Saturday, December 31, 2011

Countdown To The New Year

Happy New Year from The SOG City Oracle!

Start this video at exactly 5 minutes to 12 for your very own countdown celebration:

Friday, December 30, 2011

Republican Picks For President

In less than a week Iowans have a chance to show the country which candidate they believe will take America in the far, far, far right direction.

Just so that you can tell these bozos apart, the Oracle is pleased to present the current top contenders - otherwise known as: 

The Cream of the Crap

mitt romney
ron paul

And, Rose Rauschkolb's (Republican activist and certified lunatic from Florida...where else) pick:

Latest Poll: Romney 23%, Paul 22%, Santorum 16%

The Oracle predicts that Mr. Mouse will surge ahead in the next few days as the Iowa Republicans realize that he is the only candidate who isn't............................................ 

Food: What The Pho?

After enduring Anthony Bourdain's near orgasmic enjoyment of a bowl of pho while on a Travel Channel visit to Vietnam that evoked memories of Meg Ryan's Katz's Deli scene in When Harry Met Sally, I was more than ready to go when a friend of ours invited us to join her for dinner at Indochinois.

In case you don't remember:

Anyway, our friend gushed over the Indochinois pho and declared it was the best in Tampa, so we had to go. Besides, we had never been to the new location on Dale Mabry. The last time, we dined at the Gandy Boulevard incarnation, and that was many years ago.

The Indochinois has a bright and modern decor, but we are always more interested in the food and service. The service was excellent! We were promptly seated, presented with menus, and our drink orders taken without being rushed.

Since I was the designated drinker, I requested a Vietnamese beer, and was pleased with my 333. Both I and our friend ordered the famous pho -"the" Vietnamese beef noodle soup. My bride ordered the Vietnamese Steak, a dish reminiscent of Bo Luc Lac or Shaking Beef.

I tried a bite of the Vietnamese Steak and it was pretty doggone good, but not as flavorful as a true Shaking Beef. My beef noodle soup was pretty pho-king* tasteless. It lacked the intense flavor that I was expecting after watching Boudain's food porn video. For all of the hours of preparation that we were told went into this soup I was expecting something extraordinary.

I added some cock sauce (so called because of the rooster on the label) and some fish sauce. Those two condiments just added heat and salt, but did not enhance the pho. True Vietnamese food should arouse intense delight to the taste buds. I am thinking Indochinois dumbed down the menu to appeal to the less discerning diner.

Damn, but does that not sound pompous? Yes, it does and I apologize - sort of. To me, flavor is important and it pains me to see this country breeding and weaning flavor from so much of our food.

I would definitely encourage you to dine at Indochinois, though. For you, it may be the best food you have ever had in your whole life. Really.

Indochinois on Urbanspoon

*Thanks to Jaden Hair's Steamy Kitchen for help with some of the terminology.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Florida Right Of Recall

This is vital to the survival of the grand and once proud State of Florida:

Currently we the citizens of Florida have no legal method to get rid of the government that is bankrupting us. Our present governor has a voter satisfaction rating that is lower than any other governor and a legislature that supports or even expands on his disastrous policies.

That's why I signed a petition to The Florida State House, The Florida State Senate, and Governor Rick Scott, which says:

"Whereas the voters of Florida have politicians that routinely pass legislation and take executive privilege beyond the voters' expressed desires, we demand the right to recall politicians (both legislative and executive) who fail to meet the electorate's mandates. We further demand that both the Florida constitution and city charters be amended to include the right of recall, and such right shall not be more stringently restricted than it is in other states that currently recognize the right in their respective bodies of law."

Will you sign this petition? Click HERE.


GOP: Rodents In The House

If you are standing up, you may want to sit down. If you are drinking something, go ahead and swallow. What is coming next is...rats, I am too dumbfounded to even quantify this idiocy. What the hell, I'll let this quote speak for itself:

"At least we'll know who we're electing [Republican primary candidates]. It's good to get everything on the table. I truly believe the man that will be left standing at the end will be the best [translation: cream of the crap],'' said Rose Rauschkolb, a Republican activist and retired real estate broker in Miramar. She continued with, "There's something about every one of these candidates I don't like, but we've got to get rid of what's in there now. I don't care if Mickey Mouse runs, he would be better."

Well, the Republicans have packed the House of Congress with rats, so I guess it's not much of a stretch for them to want another rodent running the once greatest nation in the world.

After recovering a bit from shock after reading the quote from Rosie the Ranter, the first thought that popped into my mind was her immediate need for the Florida Baker Act - a means of providing individuals with emergency services and temporary detention for mental health evaluation and treatment when required, either on a voluntary or an involuntary basis.

As a public service, I am willing to swear in a Petition for Involuntary Examination that I have personally witnessed this individual causing harm and terminal embarrassment to herself and others, and petition "ExParte" for an Involuntary Examination that can be completed at the Clerk's Office, Mental Health Division, post haste and without delay before she opens her mouth again.

As an editorial side note: When did the Grand Old Party cease to exist only to morph into the Party of Ball Busting Idiots? Is it mandatory for the Republicans to quote from The Tea Bagger Holy Book of Stupid Stuff every day or do they come up with this on their own?

Another note: Both were rhetorical questions - an answer is not required.


Verizon vs WFLA: More On The Story

BREAKING NEWS 12/30 - Both parties agreed on a contract!

If Verizon doesn't bow down to WFLA demands for a new contract then Verizon will not be allowed to carry WFLA programming after the first of the year. The Oracle is not privy to the contract talks, but the general consensus is that the dispute will be settled.

It is our opinion that it would be foolish for these two not to come to an equitable agreement. For one thing, Verizon customers are already threatening to dump Verizon and go elsewhere. From the Verizon forum:
  •  I doubt Verizon could survive without NBC and its affiliates. But PLEASE Verizon, try to settle this contract issue quickly! 
  •  As another new Verizon subscriber, I too would have to consider alternatives if this becomes a reality.
  • I am not a new customer to Verizon, but I agree 100%! If I lose my NBC programming, I will be looking for an alternative to Verizon. I have so far, for the most part, enjoyed my fios bundle. That being said.....if you and WFLA Channel 8 do not come to some agreement, you can expect me to cancel all my services and go back to Bright House or some other server. I will NOT be scrambling around to watch sports somewhere away from the comfort of my home, nor do I plan on watching the Super Bowl with dozens of drunk fans in some bar.
The onus isn't entirely on Verizon, though. WFLA's parent company, Media General, has already indicated that they are experiencing some financial difficulties.  “The current economic outlook requires us to be even more cautious than we already have been regarding our revenue expectations,” said Marshall N. Morton, president and chief executive officer Media General as he announced what appear to be layoffs in the coming months.

Without Verizon, WFLA also stands to lose some serious advertising revenue that it seems they can ill afford to lose. It will be amusing to see how this standoff plays out. Kind of reminds me of the other Big Penis contest going on in our nation's Capitol.

I am not a big fan of Verizon, but to dump them may not be in anyone's best interest. With that loss of revenue Media General may next go after Dish, Direct TV, Brighthouse, etc. and try jacking them up, too.

WFLA may need to keep in mind the old adage about cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. Another thing, if this issue between Verizon and WFLA settles and you see your rates go up you should probably thank Media General.

