Monday, May 31, 2010

Food: The SOG City Completo

You may have heard of the Chilean Completo, and maybe you have been fortunate enough to have actually consumed one of these gut-bombs. Good on you then! Chile is still on my bucket list so I have had "to improvise, adapt, and over come" (Thank you Gunny Highway).

I became aware of the Completo while watching Anthony Bourdain cram one down on his TV show, No Reservations. Hombre, did that dog ever look good! I had to try it. Unfortunately foot long hot dogs and matching buns are rather hard to find in and about SOG City, so I made do with a regular dog and bun. That was a disaster. The regular sized bun is just too small to handle all of the necessary accoutremonts. So, after some trial and error and a six pack of beer I finally came up with:

The SOG City Completo

First off, heat up the deep fryer to it's highest setting.

Then lay out the toppings:
Prepared guacamole
Chopped raw onion
Chopped fresh tomato
Prepared sauerkraut

I eschewed the bun in favor of extra large flour tortillas. You will need one for each dog.

I prefer the plump all beef hot dogs.

Once you have every thing together and the fryer is hot, lower the dogs into the hot oil and cook until browned to your liking. I cook mine until they start to rip (like the Rutt's Hut New Jersey rippers).

To assemble: Lay out the tortilla and smear a couple of tablespoons of mayo and a couple of tablespoons of guacamole on the lower third - don't be shy here. Nestle a hot dog in this goo and then pile on a heap of sauerkraut, tomatoes, and onion along with anything else that strikes your fancy. Gently roll the tortilla into a tube shape, tucking in the ends as you go.

Grab a brewski and enjoy your gut bomb.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Food: Fire in a Bottle

While not as exciting as a vacation in Belize, I have been busy plucking plump peppers. My Scotch Bonnet pepper plant has been pooping out a bumper crop of these fiery beauties; more than enough to make another bottle of my famous "Grounds for Divorce" Belizian hot sauce. I over did it once with this sauce in a recipe and my trophy bride swore if I ever did that to her again I would be hearing from her attorney.

I whined and sniveled and got this recipe while in Belize a year or so ago. Try it - you will like it.

Grounds for Divorce Belizian Hot Sauce

2 or three bottles of a premium beer (this doesn't go in the recipe, it goes in you)
1 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots
10 fluid ounces water
12 Scotch Bonnet peppers (Habeneros are a poor substitute, but if that is all you have...)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons white vinegar

Sauté the onion and garlic until soft, then add the carrots, peppers and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, open another beer, and cook until carrots are soft.

Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit, then pour everything except the beer into a blender and then whiz until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add some water. If it is too thin, add a few more this point, what do you have to lose? When you have achieved the desired consistency, pour sauce into the container of your choice and have another beer.

Holy crap is that stuff hot! 

My next project involves cayenne peppers. 


Friday, May 28, 2010

Food In Ybor: All Sombrero, No Vaquero

I have lived in Tampa over thirty years and had never been to the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. I always considered it a tourist attraction more than a restaurant, but when my daughters came down from Panama City for a visit I thought the Columbia would give them a little taste of Tampa, so I made reservations for dinner and the flamenco show.

I can say right up front that the show was entertaining and was the highlight of the evening. As for the food, you would be better off at most any of the restaurants along Boliche Boulevard (Columbus Drive). The food and sangria wasn't cheap, nor particularly good. 

I ordered the "prepared to order" paella which came out dry and way over cooked as if it was a left-over reheated in the microwave. I had asked the waiter if it was prepared in the traditional manner with a toasted rice bottom called a socarrat. He looked at me as if I just got off the banana boat. And, no it didn't have the toasted rice bottom; one of the best parts in my opinion.

The "specially mixed" sangria was way overpriced for the quantity, and unfortunately wasn't superior to the Yago in the gallon jug from Publix. The black beans weren't bad, but it is really hard to screw up a bean. The roast pork was tough and dry.

The interior of the restaurant is gorgeous and the dancers were terrific. I would suggest going elsewhere for food, Cuban or otherwise.

