Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Seafood/Pork/Beef Combo Whatzitcalled...

One nice chunk of pork belly, about 1 pound, cut into small pieces, about a pound of the meat from beef short ribs, also cut into small pieces (about 1/2x1/2"), one pound of baby octopus cleaned and cut into small mouth sized pieces, one pound of squid cleaned and cut like the octopus, one pound of cleaned shrimp (25-30 count per pound), one small can tomato paste, two 8 ounce cans of plain tomato sauce, garlic powder to taste, sea salt to taste, black pepper about 1/2 teaspoon, two large dollops of hot pepper sauce with garlic to taste (some stuff I picked up in Chinatown), a few sprinkles of cinnamon (maybe even a 1/8 teaspoon), a bit or oregano (only a few sprinkles), about 6 green onions diced at least from the bottom to halfway up the greens), about 1/2 pound of very small potatoes (this were about the size of walnuts) cut into halves or quarters.

I browned the pork to crispy on the outside, then the beef in the same pan in just a squirt of olive oil. Then added the octopus and squid to it and let it cook for a while in a deep pan. I did this as I got the other ingredients ready. I added all the other ingredients, except the shrimp, into a large pot, put the browned the beef, pork belly, octopus and squid into the pot with the sauce ingredients, and then brought it to a boil. As soon as brought to a boil, I lowered flame and let it simmer for one hour. Then I added the shrimp for about 5 minutes. All the while, as this was cooking I kept checking to make sure it did not boil over, and I stirred every 15 to 10 minutes for just a bit.

Whatzitcalled - who knows: but boy does it taste good right out of the pot. Tomorrow it will be for my lunch over a bit of white rice. My son thought it was good too, and especially liked the hot flavoring I added. Next time though, only the other spices, no really hot stuff, I want to enjoy the taste of the seafood more than the hot stuff. Next time, I think I'll use fresh tomatoes, maybe some fresh basil leaves, and no to very little sauce or paste.

All the best,
GB

McCain Wins Florida...

...and all I can think is yikes. I cannot tell you for whom I think you should vote (as federal LEO, not permitted by the Hatch Act), but I can tell you for whom I do not want to have to vote. That would be John Amnesty/Anti-Gun/No Business Savvy/Ted Kennedy Buddy McCain. Does that mean it will come down to a choice, for me, between Romney and Huckabee at the Republican primary here in NY? On the one hand I could vote for an anti-gun, tax increasing by way of socialized medicine for all, governor from an ultra far left wing state (the one that keeps voting in Kennedy), or I could vote for a guy who probably believes that if dinosaurs ever lived they walked the earth within the last 5,000 years with Adam and Eve, or I suppose I could vote for McCain if I somehow get hit on the head and wind up at the polling place rather disorientated. What a choice of three knuckleheads, but any of them (well maybe not McCain) have got to be better that Mrs. Senator Rodham-Clinton or Senator B. Obama.

Whatever happened to real men, who could take over the reins as real leaders? I miss President Ronald Wilson Reagan, and I miss him a whole lot at that. He was a good man, a very good leader, and a great American.

All the best,
Glenn B

Taxes Suck...

...and will apparently suck big time for me this year. I have all my necessary tax records except the W2 from one of my wife's two jobs. Since that job is roughly the same amount of hours as her other one, and the pay will work out the same, I am assuming that the same amount of tax was deducted from each job. My wife has them take out too little, not by my advice mind you. I was all ready to take her on a 6 day Caribbean cruise in April for our 22nd year married, but that looks as if it about to sink. From my best estimation, to my worst, we will owe between $2,500 and $3,300 in state and federal taxes. Being that on just my salary alone we would have been owed over $3,000 in refunds you can figure they took way too little out of her pay. She does not make all that much in a year, but when added to my salary, it gets to the point where we lose some very nice deductions (such as the deduction for college loan interest). Subtract from our deductions/credits because Brendan turned 18, so we lost the child credit, we no longer have our daughter listed as a dependent (well we can, but it may be much more advantageous for her to claim herself instead of me claiming her as she can get a great credit for her college tuition, and we cannot claim it even if she is listed as our dependent) and we wind up getting raked over the taxman's coals this year.

I am a little bit, no let me say a whole lot, pissed off that the wife did not put in new withholding forms last year! Hell, I had filed my withholding last year so a set amount of extra cash would be taken from each of my paychecks, and I also claimed 'married, but withhold at the higher single rate', all hoping that would do the trick. It surely did not. Now the money has to come from somewhere. So we probably have to tap the savings account which is not a whole heck of a lot. Our bank account probably has about 2.5 times, or less, of the amount we will owe in taxes. I hate to do that to our savings, but I sure hope the wife learns a lesson from this. Some of the money we have in the bank was marked for a tree removal (they want $2,000 to chop it down and haul it away - a big oak tree), and more for my son's bedroom furniture (his set was literally falling apart) and more for needed electrical work in our house. If we pay off the taxes with the savings, it will leave very little after those other expenses are also subtracted from it, and then up pops the question of the cruise. No cruise for us, not if I am right about how much we will owe in taxes, and how diminished our savings are about to become.

Oh well, life goes on, and is pretty good without the cruise; but it sure would have been a nice boost to the morale of the marriage. As it is now, we have to tighten our belts a bit, and start saving to boost up the funds, not go on the cruise, and keep grating on each others' nerves. Maybe a nice vacation to Hoboken this year (if you ever lived in Brooklyn, you have probably heard that line before)! It, that is the belt tightening, will not be easy with the bills as they are now, but it definitely is something we can and will have to do in the upcoming year if I am really to retire at the end of it. Taxes suck. Maybe I can sell some guns at the gun show this weekend, although I hate to even consider it. Then again, maybe I can avoid that if I strike it rich - ha ha. Still, I have definitely got to get some time out with my metal detector. Really though, the way it looks now, I should not have bought the metal detector even though the money I paid for it all came from Christmas presents. Now I see I should have put that money to better use now that I realize my probable tax liability - 20/20 hindsight. Did I say taxes suck!

All the best,
Glenn B