Thursday, December 29, 2011

From Gino's Kitchen

Venison Stew With Mushrooms:
You will need:
2-3 lbs of Venison
Salt and Pepper
a few slices of crispy Bacon
2-3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 large Onion
2-3 Carrots
Garlic, 1-2 cloves
Flour, a really large four-finger pinch should do
2/3 cup of Sherry, or a real dry red wine
Fresh Thyme
12 oz Beef Broth
Mushrooms, maybe 3/4 lb or so
Balsamic Vinagar, just a splash

A Crockpot
A Skillet

Cook the bacon til it's nice and crispy. Remove from skillet, crumble it up and set aside for later.

Season the venison with salt and pepper, add the olive oil to the skillet with the bacon drippings.

Brown the venison a handful at a time in the oil and drippings, and transfer to the crockpot.

Slice the onion, carrots and garlic; place in the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes while stirring.

Sprinkle the flour over the skillet veggies, stir some more, and transfer it all to the crockpot.

Add the wine to the skillet, bring to a boil and cook, scraping away all the brown bits stuck to the pan (this is called deglazing). After a minute or two, pour all this into the crockpot.

Chop the Thyme, about a Tablespoon, add to the crockpot along with the beef broth.

Stir it all up. It'll look like this:

Cover and cook on low setting for a very long time. This is a good time to just walk away and go see that 2 1/2 hour Warhorse movie....

After about 5-6 hours, slice up the mushrooms and add to the pot with the crumbled bacon.

Now is good time to enjoy a couple of heavy beers and a light nap.

After about 3hrs, return to the pot and check the venison. If it's tender enough to cut with a fork, it's done.

Splash a little balsamic and stir.

Serve over rice or egg noodles.
It looks like this:

You wish you were me right now, cause that's how good it is.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Based on a children's book, Steven Speilberg takes us on a journey through the sweeping English countryside and across war torn France following the adventures of a majestic and gifted horse.

Named 'Joey' by the English teen who trained him as a farm horse, he is soon sold to the British army at the outbreak of WWI and turned into a Warhorse.
War is a brutal and deadly undertaking, placing Joey in the hands of several different handlers (A British calvary officer, A French farmer, German artillery gunners... you get the drift), all of whom are touched by his awesomeness in some emotionally driven way.

So much of what is produced today is full of overdone digital effects that it is a treat to see a film this year that was actually filmed, and the film work was top notch.

It's a feel-good movie with a lot of feel-not-so-good moments sewn together. I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Take

Whether the Broncos win or lose, God is still God, Tim Tebow will be a decent human being, and Bill Mahr will always be an asshole.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Was gonna come up with a really cool Christmas posting but instead I'll just say:

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas.
May the next year bring you increased joy and prosperity.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Man Cannot Live On Broth Alone

Carb and calorie free pasta?
Shirataki noodles from Japan contain zero calories and zero carbs and are gaining a following amongst flab fighters around the country as a miracle alternative to traditional pasta.
I've tried these at a ramen house last fall. The is texture is gelatinous, as it says. Very similar to bean thread/glass noodles with more plasticity. I was never quite sure if my chewing had any effect on them as I pictured a pile of unbroken noodles sitting in my stomach.

Though I didn't experience their reputation for stomach brooming, I was just as hungry when I left the restaurant as I was when I entered. Imagine that... a large soup bowl of ramen that wasn't there.
A new experience for me, and a waste of money.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Lot Of Green

Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen have a built a super green dream home. Gisele is a United Nations Ambassador for the Environment, (or something like that). This is why...
Bundchen declared she had the home built with solar energy, energy-saving lighting, rainwater recovery systems, waste reduction and recycling programs, energy-efficient appliances and sustainable building materials...
I'm sure these are good things, and environmentalists at the UN will be very pleased with their ambassador because nothing says 'conservation' quite like 22,000 square feet, a huge swimming pool, and six car garage built for a family of three.

I will never cast stones upon the privilege and excess brought on by honest success. Still, I have to wonder what it is about seemingly normal dudes who get wealthy and think they need a wine cellar in their home? Peasant farmers in Calabria have wine cellars. Wine storage does not impress me.
I'd rather install a brewery.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Off The Cuff...

One-third of young U.S. adults have been arrested according to a study...
Close to one in three American teens and young adults get arrested by age 23, according to a new study that finds more of them are being booked now than in the 1960s.

Those arrests are for everything from underage drinking and petty theft to violent crime, researchers said. They added that the increase might not necessarily reflect more criminal behavior in youth, but rather a police force that's more apt to arrest young people than in the past....

...Robert Brame of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and his colleagues analyzed data from a nationally-representative youth survey conducted between 1997 and 2008.

A group of more than 7,000 adolescents age 12 to 16 in the study's first year filled out the annual surveys with questions including if and when they had ever been arrested.

Back in the day, most of my crowd had been taken into custody for one thing or another, and almost all were released without charges within hours or over night.
It almost became a badge of honor, a way to establish your cred if such cred was in doubt.
At one point, there was a "Honor Roll" at my employer of the time, Domino's Pizza. It listed the employees who had been arrested while going to, from, or on the job... and included half the crew and most of the drivers. It was in jest, really. We in the shop had a good time ribbing each other over it til the proprietor took it down.

This is why I think this study is largely skewed. You can't ask teens in a questionnaire about something that they want you to believe is true about them and expect results of integrity worth publishing.

Sure, most of us had been arrested. But not every teen is running around town throughout the night. For every kid who's out in the streets, there are 4-5 at home with their parents, shut in their room listening to music, reading a book... or something else lame like that.

I know some who were never actually arrested. Instead, they were cuffed and detained while their car was rifled through, to be released after the harassment was over. Afterwards they say "Yeah, well that counts don't it?" Largely making my point above as per establishing cred.
That, and it was almost entirely a guy thing. Cops didn't arrest girls unless they had to. Even if they were dealing with a mixed group, it was more likely to involve boys cuffed and sitting to the side while the girls were left uncuffed for their interrogation.
Take out that 50% of the sample that is female and there is no way to logically reach the results of 30% the study is claiming.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


(taken from a friend's posting on Facebook)

*edited to add: feel free to watch this. totally SFW. not a sexy thing, but sensuality in depends on the viewer. This gal's grace and athleticism is amazing.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Much About Nothing

The Keystone pipeline is in our news. At first, i thought this was some new super-grand totally bitchin thing, like the Alaska Pipeline, that was going to create a whole new economy unto itself.
To hear some of the right-wing talkers, you'd think that's what it is.
It's not.

I did some research. Not very difficult research either cause 80% of what I now know was found on Wikipedia page.

A few things:
--The Keystone is has not only been built, but most of it is already online, and has been for nearly a year. Over 1300 miles of it in the United States, delivering it's product to Oklahoma and two locations in Illinois.

--The big "Keystone" in question is an extension of the already existing system, Phase 3, delivering it's product into Texas; combined with additional pipeline capacity running the equivilant length of the already existing line from Alberta, Phase4.This is actually known as "Keystone XL", and not merely Keystone.

--The new section of pipeline runs right through the Ogallala Aquifer, a major source of groundwater for eight states. An oil spill here (like a broken gushing pipe) would be a rather inconveniently bad thing, but it can be safeguarded against without too much difficulty.

All this sets the stage for a super primo election year issue that, if played right, is sure to push a few buttons with 'right' partisans.

The GOP is trying to force Obama to 'make a decision', one in which he cannot win. The Enviros want to protect the ground water. That is a worthy cause. But the groundwater protection issue was already taken care of for the most part when they built the existing infrastructure. The know-how is there and it will be applied.

I believe many of the those who receive the monthly news letters are not aware of the fact that substantial quantities of the hated oil is already traipsing over the groundwater as these are also oil producing regions. Phase 4 should be of minor concern, and certainly not big enough to hold a presidency hostage over.

