Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Fried zucchini is one of my favorite summer foods, as it's easy to make, has little mess & effectively uses up garden surplus.  I start by putting flour and crumbed club crackers into separate ziplocs and beating together egg, buttermilk & S&P (1 part milk to 2 parts egg).  How much of each ingredient depends on how much zucchini you have; a cup of flour, a sleeve of crackers and an egg is enough to do 1 moderate size zuch.
 Slice up the zucchini, toss it in the flour ziploc & shake until they're completely coated - knock off excess flour.  Then, flop the slices into the egg mixture & let them rest in there for a little while.  They should come out without any flour spots.  Scoop them out with a fork (no stabbing!) or something else that's scoop-like & put them in the cracker ziploc.  Bounce the slices about until they're coated & set aside until you've finished.

Heat up a large skillet and use your preferred frying liquid.  I use butter, lots and lots of butter :-)  Put the slices in once the pan's hot enough for them to sizzle right off and keep the heat around medium.  Don't bother'em, just let'em cook.  Once they're brown on one side, flip and repeat.  Should take about 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the slices. Plate & serve.  Be careful with larger zuchs, the larger seeds seem to store heat & can really burn.

Mine are simple, I'm sure you could add Tabasco sauce, chili powder, paprika, etc to liven up the taste.  Consider this as a good starting point for a summer classic & enjoy. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Renaissance Faire Fun

Heath and I traveled to the Great Lakes Medieval Faire this weekend to partake in some 13th century distractions.  There were jousts, falconry and dirty limericks a plenty.  Unfortunately, this year there was no abundance of Mead or other adult beverages - the city council gave the event coordinators too much hassle to allow alcohol to be sold.  All other aspects of the Faire were nice - the atmosphere was congenial and there was quite the selection of performances, exhibits and vendors.  For being a small RenFaire, they do a credible job and it's well worth the $20.00 entry fee for several hours of entertainment.  I, of course, dress the part while Heath... umm, he wore a fancy hat; I just can't seem to get him into those fancy pants and floppy shirts. :-D

I must commend Dennis over at Dragon Leatherworks for his addition to our outfits.  His pistol pouches blended in perfectly - keeping us safe, unencumbered and in character.  I'd recommend it to anyone who plans on carrying while becoming a lord, lady, fop or wench for a day.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

There oughta be a law...

Or at least Cleveland City Council figures there should be another.  In light of the use of social media to create flash mobs they want to make it a misdemeanor to use twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc to create a disruptive flash mob.  Mind you, they don't want to stop the 'good' flash mobs, just those naughty ones.

         "We want to keep the singing in the malls, we want to keep all the flash mobbing that is dancing or whatever you do that's positive but the negative use of it with the intent to disrupt and cause some injury or some type of damage that we're going to speak to," he said.

 Trying to separate a good disruption from a bad one is such a nebulous proposal that I doubt any charge would be upheld in court.  It's ridiculous that they cannot use a current law to control the undesirable behavior; what ever happened to disorderly conduct?  The manner of communication shouldn't have any bearing on the end result they're trying to control.  Saying, "it's okay to meet in a large group due to a phone tree, but not a group text" or "mailed invitations are fine, but e-mails are right out," seems downright silly.  Seriously, how pathetic.  Workers organized strikes before AIM, people marched on Washington before Facebook and riots broke out before Twitter.  People will gather in groups to promote a cause regardless of the source of invitation, punishing them due to their choice of communication is shortsighted and myopic.  Technology doesn't control or create the behavior, it just gives people a new way of accomplishing their intentions.  New facets of wonder and horror are exposed with each technological leap into the future.  It's how we apply our country's founding principles and laws that temper the resulting knowledge and abilities.  Destructive people will find a way to pervert the loftiest advancement and they should be punished due to their intent, not their methodology. 

In this case, it seems like the city council is looking for a new source of revenue more-so than a way to keep the public safe and unharried.  The fines for this new crime would start at $100.00 and climb to $500.00 for repeat offenders.  Hrmm... common sources of communication + large group of undesirable people + sizable fine = $$$$$   I'm starting to see the council's logic!  Hopefully this suggested law dies an ignoble death and the council members move on to playing tiddly-winks, which would be a far more productive pursuit than they've attempted thus far. 

