Saturday, July 01, 2006
As I've said before, about the only down side to living on an island near the beach is that on holidays and many summer weekends we get overrun with visitors.
This July fourth weekend is no exception.
After spending a panicked day waiting on UPS to deliver three 16”x20” photo prints for my entry in the latest contest exhibit in one of the local Art Galleries, we stumbled around the island in surprisingly light quitting time traffic delivering my framed and matted treasures, then after a few cocktails at a local tavern, we slumped into a cozy booth at one of our favorite restaurants about 7:15.
Thank God I’m on a first name basis with John, the owner of the Blackwater Grill. They actually apologized to us because in spite of not asking for reservations until nearly six PM, thay could only deliver the second best table in the building (our regular table had already been reserved.)
What then ensued could only be described as total chaos for practicaly everyone but Pat and I.
While we sat in the back dining area looking out peacefully at the adjacent marsh, people were stacked two or three deep at the bar and lined up out the front door waiting for tables.
Can you say TWO HOUR WAIT?
Out standard bottle of wine was served within minutes of our arrival, and the food was only slightly delayed as we watched John and his staff frantically dash and spin around clearing tables and delivering orders.
We stopped by the liquor store on the way home, and I’ll sneak out to the grocery store EARLY tomorrow morning, then for all I care all of the tourists can use and abuse everything on the island but my condo, my swimming pool, and the art gallery during the opening reception happening from 5 to 7 PM tomorrow.
Not to appear to be a snob, and believe me that we appreciate everyone that comes down and injects their hard earned dollars into our local economy, but I hope everyone behaves themselves while having their idea of a good time this Independence Day, and that they take their trash and cigarette butts home with them if they can’t bother to put them in a trash can.
Other than that, ENJOY Y'all…
Friday, June 30, 2006
Did you ever try a “white” pizza before?
I’ve enjoyed it (white pizza) in a few restaurants in the past, but to date all of my home pizza making has revolved around a standard tomato sauce base.
Not last night, however.
First I made my standard crust from my recipe on my Redneck Gourmet Blog site, then I used the following ingredients to make our pizza:
One 9 ounce bag of baby spinach
One small can of sliced mushrooms (or fresh sliced mushrooms of your choice)
One small can of sliced black olives
One small jar of artichoke hearts
½ pound of soft whole milk Mozzarella Cheese (Sorrento or equivalent)
¼ pound of nice fresh grated Parmesan Localetti Cheese
Anything else you want like anchovies or sliced pepperoni—anything but tomatoes.
First roll your dough out nice and flat, preferably thin for a white pizza, and toss it on your pizza pan. Next, smear the middle of the crust (up to about an inch of the edge) with some good extra virgin olive oil, then dump the entire bag of baby spinach on top.
Now spread your soft Mozzarella cheese over the top of the pile of spinach, cut or diced into small pieces. (Please do yourself a great favor and don’t use the crappy, dry, grainy crap they sell pre-grated in the grocery store.)
Next comes the olives, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and whatever else you want to torture yourself with, and finish it all off by sprinkling the fresh parmesan cheese over it. Follow all of that up with some basil and fresh ground black pepper.
CAUTION: do not add any salt—the cheese is salty enough.
When you get done, it should look something like this:
And after 25 to 30 minutes in a 475 degree oven, it should taste like this:
So aren't you hungry now?
Well, get started cooking, and go eat....
First look at this story, then when you're finished I want to ask a couple of questions.
PHILADELPHIA -- A woman accused of embezzling more than $1.5 million from a credit union and buying more than 1,500 items, including hundreds of pairs of shoes and a $60,000 swimming pool, has been sentenced to 27 months in prison.
Betty Jean Barachie, 39, of Kunkletown also bought 58 coats, 16 chain saws, a $25,000 John Deere tractor and more than 3,000 books, piling most of the items in her home with the tags still attached, said Dr. George Perovich, an Allentown psychologist. "She was a compulsive shopper and was one of the most extreme cases I'd ever seen."
Barachie acknowledged stealing money from the Northampton-Carbon County Federal Credit Union, where she worked, from 1995 to 2003. She pleaded guilty in October to charges of embezzlement and filing a false federal tax return.
During Tuesday's sentencing, U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno chastised the U.S. attorney's office for failing to prosecute others allegedly involved in looting what was believed to be millions from the credit union, which became insolvent and was forced to close in September 2004.
