Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Well....that was certainly....exciting

Nothin like the sound of gunfire...close gunfire...to get the ole adrenalin pumpin. Makes ya feel...alive.

So. I had the occasion to be down in the southern-most portion of the city late this afternoon. I was on the street just to the south side of Harrison Homes...can't remember what it was.

Aaanywho, I got about mid-block, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw 4 or 5 young guys standing about...I dunno...25-30 feet from the sidewalk, maybe. I didn't pay a whole lot of attention. I get just past 'em and...


Did you know that it is possible to duck and floor the accelerator at the same time? 'Course, ya can't see where you're goin, but that's just a small detail.

My very first thought was fireworks. And then I remembered just exactly where I was.

I went around the corner onto Montana on two wheels, I think. And heard another...


Ok, that was definitely not fireworks.

And, I've gotta tell ya...I'm such a dork. My second thought?

Marge Gunderson in "Fargo" (my favorite movie of all time), wearin her hat with the ear flaps and yellin, "Shots fired! Shots fired!"

I whip around the corner onto Griswold and as I'm digging in my purse for my cell phone to call 911, the popo comes wheelin around the corner, headed in the right direction.

So, I'm out on Adams, about half-way through town and sittin at a stop light...and I start laughin hysterically...about me thinkin about Marge Gunderson...at a time like that.

If anybody'd have seen me, they'd have thought I'd lost my mind. heh

Monday, June 29, 2009


It was beautiful yesterday. It was one of those days you wish you'd have taken a picture of.

So I did. (click on photos to enlarge)

We had a big thunderstorm Saturday night, so Sunday was one of those crisp, clear, reasonably cool days...ya know what I'm talkin about? The days that feel like they've been scrubbed clean and everything just sparkles.

In other words, it was the perfect day to take out Rhett (our 'vert) and give him a run for his money. And run, he did.

Despite his age, he can still keep up with the best of 'em.

What better accessory for a car named "Rhett" than a pirate flag?

We headed up 29 and took a sharp left towards Camp Grove. I'd never been there before...and frankly, I hadn't missed much. It was a beautiful drive, though. I looooved all the enormous, sculptural windmills, juxtaposed with the rolling corn fields and old barns.

We looped around Bradford, stopping at the local Casey's for a pee and a drink...in that order...then on to Henry, crossing the bridge and following the river down the other side, through Lacon and Spring Bay.

We wound up in Creve-tucky, at Captain Ron's, a beer-and-sandwich joint that hangs out over the river. See? No matter what we do, we're always drawn back to the muddy Illinois.

Sunburned and bellies full of Reuben sandwiches, fried dill pickles and home-made tenderloins (YUM!), we headed back across the river, winding up again on 29 and circling our way back home.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You might wind up with salmonella or typhus...

...but by golly, you'll have a nice, shiny new museum to visit.

Over the last several years, I've tried really hard not to blog about work. I happen to love what I do and would hate to think that something as trivial as a blog post would cause me to lose my job.

However, now that's more than likely a moot point.

I mentioned in an
  • earlier post
  • that the possibility exists that I'll soon be on the dole. That possibility is becoming more like a probability.

    The PJStar mentioned it
  • here
  • , too.

    As our administrator said the other day in a meeting, there's a "perfect storm" happening right now. Many of the programs that are administered by the Peoria City/County Health Department are funded by grants. Those grants will just...go away...if the State of Illinois isn't able to reach an agreement on a budget. In addition, the county, which also partially funds the HD, is in some pretty dire financial straits as well.

    Just one of those issues might be manageable. Put the two together and it paints a pretty bleak picture for the Health Department.

    "So what?", you say. "It won't affect me. The state and county budget is bloated and ineffective, anyway."

    I agree with that. To a point.

    But are you sure it won't affect you?

    Do you have well water that needs tested? Sorry. You'll have to send the sample to Springfield and wait...and wait. In the meantime, feel free to drink the water. A little typhus never hurt anybody.

