Companies to Avoid Due To Their Actions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

There are many “bad actors” out there trying to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic in America. Some large, very profitable businesses are requesting grants or loans meant for small businesses, the backbone of the economy.  Some of these companies have returned the money, but only after a backlash from the media and public. The mear fact that they asked for it should warrant you and I to not use their products or services, once we all go back to work and life goes back to a new normal.

I will update this as I hear of these companies. So check back often.


J. Alexander’s

J. Alexander’s Holdings owns this restaurant: Requested $15.1 million and has a market cap of $74 million. The CEO of this company made $1,460,890 in 2018! In 2018 they took in over $242 million in revenue.

Kura Sushi

This restaurant requested $6 million and has a market cap of $78 million. They have locations in California, Texas, Washington, Florida, Michigan, Washington D.C., Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, and New Jersey. In 2019, they had $36 million in cash assets with total assets of over $76 million!

Lyndhurst Grill

J. Alexander’s Holdings owns this restaurant: Requested $15.1 million and has a market cap of $74 million. The CEO of this company made $1,460,890 in 2018! In 2018 they took in over $242 million in revenue.

Merus Grill

J. Alexander’s Holdings owns this restaurant: Requested $15.1 million and has a market cap of $74 million. The CEO of this company made $1,460,890 in 2018! In 2018 they took in over $242 million in revenue.

Overland Park Grill

J. Alexander’s Holdings owns this restaurant: Requested $15.1 million and has a market cap of $74 million. The CEO of this company made $1,460,890 in 2018! In 2018 they took in over $242 million in revenue.

Pollo Tropical

This restaurant, owned by the Fiesta Restaurant Group requested $10 million and they have a market cap of $189 million.


The sandwich shop requested $10 million. They said they will return it. They have a market cap of $85 million!

Redlands Grill

J. Alexander’s Holdings owns this restaurant: Requested $15.1 million and has a market cap of $74 million. The CEO of this company made $1,460,890 in 2018! In 2018 they took in over $242 million in revenue.

Ruth Chris

1280px-ruths_chris_logo.svg_The steak restaurant, Ruth Chris requested $20 million. The owner of the Ruth’s Chris Steak House has said it will repay $20 million in federal loans after facing backlash for its access to the money, which was meant to aid small businesses. But the company has also enjoyed several years of profits. Last year, Ruth’s earned a profit of $42 million on revenue of $468 million. In turn, the company last year spent about $42 million on share repurchases and paying out dividends.

In 2018, Ruth’s Chris CEO and President Cheryl J. Henry’s total compensation package, including salary and stock awards, was more than $6,100,000. There are more than 150 Ruth’s Chris steakhouses in the US.

Shake Shack

This restaurant requested and received $10 million. They have reportedly returned it.

Stoney River

J. Alexander’s Holdings owns this restaurant: Requested $15.1 million and has a market cap of $74 million. The CEO of this company made $1,460,890 in 2018! In 2018 they took in over $242 million in revenue.

Taco Cabana

This restaurant, owned by the Fiesta Restaurant Group requested $10 million and they have a market cap of $189 million.


L.A. Lakers

los-angeles-lakers-logo-purple-trademark-kitchen-dining-tables-nba2000-lal-c3_1000The Los Angeles Lakers requested and received $4.6 million. They have reportedly returned it. The team is worth $4.4 billion! This is just bad sportsmanship!

Food Manufactures

Unfortunately, many of the companies that produce out food in America are forcing workers to work without proper testing and PPE!


JBS USA Holdings, Inc. is an American food processing company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of JBS S.A., a Brazilian company that is the world’s largest processor of fresh beef and pork, with more than $50 billion just in the United States in annual sales as of 2017.

JBS brands include 5 Star Beef, Aspen Ridge Natural Beef, Blue Ribbon Angus, Cedar River Farms, Chef’s Exclusive, Clear River Farms, G.F. Swift 1855 Brand, Liberty Bell, Moyer, Packerland, Showcase Premium Ground Beef Swift, Pilgrim’s Chicken, Swift Premium.


Smithfield Foods, Inc., is a meat-processing company based in Smithfield, Virginia, in the United States, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of WH Group of China. Founded in 1936 as the Smithfield Packing Company by Joseph W. Luter and his son, the company is the largest pig and pork producer in the world.

In 2016, Smithfield had sales of over $10 billion in just 9 months. So why can’t they take care of their workers?

Smithfield’s brands include Eckrich, Nathan’s Famous, Farmland, Armour, Farmer John, Kretschmar, John Morrell, Cook’s, Gwaltney, Carando, Margherita, Curly’s and Healthy Ones.


Tyson Foods, Inc. is an American multinational corporation based in Springdale, Arkansas, that operates in the food industry. The company is the world’s second-largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork after JBS S.A. and annually exports the largest percentage of beef out of the United States.

In the past 6 months, Tyson had sales of almost $22 billion dollars! So why can’t they take care of their workers?

