Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday night

Considered going to the gym tonight but decided to stay home instead. After a quick trip to the grocery store, am cooking lunch (for work). (I did get my walk.) Making that chopped steak again with ground round on sale, chopped fresh onion, a package of onion soup mix, a little water, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. Should come out good.

Beef brisket was also on sale (it being Passover). I don't think I've ever cooked one (aside from corned beef brisket). Been researching easy recipes online. I think I'll use, again, onion soup mix, plus a can of mushroom soup. This gets wrapped up in foil and roasted for 3 - 3 1/2 hours. A Jewish friend of mine from way back used onion soup mix and ketchup. That sounds good but I'll opt for a less sweet treatment.

Speaking of sweet, ate too much of that at work today. Some leftover baked goods from a luncheon, plus it was birthday cake day (Carvel ice cream cake -- my favorite). Glad I took my walk.

Chopped steaks came out great. (Too salty last time.) The trick is to crumble the raw ground beef into the mixing bowl and then gently toss with the other ingredients, so that the mixture does not get overly compacted. Otherwise it comes out tough. (Maybe I should try this with ground turkey.) (Never cared for it, but then I probably didn't season it right.) (Yes, flavoring it with beef sounds good!)

Here's a recipe:

1 pouch Lipton onion soup mix
1 jar chili sauce
1 can regular Coke
1 lg. untrimmed brisket

Put brisket in roasting pan, fatty side up. In bowl, mix soup mix, chili sauce and Coke. Pour over brisket. Cover roaster and bake in 300 degree oven for at least 5 hours. Remove brisket from gravy and slice diagonally. Skim fat off gravy and serve as sauce for the meat.

Chili sauce (like ketchup) and Coke. How sweet does it have to be?

Time for "Sheer Genius."

OK, the old TV has been on Craig's list for a month now and nobody's interested. Have to make arrangements to have it hauled out of here.

Tuesday night

Tired. At someone's recommendation, watched "The Millionaire Matchmaker" for the first time tonight. Pretty good. I'll continue watching it. (B. and I used to like watching the old matchmaker show out of Buffalo, which wasn't continued.)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday night

Watching a new Anthony Bourdain. Good.

Tonight, via email, I got an invitation:

Democratic National Committee &
Organizing for America

Invite you to a cocktail reception

April 15, 2010

The home of
Gloria and Emilio Estefan
Location information upon RSVP - Star Island, FL

For more information, please contact __________________

Together with this:

Democratic National Committee &
Organizing for America

Invite you to special evening

April 15, 2010

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
in the Knight Concert Hall
1300 Biscayne Boulevard Miami, FL

For more information, please contact _____________

There was another one, too, if I considered myself a "young Democrat." Guess I don't.

I felt honored. The donation for the reception is $15,200.00 per person, $30,400.00 per couple. There's also a button for "Other." How about $50? The Arsht Center event is $2,500.00 VIP, or $500.00 General. (No "Other" here.)

From Andrew Sullivan

He Kissed A Boy

From TowleRoad

Sarkozy, visiting NY, lays into US health care

Full AP story here. Jettisoning he prepared speech and speaking "from the heart":

"Welcome to the club of states who don't turn their back on the sick and the poor," Sarkozy said, referring to the U.S. health care overhaul signed by President Barack Obama last week.

From the European perspective, he said, "when we look at the American debate on reforming health care, it's difficult to believe."

"The very fact that there should have been such a violent debate simply on the fact that the poorest of Americans should not be left out in the streets without a cent to look after them ... is something astonishing to us."

Then to hearty applause, he added: "If you come to France and something happens to you, you won't be asked for your credit card before you're rushed to the hospital." . . .

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday night

Worked in the kitchen. Made chili. Have an eye of the round roast in the oven.

I did have a Michael Angelo Chicken Parmesan with spaghetti when I got back home from the gym, since that was quick and I was hungry. Pretty caloric, though. Just microwaved a bag of mixed vegetables with cheese sauce to go with the roast (for lunch at work). Watching "Holmes on Homes." Watched "60 Minutes" earlier.

Sunday afternoon

Cloudy today, 75 F., humid Probably would be nice for sitting outside -- no sun to avoid -- but here I sit, eating watermelon and drinking coffee. Will be going to the gym soon.

