Wednesday, May 31, 2006
I had the best of intentions. Really, I did. I got to work around 6:30 this morning cranked out some of the stuff I had on back log, held all my important meetings, made it a 6pm soccer game and got home in time to grill steaks and vegtables for dinner with the family at 9. Quite a day.
Then I logged on to The Pursuit of Happiness and there was one new comment! How great is that? I do a post about the fact that I've got nuthin' and somebody actually bothers to give me a comment. "How nice" I thought.
So I opened my comment section and there before my very eyes was not some happy words of encouragement, but rather something else. Something dark, forboding and threatening.
An attorney threatening me with a lawsuit.
Even worse, this certain attorney, by his own admission, has been known to pack heat in situations of conflict! How alarming is this? I'm a simple family man, never hurt a sould in my life (as long as you don't count that man I shot in Reno - just to watch him die). Well to say the least I was shaken....shaken to my very core.
Why I was so upset, that that steak that wonderful boneless ribeye that I had consumed amidst the fawning love of my supportive family did a flip in my tummy. And that just ain't right. Because, you know, I cook a mean steak.
Oh I've been to Ruth's and Morton's and all the other guys, but I got to tell you folks, all I really need is some decent beef a hot fire of hardwood charcoal and my handy, dandy double wide grilling spatula.
The key to a great steak is very simple. First, you've got to let the meat get to near room temperature before you grill. This time of year one hour out of the fridge is more than enough warming time. Secondly, the master of the grill knows to not be shy with the salt and pepper. Give each side a healthy shake and your taste buds will salute the greatness that is you. Finally always remember the two step cooking process; Step one char each side of your steak for 2 minutes over a very hot flame and the execute Step Two by moving the meat to the indirect side of the grill and cover until you reach your desired done-ness - between 5 and 7 minutes in my experience.
People bow down, angels sing and a special post is reserved for you in the hall of the grilling greats.
As for maniacal and possibly armed attorneys, I've got this advice: If they stop by with that crazy eyed look, hand them a beer, feed them a steak and watch the savage beast subside.
Of course if that doesn't work, make sure your shotgun is nearby!
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
I got nuthin.
Sorry, but I'm tapped out tonight. I'll guarantee a quality post for Wednesday night.
That, by the way, is the Pursuit Rock Solid 100% guarantee which is not available anywhere else but here baby.
Friday, May 26, 2006
It was somewhere around 1981 on U.S. 65 between Chicago and Indianapolis. I was driving my pal J and I back to school in B-Town, and he had this over played tape of Chrissie, James Honeyman Scott, Pete Fardon and Martin Chambers. The deal was simple; I drove and got us there safely and Jim ensured we had a good time and kept the music rockin'.
The Pretenders classic debut was all we needed to Rock. I won't go into the musicality of this disc, if you don't know, then all I can say is get thee an education. The riffs, the beats, that sexy, sexy voice were so new and profound. Nothing had ever sounded like the Pretenders up until that point, and to this day they remain an original. The Songs on the disc are timeless and sound fresh a quarter century after they first ripped through the atmosphere of my Gran Prix; Precious, The Phone Call, Space Invader, an update of The Kink's tune Stop Your Sobbing, Private Life, and the brilliant Mystery Achievement. We played that tape over and over, never missing the chance to yell out "Fuck Off" when the right moment in Precious came up.
Of course, there was also today's song, Tatooed Love Boys. A terrific little diddy, it sums up all that made the Pretenders great. A unique sound, the groovy beat, and Chrissie's snotty attitude; "I shot my mouth off and you showed me what that hole was for".
Thursday, May 25, 2006
I could never figure out how ole Denny became Speaker of the House. For those of you unfamiliar with Denny's curious rise to power, it is an interesting story; Ex High School wraslin' coach, gets himself elected as Congressman, lives in obscurity for a couple of years, ascends to third highest office in the country.
Impressive? Yes. Curious though, is the word I'd use for it. For one thing, it has never been clear to me what the man did to gain the office. Surely there were others more qualified, and undoubtedly there were those who would have seemed more prepared for the job. But when push came to shove - and lets remember that Denny came to office after Newt and Congressman Livingstone were shoved aside - there was our boy from Illinois.