Tyson’s brands include Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Hillshire, Ball Park, Raised & Rooted, aidells, State Fair, Nature Raised Farms, Sara Lee, Wright Brand, Bosco’s, Gallo Salame, Bonici, The Bruss Company, Chairman’s Reserve, ibp, Lady Aster, Mexican Original, Open Prairie Natural Meats, Star Ranch Angus, Wonderbar, AdvancePierre, Barber Foods, Big AZ, Fast Fixin, Hot ‘n’ Ready, Jamwich PB, Landshire, Russer, Steak Eze, Orginal Philly Cheesesteak Co, Bryan, True Chews, TopChews, Nudges, and Ruben.

Other Companies

Here are more companies you might have never heard of to avoid.

  • Adamis Pharmaceuticals: Requested $3.2 million and has a market cap of $26 million. In one quarter in 2019, they had almost $6 million in sales.
  • Air T (holding company): Requested $8.2 million and has a market cap of $37 million. In 2018 they had $194 million in revenue!
  • Aquestive Therapeutics (pharmaceutical): Requested $4.8 million and they have a market cap of $122 million.
  • Broadwind Energy: Requested $9.5 million and have a market cap of $24 million. In 2019, they had sales of over $178 million!
  • Conformis (hip and knee replacements): Requested $4.7 million and they have a market cap of $47 million. Their revenue in 2019 was almost $77 million!
  • CPI Aerostructures (aircraft parts): Requested $4.8 million and they have a market cap of $35 million. In 2017 they had reported over $81 million in revenue. Also in 2017, they had over $124 million in total assets.
  • Crawford United: Requested $3.7 million and has a market cap of $36 million. Brands are AIRENTERPRISES, CAD ENTERPRISES, data genomix, Federal Hose and MPI. In 2019, they had sales of $21 million.
  • Digimarc (software): Requested $5 million and has a market cap of $192 million.
  • DMC Global (metalworking): Requested $6.7 million and has a market cap of $405 million.
  • Emmis Communications (American media conglomerate): Requested $4.8 million and has a market cap of $23 million. In 2019, they had revenue of over $114 million!
    They own radio stations in New York, Austin Texas, and Indianapolis Indiana.
  • ENGlobal (engineering services): Requested $4.9 million and they have a market cap of $24 million.  In the first quarter of 2020, they had sales of over $19 million!
  • Escalade (sporting equipment): Requested $5.6 million and they have a market cap of $104 million. They make the brands: Bear Archery, Trophy Ridge, Whisker Biscuit, Cajun Bowfishing, Karnage, Fletcher, Rocket, SIK, BearX, STIGA, Ping-Pong, Goalrilla, Goaliath, Silverback, Hoopstar, Goalsetter, Vuly, Woodplay, ChildLife, The STEP, USWeight, Lifeline, Kettleworx, Natural Fitness, PER4M, Atomic, American Legend, HJ Scott, Triumph Sports, Mizerak, Lucasi, PureX, Rage, Players, Cue&Case, Unicorn, Accudart, Arachnid, Nodor, Winmau, Zume Games, Pickleball Now, Onix, Viva Sol, Triumph Sports, Victory Tailgate, DURA
  • Flotek Industries (specialty chemicals): Requested $4.8 million and has a market cap of $52 million. Their revenue for 2018 was almost $178 million!
  • Frequency Electronics (satellite telecommunications): Requested $5 million and has a market cap of $86 million. In 2019, they had almost $47 million in working capital!
  • Legacy Housing (manufactured homes): Requested $6.5 million and has a market cap of $229 million. The website seems to be down or gone!
  • Lindblad Expeditions (cruise ships): Requested $6.6 million and has a market cap of $264 million.
  • MannKind (biopharmaceutical ): Requested $4.9 million and has a market cap of $273 million.
  • Misonix (medical equipment made in China): Requested $5.2 million and has a market cap of $198 million.
  • Natural Gas Services: Requested $4.6 million and they have a market cap of $65 million. In 2018 they had total assets of $305 million. In 2018, the CEO made a whopping $3,032,250!
  • New Age Beverages (natural beverages): Requested $6.9 million and they have a market cap of $137 million. The beverages they make are Xing, Volvic Water, Nestea, Bucha, WATERisLIVE, and ‘NHANCED.
  • OptiNose(pharmaceutical company): Requested $4.4 million and has a market cap of $180 million.
  • Quantum Corp. (storing and managing video content): Requested $10 million and has a market cap of $151 million.
  • PolarityTE (biotech): Requested $3.6 million and they have a market cap of $44 million. In 2018 they had an income of $673 million!
  • Prema-Fix Environmental (nuclear waste treatment): Requested $5.7 million and has a market cap of $74 million. In 2019 they had over $73 in revenue!
  • Protech Home Medical (medical equipment): Requested $6 million and has a market cap of $65 million. In just one quarter in 2019, they made over $21 million.
  • Ultralife (power solutions & communications systems): Requested $3.5 million and has a market cap of $99 million. They made $25.8 million in the first quarter of 2020!
  • U.S Auto Parts: Requested $4.1 million and has a market cap of $81 million. Brands include and JCWhitney. Gross profit in 2019 was $84.2 million!
  • Veritone(an operating system for artificial intelligence): Requested $6.5 million and has a market cap of $101 million.
  • Wave Life Sciences (biotech): Requested $7.2 million and has a market cap of $286 million. Headquarters in Singapore.
  • ZAGG (consumer electronics): Requested $9.4 million and has a market cap of $101 million. Their brands are InvisibleShield, mophie, BRAVEN, IFROGZ, Gear4, and HALO.


