Friday, November 30, 2007

The Foul Mouthed Mynah

AWHK! RAISE PROPERTY TAXES! AWHK! RAISE PROPERTY TAXES!

Any other Peoria area homeowners tired of hearing this? I'm soooo sick of hearing the term "raise property taxes". The city needs more money, "raise property taxes". The library wants to re-model and expand, "raise property taxes". The museum people want to build a boondoggle, "raise property taxes". The School Board wants more money, "raise property taxes". Sound like a friggin' mynah bird: AWCK! Raise Property Taxes. AWCK! Raise Property Taxes. Someone needs to teach that bird some new phrases.

AWHK! RE-DIRECT HRA TAXES!
AWHK! SELL THE GATEWAY BUILDING!
AWHK! SELL THE RIVERPLEX!
AWHK! SELL THE KELLAR BRANCH TO PIONEER!
AWHK! QUIT BUILDING ARBORS!
AWHK! CHAIN RESTAURANT TAX!
AWHK! READ THIS IDEA!
AWHK! BREAK THE LAW TAX! (got to help mynah out on this one. Add a 25% tax to all fines levvied for breaking a law - thusly a $100 running a red light ticket now costs $125)
AWHK! 25% BAIL TAX! (same theory as above)
AWHK! GIVE CHEF KEVIN'S MOM THE BUDGET AND A SUPPLY OF RED MARKERS!
AWHK! RAISE YOUR OWN DAMNED MONEY !!

Feel free to help the mynah learn some new phrases....

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

$$ for the city

Let us take a page out of Knoxville, TN book:

"Catlett, who oversees the red-light camera program, said 6,798 drivers have been photographed running the red light at Broadway and I-640 and ticketed since the camera was installed in 2006."

Ok, folks, at $75 a crack, that is over $500,000. That would pay for a lot of things here in Peoria. Install a few of those (Knoxville, TN has 15 and this is just ONE of them) cameras at War & Prospect, War & Knoxville, War & Sheridan, War & University and War & Glen and just watch the $$ roll in busting all of those yahoos that are constantly running left turn reds in those intersections.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Blogging Slowdown

I realize I haven't blogged about much lately. After Turkey day, I spent some time visiting friends and my goddaughter in Indy. I've got a cooking class and a couple of catering gigs coming up before work gets really busy.

That, and I don't have much to blog about. Haven't been eating at new places to report on (however, the ribs at the Smo-King Pit rocked last night), haven't been overly pissed off at customers or witnessed goofiness in person or on line. My company took over the music that is piped in so the last two years of PC Christmas music has come to an end. It is still fairly PC, but it has a lot more variety and took away my reason to bitch about that. So, my usual sources of blogfodder (which is not the German pronunciation of the term "blogfather") has dried up.

I could comment on recent developments about the Kellar Branch, but it has been covered over on Peoria Chronicle and PeoriaIllinoisan (sorry, no links, those guys are easy to find). Just build the trail besides the rail. What does make me go "hmmm" is why Pioneer wants to buy the Kellar for $750,000 yet to build a trail next to it would cost $29 Million? Somebody's numbers need adjusting.

I'm not debating candidates for prez. I'd vote for my mom, but she has too many skeletons in her closet. She used to spank us children. She left hamburger thaw on the counter all day trying to make us all ill. She is frugal and can't blow millions on frivolous things. She does things like paying off her credit card every month. I think she might have lied once. And she shot her sister with a BB gun when they were younger. She is probably far too religious for most. She'd make a lousy candidate. So, I'm pretty set on another candidate.

I looked over some of my goals for this year and said "OOPS!, that ain't happenin'".

The leaves have fallen and I have my view of the river back.

I saw highlights of the Arizona Cardinals football game this weekend. I've always been a Kurt Warner fan. However, his performance kinda sucked this week. However, I've got to ask the coach and offensive coordinator a question. How can your quarterback throw for 484 yards for an AVERAGE of over 14 yards per completion, complete over 71% of his passes and you guys can only score 19 points? If Tom Brady would have thrown for 484 yards he would have scored 100 points. What up with that?

Time for a nap.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Three Little Phrases.

I wanted to post this the other day, I my brain kinda took a dump. So, after reading a couple of posts over at Macombie Adventures, I felt compelled to blog.

