Tuesday

Book-"Absolute Power";"What Not To Wear"; Jeopardy's Watson,Political, Cooking



Got a lot to cover with this Blog post.

For TV, we review a silly, but somewhat truthful, fashion show-TLC's "What Not to Wear". Also, some commentary on Jeopardy's Watson.

Got a book review on an entertaining book-Baldacci's "Absolute Power". What happens if the President of the U.S. commits a murder?

Some political stuff, stories of Delaware grass root Republicans trying to wrest back their political party Blue Blood elite, a theory on Christine O'Donnell's reason for dancing, and a bit of satire: "Mama, Make You Kids Grow Up to be Teachers."

A little bit of cooking, a casserole of sausage and potatoes and slow-cooked mac and cheese. There were some problems.

A restaurant review, third one for Rehoboth Beach's Big Fish Grill. This time they wouldn't let us sit where we wanted. Why?

Guest Writer Michelle works for a health insurer. Confusion on changing laws cause her worry and concern.



Pic of the Day



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TLC’s “What Not to Wear”


TLC web site for this show.

So Stacey and Clinton barge into an unsuspecting person’s life every week, give her a prepaid credit card with $5,000 on it, go through the “victim’s” wardrobe, critiquing and finally throwing all ugly/unfashionable items within into the trash.



Hey, makeover fashion shows are like that. For it only takes about fifteen minutes for the Big Reveal. The rest of an hour’s got to be filled with something.

But of course one must like fashion type shows to even get to a point of finding this show on the upper cable channels and I am one such person. These sorts of shows are the absolute best for multi-tasking cause almost half the time is taken up with silly commercials, another twenty minutes is filled with activity not requiring the sort of concentration that, say, and episode of “24” might require.

Sometimes I sit and read a book while watching these sort of fluff shows, raising my eyes to a passing concentration during those times when Clinton is earnestly explaining to a fashion disaster why a nice form-fitting cropped jacket with a loose flowing blouse would look much better than the garish thing with big pink polka dots the fashion victim might be currently sporting.

It’s not the stuff of serious but as I figure, I watch plenty of grave TV, including all Sunday political talk shows and Fox news most of the other time. At times I gotta give the ole brain a rest and these sorts of shows are just the ticket.



Although, I must state here, “What Not to Wear” can be a learning experience, I suggest softly.

Because name me someone who doesn’t care how they look, who wears ugly and un-matching without a proper thought applied, who declares that “comfortable is more important than fashion”…and I’ll show you a big slob bucket.

If what you wear had no affect on anything, why ever have a dress code? Why dress up for a job interview? Why ever comb your damn hair?

Like most everything else in life, it’s all a matter of degree.

For I’ll never be convinced that extremely pointed toed shoes as Stacey London prefers is a requirement for proper fashion and Clinton? Well right there you gotta wonder what’s with a guy getting all involved with how women dress. I’m just sayin’.

In the end of the show, as with most of these shows, be they fashion or home d├ęcor, comes the Big Reveal. The fashion victim, along with buying an entirely new wardrobe of appropriately fitting and classier clothes, the target is given a complete hair transformation as well as a makeup application that changes her appearance entirely.

Stacey and Clinton stand proudly as their fashion student enters the room three different times, each time wearing a different stylish outfit. The made over fashion victim then stands before a full length mirror as Stacey and Clinton point out the wisdom of this blouse and the punch of that accessory.

The fashion victim then returns home to her friends and family who nominated her, wearing a smashing new outfit, sparkling and sophisticated accessories, sporting a new hairstyle with artfully applied makeup. She enters the room to a dramatic gasp of the people in her world.

There’s always a bit of pathos in these fashion victim’s lives, added because a)there are true stories that affect how we dress and b)it makes the show have a bit more gravitas. Often the fashion victim has successfully recovered from a cancer bout. Often they are busy Moms with almost no time to take care of themselves in terms of dress and fashion care. You’ve never seen so many females sob on a fashion show, insert smile here.

“What Not to Wear” is the crown jewel of fashion shows. Indeed both Stacey and Clinton have had spin-off types of shows and Stacey is shown in many commercials featuring fashion and/or fashion comfort.

It’s a good show, I quite enjoy it, and someday I have every intention of nominating my daughter for just such a fashion makeover.


Jeopardy’s Watson


Jeopardy Web site HERE
I am a devoted Jeopardy aficionado, not that I’m proud of this and not that I am all that good at it. I do track my running score and I average around 20 correct answers on the entire board. Remembering please that as a TV viewer I’m not subject to the quickness of the buzzer and I don’t deduct for incorrect answers I may give.

I’ve also, twice now, taken the online Jeopardy quiz and never heard a word from them.

Heh.

Still, husband and I have quite enjoyed the new competitor, Monsieur Watson.

It’s absolutely amazing how well Watson has done. Those IBM programmers had to put their hearts and soul into programming that thing.


Still, Watson’s made a couple of boo-boos that aptly illustrate his…eh…”non-humanness”.

