Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Keep Your Chicken, I'll fill My Own Pot Thank You

What could be wrong with a nation filled with happy, well fed, hand holding, Kumbaya singing citizens? Well, nothing. It would be wonderful! Those in our country who espouse socialism paint a picture of peace, harmony, and equality. The basic ideals of socialism are actually similar to the instructions given to the Corinthian church by the apostle Paul. So why are so many Americans opposed to socialism? The devil is in the details.
The form of socialism being proposed today would take from the rich and distribute to the poor. If you are poor, that might sound like a great idea, until you consider the long term effects of this proposal. For starters, the rich are for the most part rich because they worked hard and invested wisely. To take from them to give to those who are lazy or foolish is both morally and socially wrong. Now I realize that not everyone who is poor is not foolish or lazy. Many are unskilled, uneducated, or unfortunate. I was once unskilled and uneducated. I was on the road to poverty, but I didn't like that destination. So, I got off that road and pursued first a skill set so I could make a decent living and have a chance to pursue an education. I worked for many years before I was in a position to go to college. I went to college when I was 36 years old with 2 children. I had to drop out in the middle of my nursing education and work for a year due to complications with my wife's pregnancy, but I went back and finished my education with 3 children and a wife who worked 12 hour night shifts. I am now an educated professional and proud to call myself a Registered Nurse. My point is that many of the poor are that way due to a lack of self motivation. Education is available to anyone; in fact, the poorer you are the less it will cost you. Don't envy the rich, get out there and make your own fortune.
The next thing to consider is that the rich provide jobs. I work for a hospital owned by a company that owns many hospitals. It is a for profit company with numerous shareholders. The company is owned by rich people. These rich people's desire for success is what provided a job for me. These folks worked hard to earn money and invested wisely in my company. Taking away their income and giving it to others removes their motivation to succeed. If they don't succeed, I don't have a job. So many Americans today forget that the wealth and success of America is dependent on our free enterprise system. This system rewards those who work hard. Some argue that the wealth of the rich is built upon the backs of the poor workers. DUH! That's how it works people. Most Americans help earn money for the rich and earn an honest living along the way. What's wrong with that??
The rich pay taxes. Fact: 80% of all tax revenue is payed by the top 5% of wage earners. Fact: The top 50% of wage earners pay 100% of taxes. Fact: The bottom 50% of wage earners pay no taxes. So, if you take from the rich and put everyone on even ground, who pays taxes........figure it out yet??..........YOU! I promise you that the government will never give up it's cash cow known to us as the Federal Income Tax. That means that everyone will either have to pay a painfully high tax rate to support the government, or the government will have to "nationalize" all major industry to generate income. That means we will all work for the government. No big deal right? At least we have jobs; however, if we all work for the government then there is no hope of becoming wealthy (Just ask anyone who has ever worked for the government). So what is the motivation to succeed? There is none. How fast and efficient was the drivers licence office the last time you were there? How about the Social Security Administration? IRS? They all suck! Do you know why? It's because they know that they will get paid the same no matter how much work they do, and they there will always be an endless supply humanity suffering in long lines to get their cheerful (tongue firmly in cheek) services. We all become just another brick in the wall.
The long and short of this all is that the America that is envied around the world can not exist as a socialist state. The nation that has taken in so many of the worlds huddled masses can not continue to do so as a socialist state. The "American Dream" will cease to exist in a socialist state. There are those who are helpless who need help. I believe with all my heart that we can and should help them. The widow, the orphan, the infirm (a 23 year old with Degenerative Disk Disease is not infirm!), and those affected by some disaster. Those who choose not to work can starve, those who work the system can have their Lexus repossessed, and those that abuse the system can rot in jail! I am sick of paying for them to exist as parasites on the public teat. Oh, and if you are standing there with your hand out, don't bitch about what's put in it! So I say no thank you Washington. Keep your chicken. I will go out and work for my own thank you!

