Cooking in the 80's 
These recipes are dedicated to my favorite childhood movie. :)


1/2 pound Fettuccine
1 stick butter
1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and ground white pepper to taste

(Simultaneously cook fettuccine and prepare sauce.)

Boil fettuccine in large pot of water until done.

In large pan, melt butter. Slowly add cream and stir slowly until hot. Carefully add 1/2 cup of the cheese while continuing to stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When fettuccine is done, drain and add noodles to sauce and carefully mix. Serve and sprinkle with remaining cheese as desired.

Garnish with medallions of Mamma Frateliís Broiled Beef Tongue.

Serve with a glass of water.

Magnifico! <SMOOCH>

Mamma Fratelliís Broiled Beef Tongue

1 Tongue

1 Cup red wine vinegar
1/2 Cup olive oil
2 tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Ĺ tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbs. brown sugar

Use a double-edged switch blade to remove the skin and gristle from the tongue (a paring knife will do in a bind).

Grab your favorite blender and hit puree. Drop the two tomatoes in one at a time. Mix in the remaining marinade ingredients.

Place the skinned tongue in a glass baking dish, pour marinade over, and let sit covered in refrigerator overnight.

Wrap piano wire tightly around a baking dish to create a small grille. Make sure that itís really tight so that when plucked you hear either an A Sharp (A#) or a B Flat (Bb).

Place the seasoned tongue on the piano wire. (Note that the piano wire may contain toxic heavy metals that could leech into the meat. Therefore, this recipe is best served as a last meal where long term health consequences are moot.)

Broil tongue in oven (on piano wire grille) at medium-hot setting for 20 minutes, or until fully cooked. Baste with remaining marinade at half-way point. Slice and serve.

Rocky Road! Pie

1.5 cups crushed Oreos
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 pints Swensenís Chocolate Ice Cream, softened
3 Baby Ruth Candy Bars
1 cup miniature marshmallows
Chocolate Syrup

Combine Oreos and butter in small mixing bowl. Press crust onto bottom of 9-inch pie plate. Freeze for 5 to 10 minutes.

Hold Baby Ruth (still in wrapper) chest high and drop onto hard floor. Do this several times. Remove battered and misshapen candy bars from wrapper and further crumble them up into small pieces.

Combine ice cream, masticated Baby Ruth, and marshmallows in large bowl. Pour into pie plate with crust. Freeze until firm. Drizzle with chocolate syrup before serving.

Thanks for checking out my Goonies inspired recipes!

Next week: Bullet Hole Matzo Balls and The Chocolate Truffle Shuffle Shake!

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iPhone Doom Controller Mod 
Doom (by id Software) just recently came out for iPhone. Doom is one of my favorite classic games so I had to download it. The iPhone is definitely a popular platform for games, but First Person Shooters (FPSs) generally donít work all that well due to not having discrete controls such as mouse/keyboard or joystick and buttons. I have found that I tend to get overwhelmed with multi-touch controls for FPSs.

John Carmack, lead programmer at id, tried some new control schemes to get Doom to work on the iPhone. One interesting approach he implemented is a virtual steering wheel to control the direction the character is facing. I tried it out and found that control mode to be very promising. It worked much better than the virtual joystick approach other iPhone FPSs have used. That is, it worked nicely when I was casually exploring a level. However when things got more hectic, I found it easy to accidentally turn the steering further than intended. This happens when your thumb inadvertently crosses over the axis of rotation and causes a large and disorienting jump in your facing angle.

An image of Doom with steering mode configured.

This problem might be able to be reduced by placing a "dead zone" in the middle of the steering wheel. (I suspect there is already a very small "dead zone" in place.) Along this train of thought, I came up with a little "mod" that sort of fixes the problem. I temporarily stuck one of those no-slip rubber feet that come with various electronics such as external hard drives right in the middle of the virtual steering wheel on my iPhone screen. This created the "dead zone" that I desired, but also gave me a tactile point of reference so that I always have a good idea what might current steering angle is. This significantly improved my performance in the game, but still nowhere close to as well as I can do with keyboard/mouse on a PC.

These two images show my "steering nub" mod

I think similar stick-on barriers could help with other aspects of FPS control too. Although, ultimately I think that certain game genres really need discrete tactile controls.

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My Lottery Winnings 
Over the years, I have kept meticulous records of my lottery expenses and winnings/income. While I'm not a millionaire, I think I've done pretty well. I have collated my records and put them into a chart which I think explains my winning strategy.

As you can see, I keep my expenses very low and only play the games with a high expected outcome. While it's true that I haven't won any money recently, I am hopeful for another windfall in about 15 years.

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Cool Classic Toys 
There's something cool about the games and toys of decades past. It seems things were made of higher quality materials and weren't as complicated as they are today. Nowadays, everything is made cheap of plastic and they are full of complicated electronics. Even the toys when I was a kid were pretty crappy (it was during the 80's after all).

