Thursday, September 30, 2010

Government! What government? Better an empty chair.

I truly hope the Washington legislators who couldn't wait to get out the doors of the House and Senate to hit the campaign trail don't land in my neighborhood. And, they would be well off not knocking on my door if they do.

I have nothing pleasant to say to them, and there is nothing they could possibly say to me except, "I am deeply sorry that I have done absolutely nothing to earn my pay or to deserve your trust or your vote. I am lower than pond scum and I am horribly ashamed of my actions and inactions.

I have thought of no one but myself and I realize that I have hurt many of my fellow Americans and I have brought great shame and embarrassment to the United States of America.

As a consequence, I am hereby resigning from office. I believe that an empty chair would better serve the country than having me sitting in it."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Buccaneers Ft. Myers

To say that my bride is a Tampa Bay Bucs fan is a bit of an understatement. On any given Bucs Sunday she will suit-up with a Bucs hat, earrings, shirt, socks, and I hesitate to mention what else. I, on the other hand, have a Bucs tank top that I am required to wear on game day and that's it...well, that and my happy game day face. Needless to say, the ridiculous NFL rules and the greed of the Glazers that force the blackouts on TV have more than slightly ticked off the love of my life. And, that is not a good thing...for anyone.

Since we couldn't watch the game at home this past Sunday, or anywhere else in the Tampa area for that matter, my Bucs Baby booked a trip for us with that Clearwater company that shuttles fans to the Lee Roy Selmon's sports bar in Ft. Myers. We paid a bit under $25 per person for this 280 mile round trip that departed from Derby Lanes around 10:20 AM on game day. It was a long ride down made even longer by the non-stop commentary from one of the passengers, Little Joe, a frequent rider who knows everything that has ever been known about football, and then some. You may bring adult beverages on board the bus, and Joe did, although he did share with anyone who paid attention to him. If you book this trip, either know everything there is to know about football or sit away from Joe. You will thank me.

Upon arrival at Lee Roy Selmon's each passenger was presented with two for a complimentary beer, and the other for a complimentary 5 chicken wings. My day suddenly began looking up. That first beer was truly medicinal after the trip down.

The Selmon's in Ft. Myers is much smaller than the one we visited here in Tampa, and the Tampa menu was much more extensive. I would have to say the Tampa location is a restaurant, while the one in Ft. Myers is just a sports bar...not a bad sports bar, but just a sports bar. The staff and management were friendly and attentive during our entire embarrassing afternoon watching the Bucs getting their clocks cleaned by the Steelers. There were Steelers fans mixed in with the Bucs fans and the crowd exhibited friendly rivalry for the most part.

The food at Selmon's was typical pub food...wings, nachos, burgers, sliders, and such. My sporty spouse had the meatloaf sandwich with a delicious side of French fried sweet potatoes. I should mention that she has never met a meatloaf that she didn't like...including this one. Maybe it was just me, but I was not horribly impressed with the Selmon Brother's marinated wings...too vinegary. If there was a do-over, I think I would have been happier with the Buffalo wings. The sesame seared ahi tuna was more pleasing to my taste buds, and my dining partner raved over the pecan was warm and served with vanilla ice cream. Our total bill, excluding tip, came to $41.63. That did, of course, include beer.

The return trip was quite subdued...partly because of the Bucs trouncing and partly because Little Joe had passed out. Overall, it was a good day, albeit long (8 hours). It would still be nice with today's economy if the NFL would modify their blackout rules. As one local sportscaster recently opined, fans could get very used to  not seeing the games on Sunday and find other ways to amuse themselves.

 Lee Roy Selmon's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Food: Burger Up at Centerplate

This past Saturday afternoon four of us donned our Tampa Bay Rays togs and headed across the bridge to Tropicana Field. We try to time our arrival to coincide with the opening of the gates, which was around five on this day. The plan is to arrive early enough to get a table at the Centerplate Brew House, and on this we did score a home run.

Shannon was our very attentive server and within a short time after being seated I was sipping on my first 20 ounce Coors Light of the day. Two in our party ordered one of the specials, the burger, fries, and shake for $13.00. My bride ordered the 1/2 Caesar salad which really resembled a whole Caesar salad, the fried chicken fingers, and a soda. Her order came to $17.00. Yeah, I know what you are thinking...a trio of whimps!

