Tuesday, August 31, 2010

GOP Principles: Surprised?

I was doing some research on an idea I had for a blog when I inadvertantly stumbled upon the Republican Party of Florida web site. I would not have lingered there had I not seen a link to "GOP Principles." Had I been drinking at the time it would have squirted out my nose just like milk in grade school because I wasn't aware that the GOP had principles. This I had to see and I will share them with you dear reader along with a few notes of clarification. Read on!

GOP Principles


I Believe… The proper function of government is to do for the influential people those things that have to be did but cannot be did, or cannot be did as well, by individuals, and that the most effective government is government closest to the people with the greatest amount of money and power.

I Believe… Good government is based upon the individual with greatest big-ass gobs of cash and that each person's ability, dignity, freedom, and responsibility must be honored and recognized unless they be named Crist, or they be scum-sucking Democrats, or they be supporters of that alien-born, Christian hating nig...uh, that is to say, black guy in our White House.

I Believe… The free enterprise and the encouragement of individual initiative and incentive have given this nation an economic system second only to Somalia. Thanks be to King George for this one, for without Bush we might still be plodding along with that damned Clinton surplus.

I Believe… Sound money management "should" be our goal, and might someday be our goal right after we take care of the uber rich, lobbyists, special interests, Wall Street bankers and, of course, ourselves.

I Believe… In equal right, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, age, sex or national origin. Naturally, this doesn't apply to Muslims, the sexually disoriented, women in the work place, the ethnically challenged, American job-sucking illegal aliens, the uninsured, and those who are not Patiotic Americans as defined by Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.

I Believe… We must retain those principles of the past worth retaining and as defined by Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, yet always be receptive to new ideas with an outlook broad enough to accommodate thoughtful change and varying points of view unless those points of view are not approved by Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.

I Believe… That patriotic, gun-toting Americans value and should preserve their feeling of national strength and pride, and at the same time share with people everywhere a desire for peace and freedom and the extension of human rights throughout the world, or else we will bomb them friggin' foreigners back to the stone age, for God has anointed us as His chosen people and said it is fine to smite those who don't believe as we tell them.

I Believe… The Republican Party is the best vehicle for translating these ideals into positive and successful principles of government, as commanded by Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.

Praise be to the Holy Trinity of Beck, Palin, and Limbaugh, so help us God.

Do I hear and Amen?

Amen, brother.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Westboro Baptist Church: Doin' God's Work

As one who gratefully does not hear voices from above, or below for that matter, I certainly could not vouch for whether God hates fags or not, but it would seem as though the guy on the left has a unique take on what it means to be a Christian. Or, does he?

Keepin’ it real
And yes, that’s me on the right.

This picture has shown up on several web sites including The Moth Kingdom and the Ridiculously Inconsistent Trickle of Consciousness. It is just too good not to share with my readers.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Food: A Taste of Jamaica, Mon

The Reggae Mama and I decided to venture north of SOG City today to treat our eyes, ears, and taste buds to the sights, sounds, and flavors of Jamaica. We loaded the Peter Tosh Mystic Man CD in the player and headed to The Jerk Hut at 926 E. Fowler. No problem mon, all is irie!
 We were greeted by the hostess at the door and promptly directed to the Guyana booth (other booths, other countries). Our server appeared as if by magic and took our drink orders. Rather than opting for the ubiquitous Red Stripe, which never tastes as good here as it does while rafting on the Rio Grande out of Port Antonio, we chose the Red Ale draft. This ale had a faint sweetness that perfectly complimented our somewhat spicy entrees. And, to completely frost the cake, so to speak, we arrived during the two beers for two dollars special.

Sunday The Jerk Hut has a buffet which judging by the number of people going through the line must be very popular. We took a look at the buffet, but decided to order from the menu. There were too many "typical American" breakfast items (scrambled eggs, grits, hash browns, sausage) to suit me...no ackee and saltfish that I could see.

My dining companion ordered the Reggae Ribs, but sadly they were not ready. Instead, she chose the Jerk Pork with a semi-sweet dipping sauce and side of smashed potatoes. I had the Jerk Platter which came with the dipping sauce and a side of rice and peas. The platter is a combination of two meats. I chose the jerk chicken and jerk pork. Both meals came with a, ho-hum, iceberg lettuce salad.

The jerk chicken brought back fond memories of a jerk shack near the blue boose (bus, for you crackers) along the beach road at Negril. We were both a little apprehensive about the pork. Lately all we seem to get in area restaurants is a fat-free pork loin...dry, tough and devoid of anything resembling flavor. Were we ever surprised! This pork was tender, juicy, and flavorful with just the right amount of heavenly fat and reminiscent of a jerk shack at Boston Beach near Port Antonio.

You can order your jerk either mild or spicy. I chose spicy. As I mentioned to our server, I grow Scotch bonnet peppers at home so I am accustomed to the heat...as in, "nothin' is too hot or spicy for me."

The decor is up-town jerk hut in as much as they have a roof, walls, ceiling, and air conditioning other than that cool breeze from the Caribbean. A nice touch during our visit was the live reggae music. I did sorta miss the dirt floors and roaming chickens, but hey mon...no problem. Irie!