And yes, the Columbia did confirm my opinion that it is more of a tourist destination than a fine dining establishment. As an old sage from Texas once said, "[It was] all hat, and no cowboy."

Columbia Restaurant on Urbanspoon 

Columbia Restaurant - Ybor City, Sand Key on Foodio54

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Music: Tropical Heatwave

I have been so busy lately with vacation stuff I haven't had time to share some of our magical Tropical Heatwave 2010 moments, so allow me to correct that deficiency right now.

This was a well planned event, parking was easy, and the food vendors had some really tasty delights.  Beer was plentiful and so were the pissoires.

There were 46 bands, but we especially enjoyed Ruthie Foster, Nervous Turkey, and Hu Dost.

Ruthie...I swoon. Check out her latest CD, The Truth According to Ruthie Foster, available on Amazon.

Tampa band Nervous Turkey played some kick-ass blues.

(Contain yourselves ladies, that is a throbbing mound of blues you see there. Someone got in the way when I tried for the ass-crack picture though.)

World folk group Hu Dost.

There were too many great bands and no way could we enjoy them all. Besides, one of us had to drive home (I forget which one it was), so we left around ten. Next year we may have to get a room and stay the night.

You may order Ruthie Foster and Nervous Turkey CDs from Amazon.  Click the link below:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Taste of the Yucatan

If you would like to get the flavor of the Yucatan in print and on your table, I highly recommend the book, Yucatan Cookbook - Recipes & Tales, by Lyman Morton.

In this fascinating book, Mr. Morton shares his memories of Mexico and most especially of the Yucatan Peninsula, an area that my wife and I have visited on numerous vacations. You will not only find authentic Yucatecan recipes, but also stories of the people and places where Morton enjoyed these repasts.

This book will give you a sense of the real Yucatan and may help you plan a most exciting adventure. Also, if you live in an area of Central or South Florida that is over-run with those pesky iguanas this book has an excellent Iguana in Chili Sauce recipe. 

As a final thought: The resort we stayed at during our recent vacation was loaded with iguanas, but alas there was nary an iguana on the menu. This is something I think the Barcelo Maya Palace people should address in the future. I suggested to my ravishing bride that we chase down a couple of these scaly buggers and take them to the chef de cuisine to prepare for our dinner. She was not keen on this idea. Women! 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Travel: La Aldea del Pueblo Blanco Grasa

We are home after having survived our near-Mexican vacation in the village of the fat white people. This microcosm of nothing particularly Yucatecan, located about 90 clicks south of Cancun, is called the Barcelo Maya Palace and even K'inich Janaab' Pakal would probably have been royally pleased to carve out some hearts in these surroundings.

An interior courtyard.

A landscape carved from the jungle.

The palace had fresh water pools out the wazoo, like the frog pond.

And, for the kiddies...

Personally, I can't see traveling thousands of miles to dip my crusty butt in a swimming pool, especially since we have one of our own at home. The Caribbean water and a soft sand beach is what gets me wet...and sandy.

A positive, I suppose, on this or any all-inclusive is that you can drink yourself stupid (like the bride on her wedding night) and stuff yourself with food to the point of exploding. This is like a cruise ship but without the wave action...or the exciting shore excursions to various ports of call. Although, off site tours are available.

A big negative, for me anyway, is traveling thousands of miles to a foreign country and then doing your best to isolate yourself from that country and it's culture. The food was plebeian and in no way indicative of the cuisine of the Yucatan Peninsula or anywhere else in Mexico for that matter. There was plenty of it though if you are into quantity as opposed to quality. As for music...there was none except for a disco on an adjacent property. The closest I got to a strolling mariachi was the grizzled 12 string-guitar player on the beach at Playa.

While at the palace our daughter, son-in-law, my sister-in-law (Seestor) and I celebrated my trophy bride's birthday. We always try to go somewhere for her birthday because if she is traveling on the 22nd of May she will never get older...or so she tells me. Our Seestor had never been to the Yucatan and we love traveling with her and sharing new adventures.

