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.