From the East Wing, Paraprosdokian Figures, Google Sky, Wilbur Scoville, Squanto, Tonto, And Fish and Loafs

Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the East Wing,

Calling yourself Catholic is no more making you Christian than standing in your garage for one hour each week makes you a car, seems to have touched a nerve for lots of folks.

Wow! Did I ever get comments on that thing. Some good, some bad, but lots of comments. Just like dancing, some folks can and some folks can’t and some folks wish they could dance. Oh well, just depends on ones point of view, the way ya see things I life.

Saying thing like that is a paraprosdokian figure of speech in which the back part of a sentence or phrase is so surprising or so unexpected in such a way that causes ya to go back and look at the front part again. Those things just kinda makes ya stop and rethink the whole deal from the start to the finish. And some times, sometimes they just make ya smile, or even laugh out loud, from, time to time.

Paraprosdokian figures are fun things to think up and even more fun to write. Things like, If I agreed with you then we’d both be stupid, or we don’t know what we don’t know and we don’t know that we don’t know it, you’re never too old to learn something dumb, I didn’t say it was your fault; I said I was blaming you. I was looking back to see if your were looking back to see if I was looking back to see if you were looking back at me.

Alistair Cooke is credited with on of my personal favorites for paraprosdokian figures of speech when he, while speaking of the Duke of Windsor, said “he was at his best when the going was good”. Paraprosdokian figures of speech, fun things to play with. Words, ever gentle on your mind, gota love ‘em.

Did ya see the meteors Thursday night? Well if ya went out somewhere after ‘round 9:00 o’clock or so and looked toward the east, a little southeast, then you’d be bound to see ‘em if ya looked for any time a all. 30 to 50 meteors per hour was what I’s seeing when I’m standing out there in the cold, wondering why I’m out here standing in the cold. Now I’ve seen this same meteor light show every year and still go out and stand in the cold night of November like I’ve just been introduced to meteors. It’s a little magic show in the sky. They sometimes come and go so fast, ya wonder if ya really seen it or not, them sneaky little meteors. Then sometimes the meteor will go from horizon to horizon, now that’s kinda cool. Ya don’t see too many of those kind, but when ya do, it’s kinda cool.

I just don’t stargaze like I used to when my brother in-law was alive. Ed and I enjoyed a rather unique style of stargazing. Ed was no longer able to look thru the eyepiece of the telescope, I was. The way it worked for Ed and me was I’d set up the telescope, and look at whatever I wanted to. When I found something interesting, I’d give Ed the coordinates by computer webcam and he’d either find my position in his star chart reference books or more likely, Google Sky.

Ya know ‘bout Google Earth, but don’t know ‘bout Google Sky. Well just like the Staples commercial, hit the “that’s easy” button, ‘cause Google Sky has been right there on you computer all the time, Ya were just having too much fun with Google Earth, finding your house, then the house of everybody you know.

Yep, Google Sky is right there on the top row, in the icons, ‘bout in the middle as I recall, just click and ya go from looking down on earth to looking up from earth. The Google Sky is lot easier to get lost than Google Earth, ‘cause after all, the distances in Google Sky are a lot farther than from the East Wing to Alabama. Google Sky is so good, sometimes when I’m too lazy to set up the telescope and go out in the cold, I just look at Google Sky.

Now ya gota remember that the images displayed in Google Sky came from a better vantage point than the East Wing in the dark. There’s a little telescope high in the sky taking all kinds of really neat pictures from space. Ya might have heard of it, It’s called the Hubble Space Telescope. That’s a different brand than the one I use outside on the north deck of the East Wing. I bet the controllers of the Hubble don’t have any more fun looking at the stars than I do, but they don’t have to go outside on crisp cold clear winter nights to see the best stuff like I do. I miss stargazing with Ed. Stargazing’s more fun with someone to share with.

Last Tuesday me and the she found ourselves in Michigan City IN when it was time for supper, went to Ryan’s and had a buffet which is a bad place to go for a diabetic for supper. Oh well, if ya watch what ye eat then ya can eat anywhere, and so I do. The one thing that stuck in my head was cornbread with Jalapeno Peppers inside.

Now I’m telling ya that’s not the hillbilly way, putting those Jalapeno Peppers in cornbread and all, but I was surprised that it worked well. I liked it. Can’t say the same for all the other stuff there, but the kicked up cornbread with a 5,000 unit Scoville rating, I’d eat again.

