50 Days to 50 Years, Day 09: Santa Fe Foodie Excursion and an evening with Evan O’Connell

23 07 2016

Day 2 of the Santa Fe Foodie Excursion started with this gorgeous view outside our condo. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to that every morning? Well, at least we have one more morning to enjoy it.

Even though downtown Santa Fe was a mere four blocks downhill, the thought of walking uphill with full bellies was not something either Lynn or I wanted to look forward to; so like the Angeleans that we are, we drove, and paid for parking. You can take the O’Connells out of Los Angeles….

And our bellies were definitely filled to the brim! Carlos of Food Tour New Mexico was our guide for the day’s excursion. He did a great job of mixing the love of food with the love of culture, along with a sprinkling of New Mexico history.

Our first stop on the tour was San Francisco Bar and Grill, in the heart of the Santa Fe Plaza.The Plaza is the central part of the city, hosting Indian and Spanish markets, along with community gatherings and cultural events, so it was a short walk from the center of the Plaza to the restaurant. They served us an awesome Chicken Enchiladas with Chimao Red and Hatch Chiles, commonly known as “Christmas” style.

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Stop #2, and my personal favorite,  was to Thunderbird Bar and Grill, which boasts over 100 different tequila varieties, extensive wine and beer offerings, and other spirits. The Green Chile Pork Soup with Acedero (a Mexican form of Mozzarella) was simply divine. Carlos offered a little foodie tip: To increase the flavor of meats boiled in liquid, allow the meat to cool in the liquid. You could definitely taste the infusion of richness in the pork. I could have had another bowl, but it was on to the next leg of the tour.

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To cleanse our palates, Stop #3 was to The Original Santa Fe Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Company. Carlos made us a “Birthday Cake” combination of Pineapple Balsamic Vinegar and Avocado Lemon Olive Oil. You could have it over ice and drink it, it was that scrumptious!

In between stops we were treated to some historical wonders and spectacular views from the La Fonda rooftop, the rooftop of the 5th Floor Presidential Suite of the Inn and Spa at Loretto, the Rosary Tree, and the Miraculous Staircase at the Chapel Loretto.

We also continued to meet some fun people. A couple of the participants in the Johnny Vee cooking class were there, along with some new faces. Three friends in particular captured my writer’s interest: Brittany, Julie, and Katie decided to take a mini-respite to Santa Fe, so Brittany and Katie drove up from Midland, Texas, and Julie flew in from Florida to meet up. I just love stories, and friendships like that. Katie also won the award for most fashionable, with a great dress and hat combination.

Since we had adequately walked off the burrito and the soup, we headed to Stop #4: Upper Crust Pizza for a New Mexico specialty: Hatch Green Chile Pizza.

Upper Crust Pizza is in an historical building in the oldest part of town. The crust is unique to this region; can’t be replicated anywhere else… kind of like Chicago Deep Dish! I was sold—both the Hatch Green Chile and the Red Chile pizzas were well worth the wait; and I was happy we had walked off the earlier fare so I could scarf down three slices!

And, of course, what would a foodie tour be without dessert! Stop #5 was to Senor Murphy Candymaker, which has been serving Santa Fe for 71 years. We sampled a quartet of treats including Bolitos and Pinon Fudge. The shop specializes in Pinon treats (“Pine Nuts” to the rest of the U.S.) which is a nut found exclusively in the state of New Mexico.

This leg of the excursion ended at Senior Murphy’s, and Lynn and I did a little bit of exploring the open air market, looking at the historical spots along old Route 66, and admiring some of the unique artistic endeavors that characterize Santa Fe before heading back to our condo to meet up with Evan.

One of the nice bonuses of marriage is that you get an extended family. I love Lynn’s brothers and sisters and their kids, and often wished they lived closer; but then, we wouldn’t have an excuse to visit if they did! Albuquerque is an hour south of Santa Fe, so Lynn’s nephew Evan wanted to drive up to see us this trip—so very sweet of him!

Evan met us at the condo, and we drove back into downtown Santa Fe, and stopped at a French restaurant for dessert. L’Olivier (how apropos) had a lovely patio, the manager played Getz/Gilberto in the background, and to add to the magical, Franco atmosphere, it rained!

One of the best features was a quote painted on the inside wall of the restaurant:

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Evan is an exceptionally talented artist, and through his studies, is getting well-versed in architecture. We walked around the Plaza at night, talking about the church structures and unique features of some of the monasteries in the West.

All-in-all, a pleasurable ending to our second day in Santa Fe.