Jerk Hut on Urbanspoon

Jerk Hut on Foodio54

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Breaking News From Chicken Little Land

I was more or less listening to Chris Matthews on TV yesterday evening while cooking dinner. One of the guests on Hardball was former New York governor George Pataki. The conversation centered around the "building of a mosque at ground zero." This whole issue is becoming very tiring, not to mention idiotic since the proposed mosque isn't a mosque, but a community center with a small mosque inside and it isn't at ground zero. The site in question is a long two blocks away. My new vegetable chopper was way more interesting than the debate on the tube until I heard these words flutter from Pataki's mouth:

"We (the righteously indignant I suppose) believe religious tolerance is an important part of our bill of rights and of our country but that doesn't mean that we have to tolerate building a center with questionable sources of funds, questionable leadership, so close to ground zero. It is the wrong thing to do at the wrong site."

Well, there is a "holy crap, are you kidding" moment for you.

I had to pull up the transcript from last night's show on-line this morning to make sure I heard Pataki correctly, and it appears that I did. He is alleging that the "ground zero mosque" could very well be funded by Islamic extremists and run by these same extremists, and that the mosque shouldn't exist at this holy site. So, one might ask, this terrorist gathering place would be okey-dokey with Pataki as long as it were located somewhere else in New York?

And, the leadership of whom Pataki seems so abysmally ignorant? That would be the imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf...the guy used by our State Department as an emissary to the Muslim world. And, who is funding Rauf? That would be Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud of Saudi Arabia. The prince, through his Kingdom Holding Company, is a major contributor to the Cordoba Initiative (the mosque project). And, Kingdom Holding? Well, slap my ass and call me Spanky, Kingdom Holding is the second largest shareholder in Fox, the invent the news network, right behind Rupert Murdoch.

Using a Glenn Beck convoluted form of logic one could suggest then that it is the Fox News viewers who are funding that terrorist mosque at ground zero. So, take that Pataki and may it serve you well.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Soggy Hump Day Musings

It is soggy here in SOG City. This is normally the dry spot on the dry side of Tampa, but it has been raining for several days and cabin fever is beginning to set in. Before my mind becomes as one with that of a Chilean ore miner I thought I would jot down a couple of musings that I have been musing about.

It seems that Florida Republicans agreed with the activist in Miami who gushed, "I think he understands us. He looks nice. I like him." So, Scott is their gubernatorial candidate. But, looks nice? No, he looks like a prick with ears, but that isn't the point. All he has presented to Florida is a pile of "political platitudes" known in some circles as mierda del toro.

Moving on...

I love food! I enjoy eating it, cooking it, writing about it, and reading about it. This morning I read in the St. Pete Times that the bay area has a new food critic. According to a
Sean Daley article songstress Natalie Merchant offered up a critique of a landmark Ybor City restaurant, the Columbia. And, I thought my review of the Columbia was harsh. Said Ms. Merchant, "[The Columbia] gave me the worst case of food poisoning of my life. That's not Spanish food. The house salad looked like something in my compost bucket." That must have been one nasty salad. I have a compost bin and...ooey gooey! At least I commented that the place looked nice. 

Speaking of restaurant reviews, an Oracle reader up around Blountstown took issue with my critique of Caroline's 
in Apalachicola. Apparently this person's experience at Caroline's did not line up well with mine and "Anonymous" demanded to know if I get paid for writing about restaurants. Unfortunately, no! I don't even get an occasional free meal...nothing, nada, zip, zilch. So, if I say something nice about a meal or a restaurant it is because I really enjoyed the experience.

Like the Blountstown reader, if you have a really crappy experience it could be due to one of several factors. One is that you went when that superb restaurant was having an unbelievably horrid day, or two, I went when that normally awful restaurant was having an unimaginably good day. Of course, if a restaurant has beau coup positive reviews and you are but one out of many who thinks it stinks...well, maybe the problem is you.

Bon appetit y'all, and save us Alex Sink!  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Food: Hula Dining on the Water

The Hula Bay Club is one of only a few Tampa water-side dining establishments and it has been tantalizing our taste buds for several years now ever since the Rattlefish shut down.Thankfully, you don't need to don a hula skirt to dine at the Hula Bay Club, so we sashayed over for lunch and a lei the other day. I never did get the lei I was hoping for, but lunch more than made up for that omission.

When the weather cooperates we enjoy sitting on the outside deck overlooking the...wooden railing. That, by the way, is my only gripe about HBC. Either the deck chairs need to be higher or the railing needs to be lower to be able to enjoy the view. Another alternative would be a booster chair for adults, or you could just sit at one of the high-tops on the upper deck.

With a name like Hula Bay you could imagine that the place has a tropical decor, and it does. The HBC has live entertainment some afternoons and in the evening, but we usually just go for the food which is an eclectic mix ranging from oysters on the half shell, to sliders, to sushi, to prime steaks, to a myriad of most satisfying steamed, grilled, and sautéed seafood choices. The baked oysters with wasabi crust that I ordered would have knocked my socks off had I been wearing socks. My, oh, my were they good.

Some other winning choices that I have enjoyed are the Spicy Ahi Poke with a side of seaweed salad, the fish tacos, and Spicy Tuna Tataki. My Buck-Eye Bride, who is not a real fan of seafood, ordered the Big Duke Burger this last trip and the Big D got a "thumbs-up."

