George Rucker's Stupendous Newsletter for June 12, 2018

GeorgeJun 12to me

Well Met once again,                                                  12 June 2018

All of my readers know Patty and I went on a three-week road trip.  In the past we used my Caravan due to its size, but this time we used my wife’s car, a Toyota Camry due to it’s gas mileage.  Her car gets twice the gas mileage of a loaded down Caravan.

Speaking of gas, The New England states are pretty close in cost and in upper levels,  The worst on our trip was Pennsylvania at almost $4.00/gal.  Florida is like the New England states.  Delaware, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia are all in the lower levels of gas costs.  

We usually bring two suitcases each, one large and one small, but after this, our longest trip I would say we over pack.  I think we had enough for a six-month safari in Africa.  I think we both could get the essentials into one large suitcase or perhaps one small one each.

No two road trips are the same, so you need to factor in things like distance, comfort, gas milage of your vehicle etc.  I am a AAA member so I feel many emergencies are covered.  However, being a retired military member, I can stay at many military bases which will save about half of hotel fees.  This last trip showed us that reserving early is a plus, say 30 days in advance.  We found that over the Memorial Day Holiday there were no vacancies available, so we had to get rooms in local hotels.  There has been a huge increase in prices for rooms in the southern states.  These rooms also get pricier as scarcity increases.  I once was going to stay at a Marine base and did not know they were having an air show, all the on base and off base facilities were full.  Due to the air show so we ended up with an extra hour drive to the day. 

It is best not to broadcast your trip prior to leaving.  When you post on Facebook use the phrase, “from our trip” so it looks like you posted it when you returned home.

Snacks like water, snacking cheese, single serve peanut butter, hummus or Guacomole, fruit and veggies, popcorn (as many hotels have a microwave)
 and crackers all help with the trip.

Does Sunscreen Expire?

According to the Food and Drug Administration regulations sunscreen should last for at least three years.  Remember that even with a new bottle of sunscreen heat can accelerate its breakdown.  

The following claims are government regulated, SPF, Broad-Spectrum, and very water-resistant.
The following claims are not government regulated, Sport, Dermatologist Recommended, Reef Safe and Natural or Mineral.

Consumer Guide July 2018 has recommendations for the top 7, high SPF sun screens.

Best with a rating of 100 is La Roche-Posay 60 SPF at $36
Next with a rating of 99 is Walmart Equate Sport 50 SPF at $5 (a best buy)
                                 95 is BullFrog Sport 50 SPF at $8.50
                                 95 is Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50 at $9.00
                                 94 is Coppertone Ultra Guard SPF 70 at $10.00
                                 92 is Equate Ultra Protection SPF 50 at $7.50 (a best buy)
                                 82 is Aveeno Protect and Hydrate SPF 30 at $8.00

This issue also rates sprays, I will list  the  two best buys.  
Trader Joe’s SPF 50 with a rating of 100 at $6.00
Walmart Equate SPF 30 rated at 83 and a cost of $5.00

 I saw a woman wearing a sweatshirt with 'Guess' on it. So I said 'Implants?'
She hit me.

 How come we choose from just  two people to run for president and over fifty for Miss America  ?

Marriage changes passion.  Suddenly you're in bed with a relative.

Now that food has replaced sex in my life, I can't even get into my own pants .

I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose-fitting clothing.  If I HAD any loose fitting clothing, I wouldn't have signed up in the first place!

When I was young, we used to go 'skinny dipping.'  Now I just 'chunky dunk.'

Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.      

Wouldn't it be nice if whenever we messed up our life we could simply press 'Ctrl Alt Delete' and start all over? AMEN!

Why is it that our children can't read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?  
A completely brilliant question!

Wouldn't you know it...  Brain cells come and brain cells go, But FAT cells live forever.

Why do I have to swear on the Bible in court when the Ten Commandments cannot be displayed outside?  Another completely brilliant question!

Bumper sticker of the year: 'If you can read this, thank a teacher – and since it's in English, thank a soldier'

And remember:  Life is like a roll of toilet paper.  The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.


