Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Right Tool for the Job

"Use the right tool for the job" isn't just a slogan for election time, it's a household must. -
Home on the Range

A few minor chores will be done around here this weekend. Nothing major,  as I'm at the crash pad on call.   It's stuff I could call the landlord for but would rather fix myself rather than have to shut Barkley up in a back room if I'm out, in case they arrive while I'm gone.  Simple chores, none requiring  more than a screwdriver, a hammer or some Spackle, but I realized that for every household job, there is the right tool for it.

In cooking there are often substitutions made, basil for oregano, honey for sugar, applesauce for oil in brownies. Some things just don't work as well. ( I once substituted Aleppo Turkish peppers for the milder smoked Ancho and made someone cry.)

Good Kitchen SubstitutionsAllspice – 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.

Baking Powder – 1 teaspoon   1/3 tsp. baking soda plus 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Buttermilk – 1 cup   1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar plus enough regular milk to make 1 cup (let sit for 5 minutes)

Cocoa – 1/4 cup   1 ounce (square) chocolate (decrease butter/oil in recipe by 1/2 Tablespoon)

Condensed Milk – 1 cup    Heat 1/3 cup of evaporated milk, 3/4 cup of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of butter until dissolved.

Cornstarch (for thickening) – 1 tablespoon   2 tablespoons of flour (cook at least 3 minutes longer to thicken)

Egg – 1 whole egg   1/4 cup of egg beaters or
2 tablespoons of regular mayo (for baking batters only)

Good and Not so Good Romance Substitutions

Romantic Dinner for Two:

Good: Beef tenderloin, roast asparagus, salad and a martini
Not Good: Hot dog with 3 alarm chili sauce and a can of Squirt

Getting ready - Undergarments for off the shoulder dress:

Good: Strapless bra
Not Good: Duct tape

Getting Ready - Cuff Links:

Good: Gold Tie Pins
Not Good: Small bone shaped dog biscuits

Men's Evening Wear:

Good: Long sleeve dress shirt, bowtie
Bad: Underoos and a cape

Women's Evening Wear:

Good: Something in velvet or silk and a smile
Bad: It requires a key

Getting Close:

Good: Warmed Massage Oil
Not Good: WD40

Shooting Sports and Self Defense

On the reloading bench:

Good: High quality blackpowder
Not Good: Mix of smokeless powder and blackpowder.
Really Not Good: Tang

Self Defense:

Good: Something in .45 or .357
Not Good: Slingshot loaded with angry hamster

In the kitchen

Dishwasher Spot-Free Rinse Agent:

Good: White Vinegar
Not Good: Fluoroantimonic Acid

Baked on Oven Grime:

Good: Baking Soda
Bad: C4


Repairing Glasses:

Good: Needle Nosed Pliers
Not Good: Pipe Wrench

Getting at a Roof Repair:

Good: Hardwood Ladder
Not Good: Hardwood Tree

Receding Hairline:

Good: A good haircut
Not Good: Toupee made of beaver pelt

Repair of Circuit Board:

Good: Soldering Iron
Not Good: Arc Welder

Removing Wallpaper:

Good: A bottle to spray on a mist of warm water and a scraper
Not Good: Propane Torch

Bad Breath:

Good: Chew a Sprig of Fresh Parsley
Not Good: Chewing Tobacco

Relatives giving you a headache:

Good: Advil
Not Good: Anvil

Kitchen Fixture Removal:

Good: Crowbar
Not Good: C4

Front Porch Wasp Nest:

Good: 4 T. of Dawn dish soap per cup of water sprayed 10-20 feet away
Not Good: HK G3 / HK91 . 308 machine gun

Cutting a 2 x 4:

Good: Bench Vice
Bad: Your knees

Small dent(not hole) in drywall:

Good: Joint compound
Not Good: Bowling ball

Property Line Dispute:

Good: Surveyor results and a homemade pecan bourbon pie
Not Good: C4


  1. Does surfactant (Dawn dish soap) really work well on wasps? (I know it works well on WASPs, and others....).

  2. I'm so glad you cleared that up!
    One question:
    How does C-4 keep coming up as the bad option?
    Why even have the stuff?
    Hmmm, I guess that was two, but you get my drift.

  3. I can't help but notice the preponderance of C-4 on your list.

    Can be used as a substitute solution on almost any occasion....

  4. Some of the not so good ones will work but you really have to know what you are doing. A high level of expertise in doing things the wrong way! I am pretty good with a hammer so I once took a chance and killed one of those 3 inch japanese hornets with my hammer, I just visualized the head of the hornet as a nail head when it landed. Of course you only get one shot.

