Thursday, December 20, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
On the 12th day before Christmas, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is planning to unleash teams of bulldozers to demolish thousands of low-income apartments in New Orleans. Despite Katrina causing the worst affordable housing crisis since the Civil War, HUD is spending $762 million in taxpayer funds to tear down over 4600 public housing subsidized apartments and replace them with 744 similarly subsidized units–an 82% reduction. HUD is in charge and a one person HUD employee makes all the local housing authority decisions. HUD took over the local housing authority years ago–all decisions are made in Washington DC. HUD plans to build an additional 1000 market rate and tax credit units–which will still result in a net loss of 2700 apartments to New Orleans–the remaining new apartments will cost an average cost of over $400,000 each!
Affordable housing is at a critical point along the Gulf Coast. Over 50,000 families still living in tiny FEMA trailers are being systematically forced out. Over 90,000 homeowners in Louisiana are still waiting to receive federal recovery funds from the Road Home. In New Orleans, hundreds of the estimated 12,000 homeless have taken up residence in small tents across the street from City Hall and under the I-10.
I had suspected from week one of the Katrina debacle that this was going to be a white man's land grab, and this evidence is the clincher. We NEED to get a Democrat in office, stat, in enough time to turn this shitshow around.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Via The Hill
“In a political maneuver designed to block my ability to make recess appointments, congressional leaders arranged for a senator to come in every three days or so, bang a gavel, wait for about 30 seconds, bang a gavel again, and then leave,” Bush said. “Under the Senate rules, this counts as a full day. If 30 seconds is a full day, no wonder Congress has got a lot of work to do.”
Senate Democrats had held pro forma sessions throughout the Thanksgiving break to keep the Senate “in session” and block Bush from making recess appointments.
"Okay, lemme see here, this here's the NIE huh? Uncle Dick, will you read it to me? There's some powerfully big words in there. Don't you go making up stuff neither Uncle Dick, like last time, I likes my stories just the way they is."
UPDATE: A good point, considering Uncle Dick is STILL pushing for a war with Iran
“It must be understood that since our intelligence agencies don’t believe Iran has a nuclear weapons program, it also means that they don’t know where such a program would be physically located if it did exist. This means that any desires of Dick Cheney and his people to bomb Iran simply involve… bombing the shit out of Iran.”
These are very scary people
Video via Talking Points Memo, the look of contempt on his fucking face really pisses me off, he just fucking lies to the press (and don't get me started on how they just let him do that, the CIA had new info on Iran and the president didn't even ask what it was?? Bullshit!) and sneers at the American public. I fucking hate that guy.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
President Bush eagerly accepts the 'application' from now Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
Aaaaaaaaand speaking of turkey my friends and I got together this Saturday and celebrated a beautiful holiday we refer to as Friends Thanksgiving.
Many friends of mine don't have family who live close enough by that they can go home and have their prospective mothers fix them up a holiday turkey, and some of us that do have that luxury, kind of dread it because our families are crazy. It's a lose lose situation.
I happen to love thanksgiving (despite my crazy family), so I invented the holiday 'Friends Thanksgiving', a holiday so nice, I do it twice.
So the gang came over on Sunday and I barbecued a whole turkey (it came out amazing, slow smoked, dark mahogany color, deep rich flavor...unbelievable), brewed up some gravy, and made enough stuffing to feed all of Boston. We had a great time, I might have even had TOO good a time, as I had to work on Monday, but was still doing whiskey shots at 10 at night. That was a tactical error.
Riding into work on the train I bumped into two girls I worked with, and had to confess that I was still a little tipsy from the night before. Which as you professionals know, it just means the hangover is coming a little later on, as opposed to right when you wake up.
In the end, I recommend a day like Friends Thanksgiving, a lot less stressful than the real thing, and the holidays are far more fun when spent with the loved ones you chose, as opposed to those thrust on you (not that I don't love my fam, I do, it's just trying at times is all).
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I am going live with my theory, the only thing I can come up with for the rampant asshattery and thorough idiocy we have witnessed lately from the right-wing blogosphere:
They are now working in concert to say as many stupid things as possible so that we are unable to document and mock them all.
