Saturday, March 07, 2009

People's Choice--Second Place

We Did It...

OK...I know that you've been wondering what I've been talking about for the past year.

Here's a look at the unofficial official "Cajun Chili Shack":

Here's what about thirteen gallons of Chili looks like:

And here's what it looks like three hours later:

Here's the other members of my team:

Here's my buddy Kimbo (the lead guitar player third from the right) and his band "The StringRays":

Here's my team again after they've righted themselves:

Here's some of the crowd. (we served over 1400 tasting "cups" of Chili between 11:15 and 2:00 PM)

Here's some of our funny looking NASCAR neighbors:

Here's our team photo accepting the prize for "Second Place-People's Choice":

Here' s a look at another group of our worthy competitors that won the" judges" prize for "best chili":

These guys beat us out for "Best Booth": (dang it)

And now it's time to go to sleep after three loooong days of hard work.
See y'all later...

Chilly Chili Here On The Georgia Coast

Who's Idea Was This Anyway???

If you could watch a TV commercial about our "working vacation" like they do for the credit card companies it would go something like this:

Eight hours on the interstate =

$35.00 in gas

Two six hour days spent making sawdust and foam chips on the back deck overlooking the marsh at
Blackwater Grill =


A Saturday on our little Island cooking Chili against 26 other teams...


The good news is the preparations are pretty much over with--with the singular exception of moving 70 pounds of pre-cooked meat, 15 gallons of home made chicken and beef stock, and all of the other associated accoutrement's and tools about three miles across the island from the restaurant to the scene of the crime event location adjacent to the "Old Casino" within a hundred yards of the Atlantic Ocean beginning at 6 AM this morning in anticipation of setting it all up then...

cooking TWELVE GALLONS of my soon to be world famous Chili recipe.

I've learned that there is no way that an individual could accomplish this feat without association with a restaurant and one or more professional chef's.

I have to give Blackwater's Chef Jamie a shout out here for spending two days cooking the home made chicken and beef stock down from the raw ingredients and rendering out thirty pounds of ground beef.

John--the restaurant owner and fellow GT alumni--and I rendered the forty pounds of boneless top round roast down mid-day today after he spent the morning hand cutting out 1/2" steaks and close trimming the fat and gristle out of everything.

Then Pat did yeoman's duty handling a paint brush and keeping ahead of me doing the fine finish details, and little Missy the Turbo Pup stood guard over the entire proceedings and gave the stray cats and birds that ventured too close to our efforts a good barking.

So now it's time to do a little reading of the news on the Internet and see what my fellow bloggers are up to for a few minutes, then we're off to complete our adventure which began over a year ago when I received the invitation to be guest chef in last year's event but we had to cancel because I ended up spending a month in the hospital and one of John's employees died in an auto accident the week before the event (as I wrote about here in this link.)

I guess that we'll see y'all later with pictures and the recipe.

Wish us luck...If you will...

Friday, March 06, 2009

Internet In Hotel Today

Still Building Chili Shack & Cooking Stock...

(another message from Starbucks internet cafe...)

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Don't Bother Me...

(live from Starbuck's internet...more later)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Good Weather, Good Food, Good Friends

12 Hours From Now We'll Be Back In Paradise

I'm packed.

I have a milk crate full of files.

A notebook computer loaded up.

Got the oil changed on the Chrysler 300.

A giant rack of hanging clothes.

Missy the Turbo Pup's lockers and sea chests on board.

Did I mention the Flip Flops and the predicted sun and temperatures in the high 70's this weekend?

Don't you wish you were me?

Well...maybe not...but can't blame me for wanting to brag a little...

(You are hereby notified that the Blog posting will be sporadic and at the whim of time and the available Internet connections over the next thirteen days.)

Y'all take care now...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

They Had More Dollars Than Sense

Putting You Money Where Your Life Is

I feel sorry for the three guys that left Clearwater Florida last Saturday with Marquis Cooper piloting a 21' single engine boat into the Gulf of Mexico on a fishing trip.

From what I understand about the timing of the trip and the weather forecast the expedition was ill conceived from it's outset.

Take the word of a man that's spent thousands of hours on the water and put nearly as many hours on engines while at the helm of water craft ranging from 21' open bow ski boats to a 32' 12,000 pound twin engine Sea Ray I lost to thieves in another life...