Happy Thursday, y'all.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Voter Suppression And Photo IDs

So, what's the big problem with photo IDs for voters? This is a question many around the country keep asking. The common thread seems to be that photo IDs of one kind or another are prevalent in many facets of our lives - drivers license, passport, concealed weapons permit, student ID, and employer ID badges to mention but a few, so why all the fuss over a voter photo ID?

Personally, I would have no problem with a voter ID card with my photo on it if the true reason for requiring a photo ID to vote was to prevent voter fraud. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. Voter fraud is simply being used as an excuse to make voting more difficult and maybe even impossible for some segments of our population - most of whom would be voting Democrat.

With that thought in mind, ask yourself which of our political parties is pushing so hard for voter suppression? Which party has been pushing and passing laws or administrative practices that have made it more difficult for people to register to vote? Did you guess the Republican party?

This year the Republican dominated Florida legislature imposed a short deadline for the submission of voter registration forms, with stiff penalties for late filing. The bill led to the end of voter registration work by one organization, the League of Women Voters, whose spokesperson said, "Despite the fact that the League of Women Voters is one of the nation’s most respected civic organizations, with a 91-year history of registering and educating voters, we will be unable to comply with the egregious provisions contained in [this bill]."

The tactics of voter suppression can range from minor "dirty tricks" that make voting inconvenient, up to blatantly illegal activities that physically intimidate prospective voters to prevent them from casting ballots. Voter suppression could be particularly effective if a significant amount of voters are intimidated individually because the voter might not consider his or her single vote important.

The photo ID requirement for voter cards is just one more tactic used by the teabagger controlled Republican party to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing people from exercising their right to vote. On the one hand the photo ID is no big deal, it's just the reason for it that I find distasteful.


Progress Report: From Progress Florida

This was supposed to be a terrible year for progressives, but it wasn't. Rick Scott was inaugurated Governor in January along with huge, extreme right wing majorities in the Legislature. We were told to sit down and take it, instead we stood up and fought back.

Together, we turned a real crisis into an opportunity to stand up and fight for our progressive values and loudly champion Florida's middle class in contrast to Gov. Scott's extremist agenda. Here are just a few examples of what we accomplished:
  • We launched the Awake The State movement alongside our progressive partners with hugely successful rallies in March to highlight the destructive proposals being put forth by Gov. Scott and right-wing extremists in the state legislature. Today Awake The State is a growing movement with grassroots networks in almost every major city in Florida.
  • We won important legislative victories in concert with our allies, including: stopping SB830, the “worker gag” bill designed to destroy unions along with the right to collectively bargain for wages and benefits; derailing House Speaker Dean Cannon’s politically driven Supreme “Court packing” bill; defeating the abortion clinic shutdown bill; and stopping massive funding cuts for Florida’s developmentally disabled.
  • We helped lead the fight against voter suppression by tea party extremists in the Legislature. More than 13,000 Floridians signed our petition opposing the 2011 Voter Suppression Act, helping in a big way our ongoing efforts to repeal this travesty of a law.
  • We fought to protect the Fair Districts amendments from self-serving politicians. Progress Florida and partner groups helped boost progressive turnout at public hearings throughout the state, and thousands of Floridians signed our petition demanding Speaker Cannon drop the taxpayer-funded lawsuit against Fair Districts, garnering statewide press coverage.
  • We turned up the heat on Senate President Mike Haridopolos via, a website exposing Sen. Haridopolos' numerous ethical problems and extreme positions. Once the GOP front-runner to challenge Sen. Bill Nelson, "Dirty Hari" dropped out of the race in disgrace.

Click HERE if you would like to contribute to help Progress Florida fight the fight for progressives.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bluesday Tuesday

The SOG City skies are gray this morning. A cold front is heading our way. The rains should hit us early in the evening. We pretty much ate and drank everything in the house over Christmas. That means making a grocery list and a trip to Publix to replenish the pantry - that and the beer cooler.This is the kind of day that makes me think curling up with a pint of whiskey and some mean ole lonesome blues might not be a bad idea.

Here is the blues - the whiskey will have to wait until after Publix - where shopping is an adventure. Feel free to start without me.

The song called Drink Drink Drink was recorded in 1967 by Robert Diggs - a blind Delta harmonica player. The lady remains a mystery, but she sure can boogie the blues.

Stick around, there's more.

Back in high school in Port Arthur the lady in the next video never got asked to the prom. If she wasn't identified in the video would you have recognized her? I thought I did. She reminded me of a girl I had a crush on in high school, but that was in Panama City, Florida, not Texas. Those boys in P.A. were real dumb-asses!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Verizon vs WFLA

BREAKING NEWS 12/30 - Both parties agreed on a contract!

While watching the Packers send the Bears into hibernation last night on the telly we were surprised to see that Verizon may discontinue carrying WFLA in its channel lineup. Horrors! No more Brian Williams, no more Harry's Law, and no more Gayle Sierens for our viewing pleasure.

What oh what could be causing this kerfuffle between our cable provider and this Media General affiliate? Could it, perchance, have something to do with...let me think a

As it stands right now, Verizon is balking at paying the fee that Media General is asking for the privilege of carrying WFLA's programming. Apparently WFLA is claiming that other rebroadcast entities, Brighthouse and Direct TV for instance, have acquiesced to the fees demanded by the financially impaired parent of WFLA and they can't understand why Verizon doesn't roll over and do the same.

There is an interesting Q & A on the TBO website that attempts to explain the issues from the WFLA point of view. There is also a form at this location where concerned citizens can weigh in on this possible channel 8 shut down scheduled for December 31st.

One very interesting question that the Belle of Ballast Point and I pondered while on our morning hike for fitness was, will Verizon give us a reduced rate if we lose one of the major players in the channel lineup?

Verizon? You can't be serious? Reduce rates?

Well, the TBO website suggested that this question would best be asked of Verizon, because it is up to Verizon as to whether their customers get a refund. Well, alright then - in an effort to keep the Oracle's readers fully informed on pressing issues of the day, I decide to call the Verizon Customer Care Center and ask about a refund.

After the requisite amount of time spent with the IVRU (interactive voice response unit) followed by a painfully long concert presented by Music While You Mold, I finally reached a human being. "A refund?" queried said human. "Please hold while I cold transfer you to that department."

I noticed that the longer I hummed along with the tune on the phone the moldier I became. Finally a voice came on the line, "Hello, my name Akshit Deenabandhu, what is problem please?" I felt ill, but I decided to endeavor to persevere. "Akshit, I am calling about a refund from Verizon when they drop one of the channels in my cable package." "Hold please, I transfer you to department of refund," said Akshit.

The on hold mold continued spreading about my body, but then a voice came on the line, "This is Akshit." My heart sank, but I continued. After hearing my sad tale of woe, Akshit explained, "No refund, just coupons. Would you like to buy the 5, 10, or 15 dollar coupon?"

As a side note, after spending the better part of an afternoon on the phone with Akshit I discovered that he has a distant cousin thrice removed who lives in the Ukraine. I thought he said the name was Peggy, but I could be mistook. To pass the time while on terminal hold I took up heavy drinking and consumed the better part of a bottle of bourbon, so I'm not too sure about a lot of stuff. Although, I think I have a couple hundred dollars worth of coupons headed my way.

And, you are welcome, y'all.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

More Christmas Cheer

Santa Claus for the rest of your heart out Burl Ives.

