Thursday, June 30, 2011

Music: Conrad Oberg

WTF? You've never heard of Conrad Oberg? Me neither, but I checked him out on YouTube, and boy can that kid play!

Not only does Conrad get down and dirty on guitar, but he can also burn up the 88.

Conrad will be jammin' at the Skipperdome this July 3rd if you'd like to boogie with him in person.


Blind since birth, 16-year-old piano and guitar phenom Conrad Oberg taught himself to play music on a toy piano at age two and a half.

Obama: It's Time To Call The Republicans' Bluff

From CREDO Action:

The deadline to raise the debt ceiling is just over a month away, and things are not looking good.

Republicans recently broke off talks with Vice President Biden over the White House's proposal to raise $400 billion in revenue by eliminating tax breaks for wealthy individuals and corporations.

That proposal represented no more than one dollar in revenue increases for every five dollars in cuts, but even that was a bridge too far for Republicans.

And let's remember, while the Republicans won't even agree to a minimal amount of tax increases, they are willing (in fact eager) to put extremely popular and important programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security on the chopping block.

These negotiations are a farce and it's time for President Obama to cut bait and stop trying to negotiate with Republican extremists.

We need President Obama to call the Republicans' bluff on the debt ceiling.

You can read more about this issue and easily take action by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Anti-Scott Demonstration Friday

From Progress Florida:

Gov. Rick Scott will be at the Vinoy Resort in downtown St. Petersburg this Friday, July 1st meeting with a major gathering of Florida press. We would like to invite you to join us, along with Awake The State and other allied groups, in protesting "Pink Slip Rick" outside the Vinoy:

Renaissance Vinoy Hotel
Friday, July 1 from 12:00-3:00pm
501 5th Avenue NE St. Pete
RSVP on Facebook (optional)

Demonstrating your opposition to the governor is important this day.  July 1st is the day much of Gov. Scott’s extreme anti-middle class budget and extreme social agenda goes into effect.

On July 1st, tens of thousands of local police, firefighters, nurses and teachers, along with Florida stateworkers will get a 3% pay cut; private vouchers will be expanded at the expense of public schools; Medicaid will be put on a course to be run by greedy HMOs; women’s reproductive rights will be further restricted and more corporate tax giveaways will be added into Florida’s special interest written tax code.

We need to let “Pink Slip Rick” (and the numerous reporters at this event) know that Floridians do not approve of his anti-middle class agenda.

Scott Kisses Koch Ass

Now that would have been a most appropriate newspaper headline to describe the Florida Robo-CEO secret trip to the Koch retreat in Colorado this past weekend.

Florida's "Emperor with New Clothes" Rick (that's rick with a P) Scott stated that the Koch Bros were interested in hearing first hand how Scott was dismantling Florida piece by piece. It could be speculated that the Bros would like to incorporate some of Scott's tactics in their Plan for America.

Scott, as he applied another layer of Ass-Kiss Balm to his lips, said he found the sessions useful. "In this job, you've got to constantly listen to what other people are thinking. Part of what you do in business is you say, 'Gosh, they are doing something, well, I'm going to see if I can do it better.' The same with this … okay, what are people doing that is working in their states?"

In dissecting that quote it is obvious that Scott is not referring to the citizens of Florida; Tea Party, Republican, or Democrat, it matters not. They are speaking out, but Scott isn't listening to them. The robocalling CEO of Florida is listening to the Koch Brothers.

Florida voters need to remember this in 2014; then get off their apathetic asses and vote this son-of-a-bitch out of office; then ride him out of state on a rail. In a previous article I suggested that tar and feathers were optional. An Oracle reader corrected me and said, "Tar and feathers ARE NOT OPTIONAL."


Speaking of the Koch Brothers:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Food And More: The Shrimp Boat

Back in the mid sixties, during my wild and crazy oat sowing days, after a night of serious partying I and many others would polish off the night at the Shrimp Boat restaurant in St. Andrews (a historic community on the outskirts of Panama City).

Shrimp Boat 1951
The Shrimp Boat was a popular place for the late night crowd to pack in some good grub to soak up some of the alcohol consumed earlier.

One of my favorite dishes on those occasions was something the Shrimp Boat called Hang Tang, or in the foggiest recesses of my mind that is the name I remember. Hang Tang was a tasty dish combining fresh shucked oysters with eggs and scrambling the two together. The closest recipe I could find for this dish was Hangtown Fry, a recipe from the California gold rush days. I tried that recipe, but it never quite matched up with my memory from the Shrimp Boat.

Sometime after I left Panama City for the Army in '68 the Shrimp Boat went into decline, closed and was finally torn down in 2002. Seeing the Shrimp Boat rotting away was a sad sight; almost as bad as seeing the empty lot where the Shrimp Boat once stood.

