Tuesday, April 27, 2010

So Long and Thanks for all the Fish

My blog will be on hiatus for a bit, perhaps permanently.

As I have indicated in past posts, once upon a time, I was a professional who had a good reputation in my community. I helped children and their families. I was even awarded a prize by the state for the good job I was doing. Then, a family from Mexico, who I had been helping by mentoring the older boys and by helping buy clothes for on occasion, decided to accused me of fairly heinous crimes after I stopped helping them, crimes that cost me my job, my home, my possessions, and about 90% of my freedom.

Well, two and a half years later, the district attorney has finally decided to let me have my say in court. That's a good thing. Or so I thought.

I met with my two (expensive) attorneys today and they made me aware that, during this two year wait, the DA has manipulated charges, witnesses, etc. so that more charges have been added and stacked on one another. This means that if I am found guilty of the one main charge, the sentences for the others will be automatically be applied and stacked.  The bottom line, if I demand a trial, as I had planned to, and lose the case, I will get 90 years in prison. And the original charge, which was weak and nonsensical, has now been strengthened with the DA's tricks.

My judge, in addition, is well known for doing things, handing down punishments, etc. to help her look good in the media. And I am sure she would deny it if asked, but my lawyers told me she flat out told them that she was going to make sure she looked like a hero in the media on my case. This tells me that I have no hope of a fair trial, or of a punishment that actually fits the alleged crime.

So, my attorneys are recommending I plead guilty and try to cop a plea deal of 10 years. In their defense, they do believe in me, but are trying to create a situation where I will have a life after the trial. They really do have my interests in mind. They know full well that, no matter the truth, I am going to be roasted over the coals. It just irks me to plead guilty to horrendous crimes.

My problem is this: I don't want to admit to things I didn't do. But if I stand my ground and go to court, a slick DA will paint me as a monster, lay on suggestions and innuendo, and probably sway a jury to finding me guilty. This means the rest of my life will be spent behind bars. End of story. Finito.

It's a gamble. Stand my ground and risk losing it all. Or swallowing my pride and accept a "token"punishment to appease the pitchfork carrying mob?

At this point, my mind is swimming. A year ago, I was expecting someone to call me and let me know that someone finally realized the Mexican family was full of bullshit and that they were sorry for any inconvenience I experienced. But now, I cannot believe that out justice system is so warped and unjust that citizens are forced to accept punishments as sacrifices to the politically influenced judges.

So, my mind really is just in a fog; there is no way I can focus on this blog.

There is a small chance that I will not go to court next Monday because the DA is talking about postponing AGAIN until July, but I don't know if that is happening. But just so you guys know, if I never post here again, you know the worst has transpired and I have been sacrificed to the alter of bullshit. There is a part of me that REALLY wants to post the name and a photo of the family accusing me.  I have to deal with the public humiliation while they get to say whatever they want under the guise of privacy, and that seems like bullshit to me. Keep an eye out here' I just may.

There is no justice left in the justice system, my friends, please remember that. Whatever we teach our children about truth and justice is all bullshit. It's about political expediency and who you know.

Unless God blesses me with a miracle, I doubt I will be back here, so let me just say thanks for amusing me here with my silly blog, thanks for your comments.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Joy of Marriage

A woman goes into a lawyer's office and tells him that she would like to file a harassment complaint. The lawyers asks her who she will be making the complaint against, and she responds with, "My husband."

"Your husband?" he repeats. "You can't file a harassment complaint against your husband. That sort of complaint is generally made against an employer or coworker."

The woman sighs in frustration and asks, "Well then, what am I supposed to do now?"

The lawyer, intrigued, tells her that he may still be able to help her if she could explain why she wanted to file the harassment charge in the first place.

The woman says, "Well, my husband has been complaining about my shape. Every time we go out, he points at other women and says 'Why can't you do something about your flabby ass? Look at her ass, and her ass, and her ass!' Quite frankly, I am sick of all this her-assment!"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dinner with the Doc

rotini pasta in a spicy fresh tomato and basil sauce
sprinkled with parmesan
topped with grilled chicken

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Note to Self...