What are your thoughts? Should there be others on this list? Please let me know by making a comment below.


Early this year, after being inspired by a segment I saw on the TV show 60 minutes, I decided I should start creating artwork again. Since we are living through a pandemic, I had a lot of extra time on my hands and needed to come up with way to keep myself busy. I have been doing artwork since grade school and even won my very first award for a book I wrote. So I looked around my home trying to think of what I should do and noticed a lot of electronics I had stored to take to the electronic recycling. So I spend months taking apart the electronics so I could “re-purpose” them into artwork.

Then I came up with my first project for myself that incorporates all of my passions so the Rockmputer was born! I took an old cheap bass guitar that I purchased for recording songs since it no longer worked well and made that the base for the artwork. The electronics on top of it represents my passions… photography, music and technology.

Stay tuned for more artwork similar to this. If you have any comments or questions, please make them below.

Photos from My Travels to India

In the past three years, I have been lucky enough to travel to the country of India. In 2020, I was unable to travel there due to the pandemic. I really miss the country, the culture and all of the friends I have made due to speaking at a conferences. I have deep connections in India now and am glad I do. I just love the food there! The India food in America just isn’t the same.

Until I get to go back, these photos will have to do, so I hope you also enjoy them. Just click on the photo below.

From my travels, I also came up with a Gluten free, Dairy free and Nightshade free Chicken Curry recipe. Click here to read it.

The Letter I Got From the Wicked Witch of the West

screen grabA very long time ago when I was 18, I was living in Mammoth Lakes in California. The reason I was there was to escape an abusive situation (mentally and physically) by my stepmother. When I tried to explain to people about her, I referred to her as the Wicked Witch of the West, a character in one of my favorite movies, the Wizard of Oz. This character description is perfect for my stepmother.

The Wicked Witch of the West is the major antagonist in the story.

When I was living in Mammoth Lakes, my stepmother decided to write me the following letter about a month after I turned 18. I have scanned it in its entirety. Before you read it, I’d like to say that EVERYTHING she accuses me of is a lie. The truth is that she stole most of the money I made working at the factory my father ran, the summer before I left home. Also, she and my father sold my car and kept the money. This letter proves that you can choose your family… unfortunately my father picked the wrong woman. Especially when that person is just 7 years older than me.


One of Carolyn’s wishes came true. I have not seen her since I was 17 and not long after this letter, my father told me that I can never have contact with him ever again. This included phone calls, greeting cards for birthdays, and more. The last time I spoke with my father (around 15 years ago), he dialed me by mistake, so that call didn’t last long. I’ve never met one of my half-sisters, and the other I have only seen once since then.

Neither of my half-sisters will be my friend on Facebook, because of my stepmother. She has spent her entire life, since I was 17, telling my two half-sisters what a terrible person I am. So I don’t think I will ever see them again. This really saddens me because I was the “live-in babysitter” for my sister Amy. To this day, I really miss being part of her life.

What also saddens me that my kids never had two grandfathers, only one. I’m especially sensitive to this since ALL of my grandparents died before I was born.

After reading this letter, many decades later, I wondered to myself if my accomplishments piss Carolyn off? I hope they do!

  • I did graduate from High School.
  • I did join the US Navy and when I left I was a Petty Officer Second Class.
  • When I was 18, I was the head manager at a restaurant & profit sharing.
  • I’m an award-winning photographer.
  • I’m an award-winning software engineer and a patented inventor!
  • I taught at a University for 18 years.
  • I travel the world helping others by teaching software engineers.
  • I’ve written more books than I can remember now, and am still writing!
  • And much more.

I don’t know if it was that letter or the abuse from her or her constantly telling me I would never amount to anything; I was very driven when I was young to succeed in work and life. Later, when I was married, my drive was to be a better dad, husband, and provider.

Carolyn also left me with two chronic physical aliments that have left with permanent chronic pain that I will have for the rest of my life. If anything, SHE owes me hundreds of thousands of dollars for medical bills and pain an suffering.

In the end, Carolyn McCarter (Owens) and her emotional issues have ruined many lives. Mine, my brother, her kids, my kids, and even our neighbors in Flagstaff, Arizona where at least one of them had to move across town to get away from her. I’m not letting my father off the hook since he enabled her to carry out her “KGB” style of psychological warfare against his two sons. She won the war.

If You Don’t Wear Your Mask and Practice Social Distancing When Going Out, Then I Hope You Get COVID-19!

