Archive for the ‘Marvin and Maynard’ Category

Pans & Grandpa Aaron

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Man, We’re Old

Someone suggested I fix my dubious Lodge skillet by machining it. I have considered that, but I would have to be able to mount it on my rotary table, and that would be a pretty good trick. The table is not as wide as the skillet, so I’d have to put a plate on it, and the plate’s thickness would have to be extremely uniform. If it weren’t uniform, I’d get a skillet that wasn’t uniform. Which is what I already have.

Not sure what to do about that.

The plate would also have to be perfectly flat and very rigid.

I’m going to try to get a couple of bigger Griswold skillets. Now that my bone-filled head has accepted the time-honored wisdom about cleaning skillets with salt and a spatula, I am not as reluctant to use them as I used to be. I’d go ahead and use the Lodge, but one side gets hotter than the other due to the varying bottom thickness.

Hmm…maybe I should boil a little water in one of my Griswolds and make sure they don’t have this problem. If they heat unevenly, I have less motivation to get more of them.

You can get Griswolds fairly cheap on Ebay, but if you get picky about features, the cost goes up. And the bigger skillets can be extremely expensive unless you get lucky. One thing I can say about them: you only pay once. I’m buying used items that are up to 70 years old and nearly like new.

I want one or two more matching skillets before I give up and go cheap. I think the size 13 jobs (and whatever comes after them) will have to remain an unrealized dream. If I paid over $300 for a skillet, I’d have to have myself institutionalized to find out why. The big ones can cost that much.

I’m really looking forward to church this week. It’s the first week of the month, so we’ll be having Breakthrough Wednesday. This is a fantastic service. It’s not as regimented as the regular services. There are tables up front and in the back for communion, and there are people available to pray for you. The worship is very intense. I love it.

I’m going to be an “armorbearer,” which means I’ll be helping the church out as needed. One of my duties will be to put on a two-way radio and wander around keeping an eye on things. I had to buy my own “surveillance set,” which is what they call the microphone and the earpiece with the squiggly cord that runs up your neck. The church has radios, but the surveillance sets have a way of vanishing. I think people just don’t want to share them, which is understandable. I sure don’t want to. Yech.

God has been so kind to me, helping me to find purpose in life. Works don’t get you into heaven, but they help determine what heaven is like for you, and besides, they allow you to express your love for other people and your gratitude for God. I’m way behind, so any opportunity he gives me is appreciated.

Speaking of God’s kindness, Aaron just had a grandson! Unbelievable! I’ll be praying his mom recovers fast, and that he has a life of blessings and righteousness. Perhaps you will join me.

Another thing you might want to pray about: reader Dave Rodenborn lost his African grey parrot, Splint. The poor little guy wasn’t trimmed correctly, and he managed to fly out Dave’s front door. Dave is in California, so the weather shouldn’t be too hard on Splint. Many greys are recovered; they don’t like to fly far in the first month. I truly hope Dave gets another chance. Nothing is worse than knowing your mistake harmed your pet.

Three Birds

Thursday, November 26th, 2009


I can’t move.

Let’s see if I can critique the meal.

The Showtime turkey was very good, but I found it dryer than a roasted turkey. I got the internal temperature up to 161°, and I knew that wasn’t enough, so I hit it with another half-hour. That came out to about 17 1/2 minutes per pound, which is way above the recommended time. Maybe I did something wrong. The skin was magnificent. It was very dark and loaded with browned-bird flavor. I’ll probably do my next turkey this way, even if it’s not perfect, because it frees up the oven for other things.

Mike told me the texture of a Showtime turkey would be way better than that of an oven turkey. The one I cooked today seemed like every other turkey I’ve roasted.

My dad loved the turkey, so I guess the rotisserie flavor offset the dryness.

I was not thrilled by the mashed potatoes. I tried the ricer again, even though I didn’t like it the first time I used it. I thought it gave the potatoes a heavy texture. I guess that could have been the microwave, though. The microwave makes very good baked potatoes (when I’m in too much of a hurry to do it right), so I don’t see why it would adversely affect mashed potatoes. I guess I could boil a test potato and then use the ricer to peel and moosh it up.

I ate way too much. I guess I can’t be a crusader against gluttony every day. I made a whole bunch of dishes, and a small serving of each would make for a big meal, so there wasn’t much I could do.

Marv and Maynard seem to be enjoying their share. You can always tell when Marv likes his food, because he buries his snout in it and grunts like a small pig.