When I dine at the Centerplate I man-up and order the hefty double hamburger, medium rare, with all the accoutremonts, and crispy fries. This burger consists of two prime slabs of beef on a bun and is unbelievably tender, juicy, and delicious. And, I scored points with Shannon...she said she didn't think I could polish off the entire burger. Silly girl. My burger, fries, and two Coors came to $31.00 and was worth every penny.

The Centerplate serves primarily pub food, but it has been consistently good pub food. It is worth a trip to the Trop.

Centerplate on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 27, 2010

Friday Date Night in the Warehouse

Feeling the need for an unpretentious Italian dinner this last Friday, my bride and I headed for Ybor City and the Spaghetti Warehouse. Their food reminds me of the long gone Maria's Italian Restaurant on West Shore Boulevard...a comfortable family dining experience.

It has been a year or so since we last dined at the warehouse and we were anxious to return since all of our past visits have been very pleasant and tasty...especially if you stick with the basics. Last night though proved to be a bit uneven, but the staff and management did try their best to smooth out the bumps in the road.

We started our evening by ordering a delightful bottle of Gabiano Chianti, a reasonably priced wine that pairs well with a simple pasta with marinara sauce. For an appetizer we split an order of bruschetta...small slices of toast with a very, very sparse dab of Roma tomatoes, garlic, and cheese. Next up was the ho-hum house salad. I say ho-hum because it is the same old boring mix of chopped tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. Oh, well!

For our entrées my dinner date chose the 15 layer lasagna while I went with the Trolley Stop - a grilled nine ounce sirloin with pasta and meat sauce. When our orders arrived, the lasagna looked an awful lot like the Chicken Parmesan with Manicotti.  When informed that this was an incorrect order there was a bit of mumbling and the manager said something about a mix up and almost immediately brought out the correct order. We were told to keep both the chicken and the lasagna and enjoy left-overs the next day. Well, alright then...if you insist.

The lasagna was delicious and while I realize that I am about to blaspheme here, the steak was tender, juicy, and very flavorful...and, so much better than one I had a few weeks ago at Bern's Steakhouse. What is up with that? My pasta could have used a bit more of the meat sauce, but I was getting too full to bother requesting more.

Out total bill came to $55.61 and we added a 20% tip. Our server did try. We did not get charged for the extra entrée even though we were charged for the higher priced meal that we didn't order. Anyone can have a bad night, so I will have to assume this was just one of those nights.

Oh, the chicken with manicotti did make for a delicious lunch the next day.

Spaghetti Warehouse on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 26, 2010

And, the winner is...

I had a winner of the latest Hershey Squirt Award all picked out and then a new candidate pooped up...sorry, that should be popped up.

The GOP (goobers on parade) was my initial choice for dumping that redundant pile of political platitudes on America. This repackaged heap of mierda del toro euphemistically called A Pledge To America squirted out by the party of "I've Got Mine, So Screw You," offers the country nothing new...nothing that these clowns haven't been spewing all along. And, on top of that the pledge offers no specifics on how the pledge would be carried out. Business as usual!

Then, just days after reading that Rick Scott (R - Bend over and let me excite you) proposed lifting the cap on Florida's biggest property insurer, along comes Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty. After days of pondering and pouring over the Citizens Property Insurance request for a 9.7% rate increase McCarty decided that Scott should not be alone in slipping the shaft to Florida property owners. Summoning up all the wisdom and common sense that he possessed, McCarty generously insisted that Citizens should accept a 10.3% average rate increase. How very, very nice.

As a consequence, the party of "No" and Florida's answer to Mortimer Snerd, Commissioner McCarty, are each deserving of the SOG City Oracle Hershey Squirt Award. They have earned it.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Finally: An Honest Republican

Yes, I know that is a contradiction in terms but it's not everyday one is presented with an opportunity like this:

About the Taj Mahal courthouse in Tallahassee, Rep. Will Rutherford (R - Huh?) said, "I certainly don't want to take any credit for it" and then, "I doubt that the people in the [Florida] legislature had any idea what they were doing."

Well, hot damn, that's what many here in Florida have thought all along...they have no idea what they are doing.

The honesty is refreshing.

Friday, September 24, 2010

BOHICA: And, remember to say "Thanks"

Fellow citizens of Florida, get ready to spread your cheeks because Rick Scott (R - prick with ears) has got something exciting planned for you. In his latest "sunny view" for Florida, Scott announced plans to cut funding for the state's prisons, a dandy idea that should add to Florida's rosy unemployment picture. In addition to slashing billions in state spending by eradicating government jobs and agencies he plans on ramping up employee contributions to pension funds for any remaining state workers.