In just a century, the aircraft carrier has evolved from launching canvas-winged biplanes to formidable fighter jets capable of attacking targets hundreds of miles away. Although the ships themselves have changed greatly over the past 100 years, the carrier remains the answer to one of the most difficult questions for any navy: How to project power by sea.

In 1942, Admiral William ‘Bull’ Halsey, one of America’s greatest carrier commanders, succinctly summed up the carrier’s role as enabling the U.S. Navy to “get to the other fellow with everything you have as fast as you can and to dump it on him.”

A summation that still applies today.

The first American to fly off a ship was civilian pilot Eugene B. Ely, who on November 14, 1910, successfully launched from the USS Birmingham. Ely, who couldn’t swim, wore two bicycle inner tubes across his chest as a makeshift life jacket.

The Birmingham, a light cruiser, had been fitted with an 83-foot-long wooden flight deck over its forward guns that sloped forward slightly to help give Ely’s Curtiss Pusher some extra momentum during takeoff. Rolling down the deck, the biplane plunged towards the water, its wheels dipping into the sea before ascending and landing on the nearby shore.


How much is too much patriotism?  From my point of view it is like the country song about too much fun.  There is no such thing as too much fun.  From this we can say that there is no such thing as too much patriotism.  

Obama warns about too much patriotism on July 4th weekend, Barack blasts 'aggressive kind of nationalism'   What I have to say about this is “Hang it in your ear.”

Raleigh, N.C. — To show his patriotism, Raleigh store manager David Brown flies the American flag, but the city said he and a neighboring business both have too many flags and that there’s a limit on how many you can display.  I say add a few more flags as there are never enough.

Boston’s Fox25 reported that Laer Realty in Chelmsford, Massachusetts set out 200 American flags for Memorial Day. But soon after, the city’s building enforcement officer gave them a violation for “signage.” They were told they had to remove some of the flags because they were “excessive,” which was also reported by CBS local. But the realty is not going to do that, and the flags will remain up until Flag Day and then the 4th of July.  Did they take them down or pay the fine, NO.  They did what I would do and put out 200 more.  More people with the hang it in your ear attitude that I have.

Apparently, in Crystal River, Florida, it’s possible to be too patriotic. Linda Downey, owner of Taste of Philly Cheesesteak and Hoagie Shoppe, was notified by the city of a “violation” because there are too many flags flying in front of her store. Downey, who has two sons in the military and many service members and veterans as customers, flies six American and military flags as a "tribute," she tells Fox & Friends. When she first got the letter, she thought it was a joke.

Alas, it was not. A local ordinance limits people to three flags, but a city manager says officials aren’t anti-American or unpatriotic. They simply want to make sure flags are “done in a respectful manner and not in a way that is overly commercialized.” The city wanted Downey to file an appeal and pay an $80 filing fee, but she says the American Legion has taken over the case. 

Sorry but I have only one flag flying, perhaps I should get a bigger one.       


Last week’s letter had a recipe included for Ropa Vieja.  Well I made the recipe and it made much more than two could eat.  My grand daughter, Nora, whom we were watching, did not like it but ate a double helping of the mashed potatoes.  

I checked to see if there was a good recipe that could be made using Ropa Vieja and discovered something.  Every place I looked the recipe for Ropa Vieja is itself a recipe for leftovers from cooked beef, pork or chicken.  Go figure.  This is a catch 22.

This also reminds me of a friend who has since passed.  He would make a large pot of spaghetti sauce.  The next day he and his wife would turn it into a medium pot of chili.  Both recipes are similar and you can change from tomato sauce easily to chili with beans and meat, with a few added spices just not the other way around.

The next time I make a roast I will remember this as I can’t unmake the recipe.


Brian, one of the worlds greatest hypochondriacs, bumped into his Dr. one day at the supermarket. “Doc!” Brian exclaimed, “I’ve been meaning to tell you, remember those voices I kept on hearing in my head? I haven’t heard them in over a week!” 