And life has been good in Washington for Denny. Never a svelt gentleman, he seems to have spent a good amount of his time as Speaker gamefully attempting to wrastle the title of "Corpulent Congressman" away from Gerry Nadler. I've presented two pics above; the first shows ole Denny when he first ascended to the post and the second in a more recent photo when he was apparently threatening to "Crush David Dryer's head like a rotting melon". Ok, I made that last part up.
Still, one could look at those photos and say Denny has spent some serious feed time at the public trough. Looking at those pics, its awfully hard to not think of Newt's contract with America and the simple principles it espoused. I'm not sure what happened to those revolutionary Republicans and their principles, but I think there is a real good chance that Denny might have crushed them with his enormous ass.
I'm not saying the guy is corrupt, although being from Illinois alone should be more than enough to cast doubt on any politician's integrity. But, combined with his behavior in recent days around the Jefferson case.......well let's just say I'm saddened, but not surprised at how poorly this man is representing his state and country.
"The Republicans: Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss"
Almost fits on a bumper sticker.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Well, here is the worst idea ever: “Hey gang! Let’s turn the democratic process into a gambling operation to increase voter turnout!” I sat in stunned disbelief as I read this article today and wondered how any reasonable person – one who in this case is a Dr. – could possibly suggest such an inane idea.
But for Dr. Mark Osterloh suggesting isn’t good enough. Oh no, not for Dr. Mark, no sireee. Dr. Mark is a man of action! A man who stands behind his ideas, and no matter how incredibly stupid they may seem to us common folk, Dr. Mark has cold hard cash ready to promote is hair brained scheme!
It’s extraordinary really; the degree that some people will go to in the seemingly self defeating effort to out themselves as idiots. They hunt publicity, spend their money and come up with some of the craziest crap ever conceived by the human mind. This idea of Dr. Mark’s in my view, qualifies for idiot vision of the year.
And it’s only May.
Well done Dr. Mark!
And what is the good Dr. proscribing for the greatest democracy in the history of the world? Why voting/lottery of course. I suppose we could call it Voto! The basic idea is this: In
Obviously, only a population of idiots could be convinced to go along with such a scheme, but in a state that has enough unclaimed lotto money to finance this ridiculous proposal I suppose anything is possible. Perhaps the most incredible aspect of this whole idea is that it wasn’t spawned in the nation’s most squalid swamp of a hellhole;
There are so many down sides it is almost impossible to catalogue them in one post. First I suppose we have to start with the idea that getting people to vote who can’t be bothered to put the corn chips aside and waddle down to the voting both is a good idea. Let me be clear. THESE PEOPLE SHOULD NEVER BE ENCOURAGED TO VOTE. Oh yes, it’s true that if they insist on voting the constitution gives them the right, but let’s face it, all we really have to do to ensure the integrity of the electoral process is to be sure that Springer has a good fight on. I have little doubt that we can work some sort of deal with Jer..
Secondly, why in the world would we want to tie the most honored practice of citizenship to a tawdry, addictive affair? Oh sure, not everyone…or even a majority of people get addicted to gambling, but a good number do none the less. Good Lord, if we allow Dr. Mark to pull off this idiocy, you just know that he, or some other mouth breather will be back suggesting that we hand out shots for every successfully cast ballot. Where will the lunacy end?!
I can hear it now, “I’m candidate X and I approve of this add. Gambling or drinking problem? Call 1 800 STOP BET or 1 800 NO SHOTS”.
Still Dr. Mark is proud of his plan. When most normal people would hide their faces in shame for coming up with such a bad idea, Dr. Mark apparently believes he is a man of uncommon vision! Towards this end, the good Dr. has committed $200,000, American, to bringing his insane vision for the bastardization of the electoral process to fruition.
I have no idea how somebody, purportedly with a post graduate degree, could come up with this hair brained scheme. Although, come to think of it, the truth is that we really don’t know what Dr. Mark is a doctor of, so perhaps we should be careful in assigning credibility to what may be very dubious credentials. After all there was that day in college when I proclaimed myself, the “Doctor of Smooth”, and perhaps the good Dr. Mark has come up with a similar designation of distinction. I mean, a guy that would spend 200 hundy on a wacky voter-gambling idea might just be the same kind of guy to announce his self designated doctorial status. So before they go any further I’m strongly suggesting that the good people of
The bottom line is that this plan must be stopped now. If we fail it is very possible we’ll see the likes of Vito Corleone elected governor of
And then you’ll know what will happen next don’t you? That’s right. Bill Clinton will take up residence in
I’ve been hearing a lot of foolish talk lately about how George W. Bush is the worst president in the history of the
My problems with Bush stem from two areas critical for presidential leadership; Budget control over Congress’ natural impulse to spend, and leadership of the country. On these two points I think Bush has been awful and at best inconsistent, respectively.
