Kong: Skull Island — Movie Review with some spoilers

I won’t tell you how it will end.  Maybe Kong dies, maybe he doesn’t.  But I couldn’t explain how wonderful this movie is without some spoilers.

This review is late because I wasn’t keen on watching this movie.  I hate how all of the other King Kong movies end.  I like Kong better than all of the people in all of those movies, and wish he had bullet-proof skin and could smash all those nasty little planes.  Maybe break a female gorilla free of her New York zoo prison, and escape to make little Kongs.  The worst was seeing Kong hit with all of those bullets, starting to fall, catch himself, and etc., etc. and etc.

If you felt the same way, early in this movie you will have your catharsis, finally.  Hmmmm.  There is smashing.

And then there’s a villain, because of the smashing.  A humorous sidekick.  A hero.  The acting is good enough.  The Kong CGI work is excellent.

Perhaps the finest actor of all is the 1970’s, brought forth in colorful and accurate detail.  I laughed out loud with fond memory when someone talking on the phone (handset) walked too far away so the phone (base) smashed to the floor.  I suppose younger people wouldn’t think it funny at all.  Vietnam war era music was front and center, and that’s always a good thing.

Human actors:  Tim Hiddleston (hero; Loki in the Marvel movies), Samuel L. Jackson (villain), John C. Reilly (humorous side kick), John Goodman (crazy professor) and Brie Larson (new-age Fay Wray).  I think John C. Reilly did the best with his role, but they all did well.  At first I didn’t even recognize Tim Hiddleston since he was so different from Loki.

I realize this isn’t really a 5 out 5 worthy movie, but I enjoyed it as much as any 5 out of 5 movie.  Never claimed to have high-brow tastes 🙂

If somehow you missed the trailer, here it is:  Kong Trailer

Making Fresh Cheese from Yogurt

Fresh cheese is easy to make from yogurt, and delicious.  Depending on how much moisture is in the yogurt, the cheese yield will be about 1/3 of the yogurt used.

Put the yogurt in several layers of cheese cloth, or a fine mesh sack, and hang over night (this will save you from looking at it all day long in distress that nothing is happening).  If by morning it still isn’t thick enough inside the sack, whack the bottom with the blunt side of a knife a few times, and go take a shower and read the news.  The whacking will break up the drier outside portion and let the inside drain.

The filter shown is a fine nylon mesh sack I bought to strain honey.  It’s too fine me to use for honey filtering since I don’t heat my honey, but works better than cheese cloth for cheese making or other similar straining jobs because it’s shaped like a sack, it’s one layer, and very durable.  Throw it in the wash and it comes out clean, over and over again.


Notice how green the whey is.  That lovely grass-green color gives me confidence that indeed there is still nature involved in making plain, store-bought milk.  It doesn’t have much flavor.  I keep thinking I should drink it, but usually it gets sent out to the chickens (they don’t seem very eager for it, so I have to question the supposed health benefits of whey).

What do you hang this from?  I’ve tried all kinds of things, none of which worked very well, many of which made a mess; however, my camera tripod does a great job.

The first photo, below, is how the finished product should look.  It is quite bland; don’t despair.  I split this in half and made fresh cheese with one, and tried for aged cheese with the other.  Fresh cheese recipe:  add some salt and whatever you like.  I mixed in:  2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon Penzeys Greek seasoning (has salt in it), some black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon toasted onion powder and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.  One caution, if you use fresh seasonings, they have water in them.  This will dilute the cheese, and making it prone to separation and early aging.  Fresh cheese should always be stored in the refrigerator.


It’s still a bit bland for me, so I intend to finely chop garlic, microwave it in a some olive oil and pour over the top before serving it tonight with some Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. bread.  Deli olives would be great, if I had any, but black olives on the side will have to do.

Experiment!  Enjoy!

(more on the aged cheese experiment, later)

Making Yogurt is Easy and Cheap!

Making yogurt is ridiculously simple, easy to do and pretty bomb-proof.  Almost-boil some milk.  Cool it to 115 F.  Add some plain yogurt with active microbes (almost all yogurt in the store is active), mix and wait 6-8 hours keeping it at 115 F.

Why would you want to?