If Obama approves the "XL", he will lose the support of these enviros who have already been activated by their leadership.
If he denies, he will face the charge by the GOP that he is against providing energy to the economy and be blamed for the high price of gas.

Either choice will hurt him, so he says that he will make a decision 'after the election'. This just further exposes him. From what I can see, he's already lost the issue at the ballot box.

Meanwhile, there are those politicians on the right claiming that if we don't build a pipeline from Canada, China will come along and take 'our' oil. Hey, there is a pipeline from Canada.

But it's a non-issue. The pipeline will be completed. There is too much money at stake for the right the people for it to not happen.
Yeah, it makes for good soundbites, but soundbites are normally emotion-feeding bullshit that hides facts and gets hucksters elected.

The only real question the voters need to ask, and demand an answer for, is how many politicians and their family members will benefit monetarily from it.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Can The Season Get Worse?

You already have heard by now: Sam Hurd, WR for the Chicago Bears was caught in an undercover sting negotiating to buy 5-7 kilo of cocaine and 100 pounds of weed every week, intending to set up a distribution ring in the Chicago area.
(Needless to say, he's now an Ex-Chicago Bear, having been waived earlier today.)

Whatever the numbers are, that's a lot of drugs. I suspect he'll be going away for a very loooong time.

What gets me:
This dude was making over $1 million a year. He was already rich, and his future after football was most likely going to be comfortable.
Why the hell would he want to throw it all away?

The latest I've read is his attorneys denying reports of a 'double-digit' list of present NFL players he was distributing to.
There's a list. There's not a list....
I don't know if there is a list or not, but if there is, I hope it contains all Packers players. (Preferably, from the Offense first-string plus Clay Matthews. I can dream can't I?)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christopher Hitchens

He pissed off a lot of people with his writings, but isn't that role of an intellectual? To challenge us in our thoughtful laziness? I learned something every time I read him.
He will be missed.

Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. His matchless prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, when he was named contributing editor.

“Cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic,” Hitchens wrote nearly a year ago in Vanity Fair, but his own final labors were anything but: in the last 12 months, he produced for this magazine a piece on U.S.-Pakistani relations in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, a portrait of Joan Didion, an essay on the Private Eye retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a prediction about the future of democracy in Egypt, a meditation on the legacy of progressivism in Wisconsin, and a series of frank, graceful, and exquisitely written essays in which he chronicled the physical and spiritual effects of his disease. At the end, Hitchens was more engaged, relentless, hilarious, observant, and intelligent than just about everyone else—just as he had been for the last four decades.

“My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends,” he wrote in the June 2011 issue. He died in their presence, too, at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. May his 62 years of living, well, so livingly console the many of us who will miss him dearly.

Prince or street sweeper, we all dance with the Grim Reaper.
May God rest his soul.

Debate Notes

I finally did it. Clenching my gut, I sat down and actually watched a GOP presidential primary debate. The whole thing. I justified it by reminding myself that Megyn Kelly would be one of the moderators, and she's hawt.

I come away with the following impressions:

Jon Huntsman: If you can listen to him, he's got some credible things to say and he appears to know what he's talking about. Unfortunately for him, his lack of stage presence overwhelms his well-crafted body language, perfect hair, nice tie and whatever it is that he just said.

Michelle Bachmann: At one point I thought she was going to leave her podium and slap Ron Paul over his "Israel" position.
Thinks she's running for the Davidic Throne. Somebody box this meshuggeneh up and ship her to Israel. No, forget that... ship her ass to the West Bank and see how she likes living with the Israeli boot on the back of her head.
If I never hear from her again, it would be too soon. Which is surprising even to me, as I've met so many fine folks in Minnesota it's hard to believe that she represents some of them.

Rick Perry: How can somebody who is actually a smart guy with an honest education combined with real world experience come off so stupidly? It's like W.2.0, and I am tired of hearing about Texas as an answer to every question.
Calling yourself "The Tebow" of the caucus' doesn't exactly endear you to us Chicago Bears fans, so Fuck You!
And dude, drop the bright red tie. It hurts the eyes.

Newt Gingrich: Did you know that he was a college professor who wrote lots of books, is an expert in military history and he's really, really smart and knows a lot shit that you don't?
He'll kick President Obama's ass in any debate, but the debates are televised, and he'll just come off as the biggest and smartest asshole in the room. A majority will not vote for an asshole.

Mitt Romney: He plays well on stage, wore the best tie and his hair is second only to Huntsman. He's the best prepared for the job he's running for than all the others who seek it. He brings a strength and know-how in economic matters that the nation desperately needs right now.

Ron Paul: He reminds me a lot of my buddy's father back when I was a teen. A high school dropout from rural South Carolina, Citadel Alumnus, and a straight shooter. He was nobody's fool, and made a fucking fortune in sales and business.
We'd sit around the bar (yes, he had a fully stocked bar in the house). We'd drink tequila. And Mr. Donohue would tell us the facts of life and take the time to explain to us how this world really worked.
We laughed and scoffed at some of his wisdomisms, only to find out later how wise he really was.
But Mr. Donohue didn't have fake eyebrows that looked like they were ready to spin a cocoon around his head any minute now.

Rick Santorum: He reminds me of the class president my senior year: The arrogant prick who's car I dumped manure on while some of my friends pissed on his door handles (there is a story there). I would have rather punched him in the face, but he was bigger than me.

Megyn Kelly: She's hawt.


Inspired by Brian's recent post...
We do not need tens of thousands of troops in Europe. We do not need to prevent China's rise, but to accommodate it as prudently as possible. We do need to get out of the Middle East to the maximum extent and return our relationship with Israel to one between individual nations, with different interests and common ideals, not some divine compact between two Zions. We do need a lighter, more focused, more lethal war against Jihadism - but this cannot ever again mean occupying countries we do not understand and cannot control. I suspect every other Republican would launch a war against Iran. Paul wouldn't. That alone makes a vote for him worthwhile.

Breaking the grip of neoconservative belligerence on conservative thought and the Republican party could make space again for more reasoned and seasoned managers of foreign policy...

From Andrew Sullivan's endorsement of Ron Paul.

Monday, December 12, 2011

All-American Stupidity

You've no doubt heard about it by now.
A decision by retail giant Lowe's Home Improvement to pull ads from a reality show
about American Muslims following protests from an evangelical Christian group
has sparked criticism and calls for a boycott against the chain.

The retailer stopped advertising on TLC's "All-American Muslim" after a conservative group known as the Florida Family Association complained, saying the program was "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."

It seems to me that among all that tooling, hardware and fixtures the cowardly bastards at Lowe's were unable to find a pair of steel balls.

Instead, they offer up this excuse:

"Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lightning rod for many of those views," the statement said. "As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance."

I wouldn't expect a consumer relations department to tell flatly tell bible waving bigots to go pound sand, but maybe a "We respect all aspects of an honest marketplace" or something like that.
Instead, they effectively told millions of American Muslims to pound sand, instead. I will be boycotting Lowe's along with my Muslim friends and neighbors. Too bad for me as I preferred Lowe's over Home Depot, and will now have to drive another 10 minutes to do my shopping in a store where I can never find what I'm looking for after dodging a phalanx of eager Mexicans asking for work.

A *friend sums it best when he wrote on Facebook...

You know, Lowe's can spend their ad budget however they like. I am frankly less bothered by the decision that they've made here than the reality that it reflects: they are more concerned about losing the business of bigots than they are about losing the business of American Muslims (and their friends and neighbors who give a shit).

Which suggests to me that there are an awful lot of bigots buying lumber and light fixtures. And not enough people who give a shit.
I hope he's wrong on the last part.

*I'll attribute when quoting from another blog. Blogs are fully public writings. Facebook is not, and I want to respect the limited audience Facebook allows those who broadcast their opinions on it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Bloodletting Starts

Now it starts getting interesting as the GOP establishment and opinion drivers start the anti-Newt campaign.