Since Mar 19, 2020, my home state of California in America has been on some sort of sate wide lock-down. This was to limit the spread by restricting the movement of the population to try to avoid the state being hit hard by the pandemic, which we now are. Also, our Governor made it mandatory for everyone to wear a mask indoors and outdoors where social distancing can not be maintained.

I specifically live in an area called Del Mar, which is close to the beach which means it’s very expensive to live here. So when I started to take walks, go to the store, etc., I thought I would be pretty safe since I figured most of the people that live here are pretty smart. Boy was I wrong! EVERY TIME I go outside, I see people not wearing masks or improperly. I did also notice that mostly minorities, especially Asians, follow the mask-wearing mandate 100%. The biggest culprits are, I hate to say this, are white people.

I am really tired of being the “mask police“, EVERY TIME I GO OUTSIDE! Every time I go out I have to remind people or ask them where their masks are. Most ignore me, until today.

Dan Is An Asshole

When I was at the shopping mall down the street from me today, I was walking out of the hardware store, headed to the grocery store. After a few steps, a guy (let’s call him Dan) comes towards me, with a mask in his hand but not on his face. As he passed I said (as I moved to make more space between us):

You have a mask but refuse to wear it? Thanks for that.

It took him a few seconds to think about it he turned around and said:

Fuck you! I don’t need to wear a mask outside.

Before I continue, let’s review what the California state web site says.

To prevent infection, you must cover your nose and mouth when outside your home. So wearing a mask is now required statewide. Wearing a mask or cloth face covering can slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the release of the virus into the air. It also reinforces physical distancing, and shows you care about the health of others.”

The rule in California is to do this at all times, not just when YOU feel like it.

I replied:

You do have to wear one when you are only walking a few feet from me.

He continued to yell at me, including obscenities. Before he was out of earshot I said:

You must be a Trump supporter!

Since we all know Trump is a mask denier. He said:

I didn’t vote for Trump, I am a liberal.

I told him that he is not acting like a liberal! I thought it was over, but he turned towards me, started walking my way, still yelling obscenities. At this point, I could see he was sizing me up, maybe to get into a fight. He walked right up to me, still without a mask on and said:

Instead of saying something in passing, why not have a conversation?

Okay, I’m not unreasonable. So I asked him why he isn’t wearing a mask. He said:

I don’t have to wear one outside since I’m not around people.

We are standing in the middle of the food court at this mall, with many people around and I said:

Yes, you do here since there are people around. And you walked very close to me without one.

Then he got very close to me, I thought maybe to start that fight (which would be silly with me due to my size). I told him to get away from me. Then he started yelling very loudly:

Then I hope you get on those people who are over there eating (pointing to the people in the foodcourt).

I told him I won’t since they are following the rules and are socially distant. He finally started walked away, still yelling obscenities. I looked at some of those people in the food court and they were shaking their heads (at Dan).

I Can’t Believe This is What We Have Come To

The best way to get out of this pandemic is the cheapest, by just wearing proper face masks that cost less than $1? Why is this so hard for so many Americans? I’ll be the first one to admit that I do not like wearing one at all, especially outside in the summer months. But unlike asshole Dan, I am smart enough to know that it will provide me some protection, but the biggest reason is not to spread it to others.

So, Dan, I hope you get COVID-19 and end up in a hospital on a ventilator. Let’s see what you say after that! Maybe that will change the mind of a mask denying asshole!

So if I didn’t like going out before today, now I really don’t want to ever again until California fully opens back up, whenever that will be. Maybe in 2021?

Travel Photography

One of the great things about being a conference speaker is that I get to travel around America and other countries. I love going, visiting, and learning about other cultures. I think it makes me a better American! I hope you will enjoy the photography I have done during my travels!

McCarter Photography - 2019

Click here to view my travel photography!

The One Time I Was Called A Racist

All the protests about the police and Black Lives Matter in the United States in 2020 has reminded me of a story that happened over 20 years ago where I was called a racist. I’d like to share that story now.

Way back when my son Paul was in 3rd or 4th grade, I was at home and he and his friend ran into our home and told me that a man was chasing them. They told me that there was a man in a car that was trying to get them to stop and talk to him. I can’t remember if that man was yelling or not, but Paul did exactly what I taught him. He ran away and came home!

I asked Paul what happened, and he told me that he and his friend called a black girl, from his class, the “N” word (sorry, I don’t want to use the actual word) when they were walking home. I guess she went home and told her father. Her father, who was a police officer, decided to get in his personal car, wearing street clothes, to track Paul and his friend down. I still have no idea why he decided to do that or what his end goal with that was. Since Paul ran away from him, he decided to go tell his school.

Then I got a call from the school that we had to go in for a meeting about it and this is where the story goes in a bad direction. Paul, his mother, and I arrived at the meeting early. When the girl’s parents come into the room, the first thing out of their mouth was that I and Pauls mother was a racist and we taught Paul the “N” word and to be racist.  I got very upset because I could not believe someone was calling me a racist.