"You have a small fish here. Where are the big fish? No one else has been charged with a parking ticket in this case," Robreno said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bernadette McKeon said a grand jury is considering whether additional indictments are appropriate.
Barachie has already begun working to pay back the money she stole by selling her purchases on e-Bay. She's sold 1,000 items so far, bringing in $60,000, defense attorney John Waldron said. Another 500 items are still up for sale.
The judge ordered her to pay $50 a month in restitution while she's in prison and at least $200 a month once she's released.
Can you believe this crap?
So this chick stole OVER ONE AND ONE HALF MILLION DOLLARS from a credit union, while probably clutching a Louis Vuitton handbag and clomping around in some other brand of designer sandals, and she only gets 27 MONTHS of jail time?
Let’s see …$1.5 Million, divided by 27 months….
Gee whiz…that comes out to $55,555.56 per month.
I don’t know about you, but that rate of pay is starting to look a little attractive to ME.
In addition, she gets the equivalent of two new coats per month in the big house….
And one new chainsaw for every two months of time served…I like that.
Once she gets out of the slammer she can rush home and mow the grass around her $60,000 pool with the John Deere.
And, finally, where else can you get a $1.5 million dollar loan for $200 per month?
I would REALLY like those easy payment terms.
OK folks, all kidding aside, this is a perfect example of the complete bullshit being handed out by the US court system today.
If this lady had walked into the exact same credit union with a shotgun and a hand grenade and demanded cash, she would possibly gotten away with $10,000 or $20,000 MAXIMUM.
Not $1.5 million—banks and credit unions don’t keep that kind of cash on hand.
BUT, under those circumstances, this robbing thieving bitch would be doing ten to twenty YEARS, not a measly 27 MONTHS.
So I have to ask, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?
And like the “Defendant’s” attorney, I have to ask…WHERE ARE THE OTHER PROSECUTIONS?
How in the hell can there be enough fraud and embezzlement that could actually cause the Credit Union to have to close it’s doors?
They actually stole enough money to SHUT IT DOWN?
After all, as far as I know you can’t run out with your pockets full of pennies and quarters and start your own Credit Union, right? Credit unions are supposed to be worth tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars—money collected from regular citizens like me and you.
After seeing crap like this, how many of you out there want more government, when those in our existing oversized government are so busy turning their heads?
Now you'll have to excuse me, because I have to walk outside and scream...
Thursday, June 29, 2006
About right now up in Savannah, Georgia my fellow blogger Rob A.K.A. "The Acidman" Smith is being buried. It is truely amazing how many people you can get to know through the internet, and believe me when I say that a LOT of people knew Rob and enjoyed his efforts in the bloggosphere. In my final official mention and tribute to him, I'm bumping my June 26th posting about his untimely death to the top of my humble little space here on the internet.
Here's what I said on Monday...
This is getting pretty hard to do, writing (or not writing) about people I know (or didn't actually know) dieing.
Not to be redundant, but here I go again…
One of my blog Idols, Rob Smith from down here near Savannah on the Georgia coast, was found dead in his home yesterday. The jury is still out on the cause of his early, sudden departure, but...
I came close to meeting Rob a couple of times.
I could have and should have met the man in person because of our proximity here in the eastern time zone, but I didn't...and now I guess that I won't...
Rob was the ultimate blogger. When his life sucked, he said so, but he also wrote about it eloquently and told you what he was going to do about it, and thereby gave you some hope for surviving.
I should be so graceful in expressing my own mental and physical trials, tribulations, and so able in guiding people across life’s rough spots and bumps in the road.
After all, If Rob could do it—ex-wife and child custody court and Company BS and addictions and physical ailments aside---so could I…that’s what Rob made you believe.
But now he’s gone.
Rob just crossed the THREE MILLION hit barrier on his blog in just a few short years, while at the same time I’m bragging about making it to twenty thousand—but his writing and ongoing perseverance was an example for me, and I’d like to say this to The Acidman:
Rest in peace brother Rob, and know that there are those of us out here that will keep on keeping on, in our own similar styles of blogging that you pioneered.
Somewhere, each and every single day of the year, someone’s “hillbilly white cracker redneck ass” will be aching, and we’ll be right here on the internet telling everybody how and why and what to do about it.
Is this a big damn
I just found him sitting outside by our mailbox, guarding our little Wren's nest this morning.
