Monday, April 30, 2012

2012 White House Correspondent's Dinner

Just in case you weren't invited to attend in person, or you missed it on the teevee:

The one thing this video is missing is the occasional cut-away to Michelle Obama as she gave the President the "I'm not too sure about that one" look. You married guys have seen that look before, I am sure. I know I have. 

We should reelect President Obama to another term if for no other reason than to enjoy his performances at four more Correspondent's dinners.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Well The Ukraine Girls Really Knock Me Out

They leave the West behind - The Beatles, Back In The USSR.

I don't know what they feed their women folk back in the Ukraine, but Ana Popovic must have nursed on the baby blues bottle.

This is your Friday blues blast.

To correct erroneous information: I have no idea where I read that Popovic was from the Ukraine. It matters not I guess, but she was actually born in Belgrade, Serbia (formerly Yugoslavia).

March With A White Man's Dick

Just say no to Republicans this fall, and join up to support women’s rights this Saturday, April the 28, for the nationwide march.

Join Susan Sarandon, The Unite Women Organization and head here to find out more about the nationwide march on April 28 and how to get involved in your area.

Ladies, here is a "must see" video explaining how to prepare for tomorrow's march, and how to survive in the United States of the GOP:

Thanks to PoliticusUSA and Funny or for material and story idea.

There is a short commercial at the start - please, bare or bear with it (your choice). The subject matter, while comedic in presentation, is serious.

Momenem's Gun Shootin' Skool

The Oracle has seen an increase in the number of ads in our local newspapers for people offering Concealed Weapons Permit courses. One we saw this morning suggested that for $75 and a mere three hours of your time they could teach you everything you need to know about firearms so that you could provide a certificate of completion to the Florida Department of Agriculture, Gun Toting Division.

We also found a message board thread that read: "Around here; average cost is $40.00. The "shortest" class I've seen (the wife took it) was 90 minutes."

Unfortunately, we could not discern where "around here" was located. Not to fret, though. Through due diligent research, the Oracle came across another training program that appears to be cost and time effective, and run by highly respected firearms professionals.

Momenem's Gun Shootin' Skool

Git yer CWP larnin' hyar CHEEP! Fry mah hide! $1 per minute. Th' faster yo' kin lock an' load, th' faster yo' will graduate. 

Momenem dun seed other courses offered fo' $75 an' take up 3 hours of valuable time thet c'd be spent trackin' down suspicious punks an' other varmits.

We doesn't waste no time larnin' yo' no law stuff. Them thar Flo'ida laws is jest plum stoopid ennyways.

Jest as soon as yo' pop a cap o' two, yo' kin be on yer way t'gittin' yer corncealed weapons permit wif yer noo compleshun certificut in yer han'.

Jess give us a call at Momenem's Gun Shootin' Skool so's we doesn't shootcha accidental like when yo' step on our skool groun's.

We provide th' targit - yo' provide yer own beer an' bullets. 

25% discount fer brin'in' inough extry beer fer Maw, Paw, an' th' young'ns.

Seed in this hyar pitcher is one of our former stoodents. We'uns say, "Eff'n this hyar patriotic Amurrican can do it, you can do it."

Eff'n yo' kin't read an' write fine, o' at all, we haf staff available t'he'p yo' fill out th' CWP fo'm, dawgone it. At Momenem's, we'uns does it all!

The preceding advertisement was presented as a public service by The SOG City Oracle because we feel it is imperative that Florida has more gun-slinging lunatics wandering about our streets and byways to protect us from the miscreants who would attack the God fearing American patriots amongst us. 

As a final note, you don't even need one of those annoying CWP thingies if you are accompanied by a hunting dog or if you are carrying a tent or fishing pole. In Florida, land of the certifiably insane, you can open carry if you are engaged in a hunting, camping, or fishing activity, and that includes going to or from said activity.

Isn't that just peachy?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Progressive Budget

Here is a budget proposal from Bernie Sanders that I can agree with:

We can achieve deficit reduction in a way that is fair and that doesn’t require decimating the social programs that millions of working families depend on: 
1) The Wealthy and Large Corporations Must Pay Their Fair Share 
—By cracking down on offshore tax shelters, we can reduce the federal deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next decade. 
—By taxing capital gains and dividends the same way that we tax salaried work, we would raise over $730 billion over ten years. 
—By repealing the Bush tax cuts for the rich, we could raise at least $700 billion over the next ten years. 
—By establishing a Wall Street speculation fee of less than one percent, we will encourage investment in a productive economy and reduce the deficit by $350 billion over ten years. 
—By establishing a progressive estate tax on inherited wealth of more than $3.5 million, we could raise more than $70 billion over ten years. 
—By ending tax breaks and subsidies to big oil, gas and coal companies, we could reduce the deficit by more than $40 billion over the next ten years. 