Peggy Noonan, who is as party establishment as it gets unless she "hanging on for dear life" endorsing Barrack Obama four years ago does a pretty good job here of spelling out Newt's faults...
That's the problem with Newt Gingrich: It's all true...

...Ethically dubious? True. Intelligent and accomplished? True. Has he known breathtaking success and contributed to real reforms in government? Yes. Presided over disasters? Absolutely. Can he lead? Yes. Is he erratic and unreliable as a leader? Yes. Egomaniacal? True. Original and focused, harebrained and impulsive—all true.
Go ahead and read the rest. There is a lot there.

As if that is not enough, Anne Coulter thrusts a dagger of her own, twists it a few times and supplies this money quote...
Newt Gingrich is the "anti-Establishment" candidate only if "the Establishment" is defined as "anyone who remembers what happened the day before yesterday."

This may get to be really entertaining in the coming weeks. Pass the Jiffy Pop.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Anaheim Curse

The big splash round these parts is the recent signing of Albert Pujols by the Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim.
Team owner Art Moreno continues his quest for a World Series Championship by throwing big money into the hunt.
The deal for Pujols is unprecedented in Angels history and in a rare class for Major League Baseball. The 10-year commitment that will pay Pujols at least $250 million is approximately $70 million more than Arte Moreno paid for the franchise when he purchased the Angels from the Disney Company in 2003.
Wow. $25 million a year for ten years, for a slugger who should be hitting his downside long before the contract runs out.
To add, I think it fitting that Moreno paid so much for a last name that sounds very much like my nickname for him.

I'm calling it now: It won't work.

I placed a curse upon the Angels when Moreno decided he wanted to give the team a Los Angeles identity after taking millions of dollars from Anaheim's taxpayers in exchange for naming rights.
The Angels will be frustrated every year that they continue to be a Los Angeles team.
No more World Series titles for them until they make it right. That is my curse.
Nobody believed me then, but I make sure to remind my heart broken Angelphile friends every October.

Lastly, I hope Mr. Pujols enjoys his time in one of the best places to live on earth, but I advise him not to start counting all of his money just yet. Moreno has a record of breaking contractual obligations and getting away with it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Real Scandal

You see that picture to the right??? What does it show?
I'll tell ya: that is the USS Arizona blowing up in Pearl Harbor.
You know who is on that ship?
1,177 American Sailors and Marines, trapped below decks, dying at the very moment this photo is taken.

These are not just servicemen. Every serviceman is more than just a disposable tool of United States foreign policy, to be 'remembered' on certain days out of a sense of respect.

Because before they were tools of disposal they were the beloved sons of parents, the beloved brothers of American sisters. They were fathers, nephews and uncles.
My grade school principal, Sister Maureen, lost a brother on the Arizona. His name is etched on the walls on the memorial. When I saw it for myself the whole thing suddenly became real... it was then that I really started to understand why our daily nun-led prayers began with a prayer for peace, first and foremost before all other things were mentioned or asked for.
These nuns saw the other side of peace and lived to teach about it, Sister Maureen especially.

This "Day of Infamy" lies large in the collective American memory, and for good reason. Very few of us 'remember Pearl Harbor'. But everyone of us remembers that we were taught to do so. So we do, because we want to be good Americans.

At first glance, it does seem kinda humorous how the private school the Obama Daughters attend has chosen to serve Japanese food on Pearl Harbor Day.
It's non-starter, and should not have even been written about for what somebody might want you to think it is, for there is no scandel here.

Let us look at the menu offerings:

Asian Mushroom Soup: the only time I've seen something like this was at a Chinese restaurant.
Oriental Noodle Salad: an American invention
Classic Spinach Salad: never seen this at a Jap joint either
Teriyaki Marinated Chicken Strips: ever been to Hawaii? this is about as native there as fried chicken in Georgia, and likely enjoyed regularly by our *African-born president while growing up.
Szechuan Tofu & Veggies: 'Szechuan' refers to a regional/culinary style in China. Duh.
Garlic Roasted Edamame: I ate this growing up in the All-American city of Gardena
Vegetable Fried Rice: Again, China.
Fortune Cookies: another American thing.

Looks to me like America and it's China ally are well represented on this most patriotic day of remembrance.

Now, let us pause for a moment to remember Pearl harbor, those who were sacrificed there, and in it's aftermath...
OK, the moment is over.
You done yet?
Next, I want you think long and hard about whether we need to continue in a foreign policy brain fart that makes such things required.
Are your children and grandchildren worth it?
Mine aren't.

*NO! I do not believe our president was born in Africa. It was a lame joke, ok????

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ron Paul is running some bitchin ads in Iowa. Here's a sample.

edit: quote taken from a response thread, and spot on, too:
"Second, Newt is a smart guy, and at the same time a total hypocrite. He says all the right things a conservative would say, but doesn't really mean half of it."

Yep, just like every other Neocon who votes a loyal GOP. He's perfect for them.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Because It's Football Season

And somebody just can't stand to be out of the news.

Friday, December 2, 2011


...that shit like this is still possible today.

A small Kentucky church has chosen to ban marriages and even some worship services for interracial couples. The Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, located in Pike County, made the vote in response to a longtime member who is engaged to a man whose birthplace is in Zimbabwe.

Have they never heard of bad press before?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kirkland Small Batch

What? Costco is making bourbon? Not hardly. From the info on the bottle, I guessed it is relabeled Jim Beam product, since Beam is the only distiller located in Clermont, Kentucky and 'Clear Spring Distilling Company' is what they often use when masking themselves.

But just what product could it be? Calling itself Small Batch and Aged 7 years I was thinking Knob Creek. I'm not familiar with Knob Creek (yet), but I've heard some good things about it. Knob Creek is 8yr bourbon, so it can't be a straight rebranding, and why would Beam undercut one of their better products this way?
I'm guessing it may be some of the Knob Creek product that wasn't aging to expectations, and decided to offer it up to the big box retailer at a steep discount.

One thing can be said about Costco's house branding: they always deliver good value. Not necessarily the finest quality, but always much better quality than you can normally get for the price. Knowing this, I took a bottle home.

The pour: Alcohol content is readily present in the nose. This stuff is pretty strong at 103 proof. It takes a while to sense some caramel, vanilla and a little bit of clove in the background.

Fairly smooth across the tongue, leaving traces of vanilla, corn and oak, a little burnt sugar and a strong annoying burn in the back.

Happily, the burn doesn't linger.

Like Jim Beam's flagship label, it reminds me of southern iced tea. I am not a fan of southern-style iced tea.

Overall, not a bad bottle of bourbon, but it's missing the complex subtleties I expect from a pricier offering: the way the tingle, sweet, heat and burn meet to a complimentary experience.

I would place this one just a little above standard Jim Beam, though, and at a great price: $19.99 for 1 litre.
Yeah, that's right. It's one full litre as opposed to the standard 750ml for bourbons. This is where Kirkland delivers its value, because it's not in the product this time around. It's good enough.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An Outrage

Muslims outraged by claim of fake halal meat

Last week, the Orange County D.A.'s office announced that it had obtained a $527,000 settlement against Anaheim Super King Market, at 10500 Magnolia Ave., after investigators determined that the market was incorrectly advertising and selling generic meat and mixed meats as halal.

Located just a few blocks from where I was living, I had shopped at Super King several times, but I had never bought meat there. Their meat counter more closely resembled a Mexican meat counter, and I generally do not trust carnecerias for cleanliness and quality. The immediate neighborhood was mostly Mexican anyway, and there appeared to a lot of catering to that ethnic segment of the realm as well...

I much preferred to buy my beef, chicken and occasional lamb at a specialised Halal butcher located a neighborhood over, in the center of the Little Gaza district. The place was clean and looked it, the meat fine quality, and Mohamed was always happy to see me. You'll pay a little more for halal, but it's worth it.