Government tax receipts, particularly in the past two years of the Bush presidency have responded exceedingly well to the Bush tax cuts. Receipts are higher than they have ever been, a fact not at all shocking to supply siders, yet the budget deficit has ballooned beyond the point of acceptability. While I’m not going to go all Sully on you and proclaim the demise of the
Leadership though is where Bush has been a particular failure. It was a while back, but Tom at the Functional Ambivalent made the accurate observation that Bush is a guy who is real good at starting things, but lacks the follow through and energy to finish the job. He was perfect for responding to the 9/11 attacks, and initiating our original response, but when it came to leading the country over the long term, and most importantly, responding to the attacks from the disloyal left, he simply didn’t have the desire.
This, more than anything else, is what accounts for both his low approval rating and the battle weariness of conservatives in this country. We were and remain ready to fight the good fight, but when day after day rolls by with no Whitehouse leadership in responding to some of the most outrageous of claims from the left, we wonder why we should post our capital for a man who has tired of risking his.
So we have the situation that we now find ourselves in; daily attacks from the left claiming that this president is the worst of all time, when nothing could be further from the truth. Ironic, since the left seems to see a lie in everyone’s statements but their own, don’t you think?
Still, let’s examine the charge and see if we can find any truth in these claims. We all know that President Bush was left with a country that was in pretty bad shape after eight years of the do-nothing Clinton Presidency.
Sure enough, once Bush took over the trends that started under
After five years of Bush, things are by no means perfect, but are they better? I’d suggest the answer is a resounding yes.
Have there been problems along the way? Without question. There are those who have issues with the tactical plan for securing Iraq, but except for a select few, not many of these folks seem to have any solid ideas beyond the old, “we need more troops” canard. Most amusingly, some the most vociferous of critics, including our boy Andy, have never even bothered to take a trip to the country and take a look at the situation on the ground for themselves!
I’ve run on long enough here, so I won’t bore you with some of the details of the truly bad presidencies of my lifetime, but trust me; Bush doesn’t even qualify for the worst of the past 40 years. Allow me to remind you of some of the low points;
Come to think of it, George Bush is actually one of the better Presidents.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Ba dum bump.
I'm here all week.
Try the veal.
Via Vodka Pundit......... kind of. Congrats to the talented Mr. Green
Saturday, May 20, 2006
I remember the first time I saw Eminem. It was several years ago when he mad an appearance on SNL. There was certain amount of controversy around him at the time, I believe stemming from some sort of dispute with Elton John of all people. At any rate, Mrs. P and I thought it would be good yucks to see this goofball make a fool of himself on national TV; we had nothing better to do.
Well, Eminem came on and we were all ready for a good joke, but something happened. This guy came on and he was compelling. We grew silent, starred at the screen and just watched the performance. After he was done, we remained quiet for a moment, turned to each other and said, "whoa". I guess you could say he had one shot with us and definitely did not blow it.
I don't like all his stuff, but I think Lose It is a terrific little diddy. I made it my Rockin' Tune of the Weekend this week in honor of Jodie Foster. In case you weren't aware, Jodie closed her lunatic rant of a commencement speech this week by rapping part of this song. If you can find the tape, it is definitely worth a look. Then come back here and see the original.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Well I was going to wine blog tonight, but today was just one of those days.......I'm going straight to the hard stuff!
In my never ending quest to feed the beast though, I did want to post tonight, and I've got so much on my mind I don't know exactly what to blog about. Mexico suing the U.S.? Mocking the leftys over their fear of religious folk, and even making a new name up for it? How about the ongoing hope on the left that Karl Rove has been indicted? Oh I'm primed for any one of these folks but the.....ideas.....just.....keep.......coming........to........fast........can't.......take.........it!
So, I'm going to rest those things and return to one of my true loves: Food.