    Wanna eat out? Are you sure the food is safe to eat? Aww, go ahead. Live dangerously. The Health Department doesn't have the funds to hire restaurant inspectors anymore. Make sure you follow your server into the bathroom...just to make sure he/she washes her hands. After all...the Health Department doesn't provide signs anymore...and they might forget. Salmonella really isn't too bad. Botulism or Hepatitis? Ewww...good luck.

    How about flu season? Sorry. No more $30 (or free if you can't afford to pay for it) flu shots at the Health Department. You'll have to see your own physician...and pay $100. Oh...and thinking about traveling abroad? Nope. We can't do foreign travel immunizations anymore, either. And good luck getting them from your own doc...most of them don't normally stock cholera vaccine.

    Think you might have an STD, don't have insurance and are too embarrassed to see a regular doc? Too bad, so sad. You'll have to go to the emergency room. After all...if you don't have the money for it, the state'll pick up the tab, right? And you know the ER will teach you how to not get infected again. /sarcasm.

    Are you young, pregnant and have virtually no family support. Tough. You're on your own, sister. You won't have a helpful case manager to call anymore to encourage you to get an education, to teach you how to become self-sufficient, to teach you how to care for your baby, to offer moral support.

    Are you an infant with multiple medical problems? Remember that nice nurse that used to come and see you every couple of months and do a complete physical to make sure you're still doing ok? Sorry. You won't see her anymore. Your young, inexperienced mom is on her own. Good luck! I hope you don't grow up to have a severe learning disability, which requires you to suck even more funds from that bloated state government.

    Worried about West Nile Virus? Awww...put on some OFF and shaddup. I hear living on a vent isn't really that bad. Oh! And then you can go on disability...and probably get just all kinds of public aid.

    What if...just what if this H1N1 virus decides to get really nasty this fall? Oh, the Health Department has plenty of vaccine. Just no employees to administer the shots.

    What if some other nasty bug rears it's ugly head? Same deal. The HD might have a vaccine...but no employees to administer it.

    What if there's a natural disaster...like a tornado? Again, the HD might have much-needed supplies. But you'll have to come and get 'em yourself. And, gawd forbid...what if some whackjob like Ahmadinnerjacket decides to douse the good, old USA with some kinda biological agent? Best to breathe deep and just get it over with quick. Again, the HD has supplies...but no employees to get 'em to the people.

    Need free condoms? Sorry. You'll just have to get pregnant so you and your baby can go on welfare. That's waaaay cheaper than free condoms, right?

    I could go on and on. But I think you get the picture.

    I'll be ok without my job. I'll miss it like hell...but I'll be ok. And I'll just keep telling all my co-workers that won't be ok that "It's better here". Yea. That's what I'll say.

    As for the State of Illinois...well...what can I say? It's always been this way, and I don't see politicians developing any kind of compassion for their constituents any time soon. It's always been a buncha lip service and tryin to prove who has the biggest balls.

    And Peoria County obviously thinks that building a gazillion dollar, white elephant of a museum is far more important than maybe saving a life or two. Or a thousand.

    I'm just so...disappointed.

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    The things ya see when ya don't have a gun

    Perhaps the world is better off without me having a concealed carry card

    Like that silver Mitsubishi Outlander pullin a U-ie right in front of me, right smack dab in the middle of Main Street this afternoon.


    Or like the dude in McDonald's on University, moppin the floor with his damn pants hangin below his skinny ass-cheeks.

    Ok...I've gotta elaborate on this one.

    Because of several important...and I use that term very lightly...meetings at work today, I didn't get a chance to go to lunch til about 2. I knew I had an appointment waaaay the hell out in BFE at 3:30, so I wanted something quick.

    I stopped in MickeyD's and ordered a salad and an iced tea.

    As I sat there, eating my salad, I noticed this young guy...really tall and really skinny...come walkin around the corner of the counter with a bucket and mop.

    He moved with a lassitude that can only be described as...painful. It was like swingin that mop was just way more than he could handle. Poor thing. He surely must suffer from some dreadful, debilitating disease that causes excruciating agony with any small movement.

    Uh huh.