It is the only thing that makes sense.
It is John, it is the only thing that makes sense
Monday, October 29, 2007
Make sure you are in a safe location before viewing, I was laughing hysterically at work, not a good thing.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
In case you were wondering, that's salami on it, my current favorite cold cut.
Then (and I am sorry, I don't have a finished product shot of this), but I made shrimp scampi, my wife insisted. First I like to get all my ingredients prepped and ready to go.
You'll see I have some grated Parmesan, lemon zest, onion, garlic, tomato, parsley, and though you can't see it here, some white wine and cold butter cubed up. And of course, shrimp peeled and de-veined (and PLEASE, PLEASE, it's a pet peeve of mine, but if your going to serve shrimp in a dish (as opposed to 'cocktail style', where I have no problem with this) TAKE OFF THE TAIL SHELL!!!! it's the polite thing to do).
I saute the shrimp first, partially, then remove it. Add the onion until wilted and translucent, then the garlic. De glaze the pan with the white wine and then let it reduce. Once it's near depleted, add the COLD cubed butter and work it into the mix (your making a butter sauce, or a buerre blanc (I don't know how to spell it, just how to make it), making sure not to let it boil (this will cause your sauce to 'break', i.e. water separates from the fat...my old chef would make you throw it out). Now toss in your cooked pasta and shrimp, add the tomato and parsley, and cook til' warm. Serve with some crusty bread to mop it up.What's this? It's been two days since the scampi and you still have left over bread??? I am glad you came to me then! Did you know for under $4 dollars (at least here in Boston) you can get 2lbs of muscles? You didn't? Well you can! And let me tell you, once you find that out, you'll make them twice a month for sure. Again, prepare your mise en place (everything in it's place..i.e. prep). Here I have some slices of that day old bread, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, some onion, julienned, garlic, green beans, tomato and chopped parsley. Also some white wine (yes, a lot of the same ingredients as the scampi, I know, but it's how you save money, using the same ingredients, but making different meals), heavy cream, grainy Dijon mustard, and last, but certainly not least, some double smoked bacon...I love this stuff, it's slab bacon, that's been smoked twice so it has this amazing smoky flavor and a rich mahogany color... I would put it on ice cream (if I ate ice cream that is). I think it goes without saying that I have some muscles in my sink rinsed off and culled of the dead ones. A little trick I use to find the live ones is this (since it's not just that they have there shells shut, some live ones are open), give the open ones a flick with your finger, and then put aside as you rinse and inspect the rest, if when your done inspecting, the shell has not closed, then he is dead, if the shell is shut, then the sneaky bastard was just playing possum. We will have none of that. Render out your bacon first, then add your onions to soften and become translucent.
Add the garlic, and let it go for about 15 seconds, then deglaze with white wine. Throw in your muscles and then put a lid on your pan. When all the muscles have opened, pull them out of the pan (don't worry if bacon and or onions stick to the shell, no big deal, they will go back in soon enough), and reduce the wine and muscle juice. Add the cream and about 2 tbls of grainy mustard and let simmer for about 2 minutes, then re-introduce the muscles.
I forgot to mention that while all this was happening, you would be toasting the bread in your broiler until golden brown and delicious.
Place your bread, well, now it's a crostini, in the center of your plate, and scoop a big heap o' muscles on top, and don't be shy with the broth neither, as it's unbelievable when it's soaked into your bread...er...crostini.
Grab a glass of that white wine you had there and enjoy! Can you believe it's only $4 dollars for 2lbs of these things??!!!?? I mean, that's just one serving right there!!!!
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I am not convinced that the current administration has no intentions NOT to attempt a hostile takeover of our government providing they lose the next elections, and I think findings like this bolster my fears, 9/11 has nothing to do with there power grab, it's just a convenient truth.
Do what you can strip these people of power. One thing that heartens me is the military brass that have retired that are speaking out against these assholes. I feel as though the Cheney crowd has assumed that the military was in there pocket, and would blindly follow their lead. It's good to see that's not the case.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Now I know one should never really take to heart what a fat cat businessman says, but what can I do? I respond well to positive reinforcement.
