Friday, August 27, 2010

Reretired

It was fun while it lasted.

All good things must come to an end.

A young fellow with a family applied for a job with Chef Patrick. He has a number of years in the business.

More importantly, the guy REALLY needs, and wants, work.

What's a retired guy with a steady income and no dependants to say?

I told Chef I'm available any time he needs a pinch hitter.

Michael Patrick is more than a chef.

Michael Patrick is more than a friend.

Chef has a way of turning people's lives around for the better.

I've seen living proof of it as recently as yesterday.

Honestly, it's humbling.

Lunch was very busy today. Chef never lost his cool. In fact, the busier it got the more serene he seemed to be.

There's no price that can be placed on serenity.

It was fun to see it in action.

Next week, after the "Challenge" is over, I'm going over there again.

This time as a paying customer.

It's long overdue.

Expect a full review with pictures included.

Any man who can make others' lives better while serving some of the finest cuisine in the city deserves no less.

Forget Sleep Out Louie's.

Forget Preston and his boorishness.

I urge all the "Sunday FunDay" gang to join me in a return to our old stomping grounds and make amends for our stubborn ways.

Chef Patrick has always been good to us.

How about if we return the kindness?

Tomorrow, the "Challenge" continues.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, reret.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hi Ho, Hi Ho......

It's off to work I go.

Work?

Yeah, work.

It's nothing long term mind you, just helping a dear friend out in a pinch.

Let me explain.

Last week, I was taking my trash out. This entails carrying it down an alley to a dumpster.

Such is life in the city.

Anyway, I passed by the restaurant across the street. The chef is a good friend of mine. I've dined in every restaurant he's headed up and never once had a bad meal or dining experience.

We got to talking about stuff. He seemed perturbed about something. I inquired as to what was wrong.

"I need someone to work days on Thursday and Friday and can't find anyone.".

In this market, I found that hard to believe.

He assured me it was true.

Without thinking twice I told him, "I'll take the job until you can find someone.".

Chef Patrick looked at me in disbelief.

"No Mike, I'm serious.", I told him.

That was last Friday. I confirmed the job with him over the weekend. Nothing big, nothing formal. We did it on a handshake.

For a man of honor like the good chef, that's good enough for me.

Today, I worked the open shift.

It was a bit of a flashback for me. My first taxpaying job was washing dishes starting back in 1977.

Thirty three years later, almost to the month, I was back where I began.

I have to tell you, I had a blast. Working with a consummate professional like Chef Patrick is a great gig.

The day began with prep work. I started by hand cutting one dozen large baking potatoes for french fries. Then I sliced some tomatoes and cucumbers grown by the restaurant in their own garden. They needed bacon cooked up so I was then tasked with loading three large baking sheets with bacon.

The chef of course was busy with other prep work.

Soon enough, the lunch patrons showed up. The dishes, pots, and pans started coming back to the wash area. Like I said earlier, I am a seasoned veteran at the dish sink.

Three and a half hours went by in a blur.

Seeing as how we did things informally, I opted for "informal" compensation.


The good chef put together this lovely salmon with tomato cream sauce for me. Just a part of the "informal" compensation package.

Pretty fair trade if you ask me.

Tomorrow, we do it again.

If necessary, I can continue through the end of September. In the event that comes to pass, we'll have to do the necessary paperwork.

If someone is out looking for a job, this is a prime example of networking. When looking for work it never hurts to talk to your friends, former coworkers, or even friends of friends.

You may not get the job you want, but it is a start.

I know a number of people who have landed great jobs by taking less than great jobs to start.

You won't meet your next employer by sitting in different beer joints every night. You do stand a chance of meeting them if you are out and about working in plain view.

I got a job by carrying my trash out and networking in an alley.

If I were to stay here, I'd be tapping into all my friends and former coworkers in the aviation field.

Bet I could uncover a job in the field before the holidays if I did.

However, my long term path leads me elsewhere.

I'll pursue a new career upon my return to New Jersey.

Now then, off the "get a job" soap box.

The "Challenge" continues.

Tonight, chicken over pasta and a nice green salad.

Tomorrow, another day working with the chef, some braised ribs for dinner, and a well earned toddy or two.

In keeping with the "Challenge", I WILL be having some beers out this Sunday.

Beers paid for by my labor.