You see, this past Mothers Day I hit for the cycle baby; Grilled Sword Fish in Alder Smoke with a Roast Tomato/Chipotle Salsa, Grilled vegetables and Polenta. I'm not lying when I say the family vibrated with glee while consuming this meal. Wanna do it yourself? Here's how:
1.5 lbs Swordfish steaks
Alderwood chips (if you don't have alder use a light smoke wood)
Any kind of slightly spicy fish rub.
Four cloves of garlic unpeeled
1 can of chipotles en adobo
Two red peppers
One Vadalia onion
1 C Yellow cornmeal
20 0z chicken broth
20 oz water
(these two liquid measures are approximate, make the polenta so that it is like pudding)
Here we go.
30 minutes before you do anything take fish out of the fridge and apply olive oil with a brush on both sides and then rub (lightly) on both sides. Also begin to soak the wood chips in water. Turn broiler on
When broiler is hot put tomatos in and roast until one side is black and then turn over and do the other side. When done remove from oven and let cool. While tomatoes are broiling roast garlic on the stove top until partially black on a couple sides and nice and soft. Remove, cool and peel. Peel tomatoes. Put the peeled tomatoes and their roasting juices in a Cuisanart and pulse until smooth. Throw in garlic and let 'er rip until smooth. Throw in on Chipotle and two tablespoons of adobo sauce and let 'er rip again until smooth. Pour sauce into a pan and cook until it darkens and thickens to a sauce consistency about 10 minutes, add salt to taste. Careful! It's spicy.
Light charcoal (use gas and I disown you)
While Charcoal is getting ready, combine water and broth and heat on stove to just shy of boiling. Don't let bubbles form. Maintain at this temp.
When charcoal is ready put it all on one side of the grill, and coat the pepper and onion mixture with olive oil and kosher salt. Place on non-coal side of grill and roast until soft and slightly charred on the sides; about 15 minutes. Remove, cover, and store in warm place.
Take swordfish steaks and put on the coal side of the grill for 1 to 1.5 minutes. Just long enough to get grill marks. Flip to other side. Do not cook the fish in this step, you just want to color it a little.
Next move the fish to the non-coal side, throw the wood chips on the coals and cover the grill. I left them in for 15 minutes which I thought would be way too long, so you might want to go less, but they were just losing the pink in the middle when I pulled them so be your own judge.
While fish is roasting in that wonderful, wonderful smoke, go inside, fire the water/broth up to a boil (you may want to do this before you put the fish on so its boiling when you return) and drop the cornmeal in when it is boiling. Pour evenly and slowly wisking constantly so that you don't get lumps and cook. If it gets too thick add more water, slowly. Cook for about 5 minutes and turn off when you get the right consistency. Cover.
Go out, remove the fish.
Plate the fish on individual plates. Surround each serving with a 1/2 inch ribbon of the sauce, put the polenta to one side and then cover each serving of fish with some roast vegetables. Serve with some crusty bread and a hearty white wine and you've got a meal.
Note: Not the real picture of mine above. Mine looked better.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
So, once again, it is up to me to set things right in the world. Don't want women in pants my dear King? Well look up there! Or here, and here and here and here!
Heh. Got him good eh?
Oh, and Tom, I'm thinkin' this might be for you. Actually, that really works for me too.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Prior to my decent into the sonic nightmare that was the Spring Band Concert I had been providing you, my loyal and decent readers, with a visionary proposal for solving illegal immigration. I think it is safe to say that you will hear no such brilliance emanate from your President tonight, and instead will suffer the same “gassy platitudes” of the whole “we’re a country of immigrants, built on hard work and strong values etc…”
Which is why I probably should be President, but you know, who has the time?
So, on with my third and final installment in the “Let’s Buy Mexico” plan. When we last left my proposal I was anticipating the very valid objection of what in the world we would do with millions of new voters skewing the electoral process. This is really the most problematic aspect of my plan and must be addressed if we are to achieve anything approaching success. I mean after all, these folks voted for Vicente Fox!