2) Reduce Defense Spending 
—By eliminating outdated Cold War weapons programs, we can save approximately $100 billion a year at the Pentagon. 
—By eliminating waste, fraud and abuse within the military and every federal government agency, we can save between $150 billion and $200 billion over ten years. 
—Four separate investigations by the Government Accountability Office have found that the Pentagon has $36.9 billion in spare parts that it does not need. We must reform the Pentagon’s purchasing practices to be more transparent and cost effective. 
—By bringing the troops home from Afghanistan as soon as possible, we can bring about substantial reductions in defense spending. 

3) Protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid 
—Bernie has introduced legislation that would lift the payroll tax cap on those making over $250,000 annually, which would keep Social Security solvent for another 75 years. 
—By requiring Medicare to negotiate drug prices, we could save more than $15 billion a year. 

4) Create Good-Paying Jobs 
—By eliminating loopholes in our tax code, which reward companies that move U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas, the Joint Tax Committee has estimated that we could raise more than $582 billion in revenue over ten years. 
—By establishing a currency manipulation fee on China and other currency manipulators, the Economic Policy Institute estimates that we can raise $500 billion over ten years and create one million new jobs.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Zimmerman Is Out...

...of a hell of a lot of money!

This should be a real wake up for the gun-toting Stand Your Ground true American patriots who can't wait for their chance to pop a cap on someone - anyone - who doesn't conform to their "standards".

In our fair state of Florida it is so easy get a concealed weapons permit. You just need to have a marginally clear background, have questionable firearms training, the intelligence of a five year old, and little to no understanding of Florida Statute 790.

Sure, the Stand your Ground law was intended to protect the gunslingers from legal consequences stemming from their poor decisions, but it appears that this isn't always a guarantee. Take George Zimmerman and Trevor Dooley as a "for instance". The world is pretty much aware of Zimmerman, but who is this Dooley character?

"Trevor Dooley walked out of his suburban house Sunday afternoon, past his trimmed lawn and nice landscaping, to confront a boy riding a skateboard on the basketball court across the street. That’s against the rules in this neighborhood, and Dooley, 69, was carrying a gun.

David James, 41, with 20 years in the Air Force, was playing basketball with his 8-year-old daughter. They played every Sunday.

James stood up for the skateboarder, neighbors said. The men argued and got into a “physical confrontation,” the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. Then, in front of his daughter, James was shot dead."

Whether Dooley or Zimmerman walk is not the point here. The point is that both of these killers had to hire someone to defend them. Having been a member of the legal profession, I can assure the pistol packers amongst us that legal defense is not cheap. Unless your name is Ted Nugent, you are quite likely to go broke defending your dumb-ass decision to kill another human being.

That scum-sucking liberal, socialist ass-hole you just blasted into the ever after may have deserved to die, but it could very well cost you an arm, leg, and your ass in legal fees and more to prove it.

As Jon H. Gutmacher, Esq., wrote in his book, Florida Firearms - Law, Use and Ownership:

"Even if you go to trial and win, how much has it cost you in money, stress, and sleepless nights? Have you lost your job? Will you lose it? Have you had to mortgage the house...? Has your wife left you after two years of trials and appeals?"

I strongly encourage anyone thinking of buying a firearm, or already possessing a firearm (with or without a concealed weapons permit) to click the link below and buy Gutmacher's book. It could save your ass - in more ways than one. The information in this book might have saved the lives of David James and Trayvon Martin had their killers read the book before going all Ted Nugent on them.

Editor's note: I have a copy of Gutmacher's book and I definitely recommend it, but I don't get any compensation from him - dammit!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Flaarb And The Uppleva

Conan features the new IKEA commercial for the groundbreaking Uppleva. It's not a TV, it's not a piece of furniture - it's both of those things and more. A must have item for the family that must have everything.

NOTE to my bride, the Belle of Ballast Point: Buy me one of those and I have but three words - drown, pool, mangy dog. Technically that's four words, but she will get the point.

Early Retirement For Social Security And Medicare?

The annual report of the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds has been released, and no matter what one believes about how the US should provide a safety net for its retired population, the report provides plenty of food for thought. The nation's Social Security and Medicare programs are sliding closer to insolvency according to this report that underscores the fiscal challenges facing the two mammoth retirement programs as baby boomers begin to retire.

The report concludes with this:

"Projected long-run program costs for both Medicare and Social Security are not sustainable under currently scheduled financing, and will require legislative corrections if disruptive consequences for beneficiaries and taxpayers are to be avoided.

The financial challenges facing Social Security and Medicare should be addressed soon. If action is taken sooner rather than later, more options and more time will be available to phase in changes so that those affected can adequately prepare."

Last year Social Security was going broke. Congress sprang into action and did nothing. This year Social Security is still going broke and Congress is again gearing up to spring into action.

The first order of business is to brush the dust and cobwebs off of previous proposals for a Social Security and Medicare fix like privatization and raising the qualification age from 65 to 67. Would you care to venture a guess which proposal never sees the light of day?

How about, "eliminating or at least raising the income cap"? Consider this from an earlier article in the Oracle:

"The current Social Security income cap is over one hundred thousand dollars. What does that mean to you? If you make less than $106,800 per year you will be paying in to Social Security out of every pay check for the entire year.

