Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year's Eve From The Oracle

2012, I thought you'd never end! 

Here's hoping for a return to sanity in 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

REASON FOR ORDERS: Permanent Change of Station

Retired General Norman Schwarzkopf, who led allied forces to a routing of Iraq in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and became one of the nation's most celebrated military heroes of the era, received his orders for a permanent change of station (PCS) Thursday, a U.S. defense official said. He was 78.

Arriving at Ministry of Defense and Aviation (MODA), Riyadh, at the end of Desert Storm
Photo with members of the U.S. Central Command - JCSE, 224th JCSS Georgia Air National Guard, and 290th JCSS Florida Air National Guard 
Welcome Home at Tampa Stadium - center stage: Schwarzkopf, Mickey Mouse, little girl, Lee Greenwood
General, you are dismissed! And, the best of everything on your new assignment.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sit Down And Shut Up About Gun Control

Is it time for America to sit down and shut up? The NRA wishes we would, because they think all of this killing stuff is just much ado about nothing since guns make us safe. And the more guns, the merrier we shall be, or so says douche bag of the century, Wayne - let me suckle at your bush Master - LaPierre.

From Mayors Against Illegal Guns:

Responding to a fire on Christmas Eve, four firefighters in Webster, NY were ambushed by a gunman. Two were killed, and two were seriously wounded.

The weapon used to shoot and kill these first responders was the same Bushmaster AR-15 used to slaughter 26 people -- including 20 innocent children -- in Newtown, CT.

It’s past time to ban the sale of dangerous assault weapons. Until Washington acts, murders like this -- committed by criminals firing weapons that no civilian needs -- will simply go on and on.

Call your members of Congress right now and tell them you support banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

The shooting in Webster was a nightmare scenario. A disturbed man set fire to his own home and then set up a sniper attack to pick off firefighters as they rushed in to help.

Because of his felony record, the shooter should never have been able to purchase a gun in the first place. But there is no legitimate purpose for the weapon of war he used against those coming to his aid -- no matter how he got it.

We need to Demand A Plan to end gun violence, and a critical element of that plan is to end the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines once and for all.

Your members of Congress need to hear from you right now:

NOW is the time to keep hammering away at the gun crazed insanity running rampant in American. NOW is not the time to sit down and shut up - except LaPierre. Please Wayne, sit down and shut the fuck up!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Lesson On Being Green

I guess this is the latest email being forwarded all over the 'net - I just got it from my bride at work. It would be funnier if it weren't so true. Enjoy!

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't ...good for the environment. The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."

The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations." She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were truly recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But too bad we didn't do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?


Personally, I found the "green thing" to be rather amusing as well as ironic. Ironic due to the blather about the huge debt we are so concerned leaving for the "children", but seem totally oblivious to the "green thing" in their future (or, lack of it):

Can you say, "Global warming?"

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Our 24th Anniversary At edison food+drink lab

December 22 is our wedding anniversary, and for the last 23 years the Belle of Ballast Point and I have made it a tradition to celebrate by dining at a venue that is as unique and spectacular as our marriage has been.

This year we chose edison food+drink lab, 912 West Kennedy near downtown Tampa. Our dear friends Sweet Polly and her Underdog, of the best food blog in the whole world, Epicurean Perils of Sweet Polly, had suggested our lives together would forever be incomplete with out a visit to edison. So we went!

Our reservations were at six, and we were immediately guided to our table, past the bar and main dining area to a quiet little alley way toward the back with four or five comfy booths. The main dining room can get a little loud with a large crowd - and, edison does draw a large crowd - for good reasons. We will now explore a few of those good reasons.

Ramsey, our very knowledgeable and attentive server, explained the edison concept and offered suggestions to enhance our evening. The ever changing menu has a bounteous bundle of belly busting delights categorized as SPARK, COLD START, HOT START, SOLUBLE OR SOLID, and LARGE FORMAT.

My taste buds were all a-quiver as I contemplated selections from each section. Ramsey suggested we make two choices from the small plates, and one from the LARGE FORMAT.  The LARGE FORMAT, he said really emphasizes the creativity, imagination, and skills in the kitchen. We were torn. There were so many mouth watering small plates and large that piqued our interest.

We had to start somewhere, so we decided to begin with a bottle of Umberto Bortolotti extra dry Prosecco to get the juices flowing and to steady our nerves.

