Monday, June 27, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, June 27, 2011


And now... a blast from the past!

Random Thoughts... the back end of June, 2011


I stand witness to the continuing decline of America - as do all of you who follow this blog and read my newsbites.

As regular readers know, I'm not simply referring to economics or foreign policy, but rather to the decline of American civilization itself.

Gangs are bad enough... but mobs... flash mobs... robberies... riots... a tourist to Chicago is literally in danger nowadays strolling the Miracle Mile in broad daylight.

Folks... the "underclass" is increasingly moving beyond "their" traditional "hunting" grounds; America's "bad neighborhoods" are coming to America's "good neighborhoods" via bus, train, and car. And frankly... thanks to political correctness run amok... the authorities and the media insist that we ignore the evidence all around us that we're slowly but surely moving towards a sort of slow motion race and class war - with millions upon millions of illegal aliens thrown in the mix to boot!

I haven't done so yet... but under the the heading of "Do what I say, not what I do," I advise all of you reading this who have no real experience with firearms and who don't own firearms to get training... and get armed.

If it never comes to the point where you need to protect yourself with a gun, then thank God! But the way things are going... where I see them headed... my advice to all of you is simply, "Be Prepared."

Now let's turn to the economy. Raise your hand if you think things are getting better.

Folks... anyone who has his or her hand up is an imbecile. It really is that simple. Those charlatans - often "respected" government, business, and media people - who paint a rosy picture are simply reciting the "company line" via which they retain their status as "players."

Folks... stagflation is not "progress."

Nor is re-inflating the housing bubble or the Dow Jones Industrial Average a "positive."

Oh, yes... there's a good chance Obama will be gone after the 2012 election and Republicans will reclaim the Senate as well as retain the House, but while on a sliding scale this would indeed be progress - of a sort - the RINOs... the Republicrats... are still "piloting" the GOP. At best the leading members of the "Tea Party" faction are now in the cockpit and able to get their voices heard.

Let me ask you... you hear me bitchin' and moanin' all the time about how almost half of all American families pay no net federal income tax when all is said and done each year.

Do you hear Boehner bemoaning the fact? McConnell? Even Bachmann or DeLay?

No, folks, what we mainly get is the Republicans demanding economic reform over the course of anywhere between ten years and fifty years (or more!) while the Democrats see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil... except when it comes to class warfare and the pursuit of further socialization of the American economy and indeed the American cultural identity.

The Ryan Plan? Only contrasted to his colleagues "non-plans" and counter-productive plans is the Ryan Plan a profile in courage.

Foreign policy? Don't get me started...!!!

While it's a relative positive that at this point a slight majority of Americans polled say it's time to get out of Afghanistan, we're still a nation on a beer budget with champagne military tastes - both in terms of equipment and missions.

The vast majority of Americans have no real "skin in the game" - either literally or via perceived economic sacrifice - yet most are inclined to simply say "we support the troops" without regard to how they're used... and misused.

Folks... in so many ways... America is an asylum being run by the inmates; at least that's how it's working out in terms of policies and decisions!

O.K. So that's my rant for the day. I'll post the normal "newsbites" later on in a separate posting.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Friday, June 24, 2011


The movie version...

...and from the album!

Tell me that you don't get a chill up your spin at 1:36 (album) when she sings, "Back in Oh-Hi-Oh where I come from..."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, June 20, 2011


Before oil...

Before ethanol...

There was...

***UPDATE***

Folks... if you read nothing else today, please take a moment to read - and consider - today's profanity laced newsbite #5

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Midshipman at Annapolis Speaks Out


While browsing Foreign Policy Magazine, I found the following posted on Tom Rick's FPM blog "The Best Defense."

The author is a third year cadet at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

This cadet is for obvious reasons unwilling (at this point at least) to publicly identify himself, but I have every confidence that this letter was carefully vetted for authenticity prior to seeing the light of day via Foreign Policy Magazine.

=====
I'm a Midshipman at the Naval Academy and have been talking with officers from the submarine that launched most of the American cruise missiles into Libya. We've had some interesting discussions about the legality of the operations at this point and whether the personnel still engaging the enemy there are breaking their oath to obey only legal orders.