That is not a big deal if you make, say $107,000 a year. You would only have an extra $200 in your pocket at the end of the year. What if you made $34,000,000 a year? Alex Rodriguez does, and based on an hourly wage he hits the cap after 6.5 hours of ball playing. Tiger Woods hits the cap after two hours of golf. Paris Hilton, on the other hand, has to do whatever it is she does for just 18 hours to hit the cap. For the rest of the year these three are FICA free. And, the average working stiff?"

Eliminating the income cap would level the playing field by making the system fair to everyone, and it would go a long way toward saving Social Security and Medicare. Of course, that will never happen. Eliminating the income cap would place too much of a financial burden on those who make the most money.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rats! It's Monday.

This is for the Belle of Ballast Point who got up at 0'dark thirty to ensure the telecommunications "cloud" is still intact.

She is my hero.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Levon Helm, May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012

"Levon Helm, legendary drummer for 'The Band,' died on April 19th after a long battle with cancer. WSJ rock and pop critic Jim Fusilli remembers the musician who began his career playing with Bob Dylan and ended it with multiple Grammy wins."

A Government Pass For Nugent

As you no doubt are mind-numbingly aware, the U.S. Secret Service, the agency charged with protecting our president, has given lock 'n' load douche bag Ted Nugent a pass. "The issue has been resolved," agency spokesman Brian Leary said in a statement. "The Secret Service does not anticipate any further action."

No further action? Not even suspending, or better yet revoking, Nugent's firearms license(s)? Like he really needs a fully functional M-60 machine gun!

The first five minutes or so of the following No Reservations video consists of Anthony Bourdain kissing Nugent's ass. Hero? Give me a break! Feel free to fast-forward to about 5:30.

It is just mind-boggling to me that the Secret Service, and quite possibly the Bureau of Alcohol, Tax, Firearms, and Explosives are just going to give Nugent a little pat on the head and a "boys will be boys".

From the Huffington Post: In a statement on his website, Nugent called it a "good, solid, professional meeting concluding that I have never made any threats of violence towards anyone."

"The meeting could not have gone better," he said. "I thanked them for their service, we shook hands and went about our business. God bless the good federal agents wherever they may be."

Nugent said he was just speaking figuratively when he made what some perceived to be threats against Obama and that he didn't threaten anyone's life or advocate violence.

"Metaphors needn't be explained to educated people," he said.

Metaphors may not need to be explained to educated people, but I didn't see a bunch of them while watching Nugent's disgusting rants on the NRA video. What I saw was a gaggle of slobbering morons who wouldn't recognize a metaphor if it hit them between the eyes like a 7.62 millimeter round from Nugent's M-60 machine gun.

Those drooling troglodytes hung on Nugent's every word like it was the Gospel from their Holy Book of Parables. "We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November." That statement sounded more literal than metaphoric to me, and with a college degree with honors under my hat, I consider myself to be one of the "educated people".  

Nugent also said he would be "dead or in jail by this time next year" if Obama is re-elected. On this I am ambivalent. I'd be just fine with either one.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Fox Is Guarding The Florida Hen House

The Prick with Ears in Tallahassee has out done himself this time. Florida's Chief Executive Orifice, Rick Scott announced the members of his Stand Your Ground task force. The task force has been named the "Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection."

Among those tasked to guard the hen house is the douche bag who sponsored the Stand Your Ground law, funeral home owner Rep. Dennis K. Baxley (R-You pop'em, I'll plant'em). Baxley, the "shoot first, ask questions later" Ocala Republican vigorously supports concealed weapons and says the overwhelming majority of permit holders are careful, law-abiding citizens.

"In a free society, people should have the right to arm themselves," said Baxley. "These permit holders don't shoot people."

Oh swell, you might mutter, but hold your ponies, it gets worse. The chair of this circle jerk is none other than Florida's "useless as tits on a bull" lootenent goobernator, Jennifer Carroll. Carroll is the Scott lotion girl who gets paid almost an eighth of a million dollars a year just 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 have included condemning The Da Vinci Code (I presume both book and movie) as anti-Christian propaganda and comparing the media to dictators and socialist rulers.

Said Carroll from between the sheets, “We look forward to hearing from the citizens of our state about their concerns and recommendations for keeping our state safe." Lifting her head from the pillow just a tad, she continued, “Governor Scott has tapped a diverse and qualified group to carefully review our laws and our policies.”

Recommendations for keeping our state safe? What the hell does this fruitcake think the citizens have been stressing about since Zimmerman gunned down Trayvon Martin?

DCCC Fundraising Report

"87% of the contributions were $50 or less and our average grassroots donation was $31. We were also proud to welcome over 90,000 new grassroots donors to our campaign for a Democratic Majority. To cap it off, March 31st was our best online fundraising day ever.