    As he lethargically swiped at the floor with the dirty mop, I happened to notice that the back of his pants were, indeed, hanging just under his scrawny ass-cheeks, fully exposing his gray boxers.

    I mean...c'mon...gray underpants? If you're gonna show yer ass, hadn't ya oughta pick some damn underwear that's a little more colorful?

    And on what fucking planet is this supposed to pass for "style"? And just why in the hell do we seem to think this is ok?

    They don't look cool. They don't look...whatever the trendy word is now. It's not a fucking political statement of some kind. They just look like a buncha half-wits, walkin around with their pants hangin under their ass.

    I'm pretty damn sure if I went walkin around with my pants hangin under my ass cheeks, somebody'd complain about it. Maybe I oughta try that sometime...just to see what would happen.

    Anywho, McDonald's wasn't very busy, so I had nothin better to watch.

    About every second or third swipe with the mop, he'd give his pants a hike up...and they'd slide right back down, coming to a rest just at that little fold under his pretty much nonexistent butt.

    I was mesmerized at the rhythm of it all.

    Swipe...swipe...yank. Swipe...swipe...yank. Swipe...swipe...yank.

    I mean, it totally defied all the laws of physics. What the hell kept 'em from just sliding right down around his ankles?

    Well, there was only one thing I could think of. And I didn't wanna think about that.

    What I really wanted to do, was walk up to him and kick him right square in the ass, and in my best Jimmy Cagney...or maybe it was Edward G. Robinson...I don't remember...voice, say, "Pull yer pants up, Spartacus!"

    Well, it's a hot one...

    ...like seven inches from the midday sun...

    At 4:20 pm this afternoon, I was sittin at a stop light, right downtown on Adams...and my car thermometer read 103.

    One hundred and three freakin degrees.

    I thought it might just be a fluke, but a couple of bank thermometers backed it up.

    Here at the River Rat Retreat, the breeze from the river makes it a balmy 97.

    But I mean...really...when it gets this hot, what's a measly 6 degrees?

    As if the heat isn't bad enough, the humidity, which is like 85%, makes it feel positively sauna-ish and shoves the heat index up from "barely tolerable" to "strip nekkid and play in the hose". It's far worse than I remember ever experiencing when I lived in Florida. There was at least a friggin breeze there. Here, nothing. The air is just dead and still.

    Far as I'm concerned, whoever invented air conditioning is a friggin god.

    Monday, June 22, 2009

    We had a wheelie busy weekend

    My shiny, new Huffy. Which is what I'll be doin the first few times I ride 'er. heh

    Notice the wide, wiiiiide seat? Just perfect for my wide, wiiiide ass. Now, I need a basket...and maybe a squeezy-horn...oh, and maybe some streamers for the handlebars.

    Not to be outdone, da Zigster just hadda have some new wheels, too. Ok...so it was ok with me, too.

    (As with all photos, click on to embiggen)

    Ain't he pretty? I think I'll name him "Rhett". The finish reminds me of Clark Gable's black and Brylcreemed hair. heh

    While the exterior isn't in pristine shape, it is excellent for a 17 year old car. In fact, it's excellent for a 5 year old car. I swear ta gawd, though...the real leather interior looks like it's fresh off the showroom floor.

    It's got power...everything, which I'm not too crazy about, but it all still works. And all things considered, I guess if we hafta pay to have one of the buttons fixed, it ain't that big a deal.

    I don't think the boot has ever had anything in it except the top cover.

    And the best part?

    That's actual miles. On the original engine. And, it was a one owner.

    He used it like we plan to...as a "play" car. He kept it garaged in the winter and only drove it when the weather was nice.

    Wheeeee! We can go topless again!

    My slightly green thumb

    Despite having worked at a florist/greenhouse for 5 or 6 years, I seem to have forgotten a whole lot of stuff concerning growing things. Luckily, I tend to pick things that are a little more unusual, but pretty much care-free.

    I don't remember the name of this tall, spiky-looking plant was...but I loooove it. It's kinda tropical-looking...in a gigantic, pineapply sorta way. I stuck in some pony-tail grass and a purple sweet potato vine and I think it looks kinda cool.