When I was a small child, I grew up on the east coast of America. I have always felt that that area is a lot more racist then where I live now. My relatives and even my parents might have taught me about racism, but I don’t know now that I am older. I do remember, when my family moved to Flagstaff, Arizona I felt that people there were less racist, so I worked hard when I was in the 5th grade to change. Even though there was a lot of racism going on when I served in the US Navy, from all sides, I have worked hard ever since I have lived in California to be less racist. Let’s face it, everyone is a racist, one way or the other. It’s what you do with what you were taught is the most important part.

Currently, I feel I have done a decent job on changing how I think about other races to the point now that I don’t see color, I try to see the person. I think my very first girlfriend in 7th grade was half black and Mexican. Most of my dates or girlfriends since I have been divorced were with non-white women. Even both of my kids’ partners are of color and all three of my grandkids are of color! At work, I am the only white person in my team, and they have even made me an honorary Pilipino!

So, when this girl’s parent called me a racist, it upset me. I did push back on the girl’s parents and the vice-principal and told them that Paul’s mother and I never use racist words at home. Heck, we didn’t even curse around the kids. We wanted them to learn not to use any of those words.

I told everyone in the room that Paul learned those words from other kids at his school. Also, the reason Paul even said the “N” word was that the black kids in the school use that word all the time. He was simply copying them. His mother and I didn’t even know he even knew that word, otherwise, we would have had a talk with him, which we did after this event happened. After all this, Paul still received an in-school suspension. I thought this was an overreaction, just to make the other parents happy.

In the end, I was upset we were called racists when the parents didn’t even know us! That is like me calling them a criminal just because they are black! So, I know first hand how people just jump to conclusions without knowing the facts. My wish, that I don’t see happening right now, is that everyone would do the same thing. There are always two sides to every story. I believe that if both sides tried to understand where the other side is coming from, there might be better outcomes. When one side just starts yelling, the other side either shuts down or put up walls to defend themselves; as I did in this situation.

Christmas Shopping in the Dark

For most of my life, I’ve avoided shopping for Christmas gifts in December. The biggest reason is that people focus on the gifts and not what Christmas is all about. They are pushy, mean, stressed out and more and it just kills my Christmas spirit.

Because of this, every year my goal is to have the gifts purchased by my birthday which is at the end of November. Even way, way back when I was in the U.S. Navy, I would take my birthday off and do all of my shopping for Christmas. After the Navy, I would take my birthday off of work and do the same. This way I could focus on the spirit of Christmas and avoid the shoppers in December that killed my spirit.

On this Christmas eve, I’m reminded of one Christmas eve when my kids were small (they are adults now). In those early years, my wife (now ex-wife) and I didn’t have a lot of money for gifts. Like most Americans, we lived paycheck to paycheck. When it was getting close to Christmas, my wife won $1,000 from a local radio station (complaining about me).

On that Christmas eve, she went to Toys-R-Us to get last-minute gifts for the kids. When she came home I was surprised because she had no bags with her. She told me that the power when out at the store, so she came home.

Since I don’t like shopping during Christmas, I jumped into action, grabbed my flashlight and dashed to Toys-R-Us! There was hardly anyone at the store, so I grabbed a shopping cart and grabbed all the gifs we wanted for the kids! Since the checkout didn’t rely on the internet back then, I was able to pay for the gifts and get home pretty quickly.

I spent all night wrapping the gifts and the kids had a pretty good Christmas! Thanks to 91X and my ex-wife for complaining about me on air!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Dave’s Killer Slow-Cooker Chicken Curry (Gluten, Dairy & Nightshade Free)


Speaking Gig (2018)

Visiting India Gate in Delhi

Since 2017, I have been lucky enough to travel to India to speak at a software engineering conference in Delhi. All three times, I can’t get enough of authentic Indian food. It is so much better than any Indian food I’ve ever had in America!

After my visit last April, I set out to create a killer chicken curry recipe for the slow cooker, since that is the type of cooking I do the most. After over a year of hits and misses, I finally have my recipe. I hope you will enjoy it.


  • 1.5 – 2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste).
  • 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
  • 4 garlic cloves.
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger.
  • 3 tablespoons of organic cane sugar.
  • 6 tablespoons of curry powder (or to taste).
  • 7 oz plain Greek yogurt.
  • 42 oz sweet potatoes.
  • 1 large yellow onion.
  • 3 zucchini’s (medium to large)
  • 2 cans of coconut milk (from Wholefoods)


In most of my slow-cooker recipes, I like it where you can just throw all the ingredients in the pot and come home from work and it’s ready. While you can still do that with this recipe, I found it works best using the steps below.

Step 1

This step needs to be done the night before or, just put all of these ingredients in the slow-cooker. In a medium-sized bowl combine the following ingredients:

  • Chicken, cubed.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • Avocado oil.
  • Garlic, minced.
  • Grated fresh ginger.
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  • 4 tablespoons of curry powder (or to taste).
  • Greek yogurt.

