Sunday, October 30, 2011

If You Don't See The Decline, You're Blind

OK, folks... before I even address the snow, allow me to point out that my main road is still closed from August when hurricane Irene hit.

It's October 30th.

No work is being done to repair the culvert they suspect was damaged in the storm. No work has been done as far as I know - other than putting the barriers in place along with signs reading "road closed."

It's a county road. According to my county legislator they're "supposed to get to it" by the end of the year.

Folks... I live in Orange County, NY - 50 minutes with no traffic to get into Manhattan - and this is my "affluent" suburban reality.


It snowed last night.

It snowed...!

Apparently well over three million people are without power and in Connecticut - number two in terms of the wealthiest states of the union - their governor is telling their citizens not to expect power to be fully restored till perhaps next weekend.

If you don't see that America is in decline... well... I don't know what it's gonna take.

The hole at Ground Zero doesn't resonate with you?

The fact that we apparently can't beat the Taliban - a bunch of savages with AK's...? That doesn't strike a cord?

Being asked to remove your shoes - and belt - at the airport? The fact that grandma is liable to be strip searched prior to boarding a plane to see the grandkids for Christmas? The latest news that TSA is "expanding" their operations to train stations and even highway check points?

Folks... you read newsbites. You live in the same America I do. What's it gonna take to wake people up to the fact that if we keep on going along the path we've been going it won't be long till electricity and hot water on demand are but fond memories of "the good ol' days" before Bush and Obama threw the baby out with the bath water in their efforts to twist the laws of economics into a fairy tale where everyone is always a winner and no one ever loses a bet.

Forty-two years ago we were sending men to walk on the moon. Today... America can't send a man into space without paying the Russians for their assistance.

Remember Planet of the Apes, the movie, the original starring Charleston Heston as American astronaut Colonel George Taylor? Remember his closing lines upon finding the half buried remains of the Statue of Liberty?

"We finally really did it. You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you!
God damn you all to hell!"

That's where we're heading, folks... just you mark my words.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Newsbites: Sat. & Sun., Oct. 29 & 30, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a van into an armored NATO bus Saturday in Kabul, killing 13 American troops...

Oh, yeah... definitely worth the blood and treasure...

Oh, yeah... we're winning baby... perhaps Hillary could hire Charlie Sheen as her new personal spokesman...

The true evidence of our decline as a nation and of the cultural rot infecting "We The People" is we've been allowing this - in our name - to continue for a decade now.

This isn't WW2 folks. This isn't even Korea. Indeed, this debacle is more tragic than the Vietnamese War in the sense that at least with regard to that war there... the majority of the South Vietnamese whom we were protecting actually wanted to be protected.

In Afghanistan...? Jeezus... we're talking "forth world" Muslim tribes where the main disagreement with the Taliban revolves around the allocation of power and wealth where many of our "allies" are only our (temporary) allies because when the Taliban comes back into power (perhaps under a different name for western public consumption) they may once again outlaw the poppy (heroin) trade that many of these villages would subsist upon if "allowed."

Nation-building in Afghanistan has been a total failure. For the past few years our finest young men and women have been losing their limbs, eyes, and lives for... for what?

Imagine one of those thirteen dead Americans was your son... your daughter... your husband...

What a waste. What an unconscionable waste.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Friday, October 28, 2011

We're headed down the rabbit hole, folks.

(Perhaps China has somehow spiked the nation's drinking water supply with LSD?)

Whatever the reason... up is down, Left is right, and reality is nowadays simply one of those nondescript words which once possessed a clear, understandable definition and meaning.

Did you folks read yesterday's newsbites - particularly the one concerning GDP?



How'bout that stock market, huh...?!?!

No... relationship... to... reality... whatsoever...


Last night I'm laying in bed listening to the radio and the newscaster is babbling on about how the economy is "improving" and indeed how yesterday's Dow jump might be the start of a bull market with full economic "recovery" only... er... three or four years further down the road.


Funny thing... it was only last week when the "news" was reporting that we might be entering a double dip...


In other words, folks, it's all blather... it's all emotional reaction as opposed to clear eyed analysis.

Bottom line: You can't take anything you hear on the news seriously - not in and of itself as a one time snapshot of reality. You've gotta resist the urge to let "them" (the mainstream media) play on your "hope" for "change."

I simply can't stress this enough, folks... the mainstream media is basically full of shit.