Finished off my chopped steak for lunch, with some of those microwave mixed vegetables. Nothing could be easier to make. This batch was Asian style with lots of broccoli and crunchy miniature corns. I've eaten very healthy this weekend. No Stouffer's breaded fish and mac 'n' cheese, not that it's exactly unhealthy. No fried chicken.

Contributed $10 to the DCCC. No more contributions. This one was solicited by Patrick Kennedy and will be matched dollar-for-dollar by "a group of committed Democrats." I figured it was a good one.

No new "Desperate Housewives" tonight. Just as well. I have to clean up the kitchen. Maybe I'll talk to my friend in Canada. Haven't talked to him in quite a while. He emailed me that he would be staying home today.

'More Doctors Giving Up Private Practices'

From The New York Times here.

[A]n increasing share of young physicians, burdened by medical school debts and seeking regular hours, are deciding against opening private practices. Instead, they are accepting salaries at hospitals and health systems. And a growing number of older doctors — facing rising costs and fearing they will not be able to recruit junior partners — are selling their practices and moving into salaried jobs, too. . . .

And for all the vaunted efficiencies of health care organizations, there are signs that the trend toward them is actually a big factor in the rising cost of private health insurance. In much of the country, health systems are known by another name: monopolies. . . .


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday night

Today was another nice one, though not as nice as last Saturday. Still, I was lured out of doors and over to Starbucks' patio for two cups of coffee, and then to an outside table at T.G.I. Friday's for dinner, and then back to Starbucks for a Zen tea. I'm back indoors now, doing some laundry.

Just got the ball rolling on my magazine article. I'd been thinking about the lede all day. (And the story's not about illegal prescription drug use.) I hope it will prove more interesting than that.

Watching "Paranormal Court" while the laundry dries. "All parties agree to abide by the decision of the deceased." (So dead men do tell tales.)

[Later] Good show. Laundry's out of the dryer and mostly dry. (It was towels and rugs.)

[Later] Watching "48 Hours" shows (these are always good). (The guy who they say tried to blackmail David Letterman is one of the producers.)

I did not make the edimame pasta today. I still had some of the chopped steak I made the other day, along with micro mixed vegs, so I had a big plate of that for lunch. For dinner I started out with an old-fashioned wedge of iceberg lettuce with blue cheese, chopped tomatoes, bacon, etc. Delicious. Hadn't had that in years. Sliced it all up and ate the whole thing (was hungry by then). Ordered a 10 oz. Black Angus steak, medium. Unfortunately it came out medium well done and dry, with not enough herb butter on top to spread around. I could have got some steak sauce but the place was busy by then (7:00) and the service not that good, so I just ate the steak as it was.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Well, what a historic week! So glad it's over!

Back from gym and store. Bought some frozen edamame (soybeans in the pod), Barilla Plus spaghetti (multigrain), Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley to whip up something I saw online the other day (NYT). I'd never even heard of the word edamame until I read the recipe. What do I know? Everybody else in the department knew what it was. I must not get out enough. (It's a Japanese word, by the way.) The recipe also calls for olive oil and fresh garlic, which I have. Eye of the round was on sale again, so I bought one of those too.

Made modest contributions to "Organizing For America" and Alan Grayson.

Watching a new "What Not To Wear." It's good. I had my doubts about this one. (She's a bodybuilder and has a man's physique up top.) But she turned out beautiful, huge shoulders and all.

(Ran spell-check. Blogger doesn't know what edamame is either.)

Bloggingheads: G.O.P.'s Misplayed Hand

Joshua Cohen, left, of Stanford University and Brink Lindsey of the Cato Institute discuss why the G.O.P. lost. Video here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Remember this?

MATTHEWS: OK, you ever call up a Democratic Senator and say why don't you do this by reconciliation?

GRAYSON: What makes you think they're not going to do it? What do you know that I don't know?

MATTHEWS: Because... they've refused to do it because they cannot get past the filibuster rule. The United States Senate is different than the House.


MATTHEWS: You're allowed to talk as long as you want in the Senate.

GRAYSON: Not with reconciliation.

MATTHEWS: Unless you get cloture.

