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Major Nikon

Major Nikon's Journal
Major Nikon's Journal
April 21, 2024

From the 'you can't make shit up this funny' file

Today I noticed a wingnut put two of his campaign signs in my yard. To be fair, it's not readily apparent this is my yard since it's on the main street front and there's a brick wall between the sidewalk and my yard. Next to the sign is some utility equipment for which they have an easement on my property, but it's still my property all the way to the street and I pay taxes on it (which in Texas is significant).

There's actually three signs on my property. Evidently the first was placed by one wingnut and another wingnut placed a sign in front of his in true asshole fashion and another sign for good measure.

My first impulse was to take the signs down, but then I had a better idea. A quick search revealed one dude's web site with email and another search of county property records got me his home address.

Come to find out, he's a self described "real estate investor". So what better investment than to rent space on my property for his signs, amiright?

So here's the email I sent him followed up with a certified letter:

Dear Robert Slattery,

On your web site it states: Show Me the Money. Real Estate Investing is only fun if it is profitable

I noticed today that two of your campaign signs were placed on my property of Redacted (see attached picture). I charge $10 per day per sign to rent that space for this purpose. Billing is in 30 day increments. Enclosed is my invoice for 30 days. If you would like to rent this space for less than 30 days, then I will pro-rate the number of days used plus a $50 processing fee for less than 30 days.

This payment is due upon receipt via check or money order to the address on the invoice. Please note that late charges for non-payment will accrue at the rate of $5 per day, per sign after 30 days from April 20, 2024.

Thank you for your business!

Redacted, President
Redacted, LLC

Certified mail to Robert Slattery, 812 Gallant Fox Trail, Keller, TX 76248

May 5, 2022

Yogurt making basics

Since my experimentation with a new yogurt making device (insta-pot) I thought it might be worth revisiting this topic for those who might want to get into doing it. These are just my methods which work for me. There's all sorts of ways to go about yogurt making so don't take this as the end all to how it's done.

The beauty of making yogurt is it can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. All you really need is milk, a culture, and a method to hold the milk at a specific range of temperature for a given amount of time (hours). After you have the basic method down, you can alter numerous variables to achieve the taste and texture you want.

Instead of starting at the beginning, I'm going to jump right into the middle so you can get an idea of what is going on. The fermentation stage of yogurt making involves introducing a culture into the milk and holding a temperature that is conducive to the culture you are using. Most of the cultures used for yogurt are fermented at a temperature from 108-112F usually for a period of about 6-8 hours. This causes a lowering of PH (more acidic) which will give yogurt it's tangy taste, but also causes the milk to gel which is what you're primarily after.

As far as the basic ingredient goes you can use just about any type of milk you want, but non-dairy milk requires other methods and arguably isn't really yogurt so I won't cover them. While you can certainly use raw milk, you definitely don't want to skip the denaturing which I'll cover later in step 2. Raw milk may contain pathogens you certainly wouldn't want to culture, but the more common threat is spoilage bacteria. I prefer to use vat pasteurized (low temp pasteurized) milk, but this may be hard to find in your area. You can use any fat content you like and just like drinking milk, different fat contents will make differences in the final product. I suggest going with the fat content of a store bought yogurt you like, which will be a good starting point. I won't cover using canned or powdered milk, but you can add powdered milk to your milk at the starting point to increase protein and affect the end result.

For the culture the most common method is to use existing yogurt with live cultures. This can be from another batch of yogurt, but can also be from a previous batch. It could also be from yogurt you'll find at most any supermarket provided it contains live cultures and just about all of them do. I typically use a single serving of plain yogurt for 1/2g or 2L of milk. You can get away with changing this ratio, but to start with I'd recommend with staying at those proportions. You can also use commercial freeze dried cultures. These will keep in your freezer for about 2 years and allow for a greater variety of specific bacteria cultures suited for making yogurt.