Whether it's politics... economics... social issues... the Left is doing their best to manipulate you.

What of "the Right?" Well... it depends what you mean by "the Right." If you mean the GOP... yeah... no doubt! If you mean the likes of Charles Krauthammer and "the old guard" of the establishment conservative punditry... well... yeah! They're often as full of shit just as the Left is!

Listen. I blog for me. I blog because it creates a record. The fact that I publicly blog and thus share my research and thoughts with the rest of you... well... that's really just a byproduct. I mean, after all... it's not like Usually Right effects the debate on any level other than giving a handful of my friends and some few others a window into my thinking and access to the data that molds this thinking.


Anyway... carry on!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Thursday, October 27, 2011

Some videos are worthy of periodic re-airing - this is one of them.

(By the way... really cool "true" stereo recording...)

Oh... and speaking of messages that bear repeating...

You folks have simply got to read Mark Steyn's lastest tome, "After America: Get Ready for Armageddon".

Steyn is so right... and so... entertaining... while documenting the decline and fall of our once great nation with facts taken right out of Barker's Newsbites that the experience of reading his latest best seller is akin to watching a well made horror movie on DVD at home where you can pause and replay at your leisure!

Oh... and speaking of books...

Don't forget, folks... Pat Buchanan's latest - "Suicide of a Superpower" - is out now! I've already placed a "hold" on it at my local library, but I may break down and actually purchase a copy for myself rather than wait.

As regular readers know... like me, Pat Buchanan is usually right.

Folks... I'm begging you... don't simply piss away your hard earned money this Christmas and Chunukah on Chinese made crap! Buy books as gifts! Give them to young, impressionable skulls full of mush as well as to old, artery clogged sheeple you know and love (or who are simply on your gift list... er... because...) so as to hopefully educate them.

Perhaps it's too late to save America... but we've gotta try!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hiya Gang!

Just a shout-out to my nephews Sean, Dom, and Brendan (oh... and nephew-in-spirit "Black Sean") who make up "A Fragile Tomorrow."

These kids are pretty damned talented... and right now they're preparing for their upcoming West Coast tour with "The Bangles."

Here's a little rock... here's a little acoustic...


Monday, October 24, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, October 24, 2011

Remember when Born Free was aired on network TV - during prime time - once a year and the whole family would gather to watch it together?

I miss my America.

My America was so much better than today's America.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Friday, October 21, 2011

In line with my "Gadhafi post" below and my reminiscing about American values... the classic American Western character study... here's a little blast from the greatness of America's past.

Oh... and for a bit of variety... diversity if you will... check out this... and this... and this...

Allied With Savages

Our nation's friendemy, Moammar Gadhafi, was murdered.

Did he deserve to die? No doubt! But has the Age of Obama so distorted Americans' moral compasses that we won't even call a spade a spade anymore?

Gadhafi was murdered...!!! He wasn't captured, tried, found guilty and executed; he was captured and then murdered.

Hey... it wasn't us... it happened over there... it was them. Nothing to do with us, right?


Com'on... we enabled Gadhafi's murder. We "allied" ourselves with savages.

I was socialized on John Wayne movies. Remember "the Code of the West," the "Rule of Law," American justice symbolized by the sheriff or marshal who would risk all and fight till his last breath to protect his prisoner from the lynch mob regardless of what a rotten, murderous, deserving of death scumbag his prisoner was?

Is there any doubt that Moammar Gadhafi was a vile dictator - a murder - a murderer responsible for the deaths of Americans?


Did Ronald Reagan himself order the bombing of Gadhafi's personal living compound in 1986 in response to the Berlin discotheque bombing of that same year?


But that was an act of retribution...

Simply putting a bullet into the head of a captured prisoner - no matter how hated... no matter how deserving - is murder.

Up above I tag Gadhafi America's friendemy. You know why - right? After the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq Gadhafi basically wet his pants, agreed to scrap his WMD programs and support for terrorism, and reached out for what the foreign policy types and academic types would term a "rapprochement" with the United States.

And guess what? Basically he got his wish! The Bush administration claimed this "rapprochement" a great diplomatic victory and when Barak Hussein Obama became president he (and his Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton) pursued the same policy... up till...

Well... you know the rest folks - or if you don't, you can google it.