According to my quick research on the internet, he’s an American Toad called "Bufo Americanus."
I think that "Bufo" is an excellent name for this guy.
I also think that you'll agree that he's one big fellow.
He didn’t even blink when I laid that 30 foot long Stanley “Max Steel” professional grade 1” wide tape measure down beside him to give you some scale as to how big he really is.
I picture him having a voice similar to Isaac Hayes character “Chef” on one of Comedy Central’s Southpark episodes…
“OK chirren’…come on over here and watch me kick this white boy’s Redneck ass…”
Oh my God…they killed Kenny.
(There's a joke in there somewhere, and I offer my apologies to my non-Southpark viewing readers if they feel left out...)
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
This guy is about 4" long, and he nearly scared the crap out of me sitting at the bottom of the stairs this morning. You can almost feel the ground shake when he jumps.
Every animal down here is supersized--cockroaches as big as helicopters and twenty pound opossums.
You'll have to excuse me now, but I've got to go refill my Hummingbird feeder--they're tapping on the sliding door wanting inside.
In my continuing effort to answer any and all reasonable comments about my writing, I offer the following response to this polite anonymous comment I received, ironically to yet another response to a reader’s comment (confused yet?):
My reader/commenter wrote:
Ok I usually agree with you on most things, but seriously, saying people on welfare or WIC shouldn't be allowed to vote? That's ridiculous. I do agree that a lot of people see welfare and other public assistance programs as cash cows, but there are some HONEST people that have needed those programs to feed themselves and their children for a year or two through rough spots. (No, really, there are, I have personally met a few!) What are we supposed to do--ignore the poor and let the rich make all the rules? Considering the gap is getting wider, eventually we'd have a feudal society and all be serfs farming the land for a cup of rice a day.
What my concerned reader/commenter is writing about is the following statement that I made when I was all wound up and in the middle of a good rant talking about our election process and politics in general:
"Major Improvement #2. If you are on the government dole…you know, taking welfare or WIC or any other form of support, including things like earned income credit, YOU CAN’T VOTE. When you stand up and get your lazy useless ass off of the sofa and into a JOB, and your tax burden exceeds your tax refund, then, and only then will you be allowed to cast a vote in an election."
I humbly conceed, dear reader/commenter, that I was wrong in asserting that ANYONE who was on government ASSISTANCE should be ineligable to vote.
What I really wanted to say was that ANYONE that is making a profession or career out of the public dole should be ineligable to vote.
Persons having a bit of bad luck or having been raised by crack head parents and needing a jump-start into life certainly deserve a voice in our political process.
Likewise, retired people promised social security and Medicare or that have the misfortune of being on Medicaid or otherwise needing government assistance after thirty or forty years of paying taxes would also be immune from my proposed rules against voting.
HOWEVER, anyone that simply makes it to the age of sixteen and then makes a career spending their day hanging out on a street corner looking for their “baby daddy” or selling “rocks” and “weed” out of their baggy assed pants pockets while awaiting their next “gumment check” needs to lose their voice in local and national politics, UNTIL if and when they ever recover from their stupidity or insanity and become productive members of society again.
That’s what I mean, I just didn’t say it precisely.
Someone (Thomas jefferson or John Adams er…one of the founding fathers) once wrote, and I paraphrase, that “Democracy works only until the majority of the citizens realize that they can vote themselves a piece of the pie.”
That’s the situation that we’re rapidly headed into if things keep going like they are.
But any way…thank you for correcting me, dear reader.
I appreciate the comment and the manner in which it was delivered, and I promise to attempt to be more precise next time, in spite of the veins buldging out of my forehead and the red tinge coming over my vision of the computer screen….
Awwww awwwwww ohhhhhhhhhhhh….thunk (the sound of me falling off the sofa)
I definitely feel another rant coming on...
Everybody knows that the state of Florida is full of wealthy retirees.
Add to those numbers the middle aged and otherwise younger people that have chosen to relocate to the Sunshine State, and I think that you’ll find almost as many millionaires sitting around in Florida in bathing suits or standing on golf courses as you will find in New York or California.
As a result of the affluence of the population, it costs a great deal to live in most of Florida, even the inner areas that aren’t within a few miles of a beach.
My family had a chance to own about half of the Florida Panhandle back in the 1960’s if we had wanted to—for something like a dollar an acre--but we didn’t buy in.