 





50 Days to 50 Years: Day 28, Happy Independence Day!

4 07 2016

“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow.”
― Thomas Paine

Despite the horrid events of late, and all that is wrong in our political and social processes, I am still grateful to have been born in the U.S.A., and proud to be an American. You want my opinion on those two other things, go look at my page at Communities Digital News or some of my posts here from years past. Today is a day to honor the establishment of the United States as a free nation, and to commemorate our Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, when said document was first read to the people.

Freedom isn’t free. It is bought and paid for by those who have the courage to stand for it. Every point of freedom I possess today was paid for by someone: from Crispus Attucks, to Harriet Tubman, to Frederick Douglass, to Ida B. Wells, to Martin Luther King, Jr., a price was rendered, and a sacrifice was made. What I find most tragic is many of today’s young people go in one of two directions: they either consider the day simply about fireworks and barbecues, or they rail against celebration or denigrate the U.S. because of the dishonest and twisted claptrap they learned in the public school system or a liberal college environment. Yeah, I said it; what they learned is no better than the whitewashed or sterling accounts about the U.S.A. peddled in certain conservative and right-wing circles.

Part of the reason for the social and political ills mentioned earlier is that many people have abdicated their freedoms for security, ease, and perpetual entertainment. Others spend their lives fighting battles that have nothing to do with life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness and wonder why they are unhappy and nothing ever changes. The two likely nominees of both parties are a clear indication that we have lost our moral compass and are far to easily swayed by pablum and promises. But I digress….

I pray a generation emerges that has the courage to right the ship. But while we still have some freedoms left, I choose to celebrate the reason why we can.

Here is the preamble to the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”





In My Orbit: A Tale of Two Videos

17 08 2012

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s actually a tale of three, but I loved the title and didn’t want to change it!

It is the story of my life that in most social and business situations, I am among the few, if not the lone Black person. It is more a point of curiosity, than a point of discomfort, and when I am among the chosen few, I sometimes sit back and observe the level of discomfort among the other Blacks in the same situation. I find this kind of sad–something I’ll expound upon on another day.

My friends have always been people of different races, and I am happy to say I have never experienced racial animus in my 27 years of working life. I have been persecuted for being smart and efficient (too many times), but never, ever, because I was Black.

This doesn’t mean I’ve never experienced racism, been called a nigger, or had negative fallout from being Black; that would be unrealistic and untrue. I’m just saying that compared to what my parents and grandparents had to walk through, my life thus far has been a cakewalk.

My mother grew up in the deep South (Arkansas and Tennessee), suffered under Jim Crow, and had lots of racist horrors perpetrated against her and those she loved. So while I could not agree with her perspective on all white people, I did understand her mistrust and hostility toward them; except at the voting booth: Mamma made sure Richard J. Daley stayed in power by voting straight Democrat every election. Heck, the way Chicago runs elections, she’s probably still voting, even though she passed in 2001. This type of disconnected political thinking exemplifies by some in my family (and other Blacks) has always befuddled me… but I digress.

Now to Video #1, which I cannot embed here, unfortunately, but here is the link: The Daily Caller: Toure-Niggerization of Obama.

The video comes from MSNBC’s “The Cycle,”, which should tell you all you need to know right there. Apparently the co-host Touré  said that Governor Mitt Romney was using racial code against President Obama.

How Touré and his ilk come to these perspectives mystifies me. These Gen X and Gen Y Blacks who grew up with more privilege than my mother could have ever imagined, who didn’t have to use the back door or sit in the back of the bus, yet somehow they look for, and find racism under every rock.

Here is my theory: we have become so far removed from REAL racism, that we feel the need to dig it up as the excuse for all ills against Blacks in general, and this so-called Black President, in particular. It makes no difference that he is doing an abysmal job (unemployment above 8 percent for three years, 1.5 percent GDP growth), and that he seems to care less about the rule of law or actually working within the bounds of his office, using executive privilege like “get-out-of-jail-free” cards.

Yet, this meme is being plugged among the mainstream media, and among Black communities. Setting up the President as some new Black martyr, to cover up and excuse what is simply fecklessness, lies, and overreach.

Which leads to Video #2, another MSNBC laughfest, which has Ron Reagan (son of the late President Ronald Reagan and now a liberal commentator), saying he is “astounded” at the level of disrespect from Republicans toward President Obama. Why? It must be because he’s Black!

I snagged the video off a relative’s Facebook page where said relative ranted (and used scripture) that we need to respect the office of the President, and that this treatment of President Obama is obviously racist. I rebutted this view in the comments, then left the page. This is also a discussion for another day.