Meat Feast in Works

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Mere Mortals are Undeserving

Is there anything better than waking up early, spending time in prayer and study, eating a tasty McDonald’s breakfast, and then sticking a prime rib roast in the oven to warm up? If so, it probably takes place in heaven.

I guess I went a little overboard on the prime rib. I bought 10.4 pounds for four people. I figured one rib per person. I wasn’t really hip to the practice of cutting the bones off and tying them to the roast while you cook, so you end up with an easy-carve roast when you’re done. If I had done that, I could have gotten by with a smaller piece of meat. But it’s still, what, a little over a pound per person when you get rid of the bones and the larger bits of fat? Not excessive. Well, maybe a little.

Anyway, it looks better with the bone in it, and the meat next to the bone is really good.

I think two pounds (bone included) is about right for a serving of prime rib or a rib eye steak. The rib eye is the king of steaks, but you can’t eat all of it, so a lot of the weight ends up in the garbage, not in your guests.

I have to get to work on the pie. I’m a little nervous. My recipe–I thought it was in the second edition of my book, but it isn’t–is very good, but because I make it so rarely, I’m not all that proficient with it. And I still have to get lard. The store has disgusting Goya lard, which smells like a hog lot in July. I need El Cochinito. I have a can, but I doubt it’s still usable.

If you’re in Miami and you need El Cochinito, the Winn-Dixie near Ludlam and Bird has it.

Cook’s Illustrated says to sear the the fat side of the meat with a hot pan before you cook it. That’s a lot of work. I’m sure it’s good, but I get fine results by cranking up the heat at the end of the roasting. And I have a MAPP torch.

Here’s something that will make this day a lot easier. I have an apple peeling machine. They run about $25. In a few seconds, it will turn an apple into a peeled and cored coil of pure fruit flesh. That beats spending half an hour peeling apples.

Someone emailed me about Marv and Maynard. They’re still here, squawking to beat the band. I was going to put up a new video to prove it, but I can’t do that until I locate the charger for my camera. Here’s Marv’s most popular video. Please excuse him; somebody taught him some questionable material before his owner cleaned up his own vocabulary.

I am considering getting some 6″ work boots to keep me alive the next time I try to help out with a job at church. The injury to my ankle is still not quite closed. An 8″ boot would have prevented it completely. A 6″ boot would have helped. Hard choice. In any case, the fat is continuing to slide off of me, so I won’t have to buy jeans any time soon.

A Purpose for Hippies

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

They’re not Just for Compost Any More

Moxie has located one of the best dog Youtubes I’ve ever seen. It shows that even a dog can be smart enough to realize socialism is evil. Take a look.

As long as I’m talking about dog videos, I’ll post one of my favorites.

I wanted to set up an electronic amusement system for Maynard and Marvin. I was going to mount cheap plastic keyboards over their cages, with cords attached to the keys. I figured they would enjoy playing bird music. But the keyboards I ordered never showed up, and I forgot all about it. I have to get that project done.

I had another idea for connecting two toys, one in each cage. My hope was that they would battle each other in a perpetual tug of war, and that this would make them shut up once in a while. I made preliminary efforts to get this working, but they paid no attention. I have tried to stimulate them to be more cooperative, even offering to name one of them Employee of the Month, but it appears that they have no ambition whatsoever, unless “ambition” can be construed to mean a lifelong quest to poop on increasingly expensive objects. I think Marv actually has dreams where he poops on the Mona Lisa and then receives worship and peanuts from hordes of adoring parrots.

I don’t know why that dog is eating carrots. A Republican dog should eat meat, preferably dripping blood and still squirming, and if possible, it should be something endangered. Or a hippie. Dogs like eating things that smell. On the other hand, the drug residue in a hippie’s carcass could cause a dog to trip for days, and then you would find Oreo wrappers all over your yard and maybe blacklight posters taped to the ceiling of the dog house.

Anything that reeks brings a dog pleasure. To a dog, a hippie would be like an entertainment center, and each smell would be like a separate channel. The dirty Birkenstock channel. The greasy hair channel. The infected piercing channel. Hippies always claim they love animals, but if they did, they would visit bored dogs at the Humane Society and let them smell them for a while.

I’ll send PETA a note and see what they think. Maybe instead of ink, I should write it in blood from a package of factory veal.