Who are we now "allied" with in Libya? Savages? No doubt. Murderers? Yep. Definitely. Criminals? Uh... yeah... no doubt!

Will the new Libyan government prove to be less inimical to American interests than the 2003-2011 Gadhafi regime? Who can say? Who knows...?!?! Certainly I have no crystal ball.

The question is... did the Obama administration just spend - pretty much unilaterally... skirting the Constitution at best - almost two billion taxpayer dollars (borrowed from China?) to move American interests in the Middle East (technically North Africa) from the frying pan into the fire?

Time will tell...

Are we allied with the sort of savages who proudly murder a helpless captive in cold blood and thus deprive their fellow countrymen and countrywomen as well as the rest of the world's population of true justice seen carried out...


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Thursday, October 20, 2011

If you didn't read yesterday's newsbites I strongly suggest you check out "twofer" comment #13/#14.

I don't know about "rednecks," but I do know that if We as a People - an American People with an American Creed - don't "take America back" from those who want to "fundamentally change" her...


Folks... the inmates are running asylum and if We The People don't take the the keys to the front gate back, then the die is surely cast putting paid to all of the hopes and dreams we grew up believing in and which we had hoped to bequeath to our children and grandchildren.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Wednesday, October 19, 2011

And this is what it's come to, folks... celebrating the lifestyle of a serial adulterer, predator, and accused rapist.

Is it a catchy tune? Sure! Does that detract from the larger message that the American culture which once shone as a beacon for the world now more closely resembles a red light signifying a whorehouse?

Folks... all too often nowadays I'm literally ashamed to be an American. Right now is one of those times.

Oh... and by the way... as I was lay in bed this morning listening to Imus In The Morning prior to getting up... Don Imus called the Pope a Nazi.

Will he be fired? No. I doubt it. Indeed I wonder if it'll even become an issue... even get noted by the mainstream media.

Folks... we're losing our country in so many ways. I swear I can't decide what's worth, the ongoing economic decline of the United States or the ongoing cultural decline of the United States.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Attn: Dr. Nan Hayworth, Member of Congress (R-NY-19)

The Austerity Myth: Federal Spending Up 5% This Year
By John Merline, Investor's Business Daily

When Republicans took control of the House in January, they pledged to make deep cuts in federal spending...

They lied.

...and in April they succeeded in getting a bill advertised as cutting $38 billion from fiscal 2011's budget.

Again... a lie.

Then in August, they pushed for a deal to cut another $2.4 trillion over the next decade.

More lies. (They're talking baseline budgeting, which institutionalizes spending increases without calling them spending increases. It's a rigged game with "more spending" always coming in as the "winner.")

But data released by the Treasury Department on Friday show that, so far, there hasn't been any spending cuts at all.

Of course not. I've been telling you this all along. We can no more trust the likes of John Boehner and Nan Hayworth than we can the likes of Barak Hussein Obama and Barney Franks.

In fact, in the first nine months of this year, federal spending was $120 billion higher than in the same period in 2010, the data show.


That's an increase of almost 5%.

This is not what we elected Republicans to achieve.

And deficits during this time were $23.5 billion higher.

Shame on John Boehner, Nan Hayworth, Mitch McConnell and all who refuse to draw a line in the sand in defense of fiscal sanity.

Overall state spending continued to climb right through the recession, when all money from state general funds and other funds, federal grants and state bonds is combined. Total state spending in 2010 was almost 10% higher than in 2008, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers' annual State Expenditure Report.

(And general fund spending - which makes up about 40% of total state spending - is expected to climb 5.2% this year and 2.6% next year, according to the association's latest survey.)

NASBO says that states were able to sustain spending growth through 2010 only because the federal government was pumping more money in via the $830 billion "stimulus," and that these funds are now all but exhausted.

Meanwhile, the claim that state and local government jobs have been severely cut is, at the very least, open to some debate.

"We know that the biggest problem that we've had in terms of unemployment over the last several months has not been in the private sector," President Obama said at a recent press briefing, "it's actually been layoffs of teachers and cops and firefighters."

Monthly data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics do show that from Dec. 2007 - when the recession officially started - until the end of 2010, state and local governments shed 221,000 jobs. And they've cut another 234,000 jobs so far this year. But a separate annual survey from the Census Bureau shows that "full time equivalent" state and local employment climbed 200,000 between 2007 and 2010 (the latest year for which these Census data are available.)