As I mentioned before, my thoughts here are strongly based on an article that I read in the early ‘90’s by Walter Mead. In “Let’s Buy
Well that wasn’t exactly his solution so before you write this idea off, I’ll admit to a little hyperbole there. Obviously we have to let our knew Mexican voters vote, but we have to do so in a way that doesn’t “water down” the voting power of the existing blocks in the U.S. Mr. Mead’s proposal that I’ll alter here for my
In fact, the correct way to do this, and the one that might also be the most palatable to Mexican citizens is that instead of buying
The correct model for this type of ownership structure is the
In only this way do we get the benefit of our buying
Make no mistake; we are witnessing an ongoing “black market” in labor that is the result of a need that exists on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border. To try to stop it is like our efforts against so many other black markets; It is futile and we simply end up criminalizing otherwise law abiding citizens, while continuing to fail in our prevention efforts. Temporary worker programs such as that which the president will propose tonight are fine as far as they go, but remain difficult to administer, and in the end remain self deluding options for those who prefer denial to the real solution.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
I know I promised you all that in tonight's post I would address how we deal with the sudden influx of voters when we buy Mexico, but I plumb didn't have time today. Keeping the wheels of commerce well oiled occupied my day, and a special horror known only to parents of middle schoolers was visited upon me tonight: Spring Band Concert.
I will spare you the cacophonous details, but suffice it to say I sat in slack jawed amazement as I witnessed the specter of the talentless being led by the insane. Harsh you say? Clearly you haven't had the experience then. Those of us with experience know there are two absolute truths about middle school. First, no matter how long the band practices they always manage to discover new degrees of bad. Second; every school band leader in America is to one degree or another, insane. It might have something to do with dealing with Truth One above as a professional hazard, so I suppose I should be sympathetic. However, in my view, anyone who insists on throwing my child's lack of talent back in my face for a full hour and a half, deserves whatever fate results - you'll get no apologies from me.
As I sat there tonight some sort of self preservation mode kicked in, and in a bizarre turn of thoughts I found myself wondering, "What would Andrew Sullivan write, were he to attend this concert". As Mr. Mike used to say on SNL, I think it would go something like this:
Who needs taste when you're the Band Teacher? Some of us parents have long been worried by the Band Teacher's contempt for melody and harmony in her legitimate efforts to teach our children music. And we've been dismissed and criticized for it. But the more you know, the more troubling it gets. In all this, trust in the Band Teacher's tonal appreciation is important. That's gone. For good reason. You don't abandon recognizable songs, enable talentless hacks, declare the band above the proscribed timing, pile up countless misplayed notes to undermine the art and beauty of song ... and then take pains to protect the band members' self esteem. This Band Teacher, already eager to perpetuate mass hearing loss, needs more scrutiny. It may require replacing her with the Choral Instructor this fall to give it to her.
I wonder where I got that from.....hmmmm.......
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Moving south into
We must buy
Before we go further, I should mention that the inspiration for this series posts (beyond the idiotic demonstrations of the preceding week), is an article by Mr. Walter Mead that appeared in Esquire Magazine somewhere in the early ‘90’s titled, “Let’s Buy Siberia!” I’ve Googled high and low for a copy and have been unable to find it, but I do believe that the model described by Mr. Mead serves as a decent proxy for what I am talking about here. If you can locate it, it’s a worthy read and I sure would appreciate a copy.
As I said in yesterday’s preview to today’s post, buying
The numbers, of course are daunting.
Our investment horizon is 20 years (value after that is the result of new owners’ efforts)
Mexico GNP remains flat at $700B during this period
Discount Rate: 6%; admittedly high, but this is buy no means a risk free deal
Popping these numbers into my handy Excel spreadsheet I’m coming up with a value for
Of course, I have not factored in any negotiation on this deal and I’d recommend that we low ball these guys because my guess is that
In other words, it’s good to be the deep pockets guy when you’re on offense and the happy result is that I think we can negotiate this baby down to $5trillion, which still represents a fine deal for the sellers since the benefits for
We would pay off all of the country’s externally held debt of $174B
A majority of the remaining purchase price would be used to upgrade public infrastructure
A cash rebate would be paid to
The legal system would be brought up to par with
The government would be reformed into a two party system with American style checks and balances
The U.S. greenback would provide a stable currency, controlled by the Fed
This is just the beginning; the economic benefits that would accrue to ordinary Mexicans would change life as they know it today. To estimate the impact we only have to look at NAFTA’s impact to see what complete removal of the border might accomplish from an economic point of view.