I'd be wiping a tear from my eye about now if it weren't for my recent trip back to the panhandle. My daughter Terri and son-in-law Mack suggested we try out a new place they had never been to before. It was the new Shrimp Boat, risen as the phoenix from the ashes. Be still my throbbing organ (heart, dammit).

So, Terri, Mack, the Belle of Ballast Point and I piled into a limo-taxi (who knew one of them things existed on the Redneck Riviera) and headed off for St. Andrews and dinner at the new Shrimp Boat.

The second we stepped from the cab our nostrils were assailed with the heavenly scent coming from the char-broil grill. We were promptly seated and treated like royalty. Menus were presented, drink orders taken, and the evening specials were described in a friendly, professional, non-hurried manner.

While perusing the menu and enjoying an adult beverage I noticed the huge rusty sign hanging above the bar.

It was the original Shrimp Boat sign. Seeing that sign was a real blast from my past.

Back at the table, the four of us shared several appetizers: the fried green tomatoes, char-grilled oysters on the half shell, and one other that escapes me now. That is probably because those oysters were so delicious I could think of little else.

For our entrees, two of us got the Seared Prime Rib, Mack the Soft Shell Crab, and the Belle of Ballast Point ordered the Lorenzos Steak.

My bride was ecstatic with her filet mignon house special. Mack was delighted with the crab. The Seared Prime Rib, flavor-wise was to die for. The char-broiled rib tinged with just the right amount of smokiness was superb.

I will have to agree with a lady at an adjacent table that the center of the rib was "bit chewy." That makes me think this was a choice cut instead of prime, but the fattier outer edges were perfect.

For dessert, two in our party had the cheese cake, and two had the creme brulee.

We went Dutch treat, and for several glasses of wine, our entrees, and dessert, plus 20% gratuity, the total for my bride and me came to $157.01. And, that was money well spent.

Shrimpboat Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Shrimp Boat on Foodio54

The Keeper of the Bar

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Monday!

We just returned from a long weekend visiting my daughter and son-in-law at their beach bungalow in Panymaw (that's Panama City Beach for our northern readers). It was great to get away from the Oracle for a few days.

The Belle of Ballast Point and I enjoyed a weekend of fun and sun on a sandy beach, not to mention many dozens of juicy, salty and delicious Apalachicola oysters on the half shell - perfectly shucked and served. To clarify; I enjoyed the oysters. The B of B-P has eschewed raw oysters ever since she learned that they are served while still alive.

We started our oyster odyssey at Ouzts Too at the St. Marks River Bridge. If you have never been to Ouzts Too you don't know what you are missing. They've got an oyster shuckin' woman there who can shuck'em better than any man can.

Ouzts Too is a quaint little shack just off U.S. 98 about midway between Panama City and Perry. Their menu includes smoked mullet, fried seafood baskets, pit smoked barbeque, but the star of the show (for me, anyway) are the perfectly shucked oysters.

If you find yourself on that long lonely stretch of 98, do yourself a favor and stop in for a beer and a bite. Your taste buds will thank you.

From Ouzts we headed for Shuckum's on the beach in Panymaw where we stuffed ourselves with more of those tasty Apalachicola treats. We are always treated like royalty at Shuckum's. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Mack, the owner, is married to my stunningly beautiful daughter Terri.

OUZTS' TOO Oyster Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon 

Ouzts Too on Foodio54

Friday, June 24, 2011

Whiskey And Chocolate Ice Cream

I have got to admit that the Oracle is just plumb tuckered out. The pressure of coming up with brilliant and insightful articles day after day is taking its toll. Yes, I can hear the voices asking when all this brilliant writing is gonna start occuring, but I choose to tune them out - especially that of my bride, the Belle of Ballast Point (just kidding dear).

Since I am feeling a bit like that old man in Peter Bowen's song, Feather Ben, I am going to take a few days off to just live on whiskey and chocolate ice cream.

That sure tasted good, the old man said.
I’ll have another, as long as you’re buyin’
I’d like to live on whiskey and chocolate ice cream.
I’d move some place where it’s warm in December
And pretend there’s more time than I’ve got.

Chocolate ice cream, and good bourbon whiskey.
And some kind old lady, who’ll make me take baths.
I’ll have steak twice week, and chicken on Sundays
I worked hard all my life, is that too much to ask.

Can you play any Hank Williams, or old cowboy songs?
Can you play a damned thing that’s worth listenin’ to.
Hell, I’m just an old drunk, don’t ya pay me no mind.
You been too good for me to talk that way to.

That sure tasted good, the old man said.
I’ll have another, as long as you’re buyin’
I’d like to live on whiskey and chocolate ice cream.
I’d move some place where it’s warm in December
And pretend there’s more time than I’ve got.