And that is what was different about Super King: the prices were not proper Halal prices. It still costs more than the standard meats, but not as much as I was expecting. My assumption was that the meat was maybe not as fresh or something like that, which kept the pricing a little below scale. It never occurred to me that this merchant would be dastardly enough to screw his Muslim base. (the merchant, I was told long ago, was an Armenian ethnic, not a Muslim, and had long ties to the hood through other Middle Eastern grocery markets.)

Calling meat halal indicates that it was slaughtered in a specific way, in accordance with Islamic Law.
"I'm shocked by it. My whole family is very disappointed," said Sam Chouche, 23, of Anaheim who shopped at the store. "It specifies in the Quran that you must eat meat in a certain way, that you shouldn't eat meat killed inhumanely. It's our faith."

It's not wise to piss off your Muslim base. I recon Super King will be out of business before long, and rightfully so.

"We just cannot believe this," said Shakeel Ahmed of Anaheim. "It's very disgusting, and all (of my) family is very upset – so upset that we throw up and cry."

This is a typical Muslim response when they've discovered they have unknowingly eaten something unclean. I know Muslims who are so emotionally conditioned that they become physically sickened at the thought, and are prone to uncontrollable vomiting. I've seen this myself.

The settlement money doesn't go to individual victims, because it would be too difficult to determine who exactly was victimized, a D.A.'s spokeswoman has said. Instead, the money goes into a fund to help prosecute fraud cases.

I am damn glad that they popped this asshole of a merchant, but I disagree with the D.A. here. We may not know the names of every individual victim in this case, but we don't need to because this is not merely a crime against individuals, but an assault upon an entire ethnic community. And a pleasantly valuable community at that, one that has kept a entire business district of the county humming along nicely with few crime and social issues.

We don't need their names because we already know where they hang out: at any one of half a dozen mosques in the area. I think justice would be better served if that $527,000 were divided up among them, right there, where they worship and pray.
What will happen when the Euro finally collapses and those with Euros in their pocket or bank, which by that moment will be just the working classes, find out that they have nothing?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fantastical Bullshit

I finally received the statement I had been waiting for.

One day plus a few hours totals up to $53,628. This is just the bill from the hospital.

There are a few other smaller ones from The Lab Guy (less than $200) and the Anesthesia Guy ($2700).

I don't normally recieve an actual itemized statement.

I imagine that I have the right to them if I requested it, which I think I will do, if for no other reason than my personal amusement.

There are some questions:
Why am I being charged for Intensive Care. I was never in Intensive Care (not this time, anyway? Three years ago I was ICU for seven days.)

What drugs did I take that costed $3,070? I don't remember shooting up that many times.

I was in the Recovery Room for several hours. This was not my issue but theirs because they didn't have a regular room available yet. Am I being charged for all of that time?

The big kick in the ass: Operating Room... $29,900. I was in O.R. for about 4 hours. I would really like to know how they came up with this figure.

There was a team of about seven people (that I can remember) when they wheeled me in and put me to sleep. At least two of those were the Anesthesia Guy (who billed separately) and his sidekick (and I made both of them promise not to call their girlfreinds while they were supposed to be watching my monitor.)

Even more puzzling... why the 90% discount, negotiated by CIGNA. I can see insurers negotiating discounts with service providers of say maybe 10% or so.

But shit... 90%? I ain't buyin into that.

No way.

There is a shell game going on here.

I don't know what it is, but it's plain to see to any thoughtful observer how the medical industry in this country is fucked-up crooked by a simple reading of what is being admitted to.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Torch Is Passed

or, on loan for a while...

Here's hoping that Jay Cutler heals up quick enough to put the screws to Green Bay on Christmas Day.

In the meantime... it's going to be hard rooting for the Lions tomorrow knowing that we need them to lose.
Maybe I'll be cheering Green Bay.
Can't believe I said that....

Monday, November 21, 2011

Johnny Drum

My eyes have been attracted to the old school labeling for some time. This time i decided to grab a bottle.

Try as I might, I can't seem to pull any aroma out of it. Shaking it up, swirl in the glass... it took some work and I finally got a whiff of vanilla. Not much else.

Light and watery in the mouth, weak taste of vanilla on the tongue. This is real smooth, delivering just a tickle of spiciness up front and a wimpy burn toward the back.

And then it's gone.

Pretty slim stuff.
And I wasted close to $20 on this bottle. This is bullshit.
I would expect something like this if I paid maybe 9-10 bucks, but damn... these bastards putting themselves on the same monetary plane as Wild Turkey or Jim Beam, et al should be a criminal offense.

I've been taken, and I don't like that one bit.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Four Days...

And I got nothing.

Go ahead, ask me anything.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why Cats Rock

You'll never see a dog that can do this.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Speak

So it's been five days of steady speaking and I'm starting to get used to feel of it. The Wife says the voice sounds just a shade deeper than the one I used to have. I kinda like that. The hoarseness, I'm fairly certain, is here to stay. To be expected, as certain tissues and muscles will remain paralysed.

All in all, I've been receiving rave reviews, and some wide-eyed expressions, from those I've spoken to, so it's kinda exciting for me while I also try to temper my urge to speak too much.
Today I made a business call that requires voice prompts. And it worked. Hooyah!
It did require a more conscious effort to vocalise properly, but I imagine time and practice will make speaking easier, and flow more naturally.

Another benefit: the closing of the airway greatly reduces choking on everything I try to swallow. This has reopened the doors to exciting new foods like soup, corn flakes, and any thing else floating in liquid that's difficult to control.

I don't want to jump too hard into extensive conversation just yet.
These muscles need a chance to rebuild themselves and I'm afraid that too much too soon may create some regression.
In the meantime, I'll continue to run through my phone list a couple a day, re-introducing myself to everybody, keeping it short and sweet.
Life is better when you talk to people, and I'm liking it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Is That The Best You Got?

Romney, Gingrich at GOP debate: We'd go to war to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons

Romney said that if "crippling sanctions" and other strategies fail, military action would be on the table because it is "unacceptable" for Iran to become a nuclear power.

Gingrich agreed, saying that if "maximum covert operations" and other strategies failed there would be no other choice. First, though, the United States consider "taking out their scientists," and "breaking up their systems, all of it covertly, all of it deniable," Gingrich said. (watch at left)

"If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if you elect Mitt Romney, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon," said Romney.

Let's get something understood: We don't have the money, the resources or the manpower to wage a war against a nation such as Iran.

We cannot afford it at any level, and such an effort would be doomed to failure even if we could.

I don't know if this is Gingrich's and Romney's idea of pandering to the Judeophiles who infect their party or if they are seriously considering the option.
Either way, I cannot imagine that I would be voting for any ticket that places one of them at the top.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Residual Remains

Let's remember Veterans Day with a different kind of heartbreak, shall we?Sorry, I can't seem to find the original article, but this follow up piece should suffice.

(The original headline gave the impression that soldier's bodies were being dumped in a landfill. That is not entirely true, but still, the thought of it is enough to bring shudders.)
Schwartz addressed another controversial practice, since abandoned, at Thursday's hearing: body parts of war dead had been cremated, incinerated and then dumped in a landfill until 2008. That happened in cases where residual remains were found after families received the bodies of their loved ones.

An Air Force official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that families had granted the military authorization to deal with any residual remains, but acknowledged they had not been made aware those remains would end up in a landfill.
According to the previous article, the remains under question constitute residual remains that had been identified after the body had been returned to families. I'm assuming these mainly constituted small parts, fingers or chunks of flesh and bone that were scooped up after an explosive death.

The families, as quoted, granted the military authorization to deal with residual remains, but what is missing is how that authorization was granted:
Was it included in a form, or series of forms, that a family signs when receiving a body, buried somewhere in the fine print, embellished with legalese?
Or was it more explicit, as in... Hey, we found a a pinky finger that we've identified as belonging to your loved one who was interred two months ago? You want that back, or should we respectfully handle that for you.

The context of the 'authorization' matters here, and it matters a whole lot.

However it was done, what amazes me is that somebody in the process dared to assume that a landfill is an appropriate and respectful depository for any human remains, let alone those who died while in service to their nation.