    Now let me tell ya about my elephant ears.

    I had one helluva time gettin the bastards to grow. Waaay last spring, I bought four corms or tubers or whatever the beginnings of 'em are called...they look like round, lumpy balls...at Lowe's. When it started to look like spring might happen, I planted 'em according to the directions on the package. And waited. And waited. And waited.


    Sooo, I found one...already started...at one of our local greenhouses. It was a purple one...and I wanted the green one...but took what they had. I planted it in the same container as the dead-beat balls. And guess what?

    They all started growing. So I bought more pots and more potting soil and transplanted 'em.

    Now that it's gone directly from winter to summer...the temp is in the 90's today, with a heat index of like 110...you can damn near watch 'em grow. I swear...they grow an inch or two a day.

    I guess tropical plants tend to like tropical weather, huh? And it's definitely tropical around these parts today.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009


    ...Cheeseburger in paradise!

    It's almost time for The River Rat Retreat's Third Annual Flag-wavin, Beer-swillin, Cheeseburger in Paradisepalooza!

    And all my bloggity friends are invited.

    See...from our one, particular harbor...uh...wait...got a little carried away with the Buffett lyrics.

    From our little vantage point on the river, we have great views of both Chillicothe and Peoria's fireworks celebrations. The past couple of years, we've shared the day and our great view with just a few close friends...but this year we've decided that we wanted to have a big whoop-te-doo...so we're gonna.

    The festivities will kick off on Saturday, July 4th (duh) at 4 pm or thereabouts... and continue on until the last dog is hung. So to speak.

    If you'd like to attend our little soiree, shoot me an email (follow that little link over there......> on the sidebar)...and I'll send ya all the gory details.

    If you like spectacular fireworks, great food and laughing til your face hurts, I'm reasonably sure you'll have a great time. And, if you're really lucky, you'll get to hear da Zigster and his bud do show tunes...like "Oklahoma"...at the top of their lungs.

    It ain't pretty. But it's pretty damn entertaining.

    Not your ordinary rabbit food

    We eat a lot of fresh vegetables every week. Usually a couple-three servings a day, anyway. And some of our favorites are broccoli and cauliflower. More fiber!

    I fix both steamed, roasted, raw with some kinda dip, in pasta, with different kinds of sauces...just about every way you can think of, but I'm always on the lookout for a different way to prepare our two favorites.

    We were at a party this past weekend. Someone (I never could find out who, exactly) brought a fabulous salad made with fresh broccoli and cauliflower. Because I couldn't figure out who brought it, I couldn't get a recipe. So, I did what I usually do in cases like this.

    I analyzed it...then came up with my own recipe.

    Frankly, I think mine's better. It's easy-peasy, yummy but even better after a day or two and great for those summer cookouts.

    Broccoli/Cauliflower Salad

    1 head of cauliflower and 1 big bunch broccoli (about the same size as the cauliflower)
    1 medium sized red onion, finely diced
    1/2 C raisins
    1/2 C shelled, salted sunflower seeds
    1 C Light Miracle Whip (or real mayo...your preference)
    2% milk or fat-free half & half (that's what I used)
    part of a packet of Sweet N Low (or 2/3 t sugar)
    salt & pepper

    Break up the cauliflower and broccoli into small, bite-sized florets and place in a big bowl.
    Add the onion, raisins and sunflower seeds.

    In a smaller bowl, mix enough milk or half & half into the Miracle Whip or mayo to make a thick, but "pourable" dressing. Add the sweetner or sugar and salt & pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the veggie mix and stir until everything's coated well with the dressing.

    As with most of my recipes, I "guesstimated" the amounts of ingredients. Adjust 'em according to the size of the heads of cauliflower/broccoli - you might hafta use a little more or less Miracle Whip or mayo...just make sure you've got enough to cover all the ingredients well.

    If you use a "normal" sized heads of cauliflower and broccoli, it makes a BIG bowl full...plenty for a big family get-together or cookout.

    I kneed a little cheese with my whine

    I kneed a new knee, too.