Then, to add insult to injury, Scott had the gall to say, and I paraphrase, that these affected workers should be "excited" to be getting a royal screwing, "It's going to be exciting. They are going to get to do something." I assume by that he means applying for least until he can eliminate that "lazy man's" benefit.

This "Let's Get To Work" jerk isn't through yet. Cash strapped property owners worried about Scott's plan to remove caps on increases in Citizens Property Insurance premiums also need to bend over and spread their cheeks because Scott has a big one for them, too...but (or is that butt) Scott enthused, "They [too] should be excited that we are going to [give them one in the shorts]."

Let me see if I have a grasp of the Scott plan.

1. Cut taxes by eliminating government jobs in a state with record high unemployment, even though Florida already has the smallest and least expensive state government per capita in this country.
2. Reduce state worker pay and then jack up their contribution to their pension funds.
3. Pave the way for higher property insurance premiums in a state already burdened by high insurance.

If Scott had an ounce of integrity he would say, "I don't know shit from Shinola about Florida, but whatever it is that Texas and Arizona are doing sounds okey-dokey to me. Besides, I ran a business into the ground up north and with the help of those crooks in Tallahassee I can do it down here too. So Florida, drop your drawers, bend over, spread your cheeks and let me excite you. And, you are welcome."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tampa Dining: Boizao Steakhouse

Editor's update: This once popular Brazilian-style restaurant sits dark and empty. On August 23, 2013, and with little fanfare, Boizao closed its doors.
The phone at the restaurant has been disconnected and the company's website has been removed from the Internet.

The signature open fire pit, for now, has cooked its last meal.  A banner that used to advertise specials sits crumpled in the dining room, discarded valet parking tickets litter the mulch and garbage cans in the back hold the last bits of thrown out food.

One of the joys in being blissfully unemployed is the latitude to take a civilized afternoon siesta. The TV had just about lulled me to slumberland the other day when I heard the guy on the Cooking Channel say something about the best Brazilian steakhouse in the world located in L.A. That comment woke me up because I have dined at the best Brazilian steakhouse in the world and it wasn't in Lower Alabama.

After watching the show for a few minutes I came to the realization that this commentator was referring to Los Angeles. Well, whoop-dee-do. For those of us who grew up in the Florida Panhandle, L.A. was just to the north of us, but the point here is that the best Brazilian steakhouse is right here in Tampa...not Lower Alabama or Los Angeles.

We have dined at the Boizao Steakhouse on probably five or more occasions and each visit has been consistently wonderful...a bit pricey, but wonderful. We usually start our evening with the signature cocktail, the Caipirinha, made with limes and cachaca, a sugar cane derived spirit reminiscent of a North Georgia corn likker I had years ago. One or two of these potent beverages can certainly put one in a Brazilian state of mind.

The Boizao has a really nifty salad bar that is included in the prix fixe price of the meal or may be enjoyed without the option of meat service. But, you came to an all you can eat steakhouse to dine on salad? There is something morally wrong with that I think. Cholesterol be damned, I go for the beef. The Boizao does serve chicken, pork ribs, lamb, and sausages but for me it is the beef. Besides, I have noticed that the chicken is oft-times a bit overdone by the time it reaches the table.

Like most Brazilian steakhouses the diner is presented with a on one side, red on the other. Green indicates that your arteries have not clogged up yet, and red announces an impending heart attack...but, what a way to go! There are several different cuts of beef to choose from: top and bottom sirloin, filet mignon, prime rib, but my undisputed favorite is the picanha, a tri-tip that is simply to die for.

The Boizao has an extensive wine cellar that the gaucho-waiters are more than happy to tell you about, sometimes to the point of annoyance. Their recommendations, while good, are usually at the high end of the price spectrum. Peruse the wine list and choose the one in your price range that still pleases your palate.

Desserts and after dinner beverages are available if you have the room. We have ordered both before and have never been disappointed. As I mentioned, the Boizao is not cheap but if you starve yourself for a few days you can probably eat enough to more than break even. I think I am joking here...or, maybe not.

That Brazilian steakhouse in L.A. may have been the best the the Cooking Channel guy ever went to, but he really should pay a visit to the Boizao in Tampa. He might change his mind.