Did ya ever hear ‘bout Wilbur Scoville? Well don’t feel bad most people never did, I just happen to have had a chemistry professor one time in the past who just so happened to know a chemist by the name of Wilbur Scoville back in the day, and my professor delighted in sharing the fact that he knew someone that had made a name for himself so to speak and he was hot item in the scientific circles. And continues to be so to this day.

Now Wilbur Scoville was a chemist in the early 1900’s, as I remember the story, and working for Parke Davis, a pharmaceutical company when he developed a method of measuring the heat level in chili peppers. He ground up chilies with a sugar water solution and diluted the concentrations in measured steps till ya couldn’t taste the heat any more.

Testers sipped the stuff till they reached the point where it no longer burned their tongue. At that point a number was assigned to that chili based on the dilution factor. And just that easy the Scoville Organoleptic Test was born. A way to measure the heat of given chili peppers against all other chili peppers. Now that organoleptic word is just a quasi medical term that refers to qualities that affect our senses, taste, sight, smell, touch, that kinda stuff.

Like most pioneers in laboratory research, someone else comes along and improves upon the original work. And so it was with Wilbur Scoville, and the red hot chili peppers.

Machines now measure the heat of chili peppers, but even with the high tech of Liquid Chromatograph and pepper heat never touching tongue, the Scoville name remains as the acknowledged unit of measure for the heat of peppers. A researcher from the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station listed most all peppers from the mildest to the hottest. Those in the pepper business refer to the pepper heat as the pungency level.

Here’s the Scoville Units of pepper pungency, so pick a peck of pickled peppers.

0 -100 Scoville Units: Bell/Sweet pepper varieties
500 -1000 Scoville Units: Big Jim, Anaheim peppers
1,000 -1,500 Scoville Units: Ancho, Pasilla peppers
1,500 – 2,500 Scoville Units: Sandia, Cascabel, Rocotillo peppers
2,500 – 5,000 Scoville Units: Jalapeno & Mirasol peppers
5,000 – 15,000 Scoville Units: Yellow Wax, Serrano peppers
15,000 – 30,000 Scoville Units: de Arbol peppers
30,000 – 50,000 Scoville Units: Piquin, Cayenne & Tabasco peppers
50,000 – 100,000 Scoville Units: Chiltepin, Thai, Santaka peppers
100,000 – 300,000 Scoville Units: Scotch Bonnet & Habanero peppers.
575,000 Scoville Units: Red Savina Habanero peppers.
855,000 Scoville Units: Naga Jolokia peppers (Professional pepper. Do not try this at home) .
16,000,000 Scoville Units: Pure Capsaicin (Don’t even think about it.) This is the chemical that makes the fire. I think if ya just put pure capsaicin on your tongue, ya don’t have to die to go to hell, you’re there.

Ya just gota love that word “pungency”. Ya don’t find good descriptive words like pungency around too much anymore. I think President Obama’s Word Czar took most all those good descriptive words from the dictionary, but maybe the House Republicans will bring ‘em back. I think that was part of the deal.

With the end of year winter holidays fast approaching, Thanksgiving is on the radar this week. Thanksgiving, such an American Holiday, a day recognized by all as a special day to thank God for all that we’ve received in life. I’m sure there are some who may not agree, but it you’re reading this, then you’re on the right side of the dirt, and that’s something worth being thankful for, unless you’re a mole.

Being an almost exclusive American Holiday, Thanksgiving has its origin all the way back into the very earliest history of the people who suffered so much to get to this land, this thing we call home, this America, started. An Indian played a major role in the process of thanksgiving becoming a holiday. Yes an Indian, a fellow by the name of Squanto, taught the Pilgrims how to feed themselves in this new and hostile land.

Seems I recall that fish played a key part in Squanto’s success, but he didn’t invent the dish “Fish and Loafs”. That’d been used to feed large crowds in the past, way before Squanto’s time. I think that “Fish and Loafs” deal was the start of the first catering business. Oh by the way, Squanto is the great, great, great, great grandfather of Tonto.

Good thing Squanto was around, else the Lone Ranger would’ve been just another cowboy with a mask, and probably would’ve went to the dark side, I mean with the mask and all, what other line of work could he get into? And he’d even have to changes horses, ‘cause everybody knows that ya can’t go to the dark side while riding a white horse, that’s just not right.

I think I’ve already invited each and every one of you to join me for Thanksgiving Dinner at Grand Central Station in North Judson IN. We’ll start at 12 noon and eat till everyone’s full or the food’s all gone, whichever comes first. I bet we get full first, ‘cause for backup there’s always Fish and Loafs.

From the East Wing, Paraprosdokian Figures, Google Sky, Wilbur Scoville, Squanto, Tonto, And Fish and Loafs

I wish you well,