Thursday, October 28, 2010

Keep Fear Alive

From the Keep Fear Alive website:

"America, the Greatest Country God ever gave Man, was built on three bedrock principles: Freedom. Liberty. And Fear — that someone might take our Freedom and Liberty. But now, there are dark, optimistic forces trying to take away our Fear — forces with salt and pepper hair and way more Emmys than they need. They want to replace our Fear with reason. But never forget — “Reason” is just one letter away from “Treason.” Coincidence? Reasonable people would say it is, but America can’t afford to take that chance.

So join The Rev. Sir Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A. on October 30th for the “March to Keep Fear Alive“™ in Washington DC. Pack an overnight bag with five extra sets of underwear — you’re going to need them. Because, to Restore Truthiness we must always… Shh!!! What’s that sound?! I think there’s someone behind you! Run!"
Sadly, we don't really need to march with Stephen to ensure that we poop in our pantaloons out of fear of what is, and probably will be, happening to this country. Florida is on the verge of helping push America back to the stone age...the age of Bush/Cheney incompetence and fear mongering.
Rick Scott, who probably should be in a prison, will most likely be residing in the governor's mansion.The fiscally irresponsible Marco Rubio will probably head off to Washington to help his brother's-in-arms do everything possible to bring down Obama and return the country to the glory days of the Bush presidency.
Closer to home, state Senate candidate Jim Norman is back on the ballot after having been removed due to ethics violations. It's just a rhetorical question, but don't we have enough crooks in the Florida legislature?
The Republican Party has repeatedly stated that government is the problem and they want American voters to put them back in office so they can prove it. Now that is some scary stuff!
In his recent column in the St. Pete Times, Thomas Friedman stated, "A dysfunctional political system is one that knows the right answers but can't even discuss them rationally, let alone act on them, and one that devotes vastly more attention to cable TV preachers than to recommendations by its best scientists and engineers."
No, I don't need Colbert and his march to scare the crap out of me. The Teabaggers and the Republican Party are doing just fine on their own. My Halloween horror nightmare is a future America with President Sarah Palin and Vice President Christine O'Donnell at the helm.
Oh my, I need to change my underwear.   

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Best Wishes to Mack and Terri

A joyous occasion!

Mack and Terri tie the knot and that evening enjoy a reception at my favorite oyster bar in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Mack, the proprietor of Shuckums and his beautiful daughter, Terri.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Food: Thai On Another One

Editor's update 8/14/2013: Some damn fool with a match tried to burn the market down a year or so ago. He was caught leaving the burning building in the wee hours and was charged by the Tampa PD with arson.

The building wasn't totally destroyed, but the store is now boarded up and is for sale. I did all my Thai grocery shopping there and they are sorely missed.

I love Thai food but over the years I have become a little bored with some of the Thai restaurants in the area. Many pretty much serve identical menu items and they American-ize the food to cater to the plebeian taste bud. A notable exception is Rouen Thai.

As a consequence, I have been doing more Thai style cooking at home and I have gotten pretty good at it. I could not accomplish anything worthwhile in the kitchen if I relied on Publix...where shopping is an adventure. Instead, I depend on the Thai Market and Kitchen on South Dale Mabry. Rice noodles, fish sauce, yellow bean sauce, soy sauce, and Viet chili garlic sauce are my most frequent purchases, and the Thai Market afforded me the opportunity to try what some have described as the world's most disgusting fruit.

The durian is banned from hospitals and subways in Thailand and many hotels will not allow this fruit on their properties. Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel tried the fruit and seemed to like it well enough, but Andrew Zimmern on Bizarre Foods almost barfed on TV when he tried durian. Zimmern is a puss-wad! We tried a fresh durian and found it to be rather least when you get past the aroma.

The Thai Market also has prepared foods that you may take out or eat on the premises. The Duck Noodle Soup is probably the best I have ever consumed. It is so good I would not bother trying to cook it at home. Why try improving on perfection? Until my papayas start pooping fruit, I will still get my Som Tam from the Kitchen.