I fought in three wars, raised me three children.
Never learned nothin’, but the size of my shirt.
The wars didn’t help, my damned kids ain’t worth shit.
But I ain’t complainin’, things could have been worse

You damned kids with your lovers whose last names you don’t know.
At least I could always fit the name with the ass.
I had my good times, and nights that was golden,
You can keep yours, it ain’t even good grass.

That sure tasted good, the old man said.
I’ll have another, as long as you’re buyin’
I’d like to live on whiskey and chocolate ice cream.
I’d move some place where it’s warm in December
And pretend there’s more time than I’ve got.

It’s way past my bedtime, I’ve rambled enough.
You kids be good, if that’s important to you.
You’re lookin’ ahead to them beers and them women.
And I’m lookin’ back, and it’s better from here.

That sure tasted good, the old man said.
I’ll have another, as long as you’re buyin’
I’d like to live on whiskey and chocolate ice cream.
I’d move some place where it’s warm in December
And pretend there’s more time than I’ve got.
And pretend there’s more time than I’ve got,
Lord I wish there’s more time than I’ve got.

As a side comment, the best version of Bowen's song that I ever heard was by Rosalie Sorrels on the Travelin' Lady Rides Again CD.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Tender Country Song

I was going to treat you to one of them there mushy love songs, but I decided that you needed, I say NEEDED, to hear my favorite song by the Notorious Cherry Bombs. So, grab a beer, sit back and enjoy it. Country music just don't get no gooder than this.

One woman on YouTube who commented on this video said that her husband made her watch it. She also said that his stitches will be coming out next week. You might want to keep that in the back of your mind before you crank up the volume.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The SOG City Oracle Welcomes Jennifer

Be still my thumping gizzard! The Oracle has a new friend. Jennifer has joined our tiny little group of exceptional people. I am truly honored.

I took a look at her on-line profile and was surprised that she describes herself as "not that interesting of a person". Upon further reading, I would have to disagree with that assessment. In many ways Jennifer reminds me of...well, me, or at least the way I envision myself: honest, small circle of really great friends, protective of loved ones, quick temper (I prefer to think impatient perfectionist), and loves to travel. Sounds like an interesting person to me.

Anyway Jennifer, thanks for following the Oracle and taking the time to read my ramblings. I will try to be worthy of your time.

Remember When...

Remember when
teachers... graphic

Food: The Bug & Germ

We were sitting in a booth next to one of the huge storefront windows looking out at Morgan Street. The old GTE building on the other side of the street was keeping a watchful eye on us to make sure we didn't run past our thirty minute lunch break. We usually did!

Melanie was taking our orders when suddenly she hollered out, "That bum is pissing on my car!" We all looked toward the street and sure enough, one of the local winos was steadying himself against a parking meter while relieving himself on Melanie's front bumper. A customer new to Rusty's Diner may have found this scene a bit shocking. For us regulars from GTE this was just another day at the diner we called home for morning, lunch, and afternoon break.

Rusty's was located at the front of the U-Save Grocery run by the beavers. Actually, the Bever family of B & B Groceries. The name just demanded an occasional joke. The grocery is  long gone and sadly, so is the Bug and Germ, as some phone people affectionately called Rusty's. The food at the Bug and Germ (I love that name) was usually pretty good, wasn't horribly expensive, and was very filling.

The entertainment was pretty good, too. Take the wino pissing on Melanie's car, as a for instance. Or, the frequent sightings of Ralphie the roach or Marvin the mouse as they scampered about on the floor along the lunch counter. From time to time, if you were lucky, you could see the grocery store employees giving one of the neighborhood bums the bum's rush for trying to shoplift a jug of Mad Dog or Ripple.

Mornings were special at Rusty's. One of the all time favorites was the Cuban cheese toast slathered with butter and melted cheese washed down with a cup of cafe con leche. Afternoon breaks usually consisted of cokes or iced tea and camaraderie. The technicians from the toll testboards and the EAX building on Zack would use this time to discuss the ineptitude of management or any plans for upcoming weekend activities that had nothing to do with the phone company.

What got me to reminiscing about the B & G was the craving for one of their lunch specialties, chicken and rice. This greasy treat was just heaven to my taste buds and with a couple of splashes of hot sauce, this dish transcended being heavenly and moved into a much higher dimension. Going to Rusty's is not an option since they tore it down. Then, to frost the cake, as the song goes,"They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." No, really, they did. They put a freakin' parking lot in the foot print of Rusty's and the B & B.