Chicken Breast stuffed with Portabello, Artichoke, Avocado, Provolone, and Swiss

I had a request for some recipes on my blog. This is for you Tory :- )
First marinade chicken breast in a mixture of olive oil, white wine (Bella Sera Pinot Grigio works nicely), rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and onion powder. About 2 hours should do. While the chicken marinates, prepare your stuffing as follows: saute portabello mushrooms in olive oil and butter about 3-4 min. each side. Set portabellos aside and remove avacado meat from skin and place in pan. Cut into small pieces and sautee over medium heat until both sides are browned. Add potrabellos and artichoke hearts to avacado and add 1 cup of marinade to mixture. Simmer until liquid is evaporated. Set stuffing aside until chicken is done marinading. To prepare chicken, make 2 inch incision in side of chicken breast, then insert knife into incision and form a large pocket inside of breast. Dice swiss cheese and toss in stuffing mixture then spoon mixture into pocket in chicken breast. Close pocket with toothpicks if necessary. Bake in oven preheated to 425 degrees for 20 min. Cover each breast with slice of provolone and bake for 5 more min. The next step is easy: Serve and enjoy!

16 oz sliced portabello mushrooms
2 medium avacados
20 oz canned artichoke hearts
6 medium boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 slices swiss cheese
6 slices provolone
1 tbsp butter 2 tbsp olive oil for sautee

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Funkballs, Creepers, and Goobers OH MY!

"CREEPER!" Zoe yelled as we passed an 18 wheeler with an admittedly creepy looking gentleman driving. Zoe put a tick mark in the "creeper" column, and got ready to peer into the vehicle we were about to pass. Zoe and I were on our way to Atlanta for a concert. Somewhere just north of Montgomery, AL we decided to make a game of classifying the people we saw. We had creepers, funkballs, goobers, freaks, average, princess, and finally Ahhhhhhh! We occasionally had to create a new classification for some unusual person like the guy with the epic sideburns we passed around Auburn, but most people fit nicely into our categories. We laughed as we jammed out to some good road trip music and played our game. Our trip was starting out with a ton of fun and would only get better. We crossed over into Georgia, and stopped for a french fry snack. We were meeting friends for lunch, so we didn't want to fill up. We zipped on into the city and met our friends at the Big Easy Grille. It was a New Orleans style cafe owned by a high school friend. The food was phenomenal, and the atmosphere was such that I felt like I was in the Quarter. After lunch, we headed downtown to our hotel. The hotel was only a couple of blocks from Phillips Arena which thrilled Zoe to no end. We got checked in and headed down to the CNN center to have a look around. I am no fan of CNN, but the center was impressive. After looking around a bit, we filtered into Phillips Arena which adjoins CNN Center. The atmosphere inside was electric, and Zoe was very quiet but visibly excited. I asked Zoe if she wanted a concert tee shirt and she said no. I looked at her quizzically then told her I would buy her one. "Oh", she replied, "sure I'll get one." I guess she thought she was going to have to buy it. The shirts were $35. A bit over priced for sure, but daddy loves to make his girl happy, so it was my pleasure to buy the shirt for her. Of course she had no problem asking for a few extra dollars to get her Sick Puppies poster and CDs to be autographed, but who could blame her! LOL
The concert began with the Sick Puppies. I was truly impressed with this band. Not only was their music awesome, the band members were very real and kind people. Zoe got to meet the band and get pictures and autographs. They were all very sweet to her and even waved at her as we left. Not many bands do that anymore. Zoe floated back to the hotel with her autographed treasures and found it difficult to get to sleep. The next morning, we packed up and headed back home. We had a fun trip home taking pictures of funny things along the way. The trip was absolutely amazing. Zoe and I made memories to last a lifetime. She will not remember what I bought her for Christmas last year at my funeral, but she will remember that concert. I guess my point is that I would much rather spend my money and time making memories than getting stuff. Stuff breaks, rust, and gets lost. Memories last forever!