First, what Watson DOES and for which he can’t be beat, is buzz that buzzer faster than human thumbs are able. Saw Ken Jennings on Fox one morning and he said that the human hand simply can’t buzz that thing as fast as Watson, even though, get this, Watson IS hooked up to some kind of thumb mechanism and uses the Jeopardy buzzer just like the human players.

My biggest Watson laugh came with the question “What are members of the same graduating group in school called?” Myself shouted out “alumnae” but that was wrong. Watson answers, get this…CHIC! The correct answer was CLASS. Get it? CLASSy people are often considered quite CHIC. Come on, smile here. A human being would never even consider guessing that the noun for all graduating members of a senior level in school as a CHIC. What the hell is a CHIC? The programmers need to teach Watson the difference between a noun and an adjective I’m thinking here.

Watson also got a bit confused and thought that Toronto was an American city. Also, when Watson got a Daily Double. Heh. Watson bet some kind of el strango amount like $1,239.58. Which is perfectly legal but humans tend to make things easier and bet rounder sorts of amounts.

Finally, the question was about a famous Olympic athlete and a major distinguishing physical feature. Ken Jennings managed to beat Watson to the buzzer and said “What is a missing leg?” This was a wrong answer. Watson buzzed in, heh, and its answer was “What is leg?”

I don’t know what Watson was thinking but Trebak chastised Watson as this was, one supposes, already guessed by Jennings.

I doubt we’ll ever have to worry about a phalanx of Watsons taking over the world. If they do, be prepared to have your children graduate in a CHIC and all money amounts from tips to lotteries will be calculated to 1/100th of a penny.



Sussex GOP Mtg 2/16/11-“You Will Not Degrade Us, We Will Be Victorious”

Goodness knows I am no fan of today’s music but to my complete surprise, this early Februar 2011’s Grammy awards featured the group Muse and one of my all-time favorite songs-“Uprising”.

I think this song should be the theme song of the modern day Tea Party though the group Muse says it’s about big business dominance or some other Communist hooey.

For the lyrics of this song not only speak to the new Tea Party movement of America’s Middle Class, we who carry this country on our backs, it especially speaks to the travails, trials and tribulations of the Sussex County GOP as the Tea Party types of that very Conservative, very Christian, very law-abiding county, which also has one of the largest pockets of homosexual residents in America, try to wrest back control of the Republican party once dominated by the likes of Mike Castle and still chaired by the despicable Tom Ross.

I only mention that homosexual thing to prevent yon reader from any notion that Sussex Countians are so provincial as to not tolerate anyone outside of their “type”. We hire many of the Rehoboth Beach community, work along side with them, worship with them, and indeed would fight to our deaths to defend them .

So this past November Christine O’Donnell ran for a Delaware Senate seat to fill VP Joe Biden’s seat. Indeed all across the fruited plains more Conservative Tea Party candidates ran to push out lying Democrats who stuck with the socialist Obama’s agenda despite once proclaiming to be on the side of, well, average Americans as opposed to sharing the wealth, Obamacare, etc. In the case of Christine O’Donnell, Delaware was trying to push out Mike Castle who had long overstayed his welcome, the final nail in his coffin of voting with the Democrats constantly to include No to Iraq, Yes to stimulus, on and on to voting yes to that awful Cap and Trade House bill. Now Castle, having been in Delaware’s elected office in various forms, wanted to become Senator to do what? Join the Democrats in wrecking our nation even more?

We voted Castle out in the Republican primary, we voted Christine O’Donnell in, we wanted a real Conservative in the position, silly us.

Only the Delaware GOP Blue Blood Ruling Class determined that we were all a bunch of stupid rubes and how dare we go against their anointed candidate, Mike Castle and Michelle Rollins.

Turned out that O’Donnell and, let us not forget that another very Conservative fellow, Glen Urquhart also ran to replace Castle in America’s House, did not win. Some would say they lost quite handily. BOTH candidates lost by over a 15% margin, sadly, with the help of Delaware’s own Republican party.

I’m not suggesting that either O’Donnell or Urquhart would have won, but I’m quite sure the spread would have been considerably smaller, had the Republican party of Delaware supported our legally nominated candidates. Instead, Delaware GOP Chair announces to the world that Christine O’Donnell couldn’t win dog catcher.

Okay, so the elections are over. We got an uber lying liberal Chris Coons in the Senate. It took a while, but the Philadelphia suburb of Wilmington, Delaware is now discovering how Coons ran Newcastle county and Wilmington into almost bankruptcy. I can only speak for myself, but I’m sure Coons would vote FOR Cap and Trade in the Senate should it come up. I don’t care. I’d rather have a REAL Democrat vote for that horrible Democrat legislation than one who wears sheep’s clothing as he betrays me over and over. What difference does it make if Mike Castle or Chris Coons votes for Cap and Trade?

