The Ramblings of a Mad Man

Posts tagged “Family

Gluten Free Liver & Onions

INGREDIENTS
1¼ lb calves liver (be sure to use calves or veal liver, not mature beef liver), thinly sliced
½ to 1 cup of rice flour, seasoned with
Salt, pepper, paprika, dry mustard to taste
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 yellow onions, sliced thin
METHOD
1 Dredge the calves liver in seasoned flour. Set aside.

2 Heat a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Add a teaspoon of butter. Sauté the onions until translucent, a couple of minutes. Remove onions from pan with a slotted spoon. Set aside onto a serving dish.

3 Add a couple teaspoons of coconut oil to the skillet. Add the calves liver slices, working in batches. Fry until browned on both sides.


On Joining the Infantry

The Battle of As Samawah.

The Battle of As Samawah.

Infantrymen have a pride and arrogance that most Americans don’t understand and don’t like. Even soldiers who aren’t infantrymen don’t understand. The pride doesn’t exist because we have a job that’s physically impressive. It certainly doesn’t exist because it takes a higher level of intelligence to perform our duties. It’s sad and I hate to admit it, but any college student or high school grad can physically do what we do. It’s not THAT demanding and doesn’t take a physical anomaly. Nobody will ever be able to compare us to professional athletes or fitness models. And it doesn’t take a very high IQ to read off serial numbers, pack bags according to a packing list, or know that incoming bullets have the right of way.

The pride of the infantryman comes not from knowing that he’s doing a job that others can’t, but that he’s doing a job that others simply won’t. Many infantrymen haven’t seen a lot of combat. While that may sound ideal to the civilian or non-infantry soldier, it pains the grunt. We signed up to spit in the face of danger. To walk the line between life and death and live to do it again – or not. To come to terms with our own mortality and let others try to take our life instead of yours. We have raised our hands and said, “Take me, America. I am willing to kill for you. I am willing to sacrifice my limbs for you. I will come back to America scarred and disfigured for you. I will be the first to die for you.” [Most of you will hate me anyway.]

That’s why the infantryman carries himself with pride and arrogance. He’s aware that America has lost respect for him. To many he’s a bloodthirsty animal. To others he’s too uneducated and stupid to get a regular job or go to college. Only he knows the truth. While there are few in America who claim to have respect for him, the infantryman returns from war with less fanfare than a first down in a high school football game. Yes, people hang up their “Support Our Troops” ribbons and on occasion thank us for our service. But in their eyes the infantryman can detect pity and shame; not respect. Consider this: How excited would you be to meet the average infantryman? Now compare that with how excited you’d be to meet a famous actor or professional sports player and you will find that you, too, are guilty of placing the wrong people on a pedestal. You wouldn’t be able to tell me how many soldiers died in the war last month, but you’d damn sure be able to tell me if one of the actors from Twilight died.

Yet the infantryman doesn’t complain about that. He continues to do his job; to volunteer his life for you, all while being paid less in four years than Tom Brady makes in one game.

It’s a job most Americans don’t understand, don’t envy, and don’t respect. That is why we have pride for the infantry.

           

On 04 JAN 02, I left the Tampa, FL Military Entrance & Processing Station for Fort Benning, GA in a 15-pack van with 11 other future soldiers. We were headed for the 30th AG Reception Station before being pushed on to the Infantry Training Brigade (ITB). Georgia had received an ice storm on the 3rd and we ended up having to spend another night in the hotel in Tampa before making the drive. It took about 10 hours to make the drive and we arrived after midnight.

 

            Upon arrival, we could see four men in uniform, wearing BDUs and brown Smokey the Bear hats. Under the arc sodium lights outside the building, all we could see is their jaw lines. It was quiet and cold. We got our bags out of the van and once we turned around, the shark attack began. In a tone loud enough to wake the dead in another state and with words that would make your mother blush, we were rushed inside to dump all of our belongings on a table. Our personal effects were searched for contraband. The next thing that we were instructed to do was to shave our [expletive x4] faces. We got our first hair cut shortly thereafter. Fuzzy cue ball is not my favorite coif for cold weather.

 

            30th AG is where you get your Army identity. It’s where your pay check, medical benefits, insurance, and training starts. It was a whirlwind. Let’s skip forward a week. We marched to our basic training company, C Co 2-19th Infantry, “Rock of Chickamaugua”. Our duffle bags road on a truck. Drill Sergeants can be evil bastards. This was where we first experienced unrealistic time hacks to accomplish a task and then swiftly and severely punished when we failed to meet it. The duffle bags were thrown into a haphazard pile behind the trucks. Now, you have less than a minute to find two with your name on them. It’s like trying to find a pair of needles in a stack of needles while the timer on a bomb counts down. You get it now?

 

            I am not going to recount all of basic training. Either you’ve been there and done that or you haven’t. If you haven’t gone yet, I don’t want to ruin the fun. I will make a short list of things that I will never forget:

 

  1. 1.    The Obstacle Course- You and your Battle Buddy charging through the mud and water, exhausted, but feeling completely alive.