Just a reminder, if you or someone you know is searching for work, the Memphis Hooks Central Library has it's biweekly JobLab tonight from 5:30 pm until 9:00 pm.

Sure, it may not be as glamorous as drinking beer or eating at a downtown restaurant. On the other hand, your chances of finding work will increase exponentially if you're at the Library honing your resume rather than working on your next "plate" at the Flying Saucer.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, temporarily unretired.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Day At The Library And The "Challenge" Updated

I spent most of yesterday lying around the condo.

I get some severe sinus headaches from time to time. Yesterday's was a whopper.

Fortunately I had leftovers from both Sunday and Monday, so my meals were covered without me having to cook.

Good leftovers from Monday's dinner, Creole Catfish, in particular.

Here's some pictures during preparation:


One large peeled, seeded, chopped tomato.


Sweating chopped onion and minced garlic.


Tomatoes cooked down, herbs added.


Catfish, covered with Creole sauce, baked for 35 minutes at 375F.


Catfish and au gratin potatoes(made from scratch).

It didn't cost much to make, especially when I got two dinners out of it.

For the record, it reheated beautifully in the oven.

By the evening I felt well enough to trundle on over to the Flying Saucer for team trivia with the Rapscallions.

Another Tuesday, another first place.

Today I'm coming to you live from the Hooks Central Public Library here in Memphis.

I've some research to do for a project in progress. The Internet is good, but sometimes it is best to grab a book off the shelf. Today's research favors the "book in hand" approach.

Besides, they have wifi along with 200+ computers.

For my tax dollars it is an excellent resource.

The Central Library offers a multitude of resources besides books. They have a section dedicated to small business operators, a remarkable Children's section, public meeting rooms, study rooms, offer computer skills classes, and even have a "Job Lab" that is offered twice a month.

"To help job seekers, the library is offering resume and online application assistance. The service is first-come, first-served. Unlike computers on the public floors, computers are available for the entire three-hour period.

JobLab is an open-door lab providing in-depth assistance to job seekers, particularly with:

* Job-Related Searches
* Resume Writing & Formatting
* Online Applications

JobLab is held twice a month on the following days:

* 2nd Monday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

* 4th Thursday: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Participants should be prepared and bring all pertinent information, such as job history, dates of employment, contact information, etc. Participants are required to provide their own storage media.

Source: Memphis Public Library web page.

With so many people looking for work these days, a free work shop like that makes a lot of sense.

A number of jobs become available and get filled "by word of mouth". If someone isn't used to, or never has "networked" before, this is an outstanding way to get started.

I'll be touching on "networking" in greater detail later this week. It will be from personal experience.

And now, the "Challenge" update.

Day five, and some of the groceries are no longer with us. So far, thirteen full meals, eight snacks, various beverage breaks.

Items Used:

12 pack Diet Coke: $4.99
1 cantaloupe: $1.50
1 tube biscuits $0.65
1/2 pound cheese $2.55
2 catfish fillets $3.69
1 lb. ground beef $2.16
4 hot dogs $1.25
4 oz. bacon $1.00
2 chicken breasts $0.93
1/2 pkg. tortillas $0.60
1/4 pound butter $0.70
1 pound potatoes $0.70
1 quart milk $0.60
3 bagels $1.30
1/2 bulk garlic $0.18
1 onion $1.75
1/2 loaf bread $0.50
4 eggs $0.58
1 pound tomatoes $1.50

TOTAL: $ 27.13


I still have a lot of food left over in the refrigerator and freezer.

It's not as glamorous, nor convenient, as eating out.

It is much more cost effective though.

$27.13 is barely enough for a marginal night out buying $2.75 "Fire Sale" beers at the Flying Saucer or even $2.00 PBR's at Calhoun's Sports Bar.

It IS enough for a full grown man to eat thirteen full, well prepared meals at home though.

Even with the time necessary to prepare the meals, it leaves a lot of free time to do other things.

Like take advantage of the Hooks Central Library biweekly JobLab if one is seeking to improve their chances of finding work.

Tomorrow: Is it possible to "network" when taking the trash out?

Guess you'll have to wait and see.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Leftovers

Leftovers are wonderful things.

Especially when one is suffering from a sinus headache.

I don't feel like cooking today, but that's no problem. I finished the rest of Sunday's leftover taco meat/homemade salsa. I'm happy to have made three meals from that pound of ground beef.