One final thought: I read several reviews that mentioned valet parking as a negative. We have eliminated that as an issue. When we leave the paradise that is SOG City, we request a taxi from Cab Plus. Voila! No parking problems, and no worries about a DUI after a bottle of Malbec and a Caipirinha.

Boizao Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 20, 2010

Girl"s Night Out: Seasons 52

Since I am not a girl, I wasn't invited to dinner this last Thursday. I suggested to my bride that she could give me a day off from blogging if she would write the Seasons 52 review. So, she did and I am proud to present the Lydia Sue Restaurant Review:

My friend Jan and I usually have a girl's night out once a month. We like to experiment with new restaurants. This month was Seasons 52. We had tried Seasons 52 right after it opened and enjoyed the experience.

We wanted to see if the quality of food and service was still there, and it was.

They were still featuring the summer menu on this latest visit. It will change to the fall offerings on the 21st of September. Only 20 percent of the menu items change. The other 80 percent remain constant.

Making a reservation on line was a very simple process. Reservations for the main dining room are recommended; however, the piano bar is on a first come first served basis.

We both elected to order from the appetizers menu as opposed to having an entrée.

Jan chose the artichoke flatbread and I chose the garlic chicken flatbread. Both were delicious but it was a lot of food for just one person. We decided that the next time we will split a flatbread. We followed the flatbread with a small Greek salad. We did split this appetizer and it was the perfect amount. Very tasty!

Next up was the goat cheese ravioli. This little delicacy is not enough to share which is fortunate because it is so good you would never want to.

We did share a bottle of one of the featured wines, the Woop Woop Shiraz. It was a good, hearty Australian red that complimented everything very well.

Since we had only appetizers dinner was a little pricier than ordering an entrée. Our total bill before the tip was $79.83. 

It was worth it.  

Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

If you enjoyed the Lydia Sue Restaurant Review, let her know by adding a comment below. If we get enough positive comments we will make her a permanent contributor to the Oracle.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tampa Bay: Proud Chamber of Commerce Moment

Oh, be still my beating heart! While I thought that life in the Tampa Bay area couldn't get any better and we couldn't be prouder, I was sorely mistook.

I rejoice that we have convinced the political party of "I've Got Mine, So Screw You" to hold their 2012 Back to the Stone Age convention in our fair city. This, of course, is in addition to having a big-assed Confederate flag waving at the city portals to announce to the  world how progressive we are in our thinking.

These two jewels in our Chamber of Commerce crown pale in comparison to our latest achievement. I am so a-quiver with excitement that I can barely type, but here it goes:

The Right Reverend Hate Meister of the Church of the Evangelically Delusional in Gainesville, Florida, site of the now defunct Koran fueled marshmallow roast, has determined that he and his flock need to find a new home. One of the Disciples of Dopey stated that Gainesville has been less than receptive to their brand of Christianity since the area is way too liberal for God fearing patriotic Americans such as themselves. Not to mention all of that intellectual thinking stuff going on that clouds the minds of the irrational blatherers of God.

So, the neo-Reverend Jim Jones of Central Florida plans to move flock, stock and Kool-Aid to an area more conducive to the spread of hate, intolerance, and utter stupidity. And, the planned location for this new home of religious hypocrisy? Well, it is Tampa Bay!

Hot damn, we've made it to the big time! I am so proud I could just shit. Praise Jesus and hand me a Vicodin and a bottle of bourbon.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Good Christian

Most of us have probably received the following email before, but I think it is worth another read:

The light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by
accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection,
dropping her cell phone and makeup.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up
into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.

He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.

After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, ''I'm very sorry for this mistake. 
You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, so naturally....I assumed you had stolen the car.''


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Let's Get To Work: Sink Scott

For the first time in many years I sat through the entire showing the other evening of the movie classic, Gone With The Wind.

Why do I mention this you may ask? Well, after the war I saw those damn-yankee carpetbaggers invading the South with no plan except raping the land for their individual gain and there in the midst of the carnage I could have sworn that I saw a prick with ears. Yes, I did, it looked like none other than Florida's Republican goobernatorial candidate Rick Scott (R - Florida? Where is it...I'll buy it).

Common sense told me that I couldn't have seen Scott in the movie because he hadn't even been spawned back in 1939. Suddenly, my conspiracy theory gene sprung to life and like any good mentally challenged Glenn Beck-er (do I detect a redundancy here or what) I knew for a "fact" that since Scott can buy Florida he certainly could afford to have himself Photoshopped into the movie.