The Thai Market and Kitchen has new management, a new web site, and an expanded menu. Whether you cook Thai at home or dine out, I highly recommend this new and improved Thai Market and Kitchen.

Thai Market & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Food: Datz For Me!

My lovely bride has been to Datz Deli and Foodie's Market several times for a Girl's Night out. Since I am not a girl, I have never been invited. That was alright with me because going to a deli for a sandwich has never been high on my lists of "must do" dinner choices. Curiosity finally got the better of me and I pulled up the Datz web site. To my great surprise Datz has a dandy dinner menu that beckoned me with a Siren's call, so last night became a Datz date night.

We arrived around six thirty and were advised that there would be about a ten minute wait. A manager passed by and said that outside seating was available right then. It was a lovely evening, so my dining partner and I chose to sit outside. Once seated we were presented with a food menu and a beer and wine menu. Oh, be still my beating heart. There were so many choices.

For my entrée I already knew what I was going to order. That 16 ounce bone-in Amarillo Ribeye had my name written all over it. This flame grilled steak was one of the most flavorful ribeyes I have ever consumed. It was served with bacon wrapped potatoes and grilled asparagus. My only suggestion would be for the kitchen to watch the cooking time more closely. My request for medium rare came out medium to well. The waitress offered to take it back and replace it, and normally I would have agreed except for the taste. The taste trumped the doneness for this ribeye.

I don't believe my bride has ever come across a meatloaf that she could turn down and Barry C's Pan Seared Meatloaf looked enticing even to me. She said it was about the best she had ever consumed. Possibly, even better than one I prepared for her at home. This one came with a stout demi-glace, garlic smashed potatoes, and garden peas.

While the beer menu is impressive, last night we decided to stay on the wine side of the menu. I hadn't realized that there was such a thing as a sparkling Shiraz, but there it was on the menu and I had to give it a try. We enjoyed two glasses of the Wyndham Estate Sparkling Australian red. It was a very refreshing Shiraz...yes, with bubbles.

To accompany dinner we ordered the Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages by the glass. This was a highly extracted Bordeaux blend from California that paired well with our entrées.

We were both too stuffed for dessert, but we did request an order of Datz's 24K Carrot cake to go. That was breakfast this morning and it was yummy.

Dinner for two with a tip came to $168.00. We probably could have cut costs a bit if we had ordered our wine by the bottle instead of the glass. Nonetheless, last night was a grand date night at Datz.

Datz on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Key to the Good Life

I should have seen it coming. I was lying out by the pool soaking up some sun and suds yesterday when it hit me. That Key West frame of mind washed over me like a tidal wave of Corona with lime from the Schooner Wharf Bar. I had to jump up and run into the house to load the player with my Michael McCloud CDs and crank up the outside speakers. It is not quite the same as being there, but it will have to do for now.

Seeing the waitress with bountiful...uh, charms in the video was an added treat. She is the sweetheart who took such good care of us during our last visit to the bar.

The musical entertainment is the main reason we always stop in at the Schooner, but after a few beers our bellies start clamoring for attention so we order up some grub. We can recommend, without reservation, the Key West Conch Fritters with a lime mustard sauce, the "to-die-for" Fish Tacos with Baja sauce in a tortilla with onion, cabbage and salsa. The Chicken Planks is another winning appetite appeaser - fried chicken tenders with a honey mustard sauce.

The Schooner is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

For us, a trip to Key West is not complete without a stop at The Schooner Wharf Bar and the music of Michael McCloud.

Schooner Wharf on Urbanspoon 

Schooner Wharf Bar on Foodio54

Friday, October 22, 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell

I have been waiting for stupid to show up and in the October 21 edition of the St. Pete Times my patience was rewarded. Army veteran Russell Montminy of Spring Hill weighed in on the DADT policy in a letter to the editor entitled "Repeal is a bad idea."