That's good value.

Tonight I'll finish the leftover catfish and au gratin potatoes.

Ain't that something? Days Two and Three covered Day Four.

Good food too, not leftover wings from a Hooters or the such.

Tonight, team trivia at the Flying Saucer headache permitting.

Tomorrow, the Central Library for some research.

Of course, more home cooking with the "Challenge" along with an inventory of supplies and dollar talley.

Bet the numbers will be surprising to some.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Challenge: Day Three

Last night I had a late supper.

Late breakfasts will do that.

Before I go on, I'd like to once again thank Downtown blogger (and all around good guy) Paul Ryburn, along with our friend Ian, for supporting the "Challenge" with their kind beer donations.

A brother on a budget, even a self imposed one, can always use a hand up.

I won't even get started on the concept of "Hand Up vs. Handout" today. That will have to wait for the "Challenge" summation at the end.

Back to last night.

I bought ground beef, tomatoes, and soft tortillas last week as part of the stock up. I had enough spices on hand to make homemade tacos.

You've all eaten at Taco Bell. You know how cheap these are to make.

They are even that much cheaper made at home.

I had three very large tacos, fried another couple tortillas for chips, and using a tomato, some onion, and herbs made a homemade salsa. Having an open jar of jalapenos in the refrigerator helped.

Guess what?

I had enough left over to have lunch today. A very GOOD lunch. A very good, portable lunch I could take with me if I were spending the day out looking for a job.

Many people "brown bag" their lunch when they work. Why not "brown bag" it when looking for a job?

Sure beats spending money on something like a cheesesteak or other lunch.

Last night's dinner/today's lunch cost: $4.30.

This morning's breakfast (leftover biscuits from yesterday's breakfast, one egg, milk): $1.05.

$3.20 for today and I'm past lunch.

If I were looking for work and had "brown bagged" my lunch, I would have all day to devote towards finding gainful employment.

Chase leads. Knock on HR doors. Talk to a "Head Hunter". Call former employers/coworkers.

A good friend of mine once said, "When I was unemployed my job was to find employment.".

Consider that for a second. He approached the problem in a business like manner.

That's an integral part of the "Challenge".

I'm just approaching my food budget as such.

More to follow.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Just Because It's Inexpensive Doesn't Mean It Can't Taste Good

The Challenge continues.

As promised, last night's dinner was potato crusted chicken breast.

"Crusting" things with fresh potato isn't necessarily difficult, but it does require things be done in a certain order. What good is "crusting" that falls off before the meal leaves the pan/oven?

I seasoned the breasts with herbs and minced garlic. I let them marinate for about ten hours. In the meantime I grated two medium russet potatoes and rinsed the shreds twice. The shreds were placed into a small mixing bowl, covered with fresh water, and placed into the refrigerator.

The assembly is where you have to do things in a certain order. Take the breasts out of the refrigerator and dredged them in plain flour. Drain and squeeze the water from the shreds. Take the breasts and press the shreds onto them, using a firm squeeze.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Heat the skillet, add oil, and begin browning the potato/breast combos.

They should look something like this:




Continue to brown the "crust".


Turn carefully, and brown the other side.

Place the skillet into the oven, bake for 45 minutes (turning once at 25 minutes).


Done. Crispy on the outside, moist in the middle.

I served it with a nice tomato salad and the previously photographed PBR.

Total cost for the meal (excluding PBR)?

$2.50. I couldn't eat both pieces of chicken, so I had a nice snack later in the evening.

That more than covered what a "bar snack" would have cost had I been out on the town.

I did get out after dinner. I wanted to take a walk to work off the meal. I ran across Paul Ryburn over at the Flying Saucer.

Paul has been a big supporter of the "Challenge" and was kind enough to buy me a beer.

Thanks Paully. Your kindness will be repaid.

Normally this would be "Sunday FunDay" for myself. The gang gets together for brunch.

Dining in for brunch at home? Not a problem for the "Challenge".

Today's breakfast?

This:









"The Air Traffic Mike Bacon/Tomato/Biscuit/Egg Bowl".

That's a big meal folks.

I've done incarnations where I've added cheese, onions, and/or potatoes.

The beauty of this?

The cost: $1.75.


