The Cubs host the New York Yankees at Wrigley Field in a couple of weeks and the good people at Cub World (who give me NOTHING for pimping them) have the coolest shirt for the series. Check it out1932 World Series and Babe Ruth‘s “called shot” and all that because it gives me the kind of cramps you get after eating two dozen Kansas City Royals. It’s like looking forward to being waterboarded.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Cupcakes for breakfast? Someone must be on one. In our friend Rachel‘s latest trip to her test kitchen, she came out the other end with these French Toast Cupcakes With Maple Frosting. This little piece of gourmet cupcake heaven is iced out with a sprinkle of brown sugar and is depicted as being more of a lighter cupcake than a richer one.
For those of you looking to get your scrumpdidliumptious on, here’s the wonderfully written recipe:
French Toast Cupcakes with Maple Frosting
- 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 cup organic sugar
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup (or vanilla)
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 large eggs, separated
Pre-heat oven to 375F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy; Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon; Set aside. Now, in a small bowl, whisk together milk and maple syrup; Set aside. (You should have 3 bowls set aside.)Add the egg yolks (saving the egg whites in another small bowl or cup) to the creamed butter/sugar mix one egg yolk at a time, waiting for each to be fully incorporated before adding the next yolk. Then, alternately, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and milk in 2 additions, again, waiting for each to be fully incorporated before proceeding with the next. Mix until a smooth batter is formed. Set this bowl aside.With an electric mixer (yes, in another bowl), whip the 3 eggs whites you have saved until stiff and peaks form. Working in 3 batches, fold the egg whites into the batter, just until incorporated.
Divide batter evenly amongst the pre-lined muffin cups. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick tester results clean. Cool completely before frosting.
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 2 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Mix butter and sugar on low until incorporated. Then, mix on high until light and fluffy. Reduce speed and add maple syrup and heavy cream. Beat until light and fluffy. Can be stored for 3 days in the fridge.
If only I could cook in the Willy Loman Motel I'm living in, I'd be making these RIGHT NOW.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
If you've been following me over the last couple of weeks, you know that I've had a very bad experience with my smartphones. I left Blackberry and Verizon for the new Samsung Nexus S 4G on Sprint. To say the least, I've been disappointed and unhappy with the decision. The phone is amazing, but it has serious flaws in its ability to get a decent signal and hold a charge.
Sprint's community forums, but Sprint is still not officially saying there are issues with the device. As of now, there are 310 posts (and counting) about issues with this phone on Sprint's forums alone.
The phone is technically a "Google Experience" device, so Google has had a lot of traffic on their help forums as well, but again has not come out to say that there is a recognized issue with the device. Over 80 posts as of now on that site.
Then there's Samsung, the maker of the device. They too have forums and places to review their products, but it's been interesting that unlike the carrier (Sprint) and software developer (Google) the hardware maker (Samsung) has had mainly glowing reviews for their baby. Odd that on every other website, carrier, software maker, tech journalism, independent reviews, the signal issue and low battery life issues have been a big topic, but NOT on Samsung's site.
I wrote a fair and honest ONE STAR review of their phone, complimenting the hardware but brining the signal problems and fact that nobody has openly acknowledged them or said there would be a fix on Saturday, May 21. Today, Wednesday, May 25, I received this note from Samsung:
Thanks for leaving a review. Unfortunately, your review did not meet our posting guidelines. This may be because it contained references to other products;or to pricing, ordering, delivery or other customer service issues. Your feedback is important because it helps others make informed choices about Samsung products. We invite you to read our http://email.samsungusa.com/s/r?l=279511&MKM_RID=0121870498&MKM_MID=1..." style="color: #666666;">posting guidelines, then http://email.samsungusa.com/s/r?l=279498&MKM_RID=0121870498&MKM_MID=1..." style="color: #666666;">log in to your account on Samsung.comto post a new review.
In other words, you were too rough and honest with us, and we don't want you posting bad things about our products, so we won't let your post go up on our forums.
Now I understand that it's Samsung's website and they can control what they put on it. But this strikes of good old CENSORSHIP, not letting the negative reviews of their product on their site. Not exposing the faults with their device, and continuing to cover up the fact that there is a SERIOUS defect with the unit.
Read the Sprint and Google forums for yourself. You'll see that I'm not some crazy lone wolf in Kansas complaining about a problem that doesn't exist. But you won't find those kinds of posts on Samsung's forums. If Samsung isn't being honest and transparent with its customers about the problems with the Nexus S 4G, how can they be trusted to be forthwright about any of their products?