It had to have been Scott because the first thing his character did was to fire a whole shit load (official unit of Southern measurement) of the remaining Southern government workers and wipe out another shit load, supra, of Southern government agencies in spite of all the already unemployed people just milling about with diseases, missing body parts and no health care coverage.

What a freakin' nightmare! I had to get myself a beer to steady my nerves and remind myself that this was just a movie and any similarities between the movie characters and real people, living or dead, was purely coincidental.

Oh, really?

So then it's not true that Scott wants to eliminate government jobs and agencies here in Florida to save money even though Florida is dead last in the nation in the ratio of government employees to residents, and the lowest in payroll expenditures? That is great news because even with all of his bucks it might be difficult for Scott to get Florida much lower than "dead last."

Difficult, but not impossible.

Come on Alex, let's get to work and ride this jerk out of state on a rail. At this point, tar and feathers is optional.

Road Warrior Rick  picturesHoly crap...he was in Road Warriors, too? The hell with beer, pass the tequila!

Photographer unknown. Photo from

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gourmet Dining: In an airport?

Please indulge me for a moment while I get my whining and sniveling out of the way. I am not a fan of the Atlanta airport! It seems that no matter where I am going or have been there is a mandatory stop at Hartsfield and those stops are always way too short or way too long. Alright then, I am through whining and sniveling.

After my last out-of-town assignment while on a trip back to Tampa I got stuck with one of those long layovers as the plane plopped me out at terminal E. Having had nothing since breakfast except the two peanuts in a bag on the plane I began searching for the least objectionable food establishment that I could find. Suddenly, I stumbled upon a gem of a place that seemed to spring from a Georgia pine forest. The One Flew South screamed my name and demanded I step inside to enjoy the best meal I have ever consumed in an airport, and one of the better meals anywhere.

The One Flew South has a dandy full bar, but I was more hungry than thirsty so I chose a table over near the pine forest photo-mural...a very relaxing location. I was tempted by the sushi bar, but decided that would have to wait for another trip. The menu was very impressive, so much so that I totally forgot that I was in an airport. So many exciting choices and there I was with just one stomach. My eyes landed on the Thyme Roasted Pork Belly with black-eyed pea arugula salad, parsnip puree, with a blackberry marmalade and my belly said "this is the one." I salivate at the mere memory and my taste buds still tingle. That was and still is the best roasted pork belly I have ever had.

It is probably a bit presumptuous to gush over a dining establishment that one has only visited one time, but I was impressed. This definitely wasn't typical airport food or one of those ubiquitous chains one normally is stuck with. The One Flew South, if they are consistant, would almost be a destination by itself. I look forward to my next long layover.

The One Flew South isn't cheap. I blew my $45 per diem and then some at this one sitting but that included a few "medicinal" adult beverages and the built-in 18% gratuity.

One Flew South on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 13, 2010

Quirky Dining: The Refinery

It is becoming trite to refer to unusual restaurants as eclectic, so I will suggest that The Refinery is quirky. That is not a bad thing. This restaurant is different, though. Some may say cutting edge and I wouldn't disagree since I appreciate what they are trying to do. My bride, our Tampa daughter and son-in-law, and I dined this past Friday night at The Refinery specifically to experience their quirkiness.

Upon arrival at 6:30 we were promptly seated. Our server for the evening appeared almost immediately with our menus and returned in a timely manner with water, and our drink orders. The waitstaff were attentive throughout our entire stay without being overbearing.

For beverages our daughter and son-in-law shared a bottle of French red of unknown origin. My bride and I decided on beer. For her, a bottle of Belgium Saison, a light ale. I chose the heavier Red Seal. The wine was judged as "not bad" and the two beers were very tasty. The menus we were presented with were simple sheets of paper with the offerings for the week of September 9 through 14. The menu changes every Thursday and is composed of the best of whatever "the Farmers" have to offer. The menu we received was divided into four catagories: Small Plates, More Than A Small Plate, Craig's List, and Desserts.

From Small Plates my bride chose the White Bean Salad with Cauliflower which she described as good, not spectacular. I requested three of the Small Plates: the Berkshire Pork Belly, the Beef Tongue Salad, and the Fried Pig Ear. I love trying new things and I had heard that beef tongue has a taste and texture similar to the best pot roast you ever put in your mouth...and, it did. The roast pork belly wasn't bad, maybe a bit under done. The Fried Pig Ear was interesting. It was chewy to say the least and if it weren't for the horseradish aioli, it wouldn't have had much taste. Between a couple of beers and the three small plates in addition to helping my spouse finish off her roast chicken, I was satiated.