What is wrong with these people? It never occurred to her/him to simply scatter them over Arlington National Cemetery?
Was it that hard to figure out?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Henry McKenna Single Barrel

For a whiskey to be "bottled in bond" meant that the whiskey must be produced in the same distilling season by the same distiller at the same distillery.
Originally, it was seen a guarantee of quality. The idea was to create a set of criteria that only the most upstanding, highest-quality distillers could meet.

Few meet this requirement today, but that is not really much of an issue. There are few, if any, fly-by-night corner-cutting distillers out there, and the big boys on the block (that would be all of them) swap and trade barrels, or farm out distilling/aging operations among themselves without losing any of their quality controls.
Others distill in multiple locations, then bring the barrels to different sites for bottling/aging/co mingling.

"Single Barrel" means what it says: all the whiskey in this bottle came from the same single barrel, and fetch a premium price

In my hand is a bottle of Henry McKenna, Single Barrel, Bottled In Bond, aged 10 years, produced by Heaven Hill Distillery. The same people who also produced Fighting Cock from a couple months back.

Ten years is a long time to age, and you'd think I paid a premium for this, but I didn't. On sale with the BevMo card for about $25. On the label is listed the barrel number (#612) and barreling date (8/25/00). I have no idea if this is reliable, but it's an effective marketing gimmick.

Emanating a quick whiff of butterscotch the moment the cap released was a signal of a heavy corn character, but not so fast...
Pine, cedar and oak waft from the glass after it's poured, with an hint of fresh cut alfalfa. Fresh and earthy, it smells like Kentucky looks. A splash of water and some airing brings out the corn. The scent typical of a 100 proof bourbon stays hidden.

The dense, deep heat in the mouth is not at all discomforting. Strong rye spiciness accompanies a bit of cinnamon burn up front, with an oily balanced transitioning toward corn sweetness.

Vanilla and caramel smooths out the finish with another tickle of cinnamon, leaving soothing sweetness in it's wake.

Not bad at all, I like this one.
A few minutes, I'm feeling warm all over. It's not often that a couple ounces can make me sweat like this.
Excuse me while I step outside to cool off.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Credibility Requires Details

"It's gonna take more than that, Sweetheart."
As the woman was attempting to manhandle (pun intended) a stack of boxes that had gotten hung up a conveyor, the supervisor called another crew member over to lend a hand and the three of them pushed and shoved, eventually getting the job done.

The next morning, 'Sweetheart' filed sexual harassment charges against the supervisor; a very old, usually kind, southern gentleman type (old school, the kind that doesn't use profanity within earshot of a lady... out of respect) who casually addressed most all of his charges as 'Son', 'Honey'... etc. Especially new hires, who were normally a generation or three younger than he was.

The rest of us on the floor laughed our asses off for a few days following.
But it was no laughing matter as the charge worked it's way to corporate.
Alas, within eight months, 'Sweetheart' was promoted to a supervisory position after spending less than 10 months on the job.

The years following the Clarence Thomas sideshow did much to blur the lines of communication and how co-workers address/interact with each other in the workplace.
Many well meaning people learned the hard way that the rules were changing. What sucks: in the case of this supervisor, who had never, ever been hostile or unfair toward anyone in the plant, had this mark of shame on his record.

This is why I gave little to zero credibility to the reports of Herman Cain being accused of sexual harassment many years ago. The term "Sexual Harassment" means nothing to me in and of itself.

Can a crime or offense that need only exist in the eyes of the accuser in order to be deemed legitimate be all much to get hyped about? My answer is "No."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tit Vs Tat

If the the latest accusations against Herman Cain do not disqualify him from The Presidency in the eyes of Republicans, then why did similar accusations disqualify Bill Clinton?

If all of the sexual impropriety charged against Bill Clinton (Paula Jones, Juanita Broderick, Kathleen Willey, and several others) did not disqualify him for The Presidency in the eyes of Democrats, then what's the big deal with Herman Cain?

I'm particularly interested in hearing the stammering from both sides as they justify themselves.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Back To The Stone Age, Not.

We've talked about the Caveman Diet before.
Now we have a restaurateur offering paleolithic cuisine for all those trendy hipsters in Berlin:
Proudly announcing a 'Real Food Revolution - Paleolithic cuisine!', there is no cheese, bread or sugar available, only fare accessible to our hunter-gatherer ancestors more than two million years ago.
The menu includes salads with olives, capers and pine nuts; gluten-free bread with nut-based butter or olive tapenades; smoked salmon with herb dressing; and other various meat and fish dishes.
Gluten- and sugar-free cakes, like a spicy pumpkin pie, are available for those Stone Age diners who don't want to skip desert.
Because caveman was all about baked goods with spread and cured fruit...

Not buying it.
A real caveman restaurant would be offering up sun-rotted meat, yard clippings, offal, raw eggs of indeterminate origin and maybe have live crickets and lizards walking around, self serve. Dessert, if it existed, would be whatever fruit was growing wild that month.

Not sure if the trendies would pay money for that menu, though. Claiming to go paleo just isn't as cool as being paleo.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Grappling With The Groper

This is good:
Couple asleep find man hiding, touching wife
ANAHEIM – A parolee is accused of sneaking into a couple's home on Halloween night and touching a woman in bed as she slept next to her husband, authorities said Tuesday.

Officials said a violent fight erupted inside the bedroom as the husband tried to subdue the intruder...

"There was a pretty good fight in there until he subdued the subject," said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Sheriff's Department. "This had to have been a frightening experience."

I like to think that if I were in the this husband's place the suspect would look a lot different for his mug shot after I went all Bear Jew on him.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Claiming A Hometown

August, 1998. I moved to Anaheim. I wasn't intending to stay long. Ex-Wife and I were having some issues and it was decided to dump the house and move closer to our jobs (as opposed to being 70 miles out) and try to work on things. Short story: shit wasn't working and the second shoe dropped within a year.

I ended up staying in the neighborhood and got a flat close to work for the time being. Life happened as it does, and I stayed in Anaheim for ten years, until September of 2008, when I grabbed Wife #2 by the hair and drug her with me back out to 'the sticks'.
I'm not sure when it happened, but I got to the point where the question of "Where you from?" was usually answered with "Anaheim" or "Orange County", with Anaheim eventually taking primacy as a source of regional identity.
I still say it. Anaheim. It's where I'm from, and where I feel like I'm from.
I like it there. I like being from there.
Unlike rea l hometowners, I have no memory of what Anaheim used to be. Despite it's history as a white working class suburb of Los Angeles refugees, it just isn't that way anymore.
Nowadays, much of the city is just this side of barrio and the primary language of it's failing school system is Spanish.
Yet, the business community is fairly diverse. I think this is the aspect that saves Anaheim from becoming like it's neighbor, Santa Ana, which is more a political province of Mexico than an ethnic enclave of the United States.

For the most part, life in Anaheim is fairly decent. The cops don't harass the citizens, taxes are low, the city maintains itself, lots of killer-cool ethnic eateries you can't find concentrated anywhere else, and I've never hesitated to walk alone at night, even past the barrio sections.

It takes all walks to create the world, and Anaheim is a world to itself if your perspective is right.
From this man's perspective: the loopy tourists, gang members, strip clubs, Little Gaza and the Mexican weddings provide more entertainment to the observer than any real fear. I think that's why I like it.
Last month, cops responded to a 911 call in an empty parking lot (not two blocks from my last apartment) to find five Mexicans in a car with serious stab wounds ... and not one of them knew how they got that way!
Not one of them knew how they got that way!
That's some pretty funny stuff, right there.
I laughed for fifteen minutes.
I'm from Anaheim, and I like it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What Did The Dormouse Say?

Three years ago, Doctor sent me home with a vicodin prescription: a whole bottle, maybe a pint, of purple syrup. Heavenly stuff that took effect soon after injection. With refill!