When chopping serrano peppers, do not rub your eye, no matter how itchy it is.

Because....... ouch.

On the bright side, my simmered red salsa was delicious.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Braised Short Ribs


10 beef short ribs
3 carrots roughly chopped
2 ribs celery roughly chopped
1 head garlic cut in half
1 onion roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups red wine

3 tablespoons butter
1/4 onion finely minced
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 onion minced
pan juices


Preheat oven to 290 degrees
1. Heat oil in a 5-6 quart cassarole
2. Salt and pepper the ribs and brown in the heated oil. Do so in batches, if necessary, to not crowd the pan.

3. Set ribs aside. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic to the pan and saute until browned.

4. Add the red wine and scrape the pan.
5. Add the ribs back in. Add water to the pan until the liquid comes midway on the ribs.

6. Cover the cassarole and place in the oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours.
7. Then, uncover and bake for additional 1/2 hour.
8. Remove the ribs. Strain the liquid and skim off as much grease as possible. Set aside strained liquid.

9. Add butter and onion. Cook until onion is translucent.

10. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes.
11. Add in the reserved pan liquid. Bring to a boil. Check for seasoning.

12. Serve the ribs over mashed potatoes or buttered pasta.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Man and his Ostrich

A man walks in to a bar,  an ostrich right behind him. As he sits the bartender comes over, and asks for their order.

The man says, "I'll have a beer" and turns to the ostrich. "What'll you have?"

"I'll have a beer, too" says the ostrich.

The bartender pours the two beers and says "That will be $3.40 please." The man reaches into his pocket and pulls out exactly $3.40 and places it on the bar.

The next day, the man and the ostrich come again, and again the man says, "I'll have a beer," and the ostrich says, "And I'll have the same." Once again the man reaches into his pocket, pulls out the exact change, and places it on the bar.

This becomes a routine until, late one evening, the two enter again. "The usual?" asks the bartender.

"Well, it's close to last call, so I'll have a large scotch," says the man.

"Same for me," says the ostrich.

"That will be $7.20," says the bartender. Once again the man pulls exact change out of his pocket and places it on the bar.

The bartender can't hold back his curiosity any longer. "Excuse me sir. How do you manage to always come up with the exact change out of your pocket every time?"

"Well," says the man, "several years ago I was cleaning the attic and I found an old lamp. When I rubbed it, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I just put my hand in my pocket, and the right amount of money will always be there."

"That's brilliant!" says the bartender. "Most people would wish for a million dollars or something, but this way, you'll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!

"That's right," answered the man. "Whether it's a gallon of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there."

The bartender asks, "One other thing, sir. What's with the ostrich?"

The man rolls his eyes and replies, "Oh that. Well, my second wish was for a chick with long legs."

Mushroom Sauce

My friend Tommy asked for the mushroom cream sauce recipe I used the other day. I don't have all of the ingredients I need to make this sauce at the moment, so there will not be any accompanying photos.



box of sliced button mushrooms
1/2 onion, diced
olive oil
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup cooked diced chicken


1. Cover the bottom of a saute pan in olive oil and place over medium heat.
2. Saute onions with salt and pepper until translucent.
3. Add in the mushrooms and saute until soft.
4. Add in the wine and simmer until reduced.
5. Add in the cream of mushroom soup and the chicken stock.
6. Cook until creamy.
7. Add in the chicken until it is heated through.
8. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can add in more stock.
9. Serve over pasta of your choice.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Counterfeit Wine, Who'd of Thunk?

Here is a news article I found online at a CBS news site.

Apparently, some wine producers have been purposefully mislabeling their product to foist lesser wines off as expensive ones.

Now, to a schmoob such as myself, there is no difference between a good wine and a lesser one. But did these people really think they could fool the real wine drinkers?