Your support is being put to work right now to hold Republicans accountable for their radical legislation against women, seniors, the middle class and Medicare. Together, we will replace reckless House Republicans with Democrats fighting to move America forward."

Now, for a change of pace:

THE HEAD HOG - Heard the story about a man that called a local church office and asked to speak to the head hog at the farm. She said now wait a minute sir - if you want to speak to the Pastor, you must call him Pastor - he said, Oh, I was just calling to donate $5000 to the church...she said, hold on sir..Porky just walked in the door!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Only In America: Someone Gets Laid And We Have A Scandal

Let's get one thing perfectly clear: Prostitution is LEGAL in Cartagena!

At least 20 women, some of them (OMG! Shield the children from the horror) prostitutes, were brought back to a Cartagena, Colombia, hotel by a traveling team of Secret Service agents and military personnel, members of Congress said they were told by the service's director Tuesday.

"Twenty or 21 women foreign nationals were brought to the hotel," Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, said Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan told her. Eleven of the Americans involved were Secret Service, she reported, and "allegedly Marines (and, maybe even the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Boy Scouts) were involved with the rest."

To which I respond, "Thank god the Marines got in on the action." After what some of our fighting forces have been through thanks to the Bush wars I think they deserve a little...shall we say stress relief.

The only reason we righteous Americans need to be getting our panties in a bunch is if we tax payers foot the bill. I might make an exception for those who fought the good fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Secret Service can pay their own way.

I can assure the holier than thou hand wringers that this is not the first time an advance party on deployment has consumed copious amounts of liquor and some even partook of the local nookie.

The security of the United States remained intact!

I cannot imagine during the act of rumpy pumpy that someone would burst out with, "Oh baby, baby, do me, and the prez will be here tomorrow, oh baby yes, at the..."

Only in America would this be a SCANDAL! Scold those who violated protocol, but beyond that - "Get a life!"

America has wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, on women, on drugs, and a host of other targets. Isn't it about time we end all of the wars? As Jon Stewart said recently, we are becoming the 21st century Sparta.

Shouldn't we start redirecting our priorities?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Breaking News: Baxley Claims Zimmerman Innocent

You remember Baxley, don't you?

Dennis Baxley, is the "shoot first, ask questions later" Ocala Republican who has become infamous as the House sponsor of the 2005 "stand your ground" law. This home-grown Florida douche vigorously supports concealed weapons and says the overwhelming majority of permit holders are careful, law-abiding citizens.

"In a free society, people should have the right to arm themselves," said Baxley. "These permit holders don't shoot people." (Editor's emphasis)

Resorting to some bizarre form of Baxley illogical thinking it would then seem that George Zimmerman, a concealed weapons permit holder, is innocent in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, because...concealed weapons permit holders don't shoot people!

We could ask Trayvon Martin about that, or David James, but they both seem to be sorta dead - both having been shot by...concealed weapons permit holders.

Welcome to Florida, the Stand Your Ground state


Monday, April 16, 2012

A Food Blogger's Summit Meeting

Sweet Polly
Be still my beating heart, for a spectacular convergence occurred this past Saturday at the Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar in Carrollwood. The charming and talented creator of the Epicurean Perils of Sweet Polly and her dashing super hero, Underdog, shared their table with the Belle of Ballast Point and myself where we enjoyed an evening of wine, food, and camaraderie.

Said Virginia Woolf, "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well," and dine well we did at the Carmel.

Our evening began with a greeting at the front door by a very pleasant hostess who led us to our table. Alex, our professional and efficient server for the evening, presented us with iPads. Seriously? Yes, and then he patiently explained what we could do with them - no double entendre intended.

With the iPad the diner could order food and drink by touching the pictures; view the bill; pay the bill, and have the statement emailed to you. No, they will not email the bill to you - I asked.

My bride and I started our evening with a couple of glasses of wine. We chose 'by the glass' so that we could wander about the extensive wine menu. The Carmel serves 3 oz (novice), 6 oz (journeyman), and 9 oz (master imbiber) pours. For her a red, Chateau St. Jean, and for me a white wine, Pionero Maccerato Albarino. The Albarino was so good and paired so well with many of our food choices, that I stayed with it for the duration.

The menu is divided into small and large plates. The four of us decided to share the small plates, with a few large ones tossed in where needed, so that we could graze through as many of the food choices as our tummies could hold.

We started with the charcuterie Shared Platter and Warm Marinated Olives - both excellent choices to begin our shared dining journey. The honey comb was a nice, sweet touch.

From there we moved on to the large plate of Prince Edward Island Mussels with a broth of fennel, paprika, and tomato. In the photo of Sweet Polly it looks as though she was hog-doggin' the mussels, but she did share.

More wine Alex, s'il vous plaît!

Next came the Four Cheese Satchels, ricotta, mozzarella, aged Parmesan, imported Pecorino Romano, organic tomatoes, pomodoro sauce, crispy pancetta, arugula. A cheesy delight!

The Grilled Lamb & Veal Sliders, I believe, tickled the taste buds of all at the table.

