Francesco

July 22, 2013

Depending on who does the estimating, we hear that there are between 10 and 20 million illegal aliens currently living in the United States.

For years now Congress and the President have been bickering over what should be done to “fix” the situation.

First, who caused the situation?

Well, the short answer is  the Federal government did by not have a method in place to secure its borders and allow proper, planned immigration into this land of immigrants.
So for years now while Washington fiddles, these immigrants are burning to go on with their lives in the land of opportunity.

They get jobs, marry, have kids ( US citizens) and well… live.
One of these folks is my friend, Francesco.

He entered the U S legally about 20 years ago and made his way to southwest Florida where John  hired him to help us in the orange grove. Immediately, Francesco proved to be a valuable addition to our little operation. He quickly showed his patient, methodical skill in running and repairing farm equipment.

He also knows the orange grove better than anyone, …although I can grow tomatoes better than he can!
About 8 years ago, Francesco became an American citizen.
He is yet another wonderful example of what immigrants can achieve for themselves, their family and their country through hard work and determination.

To bad the self-absorbed elitists in Washington DC don’t have the same work ethic.

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Confrontation

July 18, 2013

This recent court case in Sanford, Florida reminds me of a somewhat similar incident that happened to me about 35 years ago. It was New Years Eve, and I was heading down a narrow alley having just stopped at the grocery store. Another car started down the alley going the wrong way.
This guy got out of his car and appeared very agitated. He told me to move my car back. Getting out of my car, I advised him he was going the wrong way and he should go back.
I don’t remember any more conversation as the guy sucker punched me across my head.

The force of the blow made me slip on the gravel and I went down, dislocating my shoulder in the process.
As I struggled to put my shoulder back in, I saw my tormentor run away to his vehicle and take off.
To this day I think, if I had my weapon with me, would I have shot that man?

For the first 25 years or so since that incident, my answer would have been a definite yes, as I was so angry at being sucker punched. Now I think maybe, but maybe not. It is difficult to say.
What is not difficult is seeing the fixation on this court case by the media and the harmful effects it has caused.
It is stories like these and politicians reactions that have caused this country to become the most hateful and divisive place I have seen since the sixties.

Gone are the days of a kinder, gentler nation.

Luscious

July 17, 2013

If you ask most Americans what their favorite Italian food is, you will probably get an answer like pizza, pasta, veal parmesan  gelato or the like.

All wonderfully good choices indeed, but not my picks especially on a sunny warm July morning.
A day when the local melons are ripe and juicy and one  of the best gift  of God to His people is available .
So, if you want to eat  like an Italian, then you must pick up the  very best melon you can from the fresh produce market. Then head to your favorite Italian deli or grocery store for about a 1/4 pound of their very best prosciutto. Have them slice it so thin you can see though it. Your Italian Nonna would be so proud!
Then as soon as you arrive home slice the melon and put it in the fridge  for at least 15 minutes, to get it a little cool.
When you can’t take it any more, put the melon slices on the plate and drape the sliced prosciutto over them.

With cup of strong espresso, take the luscious, sweet, silky, salty madness out onto your  patio and enjoy a simple pleasure that is pure Italy .

Squsiito!

…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the
consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes
destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it

Declaration of Independence July, 4, 1776

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Some people wonder why I distrust government.

Two recent events although  insignificantly small in themselves, perfectly illustrate the problem of government.
First, the lying.

Why did the State Department feel it necessary to deny that the Secretary of State was on his yacht during the uprising and coup (yes,  coup) in Egypt? It is the same yacht that his rich wife bought him and he registered in Rhode Island. ( By the way, I think she makes a great bottle of catsup. I prefer the organic blend.)

Heck if my wife bought me a yacht and I did not get seasick, I would be sailing on the holiday weekend for sure.

But, why did they lie and then have to come back and recant the lie when it proved false? Such a little thing. One has to wonder about all the big things they lie about. I believe when they talk they lie.
The second little item, abuse of power, appropriately comes out of Washington DC, where Metro Transportation ripped out flowers planted by a citizen near the Dupont Circle station. When a neighborhood outcry developed, Metro made up all sorts of bizarre, bogus reasons for their bureaucratic destruction. Now where there was beauty and art provided by a private citizen, there is brown mud, care of the government.
Two small points, but two large indicators that government and especially politicians are less concerned for the welfare and happiness of the people but very much concerned with continuing to remain in power and maintaining the trappings of power.
Make no mistake, much, much bigger lies and abuses exist. The IRS, the NSA, the State Department, the Executive branch, Congress and  their minions have shown us that. The waste and lies needed to protect the monster run wide and deep.