There's lots of devices you can use for fermentation. Rather than try to cover several of them, I'll just mention using equipment you may already have namely an insta-pot or a sous vide type of water heater. In the case of the later the milk is put into a container like a mason jar and mostly submerged into the water bath. Both of these devices work very well although a sous vide device will be less automated. I would discourage people from buying a dedicated yogurt maker as the previously mentioned devices have many uses beyond just yogurt making, but if all you want to do is make yogurt they may be the best fit for your situation.

1) You'll want to thoroughly clean and sanitize everything that's going to come into contact with your ingredients, especially prior to refrigeration. My dishwasher has a sterilization setting, which makes it easy, but you could also steam everything, vat pasteurize with a sous vide circulator, or with the insta-pot you can use the pressure cooker setting for about 10 minutes or so. A good long soak in a bleach solution of 1 Tbs per gal of water would also work provided you rinse thoroughly after.

2) Prepare the milk prior to fermentation. Most commonly you'll heat the milk to 180F and hold that temp for 30 minutes. This accomplishes two things. First it provides an extra level of pasteurization to insure all bacteria you don't want to culture won't be a problem. Even pasteurized milk could potentially have foreign bacteria introduced after pasteurization and while this isn't generally a problem with milk used for drinking near the sell by date, it could be a problem with yogurt making. It also denatures the milk proteins making them more conducive to gelling. If you are just starting out, I'd highly recommend not skipping this step. You might get away with it if you're using high temp pasteurized milk stored in antiseptic packaging, but then again you might not get the best results. While you can do this step on the stove, it's a bit tricky to hold that temp without significantly missing the mark. Too high or low and you might not achieve what you're after but there's no need to be highly accurate so it can be done. Most if not all insta-pots with a yogurt setting automate this function which makes it easy. It's also easy with a sous vide setup so long as you check the temp to figure out how long it takes the milk to get to 180F.

3) After step 2 you'll want to cool the mixture to at least below 112F. Much higher and you'll kill your culture and all your efforts and supplies will be wasted. If you have any doubts about your thermometer accuracy, cool to 108F. An insta-pot or other yogurt making devices may automate this function for you and tell you when it's time to add your culture.

4) Finally we get to the fermentation stage previously mentioned. This is where milk is transformed into yogurt thanks to the wonderful bacteria we will introduce. I usually just pitch my culture and use a whisk for a minute or so to thoroughly combine. If you are using freeze dried cultures you may want to wait a couple of minutes for the culture to dissolve and then mix again, but you can just follow the directions on whatever you're using. At this point we will hold the temperature of the mixture at 108-112F for a period of time. I prefer to use 6 hours because I'll be straining my yogurt after, but 8 hours is more common for regular yogurt. Some of this depends on the cultures you're using and where you are in the temperature range, but 6-8 hours is usually a good figure that will get you in the ballpark. My insta-pot defaults to 8 hours.

If after you ferment the batch has a strong offensive odor, then you'll want to throw it out regardless as you've cultured something you don't want. The odor of the batch should be similar to store bought plain yogurt which is to say it will have very little odor at all.

5) Immediately after fermentation you'll want to refrigerate. At this point your mixture may have and probably will already have started to separate the gel from the whey. This is not a cause for concern. Always resist the urge to mix the whey back into the gel. Just leave it alone or drain it off. This also typically happens throughout storage and the method of dealing with it is the same.

Optionally at this point you can also strain your yogurt for Greek style. I use a commercial yogurt strainer, but you can also use cheesecloth and something to catch the whey like a colander suspended over a bowl. I prefer to strain for 4 hours. Longer times result in a firmer result.

While you can certainly add whatever additional ingredients to your basic yogurt, I recommend doing so on a single serving basic immediately prior to consumption. The reason most commercial yogurt manufacturers get away with doing this prior to selling is they are typically using stabilizers. Avoid any unnecessary stirring or agitation prior to consumption as this will increase the incidence of gel and whey separation. Some of this is unavoidable and as previously mentioned just leave it alone or drain it off.

If anyone has any questions or has problems. Reply to this thread and I'll try to help or I'm sure someone else will.