UD spearing an escaping gnocchi

After the sliders came another plate with mussels that had received a good review on Urbanspoon by a previous visitor to the Carmel, the Spinach Gnocchi Marseilles - shrimp, scallops, mussels, fennel, roasted peppers, bouillabaisse broth, rouille crouton.

I love a good bouillbaise, and this one was good. The shrimp were a bit overcooked for me, but other than that I agree with the Urbanspoon reviewer.

I also must agree with Sweet Polly's Underdog that the lamb lollipops, while tasty enough, were a bit overcooked leaning more to medium well than rare to medium rare as requested.

Next up was a dish that was one of the big surprises for me that evening, the Calamari Frites.

When I think of fried calamari, I think of the ubiquitous plate of calamari rings served in area restaurants.

This was totally different! Alex had mentioned earlier that these were calamari steaks, not rings, and that the head and testi...I mean, tentacles had been removed before they were battered and deep fried.

Mas vino Alex, por favor.

These calamari steaks were so tender and tasty they practically melted in my mouth, and with the enhancing crunch from the coating they were one of my favorites of the evening.

From the calamari we moved on toward dessert and just possibly another glass of wine.

Even professional little piglets get full eventually, and we four finally did. We split the bill down the middle and our share, with 20% gratuity, came to $196.62.

Obviously, we won't be doing this on a weekly basis, but for a special occasion, the Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar is a great choice. A diner could also come away with a fatter wallet if said diner used a little restraint when ordering.

To that I say to heck with restraint - we are professionals.

A couple of last thoughts: Good food and wine aside, undoubtably the best part of the evening was meeting and dining with one of the most talented food bloggers on Urbanspoon and the Tampa Bay area, Sweet Polly and her Underdog. 

Many moons ago one of the regular contributors to Urbanspoon, Chon Nguyen, suggested we give the Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar a try, and to Chon I say, "Thanks for the suggestion, the Carmel was a great choice."

Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon 

Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar on Foodio54

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Translation Changes A Lot, Too

Don't you just love that "Color Changes Everything" Target commercial? I know I do:

I remember that song from my childhood, but I had forgotten many of the words. And, I never knew what they meant. Thankfully, there is Google. Now I can sing along with the commercial, but I can't help but wonder if the Target ad agency has a clue as to what the song is about?

It is definitely not about shopping for stuff at Target, unless you go to Target to get plucked.

It's about plucking the feathers from a bird, one body part at a time starting with the head, to get it ready for the dinner table (English lyrics in bold):

Alouette, gentille Alouette
Lark, nice lark
Alouette, je te plumerai
Lark, I shall pluck you
Je te plumerai la tête
I shall pluck your head
(Je te plumerai la tête)
(I shall pluck your head)
Et la tête
And your head
(Et la tête)
(And your head)
Alouette, gentille Alouette
Alouette, je te plumerai
Je te plumerai le bec
I shall pluck your beak
(Je te plumerai le bec)
Et le bec
(Et le bec)
Et la tête
(Et la tête)

And the song continues until the bird has been completely and thoroughly...plucked!

Happy shopping, y'all.

Editor's note: This article is not meant as any kind of attack on Target. We do a lot of our plucking shopping there.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Guaranteed Weight Loss In 20 Minutes

As a special end of the week treat for readers of the Oracle I present a rockin' weight loss program that almost 100% guarantees that you will drop a pound or two - or at least an ounce - well, maybe a gram. This, of course, is not to suggest that you folks are chubby, or anything. Perish the thought!

All you have to do is crank up your speakers to maximum level and start the video you see below. Then jam with Alvin Lee and Ten Years After for the full twenty minutes and if you don't come away thinner, then you really didn't boogie like a wild person.

This is one of the greatest and most under appreciated rhythm and blues bands of all time. From the opening scat, to the de-tuned guitar riffs, to the mike stand as a slide, Lee and Ten years After give me goosebumples of excitement, and I Can't Keep From Crying with joy.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Shrimp Warehouse For Great Food

I read a recent review of a new seafood restaurant that opened in Brandon, a community on the far side of the universe from the paradise that is SOG City. I didn't get the impression that the reviewer had actually been to The Shrimp Warehouse, so I pulled up the restaurant web site to see what I could see for myself.

Dining under the Grace Lorraine
Let me just say it takes a whole lot more than the typical Tampa fried or broiled-in-oil seafood to get the Oracle's taste buds in full 'all a-twitter mode', but the on-line Shrimp Warehouse menu did just that. Several of the choices reminded me of some delicacies from the sea that the Belle of Ballast Point and I have enjoyed in N'awlins like the Bayou Boil and the Louisiana BBQ Shrimp.

As soon as my bride got home from work yesterday we piled into Gus (the family pick'em up truck) and headed off to the nether regions of Hillsborough County. The Shrimp Warehouse is located on Lumsden Road in a shopping plaza. This plaza is on the right-hand side of the road coming from the crosstown direction. I mention this because there is another shopping plaza on the left side that also has a shrimp restaurant. We first went to that one by mistake. You don't want to make that same mistake. Trust me on this! There is no comparison between the two.