The differences come from the methodologies used.

In any case, even using BLS data, the number of state and local government jobs has fallen just 2.3% since December 2007. That compares with a decline of 5.4% for private sector jobs.

While it's true that President Obama is the "captain" of this ship of state bearing full speed ahead towards the iceberg of economic disaster, Republicans such as John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and my own congresswoman - Dr. Nan Hayworth - are just as guilty because though they possess the power to stop what's happening... they refuse to use their power.

Worse... they lie. Again and again and again they lie.

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, October 17, 2011

And to think... since 2009 it's only gotten progressively worse!

(Get it? Progressively worse! I made a punny...!!!)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Weekend Newsbites: Fri.-Sat.-Sun., Oct. 14 thru 16, 2011


So... Front Page on Drudge... "Suicide of a Superpower"

***Drudge Exclusive***

Friday, Oct. 14 2011 07:00:25 ET

"As the faith that gave birth to the West is dying in the West, peoples of European descent from the steppes of Russia to the coast of California have begun to die out, as the Third World treks north to claim the estate. The last decade provided corroborating if not conclusive proof that we are in the Indian Summer of our civilization."

So begins Pat Buchanan in his hardcore work, "Suicide of a Superpower."

The subtitle: "Will America Survive to 2025?"

Buchanan, set for maximum controversy, launches all rockets in the book's introduction, "Disintegrating Nation," and does not let up for 400-plus pages.

"America is disintegrating. The centrifugal forces pulling us apart are growing inexorably. What unites us is dissolving. And this is true of Western Civilization. ... Meanwhile, the state is failing in its most fundamental duties. It is no longer able to defend our borders, balance our budgets, or win our wars."

The books reads as if its been written to be left behind in the ruins, only to be found by a future civilization.

"Suicide" ranked #2,668 on Amazon's hit parade early Friday. It hits the streets on Tuesday.

See Drudge for an advanced look inside.

My friends... I've yet to read Buchanan's newest (soon to be) bestseller, but I will of course get around to reading it as soon as I can get hold of a copy.

And you folks should read it too!

The thing is... before I start reading Buchanan's latest analysis I've got to finish one of the books I began reading in Key West... "After America: Get Ready for Armageddon" penned by the brilliant and erudite Mark Steyn.

Folks... since Steyn's book is already out... I suggest you head to the library or bookstore this weekend and catch up to me asap.

None of this is a joke, folks; none of this is hyperbole or hysteria.

Here's a challenge to those of you who "sympathize" with my oft-noted fears and frustrations but who feel that in the end it'll all work out... because after all... hasn't America faced tough challenges in the past and come out of them even stronger than before?!

(Well... yes and no. But in any case, that's besides the point...)

The challenge is simply this: Stop by a bookstore sometime over the weekend, grab a copy of Steyn's "After America" off the shelf, and read just the intro and chapter one.

That's it...

That's the whole "challenge."

If what you read doesn't strike a cord... doesn't chill you to the core... then don't bother reading either Buchanan's latest book when it comes out or Steyn's book; in fact... if you don't "buy" the case that Steyn - or Buchanan - make, then you might as well stop "wasting" your time reading my blog and instead pick up a new skill that might come in handy in the years to come... perhaps fiddle playing... perhaps learning to speak Mandarin.

Raise your hand if the name "Samuel P. Huntington" means anything to you?

The late Dr. Huntington was the author of "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order" and "Who Are We? The Challenges to America's National Identity" among other seminal works.

If you've never read Huntington's works, I beg of you... if you love your country... if you want your children and grandchildren to have even a small chance of living their days in an America which would be at least recognizable to our parents and grandparents.... borrow, purchase downloads, or buy hard-copy books by Samuel P. Huntington. (The further back you go, the more staggered you'll be by the accuracy of his analysis and predictions.)

So we have Mark Steyn... Patrick J. Buchanan... Samuel P. Huntington...

If you really want to get a worthwhile education in the social sciences without going through "the system" (the "academy" with all the nonsense and waste of time and money jumping through artificial hoops entails) read what straight shooters like Steyn, Buchanan, and Huntington have to say.

In addition: James Q. Wilson, Charles Murray, Thomas Sowell, Walter E. Williams, John Lott, Lou Dobbs... and the list goes on and on.

LinkFolks... I could go on like this from now till the end of the weekend... but you get the idea.