 

 

 

  1. 2.    Eagle Tower- Repelling from the top of a tall ass tower. It was pretty awesome and rather terrifying at the same time.

 

 

 

  1. 3.    THE BAYONET- A 25 mile foot march, broken up with squad/platoon attacks missions along the way (one of them involving climbing a clay cliff face to attack a dug in position). It ended with use climbing up Honor Hill, the pathway going up and the top of the hill lit with torches. The hand you a pint of grog before pinning your crossed rifles on the chest.

 

 

 

  1. 4.    The Steak Breakfast the next morning.

 

 

 

  1. 5.    Graduation Day- Standing on that field with your fellow baby grunts, ready to make your way to Airborne School or to your first Duty Station. You can feel the change in you. You stand taller, you are mentally and physically stronger. It was a proud day.

 

The Infantryman's Creed

The Infantryman’s Creed

I am going to start writing about my journey in an effort to help someone prepare for what they are about to face. Things have changed in the last 12 years, but a lot of things haven’t. I hope you learn from these lessons, DR. If you’re willing…

The Unit Patch of ITB.

The Unit Patch of ITB.

To be continued…


Rum Soaked Chicken

My chicken was hot and rum soaked. I can’t decide if I want to call it Pirate Chicken or me. 😉

Okay, the original recipe calls for marinating the breasts overnight or slapping them on the grill. Me, being ever impatient, placed them in a vaccum seal bag, pressed the marinade into the chicken for about 4 hours, and then baked them in the bag. It comes handy if you buy the vaccum bags that you can put in the oven. It owrked out for me.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup CPT Morgan Private Stock
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 chicken breasts

Why is the rum gone? The rum is always gone...

Why is the rum gone? The rum is always gone…

The original cooking instructions from Food.com had this to say:

Directions:

  1. To Bake:  Spray a 9 X 13 glass cooking dish with olive oil cooking spray coating it entirely.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a glass baking dish, cover and marinate overnite.
  3. Bake in the same dish, covered @ 375 for 45 minutes, stir.  Cover and continue baking for another 45 minutes.  Stir and continue baking for additional 10 minutes, uncovered.
  4. Serve over Jasmine rice.
  5.  BBQ:  Spray a 9 X 13 glass cooking dish with olive oil cooking spray coating it entirely.
  6. Combine all ingredients in a glass baking dish, cover and marinate overnite
  7. Spray BBQ grill with olive oil cooking spray and grill chicken for 5 minutes on each side, until chicken is no longer pink & juices run clear.  Be sure to  baste continuously with Caribbean marinade. Enjoy!

I followed the Bake instructions, minus the 24 hours of marinating time. Vacuum sealing removes the long wait time. Love it.

As a side, I made green beans and Rosemary-Garlic Red Potatoes:

Roasted baby red potatoes, partially smashed down, drizzled with a mixture of butter, garlic and rosemary, then roasted again until browned and crispy.

Roasted baby red potatoes, partially smashed down, drizzled with a mixture of butter, garlic and rosemary, then roasted again until browned and crispy.


Consent Order: Permanent Custody Order

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. A long and drawn out fight, built up to a boiling point, ended with a whimper and a proposed final order. Basically, all she wanted was visitation and to not pay child support. Seeing as she hasn’t provided any type of financial support since I got custody last May, or since she was actually ordered to in November 2012, that wasn’t really a sticking point for me.

The only amusing thing is that she has apparently unblocked me on Facebook. And I have read her “Notes”. It is astonishing at how self deluded one person can be.

“You father has admitted to me that he’s hurting you guys, but he’s blaming me for it. I have that text message. “

The case is over, said and done, but let me make this point. I have every text message, phone call, and email between us since 2011. This is referred to as a “evidence.” I am highly tempted to unleash all of it. I also have copies of the DSS documents, where medical professionals have viewed her mistreatment of our children. Anytime she wants to feel froggy, I can also unleash her own arrest record from the state of Alabama. Yes, I have all of that too.

I am irritated. I’ll just chill for now. The kids will be home in a couple of days and we will get back to normal. I’m sure there will be an adjustment period after they come home. There always is after they have spent any time with her. We’ll get calmed down. Back to our routine of school and work, ballet and fitness.


Vets Deliver “Barry-cades” to the White House

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In U.S., Perceived Need for Third Party Reaches New High

Twenty-six percent believe Democratic and Republican parties do adequate job

by Jeffrey M. Jones
This article is part of an ongoing series analyzing how the government shutdown and the debate over raising the debt ceiling are affecting Americans’ views of government, government leaders, political parties, the economy, and the country in general.

PRINCETON, NJ — Amid the government shutdown, 60% of Americans say the Democratic and Republicans parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed. That is the highest Gallup has measured in the 10-year history of this question. A new low of 26% believe the two major parties adequately represent Americans.

Trend: Perceived Need for a Third Major U.S. Political Party

The results are consistent with Gallup’s finding of more negative opinions of both parties since the shutdown began, including a new low favorable rating for the Republican Party, and Americans’ widespread dissatisfaction with the way the nation is being governed.