The Oracle Rocks Christmas

If you are about to barf from an overload of Little Miss Dynamite Jingle Bell Rockin' Around The Tree, then check back with the Oracle from time to time for a welcome change of pace - like Springsteen:

Come All Ye Faithful

A heart warming Christmas scene evokes the spirit of the season:

Have a good rockin' Christmas everyone!

Stop Keystone XL

A Christmas Eve message from CREDO Action that is too important to ignore:

Congress has approved a two-month payroll tax and unemployment extension bill that forces a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline, and by all accounts President Obama will sign it.

That means Republicans have gotten their wish — President Obama will have 60 days to decide on Keystone XL. And we have 60 days to make sure he does not approve it.

Tell President Obama: Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

President Obama promised us a thorough, transparent review of a new route after delaying the pipeline in November. And the hasty, accelerated timeline pushed by Republicans clearly won't allow this. As the State Department has said, 60 days isn't enough time to thoroughly evaluate the impacts and dangers of this project.

Republicans think they are trying to force a politically painful decision for the President. But instead, Republicans have served up our best opportunity to stop Keystone XL for good this time. Because the reality is, there's nothing politically painful about saying "NO" to a project that makes no sense.

This pipeline is a dangerous giveaway to a foreign oil company, that will pollute our land and water, will not produce a meaningful number of jobs, will not reduce our reliance on foreign oil one drop.

It was projects like this that President Obama inspired us to oppose when he said "Let's be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil." He certainly did not say "let's be the generation that brings essentially game over to a liveable climate."

By delaying this pipeline, he was pushing this decision until after the election. Now he must face it.

This is the moment — a 60 day window — to inspire President Obama to be the President he told us he would be, and make sure he does not cave to the oil industry and rush approval of this disastrous project.

Tell President Obama: Yes you can, stop the Keystone XL Pipeline! Click HERE to sign the petition.

The clock is ticking. With enough pressure, we will be closer than ever to defeating Keystone XL.

This is obviously a rhetorical question, but it is one the Oracle must ask: Why is it that every "job creation" plan the Republicans and their teabagger puppeteers come up with somehow involves destroying the environment? These clowns whine and snivel about the economic future of our children, but they don't seem to give a rat's ass about the air they may have to breathe or the water they may have to drink.


Friday, December 23, 2011

If I Was President

Political pundit Herbie Head's approach to surviving the 112th Congress:

The Mercury Rule

From CREDO Action:

The EPA announced that it has finalized The Mercury Rule, one of the most important updates to the Clean Air Act in the Act's 40 year history.

This rule will finally put strict limits on the amount of the potent neurotoxin mercury, and other toxic air pollution, which outdated coal burning power plants presently pump into our air in unlimited quantities.

This is a major victory for environmentalists and public health advocates and a big defeat for big polluters, who fought hard to torpedo this rule.

Now, President Obama and the EPA will be under tremendous continued pressure to delay implementation of the rule. But we can't wait any longer to be protected from this unlimited toxic pollution.

Thank President Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson for finalizing this rule, and urge them to strongly implement it without delay.

Either that or ask yourself, "How long can I hold my breath?"

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Boehner: Speaker In Name Only

I am of the opinion that no one except maybe the brainwashed FOX News viewers should be surprised to learn that House Speaker "Weepy Pants" Boehner is the speaker in name only. It has been whispered openly (i.e., common knowledge) on Capitol Hill that Boehner owes his speakership to that gaggle of GOP freshmen impersonating Reagan Republicans while they are in fact marching to the drum beat of ultra right wing teabagger conservatives.

While Boehner has shown that he is willing to strike a deal with President Obama and the Democrats on occasion, the still-wet-behind-the-ears conservative obstructionists have repeatedly forced the pseudo-speaker of the House to pull back or be forced out. It appears that gridlock and a wobbling economy is far superior to getting anything done except to unseat Obama. Damn the American people!

 In gaining control of the House and winning elections all across the country, the GOP has repeatedly stated that the American people have given the Republicans a mandate. To this I would reply, "Hell no, they did not give you a mandate to destroy the country. They did not give you a mandate to bring the wheels of government to a screeching halt."

It is excruciatingly clear that the obstructionists on Capitol Hill have tuned out the 99% of Americans who want their government to get to work and do the jobs they were elected to do and are getting paid to do.

Boehner can make a difference and so can we. Boehner can take these teabagger punks out behind the woodshed and tan their hides. He has years of political experience that he is presently allowing to be marginalized. I can't help but believe that if Boehner stood up for the American people against these brats he would find supporters on both sides of the aisle standing with him. Of course, that could just be wishful thinking, but "righteous and hopeful thoughts".

As for the rest of us, we can get out and vote in 2012. But first we need to do a little research. I strongly disagree with those who say, "Toss all of the incumbents out on their collective ears." We need to look at their records and we need to vet any newcomers seeking public office. I emphasize "We" and by "We" I do not mean Beck, Limbaugh, FOX News, or even MSNBC. We, the American people, need to make our own informed decisions and stop letting others do our thinking for us.

And last but not least, we need to re-elect Obama. There is no one in the Republican primaries who is fit for public office, especially as president of the United States. For those who detest Obama, take heart. He can't run again in 2016. Maybe in four years the Republican party can field a decent candidate to run against the Democrats.

Righteous and hopeful thoughts, y'all.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nice And Naughty

Tea Party Takedown

CREDO Action is launching a new campaign: To defeat ten of the most extreme Tea Party-affiliated members of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. We aim to win — and we need your help to do it.

This is the biggest campaign CREDO has ever undertaken, and it couldn't come at a more important time.

The CREDO SuperPAC will run a grassroots campaign in ten districts. We will mobilize our members to inform voters of the Tea Party incumbent's perfidy, to peacefully confront and question them at public gatherings, and to turn out thousands of volunteers for door-to-door canvassing and member-to-member phone calls.

The emphasis will be on making a significant, cost-effective impact, using brutally honest messages, cutting edge strategies, and some tactics that have never been tried before.

Can you chip in $5 to Take Down the Tea Party Ten? CLICK HERE!

The SOG City Oracle is prohibited from contributing to this very worthy campaign; however, as an individual, concerned citizen I did make a contribution. The Tea Party obstructionists must be stopped. The future of America depends on it.

This is my holiday present to myself and the country. Besides, the Oracle doesn't have any money; unfortunately, it remains a non-profit enterprise. On the plus side, we'll have no issues with the IRS.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fat Bastard Of Palm Beach

Fat Bastard is a fictional character in the second and third of the Austin Powers films. A morbidly obese henchman hailing from North Britain, Fat Bastard serves Dr. Evil in his quest to defeat Austin Powers.

Fat bastard.jpegFlorida has its own Fat Bastard, a morbid and obese slime ball residing in Palm Beach. This pilonidal cyst on the ass of Florida is the personification of evil as he spews his hateful rants on this nation's airwaves. Have you guessed that we are referring to El Rushbo?

(Editor's Note: Limbaugh avoided the draft during the Vietnam war due to a pilonidal cyst resulting in a 4F)

In his latest "F**k the Poor" outburst this Fat Bastard advocated letting underprivileged and undernourished American children starve to death rather than provide $2,000,000 in funding to feed them. These anal droppings from the mouth of this Fat Bastard are even more odious when you contemplate his life style:

"The gleaming cherry-wood floors are dotted with hand-woven oriental carpets….Cherubs dance on the ceiling, leatherbound collections line the bookshelves and the wood-paneled walls were once “an acre of mahogany"... His staff lights fragrant candles throughout the house to greet his arrival from work each day." 