GRAYSON: With reconciliation it's 51 votes, not 60 votes.

MATTHEWS: What do you mean, reconciliation? You can't create a program through reconciliation!

GRAYSON: You can create an amendment...

MATTHEWS: Nobody's ever done one!

GRAYSON: The bill's already passed with 60 votes, you...

MATTHEWS: Name a program that's...

GRAYSON: All you need to do is...

MATTHEWS: Congressman, just name me the program that's ever been created through reconciliation. Name one! One!

See here.

Almost TGIF

I'd not had a good Cuban sandwich since my favorite Cuban restaurant downtown suddenly closed a few months ago for "personal reasons." (It was rumored that they were shut down for employing illegal aliens.) (Since then, I don't think I'd had a Cuban sandwich at all.) Meanwhile, just down the street from here, a Cuban restaurant opened and then closed before I had the chance to try it out.

Well, recently that restaurant had a grand re-opening "under new ownership," so today, on my walk from the far bus stop after work, I stopped in there. This was before 7:00. The place seemed to be doing a fairly good take-out business, and some people were seated outside on an inviting covered deck just off the street. (Nobody was dining at the tables inside.) I figured the food must be fresh and ordered both a Cuban sandwich and a pork sandwich (pan con lechon) to take home. Didn't have to wait long. The tab came to $9.98. My bag of sandwiches was pretty hefty and I couldn't wait to get home and try them.

Not five minutes later I was noshing on the Cuban sandwich. It was the fattest Cuban sandwich I'd ever had -- maybe twice the ingredients of my old favorite -- and absolutely delicious (though it could have remained in the sandwich press a little longer to get hotter, and I'd told them repeatedly I was in no rush). I ate half of that sandwich and then tried the pork (doused first with Crystal hot sauce). That, too, was enormous, and delicious. I couldn't finish half of it -- I was getting full -- and wrapped up the remains in Glad Wrap and aluminum foil for tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Shear Genius was really good. A plot twist -- nobody went home.

Not really watching TV. Been looking at blogs.

I think I've mellowed some since the health care vote on Sunday. I'd expended a lot of energy imploring Congress people (House and Senate) and the President to get that passed (though the reconciliation bill has yet to be passed in the Senate) and devoting hours blogging about it here (to what benefit, I don't know, but nevertheless I felt compelled to do it).

It's not the greatest bill, but it's good and can easily be improved upon. Maybe because I lived in Europe a time during my formative years and saw that nobody worried about where their health care was coming from that this has been an issue of mine. The Europeans live well and have excellent health care, and everyone has ready access to it.* What, exactly, is wrong with that? It has always seemed right to me.

I was an exchange student and lived in households of professional people (it was a Rotary Club exchange**) and never once heard anyone complain about their health care system. In fact, they seemed to be proud of it. Well, now I can take some pride in our system here.

*and I'm not talking about going to the Emergency Room in a full-blown crisis, which up till now has been our answer to providing universal health care.

**I was sponsored by the Miami Rotary Club, of which my cousin had been president, and spent a year in Germany (and also traveled widely and have been back since).

Wednesday night

Had planned on going to the gym tonight but am cooking lunch (for work) instead -- ran out of corned beef and cabbage today. Cubed steaks are on sale this week and I'd planned on making pepper steak, but they were all sold out (and after I'd picked the peppers). So I bought some ground sirloin (also on sale) and am making chopped steak with sauteed chopped onion, Worcestershire sauce and other seasonings. Should be good. (Yes, they came out good -- could've used more onion.) Also got a couple of bags of mixed vegs for the microwave and nuked one of those for tomorrow.

I'll be back at the gym on Friday night. I like going on Fridays and Sundays. It's very laid-back.

Watching MSNBC. Yeah, majority rule is a "totalitarian tactic." The Republican leaders are fomenting violence. See here. I just heard Michael Steele say, "Let's get Nancy Pelosi ready for the 'firing line' in November." (See here.) And Sarah Palin with her "reload" and rifle scope images on the U.S. map. (See here.) Now we're having an "armed" rally on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. See this from last night's Rachel Maddow show.