By the way shame on you elitists in power for imposing your arbitrary politically, punitive acts such as mandatory furloughs, and cancelled Independence Day events for our military personnel and families, in the name of “sequester” cutbacks. Meanwhile, you continue to live your elitist lifestyle and enjoy without shame or embarrassment the cushy benefits of a bloated government.

.
And now comes the biggest whopper of them all.

A miasma of colossal medical waste; the Government’s healthcare program. Putting the Government and insurance companies, instead of doctors in charge of the medical care.

Question: If it is so wonderful a plan as advertised, why is the Government continuing to sell it? Why are special incentives and near bribery required? Why is it being delayed for some of the people?  And WHY  is Congress working so hard to exempt itself from this law which it passed but did not read? Any of these activities should make one think about what is really going on here. But I guess Abe Lincoln was correct, you can fool some of the people all of the time.

Just wait until this bitter pill is force-fed upon all of the people.
I think I am going to spit up.

Grandpa’s Prunes

July 8, 2013

Prior to turning 60, I don’t think I ever ate a prune.

OK I might have eaten a few plums here and there during their lush summer season, but no prunes.
Now however, prunes and raisin bran have become my daily breakfast companions.
I don’t know what it is, but as one gets older prunes become more delicious.

I so much prefer them to a nasty bacon, cheese omelet with a stack of buttermilk pancakes for breakfast.
I did not realize how attracted to and protective of  my prunes I had become until Sydney and Kate were over the other day.

They were rooting though the “snack” basket on the kitchen counter,  when their mother, Wendy admonished them.

“Do  not to eat grandpa’s prunes.”

“Oh we won’t!,”  They snickered.

I don’t know why they laughed, but I was happy when they ate some Cheetos instead. And now I have recently found out that some prunes have essence of  orange  in them.
Now this is a fruit I could get behind!

The Ice Cream Snob

July 5, 2013

mikey and oscar

The waiting

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Just about everybody who lives in St. Louis and the near midwest is aware of the ice cream that is Ted Drewes.

Personally, I think it is among the top ice creams in the world. The others being Blue Bell from Texas and the Italian Gellati one can get in the shadow of the Pantheon in Rome.

Until recently however, I was unaware of how particular other species can be when they are selecting their ice cream choices.

Now cats are notorious finicky eaters. Remember Morris the cat in the commercial, who would only eat a certain brand of food. Well, we have our own “Morris.” His name is Oscar. He is about 13 years old and weighs in at a solid 25 pounds. He is also diabetic and receives 2 insulin shots daily.

His buddy is Mikey, a 4-year-old Welsh Corgi who will eat anything. Mike maintains his show weight at 28 pounds.

Occasionally, we will have ice cream in the house. Sometimes, it is Ted Drewes. Sometimes it is another quality ice cream. Donna usually reserves about a teaspoon for each of “the boys.”

mikey ice cream

Mikey eats his share with wild enthusiasm.

Oscar however is more circumspect and will sniff the sweet dessert first. If it is Ted Drewes, he will lap it up as eagerly as Mikey. If it is not his brand he will walk away leaving it untouched.

He has done this consistently for years only agreeing to eat ice cream if it is Ted Drewes.

I don’t know what he would do if presented with the gelato on Garibaldi street, but I am not going to fly him to Rome to find out.

The summer job

July 2, 2013

It has been about 4 weeks now since Sydney started her summer job at the tennis club.

She works in the cafe making salads, nachos, serving  drinks and sometimes running the cash register.

But her main area of responsibility is the snow cone station. There she whips up shaved ice masterpieces covered with sweet flavored syrup.
She is especially busy on hot days and holidays.
Since Sydney is six months away from getting her driver’s license,  her mother usually takes her to work. Sometimes however, if her mother is busy, I get to drive her. The other day while taking her to work, I asked about her job.
“What is hardest snow cone to make?”, I inquired.
“Rainbow” she said with a slight frown. “Because you need to put all these different colored syrups on the ice.”
“Does anyone ever ask for extra syrup?” I followed up.
“They all do.” She sighed softly, ” I say ok, but then I don’t give them extra.  One pump is enough.”

“Do you ever get any tips?” I asked.

“Not really, but yesterday I got a quarter from the ladies who play cards.”

So maybe the tips aren’t so great, but apparently, Sydney is making a difference and her approach is working.

The snow cone operation is making a profit this year. Sales have been brisk… and refreshing.
Happy 4th of July. And enjoy a snow cone!