Perch Guerilla

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Body Armor Would not Help

I get up in the morning, I make my wonderful, satisfying, minuscule bowl of oatmeal, I sit down at the PC to see what’s happening, and I get this from Marv:

Marv: Marv! Marv! WHOOoooo! Cluck. Cluck. Are you okay? WHOOooo. Mornin’, bird!

How am I supposed to concentrate on email and the Drudge Report? At least Maynard is considerate enough to sulk quietly.

Oh, great. Now he’s starting up. “What are you doing? What are you doing? Maynard bird!”

Birds always make things difficult. I have to take them out of the cage one at a time, or else Marv will be eaten. Night before last I took them out while I watched a DVD. Marv insisted on standing on my pillow, behind my ear. Last night I noticed a spot on the pillow. I wondered if I had some kind of medical thing going on. No, do not be alarmed. It was bird poop. Of course. And I had slept on it the night before. Rubbing my face in it. And my hair.

He was out for half an hour, I made him go at least four times on a newspaper during that time, and he still managed to plant an Improvised Poop Device. I don’t know where it comes from. It’s like he generates it from nothingness. At will.

And I watched him the whole time he was out! I checked the pillow! I knew he was going to do his best to nail that pillow! How did I miss it? It’s like he has a poop cloaking device.

The CIA should train Marvin and turn him loose to poop on bin Laden. He’d find him for sure and get the job done. If he thought there was a peanut in it for him. Then we could follow up with a daisy cutter.

Now Marvin is screaming in Maynard’s voice.

Speaking of bed-related issues, I have learned more stuff about preventing nighttime congestion. It helps if you take out your kitchen trash every night before bed. Unbelievably, stuff that grows in a can far from your bedroom can interfere with your breathing while you sleep. So I guess my once-a-month trash schedule is going to have to be stepped up.

Last thing this morning: please do me a favor and say a prayer for my sister. She’s going in for a medical procedure. Something with her lung. Looks like it’s not all that serious.

Thanks for the help.

The Joys of Owning a Bird

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

I am Never Lonely or Bored

Marv’s new annoying phrase: “Can I squeeze your fat carcass?”

There is no Tool You do Not Need

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

Sisyphus Dreams of Chocks From Harbor Freight

I am trying to be better to the birds these days. They see me all day, and I interact with them, but I think I’ve been giving them too little time out of the cage, and I worry that their toy budget has been too low. So I’m taking them out occasionally during the day, for brief bird-pounding sessions. This can be challenging. I got a second huge cage so I would be able to relieve their boredom by moving them from one cage to another. When Marv is in the cage nearest to my chair, and Maynard is out, Marv squawks and tries to run interference, and Maynard launches himself repeatedly at my face and grabs my nose. It’s a jealousy thing. So when I want to take Maynard out, I now have to make sure Marv’s cage is behind me, out of Maynard’s sight.

I still haven’t sold Marv’s old cage. You would think people would jump at the chance to pay half price for a big King’s Cage in nearly new condition, but no one has bitten. I even tried to sell it to Tommy, for his green-winged parakeet, but he won’t go for it. And I was willing to sell extra-cheap!

I got them a $25 hanging bird toy, much like other toys they have destroyed in the past, and they ignore it. I don’t know what their problem is. At the same time, I got a weird bamboo-ladder toy, and they are eating it at a respectable rate.

Maynard is on my arm, watching me type. Soon he will want to stroll on the keys, and then he will want to walk down my legs and eat my shoes.

There he goes.

I wish they had an enclosure outside, so they could get some air. Parrots don’t like the sun–for that matter, they’re not too crazy about being outdoors, generally–but it would be good for them to have a daily change of scenery. I can’t sit them outside on perches. There are hawks here. A while back, I saw one staring at Marv while I sprayed the dust off of him. It probably could not understand why I was doing such a thorough job of washing my food. These guys would be a real treat for a hawk. Other birds eat slugs and lizards. Marv and Maynard eat seed mix, fruit, Jelly Bellies, and pizza. They are hawk Wagyu.

I am getting a bigger miter saw. Home Depot’s sale price is irresistable, and the lifetime Ridgid warranty is hard to beat. This means I will no longer have an excuse for stalling on a few carpentry jobs. I just couldn’t face doing them with a 10″ saw or a circular saw. The small miter saw would have been hard to set up perfectly, because flipping the boards in order to cut all the way across them would reveal tiny errors in cut squareness. The circular saw is a pain in the butt, pure and simple. When I cut a board to length, I want the operation to go “plop, whizzzzzz, plop, next board.” Not “plop, whizzzzzz, turn, aim carefully, whizzzzzz, curse.”