Remember these three phrases this holiday season: Excuse Me, Please, Thank You.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Watching this One

Per the AP:

"WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will decide whether the District of Columbia can ban handguns, a case that could produce the most in-depth examination of the constitutional right to "keep and bear arms" in nearly 70 years.

The justices' decision to hear the case could make the divisive debate over guns an issue in the 2008 presidential and congressional elections.

City officials said the law is designed to reduce gun violence, noting that four out of every five homicides this year was committed with a gun.

What crap!! City officials said the law is designed to reduce gun violence, noting that four out of every five homicides this year were committed with a gun. How many of those "four out of five" gun homicides were committed by an illegally used firearm vs. legally owned ones? I bet 95% of those "four out of five" were illegal firearms. Use REAL statistics, please. The people legally owning handguns aren't the problem yet the government is looking to take away their rights instead of locking illegal users up for 50 years. Want to make laws? The criminals don't give a rat's ass about gun laws as they stand or making new ones. Make laws they will "pay for"; laws that locks them up for a very long time, which includes hard labor, for using a weapon that doesn't belong to them. Minimum of 30 years, no parole, just for possession of a firearm not owned by them to start and added years for further criminal activity involving said illegal firearm.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

90,238,662,001st Reason......

...not to believe everything you read on the internet.

This is going to be one of those long, twisty-turny posts that will make you wonder what the hell I'm talking about and where I'm going with it. Bear with me.

Last night I went to The River Beach Pub & Grill to catch some tunes by a duo of Joe Metzka and Dexter O'Neal. Both sang and played acoustic guitars. Toward the end of the night, they played the B.B. King song "The Thrill Is Gone" and toward the end of the song, the chord structure or something caused them to effortlessly maneuver into The Doobie Brothers hit "Long Train Running" which somehow then wound up as "Get Up" by James Brown. So, I find myself humming "Long Train Running" this morning and realized I had forgotten a few words so I decided I would look them up on the internet.

I found this which I'm 99.9% sure is wrong. Then this which I'm 100% is wrong as is this version. But I think these are correct (or as correct as I remember them). Which means since the Doobie Brothers do not have the real & offical lyrics on their website, which site do you trust? What if your life depended on it?

Which brings me to a sad tale. As it has been splashed all over the news of late and as C.J. Summers reports, a 13 year old St. Louis area girl, Megan Meier, killed herself over untrue and vicious postings by a fictious "friend" on MySpace. It seems one of the "last straws" was wording something to her being a slut and that the world would be better off without her. It is truly sad to believe that a 13 year old would take it to heart and believe she was a slut and the world would be better off without her from someone she had never met.

In other words, if 3 out of the top 5 returns of a Yahoo search for Long Train Running lyrics produce incorrect lyrics, should you actually believe what people you have never met post about you on My Space?

Don't believe everything you read on the internet.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Laugh of the Day

I was having one of those days...you know...nothing working right, seems like you are a step behind and skipping a beat. Then the business for which I work starts piping in the dreaded PC Christmas music. Then it gets busier than hell. And then I get the phone call that changed my day. I don't know why I find this sooo damned funny but I do:

Phone: ring
Me: Blah, blah, blah, how can I help you?
Phone: Do you sell jello?
Me: Yes, sir.
Phone: Does it come in boxes?
Me: (thinking to myself "NO, a cement mixer backs up to our loading dock and fills a large vat with jello and you come and scoop out what you need with a corn shovel): No, sir, it comes in bags.
Phone: How much is in each bag?
Me: I don't have that information in front of me. May I put you on hold so I can retrieve it?
Phone: Would it be in a 24 ounce bag?

Now, what did I just say? Didn't I just say I didn't know?

Me: Sir, I don't know. If I can put you on hold, I can retrieve that information for you.
Phone: I bet its a 24 ounce bag.
Me: (ARGGGG!! Do you want me to find out or not? Good for you. If you are so sure it is a 24 ounce bag, why the {choice of expletive here} are you asking me?): Hold please.

I laughed at this all day long. I couldn't quit. I don't know why I found this so amusing.

