Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Bitch-slap For Flip-flopper Romney

In 2007, during his previous run for president, Romney told the Boston Globe that he did not recall "[...] thinking about political positions when I was knocking at the door in France. I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there and in some ways it was frustrating," he said.

But as a Massachusetts Senate candidate in 1994, Romney struck a different tone. "I was not planning on signing up for the military," he told the Boston Herald. "It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft."

Oh, really?

Romney avoided military service at the height of the fighting after high school by seeking and receiving four draft deferments, according to Selective Service records. They included college deferments and a 31-month stretch as a "minister of religion" in France, a classification for Mormon missionaries that the church at the time feared was being overused. The country was cutting troop levels by the time he became eligible for the draft, and his lottery number was not called.

Romney spent a significant portion of his mission in a Paris mansion described by fellow American missionaries to The Daily Telegraph as a “palace”. It featured stained glass windows, chandeliers, and an extensive art collection. It was staffed by two servants – a Spanish chef and a houseboy.

President Barack Obama, Romney's opponent in this year's campaign, did not serve in the military either - he was only a child during the Vietnam conflict, and not eligible for the draft.

I saw a piece of the following video the other day on Hardball. This is a spectacular Romney bitch-slap, and well deserved:

In the interest of complete disclosure I should mention, I suppose, that I avoided the draft in 1968 ... by enlisting in the United States Army. ~ Spec. 5 Rector RA 12XXXXXX, 1968 - 1971.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Todd Akin Says McCaskill Not Ladylike

Akin, one of the Republicans with a shrinking penis, speaks out.

From Daily Kos:
More than a month after his comments about “legitimate rape” nearly derailed his campaign for U.S. Senate, Republican Todd Akin said Thursday that it has become clear to him that he will triumph over Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill this fall.
Part of his confidence, he said, comes from McCaskill's demeanor during their debate last week, which he said was not as "ladylike" as it was when she faced off with Republican Jim Talent in 2006.
“I think we have a very clear path to victory, and apparently Claire McCaskill thinks we do, too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent,” Akin said. “She had a confidence and was much more ladylike (in 2006), but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that’s because she feels threatened.”
If there's one person who probably should stop talking about proper lady behavior, it's Todd Akin, the guy who thinks women have magic lady parts that detect and deflect "legitimate" rape sperm in order to "shut that whole thing down." Instead, Akin's decided he's not content to merely play doctor; he wants to be Miss Manners now too and dole out etiquette advice to his opponent. And it is just so uncouth and unladylike for his opponent to point out his magic lady parts theory.

But that's the Republican Party: bitter men insisting that women who challenge them are "not a lady" and are even shrinking their penises and neutering them. Hell, they can't even tolerate hearing the word "vagina", a word so "offensive," they think it can't be said in front of women. They just cannot stand being called on their bullshit, and they'll go so far as to exclude women from their hearings on women's health care in order to make sure they don't have to hear something "unladylike."

Florida: Vote NO On All 11 Amendments

In yesterday's post I tried to break down all 11 amendments to the Florida Constitution that appear on the ballot into plain English eliminating as much legalese as possible. It took several hours of reading, re-reading, and research to accomplish this feat.

Imagine the confusion at the polling place when voters get a look at this ballot disaster for the first time?

Now, the rest of the story (thank you Paul Harvey).

What I did not say yesterday was this: When I first read through my downloaded copy of a sample ballot, my first inclination was to vote YES on several amendments based upon their titles. I mean, who would be against a property tax limitation, a disabled veterans property tax discount, an exemption for surviving spouses or first responders?

The amendment seeming to support religious freedom was always a NO; although on the surface, for the uninformed this might sound like a good idea. It is a real bad idea unless you want your tax dollars going to any and all religious organizations. This would be on top of their existing tax exemptions. This amendment has nothing to do with religious freedom!

The ambiguous wording of all eleven amendments is a blatant attempt by the Republican dominated Florida legislature to cram their agenda items down the throats of unsuspecting, ill informed voters. And, based upon past voting trends in Florida, it probably will work.