How did people ever live, back in the hand saw days? Imagine cutting twenty boards to length with a hand saw. Galley slaves had it better.

Maynard’s new thing: standing on my belly, lunging at my nose. He has had enough time out.

I don’t just want tools. I want tools that make things easy. Over and over, I have said that the real purpose of tools is to end frustration. My idea of hell is spending every day doing jobs with the wrong tools. While listening to rap. And wearing bell bottoms. And drinking Budweiser. In France.

Kind of got off the track there.

The right tool is the difference between pleasure and misery. The other day, I dug a hole for a citrus tree, using a shovel. Planting the tree was pure hell, because the dirt here is full of rocks. I think it took me an hour and a half, lifting a pint of dirt at a time. I dug the next hole with a hoe, and it took maybe ten minutes, and I didn’t break a sweat. This is why I want a big sliding miter saw. This is why I don’t want to build things using small or inappropriate saws. I don’t want a half-hour job to last four hours, and I want results I can be proud of.

This principle is why people who create new slot designs for fasteners should be released naked in the middle of the Libyan desert at midnight. During the scorpion rut. Every time a new slot design is created, people who want to be able to turn screws have to buy at least three new drivers and a bunch of bits. I have tons of these things, I and I still can’t turn all the screws I encounter. That leads to fun activities like trying to turn screws with a small Vise Grip. Put it on, start to turn, watch it pop off. Repeat for four hours. Check Expedia for fares to Libya.

By the way, I saw some fantastic videos yesterday. They’re at A couple of guys demonstrate carpentry stuff. They build a bookcase. They build a workbench. They install a vise on it. Wonderful. If you click on the first video and watch it, the second one will load when it’s done. I sat through the whole set, mesmerized. They were doing things that WORKED. How come that never happens to me? Their tools didn’t break. They always had what they needed to do the job. The wood cooperated. Nobody threw anything or got out a sledge and beat a frustrating workpiece to splinters. Not that I have ever done that. Three times in one day.

Of course, it’s all rigged. It’s like an old Popeil commercial, where they use a cheap knife to cut a nail in half, but the nail is actually made of lead. The videos are totally unrealistic. They rig them by doing unfair things like preparing, measuring, and owning $500,000 worth of tools.

Bench dogs. Who has bench dogs in his real-life garage? Okay, Og probably does. He probably makes them from brass he made on his stove, from ore he mined in his backyard. He probably assembles the copper molecules from a kit. But nobody else. These guys had a whole collection of these unbelievably useful things. They even had a special pointy hat for a bench dog, which you put on top of it so you can bang a piece of wood down on it and make a starter hole for a drill bit. I think that’s right. My memory is pathetic.

Here’s an idea. Go to the Home Depot in Coconut Grove and tell Employee of the Month Ernesto Rodriguez you want a pointy hat for your bench dog so you can dimple some MDF. You’ll be lucky if he doesn’t bend a pry bar over your head.

Like all DIY videos, these are misleading and ridiculous, but they’re very satisfying to watch, because these guys succeed easily at things you would like to do, but never could. If I were not a Christian, I would compare it to watching adult films.

Speaking of hell, I know the punishment these guys deserve. They should be forced to make complex wooden items without an endless supply of obscure and expensive tools their viewers have never heard of.

SATAN: [holding a leash attached to Cerberus, the three-headed bench dog] Okay, guys, time to make a printing press from a solid block of oak. Otherwise, you have to wear the red-hot cast-iron leiderhosen all day.

FIRST VIDEO GUY: That’s impossible!

SECOND VIDEO GUY: You’re crazy!


FIRST VIDEO GUY: Could be worse. We could be in France, drinking Budweiser.


I think I’ll make my own line of realistic DIY videos. “Today I show you how to pinch yourself with pliers and get a blood blister!” “Today I show you a quick and easy way to get a scratched cornea!” “Today I show you how to do everything right and still end up with marred workpieces!”

I already know the name of my next book. “1,000 Exotic Fasteners and How to Strip Them.”

Here’s some comforting news: even the video guys sometimes have to use the wrong tool. In one of their videos, one of them uses a socket wrench to drive a screw that would take .3 seconds with my impact driver. HA. Amateurs. Toss me the ringer.

Tools remind me of War Games. The only way to win is not to play.

Marv’s New Eccentricity

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Burrowing Owl Impression

I will never figure Marv out. He is having some out time. I am sitting in a chair with high arms, and he is between me and the right arm, facing the rear of the chair, and my arm is mashing him down into the chair, and he seems completely happy about it.