I can certainly understand the need for the candles or most anything to mask the stink, but to live like this and deny children "three squares" a day is contemptible. And how can any "patriotic" American support this clown?

Is this truly the kind of country we want to be or have become?

Date Night At Grillsmith

My bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, and I have been craving meat of late. Specifically, a nice juicy steak that didn't cost a small fortune. So, this past Thursday we decided to indulge our taste buds and enjoy a steak on our "date night".

We had entertained thoughts of going back to the Longhorn Steakhouse on Dale Mabry north of Kennedy. I had a great steak at this establishment a few weeks ago, but after enduring some of the Christmas shopping traffic north of the paradise that is SOG City we decided to shorten our journey and stop in at the south Dale Mabry Grillsmith.

It had been several years since we dined at Grillsmith. At one time we visited this location on a regular basis, but as time passed we found that ordering a steak medium rare (my personal preference) became a hit or miss proposition - mostly misses. Medium rare to the grill-smiths more closely resembled raw and resulted in a return to the grill on more than a couple of occasions.

I read recently that this Grillsmith had undergone a few changes, so we decided to give them a try. I am happy to report that our steaks were prepared to perfection - a medium for my bride and a medium rare for me. There was no need for a return visit to the grill.

My dining partner was thrilled with her 6 ounce Filet Mignon with Marsala Wine Sauce. I chose the 16 ounce Rib Eye. Since the rib eye was served sans bone, it could more accurately be described as a Delmonico. Either way it was a very pleasing cut of beef. This rib eye comes with a not-too-intense horseradish sauce and the delicious breaded and deep fried portabello mushrooms.

There were some interesting appetizer choices that were new to the menu, but with a wedge salad for her and a Caesar salad for me plus our side vegetables, we knew from past experience that we would be too stuffed to move if we had ordered an appetizer.

We did arrive during happy hour, so our wine by the glass was half price. We chose the Xplorador Cabernet which paired quite well with our dinner choices.

I am pleased that the folks manning the grill know the difference between raw and medium rare. The only negative to this visit was having the entrees served before the salad course was completed.

Dinner and wine along with a 20% gratuity came to a bit over $85, and we didn't have to go all the way up to the nightmare that is the Dale Mabry and Kennedy intersection.

Grillsmith on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 17, 2011

No Cell Phone Robocalls

From CREDO Action:

Victory!Your activism worked! The co-sponsors of the bill that would allow marketers to endlessly call your cell phone have decided not to continue to push the legislation. In fact, Rep. Lee Terry, the main sponsor of the bill said that, "we're driving a stake through its heart. Dead. Done. Buried."

That's right: After over 220,000 CREDO members like you spoke out against this bill that would have ended 20 years of consumer protection, the Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011 will not be brought to the House floor for a vote.

This victory is a testament to the fact that your activism can and does make a difference. Although the bill was being pushed by big corporate interests like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Bankers Association, activism from hundreds of thousands of consumers showed that together, we can effectively work against groups who want to infringe on our right to privacy.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Bush Vanity War Is Over!


Just in case you missed it, here is the "What?" heard around the world:

Happy Friday, y'all!

Political Marching Orders

Found on Comedy Central's Indecision web site:

With the election a year away, it's time to pick a side of the aisle. Sign up now and we'll send you an exclusive Liberal Agenda or Conservative Marching Orders text message every day from November 6, 2011 until Election Day, November 6, 2012.

For the Liberal Agenda, text AGENDA to 44686.

For Conservative Marching Orders, text MARCH to 44686.

Undecided? Sign up for both! Because who doesn't like being told to do things by people they've never met?

7 msgs/wk. Msg&data rates may apply. Send STOP to 44686 to end. For more info, text HELP to 44686. Service available in U.S. only.

NOTE: The SOG City Oracle is not associated with Comedy Central or this message offer. We are including it because we found it to be humorous and possibly entertaining for our readers.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Gingrich Poverty Code

The Oracle question of the day: How many of you folks think that Newt Gingrich is totally out of touch with anything resembling reality? Let's see a show of hands.

For those of you who didn't raise your hand, please take a few minutes to view the following video. Larry Wilmore reveals the great disconnect between the GOP and a major segment of the American population. I can't decide whether to laugh or cry. This is both funny and sad.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Newt Gingrich's Poverty Code
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogThe Daily Show on Facebook

Rocket Man Crazy

That freakin' car commercial on TV that has Elton John's Rocket Man playing in the background has been driving me crazy - especially the part where the guy sings "...burning out his fuse up here alone" and his lady repeats the line while giving him that "are you crazy look" that most any guy is very familiar with. I am surprised she didn't "poof! and eye roll" too.

Lord knows I've seen that before.

So what do you think music fans? Is that really a line from the song, or is the guy just being creative?

She packed my bags last night pre-flight
Zero hour nine a.m.
And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then
I miss the earth so much I miss my wife
It's lonely out in space
On such a timeless flight
And I think it's gonna be a long long time
Till touch down brings me round again to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home
Oh no no no I'm a rocket man
Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone
Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids
In fact it's cold as hell
And there's no one there to raise them if you did
And all this science I don't understand
It's just my job five days a week
A rocket man, a rocket man
And I think it's gonna be a long long time...

Original recording of Rocket Man on Honky Château.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Profoundly Ignorant And Un-American

It appears that the once grand state of Florida is again trying to corner the market on stupidity and bigotry.

Here is the latest from CREDO Action:

The major home improvement retailer Lowe's just pulled its ads from a popular reality show featuring the everyday lives of Muslim families in Detroit.

Take action!The move by Lowe's came as a result of a campaign by a rightwing group based in Florida. The Florida Family Association objected to the Discovery Channel/TLC's "All-American Muslim" calling it "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."

In response, California State Senator Ted Lieu called Lowe's decision "bigoted, shameful, and un-American" and "profoundly ignorant." CREDO joined State Senator Lieu in calling on Lowe's to reverse its decision.

If you agree that the Lowe's decision is wrong headed, then sign the petition by clicking HERE. I did, and if you would like to drop a line to David Caton, the director of the Florida Family Association, telling him what's on your mind, then here is the address: P.O. Box 46547 - Tampa FL 33646.

When Lowe's was contacted for a comment on this issue:

I really can't help myself - I have got to ask the question, "Why didn't a Florida senator stand up and do the right thing by calling out Lowe's, and telling that weasel Caton to go to hell?"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hot Time In Tampa Town This August

I can hardly wait until August rolls around in 2012. Tampa should be more fun than a monkey poo-fight at the Lowry Park Zoo - probably about as much fun as getting your johnson caught in your zipper even. Guys, you remember how much fun that is, don't you?

After 42 years in our fair burg I don't get too excited about the oppressive heat and humidity of August, nor do the afternoon thunder-boomers that roll through get me too worked up. This time around, August could be more exciting than a trip back in time to the OK Corral. Yipee Ki Yay!

In addition to the clowns on the right who want nothing more than kicking Obama's ass out of office, plus their Tea Bagger puppet-masters, Tampa should be getting way more than our fair share of protesters protesting - well,  everything.

What makes me think of the wild west coming to the West-central Florida coast are two headlines that were featured recently in the same edition of the St. Pete Times.

