2017

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Carnival Catastrophe

Carnival Catastrophe: Is there a Real Reason to be Afraid? Counties and Cities with Carnivals or Fairs There are over 3,000 counties in our country.  There are almost 20,000 cities and towns.  Just about every one of them has at least one carnival or fair, and in the case of the bigger cities, perhaps dozens every year. According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) it comes in at about 4,400 injuries annually but only about 1.5% of that number (66) require hospitalization each year.  Complied statistics for (non-Amusement Park) carnival and fair injuries or deaths are calculated to be 6 per 100,000 visitors, or 0.006%. Not only is the number quite small, but the classification of injuries is quite broad, including anything requiring treatment or hospitalization.  Everything from twisted ankles or sprains, bumped heads, chest pains, numbness, neck strains, back pain, dizziness, and vomiting all count. If you were to pick a large amusement park, such as Disney World with its 19.33 million visitors each year, and apply those statistics, you might expect 1,160 injuries per year.  Big parks are actually much better than that because they have permanent equipment that stays in one place, and experienced maintenance crews with multiple inspections per day. An actual Carnival incident In July (2017), when one of the rides at the Ohio State Fair experienced a severe failure, an 18-year-old man was killed.  A further six were injured.  Despite undergoing three separate inspections, by the operator, the city officials, and an independent third party, they all missed some significant corrosion for one of the seating areas.  The metal was thin enough to shear when the ride was under strain with a full load of passengers. Who is to blame? In this particular case, the manufacturer had issued a notice about the fault in the ride considerably earlier.  They had notified, or attempted to notify, all purchasers, of the potential danger of failure and recommended not using the ride until repairs could be effected. These carnivals and fairs do a lot of traveling, meaning that equipment is assembled and disassembled daily or weekly, moving from one location to the next.  It might be hard to keep up with notices, warnings, alerts, or changing maintenance requirements when you’re constantly on the go.  But perhaps, you would think, workers familiar with the equipment might notice changes and deterioration. Except that they might not…  It might be invisible because it is encased in fiberglass, or in other ways hidden from view.  [...]

By |2019-03-13T23:33:01+00:00November 21st, 2017|Carnivals, injuries, Insurance, Kiddie|0 Comments

Spooky Halloween Shrunken Head Sliders

By Kent Whitaker Have you ever eaten a shrunken head with melted Colby and Pepper Jack cheese? Who says that Halloween is just for handing out candy and popcorn balls to neighborhood kids? It’s time to toss in some fun foodie ideas that are well suited for the kitchen or grill. And, why not make it fun, kind of gross… and yet packed with flavor? For any other article this recipe would simply be for a burger with some spicy seasoning, steamed onions, a tangy jalapeno mustard BBQ sauce and gherkin pickle wedges. For Halloween, this recipe transforms into something a bit more fun. Tell your family, or guests, you’re serving up Shrunken Head Sliders with tape worms, zombie sauce and alien fingers… with cheese! Remember, you’re having fun and getting into the Halloween spirit, pun intended, but that’s no reason to forget about making a great tasting dish. I suggest that you make a blended burger for extra flavor. I suggest combining ground beef with ground Italian sausage. Or, ground turkey and black bean burgers. If you break up the beans your ground turkey will have a creepy purple tint to them – perfect for Halloween! The “zombie sauce” mentioned above is one of my standard quick and easy “cheater junk sauces.” That’s where you have some sauce in the fridge and you add some extra “junk” to it for bonus flavor. For this I combined a mustard based barbecue sauce with a splash of honey and store bought chopped jalapenos. Use these recipe as a starting point for your creative ideas and have fun! Easy Beef & Italian Sausage Burgers 1 pound lean ground beef, 80/20 1/2 pound Italian sausage, ground Salt and pepper to taste Steak sauce Cajun seasoning Cheese Combine the beef and ground Italian sausage in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Form into equally sized meatballs about the size of a golf ball. Next, flatten each ball while pinching one side into a thinner piece forming a skeleton head type of shape. Next, season each side with a light brushing of steak sauce and a few dashes of Cajun seasoning. Grill, bake or broil as you normally would. Use tiny slices of cheese for x’s representing stitched eyes and for the mouth. I used pepper jack. Serve hot on toasted slider buns covered in cheese with zombie sauce, steamed onion slices and gherkin pickle wedges. Serve open faced. Kent “The Deck Chef” Whitaker is the former winner of the [...]

By |2019-03-14T23:29:54+00:00October 4th, 2017|BBQ, BBQ Recipes, Halloween|1 Comment

Oklahoma State Fair 2017

The Oklahoma State Fair is about to open on September 14th, with all kinds of new and exciting things. There is a lot of stuff to do here for the ten dollar admission costs. This is an interview with Scott Munz , Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations about all the new and great things at this years event. Listening to this for a few minutes will give you a great overview of the fair and all the fancy new fair foods they have. Come hungry and come rested and be prepared to have a great time.!!! Oklahoma State Fair - Frequently Asked Questions!    

Bratwursts – Just in Time for Football Tailgates!