This SOG City (South of Gandy) establishment is a great place to breathe in that salty air off the bay, and enjoy some good food and drink in a relaxing island setting. Oh yeah, full bar and great Mojitos!

Hula Bay Club Waterfront Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 23, 2010

Religion: The Devil is a Left-leaning Lesbian

I recently came across a quote on The Liberal Curmudgeon web site that was attributed to Bill O'Reilly: "If you read these far-left websites, you're a devil worshipper." Well, that quote pert-near clabbered my pee because I do read those web sites and what is even scarier is that I write a blog that is a little more than slightly left leaning. I'm wondering if that makes me worse than a devil worshipper? Now I am 'reilly' confused, because I don't even believe in the devil unless you count Glenn Beck or that whacko Limbaugh.

Somehow this new identity crisis of mine reminds me of that old cowboy joke, to wit:

An old cowboy - dressed to kill with cowboy shirt, hat, jeans, spurs and chaps - went to a bar and ordered a drink. As he sat there sipping his whiskey, a young lady sat down next to him.
After she ordered her drink she turned to the cowboy and asked him, "Are you a real cowboy?" To which he replied, "Well, I've spent my whole life on the ranch, herding cows, breaking horses, mending fences, so I guess I am."
After a short while he asked her what she was. She replied, "I've never been on a ranch. I am a lesbian. I spend my whole day thinking about women. I get up in the morning thinking of women, when I eat, shower, watch TV - everything makes me think of women."
A short while later she left, and the cowboy ordered another drink. A couple sat down next to him and asked, "Are you a real cowboy?"
"I always thought I was," he answered, "but I just found out that I'm a lesbian."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Food: Lunch at the "Bamboo Chicken"

Did you know that in some parts of the world, like Belize, that the green iguana is referred to as the bamboo chicken? Neither did I, but what (you are probably asking yourself) does that have to do with anything?

After a heat stroke inducing five mile hike (walk, run, sprint) this morning we decided that we needed to rejuvenate ourselves with a bite to eat and a couple of cold beers. One of our favorite establishments to go to for a bite and a beer is the Green Iguana, but not just any Green Iguana. Just like in the Yucatan and in Belize you can find these creatures around every corner. Our special spot is at the table to the right of the outdoor bar at the Green Iguana on South Westshore Boulevard in Tampa.

I think most of the servers are familiar with us and we are considered to be regulars. When they see us seat ourselves it is my understanding that they draw straws to see who has to wait on us. They are such dears and regardless of who draws the short straw service has always been exceptional.

What about the food, though? You might consider the menu selections as typical bar food, but I would have to disagree. It may be bar food but it is some of the best we have experienced in Tampa. The hamburgers, and there are many choices, are superb...juicy and delicious. My bride enjoyed one today while I opted for the seafood basket...fried shrimp, fish, scallops, fries, and conch fritters. When we are concerned about our weight we usually choose one of the Iguana's salad choices, and again, there are several. My favorite is the Capri Salad with a slab of grilled salmon. Of course, if we are eating heavy we always choose a diet beer. We are health conscious, you know.

The Green Iguana has brand new HD flat screen TVs and live entertainment several nights a week plus a full bar with some really nifty specialty beverages. For the longest time I thought the inside bar was clothing optional since they have a sign above the entry way that says "No Cover." Thankfully, my bride set me straight on that before I got barred from the premises for life. That was a close one!

The Iguana isn't what I would call an upscale dining spot, but the food has always been tasty and the prices are reasonable. The vibe is "neighborhood tiki bar" with bamboo, sports on the TVs, friendly clientèle, and except for that guy in the kitchen with the whiskers who brings out our orders from time to time, the servers are lovely.

Green Iguana - West Shore on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Verizon FIOS: Adding Insult to Injury

I mentioned here not too long ago that I received a "Loyal Customer Award" from Verizon FIOS. As a great big "Thank You" Verizon jacked up my rates. I can only hope that I am not rewarded by any other companies or utilities that I do business with. I can't afford too much more gratitude.

Well, silly me! Verizon wasn't rewarding me with just higher rates, now they were tossing in their version of excellent customer service. In the midst of watching a re-run of The Daily Show my TV screen went on break., and not just one of those union authorized 15 minute hummers. No, this was the mother of all breaks. I checked the TV in another room...same thing. I picked up the phone to call Verizon to report my viewing problem. Hmmm, no dial tone. I went to my trusty computer, and "Hot damn!" no Internet. Well, penguin poop...now what?

Thankfully my cell phone isn't dependent upon Verizon FIOS, so I called in a trouble report...well, after sitting on hold and listening to 20 minutes of Verizon recordings tell me how wonderful it is to have me as a customer, that is. The agent and I spent another 20 or so minutes fiddle-farting (technical telephone terminology) around with the Verizon equipment in the house and finally he came up with the diagnosis of MFB. Anyone who has ever worked for a phone company knows that MFB means the mother f - er's broke. As a preferred customer, I could expect a person to come out to the house and fix the mother f - er some time between now and when hell freezes over.