But if you thought it was all behind it than you ain’t been hanging around in Sussex county. Because we’re all damn mad at how this alleged Delaware GOP Chair treated our candidate, us boobs who voted her in, legally, lawfully, in accordance with our nation’s founding principles of majority rule.

First we wanted to censor Tom Ross for his dog catcher remark. I mean, was that really necessary? Couldn’t the man, if he didn’t like O’Donnell, just said…nothing?

But when we showed up at the Sussex county monthly GOP meeting to pass this censure vote, our Sussex GOP Chair, a man I once considered a friend, hemmed and hawed and folks, it got worse from there.

Over the last few months since the November elections which rocked Obama’s world, we have been mocked, degraded , ridiculed not by the opposition party, folks, NO…but by our OWN DAMN PARTY!

There turned out to be no way to pass a censure of Ross because, well because it turned out that Sams had never been running the GOP meetings correctly, turns out that there’s a bunch of folks called ED’s and RD’s and such and only THEY can vote for such as censoring. The night we want to vote to censure Tom Ross all of a sudden Sams gets all intelligent about rules and such.

Turns out that these RD’s and ED’s never show up for monthly meetings. Turns out that Ron Sams appoints a Parliamentarian who sends emails to all the Delaware GOP Blue Blood Ruling Class elite mocking a Sussex Countian who, in exasperation but in keeping with the great American way, threw his hat in the ring to run against Ross for the Delaware Republican chair.

But it doesn’t stop there. More Sussex Countians gathered together. They drafted a new set of bylaws to replace the ancient moldy ones that Sams never knew about. Only Sams appointed a so-called Rules Chairman who a)didn’t know who appointed him b)didn’t know who was in his committee and c)didn’t know why all those folks who worked so hard to draft new bylaws and volunteered to serve on the Rules committee, well he had no idea why no one ever contacted them.

They mocked us. They degraded us.

On the night of 2/16/11, just like the words of the song, “You will stop degrading us, We will be victorious.”
Below a link to my Photobucket page with all the videos I took of this meeting. The page is public and the video names are descriptive enough to ascertain the content. I got an EXCLUSIVE interview with Tom Ross, yes I did! Note the dog yips in the background as I interview him, heh. Note that he says he’s “thinking” about not running for Delaware GOP Chair in the next election in April 2011.

HERE

It took a few contentious monthly GOP meetings. It took a few dedicated leaders, a few more folks working with their talents, some time and effort, but the folks of Sussex County, last night, they took back their party.

First thing, working behind the scenes, a group of Sussex county Conservatives phoned up those elusive ED’s and RD’s and made them agree to maybe show up as their position required. If they weren’t going to show up, legitimate proxies were obtained. Existing bylaws were read.

On the night of 2/16/11, a motion was made, legally and by a member of the executive committee that Ron Sams never bothered with, to appoint a Chairman pro tem. Sams, or his co-chair, were nowhere to be found.


Vance Phillips, a member of Sussex County’s legislature, was nominated. The Blue Blood Ruling Class sector of the Sussex GOP nominated that old hound dog, Bill Lee. Votes were turned in only somebody turned in TWO votes it would seem. Thus a secret ballot was done via a long process that had the secretary calling out the voting eligible individuals to come forth a vote, this time, NO CHEATING. The Blue Bloods have cheated on us long enough.

Vance Phillips won the Pro Temp Chair handily. After that it was all down hill. For the Conservative Coalition of Sussex County had done its job, all according to the rules. They could not mock and degrade us any more. WE had them outnumbered, no problem.

Phillips appointed a Parliamentarian, Brent Wagen. Brent did a fine job and he didn’t even send mocking email of an announced candidate for GOP Delaware Chair to all the party leadership. Brent was also appointed by Phillips to this mythical Rules Committee when the fellow who, like that dolt on Hogan’s Heroes, “knew nothing”-resigned. Thus maybe we can get those pesky bylaws changed.

A Treasury report was read, imagine that. Turns out that Christine O’Donnell’s PAC sent in $2,000 to keep the Georgetown office open, pay for the cable, etc. Ron Sams NEVER read a treasury report. Now I wonder just who was paying for all this stuff during his term.

There’s nothing wrong with O’Donnell, or even Mike Castle, paying for these things, but this sort of stuff is supposed to be transparent to the local county membership.

The biggest event of the night was a resolution by the executive committee, which, by the way, was properly seated apart from the membership, with distinguishing orange badges, to request that Ron Sams step down from his position as Chair of the Sussex County GOP. This vote is NOT binding, being a “no faith” type of thing, but it sure is hard to continue on when no one much likes how you been running things.

Again, another secret ballot, proper and done right, voted on by the right people, quiet, respectful, all Parliamentary procedures properly followed. By a vote of 44 to 32, Sams was requested to resign as Chair of the Sussex County GOP.

They can’t beat us any more. Their method of mockery, ridicule, degradation is, sadly, the tactic of the liberal/Democrat/Alinsky. The fact that our own party used this tactic against us serves as more proof of how the Delaware Blue Blood Ruling Class GOP had become but Democrat Lite.