Oh, and it was a 24 ounce bag of Jello.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bar Louie

To quote Gomer Pyle: "Surprise, surprise, surprise"!! Didn't think you'd find me here, did you? As some of you may guess, this isn't going to be a "normal" review for me. You see, I had no inclination to set foot in this place. First, it is a chain. Second, I rarely heard anything good. However, due to some comment (and which comment, specifically, I still do not know) I made over on Peoria Illinoisans blog on one, two or three of Bar Louie threads upset the higher ups at Bar Louie. How do I know this, well, Cory on his Morton Malaise blog said this. I was e-mailed by a Travis (from a Yahoo account, which I thought odd...if it was "official" business, why not a Barlouieamerica.com or the corporate owner, restaurant-americas.com) saying he wasn't mad at me and asked me to stop putting false or misleading (in his eyes) information on my blog. I later receive an e-mail from a Jeff Lloyd, director of operations from BL from an AOL account, however, it did include a phone number. I found this sentence odd: "I read your review and some of the responses to it regarding our Bar Louie in Peoria." Sir, I didn't review BL on my blog. They both wanted to buy me lunch. In a response to Travis, I told him I would go on my own dime and good or bad, the review would show up here. Now supposedly there has been a major shake-up and things are supposed to be or get better. Well, maybe not so .

So, off my D.A. (a 1st time D.A. for me) and I set out for Bar Louie today. We arrived at 11:45 am. We noticed one person at one table. Our waiter said to help ourselves to any table and we did. As it was a day off, I decided to imbibe in a Samuel Adams Winter Lager. My D.A. decided to have a virgin bloody Mary, which I sampled and was better than most. I decided on the Jambalaya, my D.A., the fish tacos, which she had previously, but was informed she could have the fish blackened, much to her delight.

So, between all the negative posts on P.I.'s blog, plus many e-mails I had received, the major knock of Bar Louie was the service. I didn't time how long between when we ordered and the food arrived, but I'd say 15-20 minutes, which is reasonable considering it is obviously made to order...nothing appeared dumped out of a bag on our plates. My D.A. pronounced the fish tacos as good as ever. My Jambalaya had a good portion of medium sized shrimp, white meat chicken, andouille sausage in a some what spicy, yet flavorful tomato based sauce and what appeared to be basmati rice. A perfect amount for lunch. Our server was polite and professional, checking on us appropriately. The bill with tax was $39.

Now, I don't know how things would have went if it were busy. About another 25 people came in after we did. However, I don't think I could have asked for much better. Certainly, this glowing review doesn't negate others' less than average experiences at B.L.

So, will I go back. There were a few interesting things on the menu like buffalo calamari that intrigued me. But, you know me and chains......I'd probably go back sooner if it wasn't.

See you around the table.....

Monday, November 12, 2007

Observations

As my opportunity to finish the minuscule amount of autumn yard work has been put on hold due to rain, I thought I would take the time to blog about some current observations.

Due to the rain, an observation occurred. On my way to the hardware store, there were all sorts of people walking around the streets (hey, a few were on the sidewalks) heading through the East Bluff. On my way back, the heavens opened, the rains began, and not ONE person in the streets on the way back. Time to Google "Indian Rain Dances".

I frequent Panache, the coffeeshop in the parking lot of Sheridan Village. They have live jazz five days\nights a week. There are musicians there with some extreme talent. I usually go to be entertained and not necessarily hold conversations, etc. However, if I am talking to the person next to me, I can barely hear them sometimes. Which begs me to ask this question: To all those who are studying in there, how the hell can you concentrate? And for those laptop users who have the backside of their monitors up against each other as the users are sitting across from each other, I just want to scream "B-2!!, you sunk my battleship!"

I came back from my parents in EP a few nights ago and took the Adams Street exit. There are TWO, yes TWO "No Turn On Red" signs there. This idiot in a monster white truck behind me is blaring his horn. As I'm driving a Geo Metro, it isn't like he can't see over my vehicle. I roll down the window and point at the sign, yet the honking continues. As I view it, this person has no convictions. Hell, if you are going to break the law and turn right when there is a sign saying not to, get some balls, break another law or two and go around me. Gutless wimp.