I can't say enough how good that stuff was. I was no longer in any real pain type of pain, but still sore, having a lot of trouble just getting some simple rest. I was easily agitated, cranky, couldn't sleep and frustrated to the point of tears.
This is where the vicodin came in handy.
I would load up the syringe, inject, and go lay down. Within ten minutes I would feel my whole body relax all at once, as if somebody let the air out. Muscles dissolved and bones turned to jello, eyes closed in bliss I'd float away...
It was how I got some needed rest.

This time I was given a bottle of hydrocodone w/ acetaminophen. Supposedly, it's in the same family of narcotics, I think. Only this stuff is somehow different.
Instead of a complete and total physical relaxation, I get some loosening up before I drift off slowly...
And then the show starts.

Not sure if maybe I'm not sleeping soundly enough or what, but I've been having very realistic and vivid dreams.
Dreams so real that I find myself waking up where I am not, unawares that I am at home, in my own bed. It takes a several minutes to reaclimate.

This morning I woke up in the wrong part of Gardena and couldn't find my car.

No more of this hydrocodone shit for me.
Gonna give it a day to wear off and break out the stuff I can handle, like bourbon.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Post Op

Surgery went as expected. I lay down, they cut me, I woke a few hours later all woozy and painful.
I asked for more meds and they dished on command. What's not to like about that?

What was scheduled was a three-part procedure:
Artynoid Adduction: to twist the laryngeal cartilage, putting tension on the paralysed vocal cord and moving it to the center of the voice box.
Laryngoplasty: another shim/implant, to replace the previous from last December, inserted into the cord to lock it in place.
Reinervation: connect a nerve from the other side of the neck that would eventually 'take' and create vibration in the paralysed cord.

Doctor came around later and informed me that things had not gone as smoothly as hoped. Too much scare tissue had prevented the reinervation from taking place.
This was disappointing, but not a total wash. If the rest works, I should still have plenty of voice to alter my life for the better. The reinervation was more of an 'icing on the cake' so to speak.

He explained how my 'stuff' is not in the best physical position. The previous big project (three years ago) had left things rather messy, and proper positioning of the implant was frustrating (his word). This was expected.
The downside... the previous implant had disintegrated.
We already knew something hadn't gone well with the previous surgery but now we know why.
Seems my body doesn't want to cooperate as it should. But we already knew that when all of the variuos injections that were supposed to last 3-5 years were fading away after about a week.
There is very good chance this implant may disintegrate as well.

Doctor is hopeful, but cautions me to be realistic concerning my body's history of noncompliance.

Time will tell, I guess.
In the meantime, I'll remain hopeful.
It's all I got.
Well, that and a really cool scar to show off.

For the next two weeks I am on vocal restriction: I am not to speak. At all. I need all the healing I can get if I am to help make this thing work. The wife is grateful for that.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Four Roses And An Update

As the story goes...Paul Jones, Jr. had a case of lust for this particular southern chick. She responded to his proposal by wearing a bunch of roses to their next hook-up as a sign of her acceptance.

Jones later went on to name his bourbon "Four Roses" as a symbol of his love for her.

It's kinda stupid and sappy if you ask me... but whatever. It's likely bullshit anyway.

Smelling clean and sweet immediately on the pour, like Juicy Fruit gum to the nose. Pleasant and fruity, with that hint of citrus that stimulates the olfactory, providing good compliment to the oak and corn defaults that become vanilla/caramel as it opens. Closed, it's unique unto itself. Let it open, and it's just like any other. Keep it closed.

Let this one sit in the mouth for a bit... A mild rye spiciness up front blends easily toward toffee/caramel with hints of pear, apple and banana underneath. A mild burn you may not much notice.

Finishing long and sweet, like a buttered caramel apple, this is pretty good stuff. Perfect for after dinner, maybe having a smoke, relaxing with friends.

Normally about $23 or so at BevMo, but I got a $5 discount with my BevMo card.(Yes, I have a BevMo card, you can't be surprised by that.) Do the math you unfortunate Seattle dwellers... I got a nice bottle of good liquor for $17.

Meanwhile on the medical front:
The Surgery is tomorrow at 8am.
I'll be in the hospital for a few days, might be back Sunday, maybe Saturday... who knows for sure.
I already know this one won't be as pleasant as my visit last December.
Doc advised that I would "experience considerably more discomfort" than last time.
That's Doctor Speak for "this shit's gonna hurt".
Che sarĂ , sarĂ .

See ya in a few.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Attention Whoring Much?

TSA Agent Leaves Lewd Message In Flier’s Luggage After Finding Sex Toy
Not satisfied with fumbling through Americans’ private possessions, one TSA screener saw fit to make a humiliating joke about the contents, writing a personal message on a TSA inspection note after finding a sex toy in writer Jill Filipovic’s luggage.

After arriving at her hotel, Filipovic was unpacking when she discovered her bag had been individually searched by a TSA screener who, having seen the “personal item,” saw fit to comment, writing “GET YOUR FREAK ON GIRL” on the reverse side of an inspection notice.

“Total violation of privacy, wildly inappropriate and clearly not ok, but I also just died laughing in my hotel room,” wrote Filipovic.

I get a little unnerved when I open my bag after traveling to find a little note from TSA explaining that they had rifled through my stuff.
I imagine anybody would, but what you gonna do about it?

What I can't imagine is anybody declaring "Total violation of privacy" as they run to the media regarding somebody's comment toward their possession of a sex toy.
Unless, of course, they didn't have much dignity to begin with.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tech 3 Update: A Call To Arms

I couldn't find the Tech 3 razor at Target, yet Target has some Schick items that Wal*Mart did not, so I came home and did some Google stuff.

Seems there is a message board/blog or several dedicated to shaving products and performance. Who knew?
Amongst my newly acquired knowledge bits:
--I was reminded that Wilkinson Sword is parent of Schick. I knew that long ago.
--Gillette has done very well in it's marketing and kicking Schick's ass for years now.
--In response, Wilkinson Sword seems to have reached the point of going guerrilla, to chip away at Gillette by any means necessary.
--Wal*Mart seems to have struck a deal with Wilkinson Sword to re-brand the slower moving Schick Products under an economy line, in this case "Wilkinson Sword", as it has largely disappeared from the American marketplace, yet still harkens a 'oh yeah, I know them' from some of the older generations.
--By partnering with Wal*Mart, W/S can get their economy brand before as many consumers as possible and the upside for Wal*Mart is giving it's budget-minded consumers one more reason to eschew Target.
--I'm all for eschewing target, by any means necessary.
--Tech 3 blade cartridges are made in the USA, unlike their competitors.

This move could have larger ramifications for the personal grooming industry in the long run.
IF Wilkinson Sword succeeds enough in this latest Battle Of The Whisker Busters, downward pressure would be applied to the costly Gillette products (mainly, the Mach 3).
Should this scenario take place, I expect Gillette to launch a new marketing campaign stressing hi technology processes or something else like that to justify the higher price in the consumer's mind...that they will move first to protect the profit margin before engaging in price reduction. Or maybe a combination of both.
Either way, Gillette won't take this hit in the breadbasket laying down.
Keep your eyes open. This could get interesting.

If Wilkinson Sword can sell the re-branded Schick blades at a substantial price reduction and still do it profitably enough to be worth while... why cant Gillette stop gouging us with Mach 3 blades made in China?

Lather up and join the fight, fellas.
Gillette's been jewing us for years. I'm fed up and throwing in with Wilkinson Sword.
Tech 3 forever!
Go to Wal*Mart and get yours today.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Official Gear

As a rule, razors and cream are not something I tend to skimp on.
If you've been cursed with thick and heavy whiskers like I have, then you already appreciate a smooth and easy shave and just accept that such a thing can't normally be had with cheap razors.

I get maybe 3-4 shaves from my usual blade, and by judging according to the offerings at Wal*Mart or Target, my usual blade is the same as everybody else's usual blade as the Mach 3 from Gillette controls about 90% of the shelf space.