Montminy stated, "I do not think the average soldier is going to appreciate that the person next to him in combat may be attracted to him or any other male soldiers sexually. It is just not right." Now there is a monumental "holy shit, are you kidding" moment if I ever read one. Personally, I would be more afraid of being in a combat situation with Montminy than I would with any presumed gay person. If he gets a hard-on when the firing starts, I would be worrying about which gun he grabs first. Does he know the difference? In my basic training we had to recite the mantra, "This is my rifle, this is my is for fighting, one is for fun." If he got confused and grabbed the wrong gun thingy, he could get both of us killed.

During my years in the Army and later in the Florida Air National Guard I was in training and contingency situations where there were bullets flying, shit exploding, the ground shaking and never once did I think about the sexual orientation of the person next to me. Even when my partner in the fox hole was a female, I never pondered what her bare butt would look like if she would slide those BDUs down from her smooth, supple...whoops, never mind. My train jumped the rails for a moment there. Truthfully, I was more concerned with my own ass than I was with hers...other than saving both of them, that is.

I was going to give Montminy the SOG City Oracle Hershey Squirt Award for coming up with this ludicrous argument for keeping the DADT policy, but he is 82 and quite possibly senile so I decided to be generous and just disagree with him.

As for Don't Ask Don't Tell, it is long overdue for repeal.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Scott: Ma didn't know the difference either.

If this jerk wasn't buying his way into the Florida Governor's mansion, Rick Scott's responses at his 1995 and 1997 depositions would be laughable [See St. Pete Times, Oct. 19]. After repeated answers of  'I don't know' and 'I have no idea' to deposing attorney Jack Ayers' interrogatories, Mr. Ayers could be excused for blurting out, "Mr. Scott, are you lying or are you just plain stupid!" To which Scott would have replied, "Well, I don't know what your definition of stupid is."

Steve Martin's character, Navin Johnson, in the movie The Jerk would probably make a better governor. At least he was just plain stupid and not a crook. Also on the plus side for the State of Florida, Navin's education was more complete.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Drug War: Absurdity is U.S.

The definition of insanity attributed to Einstein has become hackneyed from over use, but how else would you describe America's war on drugs? This country tried alcohol prohibition in the earlier part of the 20th century and it didn't work. Americans still consumed illegal beverages with abandon. Bootleggers brought alcohol in from Canada, the Caribbean and any other country they could. Gangsters made millions of dollars from the illicit trade and consumption of alcohol. There were gun battles on our streets and innocent people as well as criminals died.

Since alcohol prohibition didn't turn out so well, this country decided to apply the same illogic to drugs and so began the Great American War on Drugs, another shining example of American absurdity. Consider this - Americans still consume illegal drugs with abandon. Drug dealers and cartels are importing drugs from Mexico, the Caribbean and any other country they can and they are making billions of dollars from the illicit trade and consumption of drugs. There are gun battles on our streets and our borders and innocent people as well as criminals are dying.

Finally, one state is attempting to push aside the great big blob of stupid this country has been wallowing in for years.

California Proposition 19 would make the sale and use of marijuana for many purposes, beyond medical use, lawful and taxable in CaliforniaProposition 19, also known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, is a California ballot proposition which will be on the November 2, 2010, California statewide ballot. It legalizes various marijuana-related activities, allows local governments to regulate these activities, permits local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes, and authorizes various criminal and civil penalties. In March 2010 it qualified to be on the November statewide ballot.

Marijuana is the number one crop in California valued at 16 billion dollars. Legalizing and taxing marijuana would bail the state out of the financial mess they are in, but more importantly Prop 19 would remove the financial incentive for lawbreakers. Legalization would reduce the stress on the prison system and some of the tax dollars could be used for education and rehabilitation. The case load for law enforcement agencies would be reduced and it is estimated that legalization would save over $200 million per year in enforcement costs.