By Kent Whitaker Fall is coming which means more tailgates centered around football tailgates! And that means more and more people are going to toss bratwursts on the grill! And, at the same time – some people shy away from grilling brats because of the perceived mystique of the stuffed link! Have no fear – grilling Brats – aka Bratwursts – is as easy as grilling a batch of hotdogs. Here’s a couple of tips that you can use for serving up some perfect brats every you toss some on the grill. Beer Bath or Veggie Boil Yes, you can use a beer bath to add some bonus flavor to your brats. However, most brats are sealed in a casing which limits the transfer of juices. So, that beer bath may not add as much flavor as you think to your finished bratwursts. On the other hand, most people toss a whole bunch of veggies in with the beer. The veggies, most often onions and pepper slices, cook in the beer mixture, along with drippings from the bratwursts, and whatever added spices you toss in. Before serving up the bratwurst simply toss some of the bath boiled veggies onto the hot grates to add some grill marks. Serve those tasty slices of flavor on the finished bratwurst. Some people use a beer bath, some use a fruit juice bath, some use a light marinade bath, and some just toss the things on the grill and go for it. All the above are fine. Method for Bath Grilling a Bratwurst My personal preference for grilling bratwurst with a beer, or fruit juice, bath is to rotate the bratwurst from bath to grill grate and back. Then, finish off with a quick roll across the hot grates. I start the bath first in a foil pan. This gives a chance for the liquid to heat up. Then, place the bratwurst on the grill grates to add some marks before moving them to the bath. Toss your sliced veggies, if using any, into the bath as well. Let the bratwursts simmer a bit and then move them back to the grill, then back to the bath. Keep them warm in the hot bath until someone walks up with a plate and bun. Roll the bratwurst across the grates to let any excess bath burn off before placing on the bun. What’s up with the No Fork Rule? I’ve had several people question me over the years about why people say [...]

By |2019-03-15T00:03:58+00:00August 12th, 2017|BBQ, Beer, Bratwursts|0 Comments

Farm Power, The Cash Crop

The Operating Profit Margin Ratio (OPMR) for farms is probably the best or fairest way to compare different farms, of different sizes, with equipment of different ages and conditions, and a thousand other variables. One case study of a West Central Indiana farm shows the average OPMR for the five years between 2010 and 2014 to be 0.2449, or about 25%. In the very next year (2015), because of very wet conditions, corn production was considerably lower. Combined with lower crop value at market, the OPMR was into negative territory (-0.0356), or a loss just over 3½%. In 2016 it was expected to be on the plus side by 4.61%. A New Strategy With a little thoughtful planning and investment, you could decrease the costs of operating your farm by eliminating your need for electrical power from the grid. This amounts to better profit in good years and lower losses in the bad years. There’s even a way to do this for free. All along the northern edge of your property, or any space where shadows are not a problem, you could contract with the local electrical facility (or an agent) to place their frame mounted solar panels where they won’t shade your crops. They can produce “green power” for the utility, which can then be exchanged for valuable carbon credits. (David Suzuki. et al, 2008) This depends on the net metering (Polaris, 2017) rules where you live which are supported by 43 states, Washington, D.C., and 4 territories currently (SEIA, 2017). Some states inexplicably forbid selling power back to the utility. Speak to your local political representative to get this changes if your state still hasn’t joined the 21st century. . In many cases, carbon credits are so highly valued that the utility often pays more per “green” kilowatt than they charge their customers!  If that’s true for you, you have a cash crop which requires no planting, no fertilizing, no harvesting, and no maintenance.  Even without the bonus payment, you still get “utility rates” for your excess energy, which is provided as a credit towards your overall use, or acts as a bank where you can withdraw it for free if or when you need it yourself. The money is generated by energy users (corporations or household users) that that elect to pay slightly more for their power to demonstrate environmental responsibility, to feel better about themselves, or to help promote more green energy production.  Many states are actively advancing the cause. (North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center, [...]

By |2019-03-15T00:09:11+00:00July 31st, 2017|Farm, Solar, Thermal, Trenching, Water Furnace|0 Comments

Three Grilled Fruit Desserts You Must Try… with Ice Cream!

By Kent Whitaker Summer grilling is a fantastic opportunity to expand your grilling repartee beyond traditional meats, veggies, and hotdogs. Why not look towards the fruit bowl in your kitchen for some inspiration. There are a bunch of fruits suited for great grilling that can be used as a side dish, a garnish as well as an ingredient in a recipe such as grilled mango salsa or pineapple with a nice hamburger! Then there’s always the dessert consideration. Fruit is naturally sweet, so why not take that attribute and put it towards good use when you’re thinking about your after-dinner dessert? Here’s my top-three pieces of fruit that I love to grill and serve with ice cream. Consider these starting points for your next family favorite recipe. Make these starting points your own with your own flavor additions. Grilled Peaches and Cream Something about a grilled peach says summertime! Just like a grilled apple reminds me of fall! Select several nice peaches that are not too soft. You’re looking for something that will hold up well when on the grates and when turned. Rinse the peaches off, slice them in half, remove pits, brush the tops with soften butter, and grill butter side down over medium high heat. Allow them to cook for a few minutes, then turn, and continue to grill for only a few minutes more. Brush with additional butter if desired, sprinkle with brown sugar, and serve hot with cinnamon crisps from the deli if available and a scoop of ice cream. NOTE: You can use peach slices as well with a grilling basket! And, why not grill up some peaches for your next peach cobbler? Give it a try. Grilled Honey Coconut Rum Bananas Here’s an idea that’s steeped in one of my friends Cuban background. They loved using traditional plantains but turned towards the banana as the main ingredient because bananas were easier to find. This is probably one of the easiest grilling recipes around when it comes to fruit. Slice the banana lengthwise, keep them in their peals, brush with butter or use butter flavored non-stick spray. You can use a griddle, on prepared grates, in a grilling basket, and even on foil. Grill the bananas with the peel over medium high heat just long enough to add grill marks and brown the edges slightly. The banana will start to cook and pull away from the peel slightly. Drizzle with a bit of honey and a dash of coconut flavored rum. [...]

By |2019-03-15T00:11:56+00:00July 20th, 2017|BBQ, BBQ Recipes, Fruits|0 Comments

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