    Well, maybe not a whole new knee. Maybe just an overhaul.

    Finally talked to my doc about my left knee yesterday. He did an x ray and it showed that I have just a teeny scrap of cartilage left...not nearly enough for peak performance.

    He did give me a shot of a steroid and some kinda 'caine right into the joint. Hurt like a MOFO...and still does. But it helps...eventually. Takes it about a week or two to feel the optimum effect and it usually lasts several months.

    But he did say that whenever I was ready, he'd provide a referral to an ortho for some arthroscopic surgery.

    All righty, then. I'll hafta think about that.

    In other, even more cheerful (not) news, I could very well be out of a job, come July.

    The story is
  • here

  • No, I'm not a state employee. But I do work in the "social service sector". We depend on the state for grants...which will be some of the first things to go if and when the deep cuts come.

    It's kinda funny...reading some of the comments in regards to the article. Well, it's not funny. Most people just don't understand and take the "may have to cut 10,000 state jobs" to mean the fat-cat Springfield bureaucrats.

    "Great, I can't think of any good reason to keep excess government employees. As with most government jobs, many will never be missed."

    "Sympathy has nothing to do with it. Why should these employees enjoy 100% protected status for life and cost-of-living increases too, when many thousands of (private sector) workers don't. Maybe layoffs will bring to the la-la land of government a better understanding of what reality is and what normal people face.

    "Let 'em all go. Let another 10,000 go. Government should be a bare bones operation. It is not there just to provide union jobs, wages and benefits. The government is way too willing to raise taxes to support the inefficient and unproductive. Let 'em earn their keep in the private world"

    I tend to agree that the state government has far too many bureaucrats. However, most of those jobs won't get cut. It'll be the little people. Like me.

    They're also not thinking about the trickle-down effect.

    Let's say they cut grants for child care. Let's further say that you're a young, single mother, working full time at a local retail store and going to college part-time. You bring home...what?...$200 a week? You pay just $25 for child care per week...the rest is subsidized by one program or another.

    As an aside, did you know that it costs anywhere from $200 to $350 PER WEEK, PER CHILD for child care in the Peoria area? If you're a woman, working a minimum-wage job, you depend on subsidized child care. You can't afford it, otherwise. Hell, a lotta people with good jobs struggle with this.

    Despite what a lotta people believe, in order to qualify for TANF (public aid) money, you have to have a full-time job of some kind...or go to school full-time. It's not "free" money. It's a subsidy.

    Um...ok, so the young woman can't work...because she has no child care. And she can't go on the dole...because she can't work...because she has no child care.

    Can you say "Catch-22"?

    The young woman will be out of a job because she can't afford child care. The child care provider will be out of a job...because the young woman...and 30 or 40 more just like her...can't afford child care. The child-care provider's mechanic will be out of a job...because the provider doesn't have a job...because the young woman can't afford day care. And on. And on.

    Yea, yea, yea. I know. If you can't afford a kid, don't have one. Go to college and get a degree and get a better job. Have your parents watch your kids...like we did.

    I agree with that, too. But what about the babies that are already here? What about the girl who has just an 8th grade education? What about the girl who doesn't even have a relationship with her parents? Who has no kind of family support?

    That's what I deal with every single day. There are hundreds and hundreds of girls just like this in the Peoria area. Thousands state-wide.


    Like everyone else, I hate the idea of raising taxes. But I have no idea what the answer is.

    Gotta admit, though...having the rest of the summer off just doesn't sound too bad.

    Monday, June 08, 2009

    As gawd is my witness...

    (shaking fist at sky)...I'll never go without hot water again!

    Behold! The T-Creator Navien Natural Gas On-Demand Hot Water Heater!

    It'd make ole Rube Goldberg positively pea-green with envy.

    Hmmm...seems I'm channeling Katie-Scarlett O'Hara this evening.

    La-de-dah! I don't care. I've got hot water. Right outa the faucets, even! No more planning two hours ahead to take a bath. No more hauling pan after pan of stove-heated water to fill the tub. No more rinsing my dishes in cold water.