As a boat captain, I wouldn't have gone out of sight of land that day in any boat less than 30 or even 40' in length and without multiple engines under the circumstances these guys wandered into on what amounted to a 21' single engine dingy.

I know that to all of you "land lubbers" the edge of the ocean is a beautiful, wonderful, fun place for people to fool around on and in.

But...let me let you in on a little secret.

The middle of the ocean...the part that starts about five or six miles off shore and extends for what seems forever to the next continent or other major land mass will swallow you whole without a trace in an instant, and the ocean can rise up from a near flat surface to a raging hell in a matter of an hour when a thunderstorm forms on top of your head or a cold front comes through like it did last weekend to these three athletes and their so called "Captain."

I understand that they've found one poor guy alive clinging to the capsized boat, but at this point in time I give the other three a less than 1% chance of being found alive and the odds of finding their bodies may be even less.

I guess that you could say that this is a perfect example of having disposable income killing people that aren't smart enough to pay attention and understand the risks they're taking.

I know...let's call the government and make them pass a law making boating against the law unless you pass some sort of test and pay some form of additional "luxury tax."

Yeah...that's the ticket...more Obama government taxation and intervention.

It's unfair that only mean old ever greying, ever balding white guys and professional athletes get to go deep sea fishing any way. I want a new government program that loads homeless people and "working families" up on ramshackle government boats and hauls their disadvantaged butts twenty five miles offshore with a few buckets of stinky squid and cigar minnows so they can learn how to tie a stainless leader to a piece of 50 pound mono filament line to a 0000 Penn Senator fishing reel. I lost my mind train of thought for a moment...

Any way...I always say that money doesn't solve the problem of being arrogant or even STUPID, so when people get zillion dollar sports contracts win the lottery and then go out and buy a Lear Jet or a thousand horsepower car or a Yacht and proceed to make fifty foot deep craters in the ground, wrap their skulls around telephone poles, else disappear into the Bermuda Triangle that it's just Darwin laughing at modern society from his grave in Topeka, Kansas (he's actually buried in the Cemetery at Westminster Abby.)

How was that for my "insensitive essay of the week" submission?

Time now for a little nap before packing up the rest of my possessions in anticipation of heading back to St. Simons to cook Chili.

Monday, March 02, 2009

I Can Do This--Confessions From An Ego Maniac

This Ain't Me, But Close Enough...

Sometime about 20 years ago I was wandering around Orlando, Florida on a business trip, and after the conference and the formal dinner stuff had ended I found myself sitting at a place where they had "Laser Karaoke"--something purported to have at the time been imported by the Japanese as a secret weapon to finish fighting WWII.

Having a couple of Jack Daniels worth of courage in my belly, I waited my turn and then jumped up in front of the microphone and proceeded to die a slow death doing an old R&B classic song "If You don't Know Me By Now" then covered by a band called "Simply Red."

Fortunately when it was all over with I was three hundred miles away from home and as far as I know it today there were no witnesses in the room that still know my address or phone number.

In spite of that dismal intro experience, I was intrigued by the concept and ever since then I've spent a good deal of time learning to publicly perform various songs by artists like Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, Willy Nelson which are within my vocal range and today I'm proud to report that I can pretty much hang with the best of them in any given venue.

Any way...I was staggering around the interent looking at Johnny Cash and Ray Charles songs this evening and in a fit of Googling I started looking for video of people doing songs I sing as "covers" to the original artists.

Check out this guy playing the piano and doing the one hit wonder song "Brandy" by the 1970's group "Looking Glass":

Somebody give me an "Amen"...

I'm Remiss In Not Mentioning

Distractions Yield Potential Slights...

This past week saw a number of positives and negatives present themselves on our personal calendar here on the banks of the Mighty Tennesse River, and I at first felt like just letting things pass because I was busy paying attention to other worldly matters but now that the dust has settled a little I feel the need to make mention.

First was the celebration of my deceased Father's birthday and that of my Sister here in late February...both of them being just a few days away from being "leap year" babies.

Next is the sad occasion of my sister's family suffering the loss of a great spirit of a pet--a twelve plus year old German Shepard who's legs couldn't carry him any further through what had been a great life with a loving family.