We were greeted almost immediately at the Warehouse door by a charming young lady named Karen who guided us to our table, presented us with menus, and took our beverage orders. Karen, who also doubles as a manager, stayed as our server during our entire visit and definitely enhanced the evening. And, she wasn't alone. The other servers were also attentive - removing empty plates and glasses even though we weren't their table. The team work was impressive.

Now, let's get back to the food. Mofongo! When was the last time you saw that puertorriqueño dish on a local menu? I was tempted, but we've got a trip to Puerto Rico coming up later this year so I decide to delay my first mofongo tasting until then. But, oysters on the half shell? Bring'em on!

The Shrimp Warehouse oysters were sensational on several levels - perfectly shucked and presented, salty and delicious. There was a tasty dipping sauce that I gave a try, but I rarely do anything to oysters if they are good, and these were very good. While I was slurping my oysters my bride enjoyed an order of fried green tomatoes with a savory, but piquant dipping sauce. I had a taste and we both agreed this was a great starter, though a bit spicy for the more timid tongue.

For our entrees we chose the Catfish Basket (8 oz of fresh, crispy fried catfish) for her and the Bayou Boil with plenty of Louisiana crawfish, shrimp, potatoes, corn and andouille sausage for me. The catfish was superb and the Bayou Boil was sensational. I had juices and sauce dribbling from my fingers and spread ear to ear across my face. This delicious dish required some serious involvement and I gave it my all.

The Shrimp Warehouse is one of those rare restaurants that make me long for an extra stomach - so much great food and not enough room to stuff it all in. This place demands a return visit.

Dinner for two with our fair share of adult beverages and well deserved 20% gratuity came to about $90.

Photography by Lydia.

The Shrimp Warehouse on Urbanspoon

Editor's note: The Oracle dines anonymously and we pay full price for our meals.

A Voice Of Reason

Never-before-seen footage of Elizabeth Warren from "The Road We've Traveled". A film narrated by Tom Hanks and directed by Academy Award®-winning director Davis Guggenheim.

The full film gives an inside look at some of the tough calls President Obama made to get our country back on track. Featuring interviews from President Bill Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Elizabeth Warren, David Axelrod, Austan Goolsbee, and more. It's a film everyone should see. Watch the full film now:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Santorum Surges No More

By now everyone is aware that the Santorum surge has come to a screeching halt. As a side note, the Oracle sends our sincere condolences to Jon Stewart and the writers of The Daily Show. The source of some of their richest material has been wiped away like a frothy mixture of lube and...never mind.

When I told my still-working bride the news yesterday, one of the first things she said was, "I bet he dropped out so that he 'could spend more time with his family'." I told her that this wasn't mentioned in the news report that I read.

But...later that evening on the TV news Santorum cited the ongoing illness of Bella, his three-year-old daughter, as a reason for bowing out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. "She is a fighter and she is doing exceptionally well and she is back with us and our family," he said.

Thankfully, Bella is getting the best medical care money can buy because of Santorum’s lavish Senate retirement benefits and personal wealth, something I should mention that he would deny ordinary Americans who cannot afford decent care.

Is this then the true rational for dropping out of the campaign? Or could it have something to do with getting his holier-than-thou ass whipped?

And where was God in all of this? I thought that God had personally endorsed Santorum for president? I might be mistook - maybe it was Perry, or Cain, or Bachman. I get so confused. God can be such a flip-flopper.

Bottom line here: The Belle of Ballast Point was spot on with her analysis of the Santorum bailout. Cite "family" to save face. How trite!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Within The Sound Of Silencers

It should come as no surprise that more people are buying guns and getting permission to carry them, with nearly 1 million Floridians now authorized to have a concealed weapon, state records show. Additionally, the interest in firearms silencers is also growing, as this item appears to be the new "must have" accessory for the well equipped American Patriot.

Local arms dealers and shooting range operators say they are busier, and they attribute it to the uncertainty of a presidential election year. I am afraid to speculate whether this is due to people's fear that, if elected, Obama will "take away" everyone's guns, or whether it means "shoot the candidate you hate the most".

According to an ABC News report, "The new permit numbers come one month after national attention turned to gun laws and ownership in Florida surrounding the shooting death of an unarmed teen in Sanford. George Zimmerman, a concealed carry permit holder and neighborhood watch volunteer, has claimed self defense under a controversial "Stand Your Ground" law since he killed Trayvon Martin in February."

That article brings to mind that this whole "silly" Martin-Zimmerman kerfuffle could have been avoided if Zimmerman had the foresight to have equiped his Kel-Tec PF-9 9mm with a silencer. With a properly equipped pistol, Zimmerman could have "offed" the kid and when interviewed, neighbors would have said, "Gun shot? I didn't hear no gunshot," and Martin's death could be swept under the proverbial carpet.