After all, who knew that the south would actually “rise again” by taking all of the money from the Yankees that would end up coming down here to “the rural south” seeking to live somewhere that had a summer unlike that in their home states which lasts
Trouble is, they (the Yankees) never heard of things like sunscreen and mosquitoes and little bugs called
Any Way…I digress
In spite of the amount of money in Florida, there’s a good deal of dissent when it comes to deciding how to spend it, and money apparently affects the brain cells or something because a bunch of people in Florida are CRAZY.
They just can’t think rationally, and any time they hear something that they don’t agree with, rather than just changing the channel or changing their location or just ignoring it, they resort to petty attacks and attempts to embarrass or otherwise discredit the offender.
Case in point, today the
(OK, don’t start criticizing my knowledge of Geography, because in spite of where the Mason Dixon line fell, I say anyone from anywhere north of Tennessee is a
You probably know who I mean, don’t you?
Of course I’m talking about that mean old, middle aged, loud mouthed, talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
Poor old Rush, the Yankees down in Palm Beach County just won’t let it go.
Remember that Rush got caught a few years ago popping pain pills on a part time basis, without proper government authorization?
The media loved it.
Oooohhhhh Aaaahhhh Mister Conservative Republican Talk Show Host is a Junkie….
Negate everything he says….
Tar and feather him…
Run him out of town on a rail…
Put him in jail and make him watch Michael Moore movies 24/7…
Rush admitted that he had a problem, and now he says that he beat it, but that wasn’t good enough for the Palm Beach County District Attorney.
After subpoenaing his personal medical records, leaking each and every single detail of the investigation to the media within minutes of the events occurring, and otherwise violating Rush’s right to privacy (something liberals and the ACLU loves to defend except when the individual wears a suit and tie to work and votes “R”), last month Rush cut a deal basically not admitting guilt of “doctor shopping”, but also agreeing to not eat any more pain pills and not get arrested again for 18 months.
That would seem easy enough to me, for a guy that has a limo and a private jet and doesn’t beat his girlfriend and dance naked on the bar during happy hour in beachfront taverns.
(OK, Rush can afford to buy his own damn bar or build a bar in his home and dance naked with multiple girlfriends if he wants to, but that’s a mental image that I won’t press forward with here at the moment…)
So today the news hit the Radio and TV that US Customs officials had searched Rush’s private jet upon arrival in Palm Beach after a long weekend trip to the Dominician Republic.
Inside of his shaving kit they found….
Oh my GOD…Rush can’t get it up without pharmacological assistance.
Stop the presses…
Rewrite the headlines…
Call the BBC and the FBI and the CIA because Rush didn’t have his name on the bottle or bottles of
Even the stern faces on the inane Jacksonville, Florida evening rush-hour (excuse the pun) drivetime TV news took time out yesterday from reporting on the latest apartment fire and crack head shooting to scream “RUSH LIMBAUGH ARRESTED FOR DRUGS.”
The funny thing to me is, almost each and every one of us is guilty of the same thing they’re accusing Rush Limbaugh of now—carrying around legitimate prescription drugs in containers without our name on it.
You know, things like those silly little Monday Tuesday through Sunday boxes that all of us old people buy at CVS and carry around with us in order to remember to take our meds?
I have to eat a drug called Coumadin every damn day for the rest of my life (if I expect to keep my blood from turning to Jello), and I don’t always have it in the original bottle with my name on it.
Unlike Rush’s drug, Coumadin doesn’t make me any more of a man, and it certainly doesn’t have any fun effects like making you “high”, or otherwise giving you a buzz when you take it. It just makes your neck and lip bleed until lunchtime if you nick yourself while shaving, but the US Customs officials could “detain me for three hours” if my Piper Cub landed at Palm Beach County Airport and they looked in my crappy piece of imitation Samsonite luggage and found it in a zip lock baggie with my stash of Tylenol.
Here is a good link to this story if you want to read it.
Now here is a link to a Huffington’s Post article linked by Yahoo about the same story.
Notice the difference in tone? Ariana Huffington is a stupid partisan bitch that happens to have a website and live in Hollywood or somewhere nearby (I don’t want to waste time doing a Google search, so bear with me.)
The bottom line, as I see it, is that Rush got searched by some wild-eyed zealous, possibly politically motivated idiots with US customs, and they found nothing in the process, but the process was already set into motion.