Since NAFTA passed over 10 years ago the economic landscape of
Still, more can be done, and by purchasing
The question is how much opportunity can we create and how do we measure the impact this change would have on
There can be no question that Canadians have done marvelous job of taking advantage of their co-location with the
And the results would be astounding. Were Mexico to simply move into line on a per capita basis with Canada – ignoring “normal” growth and population expansion, Mexico’s GDP would increase to $2.3T annually making it by today’s numbers the fifth largest economy in the world ahead of countries such as the U.K., France, Italy, and yes, Canada itself. Remember though, that we would be making
Now I’m on to you folks, because I know what you’re thinking: “Well yah, but that growth would just come out of
Growth is growth baby, and what we would be accomplishing with our Mexican buyout would be providing the Mexican people with an opportunity to realize their full potential. We would be investing capital, making the allocation of that capital more efficient, with the resulting benefit being that Mexican growth would come from their adding increased value to the global economy! The idea that they somehow would be stealing this growth from the
The beauty part is summed up in two words people: Value Creation. Gosh, I’m almost weepy just thinking about it. Say it with me: Value Creation. Why is that so beautiful? Well yes we would be making the lives of each and every Mexican better but as wonderful as that is that isn’t really it. No, the beauty part is that
In other words, we didn’t just buy
And it just gets better. Anybody want to guess the demographics of the Mexican population? That’s right, they’re skewed towards youth. 30% of the population is under 14 and a full 94% are under 65. This matters because we need young workers with long lives ahead of them to help support our baby boom generation in retirement.
There was a time in
Tomorrow: Yes, but what about all of those voters?
Tuesday, May 9, 2006
It seems to me that there comes a time in every great crisis when the sheer force of human events demands an answer. People of all backgrounds are called upon to stand and deliver and most shrink away and try to hide from responsibility. Some people though respond to the challenge. They recognize problems as opportunity in disguise, and come forth with novel solutions that boldly define the future course of human events.
Today’s illegal immigration issue in the
Yup, you read that right. Now is the time for bold moves, for a country as great as ours to seize the day and chart our future course. We have a problem and there is only one peaceful solution, and that solution is to recognize reality and give the people of
I know, I know, this is a completely nutty idea when first considered – believe me, I said to myself, “Gosh Pursuit, have you gone nuts?” All I ask is that you hear me out. You’re probably saying to yourself, “Buy Mexico? Why that would mean expanding our borders, adding a huge number of economically disadvantaged citizens, expanding the gulf between rich and poor in our country, completely re-working the political dynamic along ethnic, economic and geographic lines! It will never work!”
Ah, my panicky friends, I do not deny that the proposal is complex and fraught with risk, but need I remind you that so is our current path? Currently we have millions of undocumented aliens crossing our border every year. We don’t know who these people are, we don’t what they are doing, and yet we provide them with social services, we offer their children who are born here citizenship, and on the darker edge of the issue, some of us exploit their vulnerability. Viewed in isolation, purchasing
So let’s examine it. First let’s look at what we know. There can be no argument that the country to our south, despite a population of good, hard working people is, by any measure, an economic and social failure. Despite sharing a common border with the most technologically and economically advanced country in the history of man,
o Yet this wealth is not shared broadly as evidenced by the fact that 53% of its people have an annual per capita income of less than $720
o The CIA Factbook lists 40% of the population as living below the poverty line, although the preceding statistic would suggest this is low
o Unemployment is officially listed as 3.9%, however at least 25% are listed as “underemployed” and
o Growth in GDP per hour has been flat for the last decade, and the gap with the
I could go on and on, but you get the idea and none of this comes as a particular surprise. Every American is well aware of the numbers of Mexican citizens that are in our country working to make a better life for both the families that they have brought here, and the families that they send money to back home. While we welcome legal immigrants to this country with open arms, and are grateful for their work in making our lives easier, it is troubling to know that these people from a country separated from ours by nothing more than a legal border have so much less opportunity at home.
I think it is reasonable to assume that were opportunities in both countries similar, Mexican citizens would prefer to remain home and enjoy the land into which they were born. Or, more importantly, were opportunities equal citizens of both countries could move freely across borders trading goods and services, working in markets that most highly value their services, and enjoying the fruits of both of our great cultures. Were our countries on a more even basis Americans would view Mexico as something more than a land of vacation resorts, cheap labor, and illicit drug production.
The problem though, is that the economic imbalance with
This is why the current debate in
So something more must be done and the truth is that there is really only one answer:
One way or another we must buy
Monday, May 8, 2006
“It’s Cinco de Mayo!”
“Yes. Yes it is.”
“We should get Mexican!”
“Um, ok, why?”
