Blog November 2020


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Posted On: November 26, 2020


A year that, with all its negativity, loss and hardship globally  has possibly revealed a surprising silver lining.

Namely, the opportunity to slow down in a world that never stops going.

I’m not saying this year has been easy.

Au contraire,  I’ve moved, redefined my job, sorting through a new business plan, and I’m commuting between NY and Fla.

But in this general unraveling of all things I’ve known and loved, I’ve found a greater sense of self by honoring my tendency toward introversion, focusing on my personal creative projects, well-being, and enduring need to be myself.

And for once, I don’t feel the need to apologize for anything.



Posted On: November 24, 2020

Many experts recommend baking the stuffing outside the bird, where it can easily be cooked to 165°F and is less likely to harbor bacteria. However, many people who grew up eating stuffing from inside the bird find it lacking moisture and flavor when it's baked in a casserole dish, without the benefit of the turkey's juices.

Luckily, whichever method you prefer, there are ways to get around the problems. If you choose to bake your stuffing alongside the bird, drizzle 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of extra stock over it before it goes in the oven. This will replace the extra moisture and flavor the turkey would have provided. Using a rich, flavorful homemade stock will also go a long way toward providing that indescribable roast-turkey richness.

If you still want to cook the stuffing inside the bird, you should take several precautions to ensure safety. First, do not stuff your turkey until right before it goes in the oven. Yes, when faced with a long list of Thanksgiving Day tasks, it's tempting to stuff the bird the night before, stow it in the fridge, and then just pop it in the oven the next morning. But this will create an optimal environment for bacteria to flourish: The moist stuffing, likely warm from the cooked veggies and stock, will sit in the fridge for hours before it gets below the "danger zone"—the range of temperatures in which bacteria can grow. This will allow any bacteria present, already thriving in the moist conditions, to multiply like crazy. Once the stuffing finally cools down, they won't be killed—they'll just stop multiplying as quickly. Then, when the turkey goes into the oven, the stuffing, now cold from the fridge, will take quite a while to heat up, again spending hours in the danger zone.

Instead of this risky procedure, cook any veggies for the stuffing the night before, but do not mix them with the bread, stock, and eggs. (Even if you don't stuff the bird, just mixing the wet ingredients and the bread can be too inviting to bacteria.) The next morning, heat the stock and combine it with the other stuffing ingredients, then immediately fill and roast the bird. Using warm stuffing and putting the turkey in the oven immediately will help the stuffing spend as little time in the "danger zone" as possible.

Finally, when the bird is done, take the temperature of the stuffing as well as the meat. Bacteria cannot survive above 165°F, so most recipes call for using a probe thermometer to verify that the thigh has reached this temperature before removing the turkey from the oven. (Some cooks prefer to remove their birds at 150°F on the assumption that the temperature will rise to 165°F as the meat rests; this is safer if you buy an organic or heritage turkey, which is less likely to contain bacteria

However, just because the thigh meat has reached 165°F doesn't mean the stuffing has, too. So, be sure to insert your thermometer into the very center of the cavity as well. If the bird is done but the stuffing isn't, use this tip:  spoon the stuffing out into a bowl and microwave it until it registers 165°F. This will allow you to have moist, not overcooked meat and safe stuffing at the same time.



Posted On: November 19, 2020

Let's face it- it's going to be different.

Right off, the Macy's Day parade will not go through the streets of Manhattan this year.

Instead, performances will be broadcast live on NBC on Thanksgiving Day from 9 a.m. to noon. The celebration will shift to a virtual -television only presentation, showcasing the parade's mix of giant balloons, floats, street performers, clowns and culminating with the arrival of Santa Claus." 

In a statement released by Macy's the 2020 parade will have 75% fewer participants than other years.

Everyone will remain socially distanced during performances and be required to wear face coverings and additional personal protective equipment as needed.

No participant in the Parade will be under 18 years of age and, instead of the traditional 80-100 giant balloon handlers,

Macy's "will instead employ an innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles tested and approved by the NYCDOT and NYPD," says the statement.

So sit back, turn the TV on, put the bird in the oven, and see what happens!

Stay safe boys and girls.



Posted On: November 17, 2020

Plastic Surgery

I was asked about the best way to repair existing carpet snap holes in the non-skid of a  Sea Ray Sundancer.

Epoxy putty is the best choice for filling screw holes in fiberglass. You can mix your own, but for your use, a pre-mixed epoxy paste such as white Marine-Tex will be easier and result in a less visible repair. If your non-skid is not white, you can tint the paste with a coloring agent.

The process is easy. Use a countersink bit to chamfer the top of each hole. This cleans up the contact area and makes the repair stronger by giving the epoxy a larger and more horizontal surface to adhere to. Without access to the bottom of the hole to seal it with tape, you may want to fill the holes in two steps. First put just enough epoxy putty into the hole to seal the bottom. Where holes are large, the putty can tend to drain through. In this case, use a bit of dowel to create a plug, or stiffen the paste with sawdust, talc, silica, or even a bit of wadded tissue. You're just trying to close the bottom of the hole.

When your plug has set, or if you don't need a plug, fill the hole completely with your epoxy putty, making it level at the top with the surrounding surface. Epoxy does not shrink during cure. As this is a textured surface, you can match the texture by stippling the putty with a finger, a cloth, or some other tool that gives you the desired effect. When the epoxy has cured fully, you'll have a permanent repair.



