The Adventures of Pizza Dude: The Itemizer

home made pizza, pizza maker, making pizza,
Home made pizza using thin-sliced tomatoes instead of sauce.

While the title of this story may sound like that of some hip new TV crime drama, it is in fact the name of the latest addition to my Adventures of Pizza Dude series where I reminisce over one of the jobs I held long ago.  Past episodes include Road Warrior, Phone Person, and Skin Flinger, feel free to check them out if you enjoy this one and haven’t read the others before.

After the Skin Flinger does his or her thing, the pizza in-process comes down the make line to have sauce, cheese and toppings added.  Our make line was a large, refrigerated, stainless steel affair with a rack made of steel tubes along the front edge for the pizza (on a steel mesh baking screen) to slide along and an array of bins or tubs behind that contained the makings.  Trays under the rack would catch the off-falls and could be pulled out for periodic emptying (recovery or disposal) and cleaning. Continue reading The Adventures of Pizza Dude: The Itemizer

Science Fiction Fact & Fancy: Space Travel

sci-fi, science fiction, space, battle,  travel, shipsFor some weeks now I’ve been reading articles and blog posts offered up by experienced Sci-Fi authors, learned men of science and even a naval designer concerning the idea that when mankind finally sheds the shackles of planetary dependence and travels seriously in the ether, space travel, and space battles in particular, will have little resemblance to what we see on the big screen today. Sci-Fi novels tend to be less fanciful, but some still draw fire for being too “unrealistic”.

The learned men in particular site the laws of physics holding up such ideas as bodies in motion, vectors of thrust and the lack of resistance in the vacuum of space.  Others point out that aerial combat craft use air and wings to swoop, dive, roll and dodge during maneuvers.  But in space there is no air, so swooping will be all but impossible.  The designer also focuses on the vacuum and its terrible anti-pressure effects on structures that float through it. He claims that aircraft carrier sized ships traveling through space are highly unlikely just because of the structural logistics involved. Continue reading Science Fiction Fact & Fancy: Space Travel

The Adventures of Pizza Dude: Skin Flinger

After earning my merit badges for Road Warrior and Annoyer of People I was taught what I considered the most fun part of pizza making: being a Skin Flinger.

A pizza starts as a dough-ball snoozing with its siblings in a large fiberglass tray.  The Skin Flinger scoops one dough ball out of the tray with a scraper and tosses it onto a floured make-counter.

Let’s step back for a second here and discuss pizza dough.  There are a variety of types of pizza crust, from the Chicago Style Deep Dish to the New York Style Thin & Crispy, to the California Style (although the Cali is noted more for it’s unusual toppings than a particular formula to its crust, but I believe it was this incarnation that made sourdough pizza crust popular).  The deep dish crust is like bread dough placed into an over-sized cake pan for baking.  The thin crusts are more of a cracker dough, which uses very little yeast and has little elasticity.  Both are different from a traditional pizza dough so neither of these are flapped.  Continue reading The Adventures of Pizza Dude: Skin Flinger

A Little Creative Writing: The Daily Tromp

The old man struggles at the slow end of the leash as his 80 pound bulldog, Cochise, strains like a John Deere at the other; dragging them both up the steep, winding mountain path.

Daily Tromp 8822The path was once a crude dirt road; just a common access for owners of property on the undeveloped, upper portion of the mountain. For several years an occasional 4-wheel drive pick-up would trek up the mountain to release hunting dogs, cut firewood to haul home, or just enjoy a few hours sitting in the woods soaking up the solitude.  Then, for a while only ATVs went up there to rip and snort along the path and tear new trails through virgin woods.  The old man was glad when the kids lost interest in their new toys and stopped coming.  It had been a year or more since anyone went up the old road.  No maintenance had been done, not even the farmer who occasionally used his tractor to drag a scraper blade along to even out the humps and ruts and shear off the saplings. Now those saplings were crowding in from the shoulders and taking over again. Trees had fallen, shattering branches all over and heavy rains were forming huge ruts and runnels that made the road difficult for any vehicle to navigate faster than a creep.