Of course, the voice of insanity has to be heard and that voice belongs to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder who has promised that should Prop 19 pass the feds will pursue with a vengence all avenues to contradict the decision of the voters. Damn the will of the people! And, his reasons? Holder says that legalizing marijuana would seriously hamper the Fed's "joint" efforts with state and local law enforcement to target drug traffickers and would seriously undermine efforts to keep California communities safe. Safe from what...the existing drug related gang wars on the streets?

What about those so called joint efforts? Several years ago I sat on a extended Federal Grand Jury in the Middle District of Florida. During those years we jurors heard a hundred or more drug cases. Every single one of those cases to be prosecuted by the U.S. Assistant Attorney's General were street users and low level dealers with just barely enough illegal substance to satisfy requirements for prosecution. The local police were busting every user they could find in a Palmetto ghetto. They popped a man sitting on a park bench in Robles Park who had a couple of rocks of coke but was too stoned to realize there was a uniformed cop standing next to him. None, absolutely none, of the people we indicted were higher up the drug chain.

Holder and his superiors are idiots if they think we can win the war on drugs, besides...there are too many people in government and big business who have too much to lose if the drug war insanity is not perpetuated.

Let's hear from a voice of reason:

Judge Jim Gray currently presides over the civil trial calendar for the Superior Court of Orange County.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pig in a Poke: Part II

Hillsborough County voters are being prodded on a daily basis by a myriad of interested parties to approve a penny sales tax increase to pay for rail, road work and expanded bus service. How nice, how very, very nice. We are supposed to approve the plan on November 2...a plan that, according a St. Pete Times article, is "still taking shape."  

From the Tampa Bay section of the Times' October 17 edition: This November referendum is asking voters two questions.

     1. Do we think it is time for rail?

     2. Do we trust our "leaders to build it in a way that serves them well and at a reasonable price?

Personally, I love rail. The European system is superb. It is efficient and it makes travel between towns, cities, and countries convenient and affordable. I would like to see something like that in Florida, but to vote on a plan that hasn't even been finalized is just ludicrous. That brings me to item number two.

Emphatically NO! I do not trust our leaders to do much of anything. There are too many special interests involved in politics today. If I am not allowed to evaluate a plan, I will not vote for it. In other words, I will not vote for a pig in a poke.

The SOG City Oracle encourages a NO vote on the penny sales tax increase.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Food: Thai One On In SOG City

Last night was another one of those "I am too lazy to cook!" kind of nights. Additionally, we didn't think we were all that hungry since we had a couple of hefty burgers from the Bamboo Chicken for lunch. We decided that lighter fare would be in order so we headed for Rouen Thai on the south side of Gandy (which qualifies it as a SOG City restaurant, so there). We have dined at Rouen Thai on several occasions and have always been pleased with the food and service. Last night was no exception. Actually, service last night might have been even better than before since the lead server ran the floor with drill sergeant-like precision (but a pleasant drill sergeant...if there is such a thing).

We started our evening with a glass of Penrod Shiraz-Cabernet for her and a bottle of Thai water for me. Thai water, for the uninformed, is a Singha Thai beer, an excellent beverage to accompany most any Thai meal.

From there, we enjoyed a bowl of Wonton soup for her and we split a most tasty Som Tom (green papaya salad). Both the soup and salad were delicious and probably should have been enough to fill us up, but we decided to be piglets last night and order more food.

The Egg Fried Rice with extra egg found in Side Dishes was too much for my spouse to resist and she still drools (figuratively) at the memory. The Drunken Noodles reeled me in for a couple of reasons. One is that I love rice noodles and two, because I have prepared this dish at home and I was curious to try someone else's version. Drunken Noodles is not prepared with alcohol. This dish is so called because it is a great dish to consume in Thailand, or anywhere else for that matter, after a night of heavy drinking. This Rouen Thai version had a heavier sauce than I use at home, but it was still wonderful...and, I had not been drinking heavily.

The portions of fried rice and Drunken Noodles were too much for us and we did something we rarely do, and that is to ask for take-home boxes. We waddled out of Rouen Thai with boxes in hand and full bellies.

Dinner with food, wine, and beer came to $56.00 with tip.