Smokey's gone but not forgotten down in Georgia, and I hope God gives everyone some peace with the knowledge that his suffering is over and it was all for the best in the end.

Another event of lessor importance in the big scheme but still of interest to me was Johnny Cash's birthday on February 26th in the same year of my father's birth in 1932. Here is a video of a younger 31 year old Johnny singing "Ring of Fire"...

and if you liked that you really need to go here and check out this link to the last video Johnny did before his death in September 2003

As to "The rest of the story", I guess most everyone has heard that radio talk legend (a blogger before his time) Paul Harvey died this weekend.

Some of my earliest memories were of listening to my old 1930's Philco AM radio as a kid and hearing Mr. Harvey do is version of "the news" with his polite, witty, insightful commentary.

R.I.P. Mr. Harvey

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Three Days Off--Spent Thinking About Thinking

I Still Say That It's Gonna Be OK

I can't quite explain it, but things are pretty upbeat here at the Turbo Pup Compound on the banks of the Mighty Tennessee River these days.

Maybe I'm just stupid or ignorant or something...I don't know...but in spite of the "housing bubble" and the ongoing "stock market crash" (I'm buying stock as we speak) I just can't get real excited with the idea that the country is going to hell in a hand basket...IF

...we can keep the liberals and the Government from guaranteeing disaster by fooling around with fundamental things that have to happen in order for things to get balanced back out and moving forward again.

What about the giant American auto companies?

I say that they probably should be relegated to history if they can't get things together on their own with a little government money which has already been handed out to them.

And the Airlines and Banks and the Insurance companies shouldn't be that far behind them going down the toilet if their management can't get their houses in order.

Just like Chrysler almost bought the farm back in the 1980's before Lee Iaccoca got the Federal Government to guarantee a bunch of money from the private sector, I just don't see what the problem is with continuing to buy a Honda or Toyota instead of a Ford or Chevy if the companies, their employees, and most importantly their management can't get things together.

The most amazing thing to me is how the government and the liberals can scream bloody murder about things like green energy, then Obama comes out with a budget last week which stabs the American Gas drilling and production business in the heart by ending tax breaks and actually increasing taxes on the natural gas industry in general.

The sniveling, tree hugging, booger eating liberals are either ignorant or just plain stupid because when we can't build nuclear plants (because we can't dispose of the spent Nuclear fuel), and we can't burn coal (because of CO/NOx/SO2/coal ash), what else is left but natural gas (because wind turbines kill birds and solar farms cast shadows on Prairie Dog holes.)

But Virgil, what about "Bio-diesel"?

I've got news for you "lay people" out there, "bio-diesel" and "bio-whatever" isn't cheep.

"Bio-diesel" and "Bio-whatever" is is going to cost your earth friendly butt and wallet about $4 or $5 a gallon including TWO OR THREE DOLLARS of government taxes, and when you burn it it still makes CO, CO2, NOx, and S02/SO3...just at lower levels that the less expensive stuff we drill out of the ground.

And what about the Chinese and the Koreans and the Indians from India?

These bastards have been and will be exempt from the "Kyoto Protocol" and the UN and Al Gore are gonna continue to give them a break in the next round of "International Climate Change" treaties while at the same time attempting to impose debilitating restrictions on Western Europe and North America.

Meanwhile, what else is worth mentioning...

I see that the northwest is suffering from yet another bout of Global Warming induced snowfall which is expected to leave a foot or more of the white wet stuff on the ground in places like Philadelphia and NYC.

I say they should strip Al Gore naked and chain him standing by a tree in Central Park for 48 hours during the storm, and then let former President Clinton stop by with a pitcher of luke warm water a couple of times a day to pour on him to defrost his testicles (he'll have wet hair they'll have risen so far).

I hope you understand if I just shrug my shoulders and keep staring at my computer screen doing work I've gone out and found on my own...without government intervention.

I'm also busy packing our bags and loading up Missy the Turbo Pup's lockers and sea chests in anticipation of a Wednesday departure on a visit back to our Little Island.

I can already smell the salt air, and my soul can sure use the balming effect returing to the shore of the ocean has on my spirits.

Meet me at East Beach at sunset Wednesday...I'll bring the cocktails.