It turns out that hell wasn't supposed to freeze over until the next day between maybe eight and noon. That window of opportunity passed and a new window opened for sometime between one and five, and then moved to a five and eight hell freeze. After thirty years working for the phone company it became real apparent that Verizon was using the old GTE commitment schedule: Git To-it Eventually. At a quarter to eight in the evening of the second day Verizon announced that hell would not freeze until a later date. Thank god for heavy drinking! I managed to survive another night without TV and the Internet.

Finally, on the third day, a Verizon FIOS tech called to announce his impending arrival, and after 15 minutes replacing a box on the outside of the house, that I absolutely had to be home to witness, all services were restored. The FIOS tech was great...courteous and competent. It turns out that he and I had walked the same GTE hallways a number of years ago.

Verizon FIOS Customer Service, on the other hand, sucks large!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Light Rail For Tampa: A Pig In A Poke

I have to warn you right up front that I am prepared to cliché you into a stupor. I hate to do it, but the proposed penny sales tax that Hillsborough County wants us to approve this November has my hackles up and I didn't even know that I had hackles.

This tax is supposed to allocate 57% of the money collected to pay for expanded bus service and road improvements, and 43% to finance the county's light rail plan. Me and the county see eye to eye on the need for road improvements if that means filling in the pot holes. I can't seem to get my arms around that expanded bus service thingy unless the planners mean to make existing service more efficient.

What really frosts my man-nuggets though, is being asked to approve this tax for a plan that will not be finalized until after, I repeat AFTER, the November referendum. You have got to be kidding! Talk about buying a pig in a poke...or, a used car before you "Show me the Carfax."

To complete the frosting of the cake, the two existing rail plans would cost about two billion dollars...that's a 2 followed by 9 zeros. The real capper here is that the line from downtown Tampa to Cross Creek Boulevard would take about 58 minutes. The same trip by car takes about 62 minutes. So, the plan is to spend maybe a billion dollars to save four friggin' minutes? The other proposed rail line would run from downtown to Tampa International and take about 26 minutes as opposed to 18 minutes by car. Somebody's brain isn't firing on all cylinders or they must be smokin' some really good shit, and I'd like a hit of that.

I think you get the picture. I do not intend to vote for that penny sales tax. I would consider a half penny increase to pay for road improvements though...but, only after seeing a contract in writing. We have already been assured by the planners that the existing proposal will, among other things, improve the quality of our lives....which reminds me of another old saying: Don't piss down my back and tell me its raining.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Commandments: Re-constructed

Many in our society bemoan the fact that the words of our country’s founding fathers do not adequately reflect their views on how this great country should be guided. As a consequence some of our citizens want to re-write the Constitution and base it upon the bible of the Christians…eliminating the Bill of Rights and substituting the Ten Commandments.

Would that work? I don’t know, but why not give it some thought. First we need to decide which version of the Commandments to peruse. The Commandments are not exclusive to the Christians and even within Christianity the Commandments are translated and interpreted in different ways though keeping the same ten basic elements. Other religions have their versions and some of those have more than ten. To keep it simple we will do the Deuteronomy translation.

  1. This one has a couple of ambiguities like the “I…brought you…out of the house of slavery” part, but yet in the tenth you are not allowed to desire your neighbor’s slaves? I think the main thrust is the having no other gods “before me.” What about after? What about the gods of Money and Power that we worship in this country? They would be sorely p.o.ed if we dissed them…wouldn’t they? And, idols are not allowed. Hopefully, that includes American Idol.
  2. Taking the Lord’s name in vain has always been a biggie, but let’s look at the phrase “goddammit!” Isn’t that more like a prayer than a curse? As in “God, damn the stupid, asinine, thoughtless thing I just did and don’t let me do it again.” It’s just a thought.
  3. Keep the Sabbath holy, and what could be holier than Buccaneers Sunday? Religion runs rampant as the stadium prays for a completed pass or, be still my thumping gizzard, a freakin’ touchdown.
  4. Honor Mom and Dad…in this country, my ass! Call the cops on them or sue them if they try to instill a sense of decency in your juvenile little self. Honoring parents is something they do in other countries, not here.
  5. “You shall not kill.” Then why is this country arming itself, and against whom? It’s our Second Amendment right to pack a piece and defend ourselves against all who would disagree with our views on…well, anything.
  6. Adultery? I don’t need a commandment for this one. I’ve got a wife. She has said I can do anything I want, but if it involves fun and she is not around, then I am not allowed. Moving on…
  7. Stealing might be a bad idea…too many patriotic Americans are packing heat and if you survive you could wind up being Bubba’s bride in Raiford (Florida’s version of e-Harmony.com).
  8. Bearing false witness I think means you would be a prime candidate to run for public office in Florida.
  9. Covet thy neighbor’s wife? Have you seen the ass on that woman? I am not sure that the neighbor even covets her all that much. Anyway, this one was previously addressed in commandment six, so let’s not be redundant.
  10. Well, this one has a few redundancies and contradictions. We are not supposed to desire our neighbor’s slaves. Well alright, I won’t! And, that goes for his house, his ox, his fat ass (see: Number 9) and anything else he owns. 
I saw a sign in front of a local church that stated, “The Ten Commandments are not suggestions.” The same goes for the Constitution. It is the law of the land. These are two powerful documents, but let’s keep them as they are. Or, I won't re-write yours if you don't re-write mine.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I Come Up A Flash: It's The Golden Rule

To be totally honest I am without adult supervision for a few days. My bride is in Ohio visiting with her Mom and Dad. He is a Pentecostal preacher which kinda explains why I am still down here in the land of sin and degradation.