The reason why you should trust me and my analysis on issue after issue is twofold: 1) I have integrity and I'll never knowingly lie to you either by commission or omission; 2) My education - both formal and informal... not to mention continuously ongoing - affords me the knowledge and hopefully wisdom necessary to connect the dots and cut right to the chase.

Folks... please take my "doomsday" talk seriously. The "talk" is based upon a level of factual knowledge very few possess.

It's not that I'm always the brightest guy in the room, nor is it that there aren't others - tens of thousands, no doubt; perhaps hundreds of thousands or even millions - who actually know more than I do, who read and study more than I do, who are exposed to more "inside info" than I am. Nope... I harbor no false illusions concerning my own "status" - particularly as far as credentialism and economic success measure it. What I am claiming however is a sort of "perfect storm" of interest, knowledge, integrity, and intellect which allows me to see the truth... to "get" the "big picture"... as few others do.

The authors, journalists, and social scientists I've mentioned... the works I've cited... they're simply supporting evidence for my thesis that if we hope to bequeath our children and grandchildren an America anywhere near as great as the one we we bequeathed... we're gonna have to be prepared to go to the barricades.

Folks... believe me... we haven't seen anything yet!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ranting, Raving, and (Maybe!) a Few Newsbites

O.K., folks... as you've noticed, I've been back since Monday night but as of yet... no newsbites.

Nope. I'm not giving up. I'm not "taking a break" per se. It's just... frankly... it's just so depressing to return to "reality" after vacationing... I've been procrastinating.

(Indeed... I'm still procrastinating... only time will tell if I actually end up posting any newsbites today...)

Do you folks listen to Rush Limbaugh during the day? I know... you're working... not everyone has the life of Bill.

(*GRIN*) (*WINK*)

Anyway... you should if you can. You really should! As much as I enjoy and appreciate Beck, now that he's off the (traditional) air, Limbaugh really is the "go-to" source for easily accessible fact, opinion, and analysis (outside of myself, that is).



Enough lighthearted banter. While I am of course quite serious with my admonition to listen to Rush Limbaugh and (of course) continue to read my newsbites and other postings, what I really need to get across to you here is just how much trouble we're in.

Fox News is no longer "our" network. Ailes is going for "respectability" and if those of you who watch O'Reilly can't tell the difference between the FNC of several years ago and today's Fox (see: "The Five") then you just haven't been paying attention.

Folks... understand... in the battle between the GOP establishment (RINOs) and Tea Party libertarian-leaning, constitutionist conservatives... FNC sees itself as an "associate" of the GOP nomenklatura... an "associate" looking to be made full partner in the fullness of time.

Oh, sure... at the same time FNC movers and shakers see themselves as a "liaison" to their (supposedly less sophisticated when the truth is exactly the opposite!) "cousins" on the "fringe" of polite society... you know... those Tea Party folks... but even when the contempt is lacking, for more often than not the condescension remains.


Folks. Take Romney. Once again the mainstream media is doing all within their power to portray Mitt Romney as the inevitable GOP presidential nominee. And by and large... FNC echoes "the message."

How'd the 2008 presidential election turn out for a GOP which choose as their champion the guy most Democrats, most "independents," and most "moderates" favored for our Republican candidate?!


Yeah... I'll vote for Romney if he's the nominee. Last time around was the time for a stand on principle and an "all in" bet that while an elected McCain would destroy conservatism and thus the GOP from within, an elected Obama would set the stage for Democratic overreach and the implosion of their party based upon the hubris of the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barak Hussein Obama, and the leaders of the various Democrat "machines" running all too many American cities and states (into the ground) and their various "constituency" allies.

I was right, folks. Pelosi's downfall in '10 proved that.

Thing is... McCainism isn't dead and buried. Nope. McConnellism is a branch of McCainism and unfortunately... McConnellism rules the Republican caucus in the U.S. Senate.

Boehnerism too is an offshoot of McCainism. Even as "our side" supposedly "controls" the House of Representatives, spending from year to year continues to rise... government continues to grow... the Executive Branch continues to run roughshod over the Constitution and the Rule of Law with Eric Holder as our nation's Attorney General.


Day in a day out you're lied to and manipulated by those in power, folks - by those in political power... by those with economic power... by the press and media... by the academic "experts."