I can now say, "been there, done that," and I am grateful for the opportunity thanks to our daughter and son-in-law hooking us up with a bargain price.

If an all-inclusive is your shot of tequila you might want to check out the Barcelo Maya Palace.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My baby and I have been on vacation...

Did you miss us?  Or, maybe I should ask if you noticed we were gone?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Madison County Revisited

It was after a day of dental surgery that I decide it would be a good time to read a book, The Bridges of Madison County, since I was doing some serious pain medication and bourbon (well, it worked for Dr. House) and wasn't capable of much else. Normally I don't get choked up over sad stories, but this one really did it for me.  My wife came home and found me in tears.  "You gotta read this," I slurred, "This is so beautiful and so sad."  She poofed and eye-rolled at me.

We usually watch the movie when it re-runs on the freebie channels, and it was on again.  I don't tear up any more, but then again we are out of Vicodin and there isn't much bourbon left in the bottle anyway. I still enjoy the story, even more now since I visited Madison County, Iowa while on a teaching assignment.

I had the weekend off and since I wasn't coming home I decide to see the sights. I looked up Madison County and discovered it was just down the road from my hotel in Des Moines.  So, off I went.  I saw a few of the bridges, the town of Winterset, and Francesca's house.  I even sat the in same tub as Eastwood and Streep, but with my clothes on and with no water.

I can only find one picture that I took during that adventure...the one of Roseman Bridge:

Obviously, my photo editing software got a bit of a workout.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Puff'em if You've Got'em

While at the WMNF Tropical Heatwave Saturday, we bumped into a couple of representatives from PUFMM, People United for Medical Marijuana. The PUFMM guys were collecting signatures on a petition to get the medical marijuana issue on the election ballot in 2012.

According to PUFMM, "There are over 1.7 million seriously ill people in Florida. They have the right to safe, affordable, and effective medication. The goal of this committee is to get medical marijuana legal in the state of Florida. We are working to get our legislators to change the laws. One way to do this is the ballot initiative process.

We are collecting signatures on a petition that supports a constitutional amendment giving patients the right to grow, obtain, purchase and possess medical marijuana under a doctor's supervision. We need valid signatures from 676,811 registered voters and millions of dollars in donations. The deadline for the 2012 election ballot is February 1, 2012."

We signed the petition. This is a noble goal, but in my opinion it is only a first step. Marijuana should be legalized across the board for a number of reasons. Alcohol prohibition didn't work and neither is marijuana prohibition. All this law is doing is making the marijuana "bootleggers" filthy rich. It is tossing Americans in prison for lengthy terms for a victim-less crime. It is perpetuating bloody drug wars on our borders and in our cities. It is costing our country trillions of dollars...and,

It isn't working!

Did you know that marijuana is a 35 billion dollar - that's $35,000,000,000 - cash crop in this country? And, that money is tax free to the farmers. Yes, it is illegal, but that is one hell of a dollar incentive. Care to take a stab at who the majority of buyers are? It is us. We are the major buyers of a product that our government is taxing the crap out of us to eliminate. Are we INSANE?

Albert Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results." This country seems to define itself by this definition. Take the Cuban embargo, the Bush wars, and the war on drugs as examples. But right now I will stay focused on the insane drug policies.

My solution: Legalize drugs, tax those drugs, stop the bloodshed, and reduce our prison population. Those points in themselves would go a long way toward reducing our national debt. Our focus should be on education and rehabilitation, not war. And, to those who are against legalization I have to ask, "What is in it for you to perpetuate this insanity?"

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Beer is Your Friend

You will find a number of good friends at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company in Ybor City. My bride and I had a One Night Stand at the TBBC. To clarify, we each had a pint, or two or so, of this pleasant tasting 5% pale ale with a late lunch (or early dinner) yesterday before the WMNF Tropical Heatwave kicked off.

