Stolen Quote: Say Not

Say not, ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found a truth.’ Say not, ‘I have found the path of the soul.’ Say rather, ‘I have met the soul walking upon my path.’ For the soul walks upon all paths. ~ Kahlil Gibran, “The Prophet”


You don’t say?

Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing

Imagine you’re buried beneath an avalanche of pork and ham, mixed together in a gelatinous conglomeration of pink, stinky goo. You know, spam. But maybe you don’t have to imagine. Maybe it’s already happened to you.

Spam buries email users every day.

This may not be your problem if you live in Canada or Europe. Those havens have strong anti-spam laws that require your consent before you can be buried in that meaty mess.

But in the U.S.A. it’s a little different. We’re constantly wiping this goopy filth off of us, every time we check our email. America is a spammer’s heaven, and an email user’s hell. It’s the age of Spamalot on this side of the pond.

But the good new is, we have rights. And these rights can help us greatly reduce our spam intake. In 2003, the CAN-SPAM act was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by President Bush. CAN-SPAM stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing.

Many critics call it the YOU-CAN-SPAM Act, because it doesn’t stop those sick bastard spammers from spamming us. It only gives us rights to limit the spamming. You see, in Canada and Europe you have to opt-in to receive spam. But in America, you must opt-out.

Check out the bottom of any advertising email you receive. The CAN-SPAM Act requires every such email to have an “unsubscribe” link, or equivalent. Click on that link, and it should take you to a website that allows you to unsubscribe from receiving any more email from that particular spammer. Just follow the instructions for unsubscribing.

But be careful. Sometimes the instructions get tricky, and could even deceive you into subscribing for more spam. So read the instructions with a cynical eye for detail.

After you unsubscribe, the spammers have 10 days to take you off their mailing list. And they can’t sell your email address anymore, to other spammers.

I filter my spam, but sometimes a legitimate email gets caught in that filter. Trying to locate it can be like looking for a needle in a stack of sticky, gooey meat-mix. So I decided enough was enough, and I rolled up my sleeves and got tough on spam.

I spent about a half-hour groping through all the spam I had received over the course of one day. The pink, slimy substance was getting all over my fingers, arms, and pants. But I persevered, and unsubscribed from just about every damned gobbet of mystery meat in my bulging spam box.

The next day, much to my surprise, a lot of spam had disappeared. Rather than 40 or 50 spams, I only had about 10 or 15. It appears most spammers are good at taking you off their lists immediately. But some seem to take full advantage of the 10-day grace period.

Now the spam has slowed to a tiny trickle of dripping ooze. The CAN-SPAM Act does seem to work, but only if we, the spammed, do our work and take the time to unsubscribe.

So if you want to dig out from under a giant, suffocating pile of spam, look for the link to unsubscribe, near the bottom of your emails, and go on an anti-spamming tear.

But when you’re finished, be sure to take a shower. That shit is nasty stuff.

Here’s a typical unsubscribe link at the bottom of a spam message from Consumer Reports. Yes even Consumer Reports, an organization dedicated to protecting consumers, spams consumers!

Stolen Quote: Forbearance

We should meet abuse by forbearance. Human nature is so constituted that if we take absolutely no notice of anger or abuse, the person indulging in it will soon weary of it and stop. ~ Mohandas Gandhi


Providing they don’t pull out a gun and start shooting everyone.

Stolen Quote: Motivation

It’s not my job to motivate players. They bring extraordinary motivation to our program. It’s my job not to de-motivate them. ~ Lou Holtz, American Football Coach


Hmm, this sounds too complicated for most authority figures, to handle.

Stolen Quote: Quarrels

The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all — it is very tiresome. ~ Jane Austen–Northanger Abbey


Perhaps she was more inclined toward the bodice-ripper.

The All-American Sun Oven

It was the 23rd day of February. The outdoor temperature was in the 40’s. The snow was melting. And most importantly, the sky was clear blue. So I decided to bake a loaf of bread in my All-American Sun Oven.