I suspect that the local authorities (Palm Beach County prosecutor and the Sheriffs department and God knows who else) knew where Rush parked his airplane, and this whole affair was a set up—a fishing expedition thinking that they might catch Rush with some recreational substances after returning from an obvious pleasure trip out of the country.
Rush told everyone on his radio show that he would be out of town (the location was a mystery) and the schedule was predictable because corporate jet pilots have to do responsible things like filing flight plans and such.
When they didn’t find OxyContin or anything else that could be used to prosecute their agenda, they did the next best thing and announced the presence Viagra.
Next thing you know, they’ll probably be announcing that they’re arresting Rush Limbaugh for Priaprism (having an erection that lasted longer than four hours.) If that is true, I just hope that he puts it where it can do the most good.
Screw this crap, I’ve got to stop thinking about this before my head explodes.
I’m heading for the swimming pool…you guys take care of things while I’m gone…
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Via my blog Idols over at Powerline, here is the text of a letter from outgoing Treasury Secretary John Snow to
Dear Mr. Keller:
The New York Times' decision to disclose the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program, a robust and classified effort to map terrorist networks through the use of financial data, was irresponsible and harmful to the security of Americans and freedom-loving people worldwide. In choosing to expose this program, despite repeated pleas from high-level officials on both sides of the aisle, including myself, the Times undermined a highly successful counter-terrorism program and alerted terrorists to the methods and sources used to track their money trails.
Your charge that our efforts to convince The New York Times not to publish were "half-hearted" is incorrect and offensive. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Over the past two months, Treasury has engaged in a vigorous dialogue with the Times - from the reporters writing the story to the D.C. Bureau Chief and all the way up to you. It should also be noted that the co-chairmen of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, Governor Tom Kean and Congressman Lee Hamilton, met in person or placed calls to the very highest levels of the Times urging the paper not to publish the story. Members of Congress, senior U.S. Government officials and well-respected legal authorities from both sides of the aisle also asked the paper not to publish or supported the legality and validity of the program.
Indeed, I invited you to my office for the explicit purpose of talking you out of publishing this story. And there was nothing "half-hearted" about that effort. I told you about the true value of the program in defeating terrorism and sought to impress upon you the harm that would occur from its disclosure. I stressed that the program is grounded on solid legal footing, had many built-in safeguards, and has been extremely valuable in the war against terror.
Additionally, Treasury Under Secretary Stuart Levey met with the reporters and your senior editors to answer countless questions, laying out the legal framework and diligently outlining the multiple safeguards and protections that are in place.
You have defended your decision to compromise this program by asserting that "terror financiers know" our methods for tracking their funds and have already moved to other methods to send money. The fact that your editors believe themselves to be qualified to assess how terrorists are moving money betrays a breathtaking arrogance and a deep misunderstanding of this program and how it works. While terrorists are relying more heavily than before on cumbersome methods to move money, such as cash couriers, we have continued to see them using the formal financial system, which has made this particular program incredibly valuable.
Lastly, justifying this disclosure by citing the "public interest" in knowing information about this program means the paper has given itself free license to expose any covert activity that it happens to learn of - even those that are legally grounded, responsibly administered, independently overseen, and highly effective. Indeed, you have done so here.
What you've seemed to overlook is that it is also a matter of public interest that we use all means available - lawfully and responsibly - to help protect the American people from the deadly threats of terrorists. I am deeply disappointed in the New York Times.
John W. Snow, Secretary
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Look at what
MIAMI --American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said to an audience of more than 200 in North Miami Saturday afternoon.
Let me say THIS about THAT.
Sitting on an airplane doesn't make me a competent airline pilot.
Standing in a post office doesn't make me a postmaster.
Having spent time in the military doesn't make me an expert military strategist.
Running for political office doesn't make me qualified to serve in said political office...
I aspire to serve and represent imbeciles and incompetents, while ignoring all of the intelligent, normal, God fearing people of my state.
That said, if I were John Murtha MY emphasis would be on a significant change of tone.
But John Murtha keeps getting more partisan and sounding more insane with every news conference.
Democrats in general and Pennsylvanians specifically should be seriously (re)thinking long and hard about who and what they want to show themselves to be on the national and world stage, else all of us southerners are going to start rethinking the outcome of our own Civil War.
Now where's my really big hammer?
Maybe it's just me...