The meeting on the night of 2/16/11 was proof that given a cause and a passion, tides can be turned. The ridicule was endured, born, at times worn as a proud badge.

We were victorious, us Sussex County Conservatives. That meeting was as fine an example of how things should be run. It was nothing like any meeting Ron Sams had ever run and I’ve attended meetings headed by Sams for over four years now.

Go buy that Muse song, march to it, inhale the lyrics.

So Why Can’t Christine O’Donnell Dance?

Last night I checked in on Facebook and read an entry by Christine O’Donnell herself. She said she’d been officially offered a chance to dance on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” and she wanted input as to what we all thought.

I’m quite sure COD got a bunch of answers , yea or nay, warnings or possible problems, yada, yada. I don’t necessarily want to write about whether or not COD should dance or not. For there are those living in this tiny state who need my help.

This morning I chanced to hear WGMD’s Dan Gaffney’s morning show. He brought up the matter of COD’s possible participation on DWS, which was a fine topic.

The COD derangement folks came out in full force.

Folks, get down on your knees and thank your Lord this morning that Christine O’Donnell is not living, rent free in your head, feeding your irrational hatred, nourishing a loathing that is based on pretty much nothing.

One such COD derangement sufferer called in and I, early in the snowy morn, said a silent prayer for this poor afflicted chap.

First, there are the COD derangement sufferers who declare, with a disdainful sniff, that COD is nothing but a big attention seeker and this DWS gig will satisfy that crime against humanity committed by COD for her daring, DARING I TELL YOU, to think that the likes of SHE should aspire to be a damn U.S. Senator, doesn’t that bitch know that only the very special, the very enlightened, those whose very heads are surrounded with blinding halos, should so aspire?

Of course the woman seeks attention! SHE RAN FOR A SENATORIAL POSITION FOR GOD’S SAKE. Do these COD derangement sufferers think that all those other fine senators now sitting in America’s House of Lords spent their lives under covers, hiding from any sort of attention, all filled with their own nobility of such levels that attention, fame and fortune will seek them out? Do these poor COD derangement sufferers think that those who think they have what it takes to be a Senator, a Representative in America’s House, a President, every actor and actress or wannabe, successful or not, DO NOT WANT ATTENTION?


Another symptom of COD derangement syndrome is being not all that bright, please understand this.

The COD derangement sufferer of the morning Gaffney show really was afflicted badly. He went on and on about how COD wanted attention (the HORROR of it), how he doesn’t think he could stand exposure to COD another minute (might be a candidate for assisted suicide here), on and on with a vitriol so typical of COD derangement sufferers.

“She’s an awful person, she has no resume”, this COD derangement sufferer said. I know it’s just my opinion but I suggest my opinion’s as good as this nut still obsessed with COD hatred. But Christine O’Donnell is a very nice young woman, she speaks very well, she’s a Christian. She is no way an “awful” person and while I’m no psychiatrist, I’ve met a lot of people in life’s route, some of them pretty awful. Christine O’Donnell is not awful, not even close. I’m just so sorry but because you don’t like a particular candidate, for whatever even appropriate reasons, does NOT make that person an awful person.

As for COD’s resume, is this COD derangement sufferer looking to offer COD a job? What the hell difference does it make what COD does for a living? I don’t recall anyone every so interested in what either Joe Biden or Mike Castle did before becoming a permanent public employee. Nothing wrong with this but as a resume it’s hardly the stuff that would impress.

It’s just so sad that these COD derangement sufferers (I heard Karl Rove is still recovering) are still out there, still with minds consumed with unreasonable hatred, still able to be sparked to irrationality by the mere mention of her name.

They wonder why us boobs who voted for COD could possibly have done such a crazy thing.

See, had COD been elected to the Senate, it was no matter if she ever wanted to dabble in witchcraft, if she almost declared bankruptcy, if she had a checkered career path. We truly believed that if COD was sitting in that Senate she would vote FOR Conservative causes and while I know those with full blown COD derangement syndrome can’t comprehend such a concept, this is all that really matters when choosing someone to represent what YOU believe.

I say Christine, dance if you want to. For if you suddenly were to enter a convent and perform enough miracles to elevate you to Mother Theresa status, those who are afflicted enough to have full blown COD derangement syndrome will never get over it.

Pray for them, for they have lost their rational minds.

Mama Beg Your Child to Please Grow Up to Be a Teacher

One of the most awkward and difficult issues to address without emotional meltdown is the situation with the teachers in this country.

First, most of us have at least a nodding acquaintance with teachers in some fashion. Many of us have teachers in our families. Our children/grandchildren have teachers and by my admittedly anecdotal experience, most children/grandchildren at least LIKE their teachers. My granddaughter adores her teacher. And I met her teacher in fact, and she is a very nice young woman who seems to do a great job teaching the children under her charge. If nothing else, we all once HAD teachers in our lives. Husband and I discussed this just the other day. While I don’t recall having any teachers who changed my life forever with the beauty of their wisdom and the nobility of their sacrifice, most of my teachers were just fine, did their jobs and beside a bad one or two, most taught me quite handily.