“Wow! What wonderful news Brian! I’m so happy for you!” his Dr. exclaimed.

 “Wonderful?” asked a dismal looking Brian. “There’s nothing wonderful about it. I’m afraid my hearing is starting to go now!


You know you are getting old when you get more calls from the CVS pharmacy than your family.


We Don’t Know What Things Cost

Suppose you're making a grocery list and want to estimate your food expenses. You might list the cost of each item in a column and then add them up. But now imagine you are guessing at the prices of each item, taking into account fluctuating data like the cost of industrial supplies and the rate of monetary inflation. Plus, the recipe you’re shopping for may change, and the ingredients may require some extra test batches, in the kitchen. Now you're starting to shop like the Pentagon. 

The F-35 cost a trillion dollars. Nobody really knows how much America's next nuke will cost. What's wrong?

Defense Secretary James Mattis made some frank remarks about the Pentagon's budget woes last month. “I cannot right now look you in the eye and say that we can tell you that every penny in the past has been spent in a strategically sound manner,” he said during a speech to graduating Air Force cadets in Colorado Springs, CO. “And so this year, for the first time in 70 years, the Pentagon will perform an audit.”

A $2.4 billion gap is real money, even for the Pentagon.

The idea is simple, in theory: get some outsiders (1,200 accountants and some big-name firms) to scrutinize the books to identify where the money goes. But the process promises to be a painful exercise for the Pentagon, which has struggled to manage its $700 billion annual budget. Big-ticket items have the biggest cost overruns, most notably the F-35 Lightning II. But even well-run programs, like the effort to create the new B-61-12 nuclear bomb, have baseline discrepancies that run into the billions.

“We also anticipate spending about $551 million in 2018 fixing problems identified by the auditors”

We await the Defense Department’s big audit.   


Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since then, the virus has been infecting people from time to time, leading to outbreaks in several African countries. Scientists do not know where Ebola virus comes from. However, based on the nature of similar viruses, they believe the virus is animal-borne, with bats being the most likely source. The bats carrying the virus can transmit it to other animals, like apes, monkeys, duikers a small antelope, and humans.  

I seem to be having a problem getting data from the Democratic Republic of Congo, just like the 2014 outbreak where about 11,000 people died in four countries.  During that outbreak I feared for mankind.  This was especially true when we started treating people in our country.

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is a rare and deadly disease most commonly affecting people and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). It is caused by an infection with one of five known Ebola virus species, four of which can cause disease in people:

    Ebola virus (Zaire ebolavirus)
    Sudan virus (Sudan ebolavirus)
    Taï Forest virus (Taï Forest ebolavirus, formerly Côte d’Ivoire ebolavirus)
    Bundibugyo virus (Bundibugyo ebolavirus)
    Reston virus (Reston ebolavirus), known to cause disease in nonhuman primates and pigs, but not in people.

Since the beginning of the outbreak (on 4 April 2018), a total of 54 suspected EVD cases and 25 deaths (case fatality rate 46.3%) have been reported, as of 27 May 2018. Of the 54 cases, 35 have been laboratory confirmed, 13 probable (deaths for which biological samples were not obtained) and six suspected cases. Sixty percent (21) of the confirmed cases came from Iboko, followed by Bikoro (10 cases, 29%) and Wangata (4). A total of five healthcare workers has been affected, with four confirmed cases and two deaths.


You know you are getting old if …

    It takes two tries to get up from the couch.
    It takes longer to rest than it did to get tired.
    It takes twice as long to look half as good.
    Everything hurts and what doesn't hurt doesn't work.
    You give up all your bad habits and still don't feel good.
    You sit in a rocking chair and can't get it going.
    Rocking in a rocking chair feels like a roller coaster ride.
    Your knees buckle, and your belt won't.
    You have that “morning after” feeling when you wake up, but you didn’t party the night before.

You Know You Are Getting Old When… You Notice These Changes in Your Attitudes and Behaviors.

You might be getting old if you are now the age you used to think was old, but now it doesn’t seem so old anymore. People over 50 always think that old age is ten years older than they are now. There are some other attitude changes as well.