President Obama's decision to avoid seeking Congress' permission to continue America's role in the Libyan conflict marks one more step in the long march toward a balance of power within the federal government that is more Napoleonic than democratic. Since the Vietnam War, President's have not felt obliged to seek a Congressional declaration of war before committing American lives to conflicts abroad. Every sitting President since Nixon has ordered the military to battle without going through the channels prescribed in the Constitution.

In their decision to place the power to declare war with Congress, the writers of the Constitution sought to limit the ability of the president to use military force as an autocrat. Unfortunately, the founding fathers had never seen an undeclared war and didn't foresee the emergence of such a beast. We are left to deal with this oversight.

The conflict in Libya has now continued for more than 60 days without congressional approval. Not only is this unconstitutional, but it is in direct opposition to the War Powers Act passed in the wake of the Vietnam War.

Officers of the United States Military take an oath to obey only lawful and constitutional orders and refuse all others. The servicemen and servicewomen who are currently fighting over Libya took that oath. It is their professional obligation and ethical duty to disobey their orders until constitutional and legal requirements are either changed or met.

The pressure that a refusal of orders would place on the President would be impossible to ignore. Even if the ensuing legal debate were inconclusive, no president would likely venture to take action which could result in a similar response. The constitutional balance of power would be restored because a professional precedent would have been established within the military, if not a broader legal one.

Congressman Abraham Lincoln once remarked, "Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us."

By giving only Congress the power to declare war, the Constitution takes out the personal element that was so often a cause of war in the era of Kings.

While President Obama is certainly no oppressor, the trend that he is reinforcing opens up the possibility that the time will come where we will have to contend with a leader who is.


RINOs on Parade


Today, Tom Coburn and most of his Senate Republican colleagues - along with five Democrats - attempted to repeal unaffordable, counter-productive, politically corrupt ethanol subsidies.

They failed.

Twelve RINOs... Republicans in name only... cast their lot with the Democratic majority:

Blunt (R-MO); Coats (R-IN); Grassley (R-IA); Hoeven (R-ND); Johanns (R-NE); Kirk (R-IL); Lugar (R-IN); Moran (R-KS); Portman (R-OH); Roberts (R-KS); Thune (R-SD); Wicker (R-MS)

Remember these names, people.

Barker's Newsbites: Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Mitt talks too much.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Monday, June 13, 2011


The degenerates...

The incompetents...

The self-serving elites masquerading as men and women of the People...

They MUST be taken down!

America...

AWAKEN...!!!



*** Folks... go straight to newsbite number three.
The danger we're facing is real!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Barker's Newsbites: Tuesday, June 7, 2011


NEWSBITES ARE BACK...!

Well, folks, it was a week without news for yours truly. Literally! Oh, sure, O'Reilly was on in the background as we hit the sack, but frankly, I paid even less attention to him while on vacation than I usually do!

Driving in the car... country music, my friends!

Anyway... I see nothing has changed much. Obama and his fellow Leftists are still doing their best to destroy our country. Anthony Weiner is the new (digital) poster child of the Democratic Party.

Yep...

(*SIGH*)

Well, folks... in any case... I'm back.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Charleston Barkcation 2011


Well, folks... another exciting Barkcation entered into the record book!

Kudos to Spirit Airlines; they were ahead of schedule with regard to both legs of the trip. (Nor did they try and nickel and dime us when on the way home our checked bag weighed in at 1.35 lbs. over the 40 lbs. allowance.)

Enterprise rental gave us our usual Chevy Impala and credited us with the rental even though we'd booked in through Priceline.

The motel pool at the North Charleston Inn was all I could have asked for - an 8 ft. deep end and water temperature in the low 80's - plenty of chairs, tables with umbrellas, loungers, and most important... shady spots where I could relax with a beer and read.

We managed to hit a few new restaurants this time around... and surprise... surprise... a couple new bars!

Anyway...

Sunday...

