Monday, December 28, 2009

The Thought For Today

"To wear your heart on your sleeve isn't a very good plan; you should wear it inside, where it functions best." - Margaret Thatcher

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Thought For Today

"Anybody can become angry -- that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way -- that is not within everybody's power and is not easy." - Aristotle

The Hard Truth From Orlando

To paraphrase the old murder rhyme, “And Knox the girl who bought the beef.”

Well, the verdict is finally in on the Amanda Knox murder trial. She’s been tried a by a jury of Italians (I doubt we’d consider them peers) and found guilty of the murder of her British roommate. Of course, there’s reasonable doubt that she in fact committed the murder or had anything directly to do with it. But make no mistake, Amanda was guilty. She was guilty of being a typical self-centered American twit who went to a foreign country, allegedly on a study program, and instead acted like she was still attending her local community college. She partied, ran around with trash, talked trash, had sex with guys she wasn’t engaged to, and generally acted in a manner guaranteed to bring negative attention to herself. Then when her roommate was murdered and she was brought in for questioning, she continued to behave like a Barbie blow-up doll, smooching all over her boyfriend in the police station, giggling and being egocentrically stupid while her butchered roommate lay, grotesquely murdered, in the morgue.

And personally, I wonder if it wasn’t Amanda who, if she didn’t kill her erstwhile roomie with her own hands, indirectly caused her roommate’s death by drawing the murderer’s attention to herself and her residence, or – as in so many American murders, opening the door to the human riff-raff who perpetrated the crime. Most of us have had roommates like that – who welcome all comers, don’t lock up behind themselves, and invite people they’ve met in bars to “stay over.” They’re oblivious to their own safety and don’t give a damn about yours. They run their mouths about their personal business in public places and they’re not averse to telling yours at the same time. And to compound Amanda’s error, she did it in a foreign country.

What most Americans don’t realize is how poor a reputation we have overseas. Our movies portray us as drugged-out, sex-crazy, fornicating at the tug of a zipper, with no sense of shame, decorum or modesty. And then our young men and women go overseas and prove it, because – hey, I’m not home. Nobody at home is going to know what I’m doing. And the folks are not here to tell me how to behave.

Italy is not Vegas – and what happens in Italy , doesn’t necessarily stay in Italy .

Amanda’s learned what hundreds of other young Americans overseas have learned. You don’t have the same civil rights overseas that you do here in the United States . In foreign legal systems, innuendo and hearsay are treated as facts and you can be convicted solely based on the impression you make on the people around you. By Italian standards, she behaved like a common whore, cavorting with low-lifes and freaks; her reactions to the crime were callous and disaffected. Her credibility was shot before she ever came in the courtroom, due entirely to the impression she made on her Italian neighbors and the police. And no matter what her parents and country do, she’s derailed her future and her family’s with her lousy sophomoric decisions.

Amanda ostensibly went to Italy for an education. I’d say she got one. I hope others learn from her, but I doubt it.

Florida Cracker

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Burger King Showercam

I can't wait until the HD version comes out...and I really, really, miss British advertising...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Thought For Today

"No man is rich enough to buy back his past." - Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Hard Truth From Orlando: An Open Letter

Monday, 12/7/09
Orlando, FL XXXXX
TO: Senator Bill Nelson
United States Senate
716 Hart Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
re: Health reform
I'm not optimistic about the healthcare bill passing. As usual, the Republicans have started waving the Anti-Abortion red flag around in order to derail any healthcare initiative. You know, I'd rather pay for abortion on demand than the endless expenses of the unwanted, abused and neglected children produced by our nation's wholly inadequate sex education and counseling programs -- inadequate because Republicans and the so-called Moral Majority and Religious Right refuse to move forward into the 21st century.
The "just say no" approach isn't and never was rational or realistic. We've restricted adequate healthcare and counseling to minors based on the faulty premise that it is the parents who are primarily responsible for their children's well-being and information. Well, statistics show that we don't have a country of uniformly responsible and rational parents. Minors need alternatives for rational, unbiased information and resources. Meaningful school sex-education has been brought to a standstill by Republicans and special religious interest groups. Access to reproductive healthcare is restricted both by gender and age -- disparately impacting underage but reproductive-age women. I would think that was grounds for anti-discrimination measures, but our patriarchal legislators don't seem to see past what they want for their affluent, educated daughters toward what's just and equable for all the young women of this country.
Arguments about my tax money being paid for abortions doesn't wash, either. Ask any tax payer, if it's an inexpensive abortion or footing the bill for 18 years of welfare programs and anti-poverty initiatives for an unwanted child and its mother, which would you rather pay? Which could you afford to pay? And healthcare for women is already biased. Many healthcare providers don't cover contraceptives and some reproductive procedures for women -- but they pay for Viagra for men. Like the cigarette industry, healthcare insurance corporations are intent on breeding an endless supply of consumers.
Well, I'm tired of footing the bill. I'm tired of the rhetoric and I'm tired of legislators who live in the rarified atmosphere of Washington deciding how best I'm to be served, based on their lifestyles and religious beliefs. Put the vote directly to us, the regular taxpayers, on whether we want the healthcare reforms. End the insurance industry's stranglehold on our financial futures, the medical profession's insane prices for service, and get us some realistic options.
And tell the Republicans, if they want to be the fathers of their country -- fine. Every woman who has a child she didn't plan for and can't afford should be able to put a Republican representative's name on the birth certificate and let him pay child support. Watch how fast abortion becomes sacrosanct.
Good luck up on the Hill. I know you're trying.

Florida Cracker

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Thought For Today

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." - Napoleon Bonaparte

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Thought For Today

"A yawn is a silent shout." - G. K. Chesterton

Rec: Microwave Roux (no more sweating over the stove for us lazy folk)

For Four Cups Of Roux

2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup green bell peppers, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, tops included,chopped
1/4 cup hot water, approximately

Mix oil and flour together in a 4 cup glass container (I use a
Pyrex 4c. cup). Microwave uncovered on HIGH for 6-7 minutes.
Stir at 6 minutes with a wooden spoon - roux will be a light
brown at this time and will need to cook 30 seconds to 1
minute longer to reach the dark brown color so important
in making Louisiana gumbos and stews. The roux will be
VERY HOT, but usually the handle on your measuring cup
will stay cool enough to touch. When the roux has reached
a very dark brown (think a coffee grounds dark brown),
remove from microwave and CAREFULLY (remember-
the roux is very hot!) add the onion, celery, and bell pepper,
a little at a time. Stir and return to microwave. Saute' on
HIGH for 2 minutes. You should now have about 3 3/4 cups
of roux. If any oil has risen to the top, you can pour this off.
Slowly, add enough hot water to bring the roux to the 4 cup
mark. Stir and you will have a smooth, dark roux in only 12
minutes! Roux freezes very well and you are ready at any
time to put together a delicious gumbo or stew.