We have been enjoying the TBBC for several years. Their in-house crafted beers are excellent. The menu selections, while not super fantastic, are a few steps above typical pub fare. Especially notable is the curry mussels with broth and noodles. I have enjoyed those mussels twice now and they are consistently good. My only suggestion is that they should be served with a side of crusty Cuban bread for sopping, and maybe a spoon. You may ask for both, but the bread depends on the mood of management. My date for the evening had the half Cuban sandwich with the soup of the day, both of which were tasty and filling.

Service has always been good and the prices reasonable. The Tampa Bay Brewing Company was an outstanding prelude to the Heatwave concerts last night.

Tampa Bay Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 14, 2010

Let's Shuckum Y'all.

If you have contemplated a trip to the Florida Panhandle for a relaxing vacation...well, now would be a good time. They are hurting up there because of the oil debacle in the Gulf, but I think more because of all the negative publicity about the spill.

I talked with my daughter in Pannymaw (I grew up there and that is the way it is pronounced...not by her, though) the other day.  The beaches are clean and pristine with crystal clear water; just the way it was when I was a kid.  When, not if, you go make sure you pay a visit to Shuckums on the beach.

My precious daughter took us there on our last visit to Panama City Beach before the Florida freeze and we had great food, a great time, and met some really charming people.  Our wait staff was attentive and Mack, the owner, stopped by from time to time to see if all was to our satisfaction. It was! The oysters on the half shell were better than anything I have had in Tampa in a long time (I still miss DJ's Oyster Bar, though). My bride, who is not an oyster aficionado, even enjoyed several of the baked oyster selections. Shuckums serves more than just oysters, but we can get burgers, steaks, and grouper sandwiches in Tampa. I went for the oysters and I wasn't disappointed.

The karaoke DJ in the party shack next door prodded me to sing, but I hadn't had enough beer. As an interesting aside, by the time you have consumed enough beer to make you think you can sing - you really can't, and shouldn't. So I didn't. Everyone was grateful.

Shuckums brought back some wonderful memories of growing up on the beaches of Panama City.  This is a great place to grab a cold beer, chow down on a few dozen fresh Apalachicola oysters and do it in a family friendly environment. Mack encourages you to have a good time, especially if you cheer on the appropriate football team on game day.
Hint: It ain't the USF Bulls (but, go Bulls). Shuckum's Oyster Pub & Seafood on Urbanspoon    

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Adios and Au Revoir Big Mike

Alright, I will man-up and admit it; I watch American Idol. I am not a big fan, but my lovely bride is, so we watch it together. I am hoping this will be the last season, though. The show has become less of a talent contest and more of a popularity contest.

Take Mike Lynche as a for instance. He isn't the worst contestant I have ever had to endure, but he is boring in a mediocre sort of way. The judge's "save" should have been saved for someone else...maybe Siobhan. I will not be buying any Big Mike records if he becomes a recording artist, but I think he would do well on Broadway. Paint him green and have him star in the stage production of Shrek. That might be tacky, but I am glad he is finally gone.

As long as I am critiquing, I might as well have a shot at the top three. Lee isn't bad, but he sounds like Bob Seger to me. I really enjoy Seger's music; I just don't think we need a Seger clone. Neither Casey James nor Crystal Bowersox belong on Idol.  Both of them are way too good in their own original ways to play the Idol games. He needs to front a band as vocalist and lead guitarist and just rock on. Crystal just needs to be turned loose to do whatever she feels comfortable with. When they pick up a recording contract I will be plopping down my dollars to buy their material.

And, that's all I've got to say about that (thanks Forrest).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wise Counsel From My Law Professor

I received the following in an email from my dear friend Sheila:

"If you are 30, or older, you might think this is hilarious!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up, what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning…uphill…barefoot…both ways, yada, yada.

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today.  You've got it so easy!  I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia!  And, I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet.  If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog. There was no email. We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen! Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there.  Stamps were 10 cents!

Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us.  As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our ass! Nowhere was safe!

There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes!  If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up!  There were no CD players!  If we were lucky we had tape decks in our cars.  We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless.  'Cause, hey, that's how we rolled, Baby!  Dig?