I swear I could go to an Italian opera performed in Latin in some obscure town in Russia in the middle of a freakin' ice storm and there would be some idiot who would scream "FREEBIRD". Jesus, where do all these people come from?

It is time for dreaded PC Christmas music to start where I work. Listening to 20 different versions of Rudolph the snot nosed reindeer and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town makes me want to {edit} go on a 9mm speaker destroying rampage. I'm sorry if the word Jesus, Christ, Mary and other Christian terms may offend some, but gut it up and realize the holiday for which you are shopping wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the Christian views that this holiday is based upon. Oh, yada yada that the Christians started celebrating Christ's birth in response to the pagans and whomever having their own celebrations to the years end. I don't know about you, but I can't ever remembering any pagan, devil worship or atheist holiday tunes on the radio, so obviously those rituals were short lived or not based on anything substantial to carry on its "tune-age". Its OK for your kids to listen to the sex infused music on the radio but cover their ears and run like hell if you have to explain the word virgin.

Am I done? I think so. If not, I'll update. The rain has quit, time to finish the yard.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Come on guys let us help you

I'm reading the proposed agenda for the next city council meeting over on Peoria Pundits and see this:

"H. Communication from the City Manager and Director of Economic Development Requesting to Receive and File a PLAN to ENGAGE REPRESENTATIVES from the City and MAJOR EMPLOYERS in and near Downtown to EXAMINE WAYS to INCREASE MIDDLE CLASS INVESTMENT and HOME OWNERSHIP in the HEART OF PEORIA."

Come on, guys read some blogs. A lot of good, albeit maybe a tad sarcastic, ideas have already been posted. Limit rentals. Limited Section 8s in these areas. Give tax breaks to those who buy, live in and rehab ex-rentals or other housing deemed in less than desirable shape. Hold slumlords, the renters and "could-care-less" homeowners responsible to make their properties presentable (at least on the outside...what your pig pen looks like on the inside is your business). Fix the roads and sidewalks. IMPROVE DISTRICT 150.

I'm sure the rest of the blogging community can come up with some more.

I only have a small handful of Associate Degrees, but I can figure out that no one is going to buy a house where the area looks overgrown, the houses aren't taken care of, the sidewalks (if they exist) and streets are crumbling, the drug trade is obvious around you, residents are afraid to go outside after dark and the schools aren't rated too well. While we are spending money on money losing identities like the Gateway building, Civic Center, Riverplex, etc. to attract people, OBVIOUSLY that ISN'T the answer because people are moving away. If you want people to move into these areas, the city needs to invest, and just not with money, in them.

Want a suggestion? Pick two square blocks in the east bluff. Two blocks that have some issues not not horribly so as to test the theory. Put the screws BIG TIME to the gangbangers, the flop house owners, the deadbeat landlords and the like. Give incentives to current homeowners. Get the homeowners who do give a shit in the area involved, let them know what the plans are and ask for their help with improving the looks of the neighborhood because they are going to get a lot of fast acting, almost thug-like, ass-kickin' help from the city. You've got the power, so play some hardball and throw Todd Worrell-style high heat at the losers' heads. Show them some commitment in getting rid of a crack house or getting some Tivo watching, couch potato to mow his yard, pull some weeds and fix the gutter that is falling off. Get a couple of Realtors who live in the east bluff to heavily market the homes these losers vacate in this area and give these Realtors a lot of incentive packages to attract homeowners who have the initiative to do something with the property. How to fund this? Tell the Civic Center its 20 year financial crutch is over and the "temporary" get them going tax is now being diverted.

Talking about it, forming commissions and patting each other on the back isn't going to get it done.

Go Ahead, Laugh

This is what I am driving:




Yep, it is a 1993 Geo Metro. A 271,000 mile, 3 cylinder blue stunner with an automatic transmission that slips a bit in reverse.

Go ahead, laugh. 44 MILES TO THE GALLON!! It holds 8 gallons. That is about 350 miles on $25 of gas. Lets see. An algebretic equation if you will. Chef Kevin drives 4 1/2 miles to work equalling 9 miles per day. Assuming Chef Kevin drives, on the average, another 6 miles per day, how many gas stations can he flip off in a month? On the other hand, I can't use that "Hey, baby, I ran out of gas" excuse.