Next was the first of several small plates, the Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio with banh mi salad, fish sauce vinaigrette, and toasted baguette. The banh mi resulted from the French influence on Vietnamese cuisine and this fusion presentation with tender, succulent tenderloin, and bean sprouts, cucumber, and fried onion rings was heaven to the palate. This dish was the first to earn the two-heart rating for double love.

Up next, and only for me, were the oysters on the half shell, nagatoshi farms yuzu kosho mignonette, liquid N2 (nitrogen that is cold enough to exist in liquid form), and kaffir lime. This dish was the only heart-breaker of the evening. The taste was intriguing but those little, itty bitty $2.60 a pop mollusks looked as though they had been ripped apart and adorned with bits of broken shell.

It is said that the eyes eat before the stomach. My eyes were disappointed, but except for that one misstep everything else we tried that evening sent us into spasms of gastronomic delight.

There were several large plates we wanted to try, but for this dining adventure we decided to press onward with the small plates. When I say "small plates" this should not suggest you will not get full to the eyebrows with artistically prepared food.

I could live the rest of my days dining on pork belly, so it came as no surprise to by bride that I would order the crispy pork belly with black bean munetta (puree), a palm heart medjool date salad with citrus chimichurri. The black bean munetta is common in Latin American cuisines and it paired well with the crispy, juicy pork belly.

Next up for the Belle was the sweet potato biscuits with to-die-for barbecued pork cheeks, creamy dill pickle slaw, and crispy buttermilk onions. My bride had ordered this plate on her first visit to edison, and couldn't resist enjoying it once again. I had a bite of the pork and it was excellent with a touch of piquancy.

While she was getting cheeky with the pork, I had to try the Boquerones - the white anchovies fried in a delicate batter with a sauce gribeche. A small as this plate appeared, it packed a powerful and flavorful punch. I was approaching food overload. My world for an extra stomach!

After the pork cheeks, my bride of 24 years decided to throw in the towel - but then, Ramsey, cruel dude that he is, brought out the dessert menu. The Belle of Ballast Point located that dessert stomach that I have been told all women possess, and she requested the dark chocolate tart with coconut ice cream, heavenly frozen bananas, and a double dog espresso rum sauce. Do you remember the scene in the NYC deli in the movie, When Harry Met Sally?

Ramsey asked what I desired for dessert, and though I didn't really need anything more to eat, I cowboyed myself up, and asked for the tenderloin tartare with a heavenly kim chee puree and edison's Korean pickles. I love kim chee and steak tartare, so this fusion dish with black beans brought on a gastronomic orgasm. This was almost the highlight of my evening. I'm saving the very best experience for last. Stick around.

Along with celebrating 24 wonderful years with my bride, the Belle of Ballast Point, as we were waddling from edison, whom did we spy guarding the entry way into the kitchen? It was none other than the High Priestess of Epicurean Excellence herself, Jeannie Pierola. In addition to being a celebrated chef, Ms. Pierola is a very charming lady who really cared about our dining experience. After hearing us describe a few of our dinner choices, she referred to us as "foodies". We were overwhelmed at the compliment.

Now that I have titillated your taste buds, I should mention again that the menu changes on a daily basis. That should be all the more reason to visit edison. You won't get bored.

Dinner for two with all food and wine - $160 and included a well deserved 20% for Ramsey.

Edison: Food+Drink Lab on Urbanspoon 

Edison: Food+Drink Lab on Foodio54

Haven't We Had Enough NRA Bullshit?

It is way past time to demand a plan:

And while we are at it, tell Wayne LaPierre to go fuck himself. He wants to register the mentally impaired but not the wild west gunslingers? Yeah, LaPierre, go fuck yourself.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

To The Belle Of Ballast Point

If I could play a musical instrument or sing a song in tune, I would sing and play for you.


This will have to do:

Happy 24th anniversary. 

My fervent wish is that I don't screw up royally over the next year so that we may make it to our 25th.

I love you.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I Thought I Saw Elvis Last Night

I was reading my bloggy friend Moe's Whatever Works yesterday where she said if we wake up dead in the middle of the night and see Elvis then that is a sure sign the Mayans were right and the world has come to an end.