In today's Tampa Bay Times, Deidre MacNab, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, had this to say: [These amendments] "attack our balance of power, separation of church and state and propose huge tax loopholes for out-of-state second-homeowners."

MacNab went on to say, "By all means examine the language, but at the end of the day, shouldn't tax exemptions for deserving people like disabled veterans be contained in regular statutory law and not in our governing document, the Florida Constitution?" The same argument can be made for the surviving spouses amendment.

The bottom line is this - if you take these eleven amendments at face value you will probably be voting against your own best interests. But, isn't that what the legislature intended to begin with?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Gracious Goodness America Leave Us Arise From Our Slumbers

SaintPetersBlog just posted this terrific video featuring an Academy Award performance by Samuel L. Jackson. On the outside chance that you haven't visited SaintPetersBlog lately (and why haven't you?), I am re-posting the video on the Oracle - it's that good.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

End Union Referee Lockout

Editor's update 9/27/2012: Facing a backlash over replacement referees, the league agrees to bring back the real ones. The lockout ends.

Please join with Daily Kos and their partners at Workers' Voice in petitioning the National Football League to immediately end its lockout of professional, union referees. Click here to sign.

Workers across the country are under attack, and referees in the National Football League are no different. The NFL made over $8 billion in revenue last year, but it has locked out its professional union referees in an attempt to reduce their wages and benefits. In the meantime, they have replaced the professionals with scabs, some of whom were previously fired by the Lingerie Football League for incompetence.

After a series of historically bad calls by the scab referees, now fans, players, sportscasters, President Obama, and even Republicans are calling on NFL management to end its lockout and return the union referees to the football field.

With this continued lockout, NFL management is showing that it cares more about stripping workers of their benefits than it does about the safety of the players and the integrity of the game. It's simple greed.

Please click here to sign the petition from Daily Kos and our partners at Workers' Voice calling on the National Football League to immediately end its lockout of professional, union referees.

Another Grand Romney Moment

Romney to teacher "I didn't ask you a question"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Today Is National Voter Registration Day

The country desperately needs to defeat Romney and send he and his Teabilly supporters packing.

To do that, we must vote!

Are you registered? Are your friends, neighbors, and family members registered to vote? If you answered "NO" to any of these questions you need to visit the Voter Registration Center and tell others to do the same.

No matter what state of the country you live in, at the Voter Registration Center you can verify your voter status, register or re-register if you need to (and you do need to), locate your voting location, and inquire about early voting.

This is a non-partisan web site that cares not whether you be a Democrat, Independent, or Republican.

In 2008, six million Americans didn't vote because they didn't know how to register or missed the deadline. Don't let that happen to your friends! Make sure to forward this information to them today. 

Did you know: There's a pretty good chance someone you know isn't registered. Did they get married and change their name? Divorced? Move? If so, they'll probably need to register again--in fact 39% of unmarried women are not registered to vote. And over a third of all women, married or not, aren't registered to vote.

And this is especially true for women under 35 who are incredibly mobile and known to change addresses every few years. Overall more than 45% of the population moves every 5 years.

We need these votes - women need these votes to stop the Republican assault on women's rights. All of us need to vote to stop the Republican regressive ideologies in their tracks.

A Cud Chew Of Current Events

Today a melange of Oracle ruminations:

 Last week Senate Republicans decided to give the middle finger to veterans by using a procedural vote to kill the Veterans Jobs Corp Act, 58-40.

The unemployment rate for Iraq, Afghanistan and Gulf War II-era Veterans is now nearly 11 percent, but Republicans blocked this bill because they don't want anything that could remotely help anyone to happen under President Obama's watch. 

That, and they don't really care about veterans, much like Mitt Romney, who explained that he didn't mention the men and women fighting in Afghanistan during his speech at the Republican National Convention because "when you give a speech you don't go through a laundry list, you talk about the things you think are important."