Dramatic shift in U.S. attitudes behind gun acquisition

It seems that domestic handgun production and imports more than doubled over four years to about 4.6 million in 2009, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a gun-industry trade group. This surge was fueled by shifting politics and demographics. That, and because it has become easier and more acceptable for Americans to buy and carry firearms.

Now, let's couple that headline with another one in the same paper.

Specter of protests outside Tampa's Republican National Convention stirs concern

It seems that Tampa expects up to 15,000 protesters when the GOP comes to town Aug. 27-30. According to the Times, "Once that happens, city officials will be able to make decisions on a variety of fronts."

I hope to shout there needs to be some decision making, and it needs to be on-going starting months ago. Can you picture downtown Tampa overrun with a bunch of gun toting lunatics - I mean more than usual?

Tampa Police and Mayor Bob Buckhorn say law-abiding protesters will be able to exercise their First Amendment rights. That is all well and good, but with all the right wing loonies roaming around the country these days, what about those "patriotic Americans" who think it is perfectly okey-dokey to exercise their Second Amendment rights whenever their delusions are not fulfilled? Buckhorn and the police have stated that they won't be tolerating any law breaking. We can only hope!

I have no doubt that our local law enforcement officials are willing and able to do everything in their power to keep the peace. Nevertheless, Florida gun laws are some of the least restrictive compared to other states. So, if you have a concealed carry permit from another state it will be honored here in Florida. On top of that, Florida allows the concealed carry of knives, tear gas guns, Paddy whackers (billy club), and electronic weapons in addition to handguns.

Now then, doesn't that give you a case of the warm fuzzies? I haven't decided whether we should leave the city for a few days or just barricade ourselves inside the ranchero with our Second Amendment rights at the ready. And, I need to be gittin' myself one of them there Paddy whackers if for no other reason than to be able to announce to the world that I got me a Paddy whacker. Sounds kinky, don't it?

Lock and load, y'all.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Florida: $125,000 More For Education

Rick the Prick Scott, Florida CEO, has recently come to the conclusion that maybe he should do something, anything, to boost his poll numbers. Since he slashed funding for education he figured it would be a dandy way to pander to the clueless to now come out in favor of education. The problem with that, of course, is funding.

Where, oh where, will he find the money?

While I detest and am repulsed by this self serving sleaze bag who bought the state of Florida, I am still going to offer a suggestion on how to come up with a few extra shekels that could be used for education - specifically, $124,851 annually.

Since taking office, Scott has been particularly enthusiastic about cutting government jobs. Now I ask you, what government job can you come up with that does the least, and is the most unnecessary in the State of Florida?

I'll give you a moment.

Alright, here is a hint: According to the Constitution of the State of Florida, Article IV, Section 2 (and, I paraphrase) - There will be a person whose sole purpose in life is to awaken each morning to check email and if there are no messages reporting the death of the crook who bought Florida, then this person may go back to bed and sleep until noon or later.  

Florida has such a person. Her name is, wait a minute while I look it up...Jennifer Carroll...yeah, that's it. Carroll is currently in the position of Lieutenant Governor. You did know we had one of those, didn't you?

Well, we do and she is getting paid almost an eighth of a million dollars a year to check on whether Scott had been tarred, feathered and ridden out of state on a rail overnight. If he is still screwing the state she goes back to bed. On the occaisions when Carroll has managed to drag her crusty ass out from under the covers, her official acts include condemning The Da Vinci Code (I presume both book and movie) as anti-Christian propaganda and comparing the media to dictators and socialist rulers.

I am certain that all Floridians who are out of work, losing their unemployment benefits, are starving, are homeless, are suffering without affordable healthcare, can't make their mortgage payments due to high taxes and insurance, and the myriad of other woes plaguing our state are just ecstatic over Carroll's priorities and pronouncements. I know I am.

Florida needs a Lieutenant Governor as much as a bull needs teats, and the one we are cursed with now is especially odious. In addition to stumbling all over herself at rare public speaking events, this one apparently is totally unaware of the concept, Separation of Church and State.

Jennifer Carroll isn't worth $124,851 a year and Florida really could do quite well without a Lieutenant Governor.

Happy Monday, y'all!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rockin' Around The Tree

If I hear Brenda belting out that freaking song one more time I will simply poop in my pantaloons, and Christmas is still over two weeks off. It's just plain Ho, Ho, Hoey:

Now that's some good Christmas jamming! To heck that caroling crap - let's boogie around that tree.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tensions Mount In Iraq

It is not the intent of the Oracle to throw a wet blanket over your Christmas*, I beg your pardon, holiday activities. But this is the news you need to know (Editor's Note: for added effect, that sentence must be read dripping with drama).

We were fortunate enough to obtain this video proving that Saddam loyalists are still on the prowl in and around the town of Tikrit. This video was filmed at an undisclosed location about 140 km northwest of Baghdad. Obviously, the film was smuggled out of Iraq, but there is no word on the fate of the reporter.

The Oracle wishes her a safe return home in time for Christmas - dammit, I mean the holiday.

*The Chamber of Commerce and the RNC have suspended use of the word "Christmas" this year.

Thanks to Moe for that update.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Oracle Joke Of The Day

The pastor asked if anyone in the congregation would like to express praise for answered prayers. A lady stood and walked to the podium.

She said, "I have a praise. Two months ago, my husband, Tom, had a terrible golf cart wreck and his scrotum was completely crushed. The pain was excruciating and the doctors didn't know if they could help him."

You could hear a muffled gasp from the men in the congregation as they imagined the pain that poor Tom must have experienced.

"Tom was unable to hold me or the children," she went on, "and every move caused him terrible pain. We prayed as the doctors performed a delicate operation, and it turned out they were able to piece together the crushed remnants of Tom's scrotum, and wrap wire around it to hold it in place."

Again, the men in the congregation were unnerved and squirmed uncomfortably as they imagined the horrible surgery performed on Tom.

"Now," she announced in a quavering voice, thank the Lord, Tom is out of the hospital and the doctors say that with time, his scrotum should recover completely."

All the men sighed with relief.

The pastor rose and tentatively asked if anyone else had something to say.

A man stood up and walked slowly to the podium. He said, "I'm Tom."

The entire congregation held its breath.

"I just want to tell my wife that the word is sternum."

What the heck! Scrotum, sternum, 220, 221 - whatever works. Thanks to the Belle of Ballast Point for sharing this funny. It saves me from having had to write something wise and thought provoking for the Oracle today.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Scottsdale Christmas

The reason for the season in Arizona:

What could be more Christmasy than Santa and an assault weapon?

This year, let's empty a clip for Christ y'all.

Note to self: Stay the hell away from Arizona!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Japan Attacks

7:53 AM Hawaiian time, 70 years ago today!
(1:23 PM EST)


The clowns in the Republican primary circus have debated the many nifty ideas they have for securing our nation's borders. Several want an almost 2,000 mile long fence, one wants two of those fences, and another wants a troop surge along the border. Experts from the Cato Institute (obviously not these Republican loonies) have stated that even to come close to sealing our border would require measures that would make legal commerce* (see below) with Mexico impossible.

While most border crossing discussions revolve around keeping Mexicans out of the U.S., I seem to remember one of these idiots proposing a plan to keep U.S. citizens from escaping to Canada. That Canadian escape could turn into a reality if the Republicans gain the presidency and total control of the House and the Senate. That wouldn't be a viable option for me because Canada is too damn cold. Mexico, on the other hand...¿Ola, compadres, como esta? But, I digress.