  5. What the hell is wrong with underoos and a cape?

  6. How about if the hamster is rabid?

  7. LOL.

    But I confess to being attracted to gals who know how to use duct tape in the aforementioned way.

  8. If you could get it loaded, I think this angry hamster might be useful as a diversion, at the very least:


  9. Now now. As the old saying goes, "there is no problem on this earth that cannot be remedied by the correct application of enough high explosive."

    Key phrase here is CORRECT APPLICATION. Not just baubing the silly putty in place and attaching leads...

    And what's wrong with duct tape? Worked for Princess Leia in A New Hope!

  10. Wonderful post, but I kept waiting for the correct use of C4 !

  11. I do not understand why you do not want to use c4 in so many is such a useful tool, and, you can even heat up your c rations with it.


  12. "Property Line Dispute:

    Good: Surveyor results and a homemade pecan bourbon pie."

    I forgot the pie... ;-)

  13. As far as wasp nest or the like im a fan of WD40 and a lighter.Works on rats nests as well!

  14. Gosh, I seem to be firmly in the bad and not good tool camp...
    camo duct tape is multipurpose fun,
    and an angry hamster can be lethal... just say'n

  15. Two-for-one special on horrifying hornet stories:

    You'll burn out a couple of barrels on a light machinegun before you get all of those bad boys. This is beyond the scope of small arms, really. I say we get out of here and nuke 'em from orbit.

    You can doubtless find videos on the Internet of people shooting with real or paintball guns at wasp and hornet nests, or attempting to burn them out in James Bondian aerosol flamethrower fashion. Sometimes these things end up as news stories after things don't go quite to plan.

    (The nests are made of paper. They're usually attached directly to a tree or building. Not everyone immediately sees the problem with setting them on fire.)

    Of course, yellowjacket nests are often underground. I learned this when my father ran over a nest with the riding mower, which he dismounted with alacrity. Fortunately the yellowjackets had a rather high turning radius after coming out the grass chute at 100 mph or so and we all made a clean getaway.

    So here's one out of left field: Who would you contact with a product idea for windshield defroster that squirts a thin stream for 15-20 feet like wasp and hornet killer? It isn't the time of year when one really wants to go on the roof to de-ice the satellite dish...

  16. And the C4 can be loads of fun if used right.

  17. Duct tape may be right out for improvised strapless bra, but electrical tape does fine, and can even be used in conjunction with a two gauze pads to provide some support and lifting/tucking action.

    Gaffer's tape is even better for the structural support and smoothing(and painless removal), but if all you have on hand is electrical tape, it substitutes well... and go get some gaffer's tape at earliest opportunity.

  18. AND, Duct Tape adhesive is HELL on someones teeth!

    Or someone elses...


  19. Doc, there's bourbon on my keys;)

  20. Darn... what do I do with three cases of angry hamsters now...

    Dann in Ohio

  21. I respectfully submit that C4 will indeed remove baked on oven grime.

    It will also most handily (and simultaneously) remove the oven from wherever it happens to be.

  22. Lots of C 4 fans here :-)

    Nosmo King - I know a couple folks who swear by the Dawn thing, but I've not tried it mysef.

    Sunnybrook Farm - you are a good "shot" and brave as well.

    Bob - that might be an option!

    Brighid - you are so going to tell me a story about that, next time I see you.

    Dann in Ohio - you could try Craigs List.

    Larry - so you'd sort of have a "free range" range then?

    Ad Absurdum - could you try one of those "super soaker" water guns the kids have? Loved the story, by the way.

    On a Wing - I took some notes. That might come in handy :-)

  23. Ad absurdum per aspera said...
    "Of course, yellowjacket nests are often underground. I learned this when my father ran over a nest with the riding mower, which he dismounted with alacrity. Fortunately the yellowjackets had a rather high turning radius after coming out the grass chute at 100 mph or so and we all made a clean getaway."

    Gunpowder is highly effective on yellow jackets, you just have to wait until dusk, when they settle in for the night. The darkened sky enhances the visual impact of the eviction notice. Southern Indiana seems to have more than its fair share of yellow jackets, which I found almost every time I mowed. 5 acres with a frakking push mower. I was angry with my Dad for years, but I look back on it as good exercise and "character building." Perhaps some of the joy brought by vespimination was misdirected...


I started this blog so the child I gave up for adoption could get to know me, and in turn, her children, as well as share stories for a family that lives too far away. So please keep it friendly and kid safe. Posts that are only a link or include an ad for an unknown business automatically to to SPAM..