Obviously, the thousands of American men and women coming back from this country's wars dead or with missing limbs are not important to Romney, but he and many in the Republican party are the very people who seem to have no qualms about committing this country to another war or two.

Presidential wanna-be Romney said that the 47% of Americans who will vote for President Obama are "dependent" on government, think of themselves as "victims," and will never "take personal responsibility for their lives." Want to know what an awesome great-grandma named DeEtte thinks of Romney's comment?

Spotted on a bumper sticker on a vehicle in South Florida: 2012 Don’t Re-Nig

It should come as no small surprise that Florida is mentioned here, and it definitely should come as no surprise that racism is the crux of the hate and resentment many in this country feel for President Obama. 

The seething anger directed toward Obama has nothing to do with how well he is performing as president. What tightens the sphincters of the Teabilly assholes is the fact that there is a nigger in the lily-White House. There would be a whole hell of a lot less teeth gnashing if the president was simply a white democrat.

And yes, I used the word "nigger." That's the term used behind closed doors and in back rooms because the right-wing conservative douche bags are too chicken shit to openly express such things. So instead, the word gets hidden in oblique language, false controversies and putative “jokes.”

These are the very same people who pound their chest and trumpet "American exceptionalism." To these neoconservatives American exceptionalism is like the biblical "shining city on a hill." The simmering cauldron of racism in this country does not unbosom American exceptionalism to the world, and it certainly belies the assertion that this is a Christian nation.

In closing:

It’s been said that “democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.”

Saturday, September 22, 2012

We Update Our Friend, The Iguana

Those who have read my previous review of the original Green Iguana on South Westshore know that in Belize the iguana is referred to as the bamboo chicken, a dietary staple.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how gastronomically adventurous you are, the Green Iguana does not serve iguana but they do have a very tasty selection of menu items that just beg for your attention.

We have tasted and enjoyed the Sugar Cane Shrimp Margarita, the Freakin' Patty Melt (seriously, that is how it is listed), and the Ba Da Bing Burger. All three of these items are fantastic, but that Ba Da Bing Burger was scrumptious. It was tender, juicy, flavorful, and cooked the way I like it. The au jus kept flowing down my arms trying to dribble off my elbows. Plenty of napkins are required.

After our hike this morning for physical fitness it just seemed logical to assuage our ravenous hunger at the Iguana. There is nothing like an ice cold brew and a burger to undo all of the good things accomplished through strenuous exercise.

Since we have practically committed the menu to memory it came as a bit of a surprise to finally notice The Greek burger - a seasoned beef patty cooked to order (medium rare for me) with sun-dried tomato mayo, Feta cheese, olives, tomatoes, onions, marinated cucumber and Tzatziki on crisp ciabatta.

Oh my gawd, was that ever an orgasmically delicious burger. I still quiver at the memory.

I had a choice of potato skin wedgie fries or regular fries. I chose the regular - extra crispy, please.

In the interest of low-cal healthy eating, my bride, the Belle of Ballast Point chose a salad for her noon time repast.

She chose a beauty from the Signature Salads menu - The Harvest, baby field greens with candied walnuts, crisp apple, sun-dried cranberries and Blue cheese. Served with a light raspberry vinaigrette.

If you haven't been to the Iguana in awhile I highly recommend a visit to try out their tasty menu.

I don't mean the menu is tasty. It's plastic, for gosh sake. But the menu choices are really spectacular. The Iguana ratchets bar food up a notch or three.

Service has always been excellent. Of course, it doesn't hurt that we have gotten to know several of the servers as friends over the years.

And, no, to my knowledge no one at the Iguana knows that I write reviews and blog about food. The subject has never come up. We just go for the food and neighborhood friendly atmosphere.

Green Iguana - South West Shore on Urbanspoon

The Oracle remains unbiased and untainted by compensation whether it be free food or money. We review unannounced and we pay full price for all that we consume and write about.