Folks... the above isn't simply a rant or a rave - it's borne out the simple truth... the facts as laid out via day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year of newsbites and backed by stand-alone analytical posts.

I watched Tuesday's GOP debate with my friend Joey. It was depressing as hell. To those who neither caught it nor read about it in detail... Romney was his usual faux-charming, poised, polished, well-groomed, articulate, slimy, disingenuous, self-serving self.


He "won" the debate.

According to the press he "wins" all the debates!


What's really terrifying... the more honest journalists and pundits will come right out and admit that it's the veneer of Romney that people like; in other words, millions and millions of Americans apparently long for a well-put-together phony.

On Tuesday TARP came up. Romney basically said that he would have supported TARP back in 2008 had he been president or even a member of the House or Senate faced with voting for or against TARP.


Oh... at the time... Newt Gingrich supported TARP. What he'd do in a similar situation come 2013 if he or another Republican sits in the Oval Office... your guess is as good as mine.

Cain? If you have the stomach for it... google "Cain TARP".

Perry? I literally have no idea and I'm afraid of further depressing myself by googling "Perry TARP".

Michele Bachmann? She was against TARP! She was right!

Ron Paul? Obviously he opposed the bailouts.

Rick Santorum? He spoke against TARP as soon as it had passed...


Huntsman? (Huntsman who...???)

Gary Johnson?

Folks... are you getting my point? There is no "perfect" GOP candidate (from my ideological perspective) with a shot at getting the nomination, but of the major candidates... Mitt Romney carries with him the most negatives and he's the least sincere and trustworthy.

I'll vote for him next November if I have to... but I pray to God I have another choice.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Drunk'n Debauchery in Key West 2011

O.K., not all that much debauchery...

(O.K., o.k., no debauchery at all... not even much actual "drunkenness" to be honest...)

The point is... year four... Key West... the Barkers and the Steubings rule!

We flew Spirit. LGA to FLL. (Shout out to Phil for the ride... thanks, buddy!)

Good flight. Downed a couple bloody marys. (That Mrs. T's in a can just sucks... and Smirnoff vodka... yuck!) Got in a few minutes early, picked up the luggage, and by 10:15 a.m. we were in the rental car - a white Crown Vic with just over 1,000 miles. (Btw... even with the outrageous airport pick-up/drop-off fees and taxes... under $200 for the "week's" rental!)

We had a couple of hours to kill prior to Drunk'n Ted's and Drunk'n Mary's arrival, so it was off to the Winn Dixie for booze and beer and then to a wonderful little French bakery for breakfast. (Yum!)

"T & M" got in a few minutes early and we four drinkateers were on the road headed for Key West by 1:15 p.m. (Without stopping it's about 3.5 hrs. from FLL to Key West. After our usual stop at Parrotdise we arrived in Paradise at around 5:30 p.m.

So... where do "the cool people" (namely, us!) stay in Key West? Where else would four drinkateers of our stature stay but at the Southernmost House?!

We're talking the perfect location... we're talking an architectural icon which has hosted Presidents and Kings... the rich and the famous... and now... us.

(Seriously, folks... browse the website... check the place out!)

Our second floor room was magnificent! A huge, high, hand-carved mahogany four poster canopied king bed, other period furniture, top-quality linens, marble floor, 16-ft. ceiling... light and airy with four (or was it five...???) windows, and direct access to a huge front porch overlooking Duval Street and the ocean.

Drunk'n Ted's and Drunk'n Mary's room was also located on the second floor; their room was perhaps a bit smaller than ours and their bed was a queen rather than a king, but the quality of the furnishings and linens was equally high and their room too boasted a 16-ft. ceiling.

(Again, folks... seriously... browse the website... Southernmost House really is a cool place with a fascinating history!)

So, anyway... after unpacking (o.k., after Mary unpacked) it was down to the pool for a swim.

After our swim... a stroll down Duval - for my Mary, Ted, and me; Original Drunk'n Mary (heretofore ODM) decided that an early night was the better part of valor.

First we hit the Parrot - where it was ukulele night. (I shit you not...!)

Next... Pete's Dueling Piano Bar! What a place, folks! Not quite Pat O'Brien's... but close enough! Supposedly Pete's had opened prior to our 2010 Key West trip, but if so... it must have been so dead back then that we didn't even notice a new place had opened up! Not this time, though...! This time you couldn't miss the place and the outstanding entertainment coupled with an enthusiastic crowd, a tasty tap selection, and reasonable prices made for a great first impression... and second impression... and so and and so forth. (Seriously... Pete's is now on the "anchor" list of top Key West spots!)