    Seven gallons per minute of perfectly-heated, 125 degree water...instantly.

    As you can tell, the unit...heheh...she said "unit"...is waaaaay up high. The bottom of it is about 7 feet from the floor of our teeny-weeny back foyer.

    I'm tellin ya...if this baby gets ruined by flood water, we're in deep shit, indeed. As in Noah's Ark deep shit...er...water.

    Hot water...or lack thereof...would be the least of our worries.

    I was pretty happy with the whole installation process, too. It was a couple of young guys...looked barely outa high school, fer chrissake...but they seemed to know what they were doing. It took 'em about 5 hours or so to install...but that included running all new gas, water and electric lines.

    If anyone's interested, the company that installed it was Mike Fauser Plumbing and Heating of Peoria. Like I said, I was pleased with the installation. Of course, it remains to be seen how it'll do...and what the future service is like.

    I shoulda told him I've got a blog...and know how to use it. heh

    In the past several days, I've done a little research on these tankless hot water systems. Consumer Reports says most of 'em only save about 70-80 bucks a year in energy savings. So it's gonna take a loooooong damn time for this baby to pay for itself. Fortunately, that's not the reason we chose to go this route.

    I just wanted to be able to take a damn shower the next time we get flooded.

    Anywho, I tested it out a few minutes ago...aaahhhhhh. My first shower in over a month.


    Sunday, June 07, 2009

    R & B...with grilled asparagus on the side

    It's been a fun weekend here at Zig's River Rat Retreat.

    Last night, we hit da Zigster's 40th....ohmyfuckingawdhe'sOLD...class reunion. Well, part of it, anyway. We skipped the "dinner" and hit the River Valley Bowl in Henry for the "party" part.

    Henry-Senachwine Class of '69...well, part of the class. Ziggy's there on the far right...slingin his bottle of Corona around.

    I had a great time and really liked most of his classmates I met. Honestly, having also grown up in a little river town of similar size, it seemed like home to me.

    The entertainment for the evening was provided by the band with no name. It was put together by Bob McBride, the brother of one of Zig's classmates...and they were awesome. I feel bad I didn't get the name of all the guys...I know one was Dave Scott...but I think the rest were from Chicago. Whoever they were, I'd love to hear 'em again sometime.

    I managed to sleep til 10 this morning...kind of unheard of, lately. Fortunately, I managed to sleep through what few...ah...aftereffects...I might have had from partying last night.

    Even though it was kind of gloomy with a few little sprinkles of rain, we decided that steak on the grill might hit the spot.

    Earlier this week, I snagged some fresh asparagus at our local grocery. I wanted to try grilling some, so figured it might be the perfect accompaniment to our ribeyes. And it was.

    Grilled Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic

    1 1/2 lb. fresh asparagus spears, washed and trimmed
    3 T olive oil
    4-5 cloves fresh garlic, grated
    Zest of one lemon plus maybe 1 t lemon juice
    Salt & pepper

    Mix the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest & juice, salt & pepper. Throw the asparagus in the marinade and smoosh it all around. Grill the marinated spears on a medium-heat grill for about 5 minutes, turning once.

    I thawed out some pre-cooked shrimp, so we had shrimp cocktail along with our steak and asparagus. We had a feast.

    I think it's time for a nap. heh

    Friday, June 05, 2009

    Whore Pasta with Chicken

    So da Zigster and I were watching some cooking thing on tv the other day. I don't remember what it was, but they were doing a
  • Pasta Puttanesca

  • Zig, lover of all things wordy, says, "Wait. Isn't 'puttanesca' the Italian word for whore?"

    I replied, "Uh huh. I think it's
  • derived from it, anyway

  • Laughingly, I commented that maybe they named it that because of the addition of anchovies...an intensely salty/fishy little...fish.

    Ok, so in this case, it actually means something worthless or garbage.