Rouen Thai on Urbanspoon Rouen Thai Restaurant on Foodio54

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Home Security Simplified

As home owners we are always on the lookout for ways to save a buck. If you are similarly inclined, allow me to recommend The Redneck Home Security System.

It is so simple. Just follow these directions:

1.  Go to a secondhand store and buy a pair of men's used size 14-16 work boots.
2.  Place them on your front porch, along with a copy of Guns & Ammo Magazine.
3.  Put a few giant dog dishes next to the boots and magazines.
4.  Leave a note on your door that reads:

     Me, Bertha, Duke, 'n Slim, went for s'more ammo 'n beer.  

Be back in an hour. Don't mess with the pit bulls. They got 
the mailman this morning and messed'm up real bad. 
I don't think Killer took part, but it was hard to tell from all the blood.
Anyway, I locked all four of 'em in the house. Best wait outside.
Be right back,

And, you are welcome.

Friday, October 15, 2010

American History: Freedoms Lost

The Republican and Teabagger mantra of "taking back our country," presumably to the stone age, for me, has worn thin. My spouse recently went back to work and off unemployment, we have health insurance again, our investments are doing very well, and life is good. I didn't think I wanted to "go back" to anything until I read this from Thaddeus Russell:

"During the War of Independence a culture of pleasure and freedom blossomed in American cities. Non-marital sex, including adultery and relations between whites and blacks, was ubiquitous and rarely punished. Because divorce was unregulated, it was easily and frequently obtained, often by women. Brothels were legal and abundant and prostitutes were rarely prosecuted. Black slaves, Irish indentured servants, Native Americans, and free whites of all classes commingled extensively in saloons and in the streets. Pirates who settled in the port cities brought with them a way of life that embraced both general revelry and homosexuality. On nearly every block in every 18th-century American city, there was a public place where one could drink, sing, dance, have sex, argue politics, gamble, play games, or generally carouse with men, women, children, whites, blacks, Indians, the rich, the poor, and the middling. Rarely have Americans had more fun. And never have America's leaders been less pleased by it."

It sounds to me as though our forefathers were having a hell of a lot more fun than we are. You might want to give Mr. Russell's book a read and see what you are missing.

"But what the Founding Fathers called corruption, depravity, venality, and vice, many of us would call freedom ..."

Christian conservative "values" it would appear have taken away a great many of our freedoms, and the people espousing these values don't seem to be through, even today. Apparently this country is still not "puritan" enough.

How sad.

What ever happened to live and let live?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Will Rogers: American Politics

William Penn Adair "Will" Rogers (November 4, 1879 – August 15, 1935) was an American cowboy, comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer and actor and one of the best-known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s.

In light of the approaching November 2nd elections I thought it would be appropriate to share with you some of his political wisdom. These words were uttered many years ago, but they seem so fitting today:

A fool and his money are soon elected. 

Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate, now what's going to happen to us with both a House and a Senate? 

Anything important is never left to the vote of the people. We only get to vote on some man; we never get to vote on what he is to do. 
Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for. 
Democrats never agree on anything, that's why they're Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they would be Republicans. 
Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke. 
I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat. 
I bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him "father." 
I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. 
I have a scheme for stopping war. It's this - no nation is allowed to enter a war till they have paid for the last one. 

If I studied all my life, I couldn't think up half the number of funny things passed in one session of congress. 
If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out? 
If you ever injected truth into politics you have no politics. 
If you make any money, the government shoves you in the creek once a year with it in your pockets, and all that don't get wet you can keep. 
Instead of giving money to found colleges to promote learning, why don't they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as good as the Prohibition one did, why, in five years we would have the smartest race of people on earth. 
It's easy being a humorist when you've got the whole government working for you. 
Liberty doesn't work as well in practice as it does in speeches.

On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does.


Our constitution protects aliens, drunks and
U.S. Senators.


Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.


The 1928 Republican Convention opened with a prayer. If the Lord can see His way clear to bless the Republican Party the way it's been carrying on, then the rest of us ought to get it without even asking.