Faust earned his bacon

Otherwise titled "coons arriving at room temperature."  Last night Faust, our German Shepherd, went from a peaceful, sleeping ball at my feet to a barking mass of enraged fur desperately trying to get out the back door.   Turns out we had 2 raccoons trying to annihilate our small flock of chickens.  The dogs "treed" them in the coop & I woke Heath to dispatch the rotten bastards.  Yep, I'm sexist* - as long as he's around - he gets to go explore in the dark and shoot any lurking critters.  So I'm pretty pleased with my pup (and Heath); with the distance to the coop & all the fans going in the house, there's no way I would have heard the chickens' distress.   Surprisingly, all 5 chickens survived the encounter and are happily clucking about the yard again.  Also worth noting - no johnny law.  You'd figure several shots of 9mm at o'dark-thirty would have rousted the interest of our neighbors, but nope *shrug*  Have to figure with A/C on and coming out of a dead sleep it'd be difficult for someone to echo-locate where shots were coming from & it would be easy to reason the sounds away in exchange for peaceful sleep.  Scary thought.  So I'll leave you with a picture of the proud pup - maybe he'll get the last bit of bacon in the fridge!

*Not really, but I'm sure someone out there will argue that I should have taken care of it myself instead of running to a man.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Arming Ohio EMTs

While I agree with the sentiment of House Bill #288, I have 3 words for the creators of this bill, "WAY WRONG ANSWER!"  My understanding of this bill is that when medical personnel are present at a SWAT scene they may have guns distributed to them for their safety... You've got to be kidding me.

 Guns are not teddy bears, you can't just hand them out to make people feel safer.  People who normally don't carry guns won't automatically gain the skills and mindset necessary to use them simply because the situation may be dangerous.

 While I'm glad they're not forcing EMT's to carry guns (+.001 for not being utterly stupid) I don't see why they're limiting carrying guns to SWAT encounters.  If they're going to allow medics to carry guns at all, why limit the scope?  Seems like it would be more appropriate for medics to have guns when SWAT wasn't around.  Also, if the effing SWAT team can't keep them safe, why are they (both SWAT & EMTs) there? 

Another concern is that the bill continually uses the phrase "tactical emergency medical technician" (TEMT?) and the connotation seems to temporarily elevate medics to members of a SWAT team.  Because what our government really needs is more tactical employees!  It also grants EMTs the same protections as a police officer, which doesn't make me feel all warm and fuzzy given it doesn't mention any training / oversight. 

Here's a crazy thought: Why not allow EMTs with CCW permits to carry while on shift?  That would allow inclined EMTs to protect themselves while guaranteeing basic training and personal responsibility.  I can understand an employer's reticence to change policy given the over-abundance of lawyers; however, if a medic has to shoot someone, who (s)he works for is no longer pertinent - they had to defend their life.  No one should hold a liquor store responsible if the cashier has to ventilate a cretin due to personal threat, so why should someone hold an ambulance company responsible if their medic does the same thing? 

Of course there would have to be legal tweaking for them to carry in school zones, no-weapons zones, etc.  But wouldn't that be a perfect opportunity to push for all CCW holders to be allowed to carry in school zones and the like?  (ready the trebuchet and the pig - we'll make it fly)

So, the bill's a nice thought but a non-solution to the problem of EMTs entering dangerous areas to render aid.  Please try again Rep. Combs, etc.; I'd really like to see more people be allowed to protect themselves - just not in the way you're proposing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

All Hail the Free Market

In perusing the internet, I came across an article about a restaurant in Pittsburgh that's instituted a ban on children under the age of 6 and another article discussing pediatricians turning away parents who refuse to immunize their children.  I'll put up the caveat that I do not have children, so take this as you like:  Good for them!

I'd gladly patronize a restaurant that kiboshes the presence of wee beasties* if I'm in need of a nice, quiet evening out. And, barring any egregiously unsettling revelations regarding vaccinations in the next 3-5 years, I'd feel comfortable using a pediatrician that required child immunizations.

  I'm sure there are folks that vehemently disagree with both establishments and their respective restrictions and they're free to choose a different source of food service and medical care.  That's the beauty of the free market - you don't have to agree with an establishment and you don't have to patronize them.  There are other restaurant and other physicians who will take your money and align with your personal views.  There are some cries about discrimination regarding the restaurant - give me a break - if the ACLU can't find a basis for discrimination when there are children involved, it's a lost cause.  I'd actually like to see something similar done with smoking in restaurants - make it the customer's choice.  I don't smoke and I don't like to eat in a smokey atmosphere so I'd simply pass on the smoking restaurant.  The restaurant's going to have to take that chance, the government shouldn't be telling them they can't take the risk.**

With the pediatrician, it's a little more touchy considering our misguided health insurance system.  However, the offices mentioned in the article do refer non-compliant patients to other physicians who will comply with their wishes.  In this circumstance, the pediatricians have to look out for their clients as a whole and should have the right to do so.  Just as the parents have to decide what's best for their child and be allowed to go elsewhere.