As I note up above, our flight into Myrtle Beach arrived early. The luggage came right out. We picked up the keys to the rental car and by 4:00 p.m. we were checked in to the motel.

Awaiting Pat and the boys we got into our swim suits and hit the pool. Before our hands could get too prunny to actually hold a beer... Pat and the boys arrived with... er... suitable liquid refreshments.

We hung by the pool for awhile. (Vickster was out with a couple of her girlfriends who were visiting from Atlanta.) After awhile we decided that we should grab a bite so off we went to...

(*DRUM ROLL*)

...the local mall.

O.K. At this point I know some of you are literally gasping for air... perhaps one or two of you have actually fallen out of your chairs.

Relax!

I know... I know... first we're staying at a motel... next we're eating at a mall. (Shocking news to say the least...)

Bear with me, friends! We go down to Charleston to see family! The only requirement I have concerning our lodgings is that there be a pool - and this place had a great pool!

As to the mall restaurant...

(*PAUSE*)

The boys picked their favorite burger joint - Sesame Burgers and Beer!

Folks... I've gotta tell ya... the place easily won the Bill seal of approval! (Check out the website!)

After chowing down (and washing the burgers down with a few beers!) it was off to West Ashley to see the "new" apartment. (Pat and Vicki are having a house built on Johns Island and until that's ready - late summer hopefully - they're renting a three-bedroom apartment in a nice development.)

So... after dropping the boys off at the apartment, Pat, Mary and I head off into town to meet up with Vicki and her friends. Since you don't really hit traffic in Charleston, we we parking in town just as the girls were being served their appetizers. No worries though! There are plenty of fine watering holes in Charleston and this gave me an opportunity to introduce Pat to the glories of The Griffon.

After (re-quenching) our thirsts at The Griffon we walked on over to 82 Queen where the girls were having dinner. Nice place... Indeed, Mary and I would end up there for dinner on Monday!

Once the girls had finished up their desserts and after dinner drinks we all headed out for a stroll around Charleston ending up at Charleston Waterfront Park. (We had planned on having drinks at the rooftop bar at the Vendue Inn, but alas, there was a line and Pat needed to be up early the next day for work.)

Monday...

Up at 8:30 a.m. "Free" continental breakfast at the motel... complete with do it yourself waffle maker!

(Man... I love waffles...!!! The only problem... no butter - only "spread" - and no "real" syrup. Problems easily rectified, my friends! A four minute drive to Walmart and for the rest of the vacation I was bringing my own butter and real maple syrup from our fridge to the breakfast buffet every morning!)

(Oh... a note on the room. Standard "old style" motel room. First floor facing the courtyard and pool. Non-smoking. Clean. AC worked fine! Comfortable queen bed and a couple chairs, a desk, and "in room" sink area with a separate john and shower. The shower head was high enough and the water pressure strong enough so no complaints there. Best of all... a half-sized fridge - large enough to hold not only our syrup and butter, but cheese, bottled waters, beers, Gatorade...)

After breakfast off to the pool to swim and read till 11:00 a.m. or so. (This was our routine each and every day!)

Next... off to West Ashley to pick up Brendan to take him out with us for the day. (Vickster was still busy with her gal pals and Sean and Dom had studying to do.)

Next... with Brendan in tow... off to Sullivan's Island Beach!

After an hour and a half or so at the beach (BTW... I got bitchin' parking - free... right off the beach itself!) it was time for a cold one... or two...

So... off to Red's!

(Can you guys believe that Brendan had never been to Red's before...?!?! Shocking! The boy obviously needs more one-on-one time with his Uncle Bill!)

After a couple cocktails at Red's (while watching the dolphins frolic in the harbor) it was off to Home Team BBQ for a little... er... snack. (I'm tellin' ya'll... the best damned brisket and mac & cheese you'll ever have in your whole life!)

Next... drop off a sated Brendan... sit and chat with the boys for a few minutes... then the Vickster walks in and we chat with her for a few minutes... then back to the motel for happy hour(s) at the pool with chips, dips, and cheeses! (Folks... have you ever had pimento cheese in the south? Yum-Yum...!!!)