There are many good classic toys and games that have survived through the years and it's likely that most folks are familiar with them (e.g. Frisbee, Slinky, hula-hoop, etc.). However, there are a few gems out there that are much more obscure, but still worth attention.

Here are some that I have happened upon that are pretty neat and might even appeal to adults.

Shoot the Moon

Shoot the Moon is a game that poses a seemingly impossible challenge. The toy has apparently been around since the 1920s. The game player must make a steel ball roll uphill along two rails that can only be adjusted left and right. If you can roll all the way to the top, you have "shot the moon" and gain the maximum points. It's quite a challenge, but very rewarding once you get good at it. Follow one of the links below to see a picture. The basic strategy is to open the two rails such that the ball almost falls through. When you do that the ball will roll towards you just slightly. Then you must squeeze the rails together to keep the ball from falling. You must continue this process in one smooth motion and the ball will accelerate up hill. If you do it perfectly you will be rewarded with the ball smacking the backstop. Shoot the Moon might make a good executive gift for keeping on a desk at work. I loved this one as a kid too (a hand-me-down from my Dad's childhood toys). ... B00000ISFG


According to my Dad, this was the toy that every little boy had back in the 50's. Really, a peashooter is just a small blowgun designed to shoot dried peas. Back before Nerf was making all the exotic dart/missle launchers that you can buy today, kids sufficed with a cheap straw and a mouthful of peas.

Kids would fill their cheeks with dried peas like chipmunks, use their tongue to load the peashooter, and then blow to fire. With enough practice, one could shoot like a machine gun.

Johnny Astro Moon Lander

The Johnny Astro Moon Lander came out just before astronauts first landed on the moon. This is an ingenious toy that challenges the game player to navigate a moon lander through the air to a landing pad. The lander is actually a balloon with some landing gear and ballast attached, but it isn't lighter than air. Instead, the game player controls the balloon with a fan. The fan control relies on Bernoulli's Principle to contain the balloon within the column of moving air. One must adjust the angle of the fan as well as fan power to move the balloon and carefully land it. I've never gotten to try one of these and I cannot find anywhere that sells them, but it sounds like you can build your own without too much trouble.

Water Weenie

The Water Weenie is about the simplest water gun one can imagine. It's just a length of surgical tubing or inner tube tied off on one end and a nozzle on the other. The Water Weenie relies on water pressure from an outdoor water faucet to fill the tube and stretch the rubber to store energy for shooting the water. I haven't owned this toy myself, but I like its simplicity (especially in contrast with water guns like the Super Soakers). I have seen someone accidentally create a Water Weenie in my high school chemistry class. The amount of water launched all over the classroom was quite impressive, but that's a story for another time. :) ... iennie.php

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Rock Beats Hand 
UPDATED (below)

I find it curious the number of rock stars that have suffered serious hand/arm injuries--several that play instruments. Here's a quick list of those I'm aware of:

Toni Iommi (Black Sabbath) - Lost the tips of two fingers in a sheet metal factory accident. Continued to play (quite well) with prosthetic finger tips.

Rick Allen (Def Leppard) - Lost his arm in a car wreck. He continued to play with a special drum kit.

Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) - Suffered severe nerve damage to his arm from having it draped awkwardly over the backrest of a chair while he was passed out. This left him without the use of his arm for an extended period. He fully recovered after intensive therapy.

Mike Patton (Faith No More) - Accidentally severed nerves and tendons in his right hand with a broken bottle while on stage. His hand is permanently numb, but he can now move his fingers (doctors told him the opposite would happen, but Mike is weird like that).

James Hetfield (Metallica) - Missed his cue during an onstage performance and accidentally stepped into the range of a flame generator that severely burned his face, hand, and arm of one side of his body. A studio musician had to fill in for a month until he fully recovered, but he continued the tour in bandages doing lead vocals.

Neal Young - Severely sliced his fret hand index finger while making a ham sandwich, damaging a tendon. He had to cancel a tour, but fully recovered. No word on whether he ate the sandwich.

Pete Townshend (The Who) - While doing a "windmill" with his pick hand, Pete managed to impale said hand on the whammy bar. Ouch! Presumably, fully recovered.

Al Green - Poor Al has the dubious honor of having actually lived the "hot grits" myth. The legend is that boiling hot grits is the napalm of jilted lovers seeking revenge. Al suffered third degree burns on his arms and torso when an angry girlfriend poured a pot of hot grits on him while he was in the shower. He continued performing after a painful healing process, but switched to gospel (and preaching) for a few years.

I'm sure there are others!


Sure enough, I missed Les Paul!

From Vince:

In 1948, Paul nearly lost his life to a devastating car crash that shattered his right arm and elbow. Still, he convinced doctors to set his broken arm in the guitar-picking and cradling position.

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