JURY DUTY

TODAY’S WORRY

 Last week I was called for jury duty.  I’m not who they want for the jury but every time I’m called I have to go through the whole interrogation.  As a victim of a violent crime  when I was 11 (abducted by a stranger), the defense attorney or the judge always excuses me.

One of the things I especially don’t like is that the interviewing takes  place in front of the defendent.  And what things do they ask?  Let’s see, your name, where you live, where you are employed, where you husband is employed, how many kids do you have, where are they employed and on and on.  I’m not sure I would tell a stranger all this stuff, let alone a whole courtroom full of strangers and someone who is on trial for a violent crime.  When I said I didn’t like the defendent knowing all about me, the judge laughed and said he hadn’t lost a juror yet.  ha ha.

Then, in front of all these people,  I have to talk about what happened to me as a kid.  Of course, this makes me upset and shaky.  Finally, after all this, I am excused.  There has to be an easier way.

HOW TO BECOME A BUTCHER

In my last post, “MOO AND GOO,” I wondered how one becomes a butcher.  According to the California Employment Development Department “union-apprentice Butchers or Meat Cutters must first be hired by a company that has signed an agreement with the Joint Apprenticeship Committee. Approximately 4,000 hours of supervised on-the-job training is required during the two-year apprenticeship. Apprentices also take a minimum of 144 hours each year of related classroom training. Journey-level status is granted after the apprentice qualifies in both job performance and classroom work.”  After you do all this, you probably will work a 40-hour week and earn around $30,000 a year.  Also the outlook for butchers is not good.  An almost 10% decline in job openings is expected.

On “Good Eats” (Food Network TV show) Alton Brown is always urging one to have a relationship with the butcher and the fishmonger.  Unfortunately, it is really hard to find people in these professions and apparently there will be fewer and fewer of them in the future. 

MOO AND GOO

An update on ground beef – In addition to being much more tasty, having the beef ground for you is probably more sanitary and cheaper.  Today, in Utah, we had some “boneless beef chuck for pot roast” ground.  It cost $1.77 a pound as compared with $2.79 and up for the ground beef in the meat case.

I am wondering if the guy who ground the beef was actually a butcher or just a meat counter technician.  How does one become a butcher these days?  Do you go to butcher school or become an apprentice?  Anyway, the guy behind the counter was happy to grind the roast and also really wanted to sell us some steak and fresh sole or halibut.  Maybe his actual title was a meat monger or a fish butcher.  I’ll need to look up how one becomes a butcher on the internet (where everything is true.)

 And speaking of finding everything you ever wanted to know, I looked up on the internet how they transport tomatoes without squashing them.  On the California highways you see truck after truck of open bed tomato trucks.  There are tomato carcasses up and down I-5 whenever there is a bump or curve in the road.  I did learn about the commercial life of a tomato but not really the answer to my question.  I did find out that they flood the truck containers with water and float the tomatoes out, though.

In a related query, I wanted to know what the stuff around the tomato seeds was called.  You know, the tomato goo.  The one thing I learned is that if you google up “tomato goo” you find out that everybody calls it “tomato goo.”  Not really helpful.  However, the googling up of the anatomy of a tomato didn’t give an answer either.

So, anyone knowing how tomatoes are shipped without being squished and what the real name for tomato goo is, please leave a comment.

 

THE UNKINDEST CUT OF ALL

I wrote a post on Saturday but for some reason the font was tiny and it didn’t respect the paragraphs I made.  I deleted it.  Recently the inspired ideas for blogs are coming few and far between.  I had been trying to write a post every other day but, seriously, I don’t think I have too much to say that would be of much interest.  So I think I’ll now just write something when I need to.

But here’s something that was bothering me today.  (And as I type this I see the font changing again)  I was watching a Ruby Tuesday’s commercial.  In case you don’t know, Ruby Tuesday’s is like TGI Fridays.  Kind of a medium speed food establishment.  Anyway, they were trumpeting their delicious burgers.  They said, yum, our burgers are made from the best sirloin beef and other premium cuts of beef.  John and I both said, “What?”  Anyone who knows their hamburger knows that if you use good cuts of beef for hamburger you get dry, tasteless burgers.

Not too long ago, I think it was Father’s Day, we had a little party.  We wanted to grill hamburgers along with hot links and hot dogs and all the fixin’s.  The best cut of beef for a hamburger is chuck.  We went to the store.  No chuck hamburger.  Apparently everyone wants the leanest ground beef possible.  People! Eat hamburger less often rather than get lean hamburger which is tasteless, unjuicy and unhamburger-like. 

We rang the little bell that calls the butcher.  We handed him two packages of beef chuck (unground.)  We asked him to please grind this up for hamburgers and throw a little extra fat in.  The butcher smiled.  He knew what hamburger should be.  Later we cooked those burgers.  They were wonderful!  Juicy, flavorful and full of the taste of what a hamburger should be. 