Monday night was "our" night - just me and the Poops! Since 82 Queen was "on the list" and since Vicki had raved about it the night before, we decided that a bit of courtyard lowcountry romantic dining was the way to go.

"Vicki's" waiter (Anthony) was there to greet us and let me tell ya... the kid did a fine job - even bought us dessert! A slow leisurely meal it a lovely setting... the ceiling fans keeping it cool enough... this is Charleston, folks!

I had a trio of starters as my meal - starting with the best she-crab soup I've ever had! As her entree, Mary had a "home style" brisket that was darn good... but not as good as Home Team's! (Hey... I gotta be honest, folks!) Don't get me wrong... it was good... it was what you'd expect of a fine dining version of down home bbq... but it wasn't Home Team's! (It was however such a huge portion that we ended up taking home a good third of it to eat as a "snack" later in the week.)

Me? Following my amazing... outstanding... she-crab soup I chowed down on appetizer sized portions of 82 Queen's signature dish - Barbeque Shrimp and Grits - and fried green tomatoes with lump crab, boursin cheese, and red pepper coulis. (The fried green tomatoes were just o.k. - served warm, not hot - and the tastes didn't mesh as well on the palate as well as they sounded they would from the menu description. The Barbeque Shrimp and Grits on the other hand...

(*SIGH*)

Frigg'n amazing! I'm talking out... of... this... world...!!! One of the best dishes I've ever had anywhere...!!!

To finish up... a trio of home-made sorbets. (Again... YUM!)

82 Queen isn't the best restaurant in Charleston, but it's one I'd recommend. The ambiance is hard to beat. The service... friendly and attentive. The prices - reasonable enough. The food... hit or miss - but when you hit you really hit and when you miss it's only disappointing in the context of "mediocre" as opposed to "bad." (Know what I mean...?)

A fifteen minute ride back to the motel and we were in our room just in time for the 11:00 p.m. re-airing of O'Reilly. (To which we would fall asleep to each night!)

(*GRIN*)

Tuesday...


Tuesday was Kiawah Beach day with Vicki and the boys.

What can I say? It's a beautiful beach! The review I provide the link to up above... pretty much says it all.

Warm water. Fine sand. "Civilized" atmosphere. Kiawah Beach is definitely part of "Bill's America."

(*WINK*)

After swimming, sunning, picnicking, and even a bit of... er... beach sports... I sent Mary, Vickster, and the boys out for some ice cream while yours truly enjoyed a couple pints of SweetWater 420 in air conditioned splendor at the bar of the Kiawah Island King Street Grill.

After re-hydrating it was back to Vick's and then Mary and I headed back to North Charleston for some pool time prior to meeting up with Pat and Vicki for dinner that night at...

(*DRUM ROLL*)

...the Middleton Place restaurant.

Yep. Middleton Place is a plantation. We're talking Gone With the Wind! We're talking the real deal.

Here's the thing about dining at Middleton Place - as a restaurant dinner patron you get to stroll the grounds of the Plantation gratis. (Hey... it's normally $22 p.p. just for the self-guided grounds tour!)

As for the restaurant itself...

(*APPRECIATIVE SIGH*)

...check this out! Oh... and this!

They also had a nice little wine list; not overly elaborate, but a nicely chosen selection... and very reasonably priced!

I forget what everyone had, but I know I had a steak - with a blue cheese reduction sauce - and this entree (a special) was to die for!

Folks... and I can't stress this enough... if you're gonna be in the Charleston area... make a dinner reservation at Middleton Place Restaurant.

(The service was as top notch as the setting and the food!)

After dinner... back to our home away from home, the North Charleston Inn; again making it in just in time for O'Reilly!

(*WINK*)

Wednesday...


Up at 8:30 a.m. again... breakfast... a swim... some reading by the pool... and then off to meet Pat so that he could take us - along with the boys - to the Firefly Distillery and Winery!

Folks... what can I tell ya?! It's me... Bill... at a distillery! (Thanks again Pat for your generosity!) (Pat treated!)