One For the Blogfather

I know Billy Dennis doesn't need any webhosting, etc., but while I was updating my website, I came across a "little" diversion. This ones (or is it "these two" are) for you, Billy :)

What I'm Up To In 2008

Well, it is November and planning "Chef Kevin" events for early 2008 is in full swing. Minus any private events, you can see where I'm cooking on my webpage.

See You Around The Table.....

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Rosie's Tex-Mex & Italian

Rosie's Tex-Mex & Italian is located just across Main street from the Courthouse in Eureka. Open 11-9 daily (except Sunday), this was quite a find.

I'm not a big "decor" person when it comes to getting a bite to eat, but I was impressed with the styling of this place. Except for a wrought iron table with a credit card machine on it, you felt if you were in a Mexican cantina. The colors and light decorating had a rustic feel to it and none of the usual cheesy Mexican looking artifacts you see at some of the other local joints.

Now, a blend of Tex-Mex and Italian. I don't know, but apparently it is working in Eureka as Rosie has been there for two years. As usual, I didn't overly pay too much attention to what my DA was ordering. All I remember was it was No. 5 on the Italian side of the menu, was Penne in a red sauce and had some pancetta in it. It tasted really smooth like it had a touch of cream or maybe some queso blanco or Chihuahua cheese in it to mellow out the acid in the tomato sauce.

I had the Chicken Veracruz. Slightly disappointed as I always thought Veracruz had some peppers, onions, tomatoes, olives, etc. in it. However, it did have a very good flavoring\seasoning on it and topped with a mild white cheese. It came with mashed potatoes that tasted like no mashed potatoes I've ever tasted before. they had sort of a stiff texture to them that made me think there may have been some sort of dry style cheese grated into them. They also appeared to have bits of tomato or red bell pepper. Regardless, they were a nice compliment to the highly seasoned chicken.

As with most Mexican restaurants, we were served a basket of tortilla chips and salsa to start. The chips were a bit thinner than most and the salsa had no sweetness, a hint of smoke and heat and a lot of chopped onion.

Two meals and a Negro Modelo were $25. My DA has lunch today as the pasta dish was quite a plateful. I have to say that the Italian offerings were more intriguing than the Mexican ones and that alone will get me back to Rosie's.

See You Around The Table....

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

More things to do, but time remains the same

The old saying goes, there are only 24 hours in a day. However, it seems of late that I'm finding (or being subjected to) more and more things to take up my time. I got to thinking: What are they and how do I eliminate the non-essential.

First, I gained some time as yard work, lawn mowing, landscaping, etc. is over, so that is a bonus.

I think a very small, but very irritating matter is the light at Tripp and Prospect. The light ALWAYS favored Prospect and it was rarely red. But recently, the light favors Tripp! I've sat and sat and sat with no traffic on Tripp WHICH IS CLOSED DUE TO CONSTRUCTION!

Next, I love reading all the local blogs, but there are so many now and I'm sure that number is increasing. By the time the next blogger bash rolls around, The Blogfather is going to have to take up a collection the rent the Civic Center Arena!! Except for the "big four" I check everyday & sometimes twice, I think I'm going to have to divide the Peoria blogosphere into two sections and read a section every other day. Now how do I divide them? Serious vs. funny. guys vs. gals. Alphabetical? I'll figure it out.

I probably spend too much time on Peoria.com. At least I don't waste as much time arguing with people in which I'm made to feel wrong and if it does happen, I'm learning to let it go....sort of. Reason being? There is an old culinary saying: "Once you think you know everything about food, you become an idiot". So, when "I'm wrong" and it appears there is no debating the issue....I know with whom I'm arguing.

All my outside cooking events. I just keep taking on more and more. 2008 is going to find me stopping that nonsense. I've developed a new mantra: If it doesn't sound fun, if it will take more than a day to shop, prep, cook, deliver, serve, pack up and clean up and if it doesn't pay bucketfuls of Ben Franklins, I'll probably decline. I spend too much time planning things for people and when I shoot them a price they act like I'm sticking my 9mm to their head and stealing their 401K. It is amazing how people will spend lots of money on lawyers, mechanics, plumber, electricians, etc. when negative things in their lives occur, but when it comes to adding some enjoyment in their lives, it should cost $8 an hour. No, thanks.