In a dreamy haze in the wee hours - HOLY COW, THERE'S ELVIS! I've got to admit I was plum scairt poopless. Shaking the sleep from my eyes I was relieved to discover it was nothing more than my wife's cow taking a midnight stroll. I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Moe, this one's for you.

The End Of Days

Since the world undoubtedly ended earlier today, there is probably no one left to discover the answer to one of life's greatest mysteries:

Why Girls Don't Fart (HQ) by STARDUST72

And, you are welcome!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

WARNING! UPM Ahead, Or Up Your Bum

If you continued reading past the headline, I suppose it would be appropriate to tell you that UPM stands for the Unlicensed Practice of Medicine. UPM is illegal in most every corner of this country, so I will have to throw myself on the mercy of the court - I am not licensed to practice...anything!

That has never stopped my bride who is perpetually diagnosing ailments in herself and the rest of the family - with 99% accuracy. A doctor's office recently verified that accuracy claim. So, if UPM is good enough for the Belle of Ballast Point (BOBP), it's good enough for me.

That brings me to the point of this pseudo-dissertation.

Once I reached the age of serious maturity, older than dirt says the BOBP, she and my primary care have been badgering me to get a colonoscopy. The American Cancer Society recommends this procedure for men once they hit the ripe old age of 49 and every ten years thereafter - unless...!

I had Googled this odious procedure and decided that drinking 64 gallons (or so it seemed) of Gatorade in preparation for the test was not for me. I managed to keep the two above mentioned medical professionals at bay for over ten years before finally succumbing to their incessant harping. Your doctor or The Google will give you the gross details on test prep, so I will spare you the description of my day on the can.

The only good thing I can say about the colonoscopy was the drugs. They give you some good sh#t! I was totally unaware of the ten feet of garden hose (more or less) being shoved up my butt. When I returned to conscientiousness or consciousness (whatever works), the doctor said all was well - he did remove a non-cancerous polyp and he advised I was now on the three year plan.

Oh joy! I was now expected to do this all over again in three years. I must have been a real prick in a former life to be punished in this horrific manner. Jesus, if that's the case, my next life is going to be a real doozy. I'll know about the next life in a few hours when the Mayan prediction comes to pass, so screw the courts on that UPM issue.

In retrospect, I wish that I had been cognizant of that end of the world prediction this last Tuesday as I prepared for my third anniversary anal invasion. Instead, I dutifully cleansed myself of every scrap of food I had ever ingested - past, present, and future. Holy crap, I was purging stuff I had never consumed! Tuesday was not a good day.

Anyway, I showed up at the hospital at the designated time to get admitted and pay my money. Say what?! Says I to the admitting lady, "I thought this was covered by my insurance?" "Nope," says she, "you are having that other kind of colonoscopy." " What other kind," I asked? I had no idea there was more than one way to cram a mile of hose up a person's butt.

Come to find out, there are two kinds and I was getting the more expensive deluxe version. Lucky me!

After I got home and sobered up from the drugs, I went to The Google again and discovered that there is a screening and a diagnostic, or deluxe, colonoscopy. Other than the financial aspect, I wasn't aware of any difference, so what is the difference between a screening colonoscopy and a diagnostic colonoscopy?

A screening, or preventive, colonoscopy is a procedure done if you do not have any symptoms; do not have a personal history of colon cancer or colon polyps; and do not have a first-degree relative with a history of colon cancer or colon polyps.

A diagnostic colonoscopy is a procedure done if you have the following symptoms: blood in stool, bleeding from rectum, iron deficiency anemia, change in bowel habits or persistent abdominal pain. If you have a personal or family history of colon cancer or colon polyps, you will likely be scheduled for a diagnostic colonoscopy rather than a screening.

Well, that explains why I got the deluxe version, since I had a polyp the first time around. That's also why I was on the three year plan.

Here are a few more pertinent questions, and for no additional fee, the answers:

What are the costs associated with a screening or diagnostic colonoscopy?

Medicare will fully cover a screening colonoscopy – the deductible and co-insurance is waived. If you have private insurance, call your provider to determine your benefit.

Medicare will waive the deductible for a diagnostic colonoscopy. However, 20 percent co-insurance must be paid for the procedure. If you have private insurance, call your provider to determine your out-of-pocket costs.

Could I go in for a screening colonoscopy but then have to pay for a diagnostic colonoscopy?