Why do I bring up the subject of "silencers"? Well, unless you live with your head buried in an orifice somewhere, silencers have been in the news quite a bit lately:

The Lone Star Outdoor News had this recent article:

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopted rules permitting the use of firearm silencers for the taking of alligators, game animals or game birds.

“These devices are already legal for hunting exotic animals, including feral hogs, and there is no resource- or enforcement-related reason to prohibit these devices for hunting alligators, game animals or game birds,” said Scott Vaca, TPWD Assistant Chief of Wildlife Enforcement.

The regulation change does not relieve any person of the obligation to comply with applicable federal, state, or local law governing the possession or use of firearm silencers. Firearms silencers are regulated under the National Firearms Act. They are legal for individuals to possess and use for lawful purposes in 39 states, including Texas. However, a prospective user must go through an application process administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which requires a Federal tax payment of $200 and a thorough criminal background check.

While silencers (suppressors) do not eliminate the sound of a firearm, they do reduce the muzzle report in a manner similar to the way that a muffler reduces exhaust noise from a vehicle.

According to the National Rifle Association, noise complaints are occurring more frequently against shooting ranges, informal shooting areas and hunting lands throughout the country. Increased use of suppressors may help to eliminate many of these complaints.

From the Atlanta Journal and Constitution website:

Georgia hunters would be allowed to use gun silencers [...].

Sen. John Bulloch, R-Ochlocknee, said he sponsored the silencer-related Senate Bill 301 to help landowners deal with an overpopulation of feral hogs. The silencers, he said, would help them get off more than one shot. Bulloch also said it may help reduce the number of calls to law enforcement by residents who report hearing gunshots from hunters.

Silencers are legal in Georgia, but the law currently prohibits their use for hunting. The application process to obtain a silencer is regulated by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

SB 301 passed on a 48-5 vote. It now moves to the House for consideration. The National Rifle Association supports the bill.

Here are a few rather amusing factoids:
  • Silencers are more accurately "sound suppressors"
  • The NRA supports the use of silencers (no surprise there)
  • Silencers are legal in Florida (again, no surprise)
  • Silencers eliminate the need for ear plugs on the firing range (as long as everyone has one)
  • With a silencer you can ignore Tampa's stupid law about discharging a weapon in the city
  • Your backyard can be your own private shooting range
Take a look at this video and you will see what I mean:

You might be asking, "So, what's your point?" Really, there is no point. I'll leave it to you to decide if massive fire power and sound suppression is needed by the individual here in 21st century America.

Although, you could ask yourself which is better, a couple of bucks for a set of earplugs or many hundreds of dollars for a silencer and permit? With an auto-loading "hunting" rifle with a twenty round clip, do you really need a silencer to ensure the kill of many animals at one outing? I mean, really, how much of an advantage do you need to kill a dumb animal?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Evidence In The Martin - Zimmerman Case

Through diligent and exhausting investigation the Oracle has come into possession of some damning evidence that has been used against Trayvon Martin.

According to many news sources, including the Tampa Bay Times, a search of Martin's school locker revealed that Trayvon had been in possession of an "empty bag of marijuana" and a burglary tool.

The Oracle, being in possession of an inquiring mind, was somewhat bumfuzzled over the concept of an empty bag of anything, so I went searching for an empty bag of marijuana and in the process I stumbled upon an exact match for the burglary tool found in Martin's locker.

Photographic evidence appears below:

An empty bag of marijuana
A burglary tool in action
I swear, it never occurred to me: A screwdriver, described by the security officer as a “burglary tool.”

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pond In The Rain

We attended a friend's wedding last weekend in a lovely outdoor setting. It rained, really rained, but after awhile the rains slowed down and the wedding progressed.

After the service the wedding photographer had the wedding party pose for pictures near a forested area with a lily pad pond in the background.

As the rain started anew, I took a picture. After returning home and downloading the photo I realized this scene in color lacked the impact of a black and white.

Sometimes, I think, razzle-dazzle cannot compete with monochrome.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Springtime Gardening Tip

An old gentleman lived alone in New Jersey . He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent, I am feeling pretty sad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days. Love, Papa

A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Papa, Don't dig up that garden. That's where the bodies are buried.
Love, Vinnie

At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Papa, Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.

I wish I had thought of that. I dug up the garden the old way.

A Bunny Tune For Easter

We're taking the weekend off, but remember what the doorknob said...feed your head.

Happy Bunnyday, y'all!

Assuming you are in the mood for another oldie but goodie, here is a teen band that kicks ass with a lead singer with balls - as opposed to the castrati that seem so popular in today's American Idol music world. The Butterfly still gives me goosebumps coming out of that organ bridge.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Florida Elmer Fudd

I am aware of the fact that the Oracle has been relying a great deal of late on The Daily Show for content, and I have made a vow to myself to try being a bit more original. This segment with Larry Wilmore was just too good to pass up, especially since it addresses an issue that is on the mind of many Floridians.