Since Father’s Day, we’ve only gone into our secret stash of true hamburger meat once.  But I would rather eat real hamburgers once every month or two or three than eat the drek that passes for hamburger today.

EXCUSES

My nephews, Mike and Andy, are here in California visiting this week.  It’s the first time they’ve been here and we are busy trying to do as much as possible.  My blog is the victim of this.  After they leave on Friday (and after I probably take a big nap) I’ll be writing a new post.

THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES

TODAY’S WORRY

There should be a new line at the airport – NAKED PEOPLE ONLY – NO HAND LUGGAGE.  Or maybe there should be airlines with special flights for people who are willing to bring nothing with them.  It would be the ultimate convenience.  These naked people without hand or checked luggage would be able to buy clothing on the other side of the security screening.  They would have shipped ahead anything they need at their destination.

Wait, there’s a whole commercial oppourtunity here!  Disposable clothes! Toiletry packs at your destination.  Tour guides could offer an all-inclusive package.  From disposable clothes, to toiletry packs and paper shoes, there is a buck to made here.  Also since people would be trapped on an airplane for countless hours without anything to do, the airlines could charge big bucks for any sort of entertainment.

What a sad, sad state the world is in.  I haven’t written about it much lately  because it is all so depressing.  We’ve managed to make ourselves and the world much less safe.  Our government wants to see itself as clothed in conservative and religious robes but it has much more in common with the emperor who fooled the populace until one wise child noticed that he really had nothing on.

TALK TO ME

Although I like to think of myself as a loving wife, mom, and beeba, I’m really not the friendliest of people.  Sure I have a few close friends but it is a small circle.  I don’t have a smiley face.  In repose I’m sort of neutral.  But I am the one that strangers love to talk to.  And I ‘m not just talking about asking directions although everywhere I go (even Europe) people are compelled to ask me directions.  I’m talking about random people coming up and talking to me.

This especially happens in stores.  I can be looking at something and someone will come up and comment on the item.  Or standing in line.  All the time while standing in line.  I’ll give an example from last week.  I am at Costco.  The line is long as it always is at Costco.  The woman in front of me finds that she has an overwhelming urge to talk to me.  She comments on the length of the line.  I make some non-commital response.  She then is still in my talk-to-me aura and rants a bit about it.  I make a second non-commital response.  Now she is at the checkout.  But she can’t escape my force field.  She must talk to me some more.  “Look I got this Erector Set for my grandson.  It’s for Christmas.”  I smile.  “You know it’s hard to find these.”  I say, “Well, you are really ready ahead of time.”  Big mistake.  My talking back is just overwhelming to her.  Now I must hear about all the places she’s looked for the last two years and how her grandson has been disappointed by her lack of Erector Set buying.  And on and on.

However, on the same day a weirder example happened.  I was checking out at Cost Plus and the salesclerk, and I know she just can’t help herself, blurts out, “Don’t you think that guy from Iran is crazy?!”  Kind of a strange un-anteceded remark I thought.  But she’s caught in my spell and as I hesitate, searching for a response, she continues, “You know the one who thinks that the Holocaust isn’t true?! Can you believe it?  What’s wrong with that guy?”  Now I like to talk about world events but it seems to me that she should have been saying, “Hi, did you find everything you need?  What’s your zip code?”  Anyway for our one minute of time together we discussed the craziness of the Iranian president and then, “Have a nice day.”

It’s really strange how people like to talk to me.

 

ROAD GAME

On our way back to California from Utah there is an endless stretch of Interstate 5 which we have to travel for hours.  Since it is at the end of our trip, it occurs when we are the most tired.  This time, to while away the hours I mandated a silly game.  We would have to make up stories about why the different exits were named what they were.  Twisselman Rd., Kettleman City, Panoche, Little Panoche, Mercey Hot Springs, Coalinga, etc., etc.

Of course this led to much silliness.  We got to talking about how Adam Ling (he chose an American sounding first name) started several companies.  To keep them straight he just called them by an alphabetic title, i.e. Company A, Company B.  On his legal papers his first company and owner became, Company A, Ling, Adam.  This was shortcut to CoALingA or Coalinga.  Also when he went to war he became the bugle boy for Company A or, once again, CoALingA. 

In the case where fact is stranger than fiction, the real reason that Coalinga is named Coalinga is not because it is some Spanish word.  It seems that trains used to stop there to get fuel and it was known as Coaling Station A or CoalingA and after time became Coalinga (pronounced CO a LING a).

I could go on and on telling you about the Spanish priests and the Los Hills which regained its T and became Lost Hills or their compatriots the French priests who thought the natives had Little Panoche but you probably had to be there.