Yes. Even if you have no symptoms, the procedure will be classified as a diagnostic colonoscopy if a polyp is found.

After the procedure, which causes a greater degree of flatulance, a screening or diagnostic colonoscopy?

It matters not. Either way you will be very entertaining in the recovery room where "blow it out your ass" takes on special meaning.

I had to classify all of that under, Stuff I Never Knew and No One Ever Bothered Mentioning. It really doesn't make much difference. They are going to stick you in the end for the deluxe anyway. Possibly I could have phrased that a little better, but what the hell.

On the UPM issue, I plead "Not Guilty". It's The Google! I got most all of this from The Google. They are the guilty ones, not me. I invoke my 5th Amendment rights. I am also back on the ten year plan since my colon was clean as a whistle this time around.

That's my story and I am sticking to it - and, may it serve you well.

Bonjour, y'all!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Thought For The Season

I can’t fathom that I live in a society that considers gun ownership to be a right, but health care to be a privilege.

Thanks to Moe at Whatever Works for this gem.

Gittin' In The Christmas Spirit

Seems as though a body can't go nowhere these days without hearing Christmas music blaring from every store, restaurant, and liquor store from here to East Bumf#@k, Egypt and back. I've been lucky so far this season, I've only been subjected to Rockin' 'Round the Christmas Tree once. I heard a piece of Jingle Bell Rock once, but I had the clicker in my hand and quickly changed the channel before I had the chance to get a gun and shoot the teevee.

I do have a couple of Christmas favorites, but dang it, I've yet to hear any of them. So, to get me into the holiday spirit I decided to include one of the best right here:

Feliz navidad, y'all.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Demand A Plan

The horrific school shooting in Newtown, CT is the latest devastating example of the toll of gun violence. It's time for our leaders to take action.

Every day, 34 people are murdered with guns in this country. The "I Demand A Plan" video project records the personal stories of Americans whose lives were forever changed by these tragedies.

Watch and share their videos, add your own and Demand A Plan! 

Here is but one of the many videos:

On a personal note: I own a handgun and I am one of almost a million Floridians who possess a CWP. I got my permit more out of curiosity than necessity. I was amazed at how easy it was.

It shouldn't be easy and the applicant should have a valid reason for concealed carry. "To prevent crime," is not a valid reason. That is the job of the trained professionals. The average pistol-packer is too inept to be of any use in a contingency situation. Law enforcement people train constantly. The rest of us do not!

Here is an interesting factoid for the "if everybody had a gun" crowd:

Mother Jones "set out to track mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years. We identified and analyzed 62 of them, and one striking pattern in the data is this: In not a single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun."

This country needs a plan!

Gun Control - The Time Has Come

It's time to tell the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Congress: We're beyond heartbroken. Let's make today the last day that you block common sense gun regulations that protect all of our families.

That's why I signed a petition to National Rifle Association, The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, which says:

"We are beyond heartbroken as we think of the kindergarteners and others that died in Connecticut. This was the 3rd day in one week with a mass shooting in our nation.

We are parents. Many NRA members are parents. And none of us want to live in a nation where children are gunned down. Today is the day for the NRA and for Congress to step up and start proposing laws that protect children and all people."
Will you sign the petition too? Click here to add your name.

Friday, December 14, 2012

NOW Is The Time!

"We needs us more gun-slingers in this here 2nd Amendment paradise." Just ask the NRA. While you are chatting with these patriotic Americans, run these facts by them:

(Reuters) - The deadly school shooting at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday was the latest in a series of shooting crimes in the United States this year.

Following are some of the worst such incidents in the United States in 2012:

April 2 - A gunman kills seven people and wounds three in a shooting rampage at a Christian college in Oakland.

July 20 - A masked gunman kills 12 people and wounds 58 when he opens fire on moviegoers at a showing of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, Colorado.

August 5 - A gunman kills six people during Sunday services at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, before he is shot dead by a police officer.

August 24 - Two people are killed and eight wounded in a shooting outside the landmark Empire State Building in New York City at the height of the tourist season.

September 27 - A disgruntled former employee kills five people and takes his own life in a shooting rampage at a Minneapolis sign company from which he had been fired.

October 21 - Three people are killed in a Milwaukee area spa including the estranged wife of the suspected gunman, who then killed himself.