In The Mood For Italian Food

With thoughts of Italian delights dancing in her head, the Belle of Ballast Point and I headed out on our Friday date night in South Tampa. We wound up at the Caffe Paradiso at 4205 S. MacDill Avenue.

As good fortune would have it, we wandered in to this cozy restaurant around six-ish which was about thirty minutes ahead of the crowd that followed us. Having the place pretty much to ourselves rewarded us with the undivided attention of Julio, our terrific server of the evening.

We began with a bottle of Chianti, a rather tasty Terrabianca Croce with a bouquet of Morello cherry, plum, hints of vanilla and liquorice.

While sipping this wine we looked over a somewhat uninspired appetizer selection until Julio mentioned the specials of the day. Our taste buds perked up with the mention of a beef carpaccio and a smoked salmon carpaccio.

Since we couldn't make up our minds as to which one to choose, we made the obvious choice and requested both.

The beef carpaccio rested under a blanket of baby arugula with shaved cheese and capers.

This was a flavorful  dish though I found the beef to be a bit chewy. We both agreed that this carpaccio was good, just not the best we have ever had.

Our second choice proved to be way more satisfying with paper thin slices of salmon and crispy toasts.

Moving on to our entrées - the Pasticcio Di Lasagna for my bride and the Ossobuco Alla Milanese for the love of her life.

The lasagna, with velvety layers of meat, cheese and pasta, was described by my bride as very good and definitely filling.

Ossobuco is Italian for "bone with a hole" (osso bone, buco hole), a reference to the marrow hole at the center of the cross-cut veal shank.

My ossobuco was presented with a cocktail fork, thoughtfully provided to assist in the removal of the super delicious marrow. I had never experienced that touch before - a very pleasant surprise.

The veal shank was so tender that the meat actually fell from the bone and the tomato based sauce was spectacular - rich and flavorful.

This dish was presented with a big wad of risotto which to me seemed a bit gummy. 

Truth be told, I have never been a fan of risotto and don't normally order it so I don't consider myself to be an authority; but it is my understanding that the grains of rice should be creamy, with a slightly resistant core and should not stick together.

We piglets were way to stuffed to consider dessert, but Julio brought us a couple of sweet chocolate covered morsels which we did manage to consume with a degree of gusto.

We then paid our bill ($147 including gratuity) and waddled out to our waiting chariot.

To sum up our experience: the service provide by Julio was perfect, the food - not so much.

Caffe Paradiso on Urbanspoon

The Oracle remains unbiased and untainted by compensation whether it be free food or money. We review unannounced and we pay full price for all that we consume and write about. You are getting an honest opinion!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Something Glorious For A Friday

Beautiful and powerful music with heartwarming video - this is the Sarah Mac Band:

I am truly out of sorts with myself for only just now becoming aware of this fantastic band out of Tallahassee, Florida. My only excuse is I don't get up to Tally very often - well, hardly ever as there are too many crooks and liars strutting around the dysfunctional home of the Republican dominated legislature to suit my sensitive nature.

Claire, Charlie and Sarah Mac joined together in early 2005 aspiring to create original music that blended these unique styles that each brought to the group. From this emerged the Sarah Mac Band; an engaging combination of blues, jazz, and acoustic rock that has been classified as both Americana and Alternative. The band simply describes the sound as ‘jazzy, bluesy, rock with a healthy dose of soul’.

They will entertain at the Palladium Theater at St. Pete College in October.

Bob Night: All Bob Dylan, All Night Long

Friday, October 12, 8 p.m.
Buy tickets online » $12, $15 day of show
Organized by left-neck poet and songwriter Grant Peeples, "Bob Night" will feature all Bob Dylan songs, all night long, from five different acts with varying backgrounds and genre influences. Along with Grant Peeples and the Peeples Republik, the show features Sarah Mac Band, Free Hugs with Aaron O'Rourk, the world's best dulcimer player, Radio Free Carmela and the Transmitters, and Walking Giants.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chew 'til You Spew

I know that yesterday I posted that I was going to take a few days off and give the Oracle a rest, but last night on the teevee news there was an interesting juxtaposition of stories that spoke volumes about our culture here in the land of plenty. Well, alright if you prefer, the land of gluttony.