The difference between a Republican and a Democrat is the Democrat is a cannibal they have to live off each other, while the Republicans, why, they live off the Democrats.


The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf.


The man with the best job in the country is the vice-president. All he has to do is get up every morning and say, "How is the president?"


The more you observe politics, the more you've got to admit that each party is worse than the other.


The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.


There is no more independence in politics than there is in jail.


There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators.


Things in our country run in spite of government, not by aid of it.


This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.


We don't seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business?


We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunny Beach: Food & Travel

I experienced an epiphany this past weekend...well, that and several rum punches and a couple of excellent bottles of wine, not to mention some really tasty food. I now understand why our Canadian and European neighbors travel thousands of miles to vacation on our sunny shores.

My bride and I met up with her sister and her friend for a three day weekend at the TradeWinds Island Resort at St. Petersburg Beach. My Baby and I have vacationed on beaches around the world and we both agree that the TradeWinds ranks right up there as one of the best.

What made our visit even more special is we didn't have to deal with airlines, customs, and super high travel costs. We just hopped in our Cruiser and headed across the bay. In less than an hour we were in a tropical paradise that more than rivaled resorts in Jamaica and Mexico. The grounds were landscaped and our rooms were clean and modern with a relaxing Florida beach decor.

After checking in (a smooth process), finding our accommodations and dumping our bags, we located Salty's Poolside Beach Bar where we ordered up several medicinal rummy drinks to get us in an island frame of mind. Salty's provided an ideal spot to enjoy the dousing of the sun.

Once we were properly self-medicated we headed off to dinner. Our first choice, The Palm Court Italian Grill was booked solid so we made reservations instead at Bermuda's Steak and Seafood. Bermuda's is billed as casual dining, but there was nothing casual about the food.

For starters, I chose the Sautéed Blue Mussels with shaved garlic, roasted tomatoes, Spanish chorizo, and saffron wine. The dish could have used a couple more slices of garlic toast to sop up the broth, but other than that it was heavenly.

For my entrée, I requested the Lamb Shank braised in a pearl onion au jus, boursin whipped potatoes, and a fresh mint gremolata. The only lamb shank that I have ever consumed that might have been better was one that I prepared at home (my apologies to the chef, but I am a pretty darn good cook).

My dainty dining partner chose the 7 ounce Beef Tenderloin. This dish came with house vegetables and one additional side, but who cared? That chunk of beef was so unbelievably tender and flavorful that all other foods that night faded from mind. I am not kidding. I tried a bite and I still swoon.

The others in our party had the Seafood Cobb Salad, another delightful creation, and the New York Strip Steak. I don't remember the comments on the strip since I was still reveling in the tenderloin.

The bill for two of us came to a bit over $100, but that included the tip and a bottle of Argentine Malbec. We also enjoyed breakfast in Bermuda's the following two mornings. While dinner was spectacular, breakfast, was...well, breakfast. My dining companions were pleased, though.

Bermuda's Steak & Seafood at the TradeWinds on Urbanspoon

The following day, Saturday, we hit the beach after breakfast.

St. Pete beach is beautiful with clean soft sand to wiggle one's body parts in. Admittedly, the water is not near as clear as in the Caribbean but it is refreshing on a hot day.

Another plus is that the tiki bar is very close to the beach so it is a short walk to replenish your adult beverages...which are apparently illegal on the beach, but we never did see the booze patrol.

One other ever so slight negative for our foreign visitors: the beach is not clothing optional. So, if you see people looking at you in a strange manner, put your pants back on. We are prudish over here.

After beaching it for awhile we all headed for the man-made canal and a ride on the resort's paddle boats.

That evening we had reservations for dinner at the Palm Court Italian Grill. We were offered a choice of indoor or outdoor seating. If the weather is favorable, I would highly recommend sitting outdoors. This courtyard patio is beautiful and romantic.