We hung at Pete's till 11:00 p.m. or so before hunger drove us to Mr. Z's in search of a stromboli to go - which we found... which we took home... which Ted and I ate while ODM and MDM (my Drunk'n Mary) slept. (MDM couldn't keep her eyes open long enough to partake of the quite decent - for non-NY - stromboli.)

Anyway, kids...

Rather than do the usual post-vacation travelogue - the day by day travelogue - allow me to save time and space by just hitting the highlights of the new places we hit this time around:

Thursday night's dinner: Camilles. Not bad. Didn't blow my socks off. The food was good... but not exceptional. The waiter pissed me off.

O.K., here's what happened: Coupons are ubiquitous in Key West. Not only is there a lot of competition for tourist dollars, but the locals like to get a break as well. That said... Ted and ODM aren't really "coupon people" and MDM and I also take the view that it's a scumbag move to nickel and dime the locals who are just trying to make a living the same as everyone else. That said... when four people - especially four people like the four of us - are going to a restaurant it's gonna be a hefty bill with (at the very least!) a generous tip... so... having the establishment throw in a free drink or dessert isn't exactly a hardship for a place serving us - particularly when we're doing the whole "soup to nuts" thing and sparing no expense!

Anyway... when we sat down at Camilles I asked the waiter if the "free bottle of wine" offered via their coupon was worth trying or should we just go straight for a decent bottle off the wine list. He advised us to stick to the wine list if we were "into" wine and so we did. (And here's one reason why: the coupon offered either a bottle of wine... or free dessert; I figured we'd even if we only ordered one or two desserts to share we'd still get the "win" of a freebie which always puts a smile on my face just as a matter of "hey, we appreciate your business!")

When the check came the waiter had charged us for everything - no free dessert... not even a free coffee! This ticked me off because just as I take pride in not wanting to nickel and dime a local business, I also don't want the local business to pull a fast one and try to nickel and dime me!

And here's what really pissed me off: Although our coupon entitled us to one dessert per person (in lieu of one bottle of wine per couple) we had only ordered one dessert for the four of us to split! (We were stuffed from pre-dinner cocktails, appetizers, entrees, a couple bottles of wine, coffee...) You'd think that the waiter would have had the good sense to not only "comp" us our single dessert, but also "comp" us ODM's dessert... a Spanish Coffee. But no! He tried to pull a fast one!

How'd that work out for him? He ended up "honoring" the coupon by removing the charge for the single dessert anyway... but instead of getting a tip of 20% plus, I tipped him 15% on the nose. (Frigg'n stupid... the guy lost himself $10 minimum.)

(Anyway... that was one of only two episodes where service was a problem this trip. The other episode... I'll get to it later!)

Hmm... other new restaurants...

Oh! There was Pisces! Supposed to be the premier seafood restaurant in Key West... but just didn't do it for me. Oh, it was fine. Typical high end white tablecloth... blah, blah, blah. Excellent service. No complaints about the food... it's just that except for my appetizer (Roulade “Czarina” -- Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese wrapped in Crisp Potato with Horseradish Creme Fraiche, Pickled Beets & Cucumber), to repeat what I noted about Camilles, the food just didn't knock my socks off.


Other "new" restaurants?

We also finally made it to Latitudes this trip!

I've gotta say, Latitudes was worth Ted's money.


The food was very, very good and the setting (literally on the beach) was well worth the price of admission. After enjoying excellent cocktails served by a friendly bartender inside in their lovely bar we were escorted out to our tiki torch lit table immaculately set with fine linens, crystal, and cutlery.

Our waiter was a real nice guy... but Key West - even at a AAA 4-Diamond resort restaurant - ain't New York. The waiter didn't know off-hand how much the Louis XIII was! (He checked... reported back that it was $165 per pour... but he didn't know how many ounces the pour was.)

Although Ted had told me that I was welcome to avail myself of the 30-year-old Glenfiddich I had spied sitting on the top shelf of the bar I decided to give Ted - and his wallet - a brake.


Hey... am I a good friend or am I a good friend?!

Seriously... I recommend Latitudes. Chances are we won't be making it a yearly stop (just too many other great restaurants we've yet to hit), but I'm certainly glad we finally tried it.