One of the stories celebrated National Cheeseburger Day by featuring a cheeseburger slider eating contest sponsored by the burger chain BGR. In the following video you may watch contestants cramming their faces with the BGR cheeseburgers after dipping them in pitchers of water to make them go down easier. How tasty does that sound?

Immediately prior to watching this rather disgusting display of over indulgence and lack of taste, the viewing audience was treated to a news story about the growing obesity epidemic that is sweeping over this country.

By 2030 more than half the people in the vast majority of states will be obese.

Mississippi, for instance, is expected to retain its crown as the fattest state in the nation for at least two more decades. The report predicts 67 percent of that state’s adults will be obese by 2030; that would be an astounding increase from Mississippi’s current 35 percent obesity rate.

The new projections were released Tuesday by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The two organizations regularly report on obesity to raise awareness, and they rely on government figures.

From an article on WebMD: "One of the biggest health stories of the year has been the rise in obesity among both adults and children in the U.S. We've all heard so much about the 'obesity epidemic' that it's easy to think the story is being blown out of proportion. After all, people putting on a few pounds may not seem to warrant the proclamation of a national emergency.

Experts agree that as more and more obese children become obese adults, the diseases associated with obesity, such as heart disease, cancer, and especially diabetes will surge. That will mean a lot of sick people
[sick people without insurance if the Republicans have their way]."

So, what are we doing to stop this obesity epidemic? Not a whole heck of a lot of anything. It used to be that we humans would eat because we were hungry and because food was necessary to sustain life. It now appears that eating, or should I say gorging on food has become a sport, a contest if you will.

Gluttons are treated as victors whose feats are to be revered. I cite this BGR contest and any of the Adam Richman shows on the Food Channel as prime examples of supporters of this dangerous trend of ingesting to the point of violent regurgitation. That's cause for celebration?

As the land of the fat and home to the average, it would appear that this country's priorities are askew. How sad, but how ironic - featuring a food orgy and a report on obesity back to back!

Could one be contributing to the other?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Got The Blogger's Block

Try as I might I cannot seem to come up with anything worthwhile to post on the Oracle, and as a friend once advised many years ago, "If you don't have anything to say, then don't say anything."

As a consequence, I am taking a couple of days off. I shall think, and drink a few beers, and then maybe think a bit more.

Right now, watching the feral kittens that have taken over the backyard is more exciting than writing.

Skinny and Fuzzy

Friday, September 14, 2012

Florida Jam With A Shot Of Okeechobee Whiskey

It's finally Friday and time to rock your southern roll with Stranger:

Stranger was a band based in Tampa, FL, formed in the early '80s. Stranger toured the U.S. as opening act for many prominent headliners throughout the '80s. Click HERE to learn more.

Enlightenment In 21st Century America

We will have none of that there enlightenment crap in this here United States if the Teabilly Anal Swab Republicans have their way. The Evangelicals all across America are doing their best to push this country back to the Dark Ages, and in many places they are winning.

The following video clip from the Spencer Tracy movie Inherit the Wind begs for the answer to the very relevant question, why are we still in the dark? For the answer you should probably direct the question to the Republican Teabilly funsters who would march this country backward through a thousand years of darkness to the grand old days of lynch mobs, witch burning, stoning, and various other Pol Pot inspired purges of the enlightened.