Since I am not allowed to have fun when she isn't present I can not indulge in sin nor can I degrade myself beyond getting a nifty little gin buzz. So, after a long, hot, sweaty afternoon digging in the yard getting ready for fall planting I sat out on the patio this evening chilling with a Gin Rickey and listening to sitar music. I suppose it is due to the meditative qualities of sitar music that I began thinking about religion and the world condition.

After a bit...I come up a flash!

Brace yourself because I am about ready to share my war and hate ending, and let's just accept ourselves as fellow travelers in life on Earth, revelation. And, the revelation is: The Golden Rule.

This rule predates even the American illusion of Christianity, and what could be more basic? Essentially it states:

Don't do it to others if you don't want it done to you.

That pretty much covers murder, robbery, name calling, denting car doors in the Publix parking lot, and a host of other transgressions. Right?

I really like the Golden Rule...it is simple and seems to say what needs to be said in one succinct sentence. And maybe, just maybe if we all put down our Bibles, Torahs, Korans and other religious tomes for a few minutes and just starting living the Golden Rule then this world might become a friendlier, more peaceful place.

It's just a thought. Cheers!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wee Willie McCollum: It's Time for a Time Out

Oh, Willie, you just need to calm down...please! You are not being punished, though. Time outs are not for punishment. Look at this as an opportunity for you to gain control of your emotions and give the rest of us a breather from your wild-assed...well, delusions come to mind.

Your new immigration bill is a prime example. It may be tougher than Arizona's but it sure as hell isn't fairer. Your proposal that illegals face stiffer penalties for the same crime as legal residents just boggles my mind. How do you propose doing that? Are you suggesting that Florida re-write it's criminal statutes to fit the person as opposed to the crime. Would you have separate statutes for men and women, light skin versus dark skin, Cubans and Mexicans? Could this master plan of yours turn into the mother of all state penal code cluster-f__ks?

It has generally been accepted in our fair country that the punishment should fit the crime and that all offenders committing the same offense should be subject to the same criminal sanctions. Criminal statutes have been written to protect offenders from arbitrary and excessive punishments. The Constitution forbids enacting any criminal law that violates an individual's right to be treated fairly. I will have to assume that because it is in a foreign language that the term "stare decisis" is alien to you.

Your bill also suggests that immigrants must carry valid documentation or get tossed into the slammer for 20 days if they are detained during a lawful traffic stop. I would suggest a valid driver's license should cover that one and that anyone driving without a valid driver's license could be computer-checked on the spot for license, registration as well as immigration status. Twenty days seems a little excessive if your license is in your other pants and our police do have computers.

Mommy and Daddy just think you are getting your bowels in an uproar over nothing except to gain notoriety to keep Scott (R - I got more money than you)  from whipping your ass at the polls...which he seems to be doing. It would also seem to make a lot of sense to wait until the Feds make a final decision on the Arizona law before you piss away more of our state dollars on a legal frolic.

Additionally, I fail to see how Florida's immigration problem equates with that of Arizona. They have a long border with dirt on both sides. Dirt that you can walk on or drive on or ride your ass on. The only border we have like that is the one with Georgia and the smaller one with Alabama and, while they are foreigners, those folks seem wonder back and forth with impunity whenever the spirit moves them. Everybody else has to swim or float, and many of those haven't been too successful.

And, one more thing Willie. Your homosexual problem is really getting annoying. For instance, your statement concerning Gay adoption, "I don't believe [homos] who do this should be raising our children." For one thing, these are not your children. These are children that either lost their parents or had parents that rejected them. There are a lot of these kids. Are you adopting a bunch of them? Or to put it another way, just what the hell are you doing?

Now, go sit in the corner and not another peep out of you until you can pull your head out of your posterior orifice.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Food: Dining on Beach Drive

About 400 Beach Seafood and Tap House in St. Petersburg, world famous food and travel writer Laura Reiley once said, "It's glamorous but not stuffy, a lively place to run into a who's who of St. Petersburg." After a recent visit to the Morean Arts Center to view the Chihuly glass collection we decided to stop by the Seafood and Tap House to sample some of the menu items we saw posted before our visit to the art center. The lunch menu listed a few possibilities and I found myself looking forward to the food as much, if not more, than enjoying a fine piece of glass.

Ms. Reiley is correct, this restaurant is gorgeous with a very impressive aquatic decor. My favorite features were the saltwater aquariums strategically placed about the restaurant. And, what impressed me the most was the fact that these aquariums were in actuality HD flat screen TVs. What a grand idea! We basked in that tranquil feeling one gets while watching sea life swim gracefully to and fro without the hassle of having to clean fish poop out of the tanks. I want one of those!