I even had seven biscuits left over for dinner or snacks through the day.

One of my friends had a frittata at brunch this morning.

It cost around $10 (not including the two $4.00 mimosas).

If I were unemployed and on a budget, which one makes more sense?

That's the point of the "Challenge".

Now then, there is going to be one change in the "Challenge" ground rules.

Beer purchases are now allowed. There has been a small change in my circumstances, that if I were unemployed, would permit a budget restricted beer allowance.

More on that later this week.

In the meantime, the "Challenge" continues.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day One: The Challenge Begins

So here we go.

I woke up early this morning. I had things to attend to in the kitchen. Cooking at home requires some labor besides the actual cooking.

One of my purchases was a tray of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Trays generally provide good value. They also generally provide more food than a single person can eat in one sitting.

I broke open the tray and washed the breasts. By eyeball it appeared there were six in there when I picked it up at the store.

Much to my happy surprise, there were eight really nice pieces inside.

I broke out my vacuum sealer and made three packs of two breasts each. Not that a vacuum sealer is necessary. Some cheap freezer bags or plastic wrap would suffice.

The other two breasts? In the fridge. Potato crusted chicken breast for dinner tonight.

Next I had to process two cantaloupes I purchased on a two for $3.00 sale. The yield was about one gallon of nice, fresh melon.

Enough for around a week.

After that, I made a nice breakfast of bacon, eggs, whole wheat toast, and milk.

Good start to the dining day in anyone's book.

A little public radio, a little dish washing, a little relaxing.

If I were in the job market it would have been the perfect time to plan out my job search day.

Instead, I played a bit of guitar instead.

Lunch time came. I decided to indulge one of my childhood favorite sandwiches, cheese dog on egg bagel and a Diet Coke.

Two meals down, costing about $1.00 total.

Cheaper than any restaurant I know of.

I cleaned up, grabbed my laptop, and headed out. As luck would have it I ran into a friend. He offered to buy me a beer.

Instead of heading to the Central Library, I headed over to the Saucer.

Free beer, free wifi.

Nothing not to like about that.

Yesterday, my friend Paul Ryburn found Angel Food Ministries web site. Check them out. For $29.00, you can score a nice parcel of groceries. Very good to know when your funds are limited due to unemployment, under employment, are in need or not.

Thanks Paul. The rest of you, make sure you check out Paul's blog daily.

More to follow, including pictures of dinner.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Air Traffic Mike $100 Challenge

Recently I had a conversation with a friend of mine.

He'd started a blog. A blog about restaurants.

Nothing wrong with that. The topic is well covered by other sites such as Urban Spoon, but to each his own.

It got me thinking though. In these tough economic times, a lot of people can't afford to eat out. Many are having trouble just making ends meet.

Two of my friends are out of work. I can't imagine how stressful that must be. Thank God for those hyperextended unemployment benefits.

So, for my own edification, I decided that starting tomorrow I will not eat out. I will cook in.

How long?

That's where the Air Traffic Mike $100 Challenge comes in.

This morning I motored up to Schnucks and went shopping.

Here's the list and the damage:



Before anybody starts quibbling, I KNOW the total is $101.36. However, it falls within my guidelines because only $94.07 is food, the rest is tax.

Try eating taxes sometime.

Beginning tomorrow, I will eat in until such time as my groceries run out.

How far does $100 go?

We'll see.

Will I be eating spartan meals like gruel or boiled eggs?

Not a chance. I bought ground beef, pork spare ribs, fish, chicken......all the staples of my parents pantry growing up.

Will I cheat and buy something else in the week?

No.

I will be using my pre-existing cooking supplies (oil, salt, flour, etc...) as these would reasonably be expected to be in any kitchen just like pots and pans.

What if someone calls me and asks to take me to lunch?

I will go if they are treating. The purpose of this is exercise is to see just how I can stretch my hard earned groceries out.

What about beer?

I will not be going out. I DO have a nice little supply of PBR 2x4's in the refrigerator. That was an "off line" purchase as a reward in advance.

Not even trivia on Tuesday?

I will go but will not purchase a beer for myself. Feel free to buy me one if you so desire.

My meals will be blogged here for one and all to see.

I guarantee they will be superior to almost any restaurant meal and it isn't costing the taxpayers a dime.

Well, except for my retirement. I'll remind everyone that I earned that.