So we have a phalanx of teachers now marching on Wisconsin and now Indiana, all because the state governments need to crack down on the salaries/benefits of these people that is way beyond not only that of the average American but about to bankrupt states across the fruited plains.

Softly, very softly, looking cautiously right and left, I first would mention that teachers only work nine months out of the year. They get to stay home on days of inclement weather, they get long Christmas and Easter holidays plus they have a bank of personal leave days for other times they need to take time off beyond the many they already get.

Right about now the yelling and howling begins. “They have to grade papers!” go the yelps. “They have to be nurse and psychiatrist and referee to the students they teach!” goes another howl. “They have to often go it alone, trying to get kids of drug-addled or neglectful parents through the system to a diploma that will at least give them a hope of a life after” goes another rant.

All of the above is true. And for these things teachers should be compensated, and going out on a limb, perhaps their compensation should be a bit higher than average for they also must have advanced degrees and keep on a routine of continuing education as the world changes.

I get this. We all get this. We don’t deny this.

But just because we suggest that an average salary of $87,000 a year for a job that requires actual attendance of a little over eight months a year, a job that often, after so many years, offers a tenure that prevents any dismissal for most any grievance, a job that often requires no contribution toward health insurance when all us minions across the fruited plains contributed an average of a quarter of the cost of our employers’ costs, a job that requires no contribution towards a pension when again, across the fruited plains we might be lucky enough to get an employer match towards our 401-K contributions, we must at the very least put in some of our own bucks toward that pension…just because we suggest that these perks are at the least a fair compensation for the part of a teacher’s job that are unique to the profession does not mean that we don’t like and respect our children’s teachers.


The unions that represent teachers count on us being politically corrected to silence as they demand more and more and let us not dare to question the almighty teachers unions and their way beyond reasonable demands.

I told this my daughter today, said daughter too reluctant to say anything bad toward teachers as her precious daughter adores her teacher and let’s face it, the last thing we want to do is bad mouth those with whom our children spend so many hours of their lives with.

Way I figure, if they’re going to politically correct us to silence as they shamelessly rob us, and let’s face it right now folks, the “company” paying these teachers isn’t some giant faceless corporation with billions of bucks, it’s US, the taxpayers, the little people who don’t come anywhere near making what teachers make never mind the benefits, …way I figure, MAMA TELL YOUR KIDS TO GROW UP TO BE TEACHERS!

What a job! I begged daughter…please, tell Kaitlyn to become a teacher. By the time Kaitlyn’s at teaching age she’ll be making $200,000 a year, will probably only work maybe the months of September and January, will have full health benefits including bonus pay for staying healthy, she can never be fired even if she seduces young boys 1/3 of her age, she’ll have a full pension paid for at the time she retires, by then retirement age will be around 35 years.

Oh, and if anyone dares to question this system, she can just go march on the state capitol , yanking her students out of class, obtaining fake illness excuses from sympathetic physicians as we minions paying this tab sit on our hands, bite out nails, and pray to God for daring to wonder if it all hasn’t gotten a bit out of hand but are politically corrected to silence.

If you can’t beat ‘em, as the saying goes, dear Lord folks, JOIN ‘EM!

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Cheesy Potatoes with Smoked Sausage

One of my favorite “convenience” types of meat is Ekrich sausage. These make great smallish meals when the sausage is cut to a few slices. They do up well as an ersatz “hot dog” type of affair.

So when I came across this recipe using Ekrich sausage, cheese and fresh, shredded potatoes, all easily combined and baked as a casserole, I decided to give it a try.

Couple of notes: the recipe calls for “refrigerated” shredded potatoes. This means exactly that-REFRIGERATED- as in NOT FROZEN. They can be found in the grocer’s refrigerated section, often around the meats, usually around those containers of prepared mashed potatoes, tubs of BBQ beef, that sort of thing.

I followed the recipe exactly. Since the end result is quite large, I froze the result in three separate servings to serve one.

The only problem I found was that the potatoes were a bit hard. I know pasta should come out al dente but I’m not at all sure about shredded potatoes baked as a casserole ingredient.

The result wasn’t inedible but I would have liked the potatoes to be a bit softer. I don’t have a solution or hey, maybe I’m one of the few that would not like the potatoes like this.

Perhaps the casserole needed to be in my oven a bit longer because the recipe does suggest a 45 minute baking time or until potatoes are tender.

Recipe By : Hillshire Farm®
Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time:
Categories : Casseroles

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 package (1 pound) Hillshire Farm® Smoked Sausage
1 package (20 ounce) refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan
with non-stick cooking spray. Cut sausage into 1/2" cubes. Combine all
ingredients in a large bowl.

Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan. Bake 40-45 minutes or until tender.
3-Cheese Slow Cooker Macaroni & Cheese


So I got a new Slow Cooker for Christmas, husband and I deciding that our false and chipped teeth would benefit by meats cooked to a softer texture while still keeping a modicum of flavor. This causes me to type up recipes provided on an insert within the appliance, to look up slo-cook recipes on the wild and wooly web, to even order a little thing titled “101 Things You Can Do With a Slow-Cooker”.

I chance upon this recipe for Macaroni and Cheese and, but of course, macaroni and cheese is the stuff of life, joy and song. My new slow-cooker is a huge thing and recipes as provided are way more than a single, even a couple such as husband and myself, can consume at a sitting. God Bless America for our freezer and so we freeze the slow-cooked yummy foods in individual serving packets and thus it is with the macaroni and cheese.

I found the result of this recipe in need of some fine-tuning, at least in keeping with mine own taste sensibilities. I did make one change in the recipe though I doubt my change affected the outcome adversely. The recipe calls for 3 cups of 2% milk. Well I used whole milk. I simply could not understand why a recipe obviously so calorie laden, not to mention being a cholesterol landmine, would want 2% milk. Surely this wasn’t a bow to diet concerns, eh? The recipe also calls for 2 cans of evaporated milk so it could be the lower milk % is to make up for the depth of the evaporated milk?

For I found the result to be a bit gummy. The taste was good, very much so. But I’d much rather have had noodles that slip-slided off the spoon as opposed to big wedges of noodle-pie type of thing. Might be the 2% milk thing; I’m thinking maybe a four hour cooking time was an hour too long.


Recipe Summary:
Course: Meals
Products: Slow Cookers
Ingredients
Recommended Hamilton Beach® Product: 6 Quart Slow Cooker
• cooking spray
• 2 cups shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese blend
• 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
• 4 eggs
• 3 cups 2% milk
• 2 12 oz. cans evaporated milk
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
• 2 teaspoons dry mustard
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1 pound uncooked macaroni noodles
• 1 teaspoon ground paprika
Directions
1. Spray slow cooker lightly with cooking spray.
2. In large bowl, combine cheeses and set aside.
3. In another large bowl, whisk eggs lightly. Add evaporated milk, milk, dry mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine.
4. Add 3 cups of cheese mixture and uncooked macaroni noodles to egg mixture. Stir to combine.
5. Pour into slow cooker. Top with remaining cheese.
6. Sprinkle with paprika.
7. Cook on LOW for 4 hours.
Nutritional Information: (Based on Individual Serving: 6 oz.)
• Calories: 450 • Total Fat: 25g •

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Drivel: Gouge

Once upon a time I had a team.

Then I didn't. Then I did. Then I didn't. Then I did, but as time passed I began to realize I really didn't. That team was just on paper, an illusion.

As if to reinforce that opinion, an unwanted addition sidestepped the rules and was promoted. None of us were given a chance at that spot. I began to wonder if there was life outside that illusory team, and occasionally I checked the want ads. Sometimes within the company, sometimes outside.

For those of you who don't know, I work for one of those evil companies you see in the news all the time now. From the inside, we don't look evil at all, and Health Care Reform is causing our "evil" dictator and his cronies to do some massive scrambling. Somehow, we - as a company - have to change our systems to conform to the new laws. Stuff that wasn't in our budget. Stuff we didn't plan on doing mid-year. Stuff we aren't staffed to handle, given the low economy. We've not been replacing open positions for quite awhile.

Mind, these aren't changes we're against. We’ve been a proponent of universal healthcare coverage since at least 2002. And we're one of the few not-for-profit insurers. Still, it's hard. At the end of everything, the only options folk might have are Kaiser and the government-run plan.

In an effort to survive it, one of the ways the Powers-That-Be decided to cope with this difficulty was to rearrange us. We've been divided by line-of-business since before I was hired in 1997. Wham! Starting July 1, we're divided by function.

Massive rearrangement of reporting structures and teams, and no answers. When I ask "What should I do about x, which I've been doing for years but now it's not our function?" I get "We don't have any answers yet; it's a work in progress."

I don't deal well with limbo.

Of my now old team, two have been split off to report to two different someones in a different site, about an hour away. (I am one of those splittees.) Two remain in the previous reporting structure, which isn't a good thing, either. That particular situation was growing intolerable, and now there are two less folks to help with the strain. Around me, I can feel the disintegration.

But, hey, this is my story.

I've been changed to report to that other site again. Not the same supervisor as before, and for awhile I was not happy about the arrangement, but had a hopeful outlook that even "bad" it would likely be better than what I had since Debra left our team.

It's been a little over a week. I've had several meetings with my new Supervisor and one with almost all of my new team. I have learned some new duties, and given an overview of the major process in my old role, running the system that handles all small group renewal information. At the moment, there are no plans to move that from me. Bit by bit I am feeling better about this change.