So raise a glass for me tonight, and I will to you *clink*, today was a good day
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
All kidding aside, this places me at sort of a dental day one, a restart if you will. If I maintain good dental hygiene, it will be as if I never had not gone (double negative, I know!) to the dentist in the last 15 years or so, so it's all good, and worth the sacrifice.
We picked up the Little Guy's Halloween costume yesterday, and let me tell you, it's the cutest thing in the world, pictures will be posted shortly.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Wow, that's looking good eh? Let it finish up (another 8 to 10 minutes on this side, until golden brown as well), and while it's doing it's thing, why don't you make a nice salad to go with it? It's been unseasonably warm here in Boston, so I decided to make cole slaw, sort of an indoor summer picnic dinner. A tiny gentleman in the background approves of my decision.Some people use the bagged pre-cut slaw from the supermarket, but that's not for me, I hand cut the carrots and cabbage. They put a chemical on the bagged stuff to keep it fresh and the flavor disgusts me.
And then serve!
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Besides the full time job, and the little one to take care of, not to mention a significant other to spend time with, I decided it would be a good idea to take on a digital time sink.
That wasn't blogging.
I am an idiot.
If it makes you think a little less harshly upon me, the game is based on J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, and is a nerdly paradise.
Oh, I made it past the layoffs at my work (to be honest I was in no danger, I am not in the department that's fat needed trimming), I have another 'Scraping and Planing' appointment coming up at my dentist, and the in-laws dropped by yesterday. Once I get some clear thoughts on that last part, I will prepare a post for you reading pleasure.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
But I'm not from Ireland, my great grandparents, yes, they were, but not me (my grandfather was even an Irish cop in Boston, Sgt. Joe McGill, he was the Sgt. of the Division 16 police station, so let it be known that my family embraces our stereotypes...I'm even a drunk!), so I'm using corned beef brisket for my boiled dinner.
Preparation is as simple as can be, cover the brisket with cold water, about an inch over the top of the brisket (mind you, it will float, so approximate), you could, at this point, just get it a' simmering (it's been corned, i.e. brined in a salty flavorful solution), but I like to add a couple of extra flavors here, so I added 4 bay leaves, one onion (approximately, I actually used left over onion ends I had from other dishes, and don't be afraid to throw em in skin and all, we will be straining the pot liquor later) and about a quarter cup of whole peppercorns. Set your stove to medium low, and let this thing simmer for at least 4 hours, or until fork tender.
I then pull out the meat, and rest it in a roasting pan, I strain the pot liquor (the left over water from the simmer) removing the peppercorns and spent onions. I use this liquid to boil the vegetable components of this dish, cabbage, potato, and carrot.
Lastly, I crank up my oven, and place the brisket in the oven at a very high temp, what I want is to get a quick brown crust on the outside (as far as I know, I am the only person who likes to do this step, but I do like it, it's just not the usual method is all). Once the crust is established, slice against the grain into luscious thin strips and serve with your veggies and a side of mustard, it's Irish American bliss.
I saw The Departed yesterday, and wanted to reconnect with my roots.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
You may remember last month that I mentioned that I was going to the dentist for the first time in umpteen years. The visit went somewhat smoothly, as I only had 3 cavities (I guess my teeth are kind of hard) which is good.
But good is always counterbalanced by the bad (like Fox News! always fair and balanced) and I have to have a procedure done on the base of my teeth called "scraping and planing", which, I am told, is a fairly descriptive name for the procedure.
In the interest of science and for the betterment of the blogging community as a whole, I will report on this procedure once completed, look for my blog later today...if I live.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Saturday, September 15, 2007
I rolled in again around 5:30 and the owner Hank had arrived, they wanted me to start right then and there! Okay, I said, why not, let me just get my tools (knives, spatulas, etc., I kept it all in a toolbox from my hotel cooking days), and we'll get this party started. You see, the head cook of the pub had gone MIA (turns out he was in the poky) and the owner had been cooking for the last 3 days.....and he ain't no cook, believe me.