What these freaks in the Republican primary freak show and the bozos in Congress are overlooking is the fact that the flow of people crossing from Mexico into the U.S. has declined in recent years while the flow from the U.S. back into Mexico has increased.

For that we can thank Congress, the Federal Reserve, mortgage brokers, real estate agents, home buyers, Wall Street firms, and Greenspan, among others. With deregulation and a great deal of cooperation between these parties the U.S. economy has been totally FUBAR-ed, and that wasn't an easy task.

What this has accomplished, though, is to make the United States so economically unappealing that our neighbors to the south have decided they would be better off just staying home. Immigration reform? We don't need no damn immigration reform. We don't need no damn fence, neither. With the Tea Bagger controlled Republican party in power we can sit back and watch the U.S. economy go into complete collapse. They have already taken us to the brink. The next step is to shove us over the edge.

On the plus side, we won't have to worry about those damn Mexicans coming over here anymore. Mexico and Canada may have a problem with us. Mexico probably fares better because we have already erected about 800 miles of fence along the border. Canada, on the other hand, will have to start their fence building from scratch.

*In 2007, top American imports from Mexico included electrical machinery, vehicles and machinery representing more than 56% of total imports. Total amount in exports from Mexico to the United States accounted for US$210.7 billion during that year.

Top 10 Mexican Exports to the United States - 2007 (with % of share in total) :
  • Machinery, electrical equipment and parts: 28.2%
  • Mineral fuels, mineral oils: 15.46%
  • Motor vehicles, tractors, cycles: 15.04%
  • Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery: 12.95%
  • Optical and photographic instruments and equipment: 3.51%
  • Furniture and medical furnishings: 2.44%
  • Plastic and plastic articles: 1.76%
  • Vegetables, plants, roots and tubers: 1.64%
  • Apparel, accessories: 1.31%
  • Iron and steel products: 1.27%
Conversely, approximately 23.5 percent of American exports to Mexico are manufactured products, including motor vehicles and parts, electrical machinery, electronic equipment, and machinery. There is also a high demand of plastics, petroleum products and metal shapes. Total amount in exports from America to Mexico accounted for US$135.9 billion during 2007.

Top 10 American Exports to Mexico - 2007 (with % of share in total) :
  • Electrical equipment & parts: 7.4%
  • Vehicle parts & accessories: 7%
  • Plastics: 4.9%
  • Computer accessories: 4.6%
  • Semiconductors: 4.1%
  • Other petroleum products: 3.6%
  • Finished metal shapes: 3.5%
  • Telecommunications equipment: 3.3%
  • Industrial supplies: 3.1%
  • Industrial machines: 2.7%

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Coming Soon To A Cell Phone Near You

CREDO Action has a new petition that they are circulating on-line that I believe is worth your consideration. Here is the text:

"A bill being considered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee would end 20 years of consumer protection preventing marketers from endlessly calling your cell phone--and using up minutes that you pay for.

This proposed legislation is so far-reaching that Sen. Chuck Schumer said that if it passes, "The floodgates would be open to telemarketers, who could call you on your cell phone during breakfast, lunch, dinner, no matter if you're at home, at school, at the office."

Our best chance to stop the bill is in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. If we can prevent the bill from coming to a full House vote, we can effectively kill it and preserve the traditional protections consumers enjoy from intrusive and unwanted robocalls to their cell phone."

I have Verizon Wireless (don't take this as an endorsement) and they give their customers the option of blocking up to five numbers. That will certainly not be enough if this bill is allowed to go through.

I told the members of the Energy and Commerce Committee to oppose any bill that would give corporations virtually free rein to call cell phones. You should too. You can sign the petition at the link below.

Monday, December 5, 2011

America Needs Elizabeth Warren

Wall Street power barons don't seem too thrilled at the prospect of Warren winning a U.S. Senate seat, though.

From the Daily KOS:

"Panicked by the prospect of Elizabeth Warren becoming a United States senator, Wall Street lobbyists are pouring money into Scott Brown's campaign:

Financial service lobbyists and other K Street advocates have for weeks been working hard to help the freshman senator win his high-stakes battle for re-election against Elizabeth Warren, a liberal Harvard law professor. Warren is anathema for many finance-sector lobbyists and Wall Street leaders who abhor the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau— a centerpiece of the financial services overhaul—of which Warren was the intellectual architect.

In his two Senate races, Brown’s top five contributors included four financial giants: Fidelity Investments, Goldman Sachs, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., and Liberty Mutual Insurance, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The most generous donor has been FMR Corp., the parent of Fidelity Investments, chipping in at least $97,000 to his campaign committees from executives and the firm’s PAC.

Executives and PACs affiliated with Goldman Sachs pumped at least $60,500 into Brown’s coffers; at least $51,000 from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance; and at least $46,000 from Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Inside the Beltway, fundraising has been heating up too. On Nov. 30, veteran financial services lobbyist DanCrowley, a partner at K & L Gates, hosted a breakfast fundraiser for the senator that drew about a dozen other lobbyists. “There is no Senate race that more clearly reflects the choice for the future direction of the country,” Crowley said, pitting the role of government versus the role of the private sector.

That Wall Street lobbyist is actually right—there is no other Senate race that will more clearly reflect, and have a bigger impact on, the future of our country."

The SOG City Oracle fully supports Elizabeth Warren. This country needs her and people like her.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Understatement Of The Decades

Last week former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky said in an interview that "his actions are distorted".

In all fairness, I should point out that this quote is taken out of context, but I would say that it is the mother of all understatements. Distorted? Perverted is another adjective that comes to mind.

Whether Sandusky is eventually found guilty of child rape remains to be seen. His proclivity to frolic butt-naked in the shower with little boys goes beyond the pale of healthy or normal child mentoring. I can think of no possible excuse to explain his actions other than: He is a sick man.

Twice in my early years I was approached by his kind. I was lucky - I escaped the clutches of both of these scum-bags. I heeded my mother's warning - Don't Talk To Strangers!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I Got Them Mean Ol' Cabbage Head Cain Blues

I purely would have loved being a fly on the wall when Herman explained that 13 year relationship to his poor wife. It musta gone something like this:

I've always heard that a good defense is a great offense, but Cain is lucky his wife didn't pull out a straight razor and leave him to sing his presidential wannabe swan song as a castrato - as in "super-high" tenor.

This whole Republican primary debacle brings to mind another song, Another One Bites The Dust.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pray Away The Gay

And, one last (maybe) thought for Friday:

Clap your happy hands if you were amused.

Marcus Bachmann

Ooooh, I bet I am going to hell for this one.


Bambi Gets Some Payback

Yesterday the Oracle ran a story (Bambi, Good - Trigger, Bad) about the new law passed by Congress that now allows horse meat to be served at the dinner table.

We haven't heard back from Trigger's kin folk about this law, but one of Bambi's relatives, after catching My Cousin Vinny on the tube last night, was more than slightly perturbed to realize that he could be turned into an entrée with just the squeeze of a trigger (not the horse, the one on the gun).

I love that scene with Marissa Tomei. The deer wasn't amused.

(Note: The sound track is a muddle of French and English narration and is not necessary to enjoy the ass-kicking to its fullest.)

Three cheers for Bambi!