Well, it your yogurt mix doesn’t become yogurt, the yogurt you’re buying at the store is useless.  The yogurt you make is fresh, and so as biologically active as it possibly can be, and it saves money.  I bought 6 ounces of FAGE greek yogurt for $1.50 and turned it into a gallon of yogurt for the cost of a gallon of whole milk.  This stuff sells for $7.50 a quart.

So, how exactly to do it?  In the past I’ve extolled the wonders of the Instant Pot, and I’m going to do it again.  My kitchen is small and if I can combine equipment, I do.  The Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, slow cooker and yogurt maker all in one.

Using the Instant Pot:  start in the morning (this takes a long time, but very little of your time)

  • Pour gallon of milk into pot.
  • Shut with escape valve open (this is only shut for pressure cooking), push the yogurt button.  Push the adjust button.  It will show you:  BOIL.
  • Some time later when this is done, pull out the pot and cover it — it will cool faster outside the Instant Pot.  If you cover it with a pie plate and put ice cubes in the pie plate (hot milk rises, cool from cubes drops) it will cool even faster.
  • When the milk mixture is between 110 and 115 F (though don’t worry if it is cooler) mix in 6 ounces of FAGE Greek yogurt.  Do this by putting the yogurt into a bowl, add about an equal amount of warm milk and whisk.  Then, whisk as you pour this thick mixture into the warm milk in the pot.
  • Put the pot back into the Intant Pot and push the Yogurt button.  You will see 8 Hours.  This will give you a tart yogurt; I like it better after 6 hours when it is quite mild but holds it’s shape nicely.  This is what it will look like after 6 hours:

Many other store bought yogurts can be used to make yogurt.  Those I’ve tried include Dannon and Annie’s.  The more yogurt you use, the faster it will turn.  The faster it turns, the less sour it will be.  By using premium store bought yogurt, you are using the bacterial mix companies have spent time and money developing!

The yogurt you make can, of course, be perpetuated, but each time the microbial mix will change a little — be aware of that and if a batch isn’t quite as good as the original, then go back to the source:  store bought yogurt.  (I have found yogurt starters to be a waste of money.)

Furthermore, yogurt can easily be turned into fresh cheese — an even better return on that gallon of milk.  More on that later.


Disgusting and True Medicinal Garlic Story

I know a lot of the alternative/natural cures don’t work, but two things:  1)  If you have a vitamin/mineral deficiency, filling that gap will work like a miracle, but if you don’t have that gap, taking the vitamin/mineral won’t do a thing.  2)  Garlic is the real deal, but probably not in a daily pill.  

Below is an interesting, disgusting and true garlic story.  Should you try anything similar, you should check with your doctor first because if it somehow goes badly for you I am not to blame!

The last time I had the flu, several years ago, as it was ending I felt it trying morph into a bacterial infection (as typical) in my sinuses. I took massive amounts of finely chopped fresh garlic several times a day. I mean 2-3 Large cloves mixed in salsa and on a few chips every few hours all day long. I quit after two days – on a Friday evening, I think. I thought that would be enough time for it to get out of my system by work on Monday. Well, Monday wasn’t too bad, but by Tuesday people at work work were giving me horrified glances. I couldn’t smell a thing and thought, the odd people you meet. When I came home, Joe looked shocked, grabbed my face looked it over and into my eyes. “You look okay,” he said, “but you smell like a corpse. We need to get you to the ER.” I busted out laughing, since now I understood those poor work mates. “It’s the garlic,” I said. He was sure it wasn’t, because it no longer smelled like garlic (but it was). I showered, brushed my teeth gargled, did no good. The horrible smell was coming out as I breathed. The next day it was gone.

Well, two things: 1. That incipient sinus infection beat feet out of there even before I quit taking the garlic. 2. Whatever that garlic-toxic stuff is, it at least gets into your blood – how else could it have blown out of my lungs with each breath? That means every place but the brain and bone marrow, maybe nerves and cartilage, was infused with it.

I have avoided the garlic carpet bombing ever since, but if I ever get something serious and bacterial, just expect me to smell like a corpse. Don’t be too alarmed (or feel you have to stick around).

Web MD Garlic Link