Let's just say that we did a bit of samplin'... then we sampled a bit more... then the good ol' boys in the tasting room were kind enough to ensure that my non-alcoholic "home-made" bloody mary mix tasting wasn't... er... wholly non-alcoholic - if you know what I mean...

(Pat was enjoying the samplin' so much that he splurged not just for his and our tasting fee and a bottle for the night's coming festivities - as well as a "souvenir" bottle for moi - but he even bought himself a shirt and a little something for Vicki I believe!)

After the tasting Pat and the boys had to head home to get ready for the night's upcoming Barn Jam. We however had time to kill!

First... back to the motel for a swim and change of clothes.

Next... into Charleston for a quick drink at The Gin Joint.

Next... since we were already down on East Bay Street... a visit to The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon - Charleston's version of Philly's Independence Hall!

And finally... onward to Awendaw!

The Barn Jam at Awendaw Green (right off Rt. 17 in Awendaw, S.C.) happens every Wednesday and it you're anywhere within a hour's ride of the place on a Wednesday night... go!

Seriously, folks... it's a hoot!

First you start off by hitting the See-Wee!

Then... after dinner (and don't forget dessert!) head on across the street for the (assuming it's a Wednesday night!) Barn Jam!

The music and atmosphere at the Barn Jam was great as always. To ramp things up a bit we had a bottle of Firefly Lemonade Vodka to mix with our sweet tea and...

(*SMILE*) (*SIGH*)

...well, folks... all I can say is God bless Arnold Palmer!

The Barn Jam ended a bit after 10:00 p.m. and by 11:00 p.m. Mary and I were back in our "bed away from home" watching O'Reilly! (O.K.... o.k.... falling asleep to O'Reilly...)

Thursday...

Well, on Thursday, on Vickster's advice, we took a drive to Daniels Island to look around.

It was fine. If you like private gated communities right next to small urban centers Daniels Island might be for you.

Pretty. Gorgeous views. Walking trails. Tennis. Golf.

After strolling around Daniels Island (and almost dying of heat stroke; humidity plus sun) we joyfully climbed back into our air conditioned Impala and off we went to visit Patriot's Point!

No... we didn't go on the (aircraft carrier) U.S.S. Yorktown; we decided to save the full Patriot's Point tour till next year when hopefully the restoration of the U.S.S. Laffey will be complete and she too will be again open to the visiting public, along with the (submarine) U.S.S. Clamagore.

We did check out the gift shop, though, as well as passing by and checking out (from the road) the Vietnam Navel Support Fire Base Camp replica set up on the far side of the main parking lot as well as checking out the Cold War Submarine Memorial at Patriot's Point.

(Me being me... we also checked out the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina Hotel located literally right down the road from the Patriot's Point visitor's center and a short hop via water taxi from downtown Charleston proper!)

After Patriot's Point... back into town. I was thirsty! We ended up at another place "on the list" - The Blind Tiger Pub. Folks... this is a pub! We're talking two inside bars, a full outdoor patio bar and a separate outdoor patio "hanging" area - and best of all... they have a "misting" system set up outside to keep you cool - that and $2.50 Newcastle Brown Ale bottles all day every day!

(The food's not too shabby either! Not gastro-pub quality... but far better than your average joint! The service was very friendly as well!)

Following (this latest) happy hour excursion it was back to the motel to hit the pool once more and get ready for our last "upscale" dinner out. The evening's destination... The Fat Hen on Johns Island.

Folks...


(*PAUSE*)

This was our best meal in Charleston - our best meal there ever!

Vicki and Pat had heard of it and had been meaning to try it for awhile (it's right over by their new house!) but as it turned out, this was their first visit as well as ours.

(Good thing we had made reservations; when we got there at 8:05 p.m. the place was packed and walk-ins were waiting outside for tables!)

Pat and Vicki had beat us to the restaurant and were already seated as we walked in. Vicki (God bless her heart!) already had the wine list ready for my perusal. (And from this well designed wine list I chose a 2009 Diseno Old Vine Malbec from Argentina!)