Happy Friday, y'all.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bambi, Good - Trigger, Bad

For ages, Bambi and his relatives have been gracing dinner tables all over American. Trigger and his kin, on the other hand, have rarely been considered dinner fare in all but a few areas of this country unless served to our dogs and cats as pet food.

That is not the case any longer. Trigger can now join Bambi on the dinner table. On November 18th, as the country was preparing for the Thanksgiving orgy of gluttony, President Obama signed a law that allows Americans to kill and eat horses. In a rare bipartisan effort, the House of Representatives and the Senate approved the law which was embedded in the spending bill aimed at keeping the country afloat until the middle of this month.

Funding to inspect horse meat for human consumption was cut off back in 2006. Without funding there could be no inspections which meant no Trigger Burgers or Seabiscuit Filets. While Congress has not authorized an increase in funding for the inspections, the USDA will have to find the money somewhere in its existing budget to fund the inspections. Unless I am totally lost in space, that means that something the USDA is doing now won't get done, or won't get done as well.

Considering that some 70% of Americans are more than just a tad negative about eating Trigger and his kin folk, I have to wonder if this was a particularly wise decision what with elections coming up in a little less than a year. Personally, I am ambivalent about eating horse meat. I have just never given it much thought one way or another. In some parts of the world horse meat is considered a delicacy that is probably healthier than eating a cow.

What really frosts the boys though is the way our government hides their odious ideas in the bowels of a bill hoping that the American people will not find out about it until it is too late. That is dishonest and should be illegal.

Would I eat horse meat? Probably, because I do like to try new foods. In Honduras a few years ago, we stopped in at a little restaurant in San Pedro Sula where I spied Huevos del Toro on the menu. "Eggs of the bull," I asked the waiter? "Yepper (Si!)", he replied. I said, bring 'em on. Those grilled bulls balls were delicious.

The only after effect occurred later on the bus ride to the airport. We passed a cow pasture and I found myself becoming ever so slightly aroused at the sight of one of those heifers. The moment quickly passed, but with that memory in mind, I would be concerned that after eating horse meat I get hit with a bad bout of the trots, or heaven forbid, go into a full gallop.

"Hi-yo, Silver! Away!"

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Prophetic Or Coincidental?

Just yesterday the Oracle published The Joke Of The Day. This joke came to me in an email and forces beyond my control compelled me to substitute "Republican member of the Florida legislature" in the place of whatever was there in the original joke.

In the SOG City Oracle title line there is a reference to "prophetic opinion on a myriad of topics". I included that description with tongue firmly next to my cheek. I don't take the Oracle or life too seriously. Both are for fun, but a story in the St. Pete Times this morning makes me think there is more to this prophetic stuff than I realized.

Said the Times, and I paraphrase, eleven Florida legislators have been subpoenaed by a Federal District Court to answer questions in a case involving a lawsuit filed over four controversial provisions of Florida's new election law.

The subpoenas were issued to six senators and five representatives, all of whom are...I bet the suspense is guessed it - Republicans!

I have no doubt that all eleven of these "Congress Critters" will be in church this Sunday asking for Holy help with their hearing.

More Florida Travel: Yeehaw Junction

In the Oracle's Cedar Key travelogue I made mention of Yeehaw Junction and the infamous Desert Inn. After mulling it over in my mind for a spell I came to the realization that I undoubtedly piqued your interest in this fabled Florida destination that everyone has to visit at least once and now you are yearning to know more.

Well, alright then, grab yourself a brew, sit back and make yourself comfortable. This may take a moment or two, but after I am finished I know that you will be chomping at the bit to skedaddle yourselves down to the junction.

I first heard about Yeehaw Junction back around 1976 or so. A coworker at GTE told us all about a trip he made back from a horse show in Miami. Bill and his buddy parked their truck with a horse trailer outside of the Desert Inn and they moseyed inside to quench their thirst with a couple of cold brews.

As they washed the trail dust from their parched lips a scuffle broke out at the other end of the bar. After one of the scufflers was tossed out the door the bar got quiet again. A few moments later Bill and his friend heard what sounded like a lawnmower engine starting up which seemed a bit odd in as much as there was no lawn around the inn. Suddenly the door to the outside splintered open and in comes this wild man with a fired-up chain saw heading for the person who just moments before had tossed him out the door. Bill and his buddy never did finish their beers. They headed for another door to hastily return to Tampa.

Sometime later, back in the 1990s, I read an article in the Tampa Tribune about the Desert Inn. According to the Trib the inn had been placed on the National Register of Historical Places and was the new "in" place to go to experience old-timey Florida. Besides the inn, the article in the paper said there was a dandy motel associated with the property.

The Belle of Ballast Point and I are always up for a new adventure, so based upon that Trib piece I called the inn to inquire about reservations at the motel. It seemed like a great idea to drive down from Tampa and party at the inn with an overnight stay at the motel. The lady at the other end of the line said, "Y'all come on down, we'll be glad to see ya."

The following weekend one of the first things we saw as we approached Yeehaw Junction was a long concrete block building on the left side of the road that reminded me of some of the bunkers I had been billeted in up at Camp Blanding. That was the motel! We decided to go on to the Desert Inn and rethink the overnight stay.

The Desert Inn is a two story wooden building with a lot of character and is frequented by a lot of characters. We'll get to them in little while. We walked in to a nearly empty room. There was a lone customer in a far corner and the lady behind the bar. We pulled up stools at the bar and this very nice lady took our drink orders and asked if we wanted to see the menu. We did!

The beers were cold and the menu featured a lot of swamp food - alligator, frog legs, and catfish along with burgers and chicken. My dining partner opted for the fried catfish and I chose the frog legs. Both orders came with fries and coleslaw.

While we were dining, the screen door to our left banged open and a young fellow almost fell through the doorway and ran into the edge of the bar screaming, "I'm blind, I'm blind! I cain't see a fuckin' thing." The barmaid hollered over to him, "Well, take off them goddamn sunglasses ya fool." He did and said, "Yeah, that's better," and sat down on a bar stool. He ordered a whiskey and a beer. We continued with our meal.

Moments later, the screen door opened again. This time a pleasant looking young couple sauntered in and sat at one of the booths. The barmaid took their drink order and gave them menus. The young lady ordered a steak. "And for you sir?" the barmaid asked the man. Through clenched teeth he replied, "I'll have one o' them goddamn steaks, too, if you can grind it up in that there blender on the bar." He went on, "I got my jaw wared shut. My best friend hit me upside the head with a 2 by 4 the other day and broke my goddamn jaw. Now I gotta suck my food up with a straw."

We looked at each other and silently queried, "His best friend?" The man told the barmaid to "fergit" the steak and just bring another beer and a shot of whiskey. We were beginning to sense a trend here and it was only two or so in the afternoon. The barmaid, as she brought us two more beers, commented that this was nothing. She informed us that a local Indian tribe was having their yearly pow-wow at the inn. She went on to say that, "...the squaws are over at the motel getting gussied up for the evening festivities. The braves are off in the woods somewhere getting drunk and beating the shit out of each other."

My bride and I decided we were not going to check in at the motel and after we finished eating we were going to head back to Tampa. We didn't finish quickly enough. Just then a very tall Indian looking fellow walked up to the bar stool next to my bride. He was dressed head to toe in black with silver doodads adorning his broad brimmed ten gallon hat, his huge belt buckle, and the tips of his cowboy boots. He looked at her, then her purse on the bar stool, then back at her. She apologized and moved her purse. He sat down next to her.

