Archive for December, 2008

Snow storm

December 23rd, 2008

I have been pained frequently over the last few days thinking about retail businesses, the losses they are experiencing right now, and how much the economy in general needs consumer spending.

This dramatic winter weather is forcing many people to stay at home. Retail stores, already reeling from the current economic turmoil, have had a last minute lifeline, holiday spending, withdrawn.

Neighborhood restaurants and businesses might feel a little upturn from local customers, especially on day 2 or day 3 of being snowed in: folks can get a bit stir crazy and desire to go out.   I have a freezer full of seafood, steaks, tomato soups, frozen berries,  yet I still went out for brunch at the local and enjoyed some outside time.

I’m getting ready to go into work now, and am very much looking forward to having the locals come in and spend a snow day with me.

Are they taking over?

December 20th, 2008

I just read this  article in the Economist that tickled the heck out of me.  The hogs are taking over!  I only see dead hogs, and they are usually all medium sized little fellows.

My boss tends to like his hogs to come at around 80 lbs.  The amount we go through at the restaurant, and just the size of protein on a plate (the chop of the 138 pounder was so big that the pairing of it with the rolled belly, the braised shoulder, and the head cheese was just too much protein for a plate) dictates about 80 lbs of hog.  I couldn’t imagine a 350 lb. hog!  So here is the article…

Feral hogs

If you go down to the woods today

Dec 4th 2008 | ST LOUIS
From The Economist print edition

AP Millions more to go

AUTUMN is a time for country walks, and, if you are that way inclined, for a spot of bang-bang. But hunters and hikers alike are liable to come face to face with a nasty surprise: a growing number of feral hogs, the destructive descendants of domesticated animals, are stalking America.

During its short and brutal life, a feral hog may grow to become a monster of several hundred pounds, covered with bristly hair and fronted with a set of fierce, killing tusks. One hog shot in Georgia in 2004 lives on in legend as Hogzilla because of the claim, disputed by some, that it was 12 feet long (almost four metres) and weighed 1,000lb (about 450kg).

There are thought to be between 4m and 5m feral hogs at large in America, spread across 38 states. The biggest population is in Texas, but states from Florida to Oregon are infested and worried. Feral hogs destroy the habitats of plants and animals, spread diseases, damage crops, kill and eat the eggs and young of wildlife and sometimes menace people with their aggressive behaviour.

The problem originated with the Spanish conquistadors, who took herds of pigs with them as they marched across the American continent. Stragglers reverted to their wild state. Much later “sportsmen” began releasing hogs into reserves for commercial hunting. More recently still declining pork prices have induced farmers to turn some of their stock loose rather than continue feeding them. Pigs produce so many piglets that a feral herd can double or even triple within as little as a year.

Governments and individuals across the country are getting involved. In 2000 Missouri adopted a shoot-on-sight policy with no restrictions on time or place. Other states are encouraging the trapping, poisoning and snaring of the beasts. “Hog dogs” have been trained to track down the herd for hunters. In many states aerial hunting from helicopters has been employed as a pricey but effective solution. But the creatures are intelligent and adaptable, so these efforts are not keeping pace with the exploding feral hog population. Missouri recently made it a crime to knowingly release pigs from confinement. However, the herds continue to grow and spread. Take care.


and if you are still reading and are interested, check out some of the comments posted on this article  at the below URL. 

food in the white house

December 18th, 2008

I hadn’t really realized until recently that the First Family actually pays for their own meals. I knew that they had a white house chef who sits with the family and plans their meals (I imagine it might be challenging having tasty snacks available for the President at all hours!).
I understand that our founding father’s did not want the first family eating caviar and sipping on champagne on the taxpayers dollar, but they pay for their own food, and the First lady doesn’t get paid for her work!
I understand in times gone by that the position of First Lady was largely ceremonial, but times are changing and with the advent of dynamic couples in the White house, maybe we should reconsider how we approach the First Family.

The first lady should receive compensation for the scrutiny of her and her children and for the relentless demand on her time.  That’s my 2 cents.