Friday, March 4, 2016

No such thing as ‘too much ketchup’ when it comes to meatloaf

Certain food pairings belong together. Peanut butter and jelly. Pancakes and maple syrup. Popcorn and coconut oil (seriously). And ketchup and meatloaf.

Growing up in a house where the title of the meatloaf card in my mother’s recipe box literally says “Best Meatloaf in Town,” ketchup was a staple of the recipe, as well as an appropriate garnish for the finished product. There was no way you could slather on too much of the stuff.

But apparently the “judges” on Chopped – the popular cooking competition show on Food Network – disagree, as viewers found out in a recent episode. (*Spoilers to follow*)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A big bet on a camera aimed at you

If you don’t work in front of a camera now, you may soon. I say that because a Chicago private-equity firm just bought Lytx for $500 million – almost the entire U.S. government budget in 1900.

Lytx is a safety and compliance outfit that puts cameras in trucks. They also sell the software that analyses what the cameras and other sensors record. Their in-truck camera business has been growing like mad. Last year, the company claims, they signed up 365 new fleets for a total customer list of approximately 1,500 fleets.

Many Lytx-equipped fleets are private carriers, governments, and non-transportation companies. Some are in the U.K. But Lytx is making serious inroads among U.S. commercial truckload and dedicated fleets. For example NFI and Dart are customers, according to the Lytx website.

Last year, Lytx says, they signed up well-known truckload carriers such as Transport America and Crete Carriers among others. But the new customer that caught the investment firm’s eye was probably Swift Transportation.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Knights of the Road are back with a vengeance in ‘Brotherhood of the Wheel’

There was a time when it wasn't uncommon for truckers to be referred to as “Knights on the Road.” But what if they were actual knights who protected travelers not just from bandits and highwaymen, but from monsters and demons?

That’s the premise of The Brotherhood of the Wheel, a new urban fantasy novel from acclaimed author R.S. Belcher. In the novel, an offshoot of the Knights Templar – made up of truckers, bikers, taxi hacks, state troopers, bus drivers and RV gypsies – still guards the roads. They call themselves “The Brotherhood of the Wheel.”

The book, which is went on sale March 1 from science fiction and fantasy publisher Tor, focuses on independent trucker Jesse James “Jimmy” Aussapile, a member of the Brethren, a branch of the Brotherhood tasked with guarding the roads and the people who travel them.

In a phone interview with Land Line, Belcher talked about his inspiration for the novel and his childhood fascination with trucking.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Technology secondary to brains, instincts

During a truck driver’s attempt to make a right turn onto a narrow street, a tractor-trailer knocked down a stop sign and hit a portal post on Saturday in downtown Santa Fe, N.M.

According to the report from the Albuquerque Journal, the mishap was at least partly caused by the driver’s decision to follow GPS, which didn’t take into account that the directed street was too narrow for a tractor-trailer. The full story and pictures can be found here.

The incident serves as an excellent reminder that the navigation system is a tool, but not the solution. A hammer is an excellent tool to build a house, but a hammer alone is not going to get the job done. The same message applies to when using GPS.