Mix so that the chicken is well covered with the other ingredients. Cover, and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Putting the chicken with the Greek yogurt in the refrigerator overnight is the key to making sure the chicken is as tender as possible when done.

Step 2

I don’t know if it’s my slow cooker (Instant Pot), but I could never get the sweet potatoes to cook all the way through every time I made this recipe. The solution I came up with is to cube the sweet potatoes and place in the slow-cooker with a little bit of water. Then pressure cook them for 5 minutes while completing step 3. Drain any excess water after cooking.

Step 3

Cut into small cubes the onion and zucchini and place in the slow-cooker along with the ingredients from step 1 and 2. Sprinkle over the ingredients the remainder of the sugar (1 tablespoon) and curry powder (2 tablespoons or to taste). Add the 2 cans of coconut milk. Mix all the ingredients together and slow cook for 8 hours. Stir before surving.

I have tried coconut milk from several grocery stores and found that the brand from Wholefoods, 365 Everyday Value, Organic Light Coconut Milk, works best.


I serve the chicken curry over a bed of California Brown Jasmine Rice. When I cook the rice, I add curry, ginger, salt & pepper (to taste).

I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you do, please make a comment below.



Travel Tip: Flying Internationally Is A Form of Slow Torture

In the past, the reason I didn’t enjoy flying is that I’m tall. Since I am 6’ 4” (1.9 meters) and I just don’t fit well in the seats and there is never enough legroom in economy seats. Now, that is still the case but the biggest reason I don’t like flying internationally is the other passengers, mostly the parents with small children. I hate to say this because I am a parent. They are older now, and now I have three young grandchildren.

In April of 2019, I took my longest trip ever! It was over 30K miles and at least 5 days of travel time. I traveled from the United States to the country of Mauritius, then to India and then back home.

The Trip Back Home = The Trip from Hell

So, let’s start off with the worse leg of the trip… the trip back home from Delhi, India to San Diego, California. Then afterward I will summarize the trip to Mauritius then to India. Since my trip to Mauritius and India was to date, the worse trip experience. I was excited that I was able to get a cheap upgrade to Business Class on Emirates from the leg from Delhi, India to Dubai. I was excited mostly since I don’t see many children in Business class (something I’ve never seen on other airlines). The flight was about 6 ½ hours so I figured I could get some sleep.

Delhi to Dubai

Once I got in my seat, I found out why this business class seat on Emeritus was cheaper… it’s was only about 2/3 the size of other business class seats I have taken before. I was still happy when I sat down and started getting ready for the flight… until a young couple got on with a baby and sat in the two seats next to me. I knew then the flight was not going to be good, based on past experiences on Emirates.

After they served dinner, I put my chair flat, put on my blanket and tried to go to sleep since it was early in the morning. I did go to sleep, but sure enough, whenever I was sleeping, the baby decided to wake up and cry. I wanted to get around 4 ½ hours of sleep (since I couldn’t sleep the night before due to having to be at the Delhi airport at 1am), but I was lucky to get 1 hour. This couple seemed to be on vacation… why do you take a baby on long an international flight for vacation?

Dubai to Seattle

The second flight, the worse from my entire trip, was from Dubai to Seattle, Washington in the US. I didn’t have business class for this flight (they wanted $3K just to upgrade when I asked them on the flight!) but I did pay more to have extended legroom. As soon as I sat down, the crying babies started to arrive. In my section of the cabin, there were a lot of them, so my mood started to get worse since I knew what was coming, especially since I heard them coughing or sniffling.

She Knew What She Was Doing!

I was on the right side of the plane on the aisle seat. In the first seat in the middle section, directly to my left, a young woman sat down with her daughter, who was a toddler who looked passed out, maybe sleeping. After a few minutes, she said something to the flight attendant about her daughter not feeling well. Maybe to get more help from him during the flight. He immediately got on the phone to the captain of the plane.

When he got off the phone, she immediately started to backtrack and asked if the airline was going to fine her (something I’ve never heard before), and her daughter was just tired. The flight attendant told her that now, someone must come onboard to check her daughter to make sure she is not sick, and he can’t stop it since he already told the captain. The woman kept telling the flight attendant that her daughter is just tired, and the flight attendant kept telling her that the flight is almost 16 hours and that is too much for a sick baby. I would say any flight is too much for anyone who is sick!

So, we waited and waited until it was well past the time we were supposed to take off. Finally, someone came onboard to take the temperature of her daughter. That person left, and we waited some more. Finally, the captain called and told the flight attendant that she would have to leave the plane. I am guessing that her daughter was running a fever.

She reluctantly left the plane. Then all the flight attendants went up and down the entire plane twice, asking about every bag in the overhead bins and who they belong to since your bags can’t fly without you. She did leave her phone, which they took back to her. Then, they had to find her bags from the cargo hold too!

Due to this, we were over an hour late taking off which I wasn’t happy about since I didn’t have a long layover in Seattle, and I had to get through customs before finding my next flight to San Diego. The pilot did makeup about 45 minutes of that lost hour, but things were still tight and stressful for me in Seattle. I didn’t even have time to eat before my next flight.

