Thursday, December 27, 2012

Oysters? Oh yeah.

I like to read and do so most every evening, usually at bedtime, in bed. Time was when I could read two maybe three hours before calling it a day. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I get twenty minutes in before the Sandman comes around and drops the book on my chest.
At the present time, I’m nearly though a mystery/thriller novel titled Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke. The protagonist, a fella by the name of  Dave Robicheaux, works for the New Iberia, Louisiana  Sheriff’s department and along with his sidekick, Clete Purcell , are quite the entertaining characters. How people like James Lee Burke spin such fascinating yarns both inspires and depresses a wannbe writer such as myself. But that’s not my point today.
In last night’s chapter, Dave and his wife go fishing for crappie out of a flat bottom boat in the bayou.  Seems that his wife has packed them a few snacks for their time on the water, among which are fried oyster sandwiches. Now, I’ve never tasted a fried oyster sandwich, but it sounded interesting. The last time I’d slurped a few of the slime balls was in an open air bar on South Padre Island, Texas. You bought ‘em on the half shell, a dozen at a time. Or a half dozen if you wanted to be wimpy about it. The weather was perfect with a slight breeze coming in off the Gulf carrying all those smells that you get around the coastal water, completely foreign to an Okie. The waitress was a cute little thing, having just arrived from Baton Rouge, and with an accent so heavy you could weigh it on the scales. Now eatin’ oysters off the half shell is not for the faint of heart and in no way should be attempted without fortification from a few spookers. Let’s just say that on this occasion, I was well prepared.
But a fried oyster sandwich? I had to try it. I suppose that somewhere in Tulsa, one can buy oysters on the half shell, but for this experiment, and knowing full well it wouldn’t be the same as fresh oysters, I opted for a can of ‘em from the shelf of the local Wal-Mart. Dave’s wife didn’t reveal her recipe in the book, but I was confident the Internet would share the secret. Sho nuff. All you had to do was drain ‘em, soak ‘em in a couple beaten eggs, roll ‘em in bread crumbs, add salt and pepper, and drop ‘em in the skillet. Did I mention that I’m quite talented at cracking eggs? Learned the skill in the good ‘ol U.S. N., the United States Navy. I could grab two eggs with both hands, crack all four of them, and drop ‘em on a sizzling  grill before you could scratch an itch on your behind.  But I digress.
To be honest, my concoction didn’t look all that appetizing. A spooker was in order, maybe a couple. But once those little jewels hit the hot oil, Oh Mama! My delight with my culinary excellence caught the attention of the Missus who was watching yet another Spencer Tracy movie in the bedroom.  

“What’s that smell?”
“Oysters. Want some?”
“Yech. Shut the door.”
Expecting the response, I giggled. All for me. I tossed those babies down like hot buttered popcorn, savoring the moment.
There was no Gulf breeze, nor any waitresses in tight fitting jeans, and yes, the oysters did come from a can, but for Oklahoma in December, it wasn’t all that bad, Baby. Go ahead. Try it. I double dog dare ya.






Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Whitlock and Guns

By now most of you have heard or read about the Kansas City Chiefs football player that murdered the mother of his child and then took his own life in the parking lot of Arrowhead Stadium. Sportscaster Bob Costas spoke of the incident on Sunday Night Football and referenced the well known columnist Jason Whitlock, a frequent contributor to the Kansas City Star.
Whitlock wrote, “What I believe is, if he didn’t possess/own a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”

Uh, oh. Gun control nut! The web site where Whitlock’s column appeared was flooded with comments by everyone who had ever pulled a trigger. When I last checked, there were over 1500 and were coming in so fast you couldn’t read them before the page refreshed. Most were along these lines: When things get ugly, you’ll be the kind of people that will be hiding behind people like us. And that was a nice one.

But I think the point Whitlock was trying to make is that if guns were not so readily available, killings from impulse, hot tempers, and street gangs may not be as prevalent as they are today. Every red-blooded gun-toting American out there jumped on Whitlock with the logic that the football player could have committed his murders with a knife or a club or even a rock. True, but then how many drive-by stoning incidents do you read about? Truth is, guns are just so damn handy and easy to use. The best part is that you don’t even have to be close to your victim to do him in. Put a scope on a rifle and you can take him out without him knowing you were even in the neighborhood. I think we can agree that pulling a trigger takes a lot less energy and is much quicker than say… a baseball bat, a tire iron, or a chainsaw.

Problem is, it’s a hypothetical. Guns, like drugs, are out there and always will be. The government is not going to take away our guns any more than they can win the war on drugs. That fear generated and encouraged by the weapons manufacturers, the NRA, and the dealers is purely profit driven. Just look at the sales stats after the winner of the recent election was known.

Think about it. Do you honestly believe any elected politician would so much as hint of confiscating the millions of weapons out there today? The key word here is elected, not like the dictatorship of Hitler and Nazi Germany. And no, despite the rants of some, Obama is not a dictator.

Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe that owning a gun and having the means to defend one’s self is one of our country’s most precious rights. Any logical thinking citizen understands that the responsibility of protecting yourself and your family falls directly on you and not some local police force that may or may not show up and far too late if they do. The old adage that says if you take away the guns, only criminals will have guns, is absolutely true.

And yet, wouldn’t it be nice if the United States wasn’t in the top ten countries with the most firearms-related death rates? Places like Columbia, El Salvador, and our next door neighbor, Mexico where they regularly find bodies piled up in ditches. Doesn’t exactly give you a warm fuzzy does it?

Nice idea Mr. Whitlock, just ain’t gonna happen.