Update: Florida Stand Your Ground

From the website

According to state crime stats, Florida averaged 12 “justifiable homicide” deaths a year from 2000-2004. After “Stand your Ground” was passed in 2005, the number of “justifiable” deaths has almost tripled to an average of 35 a year, an increase of 283% from 2005-2010.

As some state lawmakers are calling for a re-thinking of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which allows people to defend themselves from danger without the need to first try to get away, an analysis of state data shows deaths due to self defense are up over 200 percent since the law took effect.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida experienced an average of 34 “justifiable homicides” before 2005; two years after the Stand Your Ground law was enacted, the number jumped to more than 100. Similarly disturbing spikes have been found in other states with similar laws. According to an analysis of FBI data done by the office of New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I), who co-chairs the 650-strong Mayors Against Illegal Guns, states that passed Stand Your Ground laws experienced a 53.5 percent increase in “justifiable homicides” in the three years following enactment; states without such laws saw a 4.2 percent increase.

The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys opposed Stand Your Ground laws, arguing that they were unnecessary and likely a danger to public safety. In a 2007 report, they foreshadowed the Trayvon Martin tragedy. “Although the spirit of the law may be to allow the public to feel safer, the expansions may instead create a sense of fear from others, particularly strangers,” the report said, concluding that enactment would have a “disproportionately negative effect on minorities, persons from lower socio-economic status, and young adults/juveniles” who are often unjustly stereotyped as suspects.

As a side note, let me mention that Marco Rubio (R - El Pendejo) is a ardent supporter of this law and sees no reason to rush into discussions on revamping or repealing this law. “I voted for the law because the law had sound rationale, and I think it still does,” said Rubio. 

Rubio says he doesn’t know anything about the facts of the Trayvon Martin case other than what he’s gleaned from media reports, adding that it’s premature to debate whether the seven-year-old law needs to be overhauled in light of the tragedy. 

This comes from one of the shining stars of the Republican party who doesn't care enough about the people he is supposed to represent to do a little independent "gleaning" of his own. Sucking up to the unzipped Romney is too time consuming, I am guessing.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

SCOTUS: ObamaCare And Strip Searches

I am sure that this says something about the news reporting by the so called "mainstream media", but in my opinion some of the best in-depth reporting comes from Jon Stewart and The Daily Show.

On a recent episode The Daily Show featured an exclusive, unedited interview with SCOTUSblog founder Tom Goldstein discussing the Supreme Court's Affordable Care Act hearings and the details of his strip search case.

The interview is in two parts: one appeared on television, and the second on the Internet. The Oracle will show both segments.

Part I:

During the interview Stewart referenced the Marbury v. Madison case, a decision that has been tossed about quite frequently of late. The Supreme Court has the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional and therefore void. Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 1 Cranch 137, 2 L. Ed. 60 (1803).

Part II:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Is Arizona Out-Dumbing Florida?

Watch and listen, then decide for yourself:

We need a Michael Hicks here in we need a Rick Scott in Tallahassee, or a predominately Republican state legislature.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Oh, My God! Please, NO...A Thousand Times NO!

During an interview with Baltimore radio station WBAL, during which the host asked her, “And one of the things, Ann Romney, that folks talk about with your husband, Mitt Romney, and I’ve seen him in casual conversation - he comes off very smooth and okay. But sometimes he comes off stiff. Do you have to fight back some criticism, like ‘My husband isn’t stiff, OK?’”

Ann threatened us with this, “Well, you know, I guess we better unzip him and let the real Mitt Romney out because he is not [stiff]!”

Stiff or not, this is not a vision I want burned into my brain. For all that is Holy, please keep the Romney zipped up. I do not want to see Mitt's Romney.

Happy Birthday Emmylou

One of this country's greatest singers and songwriters celebrates her 65th birthday today - Emmylou Harris.

I wanted to feature some of her work today on the Oracle. Emmylou has shared so many stages in her life that the task became pretty much impossible. I love everything that she has done from the early days with Gram Parsons all the way to Wrecking Ball produced by Daniel Lanois, to Red Dirt Girl, to her collaboration with Mark Knopfler on All the Roadrunning, and the 2011 Hard Bargain.

First, a taste of Hard Bargain with an interview, followed by an earlier live performance with Emmylou backed up by her band Spyboy.

If ObamaCare Is Ruled Unconstitutional

What Would Jesus Say?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

SOG City Garden Surprise

I bought an African Iris a year or so ago from Home Depot. I stuck it in the ground, and it pretty much sat there ever since. It never seemed to do much of anything until last Thursday. I am not sure there is anything significant about Thursday March 29, 2012, but there it was:

I don't have my sales receipt, so I am not sure what this thing is, but I think it may be a Moraea iridioides (Fortnight Lily, African Iris) that blooms year round in the mild coastal southern California climate. Each flower lasts only one day, but is quickly followed by many others. The flowers bloom on about a two week cycle (hence the name fortnight lily). Moraea are very drought tolerant and make a good container plant.

Well, hot damn, that gives me something to look forward to in a couple of weeks. I've got the blooming date punched in to my calendar.