    Aaaanywho, what I caught of the recipe sounded good, so I gave it a whirl last night. 'Course, I didn't bother to find the recipe ahead of time...just winged it. But I chose to go with the "literal" meaning of the word when naming my own recipe. heh

    Naturally, our little grocery store here in town didn't have anything even resembling anchovy paste, but they did have some little tins of anchovy fillets, wrapped around capers. Worked great since the recipe calls for capers, anyway. The anchovies just melt into the sauce, giving it a unique flavor.

    Whore Pasta with Chicken

    2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, roasted & cut into bite-sized pieces
    1 14.5 oz Rold Gold petite-diced tomatoes
    1 8 oz can Rold Gold tomato sauce
    8 oz water
    1/2 medium sized onion, chopped finely
    1/2 large green pepper, chopped finely
    5-6 medium to large cloves of fresh garlic, grated
    1 small tin anchovy fillets, drained
    A handful of capers
    1 teaspoon dried basil
    Red pepper flakes to taste
    1 handful chopped fresh basil leaves for garnish
    1 14 oz box whole wheat pasta of your choice (I used spaghetti)

    Drizzle a little olive oil on your chicken breasts, salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees til done...20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts. When cool, chop into bite-sized pieces.

    Drizzle a little olive oil in a pan, add the onion and pepper and sautee until softened. Add the anchovies and continue to sautee until they dissolve. Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, basil, red pepper flakes and capers. Reduce heat, throw in the roasted chicken and let simmer for an hour or so.

    While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta to just al dente and drain.

    When the sauce is done, toss with cooked pasta and garnish with the chopped, fresh basil.

    This isn't a heavy sauce, at all, unlike most of the jar sauces. It'd be great for a light summer supper. It'd have been even better if I'd have thought to halve a few fresh grape tomatoes and throw 'em in with the tossed pasta. I'll remember that, next time. I think I might also add chopped black olives next time. I noticed that the recipe I looked at after I made my own called for 'em.

    Oh...and remember...don't add salt until you taste it. The anchovies are really salty.

    Bon appetit!

    Thursday, June 04, 2009

    Grave dancer

    Honestly...I don't mean to be. In fact, back in the day, I was somewhat of a fan, having had a couple-three years of karate lessons under my green belt. Honest ta gawd. Believe it or not, for a fat girl, I was always pretty limber.

    But snide and sarcastic bitch that I am, I'd be completely remiss if I let this slide.

  • "I can confirm that we found his body, naked, hanging in the closet," Teerapop said. He said police were investigating and suspected suicide, though one of his managers questioned that theory.

  • ...though one of his managers questioned that theory.


    So. He was found dead. Hanging in a closet. Naked.

    I, of course, have a couple of "theories" of my own.

    It could have been a perfectly innocent suicide. He had a shower. All nice and clean...cleansed, so to speak...he decided to kill himself and made do with the materials at hand. A curtain cord and a closet pole.

    Understandable, I suppose, given his age (72) and the state of his career for the last couple of decades.

    However, as offbeat a character as he was, he was still 72. Most 72 year old guys who decide to commit suicide wouldn't be caught dead (pun very much intended) with their wrinkly, old-man bits hanging out for all the world to see.

    My second theory...well...I'm pretty sure ya know I'm leaning toward this one...
  • autoerotic asphyxiation

  • Not a pretty thought, but there it is.

    The thing that bothers me about this particular theory is that he was in Bankok.
    Bankok, fer chrissake. The irony of the name aside, it's a place where you can buy pretty much any kind of hooker with any kind of kink or fetish...for like...three American dollars.

    Ok. Given the value of the American dollar nowadays, maybe four.

    I dunno. 'Tis a puzzle that'll never be solved.

    It's just a pretty damn ignoble ending for cool old Caine.

    Wednesday, June 03, 2009


    The plumber is coming to install our new on-demand hot water heater on Monday!

    Finally...I can say "I'm in hot water"...and be happy about it.

    Monday, June 01, 2009

    Where's my holster?

    So, Peoria's mayor would like to see Peoria become a "test city" for concealed carry.

    The whole story is
  • here

  • 'Course, personally I think it's a great idea. I can't believe he actually suggested it, though.

    I don't suppose it'll happen...and it wouldn't affect us, even if it did, since we don't live in Peoria. I think a better idea would be to make it county-wide.

