The Balloonist (a stolen joke)

I stole this joke from Plans; stop me if you’ve heard it.

The Balloonist

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a man below. He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him half an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The man below replied, “You are in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You are between 40 and 42 degrees north latitude and between 58 and 60 degrees west longitude.”

“You must be an engineer,” said the balloonist.

“I am,” replied the man, “but how did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost.”

The man below responded, “You must be a manager.”

“I am,” replied the balloonist, “how did you know?”

“Well,” said the man, “you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You made a promise which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is you are exactly in the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”

It’s Good to Be the Chairman!

Image from Flickr by Paul GoyetteA while back on this blog I came up with the idea to hold a cooking competition at my place between my sometime-cobloggers: my brother “poober” and my housemate “orlowski.”

Well, I got organized and it’s happening! I’ve lined up the competitors, some judges, we’ve agreed on a date, and I’ve even lined up someone to be in charge of video recording. This could get interesting…

Anyway, I thought I’d just share my first draft of the rules for the competition with you to invite comment. The competitors themselves will also need to meet sometime so we can conference on the rules and get them straight, but I’m giving you the first peek!

Here they are:

Fel Iron Chef Cooking Competition Rules

Thank you for your interest in the Fel Iron Chef Cooking competition.  The following are the guidelines that all entrants must follow to remain qualified for the competition.

The first competition is Battle Wasabi Crab Quesadilla.  The general set of ingredients for this battle will be known in advance although specifics will not be revealed until the battle begins.

Battle Parameters

The battle will take place at 5:30 PM on Sunday, February 15, 2009.  Contestants should arrive by 5 o’clock.

Contestants should prepare 3 (three) dishes.  One of these dishes must be a crab wasabi quesadilla and the other two must use at least one of the semi-secret ingredients.  Contestants should expect to prepare enough of their dishes to serve 9 (nine) people, including three judges, three spectators, the chairman and the contestants themselves.  Contestants agree to release their recipes at the end of the battle.

Each contestant will have 45 minutes to prepare their dishes.  Preparation times will be staggered.  A coin toss will determine who goes first.  The second contestant will begin 30 minutes after the first contestant.  The contestants should expect to serve their dishes immediately at the end of the 45 minutes.

The battle will be filmed.


There are three classes of ingredients.

1. Semi-secret Ingredients – The contestants will be provided with a variety of styles of the following ingredients: Crab.  Wasabi.  Tortillas.  Cheese.  Mexican-style Fruits and Vegetables (including but not limited to tomatoes, onions, peppers, and avocados).

2. Staples – The contestants are free to use anything available in the provided kitchen and are asked to provide a list of staples they feel they may require at least 2 days before the battle.  Both contestants will be allowed to make use of all the staples on both provided lists.

3. Special Ingredients – The contestants are welcome to bring at most 5 (five) ingredients of their own choosing to the battle.  Each contestant will have sole use of these ingredients and does not have to share.  Ingredients can be store-bought or pre-prepared although if the pre-prepared materials make up a substantial portion of any of the dishes, points may be deducted.


There will be three judges.  Each judge will award points according to this system:  up to 10 points for taste, 5 points for originality, and 5 points for plating.  All three scores will be added together leading to a possible maximum score of 60 points.  The contestant with the highest cumulative score will be declared the winner.