The barmaid took his drink order. No surprise here - whiskey and a beer, "...and the same thing for him," said the cowboy pointing to his friend on the next stool. His friend was short and scrawny with wild, thinning red hair, and what appeared to be just two teeth - both in the front, one upper and one lower. After a shot of whiskey the short, red haired one starts muttering, "I want to kill sumthin', goddammit, I want to kill sum goddamned thing."

Holy shit! We were now desperate to get the barmaid's attention so we could pay our bill and get the hell out of there. The cowboy looked over at my bride, and in a move we will never forget, tapped the finger nails of the first two fingers of his right hand under the brim of his hat. The cowboy leaned past my bride and stuck out his hand to me and introduced himself. Damned if I remember his name. At that moment I was barely able to remember mine, but I said, "Nice to meet you, my name is Jon and this is my wife, Lydia."

"Goddammit, I know she's your goddamned wife. You don't have to tell me she's your goddamned wife", he spat out. Holy shit, again! Waitress, please bring us our bill - pretty please. Thankfully, she did. We paid up and nonchalantly made for the door, then we sprinted to our waiting vehicle.

We made really good time getting back to Tampa.

As I said before, everyone needs to go to the Desert Inn at least once. It's on the National Historic Register for god's sake! And, it can't be too bad these days. Bikers aren't afraid to stop there.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Oracle Joke Of The Day

The Oracle received this joke in an email this morning. It practically pleaded for a little creative editing:

The preacher said, "Anyone with 'special needs' who wants to be prayed over, please come forward to the front by the altar."

With that, a Republican member of the Florida legislature got in line, and when it was his turn, the preacher asked, "Congressman, what do you want me to pray about for you?"

The Congressman replied, "Preacher, I need you to pray for help with my hearing."

The preacher put one finger of one hand in the Congressman's ear, and placed his other hand on top of the Congressman's head, and then prayed and prayed and prayed. He prayed a "blue streak" for the Congressman, and the whole congregation joined in with great enthusiasm.

After a few minutes, the preacher removed his hands, stood back and asked, "Well, Congressman, how is your hearing now?"

The Congressman answered, "I don't know. It ain't 'till next week."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Travel: Cedar Key - Historic Or Hysteric

The development of Cedar Key had begun in 1859 in anticipation of the prosperity that completion of the Florida Railroad was expected to bring to the port on the Gulf. I arrived in Florida about 96 years after the fact and though I have lived in this land for some 56 years I had never been to Cedar Key. There had been many trips between Panama City and Tampa plus points south, but never on that 24 mile stretch from U.S. 19/98 over to pencil land (you know, number 2 lead cedar pencils we used to chew on in school).

According to a Wikipedia article, "The old-fashioned fishing village is now a tourist center with several regionally famous seafood restaurants." To bring our week long Thanksgiving staycation to a glorious conclusion, the Belle of Ballast Point and I decided to head up to Cedar Key for a few days to enjoy this "old-fashioned fishing village and it's famous seafood restaurants".

I did my due diligent search on-line for accommodations and stumbled upon the historic Island Hotel. Though I should have known better, I allowed myself to be sucked in by the hotel's description and photos. Will I never learn - what you see on the 'net rarely is what you find in the real world. But we are adventurous, so I booked a room for two nights.

The Island Hotel and Restaurant is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. That should have sent me screaming in the opposite direction since our last visit to a listing in the National Register of Historical Places, The Desert Inn at Yeehaw Junction, resulted in us wondering if we would make it out alive. Really! And, that was before the bikers arrived. As I said, we are adventurous!

We found the hotel with little effort. Cedar Key is not that big. The hotel looked pretty much like it did in the pictures on the Internet. It wasn't until we checked in did we realize why their guest rooms weren't pictured on their web site.

"The Island Hotel has 10 rooms, all of them individual and all having very little in common with any hotel." To say the rooms have little in common with any hotel is a bit of an understatement, but do go on, "To preserve the romantic and traditional ambiance, there are no televisions or telephones in the rooms of the main hotel. Some of the hotel rooms have old fashioned claw-foot tubs (bubble bath provided!), some showers and some tub and showers."

We had one of the rooms with a claw footed tub. It was conveniently located a just few feet away from the bed. This was real handy if one felt the urgent need of a late night cleansing. As there was no other furniture in the room save for an end table or two, this afforded us a choice of reclining on the bed or in the tub.

The bathroom sink in our bedroom added another element of historic or antique charm.

The toilet was next to the sink, but enclosed with scrap lumber and a folding door that was way larger than the entry-way into the water closet. I would have included a photo, but both I and my pocket camera wouldn't both fit in at the same time. The WC was without a light, so your late night urges depended on luck or a hope and a prayer.

Lest I forget, the hotel warned guests that the walls are paper thin. As a consequence, if one of you is a screamer you might want to enjoy your romantic tryst at an establishment with thicker walls. It's just a thought.

For our luxurious and historical room we were being charged $136.25 per night. After the shock of our room and a walk about Cedar Key we made the decision to spend just one night, not two - and one night was a night too many.

While waiting for the bar to open at 5 p.m. we headed down to the waterfront which consisted of a huge parking lot covered with vehicles attached to boat trailers, or vice versa. At the waters edge we discovered the Cedar Key tourist center - a long line of multi-story wooden buildings that I assume were meant to replicate the long lost Cedar Key of old. These buildings housed souvenir shops and a number of restaurants serving enough fried seafood to clog the arteries of an army.

One of the locals suggested that the best of the bunch was Steamers Clam Bar and Grill. We climbed the stairs and wandered in.

Between the two of us we had several medicinal brewskis, the Steamer Salad which resembled a plain old house salad, and the 1 LB bucket of Cedar Key clams.

The bucket and clam shells may have weighed a pound, but there probably wasn't more than a hand-full of those little clams. They were pretty tasty, but it wasn't worth eight bucks a bucket, nor was that house salad worth six bucks. Can you say, "tourist trap"?

Steamers on Urbanspoon

We had intended to take a boat tour up the Suwanee River the next day, but the tour operators said the tide would be too low until December and they would have no captain to pilot the boat until then, either.

The thought of spending a full day in Cedar Key just aimlessly wandering around visiting the plethora of gift shops and antique stores, or drinking ourselves into a mind-numbing stupor didn't much appeal to either of us. We were now really looking forward to heading back to Tampa first thing next morning.

Dinner that night at the Island Hotel Restaurant didn't improve our spirits. While my lamb chops were pretty tasty, the fish served to my bride was way under-cooked, skin side down on too low heat, which gave the fish a slimy texture and a horribly off-putting taste.

Historic Island Hotel on Urbanspoon

We love to travel and experience new places, foods, and cultures. We have traveled around the world and had a hell of a good time. This trip to Cedar Key was not one of those times. I think Cedar Key was probably a paradise before it became a tourist mecca.

Let me end this piece on a positive note. The locals that we met in Cedar Key were very hospitable and friendly. The bar in the hotel was also a plus. The picture of Neptune above the bar had a great deal of history. Some of the water stains were from a really nasty huricane that blew through the area some years ago, and if you look closely you will see little round dots on the picture. Those are bullet holes - presumably left by a patron many, many years ago.

The rest of the pictures were taken in the common areas of the hotel.

And, lastly, a view of the waterfront without the fake fish houses.