At this point the conversation could have gone one of two ways. First, I could have pointed out that as Americans we really do not have anything to celebrate and further to the point, celebrating a foreign country’s sole military accomplishment (which, naturally, came against the French) really seemed to be a bit contrived. Alternatively, I could go along with ruse, knowing that a fine meal washed down by overly sweet alcoholic concoctions made with Mexican barking juice couldn’t be all that bad.
“Phone in the order, I’ll pick it up on my way home!”
When I arrived at my local Mexican joint the scene was remarkable. As I think readers are aware I live in the whitest of white locales. The Mexican population of our fair town increases quite dramatically each day during the spring, summer and early fall at 7a.m., and recedes again at approximately 3:30. Down the road about a half mile is another town. In this town the population flows are the exact inverse of those in my town and unsurprisingly there are a couple of very good non-chain Mexican restaurants.
It was into one of these places that I went last Friday to collect our dinner. As I said the scene was remarkable. The place was absolutely jammed with happy families from both towns celebrating the holiday. What a country, huh? I mean here we were the most successful country in the history of the world. We started the week with a ridiculous mass demonstration for “immigrant rights” and were ending it with mass celebrations for the independence of the mother country of these very same protesting immigrants!
Look, I’m not completely naïve so I will not for one moment underestimate our fellow citizen’s ability to contrive a reason for the consuming of mass amounts of tequila at the end of a hard week, but still you really have got to be impressed. There, in that restaurant, two cultures otherwise divided by skin color, ethnic background and economic circumstance came together as families for the purpose of having a little fun. Does this happen anywhere else in the world? I doubt it.
I walked in the door Friday night with a smile on my face. There are those who will diminish this experience as nothing more than an artificial moment built off of a fake holiday. “Why I bet those people don’t even know what they’re celebrating” these folks will bluster, and on that point they may technically be right.
Where they’re wrong though is in understanding what was really going on. In that room, as in thousands of rooms around the country last Friday Americans of all ethnicities were finding out what assimilation is really all about. Citizenship doesn’t come with the crossing of borders or the passing of tests. It is not built on protest marches or pledges of allegiance. Citizenship is about coming to this country, working hard and making your own way in this world. It’s about learning that to be a true American one doesn’t have to give up their past so much as they must share it with their new friends and neighbors. Through these individual experiences we build a common history that links us all together, and together we point this country towards our common future.
Tomorrow: I solve illegal immigration.
Sunday, May 7, 2006
"It seems my description of him as not being a "crazed lefty" was wrong on at least one count. But then this administration has turned many previously sane, moderate people into those who want to scream at the dishonesty and incompetence of their own government."
Good News: Andy admits he is fallible.
Not So Good News: He has his ready excuse waiting.
To be candid, I really wasn't even going to link to this since it is pretty much par for the course in the world of Sully, but Jeff Goldstein actually adds some facts to the discussion which I was too lazy to do, and as is typical of the stuff over at Protein Wisdom, does so in a beautiful, amusing and unsparing way.
So, I post, link and hopefully you can be entertained.
Saturday, May 6, 2006
Now though, because you people mean so much to me, I actually take time to make a list so I can decide exactly what I'd like to feature as the weekend's selection. Me, working for you, working for me. Kind of a beautiful circle of life thing.
Today's tune is from a fairly new to me band that I'm ashamed to say came to my attention through a Range Rover commercial several (perhaps a year) months back. I'm sure you've seen it, a big ole Range Rover is driving over rocks and hills and stuff and the great tune "Have Love, Will Travel" is playing in the background.
This, of course caught my attention for two reasons; first the song is just fantastic. Bluesy rock that has the power to melt your face (apologies to Jack Black). Second, while great the song in the context of the commercial simply makes no sense.
"Have Love". Ok, I've got that part "Will Travel". No! No I won't travel! If I've got love, and I'm out there in the wilderness with a Range Rover I can assure you I will find something much better to test that Range Rover's suspension than drive over rocks!
As it turned out, the commercial version of the song was done by The Sonics (great name, that) but by the time I figured this out, I was already hooked on The Black Keys. Sorry guys. So I wanted to share the Black Keys' little diddy, "Have Love, Will Travel" with you today, but sadly I couldn't a video for it. I did find 10a.m. Automatic though, and it is nearly as good, so enjoy.
