Day: July 5, 2017

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

08:58 – It was 68.0F (20C) when I took Colin out at 0710, partly cloudy. We had about 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) of rain overnight. Fortunately, the rain came in in the late evening, putting a stop to the fireworks that were terrifying Colin. More work on science kits today.

The caramel sauce turned out okay, although I had some problems with it. Firstly, I simmered the sugar/salt/water for about 15 or 20 minutes and very little color change occurred. So I added a blurp of molasses, not so much for flavor as to catalyze the caramelization reaction, and continued simmering for a few more minutes.

A few minutes of simmering, even at neutral pH, should be enough to hydrolyze the sucrose into its component simple sugars, fructose and glucose. Fructose caramelizes at 110C, and with that much dissolved solids the boiling solution should have been at least 110C due to boiling point elevation. It didn’t get anywhere near the 150C required to caramelize glucose.

But after standing there for the better part of half an hour stirring and then swirling, I was tired of doing that. So I added the 12-ounce can of evaporated milk (best-by date August 2014) and continued the process. I then added the 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract, but the bottle blurped and I ended up adding probably twice that.

I then allowed it to cool to about 50C and transferred it to two pint canning jars, one full and the second about half full. At that point, the liquid was no longer thin and runny like water, but it hadn’t set up much. So I put the jars in the refrigerator to cool. Barbara tasted the result. Her only comment was “too much vanilla”. I tasted it, and indeed it was strongly vanilla flavored, but I thought it tasted pretty good. I had it on ice cream last night, and it was actually pretty good. Runny, but good. I’m going to call it a fail, because Barbara said she didn’t want to use it.


I’ve been following the McEnroe/Williams thing. As I told Barbara when the story broke, McEnroe was being extraordinarily generous when he said that Serena would be about #700 on the men’s tennis tour. In fact, as McEnroe is fully aware, there are many high-school boys who would beat Serena. She’d rank more like #70,000 on a unisex tennis tour, if that.

There was an article on Takimag that quoted Serena from a Letterman appearance four years ago when she said she wouldn’t play an exhibition against Andy Murray because he’s a boy and she’s a girl. FTA:

For me, men’s tennis and women’s tennis are completely, almost, two separate sports. If I were to play Andy Murray, I would lose 6-0, 6-0 in five to six minutes, maybe 10 minutes. No, it’s true. It’s a completely different sport. The men are a lot faster and they serve harder, they hit harder, it’s just a different game. I love to play women’s tennis. I only want to play girls, because I don’t want to be embarrassed.

She was speaking honestly and literally. It’s unlikely she’d have taken a point from Murray, let alone a game. I actually had almost the same conversation with Jim Elliott, one of our astronomy observing buddies, at a club observation up at the Wake Forest cabin probably a dozen years ago. The Williams sisters were at their peaks, and I told him that they were extremely good tennis players, for girls. Probably not as good as either Martina Navratilova or Steffi Graff, but good.

I went on to say that at my peak, in my late teens and early 20’s, I would have blown any of them off the court, as would any of the guys I played regularly with. He ridiculed me for that statement. I told him pretty much the same thing that Serena told Letterman, that there was just a world of difference between how strong, fast, and hard-hitting men were compared to women. I told him that my brother, at his peak, had played Chris Evert at her peak, and blew her off the court 6-0. I told him that when I was about 15, before my peak, I’d played a set against Peaches Bartkowitz, who was at the time ranked #9, and she didn’t take a point from me. But he just didn’t get it. Men and women are physically different, and there’s no way a woman can compete physically with a man. That should be obvious to anyone who’s not severely retarded.

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