Chardon-nay! Wine industry uncorked by counterfeits

MOREY SAINT DENIS, France -- The challenge of counterfeit wine is threatening to take the fizz out of the industry. As the Pinot noir scandal showed last month, when a dozen wine producers and traders were sentenced by a French court for mislabeling 3.6 million gallons of wine sold to several U.S. wine companies what's behind the label is far from clear.

And the tampering touches the low end of the market as much as the top end.

Pinot noir heaven Burgundy is no exception. Some of its most famous appellations are victim of forgery.
Laurent Ponsot used to be a famous Burgundian wine grower, but now he is an amateur detective too. The story started in April last year, when a friend called him to tell him that one of New York's most energetic fine wine auctioneers was putting under the hammer 107 bottles of one of his most famous vintages. But something wasn't right.

"In that auction there was some Clos St Denis 1945. But we've only been making Clos St Denis since 1982. There was no chance that wine existed. Then tried checked the other bottles on sale that day, and I realized from here in my office that half of them were probably fake," says Ponsot.
Two weeks ago he handed over the bulk of his research to the FBI in New York. Now he can go back to what he does best, making excellent wines.

But to be on the safe side, he decided to apply state of the art technology to protect his bottles, which cost from a hundred euros to a few thousands from forgery.

Five other Burgundy winemakers have followed suit.

The device is a small tag which contains a unique pattern of bubbles, plus a serial number. The consumer can log in the number on the internet and obtain a photo of the bubble tag of that specific bottle. Visually, you can compare the pattern of the bubbles, which is random and unique. This system of authentication, called Prooftag, was invented by chance by a Toulouse firm producing electronic components. The glue started to sizzle up and form random bubbles, and it was realised that this bubble pattern could be used for anti- fraud purposes. To date, 28 chateaux have bought into the technology including Bordeaux Chateau Latour, Burgundy Domaine des Comtes Lafon and Napa Valley Hartwell Estate, to name but a few.

Frank Bourrieris is the marketing director of Prooftag. Asked if the interest of the wine producer in the tag shows the depth of the wine fraud, he says: "It's a difficult question. What I believe is that the stock of fake wine is growing, because a counterfeiter can fake any kind of wine from any year."
"What is dramatic for winemakers is that if they don't take action right now, there might be counterfeit of the wine they are producing today but in ten years, or twenty years, from now".
A 3D tag and more difficult to copy than bar codes, Rfid or holograms, the bubble technology is also currently sold to Swiss watch makers, the cosmetic industry and governments to proof documents. Costs range from 20 cents to one Euro per tag.

Wine experts say fraud is a huge risk.

According to Clive Coates, a master of wine now retired in Burgundy, the extreme rise in price of ultra-premium wines has led to a startling increase in the fraudulent labelling and sale of fake wines.
"Magnums of 1929 Mouton and magnums of Petrus 1982, the sort of things that fetch high prices at auction. And I am quite certain there is a lot of quite dubious bottles there," he says.
"But I think what it boils down to at the end of the day is what I would call caveat emptor, let the buyer beware. It's a silly person who pays silly prices without having done the homework, millionaires who probably cannot tell the difference between Petrus and Romano Conti."

Technology is coming to the rescue of winemakers struggling to protect their vintages from forgery.

A Light Lunch

I thought it would be fun to put together a light lunch on this rainy afternoon.
Cantaloupe, grapes, strawberries, salami, prosciutto, provolone, and crackers.

All Aboard!!

A few days after Christmas, a mother was working in the kitchen listening to her young son playing with his new electric train in the living room. She heard the train stop and her son said, "All of you sons of bitches who want off, get the hell off now, cause this is the last stop! And all of you sons of bitches who are getting on, get your asses in the train, cause we're going down the tracks."

The mother was very upset at her son's foul language and told him, "We don't use that kind of language in this house. Now I want you to go to your room and you are to stay there for TWO HOURS. When you come out, you may play with your train, but I want you to use nice language."