Another "first time try" restaurant... Abbondanza.

Once again... the food at this place was just o.k.

We had a wacky - but nice - waitress who regaled us with the tale of how she's been scammed in a con scheme. (Nice looking girl... not the brightest bulb.) Very enthusiastic and just listening to her heavy Rhode Island accent in this particular setting put smiles on all our faces.

The food was fine overall (and the prices were reasonable!), but my veal parmigiana was bland. Everything was kinda bland. That said, nice atmosphere... a good mixed crowd of couples, groups, families, locals, and tourists... and nothing was actually bad. Would I go back? No. But would I tell folks who asked if they should try it that they should? Sure. Why not! Perhaps what tasted bland to me might be perfect for a less... er... adventurous palate... a non-New York palate.


The last "new" place we hit this trip (and actually it is a "new" place) was Sweet Tea's.

I had stumbled upon a good review for Sweet Tea's during this year's trip planning process, but it seemed like more of a cocktail stop than a dinner stop. Having grabbed a few cocktails there one afternoon and sampled their homemade truffled mac & cheese I believe we made a mistake by not doing a full lunch or dinner there. Assuming they make it... we'll be givin' them a shot to impress us with dinner next year!

Other than the "new" restaurants already mentioned we discovered a few new watering holes - one being Joe's Tap Room (where we watched the Jets blow it - they lost to the Patriots) and the other being The Porch, which I really, really loved! (Check the link out and you'll see why!)

Let's see... what else?

Well... we hit Pepe's for "Mac & Cheese Friday" lunch. Wonderful as always! Great service... great drinks... great food!

One day we availed ourselves of the simply outstanding happy hours at Southernmost Beach Cafe...


Oh...! Oh...! I almost forgot...!!! We finally made it to Martin's this year...!!!

What a wonderful place...!!!

This year we only made it for Sunday brunch... but that "taste" of Martin's was more than enough to ensure that Martin's will indeed be on the "must have dinner there" list for next year!

(Folks... seriously... just browse through Martin's menus... check out the photos... this is a definitive "Bill Place" if ever there was one!)

Oh... almost forgot to fill you in on the other disappointing service experience - the one aside from Camilles...

One night the four of us hit Pete's for drinks and live music. This hot little piece came by to take drink orders. She came to me first and I told her "I'll have a bock!"

Well... apparently even though MDM was sitting right next to me... this chick thought that I said "I'll have a Fu.."


Even after I pointed to the keg handle - the one clearly marked "Shiner Bock" - brewed by Spoetzi Brewery - the chick still walked away in a huff and that was the last we saw of any server all night! We had to keep on going to the bar!

(Weird, huh...?!?!)

Well... that's about it. I believe I've covered the bases for this latest trip. (Anyone interested in a more "blow-by-blow" account of what a Drunk'n Bill, My Drunk'n Mary, Drunk'n Ted, and Original Drunk'n Mary Key West excursion is like... well... just go back to past October archives here on the blog and you'll get the full picture.

It is... awesome!

It is... exhausting.

It is... an annual event!

Mike D... perhaps next year...?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

T...I...R...E...D... (Just... so... frigg'n... tired...)

Even assuming I'm half the man I used to be...


'scuse me!

There's simply no way to get around this simple fact:

Six straight days of eating and drinking with Ted and Mary in Key West...


O.K., I'm up... I'm up...!

Yeah... there was the night I had not one, but two lobster dinners...


Anyway, folks... newsbites will be back tomorrow. (I'll also post the usual post-vacation travelogue... tomorrow...)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weekend Newsbites: Sat. & Sun., Oct. 1 & 2, 2011

Poor, sad, TV-less Bill.

Those bastards at Sony refused to take any responsibility for my never having been sent a renewal notice for my renewable extended warranty.


In any case, they jerked me around till late afternoon on Friday - by which time it was too late to get the TV looked at - so it looks like I'll have to wait till Monday to have the set checked by a tech who will give me the estimate... and then it's either fix the set or buy a new flat-screen instead.

Oh, well... either way it's only money... and if I have to buy a new TV then, well, I'll have a new TV!

In the meantime...

I'm a bachelor this weekend!

Mary drove up to Boston yesterday to spend the weekend with Kim - a mother/daughter weekend!

Good for them!