some months ago indicating the history we do NOT know far exceeds the history we DO know.  Of course, the “winners” get to write their version of what happened.  This is as it has always been. In the great and grand scheme of things, we have artifacts and mentifacts.

ARTIFACT:

“Any object made by human beings, especially with a view to subsequent use.  A handmade object, as a tool, or the remains of one, as shard of pottery, characteristic of an earlier time or cultural stage, especially such an object found at an archaeological excavation.”

MENTIFACT:

“Mentifact (sometimes called a “psychofact”) is a term coined by Sir Julian Sorell Huxley, used together with the related terms “sociofact” and “artifact” to describe how cultural traits, such as “beliefs, values, ideas,” take on a life of their own spanning over generations, and are conceivable as objects in themselves.”

The word astrolabe is defined as follows:

The astrolabe is a very ancient astronomical computer for solving problem relating to time and position of the Sun and stars.  Several types of astrolabes have been made.  By far, the most popular type is the planispheric astrolabe, on which the celestial sphere is projected onto the plane of the equator.  A typical old astrolabe was made of brass and was approximately six (6) inches in diameter, although much larger and smaller astrolabes were also fabricated.

The subject for this post is the device shown as follows:

FIND:

More than 500 years ago, a fierce storm sank a ship carrying the earliest known marine astrolabe — a device that helped sailors navigate at sea, new research finds. Divers found the artifact in 2014, but were unsure exactly what it was at the time. Now, thanks to a 3D-imaging scanner, scientists were able to find etchings on the bronze disc that confirmed it was an astrolabe.

“It was fantastic to apply our 3D scanning technology to such an exciting project and help with the identification of such a rare and fascinating item,” Mark Williams, a professorial fellow at the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick, in the United Kingdom, said in a statement. Williams and his team did the scan.

 

The marine astrolabe likely dates to between 1495 and 1500, and was aboard a ship known as the Esmeralda, which sank in 1503. The Esmeralda was part of a fleet led by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, the first known person to sail directly from Europe to India.

In 2014, an expedition led by Blue Water Recoveries excavated the Esmeralda shipwreck and recovered the astrolabe. But because researchers couldn’t discern any navigational markings on the almost seven (7) inch-diameter (17.5 centimeters) disc, they were cautious about labeling it without further evidence.

Now, the new scan reveals etchings around the edge of the disc, each separated by five degrees, Williams found. This detail proves it’s an astrolabe, as these markings would have helped mariners measure the height of the sun above the horizon at noon — a strategy that helped them figure out their location while at sea, Williams said.  The disc is also engraved with the Portuguese coat of arms and the personal emblem of Dom Manuel I, Portugal’s king from 1495 to1521.  “Usually we are working on engineering-related challenges, so to be able to take our expertise and transfer that to something totally different and so historically significant was a really interesting opportunity,” Williams said.

CONCLUSIONS:

The only manner in which the use of this device could be known is by three-dimensional scanning techniques.  Once again, modern technology allows for the unveiling of the truth.  The engravings indicating Portugal’s king nailed the time period.  This is a significant find and confirms early voyages throughout history.

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