How do we pay for $14 trillion of debt? Solar is a start

As the United States of America continues to print more and more paper monies with less and less gold backing, inflation is setting in.

Gold now hovers around $1534.78…an ounce!

I don’t mean to be an alarmist, but, people, we need to start saving.

“How?! I can’t give up my Pokemon Battlestar Mansion Masters subscription! I NEED IT TO LIVE!”

Fine, fine. You have the right to spend your money as you wish for those certain…necessities…but to get down to it, we need to make Smart Investments, folks.

Normal gas and electric energy costs are not going to drop anytime soon. Didn’t you hear, it’s blazing hot outside!  It’s the JUNE BROIL.

OPEC is fickle and unrest in the Middle East….rest?!? Is anyone sleeping well these days? ( sleeping ideas).

“So, Where do I make these smart investments? I don’t know much about the Stock Market…don’t ride bulls and can’t stand bears”.

I understand, we ain’t all cowgirls and bearboys….. you don’t need the stock market. A smart investment is, i.e., spending a bit more money on a well crafted pair of leather gloves that last three times longer than cheap plastic ones, in the long run saving you money. OR becoming energy independent. Drill your own oil wells!

Well, maybe not that, but you could invest in a Hybrid vehicle. In the long run, saving you money.

Let’s continue with energy. This video was shot in Texas after a homeowner decided to make a smart investment in Solar panels for their home. They had 60-70% REDUCTION in their electric bill.

Investing in Solar Energy saves you money: (exerts from The Department of Energy)

Consumers who purchase and install specific products, such as energy-efficient windows, insulation, doors, roofs, and heating and cooling equipment in existing homes can receive a tax credit for 30% of the cost, up to $1,500, for improvements “placed in service” starting January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2010. See’s Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiencyfor a complete summary of energy efficiency tax credits available to consumers.

Consumers who install solar energy systems (including solar water heating and solar electric systems), small wind systems, geothermal heat pumps, and residential fuel cell and microturbine systems can receive a 30% tax credit for systems placed in service before December 31, 2016; the previous tax credit cap no longer applies.”

Also, check out other innovative money saving products, like the Short Belt. No longer do you have to choose between fashion and function…you can sacrifice both. Just kidding, just kidding. Like solar grills, solar ovens, wind-up flashlights/radios.

This is all harkening back a previous post from this year and the notion of…Independence. This is about independence from unruly circumstance, from government, from distant wars, from the motives whispered behind closed doors. Independence to sustain the chase of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

So, as the money begins to fall like the leaves, do not fear. Take action. Claim your energy independence!

I’ll see you next week.

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A restaurant with no roof, no walls, no wait staff. Just the Sun in the European sky

If you plan a trip to Europe within the next year, hunt down the Lupin Kulta Solar Kitchen Restaurant and experience something fresh and healthy and innovative!

This kitchen is not in the trendy part of town, the rich and inflatedly fabulous won’t be snapping at waiters or delicately nibbling on foie gras in an almond dust, and you won’t see decorative ancient paintings hanging from walls…cause there are none. This restaurant is outside. Under the sun and clouds and filled with the ambient music of the wind in the trees.

Run by world-acclaimed Catalan designer Martí Guixé and Finnish food visionary Antto Melasniemi and all of the food is cooked by the SUN. Their kitchen’s arsenal is composed entirely of only solar ovens…Plus they are always very stylish. Culinary fashionistas.  Watch.

WARNING: Just eat the vegetables…sparingly.

This is an exciting endeavor put forth by Lupin Kulta. Exciting because it is taking the all too generalized concepts of ALTERNATIVE ENERGY, CARBON FREE/SOLAR/HEALTHY/COST EFFICIENT COOKING, and making it something tangible…and tasty. From Form to Function.

Remember, having worked as a waitress for a short bit in my past, I am well aware that in Europe it is not customary to tip….so when you visit these traveling hot boxes over seas, just understand the service is included! However, with the chef’s cooking and serving their bold, fresh creations to you by hand, I’d dare to be the “typical” American and leave behind something extra for them. ‘Cause it’s still really cool.

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Love to grill? Help us out, fill out a survey.

An important part in the development of every new product is figuring out what the customer wants. This is done in a variety of ways including market research, focus groups, surveys and interviews. With this information a company can design the product to the customers specifications.

In an effort to better understand our market (and hopefully future customers), we are performing a basic survey.

Please help us out and fill out this 5 minute survey! Click on the link below:

Apple and Coca-Cola are two prime examples of success and failure in understanding the customer.

Apple’s iPod was a huge success in the mid 2000’s with its sleek design and novel circular wheel button.

Other the other hand, Coca-Cola’s “New Coke” was a huge bust as customers were comforted by the longstanding taste and tradition of original coke.

Thanks for your contribution towards helping us design the best solar grill!

Images from and

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Wanna Work with Batman?


You look impatient...

It’s time to talk about time…

I’m sure you love reading all these blog entries about solar cooking and grilling and earth day and fun little recipes and such, but I know you are saying, “I follow you cause I’m interested in something else…..what about the grill?!”

Good question.

Where is the CharSOL grill? The summer is here and the sun is calling my name…”JORdan..JOOOOOORRRRdan…bring the grill before me to cook your food!” And I wish to obey, but…where is the grill.


