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.