You know you are getting old if …

    You have more patience, but actually it's just that you don't care anymore.
    You confuse having a clear conscience with a bad memory.
    You sing along with the elevator music.
    You hear your favorite song in an elevator.
    Work is a lot of fun, and fun is a lot of work.
    You stop searching for the meaning of life to focus on searching for your car keys.
    You speed on the highway so you can reach your destination before you forget where you’re going.

You Know You Are Getting Old When… You Notice These Changes in Other People.

Have you had this feeling when you look at the people you have known for a long time and you notice that they are looking old—how did they get older when I haven’t gotten any older?

You know you are getting old if …

    People call at 9 p.m. and ask, "Did I wake you?"
    Your children begin to look middle aged.
    Your friends marry and divorce instead of “make-out” and “break up.”
    Your address book has mostly names that start with Dr.
    The pharmacist has become your new best friend.
    The president is younger than you. So are your doctors.
    You are cautioned to slow down by the doctor instead of by the police.

You Know You Are Getting Old When… You Notice These Changes in Your Social Life.

You know you are getting old if you look back on the times you partied all night and still got up and went to work the next morning and you wonder how you ever did it. Old age brings a lot of changes to your social life.

You know you are getting old if …

    Your idea of a night out is sitting on the patio.
    When you go out your energy runs out before your money does.
    You look forward to a dull evening.
    You get two invitations to go out on the same night, and you pick the one that gets you home the earliest.
    Happy hour is a nap.
    You have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it.
    You’re the one calling the police because those kids next door are having a loud party.

You Know You Are Getting Old When… You Notice These Changes in Your Sex Life.

Of course, geriatric sex is nothing like the sex of your youth. But it can still be great sex. (Check out this award-winning book, Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex if you don't believe it.) Don't let these stupid jokes make you feel otherwise.

You know you are getting old if …

    You go to the drug store for ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and pregnancy tests.
    You turn out the lights for economic, rather than romantic, reasons.
    Getting lucky means you found your car in the parking lot.
    The twinkle in your eye is only a reflection from the sun on your bifocals.
    Your wild oats have turned into bran flakes.

You Know You Are Getting Old When… You Notice You Don’t Understand What Your Grandkids Are Talking About.

You might be getting old if it seems like your grand kids are talking a foreign language and words don’t mean what they used to mean anymore.

You know you are getting old if …

    You think a "vine" is something that grows in the garden.
    You think “hooking up” is a knitting technique.
    You think being "gay" means being happy.

And Finally, You Know You Are Getting Old When ...

... the candles on your birthday cake cost more than the cake.

We all get old. We can't stop it, but we can laugh at it and keep our thinking young. We don't need Trump as president in order to feel young. Think about it--if you are not yet 65 most of the candidates for president in recent years were older than you. Hillary for instance was 69. John Kerry was older than you when he ran. McCain too.


Olive Garden's Chicken Piccata is a delicious take on the classic with butter, lemon, capers, sun-dried tomatoes and heavy cream. You won't miss the restaurant version!

Olive Garden Chicken Piccata (Copycat)


    2 chicken breasts, halved into thinner cutlets
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
    1/4 cup flour
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    6 tablespoons butter, divided
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 shallot, minced
    1 cup chicken broth
    1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh
    1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
    ¼ cup capers, rinsed
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    parsley, chopped (optional)


    Season the chicken with salt and pepper and coat in the flour.
    Add the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet on medium heat.
    Add the chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side.
    Remove the chicken from the pan and add in the garlic and shallots and cook for 1 minute or until it gets aromatic.
    Add in the chicken broth and lemon juice and reduce the heat to medium, whisking well and cooking for 5-7 minutes until thickened (and can coat a spoon).
    Add the remaining butter, sun dried tomatoes, capers and the heavy cream to the pan and whisk well.
    Add the chicken back to the pan and coat with the sauce, letting it thicken for just 1-2 minutes before removing from the heat.
    Garnish with parsley if desired before serving.


That is all for now, George.

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