We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting!  If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it! There weren't any freakin' cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY GOD!  Think of the horror of not being in touch with someone 24/7!  And then there's TEXTING.  Yeah, right.  Please! We didn't have fancy Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was. It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent... you just didn't know. You had to pick it up and take your chances!

We didn't have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics!  We had the Atari 2600 with games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'.  Your screen guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination.  And there were no multiple levels or screens; it was just one screen...forever!  And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died.  Just like LIFE.

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on. You were screwed when it came to channel surfing.  You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel.  NO REMOTES! Oh, no, what's the world coming to?!?!

There was no Cartoon Network either.  You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning.  Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons! And we didn't have microwaves.  If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove!  Imagine that!

And our parents told us to stay outside and play...all day long.  Oh, no! No electronics to soothe and comfort.  And if you came back were doing chores!

And car seats - oh, please!  Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were luckily, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first place!"

One last thought just for you Sheila: "Hell no, you don't get an "A" just for showing up in class! Now sit down, shut up and grab your pencils; we are going to have a pop quiz with a 300 word essay on Palsgraf v. Long Island Rail Co., 162 N.E. 99 (N.Y. 1928)."  No kidding!  That really caused a few sphincters to pucker.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lo que una hermosa flor!

While continuing to practice my Spanish, I came across a picture I took a few years ago that actually won an award in an art show in Tampa:

And, I thought to myself, how would I say, "What a beautiful flower," in Spanish.  So, I Googled that phrase, and the translation appears as the title of this blog.

The photo was taken with a Nikkormat EL, with infrared film and a red filter. When processed it was printed as a positive image instead of a negative.  Today, most all of my photos are taken with a Canon digital, and the Nikkormat was stolen some time ago. I do miss film photography...but not enough to buy a new camera.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Touch of Class for the Oracle

I have just started following a blog with colorful, whimsical works of art, talented writing, cats, and goats.  I would recommend a visit to The Grumpy Goat Gallery.  This web site appeals to me on a number of levels - grumpy, for one.  And, I love cats, though not in a biblical fashion.

The goat is cute, but I must point out that this isn't a porn site for any of the legislators who decided this past session that bestiality should remain legal in Florida.  For an (pun alert!) in-depth discussion on the issue, you should read Flori-duh, Come for the Sunshine, Stay for the Bestiality, on the Legal Satyricon web site.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

My best wishes for a fantastic day to all you mothers out there - female, male, and even the unsure.

Hopefully, my mother is celebrating with a "little drinky-poo" in that great cocktail lounge in the sky.

Lillian Margaret at age 4, 1912

Friday, May 7, 2010

Food and Music: SOG City

I was just going to tell you about a fantastic new restaurant south of Gandy (you betcha, SOG City), but after having been to Artifacts Bar and Grill tonight I am enthusiastically inclined to add music, beautiful music, to the menu.

The fair maiden and I had lunch the other day at Artifacts which until a few weeks ago was a car lot, then a lunch wagon, and now an unbelievably fantastic restaurant. This is an eclectic restaurant that fits in perfectly in SOG City. It is filled with antiques and some old military memorabilia.

This is a comfortable place, but what sets this restaurant apart from so many others is the food. It is wonderful, tasty, relatively inexpensive, and is served by people with an attitude. And, that attitude is to make you feel as warm and comfortable as if you were in your own home.

For lunch the other day we had the chicken mummy wrap and the prime rib sandwich. Both were delicious and paired well with the La Fin Du Monde beer. It was superb, but was a 9%-er. It provided a dandy beer buzz.

The dinner menu is guided by quality, availability, and price. Mr. Love, the owner, doesn't short-change on quality, but he does consider price, "If it isn't readily available, then maybe it will be too pricey?" That was my quote not his.

My bilingual spouse (Southern and Northern U.S.) and I had a most tasty dinner of pulled pork for her and the seafood Veracruz for me, and a bottle of Argentine Malbec. I suppose I should mention that Artifacts has some great beers, a limited wine list, and a full bar.

Now let us move on to the music.