In an attempt to relive old tastes and  times, I went into the SOG City kitchen and played around until I came up with my version of:

The Bug and Germ Chicken and Rice

3 pounds chicken pieces -- with skin and bone
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion -- chopped
1 clove garlic -- minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups rice

Coat the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan and then brown the chicken. When the chicken has a light brown color, remove from the pan and set aside.
To the same pan, add the onion and cook for a few minutes until just softened, then add the garlic and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant.

Put the chicken back in the pan, add the rice, and then the broth. Make sure all of the rice is in the broth.

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 35 minutes.

Near the end of the cooking time remove the lid and sample a bit of the rice to ensure that it is tender. We don't want crunchy rice, now do we?

Before serving, give the bottom of the pot a stir with a large spatula to scrape up any of the delicious browned bits - or, socarrat.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 905 Calories; 47g Fat (47.6% calories from fat); 54g Protein; 62g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 211mg Cholesterol; 2344mg Sodium.

Serving Ideas : Serve with a bottle of Tabasco sauce at the table.

NOTES : For the chicken, I used four thighs and two breasts. Cut the breasts into approximately the same size as the thighs. This dish should easily serve four people, and it took me about an hour from start to finish.

I wouldn't skimp on the pepper. The B & G didn't.

The Belle of Ballast Point said this was even better than Rusty's - not as greasy. Oh well, I tried for authenticity.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's Time For Clarence Thomas To Resign

From CREDO action: A New York Times expose published Sunday details the improper ties between Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and influential rightwing funder and activist Harlan Crow.

As if that wasn't enough, the New York Times has revealed that Thomas may have improperly solicited a multi-million dollar donation from Crow to benefit one of his own pet projects near his birth place in a remote coastal community outside Savanna,Georgia.

Enough is enough. It's time for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to resign. Click HERE to read more. 

If you agree Thomas should go, then sign the petition and let's make it happen.

Monday, June 20, 2011


I love words.

Words can unite people or start major conflicts, especially between the literate and the illiterate. I know, for I have experienced the illiterate. They are a cranky bunch.

Most of the words I know are in Cracker with just a smattering of proper English in the mix. I know some words in Russian, French, German, and Spanish (both Castilian and Ybor City). I am also skillful in deploying the most appropriate cuss words, matching the situation, in many of those languages. Shoot fire, I learned those first, and with that knowledge I can pert near guarantee myself an ass-whooping in several countries.

Mrs. Perillo, professor of my college English class, learnt me a bunch of good English stuff, like "hold back on the use of commas, butt head" (I love commas).  I am hoping to gain more useful knowledge from the Elisa Lorello blog. Ms. Lorello is another published Kindle author that the Oracle is following.

"I'll Have What She's Having": The Official Blog of Elisa Lorello, is better than a college course on creative writing because I can learn from a professional writer while sitting butt nekkid in front of my computer with a beer in hand. That might be a vision that will cause Ms. Lorello to wake up screaming in the middle of the night (Mrs. Perillo got the vapors), but I am looking forward to acquiring some inspirational writing insights from her blog.

As a side note, I got straight "A"s in Mrs. Perillo's ENG 1101 and 1102 classes. Woulda gotten a gold star if it weren't for those damn commas.

The Belle of Ballast Point has just finished Lorello's latest Kindle book, Faking It. She said this was an excellent read and that she didn't figure out the end until the end, which is often telegraphed in advance to the reader.

Here is an excerpt from the Amazon Book Description: "Over cheesecake in Brooklyn, she offers him a proposition: he will teach her how to be a better lover, and in return, she will give him writing lessons. He agrees, and together they embark upon an intense partnership that proves to be as instructive as it is arousing."

The Kindle and paperback version of Faking It from Amazon Encore is available now. 

The new and improved paperback version from Mariner Books will be available August 23, 2011.

Oh yeah, as a claim to fame Ms. Lorello says she can recite the alphabet back to front. Big freakin' deal!

Let's see you start in the middle and, alternating this side with that side, work your way out in both directions. Now, that would be impressive; I don't care who you are.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rick Scott: Letter To The Editor

Rick Scott's Office of Piss Poor Propaganda has come up with the brilliant idea of sending an email to Scott's supporters, both of them, suggesting that they send a prepared letter to editors of various publications around the state.

Zephie, a Democratic Underground contributor, submitted this revised version of Scott's letter:

Dear Editor,

When Rick Scott ran for Governor he promised to "create jobs" and "turn our economy around". I voted for Alex Sink because Rick Scott has always been a corrupt, scandal ridden businessman, not a politician. While politicians usually disappoint us and rarely keep their promises, Rick Scott is refreshing for the upper 1% because he’s keeping his word of serving only corporate interests and the wealthy.