As a starter Mary and I shared an artisan cheese plate. Vicki had an excellent she-crab soup (though not as good as that served at 82 Queen) followed by a salad with fresh strawberries and blackberries. Pat had the onion soup.

For my entree... The Rib - a 16 oz. (at least!) pecan smoked, barbeque grilled bone-in short rib served with house cut french fries and home-made blue cheese bacon cole slaw. YUM...!!! Just as "yum" - perhaps if push came to shove even... er... yummier... was the side dish of creamed corn I ordered for the table. Yes... you read that right... creamed corn. I'm talking creamed corn to die for! I'm talking the most exquisitely unique and taste-bud challenging creamed corn I've ever had in my life! (And folks... Pat, Vicki, and Mary will all attest that I'm not exaggerating!)

Mary had the hickory smoked barbeque beef brisket... Pat had the meatloaf; in-house ground beef and pork, served with mashed potatoes, collards and red eye gravy... Vickster had the fish of the day.

For dessert...

(*SIGH*)

We shared three desserts: The Pluff Mudd Pie; the Chocolate Buttermilk Pecan Cake; and a Chef's Selection of Sorbet. All were... yummy...

Here, folks... let me just finish off by providing the bottom line: Dinner Menu; Dessert Menu.

Friday...

As usual... started off with breakfast followed by a swim and a bit of reading by the pool.

Next... into town to take Mary shopping on King Street - Charleston's fashion avenue.

(I offered to buy the Poops a $238 dress and she'd have no part of it; man... am I a lucky guy or what...?!?!)

While in town we also strolled the art exhibits set up in Marion Square Park for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

After a "hard day" of strolling the parks and boulevards of Charleston it was back to The Blind Tiger to wet the ol' whistles and grab a quick bite.

Next... back to the motel for our customary swim.

(*WINK*)

Next... off to Folly Beach to meet up with Pat and Vicki for a few hours of public shagging!

(*CHUCKLE*)

No... not "British style" shagging; South Carolina shagging! Shagging as in dancing...!

Folks, we had a blast! Pat had to work the next day so he and the Vickster left at around 9:30 p.m., but Mary and I shagged till near 11:00 p.m.!

Post shagging... back into town looking for a late-night snack! And where did we find one? Where else but the Mellow Mushroom!

I regret to say that the only beverages we could fit in by this time of night were waters with lemon... but as to the "snack"... umm - look out! Imagine, folks... a calzone... stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, roma tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, sausage, pepperoni, and prosciutto - then smothered in a marinara sauce and topped with "shake-shake" cheese.

We didn't get "home" on Friday night (Saturday morning) till late - after 1:00 a.m. - but it was worth it!

Saturday...

Well... all good things must come to an end eventually. And so it was with our 2011 Charleston Barkation!

On weekends the motel's breakfast hours are extended till 10:00 a.m., so of course we slept in and had a late breakfast. I had also arranged for a late check-out, so after breakfast we went to the pool and just hung out till almost 1:00 p.m. when we showered, packed up, and departed for Myrtle Beach.

We took a leisurely drive back up the coast, pulling off the highway for brief sightseeing detours as the mood took us. One stop was at Drunk'n Jack's on Murrells Inlet. (Hey... what can I tell ya... the name of the place just spoke to me...)

Anyway...

I had the rental car back on the airport lot at exactly 4:58 p.m. - two minutes early!

Dropped off the baggage... got assigned exit row seats... whizzed through security... and by 5:15 p.m. we were seated at the Sam Adams Airport Bar where Mary had a pint of Boston Ale which I enjoyed two liters of Sam's Summer! (And at $7.25 a liter or something like that I say GOD BLESS Myrtle Beach International Airport!)

The flight left a few minutes early... got into LGA a full 25 minutes early... "Pa K" and bro-in-law Mike were there to meet us... we hit no traffic (and no deer!) going home... and even after a stop at the Nanuet Restaurant for my beloved bacon, salami, mushrooms and extra cheese thin crust pie we were back home, in the door, by around 10:30 p.m.

All in all, another very successful Barkcation!