December 14 - A shooter opens fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, killing several people including children.

Sources: Reuters and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

An interesting point to ponder: The Ted Nugents and Marion Hammers of this country are constantly spewing their anal brain droppings that if more of our citizens were armed, tragedies such as these could be avoided. Oh yeah? Nowhere in these stories are there reports of an armed citizen doing squat. Either the perp offed themselves or the police did the deed for them.

A spokesperson for President Obama reportedly said that now is not the time to discuss gun control.

Well, when the FUCK is a good time?

A heavily armed man invaded a Newtown, Conn., elementary school today, killing his mother and 26 others, mostly children, federal and state sources tell ABC News.

The gunman, identified as Ryan Lanza, 24, of New Jersey, was killed inside of the school.

A Prodigious Pile Of Pasta

Mama Mia, that's a prodigious pile of pasta on my plate! I had to ask our server, the charming Jessica, if there was any spaghetti left in the kitchen for the other diners who were filing in for dinner. Jess assured me there was plenty. That's a good thing, because the servings at CDB's Southside Restaurant are humongo.

CDB's Southside located on Westshore has made their home in the building that years ago housed the greatest Italian restaurant this side of New York's boroughs - Maria's. Later, Gabiano's took over, now CDB's, and I think CDB's has done Maria's proud.

CDB's has expanded by opening the second floor Sorrento Room and Bar. This 2,000 square foot space is named for the city of Sorrento, long favored by Italians as a seaside retreat. "When you ascend the staircase you escape to an intentionally adult space with seating for 70 at counter and bar height tables for over 20 at the bar. With numerous big screen high def. TVs visible from every seat and sophisticated audio/video capabilities, it is ideal for gathering with friends to watch sports, as well as for private parties and meetings. The room is adjoined by a patio with seating for 24."

We were seated in the main dining room that retains some of the look and feel of the Maria's that we came to know and love. My bride and I arrived around 5:30 this past Wednesday, without reservations. Seating wasn't a problem since there was only one other table that was occupied.

With a bunch of servers wandering around aimlessly I began thinking that this was not a good sign. Silly me! Before we finished our meal it appeared that the food gates were opened and the crowd began surging in as water flooding a bypass canal. Yes, I meant "food gates".

Our evening began with apéritifs, an Aperol with a bright orange color and a unique bitter-sweet taste for me and a Prosecco split for my Baby. For an appetizer, I chose the black mussels sauteed in Diablo sauce.

This was a huge bowl of perfectly prepared mussels in a delightful, but not overwhelming, spicy tomato-based sauce.

The menu indicated that this dish was perfect for sharing, or if the diner chose to be a "hog-dog" then keep it for yourself.

I chose the latter primarily because the Belle of Ballast Point eschews shell fish.

With a bed of pasta that mussel appetizer would be a complete meal all by itself.

Aside from the smoky mussels served at Timpano's, these were seriously the best mussels I can remember consuming. Mio dio, erano buoni!

We had our choice of salads - a Caesar for her and a spinach salad for me. Both salads were good, but with the portion size of our entrées, were unnecessary.

To accompany our entrées, we chose the house wine by the glass - a red Bolla that was exceptionally good for the price and the pour.

For her entrée the Belle chose the Manicotti - "a cheese-filled crepe with your choice of sausage, meatball, or sautéed mushrooms baked in your choice of marinara or Alfredo sauce and topped with Mozzarella." Obviously my bride went with the meat balls, but she couldn't decide on the sauce. Jess recommended a pink princess sauce (how apropos), a combination of the two. This was a gastronomic tour de force.

I am an aficionado of all things spicey, and stuff from the sea. The Conch Fra-Diablo called to me as the sea nymphs who lured sailors to their death with a bewitching song. 

Thankfully death wasn't involved but I did answer the Siren's call. Conch or squid sautéed with Vigo olive oil, fresh garlic, and Diablo sauce served over a bed of linguini.

I chose the conch, and this was an excellent choice. This spiral-shelled marine gastropod mollusk was served as thinly shaved slices of tender muscle embedded in the Diablo sauce.

It may not appear obvious from the photo, but the pasta was piled high. I had a big wad for lunch yesterday and, with a salad, there is still enough for lunch today.