It was a trial by fire, the kitchen was a disaster area, food was unwrapped and unlabeled, meats had turned, in short, it was a shitshow. However, I am a professional, and I cleaned up as I went along, threw out the bad foods, and wrapped and labeled the good, all the while cooking up a menu that was brand spanking new to me (not THAT big a deal, since it was pub grub, but still, when you don't know where everything is it can be hard, oh, and I also had to do the dishes too, the kitchen was literally too small for another body to be in there doing dishes).
A few days later the full time guy got out of jail. The owner told me since I helped him out of a pinch, that I could pick which days I wanted to work, I chose Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and noooo weekends (I had school on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and every other Saturday), for awhile there life was sweet.
The head cook, however, was a slob...oh, and a crack addict, and he didn't like what I was doing to his little world. One day I stopped by for a beer on one of my off days, and he tried to tell me to stop wrapping and labeling the prep work on my days because it's too difficult for him to unwrap it for use!!! I just looked at him for a few seconds, and then said "yeah, I can't do that".
Let me tell you something about myself, in the kitchen, I am a bit of a control freak. It's my nature to fix what's wrong in a kitchen and get the ship steering right, this was not to the liking of the head cook, so he did what any sane person would do, smoked a ton of crack, beat his wife and got thrown in jail for 6 months, problem solved!
I told the owner Hank "look man, you need a head cook, school is wrapping up for me, let me do one year here for you, fix your kitchen, fix your menu, and make this a place where people would want to eat", he was happy to take the offer. That following year I did all the ordering, cooking, cleaning and menu retuning for the pub, it was a pretty good time, and when my shift was done, he let me drink for free, which was HUGE (well hugely dangerous, I kinda drank too much during that period).
All told, I worked there for one year (plus a few months extra as a favor while we looked for a suitable replacement), and still drink there to this day, in fact, less than 24 hours ago to be exact. I met people who I will be friends with for life, and some folk who I never want to see again, all told it was a fun year, and a great way to hang up my hat on the cooking world. I will leave you with a picture of me, in the window of the Jeannie J, screaming to be let out (you can see this photo and more on the Jeannie Jonston's web site where I am still (it's been 3 years now Hank, change the site!) listed as an employee...I am Unkle Joe)
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Okay, let's talk about an easy no fuss dinner that you can make yourself, you can serve it for dinner, or slice it smaller and serve it as an appetizer or hors de vors at your next dinner party.
While you could make your own calzone/pizza dough (they are identical), I have found that your local supermarket or bakery can provide you with a perfectly portioned parcel of dough for very little er, dough. Lame joke I know.
Buying your dough will save you HOURS of time, believe me. Pizza dough is easy to make, but the rising process is time consuming, I would just assume buy it than wait that long. HOWEVER, you will have to wait some, as if you try and roll out cold pizza dough, you are fixing up a recipe for frustration (believe me, in my restaurant days I had been known to have meltdowns and throw uncooperative dough across the kitchen, but what can you do when the orders are up?). So do yourself a favor, let the dough rest at room temperature (or even a bit warmer), in a flour lined bowl, covered with a damp tea towel. You can use it when it's room temperature.
In the meantime, whilst you wait patiently on your dough to proof and get pliable, you can prep the fixins. I want to stress that you can stuff these bad boys with anything you want, healthy things, unhealthy things, hard things, soft, you get it, I have even heard tell of desert calzones...but that sounds gross to me (I have no sweet tooth).
So I started by searing up some of Tony's awesome sausage links (Tony is the butcher of my local Italian butcher shop, he is a sweet genius of meat). Once the sausage had cooked out I threw in some onions and peppers to carmelize in the lovely pork juices.
Once my dough is ready, I rollout it out on a floured surface into a big oblong oval (is that redundant? I think it might be), I roll it out pretty thin, less than a centimeter thick, but not much thinner than that, think a thin crust pizza. Then arrange the fixins in a line down the center of the oval and liberally apply your favorite cheese, I like good ol' mozzarella for this, fold in the ends and wrap er up like an envelope. I like to tuck the excess underneath, so it looks neat and seamless.