Oh, yeah...this is a restaurant and not an art gallery, so I suppose I should mention stuff about the food. Well, I was way more impressed with the decor and the art than I was the food. I am an aficionado of oysters on the half shell so the boutique oysters really piqued my interest and tantalized my taste buds. There were three varieties, two from the Northeastern waters and one from the Pacific Northwest. They were pricey at $2.75 a pop, but what the hell...I want a half dozen of each! They arrived on a tray of ice, perfectly shucked and with various sauces. I don't need sauce to enjoy a fine oyster. The first two or three weren't quite right. I tried the fourth one with a vinegar based dip and it wasn't too bad. The fifth one, I couldn't get it past the sniff test. These oysters, flown in fresh daily, had spent way too much time out of the water and in the air. The waiter took them back and returned with a complimentary half dozen oysters. Good God, they reeked! I sent them back.

By then our entrées had arrived so I told the waiter to forget the oysters. My dining companion had ordered the Island Glazed Meatloaf with crispy onion straws and smashed potatoes which she said were very tasty. I had chided her on her choice of meatloaf in a seafood restaurant. I think in retrospect that she made the wiser choice. I had the ubiquitous seared tuna. This Sesame Seared Tuna was served on a gummy wad of soba noodles with a passion fruit teriyaki sauce. The flavors weren't bad, but a gummy noodle wad is not one of my favorite foods even though I love noodles.

We perused both the lunch and dinner menus but there was nothing that really leaped out at us that you couldn't find at any other area seafood restaurant and probably at a much more reasonable price. Our bill, including a 20% tip (the waiter was very accommodating), several of their excellent draught beers, plus our food orders came to $108. Some of the oysters were removed from our bill, but I think someone in the kitchen thought I was being too persnickety. Maybe so, but I grew up on the Florida Panhandle eating Apalachicola oysters so I know a good one from a bad one, and when they smell like (I just imagine) Warren Sapp's jock strap after a particularly hot day on the field...well, those som-bitches are bad.

Oh, we never did see any of the St. Pete who's whos although a few nights later we did see Channel 13's Charley Belcher at Artifacts in Tampa. We are fans and we were thrilled!

400 Beach Seafood & Tap House on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Illegal Aliens: Problem Solved, and you are welcome.

There are a shit-load (official unit of southern measurement) of proposals on how to stem the tide of illegal aliens flooding across our borders. One of the latest is to abolish the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or at the very least amending the amendment. Abolishment isn't such a good idea because there are five sections to this amendment and only Section 1 could be applicable to illegal immigration. That's the section that deals with the "baby dropping" issue.

The Right Reverend Billy Bob of Billy Bob's Baptist Beer Emporium (see: Religious Hypocrisy: Christians v. Muslims) suggested bringing all of our troops home (I agree with this part, period) and lining them up along our borders and shooting anybody who tries to cross without proper documentation. The good Reverend did clarify that we would have to be more careful along the Canadian border since a lot of them look a lot like us.

I don't envision Reverend Billy Bob's suggestion to be a viable one since world opinion would more than likely turn against us. To which the Right Reverend replied, "The Holy Bible specifically states in there somewheres that God has anointed us patriotic Americans as His chosen people, so screw world opinion."

Be that as it may, since there are patriotic Americans amongst us who want to muck around with the Constitution why has no one looked at the 13th Amendment? Abolish or re-word that one and I think our illegal alien problem would be solved. What's the 13th Amendment you may ask? Well, look it up. All patriotic Americans have a copy of the Constitution. They must have because one or the other of them regularly screams "Read the Constitution!" at any and all who suggests that they are idiots.

The bottom line: Without that annoying 13th Amendment, an illegal alien caught crossing the border could become indentured for life. There you have it...a solution to illegal border crossings and, as a bonus, free manual labor.

What really scares the bejesus out of me is the Palins, Becks and Limbaughs of this country who insist that we need to second guess the founding fathers and Bible-ize the Constitution would probably think this is a grand idea.

I think I need a beer and a couple of aspirins.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Religious Hypocrisy: Christians v. Muslims

Once again the proverbial pot has called the proverbial kettle black. All across our great nation Bible thumping hypocrites have their holier than thou bloomers in a bunch over those damn Muslims wanting to build mosques hither and yon thereby desecrating American holy ground and casting an ominous Islamic shadow across the doorstep of Billy Bob's Baptist Beer Emporium. As I said, sacred ground.

Opponents of the mosques argue that "even the most Americanized Muslim secretly wants to replace the Constitution with Islamic Shariah law" and that simply won't do. As the Reverend Billy Bob explained, "These here United States of America is a Christian run country and as such the Constitution needs to be replaced by my interpretation of the Holy Bible. And, not some damn book writ by foreign rag-heads thousands of years ago before there ever was a United States of America. Praise Jesus H. Christ! Do I hear an amen?"

Amen brother, and I need a beer.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

SOG City: Wildlife Rescue Attempt

As usual, to maintain our slim and trim boyish and girlish figures, we left the bungalow this morning on our run/walk/sprint regimen. Fat wads were flying off our sweaty frames and plopping all about. Suddenly, off to the side of the road, under a huge oak, we spied a big-assed bird. No, it wasn't obese, it was just bigger than what we usually see in these parts. It was just standing there, so we wandered over to get a closer look and maybe say "Hi' just to be neighborly.