Earlier tonight he made a flatulence sound so convincing it sounded like he had a subwoofer.

I don’t know what he’s doing right now, but it’s probably a good thing, because I don’t think he will poop in that position.

Marv’s New Phrase

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Entertainment While I Wait for my Dough to Rise

What’re you doin’ today?

What’re you doin’ today?

What’re you doin’ today?

What’re you doin’ today?


Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Things are Getting DONE

It’s amazing, what I got done today. I will bore you with a list.

Hung my grandfather’s gun rack on the wall. Lots of drilling and patching. Glued the felt on the gun supports back in place.

Round-Upped every plant on the property that even looked at me funny.

Put a latch on the patio TV cabinet doors.


Removed a worthless oak tree.

Prepared a concrete slug for its date with the tow chain. I decided to let it cure overnight instead of trusting the epoxy packaging. I don’t want to have to glue that rebar in there a second time.

It may not sound like a lot, but it was more work than you would imagine. I also had to clean up a lot, put tools away, and so on. And I made a heavy-duty Home Depot run to prepare for all this.

Tools used:

1. Impact Driver
2. Hammer drill
3. Vise
4. Vise Grips
5. Level
6. Screwdriver
7. Shop-Vac
8. Tow chain
9. Proxxon
10. Shovel
12. Angle grinder
13. Claw hammer
14. Punch

I love having tools. Every time a problem came up, I had the right item to fix it. If you don’t have an impact driver and a hammer drill, you should qualify for handicapped parking, because you are helpless.

I want go fondle my shiny new tow chain.

I’m thrilled with the stuff I got done. These were nagging jobs I thought I’d never get around to. Sometimes I think one sign that you have problems you need to take up with God is that you can’t finish things you need to get done. You make plans, but somehow, things don’t work out. Today I got some things off my back, which had been bothering me for eons.

I feel as if some kind of blockage in my life has broken loose.

I think I’m also going to get a new cage for Marv. His cage is very nice, but he has been getting territorial about it, and I think the answer is to make the birds switch cages every day. The problem with that is that Marv’s cage is smaller than Maynard’s, so Maynard gets the shaft. His wingspan is bigger. Marv’s cage isn’t really adequate for him.

I can’t even guess what I’ll do with Marv’s cage. Ebay or Craig’s List, I suppose. I wish I knew a bird that needed a better cage. Actually, I do, but his owner would never go for it.

Some people think height is more important than square footage in a bird cage. I disagree completely. Narrow cages get dirty faster; there is less room for the poop. And wide cages let birds move around more, and you can put more toys in them.

I’m going to put together some kind of hinged perch for the patio, so these little goofs will have a proper place to hang out, instead of sitting on the back of a chair.

It was a beautiful day, and tomorrow is Sunday, so I get to relax, attend to my religious obligations, and pay a visit to Man Camp.

Not bad.

His Eye is on the Sparrow, Right?

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Same Basic Idea

Peg, AKA Mr. Mollo’s Mom, says her budgie Shelley is not doing well. It may be hard to believe, but those little eight-dollar birds that weigh an ounce are actually very smart, and people become attached to them.

So put Shelley on your prayer list. Look, do it. How long can it take to heal a bird that size?

Also, her friend’s pug has leukemia and is receiving chemo.

Further assignments will be released as it becomes necessary.

Marv Faces Competition

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

New Stud in Town

I was trying to blog just now, when my concentration was interrupted by a sound like a car horn, followed by a long trilling noise. I had to go outside and find out what kind of creature made a noise like that.

There is an enormous peacock standing on the roof of the gazebo, picking its feathers.

I hope it didn’t have a big breakfast.

Tried to photograph it, but the humidity fogged my lens, and the light was coming from behind the bird.


It’s hard to find peacock recipes.

Marv is a Tiller of the Soil

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Finally a Use for All That Fertilizer

Today Marv ponders the question: would life be easier if he were not so handsome? This is a question I myself often wrestle with.

Shut up.

He also tells us about his secret hobby: gardening.


What Marv Likes to Fling at the Wall

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Might as Well Buy Him Caviar

Marv just can’t stop blogging. Today he gives more information on bird cookies.


The Spirit Moves Maynard

Monday, June 2nd, 2008


I know this will upset people. I keep blogging about religion, and readers are getting annoyed.

Well now Maynard is doing it, too.