Jack Welch: Republicans In For 'Awful Shock' In November

(From TPM)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday night

Last night I stayed a little late at work to finish a project they needed that night. (Turns out, they didn't need it till today.) Anyway, today I left work on time, did my walk from the far bus stop (a little warm in the leather coat, since it had warmed up). Ditched the coat, fed the cats, and drove up to Target to get a hand-held shower for the second bathroom. Now both bathrooms have the same thing. I've enjoyed using it in my shower so I got the same brand (Moen). (It's not like I haven't had these before.) They're very useful for washing cats, etc. (Last night Lucky threw up on a throw rug and it could have come in handy.)

Before shopping, I sat in the little restaurant at Target (where there's also a Starbucks) and had an Italian sausage on a bun and a Dr. Pepper Icee (which was very good) (better than the sausage, which apparently had been sitting for a while on the warming machine).

Shower's installed. Watching MSNBC now. McCain is not taking this health care passage well. He can be so prickly.

Here's Merrill Goozner on the new health care legislation.

I have to say, I feel relieved that the legislation passed. Something could happen to me and I might need it. I think a lot of people will be helped, and a lot will breathe a sigh of relief once they've learned (if they don't know already) what the bill is all about. There's been so much frightening misinformation that it's no wonder people are apprehensive about it. (It's actually Richard Nixon's plan.) But see here ("Poll: Most Think Passing Health Reform Was A Good Idea").

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday night

Watching Anthony Bourdain in Provence.

Last night late, after watching Jamie Oliver's new show on nutrition in the U.S., I was glued to the TV watching the health care votes in the House.

So we're going to have a health care system that borders on universal coverage. I'm still for Medicare for all, which would be the most efficient way of going about it. Maybe someday. Meanwhile I think this legislation has much to offer and serves as a foundation on which to make further improvements.

From an email from Bernie Sanders:

What Health Care Reform Means for You Today:

  • No Denials for Pre-Existing Conditions Insurers may no longer exclude individuals under 19 years old with pre-existing medical conditions. The age limit increases over time. By 2014, people with pre-existing conditions could no longer be denied insurance.
  • More Young Adults Insured Parents will be allowed to keep their children on their health insurance plan until age 26.
  • Broader Coverage Within 90 days, people who have been locked out of the insurance market because of a pre-existing condition would be eligible for coverage.
  • Insurance Stability All insurance plans will be barred from imposing lifetime caps on coverage. Insurers can no longer cancel insurance retroactively except for outright fraud.
  • Prescription Drugs The 4 million Medicare beneficiaries with prescription drug bills so high they are not fully covered will get a $250 rebate this year. Next year, charges will be cut in half for seniors who fall into the Medicare coverage gap known as the doughnut hole.
  • Tax Credits for Small Businesses Small business owners will no longer be forced to choose between offering health care and hiring new employees. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will help them insure their employees.
  • Holding Down Premiums Insurers must report how much they spend on medical care versus administrative costs, a step that later will be followed by tighter government review of premium increases.
  • Health Centers Funding for community health centers will begin to go up this year. About 40 million patients, twice as many as today, will be treated in community health centers within five years.
  • Professional Training Investments in training more primary care doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants will begin later this year.

Here's a summary of the new and improved bill (PDF).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday night

"Desperate Housewives" is pretty stupid tonight.

Sunday evening

Was at gym at 5:00, then stopped by store. Making corned beef in the pressure cooker. (I'd bought it last weekend.) Will boil cabbage in the liquid afterwards. Waiting for "60 Minutes" to come on. Meanwhile having a ground sirloin burger (no bun) and a V-8, then a raspberry fat-free yogurt.

Corned beef is done. This brand (Crown) is not as good as what I usually get (can't remember name). Doesn't come with seasoning spices. Still, not bad at all. Cabbage is boiling now. Will take stuff to work for lunch.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday night

Laundry night. Big time.

The weather today was perfect. (It's been unseasonably chilly here lately.) Spent a lot of time outdoors. Was at Starbucks twice, once in the afternoon and again after dinner, which I ate outdoors at T.G.I. Fridays. Had the Jack Daniels 10 oz. steak with fried shrimp, and onion rings and broccoli on the side. Two cups of coffee in the afternoon and a green tea later. I'm wired. Saw B. driving the Hummer to work just before 4:30. I wonder if he saw me.