So, lunch today (the always magnificent clam chowder at the Majestic Grille) and a Rapscallions Trivia Team party at the Flying Saucer.

Then, it's a refresher course in "Home Ec 101".

You're all invited to watch.

Personally I've got me making it at least until 1 September.

We shall see.

Maybe someone else would like to try this challenge.

It's easy. All you need is nothing to do all day, $100, and a blog.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Janis, We're "Fulli" Of Your Crap.....

Janis Fullilove, you need to step away from the local government.

You have gone from being a public joke to being a public danger to being a total public embarrassment.

First some history.

Charming resume, huh?

Which egregious behavior should we use as the cut off?

Maybe the three DUI convictions?

Maybe the sneaking down into Mississippi to get another license after the first was revoked in Tennessee? Nice ethics. Serve on Memphis City Council, pretend you live in Mississippi.

Maybe being found passed out in your car at the Tunica casinos between DUI #2 and DUI #3?

How about being filmed delivering Meals On Wheels while on a suspended license?

Any one of those would be a suitable benchmark for ANY public official to consider some time off.

Not you.

You are strong.

You persevered through thick and thin.

Yet, change comes slowly.

A lesser person wold have sought out a mentor or a PR firm.

A smarter person would just lay low.

You should have found SOME way to polish your public image.

Instead you decided to "polish" something else.

Thanks a lot Ms. Fullilove.

Thanks again for representing Memphis to the world.

Maybe you're just tired.

Maybe you've been at it too long.

I don't know, but I sure as Hell don't care.

Stop embarrassing us.........


......and go get some well desrved rest.

Memphis politics......you can't make this shit up.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Let's Get One Thing Straight.....

My politics are my own.

Recently, it was bought to my attention that a friend who holds a political office back in our home county felt I was talking bad about her on a local "Forum" sponsored by the local newspaper.

I was talking bad about the Tea Party Movement and the ludicrous prospect of Sarah Palin appearing (hence the comment about "...not enough money").

I have always voted for those I felt were best qualified for office, not some party line or other ideological bullshit.

I don't hold the Township Republicans in high esteem. The Township is heading in the wrong direction and all they are doing is buying the sheet music from the Titanic's (insert Gov. Christie here) orchestra.

However, I've known Julie Acton and Dale Cross since we were all children. I like them both and wouldn't hesitate to vote for either. Good people, with good hearts, are far too rare in politics.

My late father always told me, "Vote your mind, not the voices of others."

Like always, Pop was right.

The Pennsville Township Committee needs some improvement.

Hey, don't take my word. Stop by the Riverview Inn bar (after the Thursday night meetings) and talk to them.

Maybe better yet, take time and stop by the Township meetings.

See you Committee boys in October.

Mr. Crawford, I'd like some of your time.



Mr. Landis, some of yours as well.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Dark Side Of The Business

I read a quote one time in college:

"Aviation isn't inherently dangerous, but it IS terribly unforgiving of mistakes."

I cite this accident as a prime example:

Small plane crashes in Alaska.

What actually happened will be told by the NTSB report. The NTSB is rarely wrong about anything.

The thing about most plane crashes is how simply they happened.

Sometimes a piece fails.

Sometimes an employee overlooks something or isn't trained properly.

Sometimes there's nothing the flight crew can do.

Then there's yesterday's accident.

Flying low and slow skirts a lot of problems, but it invites a lot more. Again, very little is known at this time. They know the aircraft was not receiving any air traffic services. They were in very hilly terrain. Forty degree slopes on the site of the accident.

Flying low and slow, in mountainous terrain, avoiding flying IFR in known areas of weather.

What could possibly go wrong?

Anything. Anything and little to no margin for anything to go wrong.

Pilot error? Maybe, maybe not. The fellow apparently had thousands of flight hours. Nobody has stepped forward to speak any ill of the man's skills.

I have a lot of respect for my pilot friends. They are well trained and careful professionals.

I've no doubt the pilot of yesterday's plane crash was the same.

Somewhere though, somebody made a mistake. It might be mechanical, it might be the operator, but somewhere assuredly a mistake occurred.

Aviation, as is it's wont, failed to forgive it.

My deepest condolences to all involved and especially to the family and friends of Ted Stevens. He understood aviation and it's importance to his home state. He was a decorated World War Two pilot flying missions in the Far East.