Who knows how many other kids or adults were running a fever on this flight, but she knew about this and she tried to get around the rules? This was very clear to me. I didn’t know if she was from Dubai, but if she wasn’t, she was going to be stuck there until her daughter stopped running a fever since I am guessing this is the rule for all airlines. Well, I hope it is. Maybe everyone should have their temperature checked before getting onto the plane? Especially since I did catch something on one of the flights that took me over two weeks to recover from.

Seattle To San Diego

Finally, back in the United States, I thought my short 3 ½ hour flight from Seattle to San Diego would be better. I just wanted one flight without issues or crying, screaming kids. Boy was I wrong! On Alaska Airlines, I was seated on the aisle seat on the left side of the plane. Then a woman got on with her two young sons that were around 5 and 6 years old. They sat one row up from me on the right side of the plane.

When they got seated, the older boy was pestering the younger boy, so of course, he started to complain and cry. At the same time, before we even took off, the mother put on her headphones to watch Crazy Rich Asians and therefore wasn’t paying attention to the younger boy.

So of course, the younger boy tried to get her attention by crying and screaming. Since she was engrossed in the movie, she did not pay attention to him which just made things worse. The older boy went to sleep for most of the flight, but the younger one NEVER stopped screaming and/or crying the entire flight!

Many other passengers were looking at her and him. Some of us, even more so, when her anger towards her younger boy bordered on child abuse. I kept looking around for the flight attendants to help him since his mother clearly couldn’t, but they were nowhere to be found. When we were landing and an older couple behind her was talking to her, I overheard she was a military wife. I told the woman next to me, who is a grandma traveling with her granddaughter, around the same age at those two boys, that she was so well behaved! She watched a Disney movie the entire time.

When I was waiting for my bags in San Diego, I was exhausted, upset and just wanted to get home to put this entire trip behind me. After this trip, and still now, I’m not sure if I ever want to fly internationally again! So much so, I might try to move the miles I earned on Emirates to Alaska Airlines (if they let me)! I’ll discuss that more after the next section.

The Reverse Trip

Like I said earlier, the trip coming back from Delhi, India was, hands down, the worse trip of my life. So, let’s talk quickly about my trip to those two countries. I don’t remember anything bad from my trip from San Diego to Seattle. So, let’s talk about the others.

Seattle To Dubai

Here we go again, another 16 hours on a plane. Two rows up from me was a that got on with their daughter who was a toddler. Almost immediately their daughter started to scream before we even took off. Since the flight left in the evening, after dinner, I planned to try to get some sleep in a normal economy seat. 16 hours is a long time to spend in a flying metal tube!

After dinner is when most people start settling down to sleep or watch movies, but not their daughter. Once things started quieting down, she was still screaming. After a while, she finally went to sleep. But, every thirty minutes or so she would wake up and start screaming again. So, it was impossible to get any sleep. I finally gave up and I went back to the galley at the very back of the plane. I spent about 1 ½ hours taking to the flight attendants (I might put this in a future blog post).

I finally went back to my seat, but the daughter was still doing her thing. I think, in the end, I might have gotten a total of one hour of sleep. When we landed, I was wiped out, cranky and sick (from the food Emeritus served)!

Dubai to Mauritius

This flight left over 45 minutes late due to a few people (I assume they were together) got all the way to their seats and then decided they didn’t want to take the flight. What? I’ve never heard of this before. Why go through all the time and security checks to get onto the flight and then not take it? So, just like in the case with the mother who brought her sick daughter on a flight, everything had to stop so the flight attendants could check all the overhead bins and remove their luggage from the cargo hold. I hope these people got fined too for holding up 300 other passengers!

Mauritius to Delhi

The two flights that it took to go from Mauritius to Delhi were full of similar issues with crying babies and rude passengers. On top of that, after I got seated on the flight from Dubai to Delhi, the flight attendant came and asked me if I would change my seat with a woman in the cabin section in front of the one I was in. He stated that she was in the same row as I was (extra legroom) and I could get an aisle seat. I was next to the window and being as tall as I am, that was not comfortable. I asked why she wanted to change to a worse seat and he just shrugged his shoulders. So, I said okay. Once I got to the new seat, I knew why she wanted to change… I got seated next to a couple with a baby. I guess she didn’t want to sit next to them, so I got stuck there.

Rude Passengers

Besides the parents that can’t get their kids to behave, the second biggest issue is a large number of rude passengers! I used to complain about the rudeness of American passengers, until this trip. Not anymore. International passengers are much worse!

On the same flight where the mother and daughter were removed from the flight, I paid more for a seat that had about 8 feet (2.45 meters) of legroom; but unfortunately, it was next to the galley.  For some reason, many passengers choose to stand in front of me as a sort of gathering place (which really irritates me). After dinner, I laid back to get some sleep. I was rudely awakened by a couple, standing in front of me, talking very loudly, and I was wearing noise canceling headphones!