Overall, I'm glad to see businesses going against the conventional, "the customer's always right" attitude and sticking to their personal convictions.

*Actually, I do like children  - but occasionally, 'wee beasties' is a far more appropriate term for them.
** Don't even get me started on "but they waitstaff don't have a choice & you're killing them with 2nd hand smoke!!"  They know the risks just as much as anyone else who's not been living under a rock for the last 20 years.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Netflix, you syphiclic whore of movie rentals,

you were so close to having it right; then, in a move that rivals a kid going for a 4th piece of cake, you decided to hike your prices.  Starting Sept 1st, the plan that allows unlimited streaming and 1 DVD out at a time will be $16.00 per month instead of $10.00.  Yeah, I'll pass on the 60% price increase - I simply don't believe your contract negotiations are going that poorly.  I cancelled my basic cable over the same kind of shenanigans. Hollywood just isn't worth it.   

I would have accepted a $2 - $3 increase with an explanation of "The cost of this bundle has gone up due to the increased cost of our media contracts."  But you had to pull some cheerful, 'we're doing this to better serve you,' ray of effing sunshine bullshit.  You were serving me just fine and all of the plans were offered before - you've just increased your prices and highlighted an underdeveloped service offering.  Judging by the comments tipping the 3,000 mark on your price increase post and your customer service lines being shut down due to call volume, I'm not the only one who believes your price increases were the brainchild of an illiterate snot sodding off in a dark closet to the sound of a money counter.

Blockbuster is sniggering at you from its death bed and Amazon, Hulu & Redbox are readying the carving knives to slice away your customer base.  Hope you know what you're doing.

Monday, July 4, 2011

New Wheels

After several months of shopping, I have my dream truck (squee!)  Say hello to my monster:

She's an '06 F350 diesel 4x4 with a full bed - and I love every inch of her.  Yes, that is an airbrushed picture of an aircraft carrier and fighter jets on the tailgate. 

We bought the truck on Thursday afternoon from a little dealer in Alvin, TX called Motor Trends.  I can't say they were the best dealership or that I'd recommend all my friends and family to go there, but they weren't sleaze balls.  We had initially contacted the original owner, but he'd just set up a trade with the dealership & hadn't had time to remove his ad *sigh*.  Unfortunately, once Motor Trends knew the deal in the bag, they made no further effort to really 'sell' us the truck, which I can kind of understand.  However, you'd think they would still clean the truck 100%!  We found crumbs & nasties in the 2nd row seating & soda / coffee stains on the ceiling.  Maybe it's petty, but I was disappointed with the experience.

Anyhow!  After leaving the dealer, we took a meandering drive across 10 states to arrive back home last night.  Thursday evening we had a nice visit with some of my family living in Texas.  On Friday, we had a wonderful lunch with AD & KatyBeth, where we were introduced to craw-fish and etouffee.  It was a fun to talk with KatyBeth & be drawn into her imagination, I wish that I had been as out going as a kid as she is. 

The rest of the trip we scooted through New Orleans (mental note, downtown N.O. during a jazz festival is a BAD idea), Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio.  All together, we put nearly 2,000 miles on the truck and we're so glad to be home.

So, what should I name my new set of wheels? 

Flying the friendly skies

Heath and I had to fly from Ohio to Texas this past Thursday.  We flew out of the Akron-Canton airport instead of Cleveland Hopkins and we will strongly prefer it in the future.  Surprisingly, the whole experience was fast, smooth and (relatively) non-invasive.  We arrived a scant hour before our flight and still managed to check our guns and get through security with time to spare.  The guns were a non-issue, we didn't even need to reopen the case for TSA.  All of the security personnel were polite and kept lines moving.  No porno-scanners!  Overall, there was an effort made by the employees to counter the TSA stereotype.

We snagged a decently priced, 1-stop flight through Delta; they were timely & uneventful flights with a short layover in Atlanta.  In the world of fees and cost cutting, they still serve free drinks on all flights (no peanuts).  I did have to claim the gun case from their baggage office once we arrived in Houston.  I'm not sure if that's a Delta thing or a flying-in-general thing, but I am glad they make sure it's the owner walking off with a case full of guns.  However, it still freaked me out a little when the carousel stopped & our case hadn't arrived.

As for why we flew one-way to Texas ..... momma's got a new set of wheels!