Place the whole rigamarole onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, at this point I also like to cut slices in the top of the calzone, it looks nice, and releases excess steam while cooking, it's a good thing. Brush all exposed sides of the calzone with an egg wash (merely a beaten egg, with a splash of water to loosen it up some), season the outside with some salt and pepper, and I like to grate some fresh Parmesano Regiano on the top, it melts nice, and looks pretty, but you can sprinkle poppy seeds, or sesame seeds, or nothing at all, it's your calzone bub, not mine.
Pop it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. I like to give the ends (where the dough is thickest) a good tap, if it sounds hollow, I know the dough has cooked through to the center. Allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes, as the cheese will be MOLTEN hot, and the fixins will spill out on you if you don't. Slice it up nice and enjoy with a cold beer or a glass of wine, yumm!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
I do realize that I loathe Bush on a visceral level and always have, so I can't say that my impressions of him as person are particularly objective. He is a personality type I can't stand --- his privileged, macho arrogance and nasty, sophomoric social game of primitive dominance are about the least appealing characteristics I can think of in a man. Even if he weren't a complete idiot, which he is, he'd still be an asshole.
He'd still be an asshole, brilliant!
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
The kid scene here got a little intense for me, but all in all I was pleased, at least my ribs and sausage were a hit, as well as the previously mentioned Mac & Cheese. So without further ado, here are some phots of the day.
Sort of like the shadow in the backround in this next pic
Finally, cake and ice cream!
And as the day ended, we got a well deserved rest.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Wow, just heard that Richard Jewell has died, if you'll remember he was the security guard who was falsely accused of planting the Atlanta Olympic Park bomb. My heart really went out to this guy, especially when it became clear that the case against him was as weak as it was, and the FBI was playing dirty tricks in order to try him in the court of public opinion. I had always wanted to send him a letter saying that not everyone thought he was guilty, some people were proud of his performance that day (he cleared the area of bystanders when he noticed a suspicious package, minimizing casualties), and that not all Americans believe what is spoon fed to them by corporate media, sadly, I will never get that chance. Tonight, I will raise a glass of Guinness in the memory of this misunderstood man, and say thanks for a job well done.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Actually, I'm not gay, however.
It's ok to be gay. Stop hating yourself, and then projecting that hate onto an entire demographic of people as a form of self flagellation. Get over the stigma, get over yourself, accept yourself, and for the love of god accept other people and their lifestyles. I know I have brought this up before, but weren't republicans supposed to be the party of 'hands off', and de-regulate everything? Why do they think they have the right to regulate the private lives of consenting adults? My message is simple, accept yourself for what you are, accept that there is nothing you can do to change who you are, and accept that that it's the same for everyone around you. We are all in this together, stop trying to throw folks overboard.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
UPDATE: Okay, here is a link to the author's website, I think he might want to take a course in HTML or basic web design, it hurts my eyes. Oh, and here's a funny exchange between the fellow and a philosophy professor, I love the ending!
Subject: Re: Norman Gall, A Question
Date: March 26, 2006 5:08:01 PM MST (CA)
I am very grateful for your response, for it is quite clear that you are not very serious about what you are doing.
I wish you luck in whatever psychiatric programme you are undoubtedly undertaking.
Last but not least, I do think this fellow might be actually a little mentally ill, and that is definately NOT funny, as I have had several friends suffer from a myriad of mental conditions, and it's no picnic to be sure. It's just worrisome when a think tank adopts his rants as sane arguments for policy direction. Stop the insanity!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
That would be a gyro (pronounced 'yee-ro), it's a lamb and pork sausage spiked with oregano, slow roasted on a spit and the carved off in thin delectable slices.
This is then wrapped in warm pita bread, softened on a flat top griddle and served with lettuce, tomato, onion, and the amazing yogurt sauce tzatziki. I cannot say enough good things about tzatziki. I make it with good Greek yogurt (this is a little thicker than your American style, however, if you get the American, wrap it in cheesecloth and place in a strainer over a bowl in your fridge, let it sit for about 4 hours or so, enough water will leech out so that you have a reasonable facsimile), I then peel and seed some cucumber, and dice it fine, folding it into the yogurt. A squeeze of lemon juice (please fresh only!), and a little salt and pepper, and voila! An amazing sauce that will go good with any grilled meat.