To compliment our dinner, the Babe from Ballast Point and I shared a bottle of Tuscan Capezzara. When uncorked and poured for a taste test the wine had a distinctive corky taste. When we pointed this out to our server we got no argument and were presented with a fresh bottle of Capezzara which, happily, was perfect.

For starters we ordered the Tuscan Salad with mozzarella, salami, green beans, garbonzo beans, roasted red peppers, and artichokes. The salad was very good and would have been plenty for two to share. I opted for the Herbed Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio with shaved Parmesan, and caper berries. I so love caper berries! While the menu made no mention of it, the carpaccio did have a balsamic reduction which added to the appetizer.

For her entrée, the tulip of Tuscany requested the Penne Con Pollo, smoked chicken with pasta, sun dried tomatoes and toasted walnuts. She raved over the chicken! I didn't fare as well with the Linguini Scoglio. The seafood, shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, and calamari were well prepared, and served over linguini pasta with pomodoro sauce, or so said the menu. There was no pomodoro sauce. This dish was served with a very weak, watery broth. This dish would have been more acceptable with either the pomodoro or a rich seafood broth. Dinner for two with wine and gratuity came to $111.35.

Palm Court at Trade Winds on Urbanspoon 

The ambiance of the Palm Court was superior to Bermuda's, but I would suggest that we had a much tastier dining experience at Bermuda's. But, what the are there anyway. Try both of them and see what you think.

There are a plethora of entertainment choices, both on and off property...way too many for a three day weekend. We did see the Saturday night show at Coconuts Comedy Club, but missed Gale Trippsmith's performance at Red Beard's. Oh, well! We will have to go back, but for a longer stay.

Our weekend frolic at the TradeWinds was fantastic.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Great Italian Dining in SOG City

After a day working in the yard preparing the fall vegetable garden, I realized that I was too pooped to cook dinner. I suggested that we drive deeper into the paradise that is SOG City and dine at Cellini's. We hadn't been there for a couple of years and I have no reasonable excuse for that. The food was always good and the restaurant is only a few miles south of Gandy.

We felt particularly sheepish when the owner, Michael, greeted us at the door and said how good it was to see us again. Instead of giving us the tongue-lashing we so richly deserved for our long absence, Michael inquired about our well-being and guided us to our table where we were presented with a tasty bruschetta...a basket of garlic toasted breads and a bowl of chopped tomatoes with basil and olive oil.

Jelena, our most charming wait-person, appeared almost instantly with menus and promptly departed to fill our drink order. On this night, we chose a bottle Chianti Reserva. My delightful dining partner ordered the Cellini version of eggplant Parmesan, the Eggplant Marchio. With the very first bite she declared that this was a winning entrée. I live for pasta and seafood and when our server described the Seafood Pasta dinner special I had to wipe the drool from my chin...figuratively speaking, that is. This special was loaded with mussels, clams, scallops, and shrimp over linguine tossed with a rich pomodoro sauce. There wasn't a dry or over cooked morsel of seafood to be found on the plate.

Between the warm greeting at the door, the friendly and professional service, and the superb food and wine, we would have to declare Cellini to be a gastronomic delight. Dinner, wine, and a well deserved tip came to $81.31. We will be back, and without the long gap between visits. We promise!

Click the Cellini link at the top of this page to pull up their web site. There you will find their lunch and dinner menus, and you may sign up for Cellini's newsletter delivered to your inbox. Michael mentioned that they will be announcing some "must try" specials from time to time.

 Cellini on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Felt a Tingle

After months of repeated urgings from Blogspot, the host of the Oracle, I finally broke down and decided to give Google's AdSense a try. That is the widget you can add to your blog and if somebody clicks on that widget the blogger is supposed to get or the sensation of having an electric cattle prod shoved up the butt. I forget which, but if you click on that widget thingy you might be lucky and it will be the cattle prod. I'll keep you posted.