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Yet normal Americans from every corner of the country flock here for reasons that escape my ability to understand. Some come here for Disney World, some for spring break. Others just don't know any better, and most incredibly, some actually decide to spend the final years of their life on this planet in this God forsaken wasteland.
The mind reels.
Still, here I am once again. In had no way to avoid this sojourn to America's cultural back water. Some of the greatest brains in my business are here for the next two days, and I need to be here to glean whatever bits of wisdom I can. Happily, I'm staying here, and I must say for a hotel located in a squalid hellhole of a state, this baby ain't bad.
Tonight after I arrived I dined in the courtyard restaurant and had a delightful meal. Shrimp cocktail, Austrialian Barramundi roasted in a wood burning oven, goat cheese polenta and a couple glasses of white burgundy certainly eased the pain of being in Jethroville.
While the shrimp disappointed, the Barramundi in particular was a real delight. It was butterflied, roasted and served with a pickled corn chowder relish type thingy that worked well together. Now one must ask the question, "why, if you're in Florida would you order a fish from Australia?" Well, the truth is that as much as this violates my basic principles of eating local, my waitress was quite insistant that I go with the Barramundi. Ussually I reject such suggestions as just another lame attempt to move something that ain't movin' well on the menu, but tonight seemed different.
The thing is that when I'm on business trips I often find myself dining alone and I've learned a couple things. The primary of these lessons is that when you go into a restaurant alone, the service staff tends to bond a little bit with you. Now don't get me wrong because I do not like the whole, "My name is Chuck and I'll be your server tonight" thing and generally you wouldn't catch me in such an establishment unless I was stranded in a town where TGI Friday's was considered fine dining. I expect my wait staff to be professional, efficient and most of all properly solicitous. Still, when you dine alone, a good waiter will go a little extra mile to take care of you.
Tonight was no different. As a result I trusted my waitress' opinion and was well served as a result. My only mistake? This weekend the hotel is hosting the Wine Spectators' Food and Wine weekend. What's wrong with that you ask?
I leave Friday afternoon.
But this my friends is beyond the pale.....or the bowl as it turns out. Words fail me, so I'll let London's mayor, "Red" Ken Livingstone inform you:
"London Mayor Ken Livingstone lifted the lid on his toilet habits, saying Tuesday that he hasn't flushed in 15 months, according to wire reports.
Livingstone said there was "no earthly reason" to bother if there was just urine in the bowl.
The mayor urged Londoners to waste less water when getting rid of their own waste, advising gardeners to fill up a bucket and hurl it on the plants as the region around London suffers its worst drought in a century.
"If we continue to waste the amount of water that we do, London will run out of water," Livingstone, 61, said."
Red Ken, seen above keeping his kidneys full of liquid, raises a few questions along with those lattes. The first, and frankly most disturbing one is this. Why, after 15 MONTHS is his bowl only full of urine? I don't want to get too personal here, but have his bowels completely shut down? If so, I recommend he take advantage of that marvelous English public health system we always hear about!
My guess though is that Red Ken's bowels are working just fine. Look at that face. I'm not clear on when the picture was taken but he sure seems happy. If he were in the midst of a 15 MONTH BOWEL STOPPAGE I'd expect to see more of a grimace, if not some good old fashioned writhing in pain. We've all heard of the stiff British upper lip, but come on, the man is human after all.
So I suspect something else is awry here.....something very liberal. Ken is nicknamed "Red" Ken for his supposed liberal leanings after all. Lets think, what do we know about liberals, hmmmm........
Well we know they like big government solutions right? Probably not much to go on there. Ok, well we know that they love mis-guided environmental policies, and while this certainly is one such example, it still doesn't explain the Case of the Missing Poop. Hmmmm.....what could it be.
Ah ha! Liberals believe in sharing! The old from each as he is able to give, to each as they need right? Well, I think if we talked to some of Ken's fellow Londoners they'd tell us that the man is full of.........well lets just say he is full of "it". Ok? So, he certainly is able to give, and my guess is he is "giving", in locations that are not his own bathroom!
Imagine the horror then of being this man's friend. Cue dream sequence music.......
"Honey, someone is at the door, who is it".
"Why it's Ken again dear"
"What's he want at this bloody hour"
"Says his toilets stopped again"
"Yes, again. He want's to borrow ours oh dear, and he's got the Times with him"
"Well alright then, but perhaps we should suggest he try something other than bangers and mash for lunch".