Music, you say, in a south of Gandy restaurant? Well, it was more than just music. Maybe it was the Malbec, but the voice of Lisa Casalino was just like the voice of an angel to these SOG City ears. You can click on Lisa Casalino to hear several of her songs and see her show dates.

Oh yeah, Artifacts. The owner, Mr. Love, came by our table several times and really cared about us and our opinion. Even if this wasn't a South Of Gandy dining spot, Artifacts would still be on the top of our list of must do, again and again, places to enjoy great food and great service.

Artifacts Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Our Mayor Has Moved Forward

Mayor Pam, the charming and rather attractive High Priestess of Tampa, has promoted Thomas Forward from Assistant Fire Chief to the Mother of all Fire Chiefs.  High Priestess of Tampa Iorio could not have made a better choice.  Good for you Mayor Iorio, and a hearty congratulations to Chief Forward.

Chief Forward?  That sounds a little odd passing across the lips of my mind.  I am used to calling him Tom, or if  our flock was present, then it was Sergeant Forward, and later First Sergeant Forward.  Tom and I served together with the 290th Joint Communications Support Squadron, Florida Air National Guard at MacDill.  Rarely have I come across a finer man or a better soldier than Tom.  He never demanded respect.  He earned it and received it.

It was an honor and a pleasure to have served with Tom Forward.  If I were a fire-putter-out person I would enjoy working again with Chief Forward.

Doin' the Neanderthal Nasty

Lying in bed reading the paper this morning I saw that through DNA testing scientists have determined that humans and Neanderthal cave dwellers were doin' the nasty some 45,000 years ago. These same scientists have deduced that many in our society still carry some of the troglodyte genes.

Need proof? I offer Limbaugh, Beck, and other similar radio and TV gasbags. How about that Iowa physician/politician who wants to implant tracking devices in all illegal aliens? The Neanderthals post regularly on Bay News 9 and other similar websites. Then we have the Westboro Baptist Church, birthers, the open carry gun toters, Palin, but I think you get the point. I don't think DNA testing was necessary. It did give the scientists something to do and keeps them from running amok on the streets. I think that is a good thing.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Travel: Returning to Mexico

It is getting close to time for a trip to the home of my ancestors, Mexico. Actually, my family came from Germany, but they had heard of Mexico and that should count for something.

¿Es verdad?

So, my bride and I have been boning up on our Spanish so that we do not repeat mistakes of the past. Like the time she announced to the waiter at a beach bar a bit north of Playa, that she was in heat: "Tengo mucho caliente..." The waiter looked her up and down, smiled and said, "You mean calor. Caliente means you are spicy hot, not warm from the sun. Shall I bring you a coke?" I think that what upset her the most was not the inadvertent propositioning of the waiter, but that the prick turned her down.  I, on the other hand, prefer propositioning young sales clerks in San Miguel, Cozumel.

My long suffering spouse and I had ventured away from the touristy areas of San Miguel and on a back street my wife saw the cutest blouse that she had to have, only it was in a teeny size. Dainty though she is, the love of my life requires a larger size and inquired of the clerk if such a thing existed. Of the two ladies, one spoke no English and the other spoke no Spanish. Here is where I came to the rescue, and I should mention that this was after only two cervezas. In my best Spanish I asked, "¿Tengo usted un grande?" which I realized almost immediately wasn't the, "Do you have a large," as I had hoped. As the sales girl backed away with eyes wide open, presumably to a phone to call the police, I mentioned to my spouse that, "I think I just told the girl that I have a big one for her," and maybe we should leave -- quickly.

We still have several weeks to practice hablo-ing and this time we will be ready.

 Hasta la vista, baby.

Obama Did It!

It didn't take long for the conspiracy theorists to get their "oil slicks for brains" oozing up over the disaster in the Gulf.  They are blaming every liberal, socialist/communist, tree-hugging, environmentalist, and President Obama for this Big Oil cluster-fuck.  Give me a break!

