Friday, March 28, 2014

Soldiering On Military Ranks

A topic that has piqued my interest occasionally has been pronunciations of "soldier". Not sure of why it's not pronounced "sol-di-er", or not spelled "sol-jer". I got to thinking about military ranks that also mystified me because of pronunciation and spelling. My curiosity led me to look up ranks in general, and ranks across branches of the military.

US Military Branches provided me a bird's eye view—links to the US military branches and pay in the index at the left. At the rank or pay level, you can find out how the ranks vary within each branch. Clicking a branch's rank opens a page with more details of the role. Near the bottom, the Equivalent Ranks section links to the same rank across the branches in the following order: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines (listed as Marine Corps), Navy.

The US Department of Defense has pages with illustrated tables for all five branches for enlisted members and officers (Coast Guard & Navy combined). Curiously, Warrant Officer is notably absent in Air Force, which the DoD officers page shows as "NO WARRANT". In the Wikipedia page for Warrant Officer, the illustrated table shows insignias and grades for all five branches for warrant officers, with the Air Force column heading "discontinued".

Ranks of Interest—Spelling and Pronunciation
Sergeant [sahr-juhnt], from Latin root meaning "serve"

Ensign—Navy/Coast Guard [en-sahyn; Military en-suhn], pertinent to flag, insignia
Lieutenant [loo-ten-uhnt], pertinent to "placeholder"
Captain (kap-tuhn, -tin), pertinent to "head"
Colonel [kur-nl], related to "column"

The general topic
Soldier [sohl-jer]
Ranks of Interest—Rank vs. Non-Military Context (E, enlisted; O, officer)
  • private (E), the member who has the lowest rank and probably least privacy
  • major (O), no major in sea branches, no rank named "minor"
  • petty officer (E), rank with "officer" in title, but not in either warrant of officer category
  • lance corporal (E), visualizing a Renaissance Fair knight engaged in joust
  • general (O), ordinarily meaning ordinary
Commander Bond, Captain, US/British Ranks

During my research, "commander" stuck out as a rank I've heard more in reference to James Bond than American commanders. Commanders rank lower than captains. Captains of the sea rank higher than non-sea captains.

The US Navy and Coast Guard have commander ranks—commander and lieutenant commander—ranks that are just below captain. Captains in sea branches rank higher than captains in the other branches. A Yahoo discussion contrasts naval captain vs. army captain. Visit a Wikipedia page to view a table that compares US and British ranks, including "commander".

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cookie Mix Recipe: Fat Deviating

I've been on a roll lately with deviating from sweets recipes—even easy and convenient ones. This time, I deviated from a Krusteaz Triple Chocolate Chunk cookie mix. (Krusteaz has nothing to do with the Simpsons show clown, Krusty.)

The box calls for only 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter and one egg besides the packaged mix. Simple. But I didn't want to use only all butter for the fat.

Sooo, I used half the butter called for. The other half, I replaced with one tablespoon of sesame oil and enough cooking oil to fill 1/2 cup.

Yes, I realized AFTER I baked the cookies that I put in too much cooking oil. I should have added three tablespoons of cooking oil instead of seven, resulting in 400 extra calories (200 calories x 2 oz. oil).

The results weren't disastrous. The cookies came out crispy, and just a mite oilier than if I'd replaced the correct amounts of fat. The cookie webpage claimed the cookies to be "chewy". They had 400 additional calories spread over 46 cookies, which amounted to less than 10 extra calories per cooky.

According to the Krusteaz box's nutritional table, the dry ingredients total 2160 calories (120 calories x 18 servings of two 2"-diameter cookies). A prepared mix of dry and wet ingredients total 3060 (170 per serving). Anyway, if I had prepared my 46 cookies with the equivalent fat substitutions, each cooky would have been 66 1/2 calories (3060/46). Instead, each cooky came to about 75 calories (3460/46).

The Krusteaz box displayed a table that listed yields as follows:
  • 56 2" cookies (2 t dough)
  • 24 2-1/2" cookies (1 rounded T dough)
  • 2 3" cookies (2 rounded T dough).
The nutritional table estimated a yield of 36 2" cookies. As my yield was 46, I'm guessing my tablespoonfuls were somewhere between level and slightly concave.

Although I increased the number of ingredients from the box's recommendation, it was by only two. The sesame oil, a favorite additive of mine, gave the cookies a nutty flavor. The cooking oil reduced the amount of saturated fat because of butter. Yes, overall fat was higher. Next time, I'll try to remember to substitute the right amounts. :-)

My pixstrip panels show the following images:
  1. Implements
  2. Ingredients
  3. Pan with raw dough/baked cookies
  4. Plate of cookies (yum)
To search for other sweets recipes (most of them EZ), use the search feature at the upper left of the webpage, or click keywords in the index at the upper right.
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