Crisco-what-a-phobia? Oh!  Triska then…

Many items on the agenda this morning, so let’s begin with a note from reader Sherlyn on the Millennial’s Missing Handbook chapter from Thursday’s report. She writes:

“I would appreciate it if you could give a brief example of how these methods can be applied to our personal lives. I am retired, and due to health, will not be returning to employment nor starting a business. How would these principles apply to personal decision making for example?”

Great question!

I like to think of “problem solving” – as in your situation – as being much like a Master Process.

1. Begin with clearly defining is there a problem and if so, what is it? If there is a problem, the question is “Can it be solved?” This keeps unsolvable problems from wasting our time.

2. Assuming there is a definable problem, we then need to articulate what we are “solving for.” In your case, maybe you are not happy with your present living situation. Fine. But that’s not defining the problem tightly enough. What exactly is wrong with your situation?

3. Now that you have a list of what’s wrong you may begin making a list of solutions – Recipes – that can solve your problem. For example, going to the store is difficult. So you can come up with lots of potential solutions: Rent or buy around the corner from a store, get a school kid to bring heavier groceries, sign up for Amazon Fresh, learn to use Uber and find a driver who will wait while you shop…and so on.

4. Distill your candidate solutions to the best 3-4 on inspection and set them aside. Now flip back to step 2 and see what else is wrong with the living situation. Again, make the list of ALL possible solutions. Only this time, see if any of the other solutions from your first pass might solve another problem. In this way you get a kind of idealized solution. Maybe the house needs painting. Does the Uber driver know anyone who can paint? Or can the high school kid be taught to do passable weeding in addition to shopping chores…and so it goes.

Problem solving is never confined to the workplace. It is employed by process/recipe masters (and mistresses?) 24/7/365.

Because there is always another way. Usually, a better, more graceful, less expensive one, too.

Hope that answers it.

Ham Radio: Pile-Up in a Snow Cave

One of the joys of being an ultra-good ham radio operator is occasionally having one of those jaw-dropping conversations that other hams hear and immediately want to jump in for a contact.

I had one when the son-in-law was down for soldering school. He was soldering at the bench and I was tuning the 20-meter back and hear this station that was aeronautical mobile. Snagged him on the first call and he was /AM about 80-miles south of Gillette, Wyoming and headed for Atlanta out of Seattle. Cruising and 37,000 feet and it was a fun chat – impressed the SiL no end.

But it pails in comparison to last weekend’s ham radio adventures of George II: Click over to and read what was going on.

For those who have never heard a “pile up” before, it’s the rapid exchange of call-sign and signal reports.

Part one of the video from inside the snowcave is here and it’s what led to the pileup:

In Part 2, word began to get around quickly in the 2-meter community and here it goes…

Shows what a simple $30 handheld can do.

I told you about the trip down here in 2015 when he did a hop and pop and got on 2-meters over Houston…that video is here. Calls CQ (any station anywhere) about 1:25 min into the video.

Yep, makes the old man proud.

(I did mention that in addition my Old Man Labs here at the ranch, the G II’s version is Young Crazy Man Labs…?)

Any Columns You Remember from 2016?

Time once again for the annual submission to the awards program. Not that I ever expect to win, but it’s an excuse to go to New Hampshire this summer and call it “business” (it is).

My problem is I am the worst critic ever of my own work. I thought “Merry Christmas –from the Dead” was a pretty good one. But if there are others from last year you thought were good, please make suggestions.

Chinese Food Saturday

Quick:  When is Chinese New Year?

January 28th!

Since we like to start to party ASAP…

The “other” Elaine and her hubby are coming over tomorrow for Chinese food. I had Lychees (canned)  flown in this week. That and a few sauces. Should be a grand time. Since I grew up in Seattle Asian and Black community my buds are all over the place.  Home of Good BBQ to the old King Café down on 6th Ave.  Yum-yum hum bow.

Menu is Cherry BBQ pork with hot sauces. Wonton soup. Oyster sauce broccoli beef, sweet and sour chicken, shrimp and pork fried rice, and Lychees for desert. Ozeki sake (hot or cold the only choice) for the adult beverage, although my Vietnamese friends taught me the value of a single shot of a good single-malt as a warm-up act. I don’t know if Elaine (mine) will open up her Glen Fiddich locker or not.

Assorted teas and tall tales to follow.

A Word About Amazon Prime

A word about Amazon Prime. When you place a “free two day shipping” order double-check that the arriving date is really two days. Had an audio cable I needed for the studio that was to be here overnight – paid an $11.73 upcharge and it didn’t arrive.

BTW: Came in three days. (Me? Pissed? Naw… Just someone needs to pass this up the foodchain. )

BTW2: Don’t even waste your time looking for a single ¼” TRS to dual TS ¼” adapter at Wal-Mart. They may think they are going head to head with Amazon, but Amazon has huge depth of product that Wal-Mart doesn’t. Go shop adapters in a Wal-Mart store sometime. Yikes.

Holiday Monday

Ure workaholic buddy will be doing an abbreviated column Monday due to the MLK Day holiday. No bills arriving by mail. Sending quarterly taxes out today.

No rest for the wicked, I suppose.


Write when you break-even,