In a calm voice, I asked them to take their conversation to the back of the plane where the main galley was, with lots of room for them to stand around and chat and they wouldn’t bother anyone. The husband went off on me to the point I thought he might get violent. He would not stop yelling at me. How dare I ask them to quiet down so I and the other passengers around me could get some sleep? His wife joined in on the yelling until she finally got him to go back to their seat. Later when I woke up again, he was back (without his wife)! I guess we wanted to get into it again, but I would not engage.

Stop Torturing Your Kids & Other Passengers!

On my trip back and thinking about everything that happened, I thought to myself “Dave, don’t be a hypocrite”. I thought back to when I first took my kids on an airplane. The first trip was to Hawaii and both of my kids were over 5 years old. To me, this should be the age when they are old enough to understand what is going on and won’t be tortured by being trapped in an airplane for up to 16 hours with very little to do!

Heck, I didn’t really look forward to traveling in the car with my kids when they were little. Even that is a lot for babies and toddlers. As a parent with young children, it’s our responsibility to give up things for the sake of our children, like going to see a movie until they are older. It’s our responsibility to give up traveling, for pleasure, until they are older. These are just a few examples. When we become parents, our lives must change for the sake of our kids.

Expecting kids 5 years old and younger to behave on a trip the length of traveling internationally, to me, is a form of torture for them and the other passengers, for many reasons. They can’t properly pop their ears which will cause pain. Their eating and sleeping schedule will be thrown out of whack, even after the trip. They can’t play at all on the plane. If they are old enough, they can watch the entertainment system, but that won’t keep their attention for a long international trip.

Flying internationally will also expose them to all types of sickness, many they might not have built up an immunity to. Even though I try to be careful, I even got sick when I came back from this trip with a type of flu that I never experienced before that lasted over a week and was bad enough that I couldn’t work for most of that time! I even got sick multiple times on this trip due to the gluten-free food on Emeritus which isn’t 100% gluten-free!

The Solution

I have thought up with a few ways that traveling internationally with little kids could be better. First, for a long time, when a crying kid comes on board, I have always thought that the flight attendants should give parents Baby Benadryl. This would never happen in America and part of me doesn’t like the idea, but the frustrated passenger in me wants it to happen.

No One Rides for Free

Most airlines allow kids 2 years and younger to ride for free. This should be stopped!! If you are a passenger, no matter what age, you should have to buy a seat. Especially since most parents I see are very demanding towards the flight attendants (they even told me so and shared some bad stories), so they cost the airline more to deal with and take away time from other passengers.

On this trip, I got the feeling that some of the parents were taking kids on vacation to a different country before they turn 2 years old, so they don’t have to pay. Why would you want to take a child of that age on a trip for pleasure? They won’t remember it, they will just be a burden and limit the things that the parents could do. Why not leave them at home with a family member or babysitter? Not only will the child like it better, but the parents will have more fun! It makes sense to me.

I’ve told a few people this idea and comment I’ve gotten is “The airlines can’t do that”. Oh yes, they can, it’s their airline. If they want to make every passenger pay, they can. Would they lose business? Maybe, but I would guess they would still have full flights due to more people might take a flight because they won’t have to put up with so many distractions. Just try sleeping when there are one or more babies crying at the same time!

Separate Cabins for Different Ages

Since I doubt that any airline will start charging kids under 2 years old to fly and I am an engineer, on the flight back I modified the cabins in the plane in my head. The plane below is like the planes I took this year to India and Mauritius.


International Plane Design

My Redisnged Cabin for International Flights


I propose that the back two cabins of the main deck be separated by soundproof walls and doors. Furthermore, since the airline knows the ages of the passengers during the booking process, the parents with kids 6 and under will be divided up into two groups. One for infant to 2 year old toddlers and the second, 2 to 6 year old. This will keep all the crying babies and younger kids that don’t know how to use their “inside” voice or can’t behave on a very long trip. The cabins should also be loaded from back to front. I’m not sure why more airlines don’t do this.

I like this design and I’m sure all the passenger’s first 2 cabins will greatly appreciate it! Now, this won’t take care of rude passengers, but maybe there will be less of them if they can get some rest on their journey. Worth every penny if you ask me.


Last year I also flew to India and Mauritius (on separate trips) and I do not remember things were this bad. So, in the last year, I have noticed that they have dramatically changed and I’m not sure why. I’m seriously thinking of not ever traveling internationally again, especially on Emeritus.

Since this trip this year, I have talked to a few of my friends about what the reason could be. Some have suggested that it’s the way that the younger parents approach raising kids these days. They have also stated that many families with young kids fly Emeritus since they are cheaper. Not this year, but I have taken other airlines in previous years and I don’t remember it being this bad. But then again, I don’t remember it being this bad last year on Emeritus either. I don’t want to ever take Emeritus again, but now they won’t move my miles earned to Alaska (who I do like)!

I do hope that in the future, I can recover from this PTSD (anxiety) I feel now flying. Do you have an international travel horror story? Please let others know by making a comment below.

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