He survived a 1978 plane crash that took the life of his first wife.

He survived prostate cancer.

He survived a complete hatchet job at the hands of a over zealous prosecutor.

As a recovering Right Winger I can forgive some of his political views.

As an unabashed fan of all things aviation I just want to say thanks and Godspeed.

Goodnight Uncle Ted. Thank you for your service to our country.



Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tofu, My Ass...........

Discovering you have in excess of 300 fleas?


A trip to the bath tub.

Running around chasing your own tail on a 10 foot tether?


Tangled.

Let Air traffic Mike make your breakfast on his last day in South Jersey for a bit?

Rhondo vs. Ham Hock


Priceless.

On the road shortly.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Goodbye Outer Banks, Hello Highway

The measure of a vacation is how badly you want it to continue on your last night.

We went out to dinner last night. The kitchen at the beach house was clean, the dishes put away, and all the counters wiped spotless.

Why mess it up?

Dinner at Pamlico Jack's was nice. It is a bit "klitschy" as far as decor goes, but the food was magnificent.

I had one of the best versions of Steak Oscar I've ever had. The fillet was "cut with a butter knife" tender and done to a perfect medium rare.

None of that had any bearing on our wanting to stay or go.

Our walk on the beach, post dinner did.

The Sun was setting behind the dunes.

It looked something like this:






I'm a big fan of how the fading day colors the ocean and beach's surface.



Suddenly, the pelicans were upon us. This called for some effects.


A touch of "black and white".


The flyover.


A close up.


Back to "black and white" as they passed.

All too soon, the day yielded to night.

We strolled back to the house.

This morning we finished getting the house in order. We told Team Lloyd to leave the rooms and we'd get them taken care of. Sheets washed, beds made, kitchen and bathrooms cleaned, and all floors vacuumed.

By 11:30 am, it was time to hit the road.

One thing is for sure, I'm always keeping my eyes open for some good roadside stuff.

Before too long, we came upon this place:


Who don't like brewpub/restaurants/butcheries who have an electric fence for the kids to play on?


"The Weeping Radish".


Handmade beers.


Handmade sausages, ham, pastrami, and bacon.


Local produce in season.

Here's my take on their business equation:

1+1+1=BRILLIANT!!!!!!

I bought a case of their "golden" lager along with a very nice assortment of ham, bacon, and sausages.

A minor coronary never tasted so good.

The rest of the trip was pretty standard.

We stopped in Virginia Beach to drop off the keys to my Sister-In Law.

As we headed out, I spotted this:


I'm pretty sure BK doesn't consider this having it your way.

Bet they get his Whopper order right the next time.


No kidding.

We crossed the Bay Bridge Tunnel and pressed on towards New Jersey.

Soon, dinner was calling us.

We stopped at The Great Machipongo Clam Shack for dinner. The food, as always, was outstanding.

After dinner I figured I'd best make a preemptive bathroom stop.

As I approached the sink, I was greeted by this:


I'm not sure how my oldest brother is going to take this news.

This place is his favorite restaurant, bar none.

Maybe it's time for Kev to leave nursing and return to the restaurant business.

Time will tell.

Tomorrow, some post-travel cleaning for Chris and I. Sometimes college students are no match for a couple of dogs. Besides, I have to get ready for the road again.

Friday, it's off to Memphis and missing my favorite Jersey Girl.

Not the best road trip of the season, but necessary.

Sunday, FunDay.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Wheels On The Bus?

Gee, you couldn't have seen THIS coming.

The RNC "rescheduled" their much ballyhooed August 12 through August 14 fund raiser featuring the Tea Party's favorite scone, Andrew Breitbart.

Right now it seems Breitbart's a political liability. It makes sense for the Republican National Committee to see how this all shakes out.

That's not the RNC's only problem of late though.

Just recently, RNC Chairman Michael Steele put his foot in his mouth again. A reporter, posing as a wealthy hedge fund executive and potential donor, got Steele to talk about his chances of holding on to his chairmanship in the upcoming RNC election.

Imagine that. A political party leader/fundraiser lured in by the scent of money.