The sun oven uses no electricity, propane, cow dung, or any other fuel, except the flaming hydrogen gas of the sun.

My little ball of dough growing and rising, trying to become a big ball.

I used a simple French bread recipe, but any bread recipe will do. And you don’t have to bake bread. Anything that can be baked in a regular oven can also be baked in a sun oven. Including Baked Alaska. At least that’s what the All-American Sun Oven literature claims.

But so far, I’ve only baked bread.

Proofing in the Pyrex. It still has rising power. Go dough, go!

I wanted to try this oven a few weeks ago, but then we were hit by a pox of precipitation that cut off my hydrogen fuel supply. The literature claims that it will work under partly cloudy conditions, as long as the sun is peaking in and out of the clouds. But our refractory weather wasn’t even doing that much for me.

Back view of the All-American Sun Oven.

In the wintertime you have to confine your baking time to the two hours before and after solar noon. But screw that. At 9:30 am, about two-and-a-half hours prior to the 11:59 am solar noon, my oven had pre-heated to just 260°F. I felt impatient. So I stuck the bread in there anyway, even though the recipe calls for 30 minutes in a 400°F oven. But hell, it’ll warm up, I figured.

Front view of the oven, baking my baguette. The oven will hold a pan up to 8.5”W X 12.75”L X 6.5”H.

The weird thing is that the literature claims you can leave food in the solar oven for much longer than you can in a conventional oven, and it will never burn. Nor will it dry out, due to the way the oven is sealed. Well, we’ll see.

At 9:30 am, the oven temp was only 260°F. Almost touchable.

By 10:00 am, the oven temp had risen to 350°F, with the outdoor temp at 48°F. The bread had also risen a little more, but still looked pale white. However, with these higher temperatures, I expected caramelization to occur soon, with browning of the bread top.

10:00, and 350°F. The bread should be browning soon.

About every 20-30 minutes you must go outside and rotate the oven a little, so that it tracks the moving sun. But checking on the oven can be advisable anyway, for warding off your dogs, in case you’re broiling steaks.

By 10:30 am, the oven temp had only risen to 360°F. The bread was still as white as my fanny.

10:30, and 360°F. Come on, bread, where’s your tan?

At 11:00 am, the oven temp was back down to 355°F. Steam was streaming out of leaks in the seal, carrying the heavenly scent of baking bread. That’s because I accidentally engaged only one of the two latches that seal the glass lid.

11:00, and 355°F. Still working on that tan.

At 11:30 am, the oven temp had dropped to 350°F, with the outdoor temp up to 50°F. The bread top had browned some.

11:30, and 355°F. Finally some real brown is showing up.

At solar noon, 11:59 am, with not a cloud in the sky, the oven temp had dropped to 325°F, with the outdoor temp still at 50°F. There was no breeze. So I do not understand why the oven temp had dropped at the same time the sun had reached zenith. I suspect it may have to do with steam that formed on the inside glass, blocking out some of the sun’s rays. But it may also have to do with me only latching down one of the lid latches. Oops.

11:59, and 325°F. Notice the condensation at the bottom?

At 11:59 am, the bread came out hot from the oven. It had a crisp, slightly golden brown crust, but was soft and moist on the inside. It was thoroughly cooked, and not doughy. The crust was a bit too thick for my preference, but my wife thought it was just right. I think maybe an hour less of cooking would have produced a thinner crust, better to my personal liking.

Fresh and hot, out of the oven. Looks good enough to eat.

But the most important thing, was that the bread tasted delicious. After two-and-a-half hours of baking you’d think it would be burnt to a crisp, and rock hard all the way through. But no, it was very edible.

Delicious. Especially after I zapped it in the microwave for a few seconds, to soften the butter.

If you haven’t fallen asleep yet, and you’re still interested, click this link to learn more about the incredible All-American Sun Oven.

[This post paid for by nobody. I just like this oven.]