Anyway, I saw my first ad a little while ago. It was for some kind of coupons. I scrolled through a few of my archived posts and discovered that there is a new ad associated with each one. That kept me amused for awhile until I landed on one of the posts about that prick with ears running for governor here in Florida. Damn if it wasn't that video of Esther Scott talking about her son's upbringing. You know the one. It's where Mom started by telling us that she was going to tell us stuff about Rick that we didn't know; like him being raised in humble beginnings...kinda like Steve Martin's character in the movie, The Jerk. Esther didn't mention whether her son knew the difference between shit and Shinola. Based upon his campaign ads it would appear that he doesn't.

I came close to canceling the AdSense account right then and there, but then I decided that if I was going to call that prick with ears a prick with ears then I should be fair and allow him equal time. Besides, you don't have to click on the ad, or if you are hoping for the cattle prod option, then click away.

There was another Scott ad that caught my attention. This second ad is asking you to contribute funds to the Scott campaign with an intended goal of $25,000 to be raised before hell freezes over, or some such. You have got to be kidding! That carpetbagging hypocrite probably carries that much around with him as pocket change, but I suppose some deranged Villager will give this crook the money.

Oh my, I think I just felt a butt-cheek tingle.

Never mind, I just air brushed my boxers.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity Location

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show has announced the location of the Rally to Restore Sanity and the Oracle couldn't be more pleased. Our hotel is directly across the street from the Mall location. Woo - hoo! How wondermus is that?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity Location
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

We hope to see you the rally, not the hotel. Get your own damn room.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Carlin vs. Phelps

I got my non-believing ass reamed out the other day by a reader of this blog. Anonymous took serious offense to several of my previous postings that did not speak favorably of Christian hypocrisy. To clarify, Christianity was not a target. The target was hypocrisy, a point totally lost on Anonymous.

This reader took umbrage with the idea that I don't subscribe to lunatic religious philosophies such as those espoused by the Right Reverend Hate Meisters Phelps and Jones, and others (like Anonymous) who get their Biblical bloomers in a bunch if you don't accept their delusional interpretation of the Bible.  I was also informed that I will burn in hell if I don't repent of my sinful ways.

Oh, well! Do I have time for a last beer?

All of this reminded me of a George Carlin YouTube video where the late comedian "returned" from hell to look at this whole religious question from the perspective of one who has "arisen from the dead":

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vote Republican

Yeah, I know...I should have quit sniffing glue while I still had a few working brain cells left, but I just got all fired up by Roy Zimmerman. Listen to this music sample and see if you don't start feeling like a teabagger:

Only 24 days and a wake-up until the Rally.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rally To Restore Sanity

From a recent Yahoo News report:

~WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama praised a comedian Wednesday for organizing a "Rally to Restore Sanity," saying it may help instill more "courtesy" in American political life.

The president, speaking in Richmond, Virginia, tacitly welcomed US comic Jon Stewart's plan for the rally, a thinly veiled dig at right-wing US icon Glenn Beck's "Restore America" march on Washington's grassy esplanade known as the National Mall last month.

I was amused," Obama said of The Daily Show host's rally, an all-day event scheduled for October 30, as an effort for people who expect common sense and courtesy in daily interactions.~

The SOG City Oracle will be in attendance. We wouldn't miss this one for anything. It will be interesting to see if a comedian can out draw a right wing hypocritical gasbag. Besides, D.C. has a plethora of delectable dining spots and we live to eat.

See you on the Mall!

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Special TGIF: Hymn For Her

I love this duo! We saw them a few months ago at Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe and they just blew us away.

Crank up your is a Friday treat for you:

Hymn For Her play tourdates

Saturday Oct 2: Theater in the Woods in Intervale, NH 7:30pm

Sunday Oct 3: The Buttonwood Tree in Middletown, CT 7pm

Friday Oct 8: Red Hook Bait & Tackle in Brooklyn, NY 9pm

Saturday Oct 9: Bullfrog Brewery in Williamsport, PA

Friday Oct 15: Googies Lounge in NYC, NY

Saturday Oct 16: Atwoods Tavern in Cambridge, MA