Only he and Cochise – occasionally his wife and a foster dog would accompany them a short ways; just to where it got steep – were the only ones to go up there.  They manage to keep a path trampled down for a half mile or so up the main route and a few hundred feet along a branch road. Continue reading A Little Creative Writing: The Daily Tromp

HISTORY LESSONS

AP.jpgIf you had lived during the days of Noah would your lifestyle have qualified you for the cruise?  Could God have used your kind of commitment to be the father or mother of a great nation as He did Abraham and Sarah?  Would your ability to survive adversity have enabled you to pass Joseph’s test?  What kind of disposition do you think you would have had on the Exodus journey?  Had you lived in later Old Testament days would you have had David’s love for God, Solomon’s wisdom, Elijah’s candor, Isaiah’s insight, and Ezekiel’s dreams?  Could you have demonstrated the faith of New Testament disciples, the endurance of Paul, and the future hope of John?  Do these and other spiritual heroes of the past give you reason for a more energized life in Christ?  Perhaps these questions seem a little strange and yet they focus upon some essential components of our Christian faith.  One of the beautiful benefits of studying the Bible from a biographical perspective is that we learn from character association.  We identify with ancient personalities.  We sense their situations.  We take their side and fight their fight.  We join them in the faith.  To mentally transpose ourselves to some circumstance in the distant past is to sharpen our ethical and moral skills for present situations.  To observe as well as to understand ancient behavior gives us hope for our own spiritual survival.  Although the leading characters in both Old and New Testament history had commendable qualities their frailties were also obvious.  Sometimes we learn from their strengths, and again we learn from their weaknesses. Continue reading HISTORY LESSONS

The Adventures of Pizza Dude: Mr. Phony

pizza phone person orders answerOnce I’d earned my cape and mask as a super road warrior, I was brought inside to learn the next phase: phone person.  Essentially this was taking orders, writing them out in the company shorthand  on an order ticket, top copy to the pizza maker, sticking the rest to the proper size box  and putting it on the rack above the ovens.  The hardest part was just keeping up with the flow of orders on a busy night and dealing with people who tended to think they were much funnier than they actually were. Continue reading The Adventures of Pizza Dude: Mr. Phony

Book Review: The Trilisk Ruins

The Trilisk Ruins (Parker Interstellar Travels #1), by Michael McCloskey, is a futuristic tale.  Mankind has achieved an efficient form of space travel and ventured out among the stars, but humanity and the people who try to manage it are not so very different from us today.

Among the stars, humanity has discovered evidences – artifacts – left by several technologically advanced alien races, but have not found any evidence that these races still survive.

Telisa Relachik is the daughter of a high ranking naval officer, the captain of a military starship.  She is trained as a xenoarcheologist (studier of alien artifacts) and highly resents the government’s increasing attempt to control possession and even knowledge of the alien artifacts. This puts her and her father at odds with each other.

Telisa accepts a job offer with an organization that has the ability – and the desire – to help her locate and study artifacts without government interference.  The only problem is that doing so is so illegal it carries the death penalty. Continue reading Book Review: The Trilisk Ruins

The National Anthem Done Right

If you’re like me you get a little tired of pop stars mangling the National Anthem at events in order to “make it their own”.  Here’s a gem I came across that is wonderful.  Three young siblings (Erika, Delaney, and Zachary) singing the anthem (as originally written), right in their own living room.  It is less than 2 minutes long and well worth a few moments of your time.  I especially like that they dedicate the song to the men and women serving in the armed forces.

The Adventures of Pizza Dude: Road Warrior

Long ago, when I was a young man (just after dinosaurs walked the Earth) I took a position that I felt would fast-track me to a lucrative position in business management. I answered a newspaper ad for manager trainees with Pizza World.

pizza delivery, delivery driver, pizza driver, pizza, delivery, driver, carPizza World was a spin-off (copy cat) of Domino Pizza. You’re probably more familiar with Domino than Pizza World, but in most respects they are the same. So much so that Pizza World was in the process of being sued by Domino for infringement when I came on board. It seems the Pizza World founder and SEO, Tom, had been a Domino Area Manager who decided he could do better by stealing Domino’s secrets and starting his own company. And he was doing quite well with it at that time. At the same time that Pizza World was being sued by Domino Pizza, Domino Pizza was being sued by Domino Sugar for their use of the domino logo, which the sugar company felt was too much like their own. It was a mess and in the end Pizza World came out of it OK.  Continue reading The Adventures of Pizza Dude: Road Warrior

Things That Go Bump

My final offering for Creepy Tales month is a true story of a haunted house and the crazy people who lived in it:  my family.

When I was young my family spent some time sharing a quaint old house with an elderly lady. She was cantankerous at first, but turned out to be nice enough once we got acquainted. The only problem with her was that she was dead.

Throughout my childhood my family moved constantly and, like a troupe of gypsies we dragged our house around behind us. Well, actually a big truck came and dragged our house away, we drove on ahead in the family car to prepare a place for it to be set up again in the new location. Continue reading Things That Go Bump