January 20, 2019

Our tax dollars spent teaching biblical literalism ignorance in public schools

Map: Publicly Funded Schools That Are Allowed to Teach Creationism.
Thousands of schools in states across the country can use taxpayer money to cast doubt on basic science.

A large, publicly funded charter school system in Texas is teaching creationism to its students, Zack Kopplin recently reported in Slate. Creationist teachers don’t even need to be sneaky about it—the Texas state science education standards, as well as recent laws in Louisiana and Tennessee, permit public school teachers to teach “alternatives” to evolution. Meanwhile, in Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Arizona, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, taxpayer money is funding creationist private schools through state tuition voucher or scholarship programs. As the map below illustrates, creationism in schools isn’t restricted to schoolhouses in remote villages where the separation of church and state is considered less sacred. If you live in any of these states, there’s a good chance your tax money is helping to convince some hapless students that evolution (the basis of all modern biological science, supported by everything we know about geology, genetics, paleontology, and other fields) is some sort of highly contested scientific hypothesis as credible as “God did it.”

January 10, 2019

Who would make a better President, Trump or Grover from Sesame Street?

Test of steel prototype for border wall showed it could be sawed through
A photo demonstrated that the steel columns could breached with a common industrial tool.

May 14, 2018

It would save a lot of time if he just numbered his responses

#1 You have convinced yourself

#2 Name calling!

#3 11th Commandment

#4 You avoided/missed my point

#5 Semiotics

#6 Nice try

#7 Ubiquitous Whataboutism

#8 I'm rubber, you're glue

If you have any others, feel free to add them and I'll amend this post. That way we have a handy reference guide that puts everyone on the same page. Eventually there will be no need for him to post anything more than a number in response to anything. Imagine the increase in posting efficiency.

June 6, 2016

I get that someone who believes in homeoquackery doesn't have much use for things like facts

So far your methods of discrediting other people's sources is nothing short of totally hilarious.

Here's a short list of a few of the batshit crazy sources you have used and I'm sure will continue to use.


Whenever someone makes a remarkable claim and cites GlobalResearch, they are almost certainly wrong.

Joseph Mercola, doctor of osteopathy, is a popular guru of alternative medicine and a member of the right-wing quack outfit Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. He advocates and provides a forum for many classic crank medical ideas, such as vaccine hysteria and the belief that modern (sorry, "allopathic&quot medicine kills more people than it helps. His website is a veritable spring of pseudoscience, quackery, and logical fallacies. He is a promoter of the idea of an AMA/Big Pharma/FDA conspiracy.[1]

Gilles-Eric Séralini is a professor of molecular biology at the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Biology (IBFA) of the University of Caen in France. He is also President of the Scientific Board at CRIIGEN.[1] He was fairly well known in the biotech community for having a history of flawed studies,[2][3] but his controversial 2012 study on transgenic NK603 maize made him immensely popular among the anti-GM communities.

Food Babe
Hari is maybe not quite as dangerous as Joseph Mercola (who endorses her) or Mike Adams, but that's not exactly comforting. Her standards of evidence are terrible and based on total nonsense, and rather than promoting moderation, she mostly just wraps up obsessiveness and scolding in an apparently well-meaning package. Is she incompetent or a liar? Well, it doesn't really matter. Most of her "investigative" process can be summed up as either "Joseph Mercola said so, therefore spinning water in a blender really does make it healthier" or "if I can't pronounce it, it must cause cancer."

Mae-Wan Ho
Ho has been criticized for embracing pseudoscience.[7][8][9]

May 3, 2016

Man Convicted of Brooklyn Murder Exonerated After 52 Years

Source: NBC News

Come November, 81-year-old Paul Gatling will get to do something that many Americans take for granted —he'll get to vote for a presidential candidate.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson vacated Gatling's 1964 murder conviction on Monday and restored his rights, including his right to vote.

"I want my name cleared," Gatling told NBC News before Thompson made it official. "Most of all, I just want to vote before I die."

The delighted Gatling said his only regret is that President Obama won't be on the ballot.

Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/man-convicted-brooklyn-murder-exonerated-after-52-years-n566076

April 30, 2014

I agree, but I have numerous other reasons for opposing the death penalty

1) The DP is discriminatory and is applied disparately to race, gender, and class.

2) The US has the means to imprison murderers for life which makes the DP unnecessary to segregate murderers from society.

3) Life in prison without parole is cheaper than the DP.

4) The idea that the DP gives victims' families closure is flawed. Life in prison without the possibility of parole gives them closure. The DP extends their suffering for years if not decades awaiting final punishment. Most criminals sentenced to the DP die in prison anyway.

5) Killing a criminal victimizes innocent family members of the condemned.

6) There is no crime deterrent benefit to the DP.

7) The standard of guilt is not absolute and our system of policing and prosecution is not without flaws which insures innocent people will eventually be put to death.

Any one of these reasons by itself would be reason enough to do away with the DP.

January 19, 2014

I have yet to see one person on DU reasonably quantify how men are more advantaged than women

When asked, the standard answer is, 'men make 23%(actually 19.5%) more than women'. Naturally they don't want to hear that when relevant sociological factors are applied, the actually gender pay gap which could possibly be attributed to discrimination is statistically negligible. They also don't want to hear that men spend 29% more time working. Neither do they want to hear that men are disparately impacted by 14 of the 15 leading causes of death. So our 'advantage' is that we are wage slaves and get to die 5 years sooner.

January 6, 2014

Chili con carne

How hot you want your chili depends on what pepper you use and how you prepare them. My family doesn't like hot stuff, so I have to make my chili on the mild side and add red pepper flakes at the table if I want it hotter. I do this by removing all the seeds and the white connective tissue from the jalapenos, which removes most of the the heat from them (use rubber gloves when working with peppers). I also remove the seeds from the dried New Mexico chilis. This makes for a pretty mild chili, but still retains a lot of chili flavor without which you wouldn't have chili con carne. You can use whatever peppers you want both dried and fresh. The ones I list are easy to find in my area. For the spice grinder I use a whirly bird type coffee grinder that I dedicate to grinding spices. You can also use a blender or a food processor. Just remember that when grinding peppers, don't stick your nose in the spice grinder immediately after grinding unless you want to pepper spray yourself (trust me on this one). Beans in chili are a somewhat controversial subject. Sometimes I add them, and sometimes I don't. There's nothing non-authentic about beans in chili con carne (not that my recipe is exactly authentic). The recipe was derived from Native American cooks that didn't write anything down and as beans were certainly available to them, the idea that they wouldn't have used beans from time to time is not a good one. Some chili competitions forbid the inclusion of beans, but this has nothing to do with the authenticity or lack thereof of any recipe.

2 lbs flank steak
3 medium jalapano peppers
2 cloves garlic
3 large dried New Mexico red chile
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika

1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp + 1 pinch salt
1 can (400g) chopped San Marzano tomatoes
12 oz beer (I usually use Shiner Bock)

2 cans (15oz) dark red kidney beans (optional)
Crushed white corn tortilla chips

Slice the flank steak up into 2" squares, place into a food processor 1lb at a time and pulse to desired consistency. I like to give it about 10 good pulses so that the meat resembles ground beef, but you still have a few bigger chunks. Place the meat into a large mixing bowl. Place the jalapenos and garlic into the food processor and pulse until minced then add to the mixing bowl. Slice the dried chili into ~ 1/4" squares and place into a spice grinder(see above) along with the whole cumin seed and grind to a fine consistency. Sprinkle the freshly ground chili and cumin onto the meat mixture along with the smoked paprika and mix by hand until well combined. Place the meat mixture into a 1 gal ziplock bag and place in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

Over medium heat, cook the chopped onions in the vegetable oil along with a pinch of salt until translucent. Add the meat mixture and cook until browned, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Add the tomatoes, beer, salt, and bring the entire mixture to a simmer. Simmer covered over low heat for 30 minutes.

Add the kidney beans at this point as you wish. Thicken the chili as desired with the crushed tortilla chips.

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