It continues to amaze me that when it is mentioned that our economic situation is dire, and the two wars we are in continue  to drag on and on, that Blacks and others always want to blame George W. Bush. But when it comes to the maligning and disrespect of the office of the President, President Bush is conveniently forgotten.

One of my nephews expressed outrage when Representative Joe Walsh famously yelled, “You Lie!” during President Obama’s 2009 State of the Union. My nephew immediately labeled Representative Walsh as a racist. When I mentioned in the comments that worse things were said and done to President George W. Bush, my other nephew commented, “Well, he was an idiot!”, as if that excused what was done toward President Bush while he held that same office.

Appropriately named “Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS)” by Charles Krauthammer, BDS started manifesting sometime before the 2004 elections, and became a full-blown epidemic once President Bush’s reelection was secured. Terms like “BushMcHitler”, T-shirts that read: “BuckFush”, “Kill Bush”, and assassination artwork and films all targeted our 43rd President. It was all Bush-bashing, all the time, and rarely did I hear any protest about “respect” for the office of the President, even if we disagreed with his policies. Crickets, from the Left and in many cases on the Right–no one was clean.

Michelle Malkin recently reminded us of exactly how hateful the climate was, and how conveniently Dems and Leftists forget this, now that they are trying to protect their pet President. How Quickly They Forget.

Dems and Leftists also acquire convenient amnesia about President Obama having a fully Democrat House and Senate at his disposal for the first two years of his presidency. Despite his promise of a  “laser-like focus” on jobs, he decided to push through a bloated stimulus, where Solyndra, SunPower and foreign companies got much of the money, and to work at instituting Obamacare, which is already costing us more than it’s actually giving back.

If President Obama was any color other than Black, we’d be calling for his impeachment and doing all we could to get someone else elected. But not so. Any criticism or obstruction to this President is because Republicans, the Tea Party, and anyone who disagrees with his policies are simply racists.

Which leads me to the Video #3. I found this gem via HotAir. Ms. Kira Davis‘ “Open Letter to Toure of MSNBC” says it much more succinctly and articulately than I ever could. This young, Black, conservative woman remained respectful, while speaking truth to power.

Ms. Davis opens up a greater argument: all this irresponsible, and dare I say, illegitimate bandying around of these terms cheapens and waters down what was truly reprehensible and racist in our past, and any acts of present-day racism that still exist. This nonsense needs to stop, and it needs to first stop with the people who were (and still are) affected by it.

I’ve said it before, and I say it again: This is not a fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream, but a perpetuation of a fraud.

Wake up, my people.





In My Orbit…

6 06 2012

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The political junkie in me is totally strung out today–too much news to discuss, so I’m hitting the larger themes.

Winners and Losers

I am not hiding the fact that I am thrilled, thrilled! at the victory of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker over the Union-backed recall effort to oust him from office. I would feel this way for any leader of principle who merely sought to deliver what he had promised to his constituents upon winning the election, then suffered a temper-tantrum from the Union strongholds, who were merely being asked to sacrifice like the rest of the state, but chose to instead mount a campaign to oust him. Well, the Unions lost spectacularly, and spent a lot of money doing so.

Both sides of the aisle are spinning it for their advantage, and the Left in particular is crying foul, “democracy died“, and blaming outside money and the 7-1 overspending of the Republican and Tea Party machines. I thought the Tea Party was dead?–psyched your mind!

It is interesting that those same liberals and leftists are not decrying the SuperPACs campaigning and collecting money for the Obama 2012 re-election or the deep pockets that President Obama is courting to contribute to his re-election coffers… but I digress.

For this transplanted Midwesterner from the freakishly blue state of Illinois to an even scarier blue state of California (both union strangleholds), this is just a huge coup. Signs of sanity are even evidencing themselves in Cali’s local elections: in a landslide vote, both San Jose and San Diego citizens approved ballot measures to cut pensions for city workers–so you know the dam is breaking. Now if it will only burst forth and wash Los Angeles in its reformist wake. I continue to hold out hope.

But back to Walker: that a leader says what he means, means what he says, and actually follows through with action is a rare thing to behold. But the greater fact that other people of principle rewarded Walker’s consistency, courage and stick-to-itedness by keeping him in office says volumes. And he won by a larger margin than he did in 2010! That’s something you aren’t hearing from the mainstream media outlets. Jonathan S. Tobin said it best: Courage Rewarded. Give it a read.

The Weekly Standard echoes this as well, but places the victory squarely where it belongs:

“Walker turned a $3.6 billion deficit into a $154 million surplus. Unemployment is down. So are property taxes. Businesses, even with uncertainty about the U.S. economy, are optimistic about the direction of the state. Even with the political divisions, it’s hard to imagine a more successful 16 months as governor.