Last night while reading in bed, Hunter wanted up, too. So I lifted him onto the bed, and called Guia up. They both settled down, Hunter next to Harry and Guia at the foot of the bed on my side. Kona strolled in and took her place on my pillow. I like it when all the animals are on the bed with me.

Normally, anyway.

Zeker, last to arrive, wanted to be on top of the headboard, but Kona and I were in his way. He jumped over us, and didn't quite make it. A clawing, writhing tomcat landed on my book and my face. The noise woke Harry, and I knew from the pain - and the blood - I needed to check the damage. With Harry's help, I got a Band-Aid on the owie and we went back to bed.

Lying there, wondering if I was bleeding on the pillow, I couldn't help but think . . .

I have a gouge across my nose. An open wound beginning the process of healing.

How appropriate.
Michelle
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”Absolute Power”-David Baldacci

It’s been years since I’ve read a fiction book. I don’t know why. It’s not that I don’t like fiction, some of the very best books, most of them, were fiction. “The Caine Mutiny”; ”Flight of the Phoenix”; “To Kill A Mockingbird”; “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. Just to name a few.

And yet I doubt I’d ever put a book like Dave Baldacci’s “Absolute Power” anywhere near the company of the above classics. Which is not to say that “Absolute Power” wasn’t entertaining. Further, it had a most intriguing premise written on the cover of the book which caused me to put it in the library bag immediately.

“What would happen if the President of the United States committed murder?” as I paraphrase.

Indeed, I thought. Because by me this current President has done every bad thing possible EXCEPT commit murder so I figured, well let me get a heads up on this concept just in case. Eric Holder, I’m thinking, would probably not investigate or seek prosecution on Obama is what I’m saying here. Okay, I’m being a bit sarcastic but hey, we got Black Panther thugs patrolling a voting precinct wielding batons in a threatening manner and that’s just fine with our current justice department so go on, why couldn’t Obama commit a murder, a completely justifiable one of course, and avoid any sort of problem for his crime?

It is the times in which we live that perhaps caused me to totally disbelieve the ending of this Baldacci book, but I get ahead of myself.

It was quite a stretch to come up with a scenario in which a President, or his minions as the case may be, manages to be responsible for a young woman’s murder, all directly in front of a witness who saw the whole thing, and with the President leaving behind an object with his damning DNA on it to eventually come into the hands of the murder witness, AND suspect, as a wedge for his innocense.

Well if you got a President committing murder and stuff, you better have some quite compelling evidence, including an eye witness, DNA and a couple of shrewd sleuths that figure out the discrepancies in the crime scene so thoroughly cleaned by the presidential minions.

Indeed Baldacci did a good job with the plot. Perhaps too good a job.

For as I read I could see this book playing as a movie in my mind.

Movies, ladies and gems, are a whole different genre than books.

First, with a book one expects more “fleshing” out of the character, scenario and background. Arthur Hailey wrote quite a few fiction books. One was “Hotel”, one was “Airport”, some others I forget now. In each book Hailey knew his subject quite well, treating the reader to many behind the scenes details that were enthralling and enhancing to the read. Indeed Arthur Hailey’s books were made into movies…the two I mentioned above were movies based on Hailey’s books. They were okay movies, a good watch perhaps. But nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to the book. For a movie can never show the details, the minutiae of the subject, that a book can cover for an eager reader.

Which could be the reason I’ve stopped reading fiction of late. For today, writers are writing to the movie, not to an avid reader ready to jump into the reading subject with both feet. “Absolute Power” is a book written by an author who is writing to the movie.


Not that there’s anything wrong with this.

We had duplicate endings…one of those Terminator things where the bad guy keeps coming back to life. We had one of those scenes when all hope ends only to arise again like a Phoenix from the ashes bringing truth and justice and the American way with it just when the reader/”viewer” thought all hope was gone.

There was little political background provided in the book and there’s a subject I know a lot about. In fact, when I picked up the book my first thought was….”this should be a good read…some political insight along with an intriguing plot.”

The little political stuff provided by Baldacci was not even close to how it works; the politics as portrayed was stereotypical, not real at all.

Baldacci’s characterization was quite good. He created a ambitious female Chief of Staff, a sociopathic President, a thief with a heart of gold, a young lawyer who eschewed a life of wealth to follow his ethical foundation, a couple of conflicted secret service agents…yes Baldacci did a great job with his characters and it made the plot more believable in the path it followed.

Hey, it was a good read, it was entertaining, the writing was fine, just fine.

But I was disappointed in a manner because…if I wanted to watch a movie, I’d watch a movie. I don’t want to READ a movie is what I’m saying here.



Big Fish Grill-Still Serving Seafood to the Masses In Rehoboth

Web Site for this Restaurant

Goodness this is my third review of this restaurant, one as far back as 2005 and in the one in 2009 I vowed to never go to this eatery again.

So here it is 2011 and I am writing about this fabulous seafood restaurant in Rehoboth Beach Delaware that must be doing something right in that there is always a line of patrons waiting at the door.