Two hours later, the son comes out of the bedroom and resumes playing with his train. When the train stopped, the mother heard her son say, "All passengers who are disembarking from the train, please remember to take all of your belongings with you. We thank you for riding with us today and hope your trip was a pleasant one. We hope you will ride with us again soon." She hears the little boy continue, "For those of you just boarding, we ask you to stow all of your hand luggage under your seat. Remember, there is no smoking on the train. We hope you will have a pleasant and relaxing journey with us today."

As the mother began to smile, the child added, "For those of you who are pissed off about the TWO HOUR delay, please see the bitch in the kitchen." 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Who Says Punctuation Isn't Fun(ny)?

I love seeing signs and such that misuse quotation marks. Sometimes, depending on the words that are quoted, the sign takes on a hilarious and unintended meaning.

So then, they weren't actually brothers?
Perhaps they were more along the lines of kissing cousins, if you know what I mean.

You aren't sorry, are you? Just admit it. We don't need your fake sympathy.

Hmm. So then, just who will be benefitting from my small change?
I think I smell a money laundering operation.

Go ahead. Strike the matches. You know you want to.

And I suggest you keep your car door locked and your valuables with you at all time.

Marie has a secret, doesn't "she"?

The potatoes have been "baked." 
I think they just may have a drug problem.
If they keep that up, they may turn into a vegetable. Oh wait....

Innocent indeed. They are devils, I tell you!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dinner with the Doc

Sausage and Mash

chicken sausage with spinach and feta (from a local family-owned shop)
mashed potatoes
onion gravy


I was in the mood for a little British tonight, but Matt Lucas was otherwise engaged. So I settled for this instead. Hee hee!


By the by, I added a link at the top pointing to some fun and tasty cooking items. Check 'em out if you are bored.

The Butterfly Collection

When I was in high school, I took Honors Biology as a freshman. Now, though I had always done well in school, I struggled with that class, and I attribute my difficulties to the fact that I disliked the teacher. Well to be perfectly honest, I hated her. Her name was Mrs. Rainwater. She was rude and condescending to us all, had no patience, would snap at the class, and wore glasses that were so big, the outside of the rims extended past the edge of her face.

Now, back then, I used to get along with everyone. I was friends with the skaters, the football guys, the cheerleaders, the band geeks, and the theater kids. I also was liked by all of the teachers, except for the Rainwater. She and I butted heads a few times. Once was when I spoke out in class when she was harassing another student.  (Not all of the bullies in school are kids.) Another time was when I refused to participate in the dissection of a cat. She got in my face and said if I didn't participate, I would fail the six week period. I didn't budge, and my good relationship with the principals made sure I didn't fail either.

Well, as part of our end of year project, we were supposed to build two collections. One was a wildflowers of Texas collection and the other was a butterfly collection. I embraced the wildflower project and refused to kill butterflies for a grade.

She didn't even bother to challenge me.

All images found at billtphotoman's photostream

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Abbott and the Visitor

Abbott Sebastian had made it a point for the last 50 years to greet the monks at the abbey in the morning and wish them a good night in the evening. Every morning, the monks would gather in the courtyard at daybreak where the Abbott would chant, "Good morning, good morning." In response, the monks would chant, "Good morning, good morning." And conversely, in the evening, the monks would gather again in the courtyard, the Abbott would chant, "Good evening, good evening," and in response, the monks would respond "Good evening, good evening."

One day, a monk from a neighboring monastery came to study in the abbey's library. When he went out with the other monks in the morning, he heard the Abbott chant, "Good morning, good morning." But when the other monks responded by chanting "good morning", the visiting monk responded, "Good evening, good evening."

The Abbott heard this voice amongst the voices of his monks and knew that there was somebody new in the crowd. So he chanted, "Some monk chanted evening, you must be a stranger!"