We needed dessert like we needed an extra stomach - come to think of it, an extra stomach would be nice - but, we chose to take home an order of the Raspberry Amaretto Cheesecake. It looked good and tasted even better. I would have included a picture, but we ate it in bed while watching the teevee. I rarely take a camera to bed, so you will just have to use your imagination. Or not!

Our bill for the evening came to $86.09. We tacked on an addition $20 for exceptional service.

CDB's Southside on Foodio54Cdb's Southside on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

He Has Ascended

Ravi Shankar, the legendary sitar player, who taught Beatle George Harrison how to play the stringed instrument and brought Indian music to the West, passed away at age 92 in the early evening yesterday in San Diego. His wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka Shankar, were by his side.

As part of India and Pakistan's Golden Jubilee celebrations, Pandit Ravi Shankar, accompanied by his daughter Anoushka Shankar, perform live for the BBC at The Symphony Hall, Birmingham. (1997)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sigh! Mozart It Ain't

I am probably one of the few people on the planet who, until a few minutes ago, had never seen nor heard K-Pop star Psy's performance of Gangnam Style. Not wanting to appear too out of touch with reality or current events, I visited YouTube and downloaded this video:

Years ago, in a former life, I entertained the masses in the Tampa area as a disco deejay, playing in clubs, at private parties, school dances, Bar Mitzvahs, and goat roping events. When it appeared that disco was dying I took a buy-out and pursued other interests.

All I could think while enjoying Psy's performance was, "If disco is dead, why doesn't it lie down?" The energy and excitement generated by Gangnam Style ranks right up there with Travolta's performance in Saturday Night Fever, but the dance moves are simpler.

Feel that beat, move your feet, and boogie oogie oogie with me.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Adiós A Una Gran Señora

The Oracle joins millions of fans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border who are mourning the death of Jenni Rivera, whose performances of soulful ballads sold out concert halls and made the singer a household name for many.

Crews were set to resume the search today for Rivera's remains amid the wreckage of a plane that crashed in the remote, mountainous area in northern Mexico on Sunday.

"The plane was totally destroyed. ... It is a great tragedy," her brother, Gustavo Rivera, told CNN en Espanol.

Six others were killed, including the singer's publicist, lawyer and makeup artists, he said. Family members were planning to travel to Mexico today as investigators work to determine what caused the crash.

Another Magic "2nd Amendment" Moment

Picture this - a 7 year old boy climbs into his Dad's pickup truck and prepares to strap himself into a safety seat, when suddenly - BAM! a bullet rips into his young body and kills him. How ironic, the safety seat wasn't able to protect him from stupidity.

The bullet was fired from his Dad's auto-loading pistol, the one that was "rendered safe" by removing the clip. What wasn't removed was the bullet still in the pipe, the one lone bullet that was discharged by the Dad as he pointed the "un-loaded" weapon at his son and pulled the trigger.

An accident is defined as an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury. This senseless tragedy goes beyond being a mere accident. In my humble opinion this boy's death rises to the level of gross negligence - "carelessness in reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others, which is so great it appears to be a conscious violation of other people's rights to safety."

I am not suggesting that this "Dad" be punished under the law. His punishment was swift and will be long lasting. He will have to live with his gross negligence for the rest of his life. What I am suggesting is that this nation's gun laws are sorely lacking. It is just too easy to acquire firearms and permits for concealed carry.

Too many in this country are still laboring under the "wild west" mentality that all a person needs to do is to arm oneself and miraculously we will all be safer and more secure, all the while displaying a blatant disregard for gun safety, responsible gun ownership, and training that goes well beyond how to simply pull a trigger. Something more than just a cursory glance at the law would also go a long way towards enhancing firearms safety.

The death of this young boy in Pennsylvania is a senseless tragedy that could have...should have been avoided. How many more innocent people have to die before we realize that this is the 21st century and what may have worked in the 1800s is not working today?

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Cliff That Isn't A Cliff

The first thing to know about the so-called "fiscal cliff" is that it's not a cliff—it's a choice. It's a choice between making the 1% richer at the expense of everyone else, or lifting up 100% of Americans. It's a choice between American prosperity and European austerity.

In this sharp new video, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich breaks down the fiscal choice in 2 minutes and 30 seconds—with pictures too. And he gives Democrats the inside scoop on how to fight and win this fiscal showdown for the middle class.