At best, his policies are helping to attract businesses to our state that offer no benefits to employees, slave labor wages, part-time only, and which get people to settle into the idea of poverty, hunger, and despair as "normal". At worst, he is damaging the jobs already in the state such as those provided by the citrus industry through research funding cuts and education through the push for privatization of schools. Some of the "special interests" are attacking the Governor for making decisions that effect our economy negatively and showing lack of interest in the needs of the average Floridian while favoring the economic interests of the wealthy.

Rick Scott deserves our unwavering and complete condemnation. How can we expect to recover from these hard times if we continue to elect leaders who tirelessly work against what’s right for our state and its people?


A Floridian

Zephie said to feel free to copy the letter and send it to your local paper. The chances of Scott getting his letter published is probably the same as yours - slim and none. Most letters editors consider this kind of mass mailing to be SPAM, which it is.

The reason to send anyway is to give the newspapers a sense of public distaste  for Scott. I am going to send Zephie's letter to the St. Pete Times. I hope you will take the time to send a copy to your local paper. It is quick and easy - just a simple copy and paste.

We need to keep the pressure up on Scott. In 2014 he needs to be given a ride out of town on a rail. Tar and feathers are optional.

Increase The Size Of Your Instrument

Think you could handle this...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

This works just fine for me:

1. No Tenure / No Pension: A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security: All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12: The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.


Sounds good, but the chance of that passing would be (Check one): 

Slim _____ , None_____, or Surely You Jest_____

Lesbian Male Bloggers

The story about two male bloggers who claimed to be lesbians has been all over the news and the  blogosphere of late. They have either been ridiculed or vilified depending on your news source. More importantly, they have gotten a hell of a lot of free publicity.

The Oracle is jealous! Where is my free publicity?

Do you remember that old joke with the cowboy and the young lady who says, "I love women. I think about them constantly. I want to kiss them, and hold them in my arms. I enjoy making mad passionate love to women. I am a lesbian!"

Later, when asked if he was a real cowboy the response was, "I used to think so, but I just discovered that I am a lesbian."

Well, me too!

Now where the hell is my free publicity?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dream With Me

Jackie Evancho's first full length album has finally been released and I just bought a copy.

This is music that will bring  tears to your eyes for it's shear beauty. This definitely isn't the typical "pop" crap put out by the mainstream music industry that makes you want to scream in agony.

This little girl has the voice of an angel.

If you enjoy beautiful music, you really should buy this album.

One of the selections is a duet with the voices of Evancho and Barbra Streisand coalescing into heavenly harmony.

The Tea Party Youth Re-education Fun Camp

I swore to myself that I was going to leave this one alone, but Jeff Luken's Tea Party Indoctrination camp for the youth of the land who have been brainwashed by the public education system just begs for ridicule and scorn.

One of the fun activities planned for these youngsters is to isolate them in "an austere room" and make them sit quietly for awhile before being paraded out to "the party" area where they will be pelted with red, white, and blue confetti that they will then be forced to clean up. Jesus H. Christ, does that ever sound like fun!

Then to teach these newbies to the Tea Party Youth Corps about socialism another game will be played. This one will involve shooting guns, albeit squirt guns, but guns nonetheless. How the hell did these right-wing loonies come to equate guns with socialism? Never mind, I get it! Socialism is communism and both are evil and all socialists and commies must die.

I can't imagine why, but visions of that indoctrination session brought to mind Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant: "I want to kill. I mean, I wanna, I wanna kill. Kill. I wanna, I wanna see, I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth. Eat dead burnt bodies. I mean kill, Kill, KILL, KILL." And I started jumpin up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL," and he started jumpin up and down with me and we was both jumping up and down yelling, "KILL, KILL."

Wow! The YMCA summer camps of my youth were nothing like that. We went swimming, canoeing, hiking, had marshmallow roasts, camped out, learned archery, and a bunch of other fun stuff. Our counselors never did discuss political ideologies, religion, the Constitution, or that the future president of this country could be a scum sucking Muslim negro from Africa.

It is truly mind boggling to think of what the Tea Party's kids will be like when they grow up after spending a couple of summer sessions with Luken and his Jungmannschaften.

What is truly ironic about Luken's Tea Party Youth Camp is that just a short time ago the Tea Baggers blasted President Obama's Camp For Youth as being the equivalent of a Nazi youth indoctrination camp.

I don't care whose youth camp it is; any camp that crams political ideologies down the throats our young people is wrong. If you want to send your kids to a camp this summer, try the Y.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Damnyankee Carpetbagger

Where I grew up, in the Florida Panhandle, damn and yankee was usually used as a single word. I am using it here to describe that scum sucking, mangy dog that bought the once grand state of Florida. Rare is the day that I don't come across another reason to detest this son of a bitch (my apologies to the females of the dog species).