Bruschetta with Fresh Tomatoes and Mozzarella


6-7 fresh Roma tomatoes
3 rounds of fresh mozzarella
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon capers, roughly chopped
several basil leaves, shredded
olive oil, about 1/3 cup
balsamic vinegar, about 2 teaspoons

10 slices of crusty bread (Italian, Ciabatta)
olive oil


1. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds. Then, chop the tomatoes into small cubes.

2. Chop the mozzarella into cubes the same size as the tomatoes and add them to the tomatoes.

3. Add the minced garlic, capers, and basil to the tomatoes and mix.

4. Add in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6. Refrigerate the tomato mixture for at least 30 minutes.

7. In the meantime, brush the bread slices with olive oil and place on a hot grill or under a broil until toasty.

7. Spoon the cold tomato mixture onto the hot bread and enjoy.

As always, if anyone tries this recipe, please let me know what you think.

This recipe was tweaked from a recipe I found in a cookbook by Biba Caggiano. I got to meet her and taste her cooking at  a meet and greet I attended years ago. As a gift, we all got autographed Biba cookbooks. Yay!


As an aside, you will notice that I have added some links within some of my posts pointing you to Amazon. I just read an article that said Walmart is making improvements to its website and pushing walmart dot com in an attempt to cut into Amazon's business. I personally do not shop at Walmart and do not like their business practices. And so, I have decided to add a link to Amazon whenever there is a product or such that they have that I happen to be talking about.

I doubt seriously if my efforts are going to bring much extra business to Amazon, but I refuse to sit here and just watch Walmart take on another smaller company.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Roasted Chicken


3 chicken breasts, 1 lb each
9 cloves crushed garlic
canola oil
Poultry Magic (from Chef Paul Prudhomme)


1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Line a roasting pan with foil (to save yourself cleaning it later on.)

3.  Place the chicken breasts on top of the crushed garlic.

4.  Rub each breast with canola oil, the oil will help the skin crisp up, and sprinkle the Poultry Magic on as heavily as you desire.

5.  Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 55 minutes.

Now, I know that this seems very simple, but sometimes the easiest dishes elude so many of us.
If anyone tries this, or any of the other recipes here, please let me know. I'm interested to see what other people think.

The Keys to the Kingdom: Mister Monday

I am currently reading Lord Sunday, Book 7 from Garth Nix's series The Keys to the Kingdom. I am just about finished with it and thought I would write a small review of the story. But then, I realized that I would be talking about characters and converging plot lines that have roots in other books. So, instead, I shall be reviewing the series starting with Book 1. Yay! Or Boo, I suppose, depending on whether or not you like books.

The first book in the series is titled Mister Monday. In this book, we meet Arthur Penhaligon, a seventh grade student who has just moved to a new school and is asthmatic.  During a severe asthma attack, he sees an odd pair of men appear. One of them, Mister Monday, gives him a metal Key shaped like the minute hand of a clock, and disappears. From that point on, Arthur's life becomes irrevocably changed.

Using the power of his Key, Arthur enters The House, a conglomeration of buildings that exists in another dimension. There, he discovers the Architect of the Universe has disappeared, and the seven trustees she chose to keep track of everything have been warped by their responsibilities. Mister Monday, the Trustee of the Lower House, has been affected by sloth, and as such, has allowed his portion of the House to become mismanaged and the records he stores disorganized.

While Arthur dodges the minions of Mister Monday, who wants Arthur's portion of the Key back, he meets friends such as Suzy Turquoise Blue, a human girl trapped in the House, and Part One of the Will, a portion of The Will of the Architect which spelled out the duties of the Trustees.

With these two companions, Arthur moves about the House getting closer and closer to Mister Monday in an attempt to wrest away the Hour Hand portion of Monday's Key so that he can take control of the Lower House and force the denizens who live there to leave him alone.

The story, and series, features magic, sword play, the seven deadly sins, time travel, friendship, and the theme of responsibility.

I currently have about 850 books in my possession and can honestly say that this series is one of my favorites. If you enjoy well written fantasy, I think you will find this book a lot of fun.