We have two washers and two dryers on each floor here. I think it's rude when people don't remove their clothes from the washer (or dryer) when the clothes are clean (or dry). Tonight was not the first time I've transferred the clean contents of a washer to a plastic garbage bag so I could use the machine. (I use the timer on my stove when I'm washing and drying, so I don't inconvenience anyone.)

When I went back to the laundry room after my washing machines had finished, the bag of clothes was still sitting where I'd put it. So I went ahead and used the dryers. The person will now have to wait till I'm finished.

11:21 p.m. Laundry done. The bag of damp clothes is still sitting there in the laundry room.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Took a break

Was at my doctor's today. I finally told him all about B.'s departure two years ago. Hadn't been collected enough to do that until now. (Hadn't resolved it.) He said he'd also had a BF with an illegal prescription-drug use and had to break it off (basically over all the dishonesty -- same here, as I confronted B. about his "secret life").

Was glad to get that off my chest with him and have some sympathy. (I'd asked him whether he had an extra five minutes to talk more at length about it and he said yes.)

Checked out fine vis-a-vis my lab tests.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Saturday night

Today was a beautiful day.

Friday, March 05, 2010


Almost made it to the gym tonight. Took nap and everything. Even made protein drink ahead of time. Even got into ridiculous red sweatpants. The only problem, something I had eaten earlier was wreaking havoc in my GI tract. (If I'd planned earlier on going to the gym, I would not have eaten that particular food.)

In lieu of drinking the protein shake, tonight I finished off the picadillo for dinner. Very good. I won't season the rice next time, since the seasoning (Sazon and saffron) gets lost. It was pretty, though. Just gave me an idea to make chicken and yellow rice. My mother used to make that so well but I never got her recipe. (She'd got the recipe from a friend of her mother's, who was Cuban.) It was one of my favorite dishes that Mom made.

Thursday night

Almost TGIF.

I haven't had any replies about my old TV. I'll give the ad on Craig's List a month and then make arrangements to have the TV removed from here. Or I could chop it up in little pieces and put it in the dumpster. Don't think I'll do that.

Made some headway on my NYC vacation. I found a few gay guesthouses, a couple of them in Chelsea (not that I'm targeting that area). I'm still not ready to commit to a date. I want the old TV out of here and then I'll have the place professionally cleaned again before I go on vacation. Next month I have to take care of my neighbor's cat while my neighbor's out of town, so I'm looking at May for my vacation. Since the cats did well while I was in Savannah on my last vacation (four nights), I'll go ahead and spend five or six nights in NYC. (Neighbor took care of cats while I was away.)

Tired of the cold, but it appears it will warm up gradually.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Wednesday night

Cold weather is back (in March?). Not welcome. Going down into the 40s again the next few days. It was cold and windy after work and I thought I'd wait for my bus on S.E. 1st Street rather than out in the open on Biscayne at Bayfront Park. But S.E. 1st Street turned out to be an arctic wind tunnel. (I did have my leather coat on, thank God.)

Too cold for the gym, so I drove to the store right after work (fully clothed still) to get stuff to make picadillo. (I already had the ground beef cooked.) This time I used a small green pepper in addition to a large onion. I think it added something, but it's good without it too. I also made half a cup of rice, with saffron-flavored Sazon and some saffron as well. Everything came out great. I'll have the picadillo for lunch tomorrow.

By the way, I don't mind going to the gym. I tend to run hot -- I have a fan going on me constantly both at home and at work -- and wear shorts and a tank-top while at the gym. (I can't even wear a t-shirt.) So for me to go to the gym when it's cold requires a lot of extra clothing just to get there (and which I would then have to remove to work out), at which point I say, forget it -- I'll wait till the weather warms up. I've been saying that a lot lately, because the weather has been horrible for Miami. I'm over it. I was raised here, and this is the worst winter I've ever experienced here. Not pleasant, and the summer was too long and hot also. Not looking forward to another one of those summers, but sick of this cold weather.

(I've lived in really cold places, with snow, etc., like Montana and Germany, but I'm talking about the weather here, which has been unseasonable.)