In Greece, I am told they even put french fries in them, decadence!!!!
If you live in the Boston area, you owe it to yourself to go to Steve's Greek American, on Newbury st. and order one of these heavenly sandwiches, they make the best in town. If you can't hit up Steve's, well, you can take your chances at your local Greek pizza place, you just might get lucky and find a gyro worth loving there. Try it, you'll like it, tell them Devilham sent you!
Caesar pacified Gaul by mass slaughter; he then used his successful army to crush all political opposition at home and establish himself as permanent ruler of ancient Rome. This brilliant action not only ended the personal threat to Caesar, but ended the civil chaos that was threatening anarchy in ancient Rome – thus marking the start of the ancient Roman Empire that gave peace and prosperity to the known world.
If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestige while terrifying American enemies.
He could then follow Caesar's example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.
President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming “ex-president” Bush or he can become “President-for-Life” Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.
I swear to god I would become a Canuck so fast it would make your head spin. All kidding aside, I love this country, and would rather stay and fight for it than run away and abandon it to the likes of these ...monarchists? Imperialists? I don't know what to call them. this has to be one of the most terrifying things I have ever read. Treasonous is the only word to describe it, time to turn the name calling tables on the right and call them out for what they really are. Traitors.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
So I made a compound butter with roasted garlic, parsley, mustard and bread crumbs to smear along the top of the seared lamb while it finishes cooking in the oven, observe.
And to serve alongside, I made some skillet potatoes and sauteed green beans.
Lastly I cut 'em and plated them for the wife and me. Delicious!
Friday, August 17, 2007
3/4 cup (175 ml) yellow mustard
3/4 cup (175 ml) red wine vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar
1-1/2 tbsp (20 ml) butter
2 tsp (10 ml) salt
1/2 tsp (2 ml) Worcestershire
1-1/4 tsp (6 ml) black pepper
1/2 tsp (2 ml) Tabasco
combine ingredients in saucepan.
simmer 30 minutes over low heat.
Let stand 1 hour before using.
Refrigerate unused sauce.
I never thought that yellow mustard had much use in the world (except on a straight up classic hot dog, we will discuss on a later date), but since I have delved into the world of barbecue, this condiments usefulness has grown exponentially. My good friend Bryon thinks this is the best thing I make period. I think he's weird.
UPDATE: Hey, this is for Dr. Monkey von Monkerstein, or anyone else who might be watching there diet. The butter part in this recipe? I have almost always left out, in fact, it keeps much better if you do leave it out. if your inclined to have it in, mount the butter on the day of usage as opposed to making it a part of the original mix. but to be perfectly honest, I think the tartness is best served without the roundness of butter, and plays better off my pork rubs as such.
Nice, Friday at last. A young mans mind turns to barbecue. I am lucky that I live in a part of Boston known as Roslindale. Roslindale is one of those places that in the 80's and 90's was in pretty rough shape (the area adjacent to it, where my mother grew up, Hyde Park still is sadly), it had a run down feel to it, the parks were neglected, and small businesses had moved on to more lucrative locations. In the late 90's our democratic mayor (I mention this because I find it hard to believe a republican mayor would take this approach to stimulate business, i.e., spend some money) started a program called Boston's Main Streets. This was sort of a take on the 'broken window' theory of urban development, that is, clean up the area, take care of the parks, fix the 'broken windows', and give low interest loans to the existing storefronts targeted specifically at upgrading their facades and show windows. The results? Roslindale square (a scant two blocks from my house) is now the jewel of the Main Streets program, the square is a lovely triangle shaped park, surrounded by funky cool little businesses and restaurants. There are no less than five bakeries in the square, one at the end of my street even, and one of the best Italian restaurants outside of Boston's north end (our Italian American neighborhood). Why am I telling you this, well, it all goes back to barbecue don't it? In the square is a small butcher shop, Tony's Italian Market. The fellow who runs it, Tony, looks to be in his late 60's and is still going strong. One of the most amazing things about this place is when you order hamburger, Tony will grind it for you on the spot from hand cut choice sirloin. You have not lived until you have had a burger made with this stuff, it's texture when cooked is smooth and soft, yet still with enough tooth to feel like your eating a burger, and the flavor is so...so...meaty and good that you feel criminal spoiling it with condiments. He handmakes his own italian sausage, which admittadly most supermarkets will do as well, but let me tell you, his recipe has been perfected, he is at the apex of his career, this is not supermarket sausage. In fact, if you don't make it there by 10am, well, no sausage for you. I intend to be there at 7am. Wish me luck.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
My wife and son come back from the cape today, I can't wait to see the little guy, the house has been kinda quiet and lonely without him around. To tide us all over until I can get home and give him a hug, I give you pictures.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
1. My very first job was as a caddy at a local country club. I hated it like poison. My folks thought it was a great idea, and actually forced me and my brother to ride down there every Saturday (on our bikes, it was like five miles away, did I mention I hated it?) at 5:30am so we could lug a leather sack of lead sticks up and down a few miles of grass. If you were lucky you got a dollar tip and a single hot dog for your troubles. No I am not over it yet.