Enough about me. Two of my dining partners had ordered the half Garlic Roasted Chicken and our son-in-law ordered the Flat Iron Steak which he declared to be excellent. Our daughter said that the breast of her chicken was overcooked and dry. My bride didn't complain because she actually prefers overcooked chicken breast. Go figure! As I mentioned before, I polished off the dark meat from my wife's order which was properly cooked. On the roast chicken, the general consensus was that it was, well...a roast chicken.

The Refinery is an interesting concept in dining, but there were two issues that management might consider addressing. With a nice crowd and with hard walls, floor, ceilings and nothing to damper the noise level, which at times verged on painful, conversation was rendered difficult to impossible. Between the time that the Small Plates were delivered to the table and the time the steak and chicken dishes were served approximately 45 minutes had passed. This made for a rather awkward dining situation since all I had ordered were Small Plates. I was pretty much through by the time the others were served. Had I been advised of this delay, I would have requested that my plates be served when everyone else was served.

The bill for two of us came to just under $90 with the tip.

The Refinery on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Bahamas: Vacation with God

At the recent Beck - Palin circle jerk in Alaska: "I support a lot of what Glenn Beck has to say, especially when it comes to smaller government and getting God back to America," Dan Garrett of Wasilla said.

That quote really grabbed my attention and I had to ask, rhetorically, where the hell does this clown think God is...on vacation in the Bahamas soaking up sun and suds on the beach? I gave up on Christianity years ago, but prior to that I was taught that God was omnipresent. The Methodist church my mother made me attend never mentioned anything about a vacation for God. We were told that She was too busy for a frolic...on the beach or anywhere else for that matter.

I pondered Mr. Garrett's words during my morning ablutions and decided that he should probably look around for a new who doesn't feel the need for getting away from the lunacy here in America from time to time. Of course, I am being facetious. What I think Garrett and his ilk want is an America that believes in the God and religious ideologies as defined by the American version of the Taliban.

Religions, other than Mr. Garrett's presumed interpretation of Christianity, suggest that to find God we need to look inward not outward. That appears to be a big problem in this country. Too many are looking outward and trying to mind everyone's business but their own. Someone once told me, and I paraphrase, "You can't make anyone else happy until you are happy yourself." I think I can draw a parallel here: Don't try to run someone else's life when you can't even run your own.

To quote a line from one of my favorite movies, The Replacements, "That's some deep shit Shayne." Praise Jesus and pass me a beer. It's Buccaneer Sunday! 

Somebody give me an Amen!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Birthday Bash at Bern's

Last night my trophy bride treated me to dinner at the venerable, and world famous Bern's Steakhouse...said by some to be the world's best steakhouse, second only to Peter Lugar's in New York.

Oh my gosh, I fear I am about to commit an act of heresy. Admittedly, I have never dined at Lugar's, but the best steak I have ever had was at the 801 Chop House in Des Moines, Iowa. Dinner last night at Bern's didn't come close to the 801, but it wasn't bad.

We have dined at Bern's many times over the years and the place doesn't seem to have changed much. The first time I stepped across the threshold of Bern's some thirty years ago I thought that if prostitution was legal and I were to open a house of ill repute I would copy the Bern's decor. It is impressive. The French onion soup that was included with the meal was about the best I had ever been served. We were informed last night that the lady who made that soup 30 years ago is still on the job and the soup is still superb.

Appetizers really aren't a necessity since each meal comes with an impressive number of side dishes, but I am a sucker for oysters on the half shell and our waiter said the batch they had on hand from the Pacific Northwest were to die for...even at three dollars a pop. Even though my spouse said "don't do it" I went ahead and ordered a dozen. I should have listened to her, and will heed her advice in the future.

I have no Earthly idea what seems to happen to perfectly tasty oysters on their way to Tampa and the Bern's oysters are not an anomaly. What I was served last night were tasteless and were nestled in a syrupy off-putting brine. I should have sent them back, but I kept thinking the next one would be better. Only the dipping sauce saved the return trip to the kitchen. You get a consistently better oyster for the buck at Mitchell's at West Shore Plaza.

The sides included with dinner are the French onion soup, a ho-hum house salad, a super good baked potato, a little wad of grated carrots, a big wad of fried onion rings, and some string beans. Personally, Bern's could eliminate the sides and lower the price of dinner. We barely touched the side dishes. I would prefer ordering ala carte if I felt the need of more food.