Holy sh..., I mean, gracious goodness, it's a raptor! Actually, it looked like a big friggin' hawk. We cautiously approached as this hook-billed creature with really big talons just watched us. We got within ten feet before it moved, and then with just a wing flap and a couple of hops. Well, that didn't seem right. Birds and small children usually screech and flee whenever we come near, so we surmised that this animal was either on drugs or was injured. Since we weren't on drugs and had no readily available pain killers we decided to leave the bird alone.

Do you have any idea of what to do with an injured, feathered killing machine? Neither did we. Once back at the ranch I tried calling several wildlife rescue numbers I found on the 'net to no avail. Out of desperation I called the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary and explained our plight. The very helpful lady at the sanctuary gave me a local number to call (813-215-3709), and I did. The Tampa wildlife rescue lady agreed to meet us where we last saw the bird.

The bird appeared to have flown the coop, so to speak. We walked all the way around the big oak and found nothing. Suddenly (don't you love the drama), I looked up. There in the branches we spied our quarry who didn't seem to be as bad off as we thought. The wildlife lady said the bird appeared to be a red-assed...wait, I have been corrected...a red-tailed hawk, probably a female though I don't remember seeing anyone lift up the tail feathers to check.

We soon discovered that our feathered friend did still have the capacity of flight, but one wing was severely stressed. The wildlife lady came close to catching the hawk, but missed. The hawk flew a block or so away and perched high up in another oak. Rescue will hopefully occur another day. In the meantime, we don't have to worry about the bird starving.

Friday, August 6, 2010

America: The United States of Fatties

I saw a story on FOX, the Manufactured News Network, the other day that cited an unconfirmed and totally erroneous blogger report that the United States was in danger of sinking beneath the waves of the adjacent oceans. And, before you get your boxers in a bunch, it has nothing to do with global warming which everyone, except those with a brain, knows to be false.

According to the unnamed blogger, the oceans are not rising. This country is sinking under the unbearable weight of a large...huge...give me a second, the word will come to me...obese segment of our population. I exclude those with a medical condition that contributes to their weight problem. I am referring to those average Americans who cram this country's abundance of food down their guts like it would be their last meal and then sit around on their fat asses watching FOX invent the news.

Before you fatties get your blimp sized bloomers in a wad let me admit that we too were more than pleasingly plump a year or so ago. As of today we have dropped over a hundred pounds of fat between the two of us. Actually, those fat wads are not sitting in a pile between us. We pretty much left them on the streets and byways of SOG City where we do a three to five mile walk at least six days a week. It is amazing what exercise, cutting back on food consumption, and drinking diet beer can accomplish.

Clean living, following intellectual pursuits, and living a life mindful of the world around you with a heartfelt concern for all peoples and the environment can contribute so much to a happier, healthier you.

In retrospect, this might not be the shining example I was hoping for.

Thanks to Fat Bellies Pictures, FreakingNews.com.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Create Jobs In Florida: Let's See You Do It!

In a recent letter to the editor published in the St. Pete Times the writer issued a challenge to Florida governor-wanna-be McCollum, and I paraphrase: If you have a plan for creating jobs in Florida, why wait until you are elected? Do it now! You are the Attorney General. You must have some clout, so put your plan into action.

I think the same challenge should be taken up by Rick Scott (R - damn yankee Carpetbagger) and Jeff Greene (D - damn yankee Carpetbagger). Both of these guys have been annoying the crap out of us with their TV ads claiming that they know the secret to creating jobs. So, dammit, create a few right now. Show us that you are not full of mierda del toro (an official measurement of Florida politics). Why, he asks naively, must we elect any of these clowns just to see if they were lying through their teeth or not?

And, speaking of lying through ones teeth: Greene claims he can't remember whether he was on his boat in Cuba or not, nor can he seem to remember whether he voted for Reagan or Carter. Somehow I am reminded of a Federal Grand Jury hearing some years ago when, after 15 frustrating minutes spent interrogating a witness, the Federal Prosecutor blurted out, "Sir, you are either a liar or just plain stupid!" Julia apologized for her outburst, but we jurors applauded her.

But, I digress. For Scott and Greene, I would like to see some of their millions going toward job creation today instead of having to endure more of their empty promises for tomorrow. That's how I feel on a good day. Normally, I would just like to see them ridden out of state on a rail (a fine old Southern remedy for folks coming down here and telling us this is how they did "it" up north). I decided against "tar and feathers" as I understand that could be disfiguring or fatal and obviously not very neighborly.

I really am not one of those "the South will rise again" traditionalists, so to be perfectly fair (relatively speaking) I would demand that all seekers of public office to put up, or shut up and sit down. If you have a plan, implement it now. That might ensure you getting elected.

What a novelty: action instead of hot air!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One-Eyed Dick: Sarasota Blogger

Editor's note 3/19/2013: It doesn't appear that One-eyed Dick is blogging any longer. I Came To... hasn't been updated for several years. The link on the Oracle has been removed. What a shame - Dick was hilarious.

On My Blog List you will see a link to "I Came To Sarasota For The Waters." If you haven't visited One-Eyed's blog yet you really need to do so. I think this Dick is hilariously, irreverently talented.