In his latest act as CEO of Florida Rick (that's rick with a P) Scott vetoed $2 million for citrus disease research. It should be noted that the citrus industry has a huge influence on the Florida economy - 76,000 employees and $9 billion annually. A citrus disease such as canker can have a devastating impact.

What makes Scott's veto that much more odious is his acknowledgement after the veto that he really didn't know shit from Shinola about the citrus industry but that he would get up to speed on it at his first available opportunity.

Get up to speed? After the fact? Scott is making decisions that affect the entire state of Florida without knowing diddly-squat. How the hell did this guy get to be the CEO of anything while being more air-headed than Michele Bachmann?

Never mind, money is the answer.


Food: Sunday's In Ybor City

Editor's Update: After a less than stellar first time dining experience, we never did make it back for a second try. It is too late now - Sunday's has closed.

After reading the many rave reviews of that new eatery in Ybor, Sunday's Fine Dining on 7th Avenue, my salivating taste buds demanded that I take them there for dinner. So me, my taste buds, and the Belle of Ballast (BOB) Point headed over to Sunday's for dinner Tuesday evening.

I had called ahead to make a reservation, but upon arrival we realized that wasn't necessary. At 6:30 this very attractive restaurant was practically deserted. We had our choice of tables and we chose one at the window looking out onto 7th. There is also seating in the loft that overlooks the dining area below.

Soon after being seated we were presented with ice water and menus, and our server described the evening's specials. Sunday's now has a full bar, so we requested a bottle of wine to accompany our dinner. We chose a very tasty and interestingly named Shiraz, the Red Belly Black from Australia. This Shiraz would have been great with our entrées had the bottle not been almost completely drained by the time our main plates arrived.

This is not to suggest that we are fast drinkers, but that the kitchen was excruciatingly slow. There were uncommonly long time gaps between courses. I could understand if this was a busy night, but there were only three tables besides ours that were occupied.

I had intended to order the Belgium Mussels as an appetizer, but when our server listed the specials, the Japanese Mussels sounded intriguing. I should have stayed with the mussels from Belgium. The four green lipped mussels were served on a very tasty bed of wakame (seaweed) salad greens. The over done mussels themselves were buried under a huge wad of toasted panko crumbs. The wasabi aioli was good, but the mussels simply got lost in the crowd.

My dining partner eschewed an appetizer in favor of the bread basket which didn't appear until just before our entrées were served. The infused olive oil that was presented with the bread was excellent.

For her main course, BOB vacillated between the Lemon Oregano Salmon and the Bison Buco. She finally chose the braised bison short ribs over a spaghetti squash Milanaise. Short ribs are one of bison's most economical and under rated cuts. They do require some work to prepare, and usually at least 3 hours of low heat cooking, but not after your customers have placed their order. The ribs were very tender and tasty.

I have been craving duck of late, so the Brick Pressed Duck with anjou pear slaw, hibachi sauce, and vegetable fried rice seemed like a perfect choice for me. The duck was well prepared, with "well" being a key word here. Overcooking this aquatic fowl tends to dry out the meat and rob it some of the flavor. I probably should have specified rare to medium rare on my bird. The hibachi dipping sauce did add a bit of flavor, but would have over powered the richness of a less well cooked bird.

There were several other menu choices that seemed appealing, and we may give them a try sometime in the future. For this visit, though, neither me, my taste buds, nor the Belle of Ballast Point were overly impressed.

Our bill for food, wine, and a 20% gratuity came to a bit over $125.00.

Sunday's Fine Dining on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bachmann: CO2 Gas Bag

On announcing her bid for the presidency during the New Hampshire debates, Michele Bachmann, R-God Has Spoken, stated that one of her priorities is to rid America of the evil that is the Environmental Protection Agency. Why? Because the EPA is a jobs killer, carbon dioxide is a harmless gas that can't possibly have an adverse affect on the planet, and humans have nothing to do with the hoax that is global warming.

In Bachmann's warped little mind, the following video might seem plausible:

After watching this video, go to Keith Balmer's blog, The Dark prince of Satire, for a realistic and mind-blowing take on global warming. Here is a short excerpt from Mr. Balmer's article:

If you have ever uttered the phrase, "Enough with the wacky theories, weather is going to happen." Then you are incapable of critical thinking. 
And if you think this is all a hoax concocted by scientists so they can scare the government into giving them money, you have to stop watching Fox News . . . and read, and I'm not talking about the bible. I say that because this scary weather is not God's punishment for allowing gay people to marry. These floods, tornadoes, and droughts is not God's way of showing everybody who's the boss. But if you do believe that, well then here, have another glass of kool-aid!
I believe in a religion called science. And in the science bible there are only two words:
"We're fucked."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Hampshire Debate: Goobers On Parade

I watched about a half hour of the Goobers On Parade debate from New Hampshire. That was all I could stomach. The debate, if you dare call it a debate, was more of a Obama-slam. The audience questions asked were not answered, and I took nothing away from what I saw other than these Goobers think Obama is the scourge of the Earth. That, and Obamacare is the work of the devil.