I can see why it's popular.
It gets the job done, although something tells me such an effective piece of hardware is either wasted on most men, or they use them over and over. Maybe it's just my own experience, but I can't imagine using the same cartridge repeatedly for weeks. Do people do that?

Anyway... out of blades, I found myself back in the 'razors and cream' aisle when I saw something new. New to me anyway: the Tech 3, from Wilkinson Sword. For five bucks I bought the razor handle with two cartridges, noticing the replacement blades were only $5 a for a pack of four, half the cost of the Mach 3.
It was worth a try.

It's been a week and four shaves with the same cartridge, just as smooth as the Mach 3.

Besides the price difference, the Tech 3 appears to do a better job around the jaw line with fewer misses and skips. I attribute this to the flexible head the Gillette lacks.
The only minus: it's just a smidge lighter in the hand. I feel as if I get more control with the heavier handle, but in this case the results don't really bear that out.

Give the Wilkinison Tech 3 a try if you can find it. You'll save a lot of money.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Obamageddon Comes For Sick People

Cannabis patients demand reopening of pot shops
Michael Hawkins, an Army veteran stricken with a double-fist-sized brain tumor, pleaded with the City Council to reconsider its stance toward the medical marijuana dispensaries that operated in Lake Forest
"The tumor decimated my marriage and what I spent my life building," the 60-year-old said, adding that marijuana reduced his pain. "Look into the eyes of the people who need medical cannabis, If that day ever comes for you, I'll stand with you. Please stand with me."
Obama's henchmen are making good on their threats to close down dispensaries up and down California.
Unfortunately, the city of Lake Forest can't be lamed or what is going on and these people need to take their fight to the White House.
Federal agents Saturday delivered asset-forfeiture summonses to some of the dispensaries, including the Independent Collective of Orange County and Cannabis Permanente...

For the record, medical marijuana dispensaries in California operate on a non-profit basis, and pay millions in taxes.

I know that much of the fear concerning legalised pot is that non-sick people will use suspect doctor's prescriptions just to get high legally. And it happens all the time. The pot-heads probably get the most benefit, I'll admit that. Tell how that justifies forcing sick people to suffer?

The Bush administration did what I think was an effective job in this area. Yeah, the law says one thing, and we can't have a lawless society but part of maintaining respect for the law is the ability to show some discretion in it's enforcement.

The Bush administration did a lot of huffing and puffing, closed down or prosecuted a few dealers, but for the most part let Medical Marijuana serve it's rightful place.
The message I got from them was: keep it on the down low and we'll forget what's going on.
Nobody legitimate was denied access through Bush policies.

This current administration is different. Obama seems determined to let everybody know who's the boss and doesn't give a shit about cancer patients.

Maybe that's why he sold those guns to the drug lords? To help them in their business just like he is helping to expand the illicit pot trade right now.

Whatever is driving the administration, it cant be righteousness.

Alcohol Taxes

Taxes on alcohol in California:
Wine: $0.20 per gallon
Beer: $0.30 per gallon
Liquor: $3.30 per gallon

I may be getting my stuff cheap in comparison to other states, but this is just an illusion. For the purpose of discussion, I'll limit my comparison to the two places I am most familiar with, tax-wise, and where I've recently spent the most money across the board: Washington and Oregon.

Washington charges a sales tax of 6.5%
Oregon has zero sales tax.
California sales tax is officially 7.75%, but is actually higher in most counties, up to 9.25% in some areas. I'm living in a right-wing cowboy county that routinely votes down tax increases, so my usual sales tax rate is the minimum 7.75%.

Gasoline taxes:
California: $0.465
Oregon: $0.25
Washington: $0.375

Don't know about the others, but California adds sales tax to gasoline, while Washington has no income tax.

Generally... I buy a bottle of bourbon every week, and about 25 gallons of gas.
My weekly Bulleit ($19.99+tax at Trader Joe's) would cost me about $30.00 in WA and OR, a little higher in WA after I pay the sales tax and a higher excise tax.

It looks like the $10 I'm not giving to The Man for bourbon I end up giving to him when I fill my tank. A guy can't win.

Reference link: The Tax Foundation

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve

Wild Turkey 101 is a good serviceable bourbon for drinking straight up, on the rocks, as a mixer... whatever your preference.
This time, I'm drinking the small batch, 10yr Russell's Reserve. It's the same recipe as the standard offering, or so I've been led to believe.
Only difference is that it's been sitting around in those charred oak barrels a whole lot longer. Like about... six years longer.

The difference is readily noticeable upon purchase. About $6 bucks noticeable. Doing the easy math, I'm reckoning that the rent space for one barrel of bourbon comes to about $250 per year, plus tax.

Hmm... I think I've just brainstormed a solution for the crisis of upside-down mortgages. Let's convert these homes to bourbon warehouses and in a few short years, all these properties would be paid for. It's freakin genius!

Anyway, on to the pour:
A deeper amber hue due to the longer aging, and like the original starts to open up with an ice cube, bringing forth scents of vanilla, caramel and oak. It's sweeter by comparison, not as leathery.

The same balanced attack, transitioning smoothly along the tongue with pepper, spice, caramel, hot cinnamon... culminating with a pleasing burn that doesn't overwhelm as the sweetness fades away. Maybe due to the lower proof (90 v 101?)

Surprisingly or not, just like the original, but smoother and more refined.
Those six extra years do pay off.

Yeah, you could still use it for a mixer because it retains the same character but that would be a waste of a good bourbon that was intended to stand alone.

About $25 round these parts.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Where's It All Go?

My medical plan is an 80/20 type thing with $1,000 deductible and an $8,000 out of pocket maximum.

As it stands currently, I have outstanding bills of $6,000 for the calender year in which nothing has been done... yet.
You got that? Nothing.
How the hell does Nothing cost over $7,000?
And I am near my $8,000 maximum.

Soon, I expect to have this damned surgery they keep promising me. I know it will cost, but it's nice knowing that I've nearly hit my 'out of pocket' and therefore, this whole rest of the thing is 'on them', so to speak.
I think I'll request the golden bedpan and lot's of $50 aspirins.

The medical industrial complex in this country is fucked beyond comprehension. I don't know what the answer is, but I sure do have a lot of confusing questions.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Flea Baggers Calling For Blood

The Democrats and the Obama Administration would be better served if they backed off their wink and nod approval of this Flea Party movement.

Saul Alinsky-ites might be the cool crowd to hang with when your in Harvard, but eventually you'll need to grow up and realise that when the shooting starts it will be real people getting killed; real people bleeding real blood after getting their fashionable Che T-shirts perforated with real bullets.

I don't think these guys can handle that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jim Beam Devil's Cut

As whiskey ages in oak barrels a small amount is lost to evaporation. This is called the Angel's Share. That which is trapped within the barrel wood is what Jim Beam is calling the Devil's Cut.
(Normally, Angel's Share applies to all the whiskey lost during aging through evaporation and absorption, but hey... Beam has a new gimmick and isn't beyond redefining age-old words to suit it's marketing endeavors.)

According the the web site, this trapped product is extracted from the wood through some process or another (it's not really that important 'how', is it?) and blended with 6yr bourbon.
So, what Beam is marketing amounts to bourbon flavored with... yeah, you guessed it! Bourbon.
It's all too gimmicky for me, and I suspect it's mostly a bullshit way to sell $15 bourbon for $25.

Enough talk from me, let's get to the pour shall we?

More rusty in color than usual Beam, with scents of oak, nuts and cinnamon/nutmeg.

Sits lightly on the tongue, remotely tickles with cinnamon and spice, buttery yet not overly sweet. Heavy oak influence (which I like) but not as heavy as I was expecting.
Strong pepper and spice burn front and back with some scraping/stabbing rear heat as it goes down. Woeful lack of regional transition.

Finish is easy enough, mellow and warm, not overly impressive. Compared to the initial introduction I expected a longer, stronger, more masculine finish.