On this night after Valentine’s day there was no such line and it is, of course, the mid of winter down Rehoboth shores way.

Which lineless situation caused a bit of grief the night husband and I went to the The Big Fish Grill in that there was not only no line, there were plenty of seats. Instead of offering us, Valentine lovebirds that we were with the good sense to arrive plenty early, a nice private, cozy booth, an empty booth was completely bypassed and husband and I were escorted to a table. Understand here that even a table would have been okay except it was a table that was not sitting by itself, but was part of a “banquet” table kind of set up, with tables side by side, chairs to the front with a banquette seat shared by a bunch of folks, likely strangers, on the other side. There was no one sitting at the table to the side of where the hostess took us but it was empty and during our meal a pair of strangers could arrive, making our meal uncomfortable at best for the proximity to those who could hear our conversation and survey our meals.

Like I said, the place was full of empty booths. Now many of these booths were huge affairs, capable of seating six, possibly more people. When I requested that we not be seated at this table with its uncomfortable configuration, I specifically asked for a smaller booth, they had quite a few open, and explained that I did not want to take up their big booths with just husband and I.

I thought it a reasonable request. I know I would not have enjoyed my meal with worry that at any second another couple would be seated adjacent to us, thereby ceasing all casual conversation, causing me, at any rate, not sure about husband’s feelings, to want to get out of there. We only go out to eat once every six months or so, we’d come early, there were plenty of booths open, why couldn’t we get comfortable? And, proof of my two earlier reviews of this restaurant, we were semi-regular customers so pleasing us would seem prudent.

You know what the hostess told us when we asked to be moved to a booth?

No.

That’s right. She wasn’t mean or anything. She just looked around, mumbled something about no booths being clean and ready for seating, and pointed to the table where we would, evidently have to sit, like it or not.

To all restaurants on the planet….this is just totally unacceptable. There was no good reason to deny us a booth, the place was half empty….and know that I did get a bit uppity about it. I said I was a Blogger and I would be sure to write about this in my review. I was getting ready to say never mind we’d leave but I held my tongue as husband, for Valentine’s Day request, specifically asked to go here for his want of a nice big fried flounder, made as well at The Big Fish Grill as most anywhere else.

Another person at the front desk saw there was some discussion going on and came back to intercede. We explained the problem and she said it was no problem at all, just let them clear a booth.

Which was done, we were seated, and I wonder why the first hostess couldn’t have done the same thing?

After that we did get most excellent service, as you might imagine. They knew I was a Blogger doing a review, something I don’t like to tell. I’m thinking maybe me taking pictures of the food might also have been a clue.



I had fried oysters, something I thought quite appropriate to purchase in a seafood restaurant dead in the middle of February. Husband had the fried flounder, a big crusty thing, and he ate it all.

One of the big surprises of the night, besides the good seafood as would be expected, was the side dishes. On the night we were there, offered was a most delightful side dish you don’t see very often…sugar snap peas! Also, a side of mushrooms for husband, that was really for me. The mushrooms were good, along with Big Fish Grill’s smashed red taters…a very good meal indeed.

Another surprise was the little appetizer served free of charge. On every other visit we got this little platter of sorts but I always thought it was tarter sauce or some such. Turned out it was a small container of, well I guess it was tuna fish, at least that’s what it tasted like. I suspect that there’s plenty of fish leftover in the kitchen and the fish is shredded and seasoned to a quite tasty salad type of thing. This was a delightful surprise.

After the meal, another hostess came to our table and gave us a coupon good for $11.00 off on our next visit to Big Fish Grill if we used it before the end of March.

Like I said, we only go out to eat once every six months so we’ll probably not use it. She told us it’s something they give to “special” customers-I’m thinking “special” customers like Bloggers doing a review or folks treated strangely over seating arrangements. Just throwing it out there.

Still I accept that management regretted the confusion over seating and I accepted the gift graciously.

My final word of advice, go to Rehoboth Beach Delaware’s Big Fish Grill in the winter months, get there early, and insist on a booth.

The food is, as always, excellent. They just needed to tweak their customer relation skills a bit.

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5 comments:

Elise said...

Quote: "Got a book review on an entertaining book-Baldacci's "Absolute Power". What happens if the President of the U.S. commits a murder?"

I've been meaning to read this book - it's on my list of must reads. And of course I would love to get the expert's take on this...but to answer the question off the top of my head - what happens? Well, nothing happens, that's what. Look at the younger George Bush, for example.

Is he not guilty of murder many times over? Trading blood for oil?

I know it's more complicated than that, but really...he'll never be tried in the Hague on war crimes, will he? Of course not...so yes, presidents do get away with murder,literally. Sad but true.

Elise

Survive an affair

karen said...

Thanks for the great recipes, looking forward to trying them, I think my family will enjoy! And don't you think that is COD wants to dance, then she should? No credentials necessary! I have always enjoyed David Baldacci's novels, enjoy!
Karen


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