Posted On: November 12, 2020

Keeping Diesel Fuel Clean

Thumbnail photo of a diesel gas pump

Keeping fuel clean has always been the key to maintaining a healthy diesel.

Here are four important considerations to keeping fuel clean:

1. Start by adding clean fuel, which means buying your fuel from a reliable source. Fuel that's been languishing for months in an underground storage tank is more likely to have water, rust, and even bugs.

2. Microbial bugs can't live without water. Keeping the tank topped off minimizes condensation. Check your fuel separator routinely for water, which can signal a problem that will need correction.

3. Check to see if your fuel distributor uses biocides in its fuel. If not, add a biocide at the recommended dosage.

4. Change filters at least annually. Slimy, smelly filters are indications of a microbial fuel infection. If filters, especially secondary filters, look dirty, consider having your tank emptied and cleaned. Otherwise, you'll be fighting an uphill battle.



Posted On: November 10, 2020


Round & Round We Go

Studies have shown that when cut off from sensory input, such as in a small boat in heavy fog, most people tend to circle clockwise. A working compass is invaluable in keeping you on a straight heading. If yours is out of order, try trailing a line astern as a reference point. You'll still tend to bear off to starboard, but knowing that you aren't really traveling in a straight line might be enough to keep you out of trouble.

Let There Be Light!

LED button lights are cheap, easy to mount, and go a surprising length of time on AAA or other small batteries. Stick one over your navigation station, or in dark corners where you could use a little light, such as the anchor well. Just remember to turn them off! LED headlamps are invaluable aboard any size boat. You never have to fumble for a flashlight, and have all the light you need for fix-it jobs. Most can switch from a white light to a red for use on dark nights. We keep three of them around, stationed in various nooks and crannies, and use them more than the LED flashlights that we also have on board.

Where Are The Keys?

Do you lock your coupler and spare tire?

Make three sets of trailer keys. Some locks require an Allen wrench; make sure that's included in your extra sets

. Keep a set of trailer keys on a separate ring in your tow vehicle all the time. Some argue that if your vehicle gets broken into, then the thief has the keys. I argue you'll have bigger problems than trailer keys!

Keep a set in the boat while in use, and always have a set at home, where someone can pick them up in an emergency and deliver them to you!



Posted On: November 05, 2020

Hull Fitting Ice

Custom-made winter covers, typically canvas or synthetic, are a terrific benefit to your boat's gel coat and general well-being.

A good well-supported cover offers many benefits. It keeps leaves and debris from clogging scuppers and causing the boat to flood when a downpour comes or the snow melts. It keeps snow from accumulating in the cockpit and forcing the boat underwater in its slip or damaging thru-hull fittings on boats on the hard when melt-water freezes.

It protects the deck from pooling water that can lead to de-lamination and freeze damage. And it protects gel coat on the deck and coach roof from the elements, extending its life.

The best covers are custom made from canvas. With any custom cover, a frame, either wood or aluminum, should be used to circulate air and prevent pooling on the cover. Vents should also be built into the cover to encourage ventilation and reduce mildew. Never secure the boat's winter cover to the jack stands or support blocks because the stands can be yanked out during a strong blow.

Though shrink-wrapping is very effective at keeping rain and snow out, it will also trap moisture inside and create horrendous mildew problems if vents aren't used along the entire length of the cover. Another problem: Cabins and decks painted with two-part polyurethane paints may peel or bubble where the shrink-wrap touches it.

Inserting a series of foam pads between the hull and cover allows condensation to escape. Finally, don't shrink-wrap the boat yourself.

All it takes is a moment of inattention to ignite the shrink-wrap, and if the fire occurs inside the cover, it might not even be visible right away.

This is one job best left to the pros.



Posted On: November 03, 2020

Figure this may be informative today.

What's the Electoral College?

Americans who go to the polls on Election Day are voting for 538 electors who, according to the system laid out by the Constitution, meet in their respective states and vote for president and vice president.
Back in the 1800s, it wasn't always even voters who picked the electors. Often it was state legislators.

These people, the electors, comprise the Electoral College, and their votes are then counted in a joint session of Congress.
It takes 270 electoral votes to get a majority of the Electoral College. The total number of electors -- 538 -- cannot change unless there are more lawmakers added on Capitol Hill or a constitutional amendment. But the number of electors allocated to each state can change every 10 years, after the constitutionally mandated Census.

Each state gets at least 3 electors. California, the most populous state, has 53 congressmen and two senators, so they get 55 electoral votes.

Texas, the largest reliably Republican-leaning state, has 36 congressmen and two senators, so they get 38 electoral votes.
Six states -- Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming -- are so small, population-wise, that they only have one congressperson apiece, and the lowest possible three electoral votes. The District of Columbia also gets three electoral votes. Voters in Puerto Rico and other non-state territories get no electoral votes, although they can take part in presidential primaries.

The states are in charge of selecting their own electors.

And a number of states do not require their electors to honor the election results, which has led, occasionally, to the phenomenon known as a "faithless elector."

(By some coincidence, the Supreme Court is right now hearing cases about whether states can penalize electors who vote for someone other than the person chosen by the voters. Ten electors did just that in 2016.)