Everybody wants to save the earth, nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.  --P.J. O'Rourke

Saturday, August 8, 2009

1966 Bertone Porsche 911

This pretty, little roadster was crafted at the behest of an American Porsche dealer by the Italian Design company Bertone, possibly best know for their out of this world Lamborghini Countach & Alfa Romeo BAT designs. In the end, only one of them was built and none were series produced, which is a shame, because I think it's a very nice design. To me, it looks to have influenced some of the 914 design elements (it came a few years later).

VIA: Coachbuild a very neat site with lots of interesting articles and pictures-check it out, you will be glad you did.

Update: Turns out Fiat just bought Bertone

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mercedes Diesel Wagon W123

In the late 70's and early 80's, these were the genuine old school preppy family vehicle of choice and they just oozed class (and smoke). People of lesser means (like our family) had to make due with Diesel Vdubs or Volvos. While comparable American cars were adding chrome, brougham and opera roofs, the period Benzes were ostentatious in their plain-ness. Detroit went to great lengths to make their hubcaps look like all manner of wire wheels, or alloy wheels, the W123's understated Fuchs alloy wheels seem to have been styled to resemble cheap hubcaps. It is the distinctive sound of the Mercedes diesels that I remember most about these cars, and to this day, I can still identify a Benz diesel of this vintage with my eyes closed, and no, not from the smell - "Ladies and Gentlemen, Pop Your Collars".

Top Gear's James May Flying in the U2 Spy Plane

This is really pretty neat, I had no idea that the U2 flew THAT high, quite an achievement for 50 year old design.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Antilles Seaplanes New - Old Super Goose Seaplane

I love this plane, it's based on the original Grumman Goose which dates to 1937, the new Super Goose features modern avionics and reliable turbines instead of the original radial piston engines. I have always loved seaplanes and have long been mystified as to why there aren't more around given the number of tourist destinations that involve water and rich people. In any event, the vintage looks are very cool.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Here is a new SaaS company with an interesting project and process management tool. I have not personally tried it yet, and it looks like it might be a little shallow functionally, but they have a unique way of linking the various layers of a project that I have not seen elsewhere.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bleach in the Kitchen

One of the best tricks I have learned from working in restaurants is that bleach works miracles in the kitchen. In every kitchen I have worked in, we always had a fresh bucket of bleach and water with a few rags soaking in it at each station for surface sanitizing. As good as a water and bleach mixture is in a commercial kitchen, it works even better in the home kitchen. I always keep a strong 1/8- 1/4 solution of bleach to water in the type of heavy duty spray bottle you can get at Homer Depot or Costco. We have a cast iron/ceramic kitchen sink, which stains very easily. Just hit it with the bleach solution and it sparkles like new with a few minutes of soaking, really it's that easy. Spraying your cutting boards and counter tops will keep them completely germ free, without expensive antimicrobial soap. Bleach will also extend the life of your sponge 10 fold. I find that even if you rigorously rinse your kitchen sponge after washing pots and pans, it still gets stanky after a bit. But if you spray the bleach on it right before you put it away, it will stay fresh indefinitely. And BTW: Those European sponges that resemble dish towels? If you hit then with the bleach after you are done, one of them can last for months, replacing at least 4 rolls of paper towels. A few caveats though; Bleach cannot handle a lot of organic matter and still be an effective disinfectant, so wipe surfaces off before sanitizing them. Bleach and Ammonia don't mix. Bleach WILL bleach cloth, so be careful. One last tip. Bleach/Water works like VooDoo on tile grout stains.

Speaking of Bacon

Kate's Homemade Butter - I Love This Stuff

Some years ago, Kate's showed up on the shelves of our local Whole Foods. I like to buy locally made food, so I bought a pound and have been buying it ever since. Even though it doesn't cost an arm and a leg, this stuff is really really good. I used to buy Plugra, which while good, isn't as good as Kate's. Today's globe has a nice article about Kate's, which is still being made in the family garage from local cream.

Boston Globe on Kate's Homemade


Cooking Perfect Bacon Every Time - Quickly and Easily

Bacon, second only to Spam as the internets and Google's favorite food can be remarkably difficult to cook. Unlike many other delicious foods, like Scallops for example, Bacon retains it's inherent salty goodness even in the face of truly horrendous preparation. So powerful is this effect that Bacon is often deployed to mask other poorly prepared and overcooked food, the aforementioned Scallop for example. With the addition of a few measly strips of Bacon, even burned hamburgers become mouthwatering morsels (especially when cheese is also deployed on the same patty as a force multiplier). Merely good bacon is a clear indication that you are dealing with a a cook of, at best, haphazard kitchen skills, if not one of outright moral depravity or borderline mental retardation. Perfect Bacon on the other hand, like true love, though far more rare, is sublime and transcendental. Perfect Bacon is flat and evenly cooked, is crunchy but retains some chewy mouth feel and has a bright, salty, smoked pork flavor. Fortunately perfect bacon is easily cooked with a few simple tricks I have picked up along the way.

1. Render the fat first.
The easiest, surest and most consistent way is to lay the pieces on a sheet pan and place in a 425 degree oven. Cook the bacon in the oven just until much of the fat and moisture is rendered and the slices have shortened but are not yet cooked. This takes less time than you think, so keep an eye on it. Your oven may vary, but it should not make much difference. Better to take it out prematurely than to let it cook too much. Cook's Illustrated says you can flip the Bacon and cook it completely in the oven, personally, I don't like the results.

2. Fry the Bacon at a low setting
This is where most cooks go wrong, Bacon can tolerate high heat initially while the moisture and fat are cooking off, but during the final cooking stage it will quickly burn if left on high. So, after you take it out of the oven, transfer the slices to a thick frying pan on a lower temp than you think is right (from 2-3 out of 10 works for me)

3. Actively cook the bacon
While the low heat buys you some time flexibility to cook eggs or toast, best results are obtained by focusing on the Bacon. Use your senses, smell it, does it smell like it's beginning to burn? Do you see smoke? Flip it and rearrange the slices to ensure even cooking. Take it out when it's ready

That is all there is to it.