Second-guessing and changing my mind every time I do something to my house. I have an 85+ year old home. It is in great shape, just needs updating. But I decide and plan what to do (like remodel a room in the basement into a rec\work-out room), procrastinate a bit too long in doing it, and then decide I want to plan something else...different ceiling, different lights, etc. Then I just wasted time costing out all the stuff I originally needed to accomplish the task.

Work. I've got so much flippin' vacation time, I should just pot shot the days so every third week I only work 4 days and have a three day weekend.

Stop blogging. No, that won't happen. That is like going on a diet. Good intentions, never happens.

Friday, November 02, 2007

....and thoughts of barbed wire dancing 'round in my head

OK, a little pre-Christmas re-wording.

As some of you know or read, I have a sizable retaining wall, lovingly garnished with black hollyhocks (in season, that is). The wall does not quite stretch from property line to property line. On one side, there is a fairly steep slope that is fairly well shaded. I figured most plants wouldn't grow there, so I put down the black landscaping paper, placed a few large rocks on it and covered the rest with 1 1/2 inch river rock.

I have noticed, and expected, a little tumbling of said rocks towards the bottom as it is a healthy descent. However, over the last few weeks, almost ALL the rocks have met with an apparent nasty date with gravitational pull. So, as I had the day off (and what a nice day to work outside), I decide to devise and implement a solution for detriment of extreme rock tumbling. As I'm working, one of my neighbors meanders over to see what I'm up to. Explaining my theory, he replies "Yeah, I chased some kids off of there a few weeks ago who were sliding down it and running around to his yard (not quite as much incline) and sliding down again. Inquiring to whom they were, he didn't know. Asked to guess their ages: 6-10.

Now, I could get gripey with said neighbor for not informing me of this sooner, but between work, culinary gigs and my all night partying and he travels for his job, ah, no big deal. But now I've spent another $100 on this landscaping effort so the little trespassers can send all my new rock (wasn't hauling all the old rock back up) tumbling back down again? Do you think they would give a rats ass about a "NO TRESPASSING" sign? I've thought cameras, but even if the police recognized them and ticketed them for some violation, they probably would get thrown out, grade schools would hold assemblies and then Eric Turner would get me a nice new sidewalk in my alley.

Solutions:

1. barbed wire
2. barbed wire hooked up to the thingy my father has that runs 220 electricity through wire fences to keep the bulls enclosed at the farm
3. "meaner than a junkyard dog" dog.
4. 7.62x.39
5. inverted railroad spikes
6. Anthrax
7. Scarecrow dressed up as Barney Fife
8. big sign that reads "FREE CANDY" with an arrow pointing down the alley.
9. start a hornet farm
10. a dead body (of course, living in the East Bluff, no one would have seen anything or would tell that they saw it).
11. Donate land to Glen Oak Park and let them take care of it
12. carefully placed and disguised mouse and rat traps.

I dunno. I wouldn't have dared to do any sliding down rocks in someone's yard when I was a kid. My arse would be additionally sore from the paddling I would have received.

How to make sports better

In today's professional sports, athletes make millions. As viewers, we sometimes wonder why they make the money they do. You wonder about an offensive line in football letting the QB get sacked 6 times in a game or the QB himself throwing 4 interceptions or other bobblehead decisions. Baseball players going 0-24 at the plate. Basketball players who shoot 6 for 19 or such for a couple games in a row.

Well, maybe the NFL, NBA, MLB and a few others should take a page out of tennis's pagebook: "Meanwhile, Nikolay Davydenko again was accused of not putting forth his best effort, with the chair umpire criticizing the Russian's serving during a 6-2, 6-2 third-round loss to Marcos Baghdatis. The defending champion, who was jeered during the match, finished with 10 double faults, 36 unforced errors and had his serve broken five times.

Last week at the St. Petersburg Open, Davydenko was fined $2,000 by the ATP for "lack of best effort" during a 1-6, 7-5, 6-1 loss to Marin Cilic.

WOW!! Fined for "lack of best effort"? Maybe if the NBA, NFL and MLB did this, it would rake in enough revenue that they could lower ticket prices so the average schmoe could go see a game occasionally!