Trader Joe’s Navel Oranges

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Weekly shopping would not be complete without a stop at our local Trader Joe’s.  Once a novelty, this grocery store chain has become a must-visit for specifics.  Why?  As with our Coffee Filter article, Price, quality, and consistency … When something works, why look for anything better?

Joe’s navel oranges.  Consistent size, fresh and juicy, and a good price.  The four-pound bag is $4 on the East Coast but $3 in Phoenix … guess they are coming from California this time of year.

The serving size is misleading, though.  One orange?  Really?

Free Offer:  When Trader Joe’s drops the $3.99 and prices bagged oranges on the even dollar, we’ll give them a banner ad for a year!

3M Personal Safety Division

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La sécurité n’est pas un accident.

I gear up for another season with that famous French proverb ringing in my ears.  Safety is not an accident.  Eye protection?  Check!  Uxex for me.  Ears?  Hoppes plugs are always within reach and used, even if drilling only one or two holes in concrete.  Lungs?  As they say, when you can’t breathe, nothing else matters. 

After several apprentice seasons struggling with disposal breathing masks, I took advice from safety experts at Graingers.  North/Honeywell or 3M are the usual offerings when safety is your top concern.  Decades later, I have and use both brands.  Honeywell for light dust and all day comfort, and the 3M “half-mask” for more involved irritants.

The 3M™ Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6000 Series.  Interchangeable cartridges for protection within different contaminants.  While this unit will not provide oxygen, with the right cartridges, muriatic acid can be handled safely in a well-ventilated area.  With the pictured P100 Particulate Filters, I’m protected against anything the typical construction site stirs up.

Healthy body, healthy mind, restful sleep.

Oatey Pipe Thread Sealant

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Decades ago while hand-threading five stories of 1″ steel pipe, a gas company employee shared a great product with me.  His fancy blue pipe dope to apply to pipe threads before screwing everything together.  Back in those days, I used grey pipe dope, or more often, white dope with teflon.  The blue stuff?  An expensive specialty item.

That gas company guy said they used only the blue stuff.  It was the best.  Pipes never leaked.  You did not have to tighten pipe like Hercules to get a good seal.  After my gifted can was empty, I bought another.  Two decades later I still buy the same pipe dope, Oatey MEGALOC.  Sometimes an even stronger product, Oatey Block, for larger or irregular pipe as well as specialty applications.  Made in the USA for professional plumbers worldwide.

MADE IN USA / HECHO EN EE.UU.

Even if you are not a professional, just a guy who knows a lot about pipes, do yourself a favor.  Get an edge on every project.  The upper hand on potential issues.  Oatey MEGALOC and BLOCK, their Blue Wonders.

MEGALOC cleans up with water.  BLOCK requires isopropyl alcohol.

Bass Ale

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MERRIMACK, NEW HAMPSHIRE  is home to a smaller of the dozen Anheuser-Busch breweries.  With their world-touring Budweiser Clydesdale team also in residence, you’d think the town has its share of glory.  But within the dizzying array of acquisitions and mergers, AB InBev ended up with one of the United Kingdom’s best exports, Bass Ale.

For the American market, Bass Ale, once the best-selling beer in the world, is made in this country.  AB InBev have pledged funding to support the Bass brand in America, and since June 2012, Bass has been brewed in Merrimack, New Hampshire at 5% ABV for the American market. – wiki

Long one of our favorite imports, Bass, a smooth bitter English ale, was a bit out of reach.  But as a domestic, this niche beer with the oldest registered trademark in the world is now as affordable as a mass-produced choice!  Great decision by Anheuser-Busch InBev.  Make it where they drink it.  A global company reacting locally!

Bonus trivia:  Budweiser Clydesdales began their stomp in 1933 to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition.

Boylan Bottling

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boylan bottling logoWhen I come off trail, nothing kicks the dust out of my throat like an icy cold refreshing root beer.  Not high fructose sugar water hawked by corporate America.  The real thing.  Boylan’s root beer has it all – flavor and kick.

A rich sassafras flavor derived from cinnamon, sweet birch, vanilla, and wintergreen oil. – Boylan

As Saba’s Jerry Hill famously taught us, hand-crafted is nearly as good as it gets.  Boylan’s, with cane sugar and natural flavors, handcrafted since 1891, is the pinnacle of our highly competitive American soda market.

After knocking back a bottle or two, I had to know their secret.  Was it ginger?  Where did the tang come from?  Boylan Bottling was characteristically silent.  I tried multiple departments, running through all the extensions of their telephone system.  No one would share their secrets.  

“The ingredients are on the label”, Samantha sweetly explained.  Yeah, I could be as nice with an unlimited supply of Boylans for private consumption.  Rumors abound.  Unconfirmed reports mention the addition of anise and that master spice, black pepper …

Barkeep, get me a Sarsaparilla!

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alcoholics anonymous

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SINCE ANCIENT TIMES  grain and fruit have been allowed to ferment into alcohol.  Fermentation is the process in which yeast breaks down sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.  Whether your pleasure is okolehao, scotch, or makgeolli, every culture has a drink to cure ills, relax nerves, mark occasions, and calm stomachs.

When things get a little too calm, alcohol works the other way.  So it seems.  Then there’s the “Thank God it’s Friday” excuse to consume mass quantities.

After all commercial exaltation is exhausted and peer pressure ignored, an acceptable vintage port by a crackling fire with a nice book is probably good for the mind, body, and soul.  But when this (almost) all-natural beverage becomes a destructive force?  Who do you call?

Since the 1930s Americans have turned to Alcoholics Anonymous.  An approach to manage an addiction through abstinence.  Now an international fellowship, membership is one of America’s more constructive exports.

Surrounded by creative types all day, every day, we see eight sides of the issue.  In the end, one phrase sounds more true than all the others.  Sobriety brings clarity.

Nelson Wood Shims

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In today’s iPhone age most forget simple tools which make our lives comfortable.  Lever, wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plane, wedge, screw.  Archimedes got it.  A few millennium before him with these simple tools Pyramids were build.  Two+ million years ago stone scraping tools, precursor to the wedge, were made and used before humans were around to criticize its design.

Banging pipes within a wall had me turn to this tool invented before humans roamed the land.  With a wedge of wood I cured a sick installation, relieving stress and worry from countless users of this plumbing system.  A simple shim of wood inserted between pipe and metal stud eliminated an issue which existed for decades.  I made sure to “reconfigure pipe within wall” when no one was looking.  Can’t share all my trade secrets.

When it was time to shim, I turned to Clyde.  He in turn points me to the rear of his store, where both loafer and curmudgeon gather around a re-screening table for coffee and lies.  Just past these antiquarians lies a trove of shimming choices.  Six flavors of Nelson Wood Shims.  Today, a thin package will satisfy my needs.  Plus a few extra for the toolbox.