Maybe I tuned them out too soon, but it appears the only platform they are running on is the "Make Obama A One Term President" platform. I heard nothing emanating from these gasbags about what they intend to do to make America a better and stronger country, and how they would go about it. I am talking about a concrete, fact based plan with details, not hot air and Republican platitudes.

Health care seemed to be the real hot-button issue, and this country is sorely in need of a decent heath care plan. I've said it before and I'll say it again, America is one of the worst countries in the world in providing heath care to it's people. So, what is the GOP plan for health care? All I heard was "get rid of Obamacare." Then what?

Just to put this health care issue into proper perspective, let's ask ourselves, "Where does the U.S. stand world wide on health care among the richest countries?" We are 37th! 

And, the top 10:

1 France 
2 Italy 
3 San Marino 
4 Andorra 
5 Malta 
6 Singapore 
7 Spain 
8 Oman 
9 Austria 
10 Japan

I know that American arrogance would not allow it to happen, but wouldn't it make sense to look at these countries and fashion a health care plan based on the best ideas from each? An alternative plan would be to adopt the Lambert Health Care Plan. Never heard of it? Click on the link - it's a grand plan. Well, at least it's a plan.

Editor's note: I have added America's Voice to My Favorite Bloggers List. I think that you will find Mr. Lambert to be a very knowledgeable and talented writer.

Tax The Rich!

From Daily KOS and CREDO action:

"We cannot allow the budget to be balanced on the backs of the very people who've taken it on the chin during this economic crisis.

While some Democrats have fallen into this trap of accepting the right wing framing of the debate, progressive champions Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Sen. Bernie Sanders are leading the fight for a real solution to our budget crisis.

As part of that, they have each introduced a bill to impose a surtax on people who make more than one million dollars a year.

But they need our help to start changing the narrative around the budget."

I just signed a petition telling Congress to tax millionaires and billionaires. You can find more information and easily take action by clicking HERE.


Monday, June 13, 2011

God Don't Cotton To No Damn Democrats

Jeff Tone of The Liberal Curmudgeon published an interesting piece yesterday entitled God Flip-flops On Republican Presidential Candidates.

I was intending to comment on his blog and congratulate him on an article well done. Unfortunately, our host was on it's ass again, so I wasn't able to leave a comment such as this:

The hubris displayed by these Republican presidential wanna-bes is just mind boggling. Claiming to know what God wants is unbelievably arrogant and misguided. As Jon Stewart of The Daily Show commented recently, "I don't know how they [Republicans] manage to even dress themselves in the morning."

Personally, I would suggest that with our planet, the rest of the universe and it's probable inhabitants, not to mention the vastness of what is unknown by us, that God is really too busy to concern herself with our politics. To suggest that we on Earth are the center of God's thoughts is the epitome of delusional thinking.

Jeff had a number of other interesting points in his article (click the link above to read it). One of which is that God doesn't seem to be chatting or texting with no damn democrats. That seems to suggest that God is a Republican. Christ, for all my years on Earth I have labored under the false impression that she was nonpartisan.

Silly me!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Birthday Weekend: TradeWinds Island Resort

The Belle of Ballast Point and I enjoyed her birthday weekend at the TradeWinds on St. Pete Beach at the end of May. This was our second visit to the TradeWinds and it was as pleasant and relaxing as the first.

I finally got around to downloading a few pictures that I took that weekend, and protocol dicates that I need to share them with you no matter how disinterested you may be.

(You may click on a picture to enlarge)

Morning view from our room.
The inflatable water slide - deflated at night, inflated in the morning.
The Don Cesar in the distance.

A televised Rays game on the beach.
The next three photos are random shots taken on a stroll through the grounds.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Oracle Email In-Box

My thanks to Professor Sheila for reminding me of all the things my mother taught me.

1.  My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
 "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
 "You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
 "If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me LOGIC.
 "Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
 "If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
 "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My mother taught me IRONY.
 "Keep crying and I'll give you something to cry about."

8.  My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
 "Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.
 "Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
 "You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11.  My mother taught me about WEATHER.
 "This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
 "If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
 "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
 "Stop acting like your father!"

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
 "There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
 "Just wait until we get home."

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
 "You are going to get it when you get home!"

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
 "If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."

19. My mother taught me ESP.
 "Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

20. My mother taught me HUMOR.
 "When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
 "If you don’t eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
 "You're just like your father."

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
 "Shut that door behind you.  Do you think you were born in a barn?"

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.
 "When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

            And My Favorite!!!!

