Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Nancy Stohs, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (TNS)

Nobody likes to be wrong.

But if you believe the Internet, you’ve been doing many things wrong YOUR WHOLE LIFE.

Packing your suitcase, removing a trash bag, untying knots, breaking in shoes, even breathing. And, of course, so many of those tasks you perform every day in your kitchen.

Perhaps you’ve felt the humiliation (or had an “aha” moment or two) watching videos about some of these ubiquitous little “we know better” posts on Facebook.

I’d been saving links to a few of them — who doesn’t love a good time- or mess-saver? — when I decided, heck, I should put them to the test. Here are the thumbs-up and thumbs-down results from my morning of research:

THUMBS UP

Muffin-Poached Eggs: This one worked like a dream and couldn’t be easier. Just break an egg into a muffin cup, place in a 350-degree oven and “poach” for 10 to 15 minutes.

I did mine in a nonstick, standard-size muffin pan (no greasing needed), and at 15 minutes the whites were firm and the yolks were part runny, part set — and of course, shaped in a perfect circle.

If you want your egg to fill out an English muffin for a breakfast sandwich, you’ll want to use a jumbo muffin pan; adjust the baking time accordingly.

Halving Cherry Tomatoes En Masse: No more one at a time for me! Here’s how this works: Arrange the tomatoes close together in a single layer on the flat side of a plastic lid (stem end down keeps them in place and assures nice cross-cuts). Cover with a second plastic lid, flat side down. (You could also use plates.)

Applying gentle pressure on top with one hand, horizontally slice between the lids with a sharp knife through all the tomatoes. Keeping the knife level is the only tricky part.

The Bacon Weave: This is fun. You might want to watch the Food & Wine video on this one or at least check out our step-by-step photos.

Basically, you cut a package of bacon strips in half crosswise, and then, on a parchment-lined baking sheet, weave six of those strips at a time into a tight square. Make as many squares as you want, then place a metal cooling rack on top to keep them in place.

Place in a 350- to 400-degree oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes, depending on temperature and how crisp you want your bacon. (I did mine at 375 degrees 20 minutes but might try 400 degrees next time.)

Then just blot off the grease, and it’s sandwich ready.

Peeling A Banana: Ha — who can’t do this? Well, if you’re still peeling from the stem end, you’re doing it all wrong. Not only is peeling from the bottom easier (once you’ve pinched the end), you don’t have any of those pesky “strings” to deal with.

And according to the many know-it-alls who post this trick, it’s how the monkeys do it.

Eating A Cupcake Neatly: Basically, you twist the cake part to produce two halves. Then you place the bottom half on top of the frosting to create a cupcake “sandwich.” Result: frosting in every bite, and no frosting mustache.

I was skeptical that this method would work with cupcake-shop cupcakes, with their mile-high caps of frosting, but lo and behold, it did. (But it’s still too much frosting!)

THUMBS DOWN

Stemming A Strawberry: This called for inserting a skewer into the strawberry from the bottom and poking out the leafy stem through the top.

I used a short wooden skewer. You need the pointed end to get into the berry, but to force out the stem, you need to then re-insert the skewer flat end first. Hassle.

Other tips, I noticed later online, call for using a drinking straw. That didn’t work any better. I’ll stick to my handy little stemmer. Or a good sharp paring knife.

Peeling Kiwi (Avocado, Mango) On The Edge Of A Glass: The sped-up video I watched online made it look so easy. Just cut the kiwi or avocado in half, or slice off the mango on both sides of the pit, then run it down the side of a glass drinking glass to remove the flesh in one piece.

Ha! Perhaps after lots and lots of practice.

I tried one kiwi half, then another, and another, each time leaving at least half the fruit inside the skin. I finally took a spoon to the last kiwi half — much easier.

After that I wasn’t about to risk messing up a perfectly good mango or avocado.

Photo: Young Sok Yun via Flickr

Trump speaking at Londonderry, NH rally

Screenshot from YouTube

Donald Trump once again baselessly claimed on Sunday that the COVID-19 pandemic was "going to be over" soon, just hours after his chief of staff suggested the administration was unable to get it under control.

"Now we have the best tests, and we are coming around, we're rounding the turn," Trump said at a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire. "We have the vaccines, we have everything. We're rounding the turn. Even without the vaccines, we're rounding the turn, it's going to be over."

Trump has made similar claims on repeated occasions in the past, stating early on in the pandemic that the coronavirus would go away on its own, then with the return of warmer weather.

That has not happened: Over the past several weeks, multiple states have seen a surge in cases of COVID-19, with some places, including Utah, Texas, and Wisconsin, setting up overflow hospital units to accommodate the rapidly growing number of patients.

Hours earlier on Sunday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows appeared to contradict Trump, telling CNN that there was no point in trying to curb the spread of the coronavirus because it was, for all intents and purposes, out of their control.

"We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas," he said. "Because it is a contagious virus, just like the flu."

Meadows doubled own on Monday, telling reporters, "We're going to defeat the virus; we're not going to control it."

"We will try to contain it as best we can, but if you look at the full context of what I was talking about, we need to make sure that we have therapeutics and vaccines, we may need to make sure that when people get sick, that, that they have the kind of therapies that the president of the United States had," he added.Public health experts, including those in Trump's own administration, have made it clear that there are two major things that could curb the pandemic's spread: mask wearing and social distancing.

But Trump has repeatedly undermined both, expressing doubt about the efficacy of masks and repeatedly ignoring social distancing and other safety rules — even when doing so violated local and state laws.

Trump, who recently recovered from COVID-19 himself, openly mocked a reporter on Friday for wearing a mask at the White House — which continues to be a hotspot for the virus and which was the location of a superspreader event late last month that led to dozens of cases. "He's got a mask on that's the largest mask I think I've ever seen. So I don't know if you can hear him," Trump said as his maskless staff laughed alongside him.

At the Manchester rally on Sunday, Trump also bragged of "unbelievable" crowd sizes at his mass campaign events. "There are thousands of people there," he claimed, before bashing former Vice President Joe Biden for holding socially distant campaign events that followed COVID safety protocols.

"They had 42 people," he said of a recent Biden campaign event featuring former President Barack Obama. "He drew flies, did you ever hear the expression?"

Last Monday, Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) endorsed Biden's approach to the pandemic as better than Trump's, without "any doubt."

"The more we go down the road resisting masks and distance and tracing and the things that the scientists are telling us, I think the more concerned I get about our management of the COVID situation," he told CNN.

In his final debate against Biden last Thursday, Trump was asked what his plan was to end the pandemic. His answer made it clear that, aside from waiting for a vaccine, he does not have one.

"There is a spike, there was a spike in Florida and it's now gone. There was a very big spike in Texas — it's now gone. There was a spike in Arizona, it is now gone. There are spikes and surges in other places — they will soon be gone," he boasted. "We have a vaccine that is ready and it will be announced within weeks and it's going to be delivered. We have Operation Warp Speed, which is the military is going to distribute the vaccine."

Experts have said a safe vaccine will likely not be ready until the end of the year at the earliest, and that most people will not be able to be vaccinated until next year.

Trump also bragged Sunday that he had been "congratulated by the heads of many countries on what we have been able to do," without laying out any other strategy for going forward.

Nationally, new cases set a single-day record this weekend, with roughly 84,000 people testing positive each day. More than 8.5 million Americans have now contracted the virus and about 225,000 have died.

Trump, by contrast, tweeted on Monday that he has "made tremendous progress" with the virus, while suggesting that it should be illegal for the media to report on it before the election.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.