Just for the sake of argument, though, let's assume that like the rants of the single digit IQ "Drill, Baby, Drill" crowd that it was President Obama who blew up the oil platform.  Personally, I believe that if this was not an accident then the perpetrator(s) should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  But let's move beyond that and consider this:  Accident or premeditated act, that well head should have automatically shut down.  It didn't, and we are seeing one of the greatest oil disasters since the Exxon Valdez.

My point here is this:  How the hell can Marco Rubio (R-NumbNuts of Florida) and his fellow air-heads say that drilling in the Gulf is still a grand idea?  According to Rubio, once safety issues are addressed then drilling should resume.  Well, holy crap Sherlock, we were told by Big Oil, special interest groups, Republicans all over hell's half acre, and Palin (the high priestess of Duh) that it was safe.  Accident or not, this mess in the Gulf of Mexico should prove to all the need to aggresively pursue alternative energy sources instead of continuing on our current course of stupidity and greed.    

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I see sharks!

I am not really seeing these maligned denizens of the deep.  I.C. Sharks is my seafood market of choice across Gandy Bridge on the Pinellas side. They sent an e-mail this morning that I thought may be of interest to more than just their customers:

"Well, like many of you we are monitoring the oil spill, and the devastating effects it could have on Gulf Seafood.  Subsequently, we would like to share with you our thoughts on how we initially see the oil spill affecting our products and their availability.

Shrimp, although we have carried a "Texas Brown" shrimp from time to time in the past, our focus when it comes to shrimp has always been the Key West Pinks and other pink shrimp taken from the Caribbean.  Therefore, although we anticipate the laws of supply and demand affecting the price of shrimp, we don't see any problem with supply.  Thus far, we haven't seen any sharp increase in price, therefore our prices remain unchanged.  Moreover, we just got in a load of fresh off the boat beautiful Key West Pinks (21-25 ct.).

Fish, all of our local fresh Red, Black and Scamp Grouper, American Red Snapper, Mangrove Snapper and Hogfish come from the Gulf waters directly off our coast.  So, at this point the areas where our fishermen target have not been damaged by the oil spill.  As a matter of fact we have two boats that are unloading this morning, so our supply of Grouper is outstanding!

Crabs, luckily for all of us thus far this year we are getting all our crabs from local Tampa Bay Crabbers.  In the past, due the shortage of local crabs we have gotten crabs from the NW Gulf regions, but at this point crabs are plentiful.  Again, will the laws of supply and demand affect the prices of live Blue Crabs...perhaps, thus far, our prices remain the same.

In conclusion, we are happy to report that all things are great at I.C. Sharks and we have plenty of fresh off the boat seafood for our customers.  If things change we'll do our best to keep you up to date on all changes.  Till then, we'll see ya at the market soon!

Darryl and your I.C. Sharks Crew"

For seafood lovers like myself, this is good news.  I have no illusions that it will last, but, in the meantime, I hope you will support this market and our fisher-people. Their lively-hoods depend upon us buying their products. Our family, friends and neighbors in Northwest Florida may not be so lucky.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Justice from Buttermilk Bottom

Tampa and the legal profession lost one of its most colorful characters this week. Judge Bob Mitcham died at the too young age of 76.

I had the good fortune to have met Judge Mitcham when one of my legal professors invited him to address our criminal law class. Mitcham was a down-to-earth man who truly cared about the law and showed a great interest in us as students of law. He talked about the book that he had written and that had just been published, Justice from Buttermilk Bottom.

I eventually bought a copy of the book, and reading it was that much more enjoyable after hearing him tell us some of his stories. Judge Mitcham talked about growing up in a nasty part of Atlanta and some of the more sensational trials that he presided over.

When Lawrence Singleton appeared before him (Singleton was the one who raped a young girl, then chopped off her forearms and left her for dead) I was impressed by his restraint in not coming down from the bench and cutting this piece of trash "long, deep, and forever." It was also amusing to read about some people that I had come across in my life as well as some of the more notorious citizens from Tampa's past.

The miscreants in hell should thank their lucky stars that Mitcham went in the opposite direction. I think that Judge Mitcham would have made hell the "mother of all hells" for the doers of evil.