“Results matter. And that, more than anything else, explains why Scott Walker won.”

No matter what pundits have to say, it will have a resounding effect on the November elections and the political process at large. My sweet home Chicago Tribune attests to this in an editorial today:

“On Tuesday, a majority of the voters who for a year and a half have spent the most time weighing those sorts of numbers reaffirmed that they think their Wisconsin governments had grown too elephantine, too expensive.

“There’s another elephant in the room: Act 10 ended the compulsory collection of union dues by government employers. It turns out that when workers have a free choice of whether to keep paying, many decide that it isn’t worth the money. We were surprised last week by a Wall Street Journal report that Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees plummeted from 62,818 in March 2011 to 28,745 in February 2012. At the American Federation of Teachers, 6,000 of 17,000 Wisconsin members have walked away.

“Drop-offs that stark have implications not only for the unions, but also for politicians who rely on union donations to fund their campaigns.” (emphasis mine)

Unions will be less of a piggy bank for political causes, because the very workers who fund their efforts will now have more of a voice on how their dues are used; and in some cases, will be able to choose to not retain union membership. That’s a big deal.

He’s Baaack!

Because certain Angeleans continue to be useful idiots, the city will once again be subjected to a near traffic shutdown with yet another fundraising visit from our President. I continue to be thankful that I no longer work anywhere near the West side. Let the NIMBYs in Bev Hills and Brentwood have what they deserve!

I just love these Hitler videos. Speaks to both of my musings quite nicely.

 





Illustrating Absurdity

10 11 2010
Illustrating Absurdity

Chicken crossing by Peter Griffin/Public Domain Pictures.net

Sometimes headlines, like sound bites, can be particularly illustrative of the absurd.  Here a few from my morning reading:

From the Wall Street Journal:

The GOP’s Racial Challenge
Republicans can’t win in the future without more nonwhite votes.–Zoltan Hajnal.

So the elections of Marco Rubio, Allen West, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Brian Sandoval, and Susana Martinez were a reflection of a whites-only voting bloc?  Can someone place some coffee under Zoltan’s nose to wake him up?!  Manny Lopez of the Detroit News paints a more accurate portrait. New faces of hope for GOP.

From the New Jersey Star Ledger: “Pelosi’s plummeting popularity is a burden to Democrats“.  When was she ever popular?  The Botox Hammer has always been egregious.  Except now, she doesn’t have a majority running interference for her–they all got booted–thanks, in no small part to her leadership.  Bye, bye, Nancy.  Don’t let the doorknob hit you on the way out.





In My Orbit…

15 10 2010

Digital Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday evening finds me circling the globes of religion and politics.

I have written a review of the fine documentary God in America for my Examiner column this week.  After you read it, I recommend seeing the documentary for yourself.  It has already aired in Los Angeles, and probably other major outlets, but you can still view it on the PBS.org website or purchase the DVDs. This is one series that is worth the price of admission, not only for its educational value, but because it puts the conversation about Religion back into the public square–where it should have remained.  “God in America”–the review.

And the Washington Post, no less hosts an opinion piece by Matthew Continetti entitled,  Five myths about Sarah Palin. Continetti lays out facts that dispel much of the rants and the chatter I get subjected to here on the Left Coast.  Whether she runs for President in 2012 or not, she daily debunks all the predictions and prognostications about her influence and viability as a political presence–I can appreciate that.

And also courtesy of WaPo, living proof the seemingly stuffy Charles Krauthammer has a sense of humor.  Your pre-election Post Mortem is both prescient and snarky!  He riffs on the unalterably damaged Carl Palladino, and gives deserved weight (and long overdue credit to Sarah Palin) to the rise of  Conservative Women.  Candidates from Sharron Angle of Nevada to Nikki Haley of South Carolina are giving the establishment, and their opponents a run for their money.  Girl Power–whoo hoo!

My favorite pull quote:

Most irresistible political name. New Hampshire Republican and Senate primary candidate Ovide Lamontagne. Sounds like a French-Greek poet declaiming in the streets of Nashua. Tragically, he lost.

Ovide, we hardly knew ye.”





Your 15 Minutes

5 06 2010

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is both sad and tragic on many levels.  Helen Thomas beclowns herself.

Then she issues this half-baked, canned apology.

“I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians.They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”

Sorry Helen, but the bell cannot be unrung.

Would someone tell Helen Thomas that her 15 minutes are up?

H/t: Solomonia.