25.  My mother taught me about JUSTICE.
 "One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!" 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bachmann's Doomsday Scenario

From BuzzFeed - 10 craziest Bachmann quotes

I saw a news clip on TV the other day with Mistress Michele, the lathered up Bachmann of the Tea Party, whipping her harem of droolers into a huge froth of lustful delusion. I usually enjoy watching and listening to Michele for the comedic benefits. She can be such a hoot!

On this particular episode Bachmann outlined her doomsday scenario. "With your help in 2012," she ranted to the crowd, "we can rid the country of the ebony of evil that permeates the White House, and replace him with one who is lily white and pure of heart - like a Teabagging Republican. We can rid the senate of democrat socialist scum (an obvious redundancy here)."

She continued, "With the Tea Party pulling the strings of a Republican dominated House and Senate, and me as your High Priestess in the House of White, we will rule this country."

The crowd screamed in delight!

I probably should mention at this point that the above quotations may have been embellished just a tad, but that is what I got from the news clip.

This crowd of people who salivated at Bachmann's every word seemed to think, as does she, that a single party system would be a good thing for America. What do you think? Whether it be Democrat, Republican, or Tea Party, do you think one group running the country without any checks or balances is a good idea?

The once grand State of Florida is providing the country with the opportunity to study up close and personal the concept of a single party system in action. The clueless and the apathetic have cursed the state with a Republican dominated House, a Republican dominated Senate, and a crooked CEO in charge of it all who claims to be a Republican. It should be posited here that many in Florida dispute that claim and consider Scott to be just a self-serving asshole. Another redundancy perhaps?

These people were elected based upon their campaign promises to SERVE THE PEOPLE. A big mistake here in Florida was not asking which people these politicians intended to serve. As it is, the state now has a single party government with no checks and no balances. People in Florida are suffering because of their decisions.


America needs to ask itself, "Would you want something like this running the country?"

Allow me to leave you with this from Wikipedia:

The following list includes the countries that are legally constituted as single-party states as of 2010 and the name of the single party in power:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Castles Made Of Sand

Well, ain't this just peachy! I woke up this morning to a gorgeous Florida day. The sun was shining, the churds were burping in the trees, the bees were existentially beeing, and the flowers were pooping petals, pistils, and peduncles. All appeared right, here in the paradise that is SOG City. Then [big-ass caesura goes right here], I checked on the Oracle to see if I had written anything interesting or mildly amusing lately.

To my great surprise I discovered that the Oracle had acquired a new follower. My spirits soared and I was practically orgasmic with joy - until || [I love these caesura thingies] I discovered the identity of this person. She is Keair Snyder, the published author of Castles Made Of Sand.

A published author! "But, you should be thrilled and honored," I hear the voices of the masses crying out in deafening unison. Yes, and I am, but you can't imagine the pressure that I am now feeling.

Instead of the usual drivel from the Oracle interspersed with rare moments of literary genius, I may now have to put forth some thought and effort into the stuff I publish to at least appear worthy.

Damn! I even dusted off my old copy of The Holt Handbook so that I don't come off sounding like a typical redneck cracker from Northwest Florida, which I are one of.

Life can be cruel.

“Christ, you are cruel.” He mumbled, sitting up and looking at me like I just stole his dog. “Do you at least have coffee?” I shook my head no. “A smoke?” I smiled and threw a cigarette at him. He turned it over in his hand, looking at it like a foreign object. “Would it be too much to ask for a match?” - from chapter eleven of Castles Made Of Sand.

If you don't have a Kindle or are too damn cheap to buy Keair's book, you can read it on-line.

To Keair, welcome to the Oracle.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Senior Health Care Solution

My former law professor shot the following health care solution to me in an email. Even now, three years out of college, I am still learning new stuff from my professor.

Click to enlarge

Monday, June 6, 2011

Joplin And Jones Start Our Week

I was looking for some Tom Jones stuff (never mind why) and I stumbled upon the following  video from a 1969 Jones TV show.

This is a great Joplin performance.

Funny, I never knew Jones had a TV show. Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, the Army, STRICOM, CSE, Turkish hash. We didn't have TVs and refrigerators on our deployments back then. None the less - good times!

Speaking of Tom Jones, here is a You Tube cut from the very best Tom Jones album...EVER!

Happy Monday, y'all!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Introverted Virgo

This list of myths that I found on the blog New Moon Drops just blew me away. I felt that whoever wrote this was writing about me (as well they should):

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.


All my life I have been laboring under the false impression that these traits were due solely to being born under the star sign Virgo, in the house of, what some refer to as, the anal-retentive pain in the ass.

Imagine my surprise in discovering that I am an introvert, too. Who would have thunk it?

An introverted Virgo. Now that is righteous!