This 1960 film is based on a real-life case in 1925, with two great lawyers arguing the case for and against a science teacher accused of the crime of teaching evolution. It could have been taken from the 21st Century Republican Promise to America or the Evangelical Taliban of America's interpretation of the Word of God, what some euphemistically call the Bible.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

So Much For World Peace

ABC News says Vladimir Putin has thanked Mitt Romney for calling Russia the United States' #1 geopolitical foe, because it has "strengthened his resolve to oppose NATO’s plan for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe."
“I’m grateful to him (Romney) for formulating his stance so clearly because he has once again proven the correctness of our approach to missile defense problems,” Putin told reporters, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
“The most important thing for us is that even if he doesn’t win now, he or a person with similar views may come to power in four years. We must take that into consideration while dealing with security issues for a long perspective,” he said, speaking after a meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, according to Interfax news agency.
And we thought "W" was an idiot.

Just think what this douche bag can accomplish if he is elected president.

Inciting To Riot: What Say You Rubio?

The Republican boy-toy Rubio has condemned as senseless the mob attacks in Libya and Egypt that resulted in the death of a U.S. ambassador and three of his staff members.

Said Marco the senatorial toddler, “The Libyan and Egyptian people should understand that the U.S. shares their commitment to building more hopeful and prosperous nations. However, if left unchecked, violent attacks like these against our embassies and diplomats will lead Libya and Egypt down a dark path and rob them of their hopes of a more prosperous and democratic future. The broader publics in Libya and Egypt should condemn the violence and distance themselves from the unruly and intolerant elements of their society that threaten the security and future of their nations.”

While I was reminded of the adage about people living in glass houses, nowhere in Rubio's blatherings was any mention made of the rabble rousing film maker-in-hiding whose celluloid jism-squirt of intolerance led to the mob attacks, nor did Rubio condemn Florida's own spawn of the sewer rat, Terry Jones, the senior Turdster of Doofus World Outreach Center in Gainesville.

Jones said he supports and is promoting the film criticizing Islam that has sparked worldwide outrage from Muslims. This enema of God who is known for his virulent opposition to Islam, issued a statement on his website defending the film Innocence of Muslim, directed by Sam Bacile of California.

This brings me back to the point of Rubio and his glaring lack of condemnation of these two self-righteous rubes whose actions contributed to the death of four Americans on foreign shores.

Inciting to riot is a crime in these United States: Inciting to riot is a distinct crime, the gist of which is that it instigates a breach of the peace, even though the parties might have initially assembled for an innocent purpose. It means using language, signs, or conduct to lead or cause others to engage in conduct that, if completed, becomes a riot.

So, Rubio, what say you?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Raw Power And Emotion In Song

I was looking for a bluesy kinda song to wrap up this week when I came across a real gem - a cover of the Janis Joplin cry to take another little Piece of My Heart. Melissa Etheridge displays so much power and emotion in her rendition that the listener can not just hear the words, but can feel the pain.

Alas, Sony Music, EMI, and others have now started blocking YouTube videos from being played on "certain" web sites. Now a viewer is redirected back to YouTube. That is what happened to the Etheridge video I had wanted to embed in the Oracle. I decided to scrap the idea, but I was curious to know why this was happening.

Apparently it has to do with copyright issues. I will state emphatically right up front that I have no problem with the strict enforcement of copyright laws. What bothers me is the concept of "certain" web sites without defining "certain". This blockage of YouTube videos could be counter productive to those in the music business.

Take the SOG City Oracle as an example. I like to entertain my readers (both of them) with artists and songs that may highlight a point or just entertain. I get no money from this and only profit from the thrill of introducing artists, music genres, and songs that may have been ignored by the mainstream, and reintroducing material that has slipped through the cracks of time.

Several other bloggers that I follow, The Liberal Curmudgeon and Whatever Works, do the same thing. There is no profit motive here, and it is a shame that legitimate blogs and web sites are being penalized by the crooks, or YouTube, or the publishers. I am not sure to whom I should give the finger.

On a really happy note, I found the Melissa Etheridge video on that was blocked on YouTube, and I am pleased to present it here:

The Oracle is still getting nothing out of this video but personal satisfaction. Melissa Etheridge rocks my world!

The Menu Has Really Changed

I was totally bumfuzzled the other day to discover that one of Tampa's major cultural attractions was no more. In its place I spied a new venue offering a completely different menu of tantalizing treats.