The prior highs in perceived need for a third party came in August 2010, shortly before that year’s midterm elections, when Americans were dissatisfied with government and the Tea Party movement was emerging as a political force; and in 2007, when the newly elected Democratic congressional majority was clashing with then-President George W. Bush.

A majority of Americans have typically favored a third party in response to this question. Notably, support has dropped below the majority level in the last two presidential election years in which Gallup asked the question,2012 and 2008. Support for a third party was lowest in 2003, the first year Gallup asked the question. That year, 40% thought the U.S. needed a third party, while 56% believed the Republicans and Democrats were doing an adequate job.

Republicans, Democrats Equally Likely to See Need for Third Party

Republicans (52%) and Democrats (49%) are similar in their perceptions that a third party is needed. In fact, this marks the first time that a majority of either party’s supporters have said a third party is needed.

Trend: Support for a Third Major U.S. Political Party, by Political Party Affiliation

As would be expected, a majority of independents — those who profess no initial allegiance to either party — have always said the U.S. needs a third party. Seventy-one percent currently hold that view, which has been exceeded twice before, in 2007 and 2010.

Implications

Given the inability of the Republican and Democratic parties to agree on the most basic of government functions — passing an annual budget to pay for federal programs — it is perhaps not surprising that the percentage of Americans who believe a third party is needed has never been higher.

However, the desire for a third party is not sufficient to ensure there will be one. Structural factors in the U.S. election system and the parties’ own abilities to adapt to changing public preferences have helped the Republican and Democratic parties to remain the dominant parties in U.S. government for more than 150 years. Third parties that have emerged to challenge their dominance have not been able to sustain any degree of electoral success.

Survey MethodsResults for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 3-6, 2013, with a random sample of 1,028 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region. Landline and cell telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the July-December 2011 National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the 2010 census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

View methodology, full question results, and trend data.

For more details on Gallup’s polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

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USAA Offers No-Interest Loan to Military Members if Government Delays Pay

USAA: Fighting the Shutdown

USAA: Fighting the Shutdown

 

Amid uncertainty about federal government funding, USAA is ready to offer a zero-interest payroll advance loan and other temporary solutions to affected members whose paychecks could be impacted.

Solutions From USAA

Potential Payroll Advance Loan

In the event of a government shutdown that threatens military pay, USAA is prepared to offer a zero-interest payroll advance loan to members of the military with existing direct deposit at USAA, including the National Guard and Reserves.1 The loan would be approximately equal to your expected direct deposit, or half of your expected direct deposit if you are paid monthly.

Other Options

USAA has a number of solutions to help members who receive a government paycheck and find themselves in financial distress because of sequestration.

These temporary solutions are available for affected members’ existing products and include:

  • Special payment arrangements, which could include payment deferral, on some bank products.2
  • Refunds of certain fees for credit cards and other USAA Bank products.
  • Early withdrawal of funds from certificates of deposit without penalties.
  • Billing arrangements for insurance products.

For those who are adversely impacted by sequestration, we encourage them to contact us so that we can identify solutions that help meet their particular need. Members should contact us for free financial advice at 800-531-USAA (8722).

USAA is prepared to offer the payroll advance loan to affected military members with existing direct deposit at USAA Bank if a government shutdown interrupts military pay. Likewise, members who have existing direct deposit arrangements at USAA Bank for their VA and Social Security checks would be eligible for the loan if their payments were interrupted due to a debt ceiling impasse.

If a loan offer becomes necessary, USAA will email those members and provide information in the “My Offers” section of usaa.com. We will also offer other solutions, including special payment arrangements to help USAA members who receive government payments and find themselves in financial distress because of a shutdown.

“We all hope that policymakers will reach a deal before military pay is threatened,” says David Bohne, president of USAA Bank. “But we stand ready to help our members who would be impacted if that happens.”

Federal Spending Deadlines

The government’s authority to spend money will expire Sept. 30. Without a spending agreement before Oct. 1, the government would largely shut down. Without a solution, a shutdown could threaten federal paychecks on Oct. 15.

A second deadline involves the federal debt ceiling, which is the total amount of money the federal government is authorized to borrow. The government could reach that ceiling as early as Oct. 17, and, as a result, federal payments after that date could be disrupted.

What Can You Do?

It’s difficult to predict if the country’s spending and borrowing issues will be resolved without triggering a shutdown or other consequences for everyday Americans. Given the potential impact if things don’t go smoothly, it’s smart to prepare for a worst-case scenario.

If you’re a federal employee or otherwise depend on government outlays to make ends meet, check these 5 Tips to Prepare for a Government Shutdown.

 Must have current direct deposit of government payments with USAA Bank and at least two consecutive direct deposits in the past 60 days. Loan amount is based upon two weeks of normal direct deposit, and loan maximum is $6,000. Must be in good standing with USAA. The loan amount deposited into USAA account will be automatically debited at the next scheduled direct deposit. Loan will not be funded if government payment is not interrupted.

2 Interest continues to accrue during any deferment periods.