Late in the interview, when Steele finds out the "donor" is in fact a reporter, he complains:

"Activists call all the time," Steele said upon finding out he was talking to a reporter. "They don't try to sneak an interview. That is not kosher."
--8/2/10 Christopher Weber, Politics Daily

Funny how the RNC seems to have forgotten the ACORN set up.

Apparently "kosher" is in the eye of the target.

Maybe what Mr. Steele really needs is a night out on the town.

So then, is it any surprise that the RNC fundraiser date was changed a week after the Breitbart controversy?

No.

The most telling quote that Breitbart is headed under the bus is this:

"I don't know Andrew Breitbart's schedule for after Labor Day, but he certainly will be invited."
--RNC spokesman Doug Heye


Really?

The RNC reschedules one of their biggest fundraising events, featuring their high profile chairman, in one of the biggest electorates in the nation, and they didn't check to see if one of their biggest headliners would be available?

"It was unclear whether Breitbart would appear at the rescheduled event, but the RNC said he would be welcome."
--8/2/10 Christopher Weber, Politics Daily

A highly touted speaker at one event, merely "welcome" at the rescheduled event?

You can bet they checked his schedule.

If the heat's off, he'll appear.

If the heat's still on and/or hotter, it's "under the bus" for the beleaguered blogger.

Then there's this little matter of Breitbart being sued by Ms. Sherrod.

Some have wondered aloud as to who is putting Ms. Sherrod up to this.

Who would need to be "put up" in this case?

Personally I wonder who "put up" Mr. Breitbart to posting the edited video.

I wonder more, who else will be going "under the bus" along with Mr. Breitbart.

I guess we'll have to wait until the court case.



Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air traffic Mike, ret.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rack Of Lamb Made Easy

A lot of people shy away from rack of lamb.

For some, it's the price. It is a bit pricier than some meats.

For others, it's the perception of how it tastes. These are the poor souls whose parents served them an ill prepared, overdone leg of lamb (worse yet even, hogget or mutton) and tried to make culinary amends by handing them a jar of artificially dyed mint jelly.

Serving mint jelly is considered "culinary abuse" here at Air Traffic Mike's.

Finally, there are those who like rack of lamb but are intimidated by the thought of preparing it properly.

Honestly, there's nothing more embarrassing than taking a nice cut of meat and ruining it in front of your loved ones.

Well, except maybe having to do the "perp walk" over to the phone in order to get some pizza delivered in time to avoid total starvation.

I like to think Air Traffic Mike's is a full service blog. So then, without further ado, Air Traffic Mike's Rack of Lamb.


Wash and trim the top fat from two half racks of lamb. You have the option of doing a "French Trim", I happen to like leaving a bit of the fat up in the bones when I'm preparing them this way.


Gather up your spices and one large cup of ice.


Ignoring the spices, add a four count of vodka (two count if there is no spout mechanism on the bottle) over the ice.


Top with good quality limeade.

Your "Bullfrog" is now complete. Sip on it and enjoy during the rest of the recipe.


Splitty the Maul, shown here with a diet Coke, watched on. Splitty has had some issues with alcohol in the past, chronicled both here and here among others.

Splitty's just happy to be at the beach.


Season the racks with spices. I used Weber's Chicago Steak seasoning, ground pepper, ground savory, rubbed sage, a touch of cayenne pepper, and some parsley. I then drizzled some extra virgin olive oil over the top and rubbed it all in.

Let lamb marinate for one hour at room temperature. If marinating overnight, take the lamb from the refrigerator and let it sit out for one hour.

Splitty wasn't about to sit around watching lamb marinate for an hour.

I set about working on a few other dinner related items.


Splitty set about getting caught up on his favorite show, "Ax Men".

The hour passed quickly.

Preheat the oven to 325F.


Sear the rack(s) in a large skillet.


Make sure you sear them on all sides.


Take the seared lamb racks out. If using a whole rack, place into a baking dish. If using two half racks, thread the bones together as shown and place into a baking dish.

Gotta show your guests you have "mad skills" every once in a while.

Bake the rack(s) in the oven for 25 minutes for rare to medium rare. 30 minutes for medium.


Remove rack(s) from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes.


Serve. In this instance I served caramelized garlic onions over rice and a nice garden salad topped with feta cheese.

For wine I recommend a good Merlot or Red Zinfandel.

Today it's off to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

Splitty and Chris are psyched.

Until the next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.

Air Traffic Mike, ret.