Yes, dear readers, the 7 Seas is no more but in its place is the newly remodeled Fire Bar and Grill at the site, 3023 W. Kennedy Boulevard.

Said Fire's owner Ryan Quinn of the 7 Seas building, "We had to gut it completely. It's going to be 100 percent renovated; we're keeping three walls and the floor."

Last night the Belle of Ballast Point and I ventured in to this newly remodeled building that had been transformed from a seedy strip club (having NEVER set foot in the 7 Seas, I am just speculating here) to a bright and inviting restaurant that features 10-foot-tall mahogany doors with seating indoors and outdoors. From the side bar, we saw pizzas prepared and put into the coal-fired oven.

Fire doesn't accept reservations for less that ten, so we just wandered in around sixish. Jesse, our delightful server for the evening, allowed us to choose our seating preference - bar, high tops, or booth. We chose a booth and were presented with menus.

While deciding on food and adult beverages, we discovered that the large front porch has "air curtains" which produce a barrier of high-speed air that keeps the cool air in and the bugs and heat out. Indoors and outdoors blend together and should be a real treat when Tampa cools down just a tad.

Both my bride and I decided on brewskis instead of wine on this evening - a Firerock IPA for moi, and a Magic #9 IPA for her.

I was sorely disappointed that the octopus appetizer was not available, but I was more than able to squelch my disappointment with the House Made Maple Miso Cured Pork Belly – with cream cheese grits and crispy chicharrons.

Someone (I think it was me) once said, "If you've seen one grit, you've seen them all." 

I stand corrected! Those creamy cream cheese grits were sent to Earth by the gods. And, on top of the grits was one of the most tender, tasty, succulent chunks of pork belly I have ever had.

This appetizer alone is reason enough to dine at Fire, but there was more to come.

The Belle chose a Caprese salad as her appetizer. This was no run-of-the-mill Caprese. This was Fire's Southern Style Caprese Salad. 

The chef had pan fried cornmeal crusted green tomatoes, then layered them with fresh Mozzarella, baby basil, over smoked tomato emulsion, then drizzled with 12 year old balsamic vinegar.

Even though my Bride had suggested that the tomatoes could have benefited from a little less breading, it was so refreshing to enjoy the labors and creativity of a truly innovative chef.

Fire wasn't through yet - our entrées were on their way.

I had a most difficult time making a selection since there were several available choices that just screamed my name. In remembrance of the former tenant of this building, I thought a nice succulent breast might be appropriate, and Fire does have a Corn Flake crusted chicken breast with collard greens on the menu.

 I finally decided on the Thai Style Curried P.E.I. Mussels. The menu described this dish as one pound of fresh mussels, roasted in a wood oven, and finished with Udon noodles, bean sprouts, fresh cilantro, jalapeños and green onions in a red curry coconut broth.

First off, I love noodles! Even had this dish been less than delicious, those noodles were fantastic. The whole dish was very satisfying and very filling.

With that said I probably shouldn't complain that the mussels were...well, dainty. I really enjoy the taste of mussels, but these little fellas seemed to get lost in the curry broth.

My bride fared much better with her entrée, the 6 oz. Petite Center Cut Chairman’s Reserve Sirloin with a green onion sweet potato waffle and a tonkatsu sauce - a type of thick Japanese Worcestershire sauce that uses pureed apples as a principal ingredient.

On the side was a bowl of those creamy cream cheese grits.

The steak was tasty, the sauce added an appealingly provocative piquancy to the steak, and the sweet potato waffle she said was excellent.

Jesse, our food guide for this repast, tried to entice us with the Fire dessert menu. There were several interesting choices, but we pointed to our bulging waistlines and she seemed to understand that more food would be in no one's best interest. So, we paid our $78.67 food and beer bill, tacked on a much deserved 20% gratuity, and waddled out of the Fire Bar and Grill with a vow to return.