2. Dish dog!! Another job I had was dish washer at the Bell Buoy Restaurant in my coastal New England town. My brother also worked with me, and for a job that usually gets a bad rap, we had a great time working there. It was my first gig in food service, an industry I would be in and out of for the next 20 years, so it was kind of a seminal experience for me that I look upon with fondness. It's possible that time has rosed up the glasses I use to look at this particular job, but who cares, I smile when I think of it.
3. Bicycle Courier. Can you think of a more dangerous job than being a bike courier in a city renowned to be the training ground for taxi drivers in Beirut? I have broken a thumb, several toes, two front teeth, and have had about 30 feet of road rash in total in my short stint as courier. However, on a cool autumn day, no wind, temps in the sixties, there really is no better way to turn a buck.
4. I have mentioned it before, I know, but I was also a chef. This I have done for the bulk of my working career. Now I say chef, which is a head of a kitchen, which I did do for a few years (a catering kitchen called Barsamian's), but I ended my career a simple line cook. This is not as bad as it sounds though, as it was in a prestigious restaurant working under a renowned chef, and at the time it was an excellent opportunity.
Four countries I have visited
1. United States
3. The undiscovered country (my favorite of the Star Trek films)
4. nowhere else *sigh*
Four places I would rather be right now
1. Well, I have to admit, I am a bit of a homebody. I love being home, fiddling with my computers, hanging out with my son, preparing some barbecue treats, and I am home at the moment and wouldn't want to be anywhere else. But this is the game, so the next three answers will be in line with the rules, I just wanted to make the point that I am happy with being right here, right now.
2. Japan. Tokyo in particular, seems to be one of the most amazing places on earth. The shear amount of glittery lights, neon, and LED's would send me into an epileptic seizure, I am sure, but it's a chance I am willing to take.
3. Italy. There is something about a country that doesn't provide phone service in all locations, and yet has serious governmental bodies that manage the authenticity of cheese and vinegar that appeals to me. They have their priorities in order.
4. Ireland. I am an Irish American, my families roots are there, and I would love to spend some time on the island. I would take the time to visit Scotland and England as well, while I was there of course.
Four foods I would like to eat
1. Barbecued St. Louis cut pork ribs with Carolina style BBQ sauce. See my earlier posts on this, it is a passion of mine, there is something about the low and slow method of cooking that really appeals to me. I put a lot of love into it.
2. Fried chicken. My recipe is strong, my technique is solid, my chicken is the bomb.
3. Linguine with Clam Sauce. I remember when I was about five my folks took us to an Italian restaurant, and I ordered the linguine with clam sauce, and so began a life long love of the dish. The salty, cheesy, clammy (in a good way) sauce, spiked with red pepper flake and finished with butter was an eye opener for me. For those without an Irish American mother in the 70's, everything I ate before this was boiled to death, I thought I hated food, it was an epiphany. In the future I will post my recipe, try it, you'll like it!
4. Okay, it's a little white trash, but it's my Achilles heal. Taco night. Old El Paso taco kit. I know, I know!!! It's terrible!!! I actually have to push the table away when we make these, or I will gorge myself to sickness on them. I have made fish tacos on several occasions (no kit, corn tortillas, frying my own fist, etc.), and that's really quite nice, but I do love regular old taco night.