I actually like it better than standard Jim Beam, but I never liked standard Jim Beam (it reminds me of iced tea, southern style, which I don't like anyway) so what's that tell you?

Overall: Disappointing. It's manly enough at first glance, but don't take it to the rodeo.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bear Thoughts

Enough can't be said about Jay Cutler's performance tonite after having kept the Bears in it for four quarters. It's not easy staying upright and completing passes without protection or recievers.
I don't care what others say. Jay is one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league today.

Props to the Lions. From here, it looks like the long slog from hinterlands is paying off with good draft picks and a team that won't give up after they've been beat, which is why they haven't yet been beat.

Meanwhile, it's gonna be a long rest of the season for us Bears fans.
Maybe we can win seven games this year?
Hopefully, the off season will bring some different minds to top management, but I won't hold my breath.
Congratulations to Bike and Mrs. Bubba on the arrival of Benjamin Bubba.
Adorable baby pic at the link.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Firearms dealers in states that allow medical marijuana can't sell guns or ammunition to registered users of the drug...
Federal law already makes it illegal for someone to possess a gun if he or she is "an unlawful user of, or addicted to" marijuana or other controlled substances.

I see. If you are a rancher or lifelong hunter who's fighting cancer and chemotherapy you are an existential felon under federal law.

But, if you are a drug cartel from Mexico, the Feds will sell you lot of military style weapons.

Glad I got that cleared up.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

California Vs Obama

Fifteen years ago, California approved the medical use of marijuana. For the most part, it's been working well. It provides sick people with their medication of choice, is heavily regulated as to sales, adds to the economy, and is taxed up the wazzooo.

Back then it was seen as a thumb in the eye of the federal government and a blow for State's Right. I was on board with the idea.

Throughout the Bush administration the pot users of California were facing the threat of the justice department which made it's disapproval clear. It was just a matter of time, I assumed, before we would have the showdown.
I thought the bullet had been dodged with the election of the supposedly more progressive Obama administration.

It looks like I was wrong.

Federal prosecutors have launched a crackdown on some pot dispensaries in California, warning the stores that they must shut down in 45 days or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property even if they are operating legally under the state's 15-year-old medical marijuana law.

There have always been threats, maybe an isolated action here and there, but for the most part medical marijuana has become accepted institution.
"Under United States law, a dispensary's operations involving sales and distribution of marijuana are illegal and subject to criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions," according to the letters signed by U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy in San Diego. "Real and personal property involved in such operations are subject to seizure by and forfeiture to the United States ... regardless of the purported purpose of the dispensary."

The move comes a little more than two months after the Obama administration toughened its stand on medical marijuana. For two years before that, federal officials had indicated they would not move aggressively against dispensaries in compliance with laws in the 16 states where pot is legal for people with doctors' recommendations.

Looks like we have a justice department that will sell weapons to Mexican drug smugglers while taking action to remove valid medicine from cancer patients requiring further smuggling and increased profiteering for violent cartels.
Going after property owners is not a new tactic though, Hermes said. Five years ago, the Department of Justice under President George W. Bush made similar threats to about 300 Los Angeles-area landlords who were renting space to medical marijuana outlets, some of whom were eventually evicted or closed their doors voluntarily, he said.

"It did have an impact. However, the federal government never acted on its threats, never prosecuted anybody, never even went to court to begin prosecutions," Hermes said. "By and large, they were empty threats, but they relied on them and the cost of postage to shut down as many facilities as they could without having to engage in criminal enforcement activity."
(Emphasis mine)

The one thing that surprises me about the Obama Administration is that it continues to surprise me at all levels.
I guess none of this should surprise me anymore.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Trying to avoid paying too close attention to the race, this is my take:

Mitt Romney: the most potential president on the stage, but he still reminds me of Darrin Stephens.

Newt Gingerich: Politically brilliant 89% of the time, an ass 11% of the time.

Rick Santorum: needs a few gay friends and fewer Jewish ones.

Herman Cain: the GOP equivalent of the coolest black guy in the room.

Michele Bachmann: 'better prepared than Palin' does not a Thatcher make.

Ron Paul: 90% spot-on, 10% delusional. But it's the 90% that confuses the others.

Rick Parry: Guns + Jesus = Texas 2.0

Jon Huntsman: the other Mormon.

Gary Johnson: who?

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Based upon a book by the same name, Moneyball is the story of one man's (Billy Beane) attempt to rethink the game and restructure a small market team (in this case, the Oakland Athletics) that could compete with larger economic powerhouses such as the Yankees.

Defying the collective wisdom of baseball's best minds, Beane takes a more analytical approach to player recruitment relying on a different set of stats in order to find undervalued players.
Anybody who follows baseball already knows of the eventual success of the new paradigm.

If you're looking for dramatic story telling, go elsewhere. This is about baseball, not broken hearts, vengeance, romance, comic books or any of that other stuff movies are usually made of.
Instead, it's just an excellent baseball movie.
Check it out.

If you really, really like baseball, see it twice.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Would it be a redundancy to post that I've received a call from my doctor today per this Monday's surgery, and it has been postponed again, this time to October 25th?

There goes this year's hunting season, the bastards.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Picking Up Speed?

Another glorious road trip has come to an end and I think I've caught up on my sleep now (after spending most of the day in bed). Determined not to get stuck in Portland's sucky morning traffic jam, I left Seattle at 2:30. That worked well, giving me time to dawdle a bit before providing full day light by the time I hit Springfield. It's also easier to get unlost in Portland's uncrowded side streets as I attempt to avoid those long tall bridges that freak me out.
Avoidance is easier now that I've figured it out: get off at Rosa Parks; turn right; left on Interstate... following Interstate and the passenger rail tracks to the lower and friendlier Steele Bridge; cross the water and look for the 405 south.
Yeah, it's so easy it took me a few times to get it. Downtown Portland seems to have few escape routes and will keep you traveling in circles. It does to me, anyway.

After climbing I-5, I took a couple hours in Yreka to relax, grab some lunch, beer and a nap. It's a cute little city of about 7,000 stuck amidst of the most beautiful geography I know. Too bad the populace doesn't much approach the quality of their surroundings. It appears neighborly, quaint and all that, but I would prefer to see fewer meth-heads and tattoo freaks walking about.

During the last leg of my journey, Sacramento to home, I came to the realization that I probably shouldn't be pushing so hard with the night driving. The last 5 hours were rough as I was having trouble focusing my eyes on the road far ahead. I am pushing 50 yrs old after all, and my eyes are not what they used to be, I guess. I've been in bi-focal denial for a few years as it is.
Maybe I'm starting to lose some of my night vision?

Or fatigue. I'm hoping it was fatigue.
When I look in the mirror, I don't see an impending AARPer staring back. My kids' friends always say I'm one of the 'youngest' Dads they know.
I'm not old, yet.
Or am I?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Seeking Overcast Skies

Had another pre-op visit with my doctor this morning. Had to do this pre-op because the previous pre-op became more of a postpone-op (or maybe I'll call it a tease-op?), necessitating updated paperwork, EKG, chest x-ray. They didn't need new blood work, so that was nice.

The doctor explained the hold up: There is this new device thingie that makes it easier to plant the implant into the proper implant spot in a way that is also less invasive.
'Everyplace' else has them, and is using them, even overseas (my Doc practiced/interned/studied in Europe for a while, as well as the United States, so he knows this).
My medical center has never used them. They are behind the times I guess, having farmed patients in need to other facilities. (Truth: my vocal paralysis/breathing issues don't come around very often.)
It takes a while for the directors of the facility to approve new-to-them equipment. This has been the hold up. I understand that, and why it is that way.

In the meantime, I'm off to see the great Northwest again. Gonna meet some friends and Daughter has a brewery tour scheduled for us. Plus, I'll be watching the Bears/Packers game from a rockin (so I've heard) Chicago Bears centered sports bar.