Fire Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Religious Freedom Amendment: It's Time Has Come

Official Announcement

The Right Reverend Rector, the rector of the Holy Church of the Goddamned Right I'll Have Another Beer, is gearing up to apply for his share of your tax dollars. Said Rector Rector, "I fully believe that there are enough Florida voters who are so out of touch with reality that Amendment 8 will pass with flying colors, and I want some of that there money."

Amendment 8 if you recall is the so-called “Religious Freedom” Amendment. Opponents say it isn’t about Religious Freedom at all. Floridians who don't have their heads firmly implanted in their anal orifices say that Amendment 8 actually allows the government to give our tax dollars to any group claiming to be a religious organization. 

"The Holy Church of the Goddamned Right I'll Have Another Beer is one of those organizations because one of the tenets of this here Goddamned Church is to religiously consume vast quantities of beer in the name of some invisible higher power in the sky," spaketh Rector Rector. Continuing with his rant, he slurred, "Every other crack pot, Bible thumping hypocrite in the state is going to be waving that so-called 'Good Book' in the air demanding government shekels, and I wants me a piece of the action."

Click HERE if you would like more information on Amendment 8. As for me, I am going to anoint my insides with that holiest of water that we call beer.

Tchin tchin, y'all!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The American Way Or The Republican Way

Michelle Obama said last night, "If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire ... if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores ... if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote ... if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time ... if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream ... and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love ... then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream."

These values are the American Way. But last week, we watched as a dangerously extreme Republican Party tore them down, speech by speech, at their convention. They spent an entire week promising to "take America back." But their platform called for moving our county backwards:
  • A call to outlaw abortion in all cases -- with no exception for rape or incest
  • A constitutional amendment defining marriage as "one man and one woman"
  • A voucher system to replace Medicare
  • A ban on women fighting in combat
  • Public displays of the Ten Commandments
  • The lowering of taxes for the top 1%
I choose the American Way.

The Vagina Monologues?

From UltraViolet: Michelle Obama's speech last night at the Democratic National Convention was amazing. So were fair pay champion Lilly Ledbetter's and Iraq war hero Tammy Duckworth's. All of these women spoke powerfully about the need for pay equity, the importance of health care reform, and reproductive freedom for women.

And CNN contributor Erick Erickson's reaction to all these inspiring women? He tweeted: "First night of the Vagina Monologues in Charlotte going as expected."

Seriously? He hears powerful, eloquent women talking about crucial issues and that's his reaction? Perhaps it shouldn't be that surprising, given his history of insulting women. 

Earlier this year, he defended Rush Limbaugh's attacks on Sandra Fluke, saying "her testimony before congress that American taxpayers should subsidize the sexual habits of Georgetown Law School students because, God forbid, they should stop having sex if they cannot afford the pills themselves."

Erick Erickson is paid by CNN to offer conservative viewpoints--but he repeatedly offers sexist and offensive commentary. Enough is enough: CNN must fire him right away.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Paean To The Sacred City - Tampa

Everything and more that you need to know about Tampa that you didn't see and hear during the 2012 Harumphing of the Heathens otherwise known as the RNC:

Editor's note: A"harumph" is an expression of disdain, disbelief, protest, or dismissal; a huff, grunt, or snort - which pretty much summarizes the recent Republican circle jerk in Tampa.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

It's About Time Someone Got Their Tutu On

The Associated Press today reported that "Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu called Sunday for Tony Blair and George Bush to face prosecution at the International Criminal Court for their role in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Tutu, the retired Anglican Church's archbishop of South Africa, wrote in an op-ed piece for The Observer newspaper that the ex-leaders of Britain and the United States should be made to answer for their actions."

The Iraqi War said Tutu, "has destabilized and polarized the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history." He continued, "Those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in the Hague."

I couldn't agree more, and since this country has taken no action, it's past time that somebody did. Cheney and Rumsfeld need to be included in any indictment.

To the Hague, "Go ahead, make my day!"

Feelin' a little vengeful today, are we?