    But boy-howdy...did it cause a ruckus.

    The rabid anti-gunners, of course, are throwing out all kinds of scenarios...it'll put guns in the hands of the whack-jobs and the emotionally unstable...it'll put more guns in the hands of criminals...what if, what if, what if??

    The thing is, not just anybody would be able to get a concealed-carry permit. I'm sure
  • Nate
  • could clue us in on how it works in Utah. But I'm thinkin they'd rule and reg ya to death. There'd be classes to take and pass...forms to fill out...fingerprints...and on and on.

    Most of yer run-of-the-mill whackjobs wouldn't wanna take the time for all that. And most of yer run-of-the-mill criminals already carry concealed.

    Not that I think that all the rules and regs is a bad thing. If you're gonna carry a gun, ya damn well better know how...and when...to use it.

    The states that do have concealed-carry laws claim that the violent crime rate is lower than those that don't. I tend to believe that. I think maybe a criminal might think twice about pullin a gun on somebody that might pull out a bigger gun and shoot his nuts off.

    I dunno about anybody else...but I'd feel safer if I could carry a gun. I probably wouldn't. But it'd be nice to know I could...if I wanted to.

    The "Seabiscuit"...

    ...and other stuff.

    Even though I repeat it every year, da Zigster has a helluva time remembering the name of this plant. "Hibiscus" isn't so hard to remember...I don't think, anyway. However, Zig just kept coming up with "Sea biscuit".

    So now...and forever more...around these parts, a hibiscus is always a sea biscuit.

    Now, I've grown sea biscuits every summer for as long as I can remember. But I don't think I've ever had one that has bloomed like this one. This poor thing has been through it all....wind, rain, hail, flood, cold...you name it. And it still looks like this. It's got 7 or 8 big blooms right now, with at least 20 buds. And we haven't even used fertilizer.


    It's been over a month now since our last major flood, and we still don't have hot water.

    Normally, if we're gonna be flooded, we call the plumber, he comes in and yanks the hot water heater up outa the basement, takes it to his shop and stores it til the water goes down. Then he brings it back and re-installs it.

    This time, the water came into the basement too fast and the hot water heater...the...uh...brand new hot water heater...was ruined. All our other utilities are up high...the furnace is in the attic and the central air is build way up on a platform. The hot water heater was the only thing still left in the basement.

    Da Zigster and I talked about it and decided that we'd get an "on demand" hot water heater. The units are small and can hang on a wall (I made a poem!) and we'll never hafta worry about not having hot water. At least, not having hot water because of a flood. The plumber was here the other day and he can place it in our back foyer...up high. Yay!

    Though we're just renting right now, our landlords have agreed to split the bill with us. I wouldn't have cared if we'd have had to pay the whole damn thing....as long as I can have some hot water during the next big flood. And there will be another one...I'm sure. If and when we get the opportunity to buy, that'll be one less thing we hafta worry about replacing. In the meantime, it oughta save us a good chunka change on our Ameren bill. That's always a plus.

    I'm tellin ya...I need a shower. Bad. I'm sooooo sick of boiling pan after pan of water just to take a bath.


    Ya know, I'm a really laid-back kinda gal. I rarely get stressed and pretty much go with the flow. But there's one place that can turn me into a bear with a sore ass quicker'n shit.


    I fucking hate that store. And I've made a vow to myself to go there only when I feel like there's no other alternative. Or unless I have a Valium first. Or a lobotomy.

    I hadn't been there for probably six months...until today. And I did it without a mother's little helper...or a lobotomy. Though I damn sure needed one when I got done. Wouldn't have gone in the first place, but I needed several different things and just didn't feel like runnin all around town to find each thing.

    Stupid me. I don't care. Next time, I'll drive 50 fuckin extra miles if I hafta.

    The parking lot is always a freakin zoo. The store is always a freakin zoo. Fifty percent of the shoppers look like they came straight from the freak show. The cashiers and store "assistants" are usually either rude or totally without personality.


    I did snag some really nice-lookin mangoes, though.