Okay, okay! I’ll tell you, but you can’t tell anyone. NO ONE!

It’s in a super secret laboratory somewhere in the continental US being worked on by BATMAN so that it doubles as a hovercraft/escape grill. I’m not allowed to show you any pictures at this time, but it will be awesome.

No way!

Yes way. I met him.

I think Mark and Pat are also helping him out; working to make it more efficient as a grill. Quicker heat up and cool down times, more even distribution of heat, (perhaps a small backup propane system to help out when the sun takes time off). Believe me, kid, it’s well worth the wait. I will let you know when I get to see it.

This is the summer it’s going to be tested. We are looking for brave volunteers. Would you like to test it? Are you interested in trying it out? You have to have really good balance, know a little about lift vs drag and rotation and bring your own beverage….I’ll bring the burgers. Does this fit you? Email me and we’ll begin the background check/security clearance procedures right away.

Thanks for your patience, good-fellows. Enjoy the sunshine.

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Recipes that THRILL!

Today is gorgeous outside!  70 degrees, not a cloud in sight and a cool breeze. Let’s grill!

Here is a list of some quick grilling recipes to spice up your get-togethers…unless you’re like my mom and always grill burgers…well done…cooking temp, that is.

In honor of the 20ft Great White Monster recently sighted off of coast of Martha’s Vineyard

…let’s grill up some SHARK!!!

Grilled Shark With Grill Sauce

Mako steaks
Mako…not Great White, but still a big fish!


2 pounds shark steaks
– or other firm-fleshed fish
2 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic — minced
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup catsup


Rinse shark with cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Set aside. In medium saucepan, melt butter. Add onion and garlic; sauté‚ until tender but not browned. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat. Baste shark with sauce. Place on well-greased grate 4-5 inches from hot coals and cook 4-5 minutes. Baste and turn; cook an additional 4-5 minutes, or until shark flakes when tested with a fork. Makes 6 servings. NOTE: Shark may be grilled on a well-greased grill pan 5-6 inches from source of heat. Follow grilling times and directions.

In honor of the Navy SEALs Team 6 (DevGru) that recently visited the cowardly, mass murdering bum in the midst of Abbottabad, Pakistan…let’s grill up some Opossum!

Grilled (then baked) Opossum

Baked opossum with sweet potatoes

  • Pen the opossum up in a cage
  • Feed him corn for a week
  • Skin and dress him
  • Toss on grill for about 15 min
  • Place him in a deep pan
  • Place potatoes around him
  • Cut onion on top of him
  • Pour water around him half way up
  • Place lid on pan and bake for 1 hour at 350
  • Serve on a platter with potatoes.

Simple…and apparently only for male opossum.

And lastly, RATTLESNAKE  (one of my personal favorites)

Grilled rattlesnake is a common meal out on the range in Texas. Tastes like chicken


Season meat, coil and place on piece of foil large enough to wrap tightly (or use one of those new foil cooking bags). Slice a few pats of butter around meat & seal foil. Double wrap is recommended. Place on grill & cook turning occassionally, for about 20 minutes. When meat is done, it will pull off in strips like a curly q.

That’s all, folks! Now head outside, gather up your neighbors, grill up some varmints and enjoy the feast! You’re sure to impress with these great recipes…and your solar grill.

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License Agreement made with Columbia University

CharSOL Grill has recently reached a license agreement with Columbia University. The agreement is a typical “know-how license” in which the company is free to use the knowledge it gained from Columbia’s facilities and laboratories.

This agreement is a large step forward for CharSOL Grill as it becomes an officially recognized Columbia Portfolio company. Both myself and Mark Lombardi (CharSOL Grill, Co-Founder) and very excited about the agreement. The agreement starts what should be a very interesting summer for the team.

An interesting note, the idea of the CharSOL Grill did not originate at Columbia, but much of the knowledge and expertise were gained from the senior design project. This is a course taught but once of the fabulous faculty members at Columbia Professor Fred Stolfi. Check out other design projects at the Senior Design Capstone website.

One of my favorite design projects, albeit maybe not very practical,  was the “Frisbee Launcher”. Check it out:

Anyways, thanks to all those that supported the effort in the license agreement, including the Science and Technology Ventures (STV) office at Columbia and the staff and faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia.

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If Texas secedes…

we’ll certainly know who to turn to for light! Check out this guy living in Terlingua, Texas.

A typical night on John Wells' Terlingua, Texas homestead

This is a fascinating article about a city-slicker who, on a whim, packed up and headed out to the middle of nowhere Texas to live completely off the land…and sky.
His blog keeps updates on his struggles and small successes, the relationships he builds with the community and the land.

I guarantee we would get a rowdy and heart-felt “Yeehaw” out of Mr. Wells if we brought our Solar powered grill to his doorstep. Fully powered by the sun, efficient, clean, reliable. It’d be his pride and joy…although I don’t know if his cattle would take too kindly to it.

Check it out for yourself and tell us if you think it could stand up to the harsh heat and dust and pride Texas dishes out. This just may be the boost in confidence that serves as the catalyst for Texas’ run for independance!
…or just a really great grill.

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