Here are a few of quotes from recent posts:

"North Port officials are bracing for an influx of speculators, wildcatters, roughnecks, flim-flam men, swindlers, con artists and, of course, hookers.  And, no, it's not a Sarasota County Republican fundraiser."

"Leading the vitriolic charge was a new face in the mix of wild-eyed seniors, gun-toting hawks and every other Sarasota eccentric who is only about one Prozac away from driving their Lexus into a crowd of suspected liberals..."

"It's pretty widely-known that all Yankees, past and present, end up in Hell. They just do, even if it's for that attitude of theirs. I'd say about 90% of their fans are here, too." My sports fanatic bride, who is a hard-core Rays fan and Yankees hater, would more than likely agree with that assessment.

His blog accepts comments and Mr. Dick doesn't appear to censor those comments even if they are from anonymous, foul-mouthed, ill-informed idiots...most of whom probably fail to recognize themselves in the blog posts as being foul-mouthed, ill-informed idiots.

Do yourself a favor and give this One-Eyed Dick a look-see.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Food: The Skinny on Chubby's

Chubby's Super Subs and Pizza web site says, "Chubby's is now home to some of the best pizza in Tampa..." I will have to take issue with that statement. Chubby's needs to delete "some of." Chubby's is home to the best pizza I have ever had in my whole life. My favorite is the Meat Pie, a meat lover's nirvana with pepperoni, sausage, salami, ham, cappacola, meatballs and bacon on a perfectly prepared crust. Cholesterol be damned!

Even though Chubby's has been at their current location at 5023 Bayshore since Moby was a minnow we have just recently added this little SOG City gem to our list of "go-to" dining spots. We have jogged past it for several years and weren't very impressed with the rather small, nondescript building. Chubby's proves that you should not judge a book by it's cover however. You won't necessarily be impressed by the interior decor either. But we went in because we were hungry. We didn't leave that way though, and we were impressed with the quality and taste of the food, in addition to the warm, friendly people taking our order. There is no table service. You order at the counter.

In addition to the pizzas we can also recommend Chubby's super subs. We picked up a couple to take with us on a recent fishing expedition and the subs were tasty and filling. I had the cappacola and "that woman who catches all the damn fishes" had the turkey club. The subs were much more satisfying than the fishing. Actually, Chubby's was a lot more satisfying than a couple of high end restaurants we have experienced recently...one at the Westin on Courtney Campbell and another on Beach Drive in St. Pete. Admittedly, Chubby's isn't high end dining, but then again, we didn't spend a freakin' fortune on mediocre fare.

Chubby's serves beer and wine and has lunch and dinner specials and...be still my beating heart...delivery after five. There is a limit on the delivery area, but they are in SOG City and we are in SOG City, so...! Chubby's isn't fancy, nor is it expensive, but the food is really good and filling.

All of this blogging has worn me out and now I think I am too tired to cook tonight.

"Hello Chubby's!"

Chubby's Super Subs & Pizza on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sports: Buccaneers Sunday Training Camp

Sports fan that she is, the Buc-ette of Ballast Point dragged me to Bucs Place in Tampa yesterday to watch her favorite football team practice their dance steps and skipping ability. I must admit these guys are generally graceful, though it seemed a bit incongruous to see a bunch of 300 plus pound manly-men skipping through the grass.

A highlight of my day was getting my picture taken with a couple of the more delicate Bucs players, though admittedly I have no idea who they are or what positions they play.

You have probably guessed by now that my beautiful bride is the true sports person in the family. I attended this practice session at her behest and for the beer. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that beer would not be served. Holy crap, it was a million degrees centi-scorching and there was no beer! This is just PPP...piss-poor-planning. I can only guess how those guys tossing their balls around on the field must have felt.

Anyway, after sitting in a puddle of perspiration for an hour or so we decided to find a cool spot that served cold beer. We wound up at the Press Box where we watched the Tampa Bay Rays kick some Damn Yankee butt. Go Rays, and go Bucs!  Woo-hoo!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Our St. Pete Adventure: The Chihuly Collection

It is amazing what a talented person can do with a piece of glass. I work with glass on a regular basis but most of my work consists of draining beer out of glass containers.

Chihuly takes a different approach and if you would like to take a look at his efforts, I can highly recommend the Chihuly Collection in the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg.  

Click on the Chihuly link and you will see samples of the collection, museum hours and on-line ticket information.

Picture taking is prohibited in the museum, but I can assure you that mere photos would not do his work justice.

You can read about Chihuly and see him work his magic with Chihuly in the Hotshop from Amazon.

Before and after our visit to the museum we wandered along Beach Drive, home to a myriad of restaurants and Straub Park.

The park brought back an interesting memory from 1969. Eight of us Army grunts from MacDill wondered over to the park one sunny afternoon to enjoy love, peace, happiness, and an anti-war demonstration. This was a beautiful "flower child" kind of afternoon until the local police fired tear gas into the crowd to break up the demonstration. That tactic worked pretty well on everyone but us Army guys. We were all recent graduates of the U.S. Army gas mask training course where you removed the mask in the gas chamber. We rather enjoyed the fumes in the open air. Ah, high times!

While in the park after our museum tour we stumbled upon one of Mother Nature's works of art:

Canon digital with Micrografx Picture Publisher enhancement.