Realistically, you don't go to Bern's for the sides or the oysters, you go for the beef...the aged prime steaks. My dining companion had the 6 ounce prime Filet Mignon while I chose the 14 ounce prime Delmonico. Both steaks were prepared exactly as ordered and were pretty good. Bern's is renowned for their wine cellars and the huge assortment. We chose a delightful 2006 Catena Malbec from Argentina that perfectly complimented our steaks.

On past visits we have adjourned to the Harry Waugh Room for dessert. Last night we chose to order at our table to avoid having to waddle up the stairs to the dessert room. We shared a King Midas...a somewhat dry slice of carrot cake topped with an unbelievably tasty Macadamia nut ice cream. Our server recommended a 20 year old Taylor Fladgate Tawny Port that paired perfectly with the ice cream.

Our only complaint, other than the oysters, is that for the money one might expect much more than "it wasn't bad" and "were pretty good" to describe the dinner. But, Bern's is still an experience that enhances most any special occasion and I am very happy that my beautiful bride chose Bern's for my "he's older than dirt" birthday dinner. And, I certainly hope that I am worth every penny of that $300 (food, wine, and tip) restaurant bill.

Bern's Steak House on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Feast of the Strumpets

Today is a day of perfection, or at least a day that should be set aside for the ultimate seekers of perfection. Of whom do I speak: Virgos, specifically those born on September 9.

It has been said, "These people are perfectionists -- a fact that often makes their life difficult while pissing off everyone around them. You may expect amazing physical stamina from them, but you should beware of the perfectionism that can cause emotional turmoil and just wear your nerves down to a nub. Their picking of nits is more than enough to cause a preacher to cuss and drive a normally sober person to heavy drinking. This is their nature; it's hard to change them."

I intend to honor those born on this date by dining tonight at the Feast of the Strumpets, which I understand begins today. A fellow blogger mentioned something the other day about the strumpets blaring to the point of rupture, or some such. I am a strong strumpet supporter from way back so, in their honor I hope to get juiced to Jesus at the feast and not get ruptured in the process. I'll report back at a later date.

Now, could you pass me a celebratory birthday bottle?

(Photo circa 1944)

Famous Virgo quote: "Ninety eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hardworking, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then, we elected them." ~ Lily Tomlin, born September 1, 1939

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Religion: Christianity's Shining Stars

I present to you, dear readers, two reasons why atheism keeps looking better every day.

From the Westboro Baptist Church, the Children's Sunday Bible School class (photographer unknown):

And, the latest jism-squirt of Satan, the Right Reverend Hate Meister of Gainesville, posing in the burning Hell that he plans for the Koran:

        (Base photo by St. Pete Times photographer, John Pendygraft)

Holy crap, do we look like a bunch of friggin' morons to the world, or what? No wonder people around the world want to kill Americans. They probably think they are doing us a favor.

And, one last question: Is this what the Republicans want to take the country back to? They seem to miss the Bush/Cheney years and the dogs of war, hate, and fear that were unleashed on this once great country.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Afghanistan: An American Cluster-f@#k

Several weeks ago I wrote an opinion piece for The SOG City Oracle suggesting that America's involvement in Afghanistan was a history lesson ignored by our esteemed leaders...and, I use that term "leaders" very loosely. The thrust of that article was that throughout history, invaders of Afghanistan have been getting their asses kicked (Alexander the Great and the British) or their asses kicked and their country forced into bankruptcy and flushed down the toilet (Soviet Union).

For the last nine years it has been the turn of the United States of Arrogance to give it a go. So, how's that war thing workin' out? It would appear that the Afghans are pretty much doing to us what they did to the Soviets. Of course, we are way smarter than those damned Commies. We would never allow the Afghans to chip away at our troops for years and years while we drain billions of dollars from an economy that is already a disaster. No, we are way too smart for that.

Besides which, we have a new plan. Well, it really isn't new. It is a plan implemented several thousand years ago by Alexander the Great. It seems that Alex was getting his clock cleaned by the Afghans on a regular basis, so he came up with the brilliant idea of paying the Afghans not to fight him. So far this year, Congress has earmarked $100,000,000...that's one hundred million dollars...for a so-called "re-integration program" that essentially pays low-level Taliban fighters not to fight us. I have no idea how much that plan cost Alex, but he eventually decided that Afghanistan was not worth the human lives, or money.