Four personal heroes
Wow, I never thought of this before, here goes.
1. Lou Reed. Here's a guy who has kept it real from day one. The Velvet Underground was one of the greatest bands of the 70's, and it's influence can be heard still. I saw Lou play at the Orpheum theater in Boston when I was 18, the band that opened up for them was a little known outfit at the time known as The Pixies. It was a freaking awesome show.
2. Malcomb Reynolds. I know he isn't real, but damn I love his Han Solo attitude, and his theify ways. Who said the heroes have to be real people?
3. My older brother. He can be a crank, a poor sport, and not always right about things, but no one has stood by me or come to my rescue in times of need. He never even questioned a thing when my wife and I lost our apartment a few years back due to a shady landlord, he just left work, got his truck, and helped us move our stuff into storage, lickety split. I owe him quite a bit, and he would never ask me to pay it back.
4. Can I say my wife? A few years back I broke my leg in 3 places. I was out of work for 11 months, and for the first 3 weeks or so after I got out of the hospital, I was so laid out I couldn't even put on my own underwear. She supported our household, and took care of me all by herself and stuck with me through thick and thin. She is truly my personal hero.
Man, that got schmaltzy eh? I guess I am just an old softie.
Four books I have just read, or am reading
1. Dress our Family in Corduroy and Denim, by David Sedaris. Funny collection of essays by the brother of Amy Sedaris, and NPR contributor.
2. Snow Crash, by Neil Stephenson. My friend loaned me this book since I love anachronistic science fiction (preferably the short stories of the golden age), and this fit the bill. It was a tremendously fun read.
3. A Scanner Darkly, by Phillip K. Dick. Good stuff, I even liked the movie based on it, it wasn't a perfect translation (a lot was left out, especially in the end), but served its purpose. Again, anachronistic sci-fi. We don't have plastic houses.
4. Windows Server 2003: Network Administrator, by Craig Hunt and Roberta Bragg. Dry as toast technical manual, however, it's the server software my firm uses, and if I ever want to move up, I have to keep expanding and learning, I am reading this now.
I don't know if I am causing a 'broken chain' situation if I don't tag anyone else. I am new in this here blogosphere, and only know a few folks. To be honest, I was much more of a lurker in the past, and not a poster, and am not sure of who to tag. If I am making a giant breach of protocol by not forwarding this meme please let me know and I will come up with something, but for now would it be ok if I just left it like this?
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
So the dentist wasn't so bad...this time. I have to come back and get something called a "scrape and plane" ***shudders*** This involves scraping my teeth below the gum line of all the schmutz (that's a technical dentist term, sorry to bore you with my high tech jargon) that's built up on my teeth and then planing the tooth smooth so as to discourage further buildup. It sounds awful. Pray for me.
So as I left work last night a co-worker flagged me down to give her a hand with a printer that was giving her guff, so I naturally obliged. Well, since I was almost out the door I had my keys in my hand, so when I repaired the printer, I accidentally left my keys on the printer. I left for home.
The lovely young lady who I had helped called me on my cell phone (ever present since the leg incident, seriously) to let me know the fate of my keys, no worries says I, I have a spare set at home, just leave them on my desk, and thanks for the call.
I did have a spare set at home, and my wife and son were also both home yesterday, so it really wasn't that big a deal. Those two were getting ready for a road trip to the cape (Cape Cod, the Irish Riviera, God's own country) to spend a few nights at a friends cottage. We all left the house together, me with my spare keys, those two off for some fun in the sun. My plan was to hit the dentist, come back home, shower, shave, and then off to work. On my return from the tooth man, I walked in my house, put my keys on counter, went to get my mail, AND PROMPTLY LOCKED MYSELF OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!
So I had to go to work in shorts and a T-shirt to get my original set of keys and tell my boss, yeah, I won't make it in today after all. But don't cry for me Argentina, I got a 6 pack of Guinness stout, the house to myself, and even a spot of scotch whiskey to turn this day around. That's me, I'm a glass half full of scotch kinda guy, not half empty.