I know Sprint is trying to figure this mess out. I haven't had personal contact with Google, but I assume they don't want a device with their name on it to be junk. But I've written a review that was censored and spoken with Samsung's alleged Executive Offices, and they are lying to the public about the fact that there even is an issue and being disingenuous at best when it comes to dealing with their customers.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Missourians who need disaster information, shelter information or referrals are urged to call 211. The 211 service number is now available for most areas in Missouri. In areas where the 211 number is not operational, citizens can call 800-427-4626.Both the 211 and the 800 number are experiencing a high volume of calls. The Ozarks Red Cross is advising to please be patient. You can help people affected by disasters, like the recent Missouri tornado, by donating to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. You may also call 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or mail your donation, to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington DC 20013. Find a Red Cross Shelter
http://www.redcross.org/nss/ Southwest Missouri Red Cross
On Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ozarksredcross Volunteer Ozarks Red Cross
http://www.redcross-ozarks.org/volunteer/ Safe and Well from the Red Cross
https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php Missouri state government assistance, shelter information
http://1.usa.gov/lk992f Joplin, Missouri Tornado Recovery Facebook page
http://www.facebook.com/joplinmo City of Joplin on Facebook
800-621-3362 The United Way
Thursday, May 19, 2011
This entry is reposted from my Official Major League Baseball Blog, Mark's Cub Worship Pulpit
So there's this preacher who says the world will end on May 21, which is this Saturday. But when I go directly to his web site, he says Saturday is Judgement Day and the world will end on October 21, which is my middle son's birthday. So I may not have to buy him some advanced electronic gadget if we're all vaporized, which isn't all bad. And I still get to celebrate MY birthday on Roctober 18th, not that I'll have too much time to enjoy the underwear and energy drinks that my family will buy me for my big day. But the problem is this. The Cubs are returning to Fenway Park to play the Red Sox this weekend. I was supposed to go to those games, but just can't get away to see my heroes at the second best ballpark in baseball. And the tickets I thought I was getting, uh, never came through, which is another story that has me quite aggravated. Think about it, the Cubs return to play in Fenway for the first time since 1918 on the weekend that some think the world will end. They've moved the game to Prime Time, so we can all tune in to see the carnage (Judgement Day, not the Cubs getting beat like eggs for an angel food cake) with the special touch of Joe Buck's play by play. What could be more perfect? Could the douchebag Commissioner Of Baseball be in cahoots with someone more omnipotent than even HIM to have arranged this cruel punishment?
"Yeah, so here's the deal. We get two of the most storied teams in baseball together for the first time in forever in Boston then we have you send down bolts of lightening or frogs or whatever it is you send down to let people know its Judgement Day and give the world a warning by wiping out all those insane Red Sox and Cubs fans. And I'll even throw in Joe Buck, I know you probably want him gone five months early. Hey, it's the least I can do for you letting me not get fired over that whole drug scandal thing."
Will it happen? Doubtful. But if it does, I won't be anywhere near as depressed about missing the games. And I get to save a couple hundred bucks on my kid's birthday gift.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
I’ve been an early adapter of technology since my childhood. As I grew older, I saw the opportunities and power of technology, and helped test things like AM Stereo in the early 1980′s and the first portable cell phone a couple years later. And my computer experience goes back to the infamous TI-99/4A, which featured the high tech concept of loading programs onto the machine using a cassette tape recorder and communication at the blazing rate of 300 baud.
So, yes, I am a geek.
Fast forward to the early part of this century, and I had been through portable cell phones of all sizes, half a dozen “laptop” computers, very early Internet use, with my first time on the Interwebz being in 1993, and exposure to LOTS of technology, some good, most bad. Then I discovered BlackBerry when I was able to wrangle my company into getting me one of these beasts, an early model that sort of moved data around, but was completely unusable as a phone, so I carried the Blackberry on my belt and the cutting edge PCS phone on the other side of my pants. I was livin’ the dream because I could get my e mail everywhere and make my family crazy by being “connected” at all times. But I saw the future and it was inspiring, the concept of having all your communications in your hand, little need for a 20 pound computer, and constant contact was GOOD, maybe even GREAT.
Over the next few years, I quickly changed and upgraded devices, getting a “world phone” that would let me call from anywhere on the planet in exchange for letting a service provider’s daughter join me backstage to meet a Rock Star. Hey, a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do. This was the first BlackBerry decent enough to use as a phone in addition to for e mail, so I retired the trusty flip phone and went to a pure BlackBerry experience. I felt like Martin FREAKING Cooper (click the link if you don’t know who that is) now.
Then, for the first and only time, I dropped the BlackBerry and it self destructed. I had heard that a new touch screen phone was coming, so I used a cheapo model until the way cool phone without a keyboard and a big screen was supposed to come out.
Then it did. The original Blackberry Storm in late 2008. Was it perfect? FAR from it, but it was a BLACKBERRY that had a touchscreen, like the then groundbreaking iPhone AND my Corporate IT department would let me hook it up to our e mail system. Side note: I hear that that same brilliant Corporate IT group (who I no longer work for) just let people connect iPhones to email about 3 weeks ago.
This was not a good phone. It had more issues than the Library Of Congress, I went through four of them in a year because they continued to have software and hardware failures, but it DID have a big screen and let me, a visually impaired person, make things really big on the screen.