We could take a lesson from Alex, the British, and the Soviets and cut our loses, pack our bags, and go home. Will we? It's doubtful. There aren't nearly enough dead Americans, and we still have some money left that we can strip from various entitlement programs. We have yet to learn our lesson.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hershey Squirt Winner: Rick Scott

We are pleased to announce the latest winner of the SOG City Oracle Hershey Squirt Award. And, the Hershey Squirt is: Goobernatorial candidate, Rick Scott (R - Prick with ears).

What did Scott do to earn this award? Take a gander at his "plan" for creating jobs in Florida. Here are but two items on his list:

 1. Reduce government by reducing the state work force 5.5% the first year and then a half per cent each year after.

2. Eliminate over-lapping economic state agencies.

Excuse the hell out of me, but how do those two proposals create jobs? Unless I am missing something, it sounds as though Scott intends to add to the state's unemployment numbers.

Oh yeah, speaking of the unemployed...Scott also proposes reducing unemployment benefits. I'd like to see this pickle-headed, damn-yankee, carpetbagger try living off $275 a week (before taxes). What a great "let them eat cake" moment. Marie Antoinette would be proud.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Scott - Carroll: The Same Old Song

Praise be, Florida is blessed with a brand spanking new political duo. I am all a-twitter. But, before we get too excited about the Scott - Carroll ticket we should probably accept the fact that the Captain and Tennille of the Tallahassee Parkway these two are not. Why, you may ask?

It is because these two crooners are singing the same old, tired song, and with nary a "greatest hits" between them. On their recent "traveling medicine show" through our fair state, Scott (R - Here's how we did it up north) and Jennifer Carroll (R - What he said) started off with an attack on Alex Sink by calling her a Socialist Sympathizer. Horrors! They also paid lip service to the importance of creating jobs and how Florida needs to take an Arizona kind of approach to the immigration problem that we apparently do not have. Same old song with the same old tune! If you don't have a platform, then spew out political platitudes and attack ads.

Scott essentially said that since he doesn't know dick about the political system in Florida that it might be a nifty idea to have someone who could help him discern the difference between shit and Shinola. In their combined web site Scott and Carroll for Florida, she is described as his "running mate to turn Florida around."

Holy crap, and I thought we were backward enough already. Besides, the country looks really dorky with Florida facing the other way. Really, let's not turn it around.

Come on Scott - submit a business plan to the Florida voters...something substantive. It would be a welcome change from the "same old, same old." Better yet...keep doing what you are doing and maybe Alex Sink can stuff your "pickle head" back in the jar.

My thanks to Almost Dorothy for pickle head. That amuses me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rick Scott: Values? You're Kidding.

“I’m an across-the-board conservative. I am pro-life and support traditional marriage. We need to protect our values as well as our tax dollars.” – Rick Scott
Dear Rick, 
Mom and Amanda B., my two moms, think you should go f-ck yourself. That’s a direct quote. 
I whole heartedly agree with that quote from Almost Dorothy. Click on the link to read the rest of Dorothy's (a.k.a. Neil de la Flor) comments on Scott's "Family Values."
From my vantage point, Scott (R-Prick with Ears) appears to know nothing about Florida and her problems...stuff like poorly performing schools, falling property values, a crippled he campaigns on national issues that need to be addressed on a national level. Does this jerk not realize that the Governor of the State of Florida is not on the same level as the President of the United States? Possibly this clown should wait to see if he gets the governor's job before he starts campaigning for president. Now there is a scary thought.
As an interesting aside; while Scott continues to blather on about adopting an Arizona style immigration plan for Florida he continues to ignore our very real problems. I say interesting because according to a recent report issued by the Pew Hispanic Center illegal immigration into the United States has dropped about 67% since 2000. Because of the sluggish economy, many who are already here are leaving and returning home. Given that data and the fact that we don't have the same border issues as Arizona, the illegal alien problem in Florida doesn't appear to be one of our more pressing concerns. Unless, of course, Scott considers those damn crackers from Georgia and Alabama wandering across the state line to be detrimental to our well-being.
I am still waiting for Scott to submit his "business plan" for the state instead of his steady stream of bull shit (mierda del toro for our illegal immigrants). If he has the balls (cajones for our...) to meet Alex Sink in a debate, I hope she rips them off and hands them back as a souvenir for his pickup truck.
Oh, crap! I forgot...our Republican legislature ruled that truck nuts are illegal. Oh, well.