I got real tight with my service provider and the well meaning but not very helpful people at Research In Motion in Canada in “The Year Of The Storm” and had the second generation of the phone, the BlackBerry Storm 2 in my hands the day it came out. If you follow my antics on the Interwebz, you probably know how that went. Software issues, equipment issues, and a total of SIX devices in a little over a year of use. This was a better phone than the Storm, but it too had issues and never really satisfied me, but I was forced to stay with BlackBerry because of Corporate IT.
While I was spending far too much time on dealing with my BlackBerry Storm 2, the mobile world was changing in a big way. Not only was the iPhone on its fourth version, but the Android platform was taking off in a big way. Both of those systems offered better hardware, thousands of helpful (and some fun) applications to make the mobile experience more rich, and they just plain worked better than my BlackBerry. It seems that the company was too interested in working on the new genre of Tablet Computers and had lost interest in developing an evolutionary device to replace the Storm 2.
A month or so ago, BlackBerry had their annual “here’s all the kewl new stuff we want to sell you” conference, and the rumored upgrade to the Storm 2, the Monaco or Monza, wasn’t part of the hoopla. No idea on when or if it was coming, how much it would cost, or how much better it might be than other phones on the market.
That was the last straw. I couldn’t deal with the continuing problems with my Storm 2, and now the touchscreen was beginning to fail and the phone is out of warranty. That means, even with “insurance” on the phone, it would cost me money to replace my phone with a reconditioned (that’s code for USED AND REPAIRED) obsolomodel, reload all the software, and pray the replacement used phone worked until BlackBerry decided to drop the new model. REALLY? I don’t think so.
I really like the carrier I’ve been with for years, Verizon Wireless, and I could pick a phone on any platform from them. But I’m in Kansas City now, the headquarters of Sprint and my office sits in the shadow of a Sprint 4G tower. I have no issues with Verizon Wireless, my decision on what to do was based on hardware and operating systems. I spoke with Verizon, told them what I was thinking, and they made me a very fair offer to stay and get a much better device. But Sprint made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, partially due to the fact that it seems like half of Kansas City works for Sprint and can offer incentives to switch service.
So I spent the requisite amount of time researching devices on Sprint and finally settled on the Samsung Nexus S, which is technically a Google phone because it comes without the basic Android features and apps and none of the carrier-provided “bloatware” that I’d probably never use and would pretty much immediately delete. The phone is using the latest Android software, has a huge (but not the largest) screen so I can see things better, and should run really fast while in the Kansas City area or with the family in St. Louis since Sprint has done a fine job of providing 4G coverage here in the Heartland.
I’m going to miss being a BlackBerry “Power User” and the great service, both technical and customer service from Verizon Wireless. But the bottom line is that BlackBerry isn’t keeping up with the times, either in hardware or software. I have an itch as a geek to have access to the latest and greatest, and a need as a business person to have the best tools to use when doing my job.
Will I love my new phone? I hope so, but I know its a new device and a new user experience because it ISN’T the “BlackBerry World” I’ve been in for so long. Will I be satisfied with my new carrier? G-d I hope so. My wife has had Sprint service for over 11 years and its worked well for her. I’ve had a couple of not so small bumps in the road in dealing with Sprint’s offshore CSR’s, but I found an Angel within the company (whose name I won’t use to protect her privacy) who has made the transition nearly painless.
UPS tells me my phone is going on a truck tonight and will be in my office tomorrow. Give me a few days to see how it works. Hopefully, my Twitter Feed will be butterflies and rainbows, and not the ravings of a frustrated person who made a bad decision.
By the way, if you’re an Android user and have any tips for me, feel free to send them along to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be much obliged.
- Opinion: The end of BlackBerry (macworld.com)
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
I usually don't use my blogs to talk about my work, mainly because I like to keep my job and sometimes talking about work can be a breach of various company policies. But, I have a great work story to share, and this is the forum in which to do it.
Yesterday morning, Kelly was as happy as a little girl because he had "friended" Peggy on Facebook and she accepted his request. He was so wild about it that he talked about it on the air.
Pretty cool, I must admit. Being the troublemaker that I am, I sent Peggy a note to let her know about what Kelly had to say. She wrote me back, and Kelly's partner Mackenzie read the exchange on the air.
Well, the good people at World News Now SOMEHOW got the audio of Kelly talking about Peggy and their close personal friendship. They posted it on their Facebook page, which you can go to by clicking the link above. Just scroll down and you'll see it.
I let Kelly know about the posting, and he reacted to it on the air this morning. He was co-hosting with Danni Boatwright, a Kansas City person who, among many other cool things, won Survivor and they talked about it AGAIN this morning.
Radio is supposed to be fun, and we shouldn't take what we do too seriously. Kelly and Peggy have created a great "bit" that I hope will go on for a good long time. But I still think Danni could "take" Peggy. And me too. Probably at the same time.