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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 55-----------JANUARY 2007



January 3, 2007

Season's Greetings and  Happy New Year!  Hope your Christmas and Holiday season lived up to your greatest expectations.  Our Christmas here at the Ranch was celebrated as usual on Christmas Eve.  Ann's famous Chicken Bisque was the meal's main course and was delicious as usual.  Fresh baked sourdough bread was served with the bisque.  (I assume it was fresh.  It came from the Safeway bakery, and didn't have any of that bluish green stuff on it.)

I'm gonna' tell you the story of the "Chicken Bisque" this month.  If you've heard the story before, don't interrupt me, 'cause I wanta' hear it again myself!

Many years ago, we discovered a restaurant in Missoula, Montana called "Curley's Broiler."  Their specialty is Prime Rib, with meals served by white gloved waiters, on white damask tablecloths, covered with many more sizes and shapes of eating utensils and drinking glasses than I know how to use!  As a side note, the Prime Rib has been exceptional over the years, until our last couple of visits, which found the quality of the meat somewhat deteriorated.

One thing that has been first class on every occasion though, is their Chicken Bisque.  This delicious soup, along with fresh bread and real butter, is the first course for each meal, followed by salad and the entrée.  The bisque is brought to the table in a crockery tureen, with the first bowl for each diner being served by the waiter.  I say, "First Bowl," because you WILL have more!

We found that the restaurant, specifically its famous bisque, has been featured in local, regional, and national publications on a number of occasions.  Each article describes the utmost secrecy of the Chicken Bisque recipe, and how it has never been shared, released, or published outside the restaurant family.  To test the assertions, we did ask for the recipe.  Those claims were right on the mark, they won't discuss the bisque recipe!

Rick, Christi, and Jennifer first accompanied us to Curley's when Jennifer was two years old.  Jennifer has always been a "good eater," but when she got a taste of the Chicken Bisque, she dived in like there was no tomorrow!  When one has not yet perfected the art of feeding oneself, especially soup, Jennifer had plenty of the Chicken Bisque on her face, as well as in her tummy.  Rick observed that she looked as though her face was covered with donut glaze!

Even though she could eat no more, the glare Jennifer gave the waiter when he picked up the soup tureen, was about as hateful as I've ever seen on the face of a two year old, especially one covered with "donut glaze!"

For some reason, when Little Heifer found that her Granddaughter loved Curley's Chicken Bisque, and Curley's refused to share the recipe, she considered that a challenge!  (There are those who will tell you she can be that way!)

Subsequent years found Ann collecting all the chicken bisque recipes she could find.  She also received some strange looks while carefully examining her bowls of Bisque each time we ate at Curley's, attempting to identify every little piece of "stuff" visible in the concoction.

Picking and choosing ingredients from the collected recipes, mentally cataloging the visible ingredients, and much experimenting has resulted in a Chicken Bisque that will rival Curley's any day of the week!  Ann's bisque has more body, more chicken, and more flavor.  I'm not thinkin' of tradin' in the Little Heifer any time soon.  (I've asked if she's gonna share HER bisque recipe on Ann's Corner on the web site, and all I get is a blank stare!)

My food duties for the Christmas Eve meal, were limited to arranging the relish tray.  Relishes consisted of black and green olives, cucumber spears, sweet and hot peppers, cauliflower and  broccoli buds, radishes, and probably some other stuff I cant' remember.  Two kinds of dip were provided; peppercorn ranch and honey mustard.

I found if you use a large multicolored platter with a Latino theme, and simply scatter this stuff about, it doesn't require nearly the time it would take to arrange everything neatly in their own little areas.  Really, it looked OK, and all the stuff tasted the same as if organized in some actual semblance of order.

I'm calling my arrangement "Random Cacophony" and intend to apply for a patent and sell the idea to Paula Deen on the Food Channel.

I reported last month on the results of our 2006 deer season here at the Ranch.  We filled three of the family's five tags, but our favorite meat processor in Coeur d'Alene, ID, Tim's Specialty Meats, informed us he couldn't take any more deer until after the Holidays.

Fortunately, we have a chest type freezer in one of the shop buildings that was nearly empty.  After de-boning and processing the fresh cuts that we wanted, the rest of the quarters were tightly wrapped and placed in the freezer.  Tim's agreed to take the rest of the meat after the holidays, so that's an item on my "to do" list in the next week or so.  We were willing to wait for Tim's because we like his pepperoni and "hot links" sausage so well.

I've decided to start 2007 with a session on the soapbox.  Since I've been doing these newsletters and started writing for Outlook Magazine, my research for various articles and stories has taken me into areas where I've gleaned information that's quite thought provoking.

I'm now on the email news release lists of organizations such as the National Shooting Sports Foundation and The U. S. Sportmen's Alliance.  My Internet Service Provider has daily links on their website to newsworthy items about outdoors activities and gun owner rights.  These sources report on the positives and negatives occurring around the country in these areas.

Among the positives, at least in my opinion, has been the expansion of the rights  of law abiding gun owner's at the state and local level.  Some of these new laws were initially vetoed by anti-gun governors or mayors but they were overridden by the respective legislative bodies with strong bi-partisan support!

Concealed Carry laws in some form are now in existence in, I believe, all but two or three of our United States, and most of those are "Shall Issue" statutes.  "Shall Issue" means that the issuance is mandatory once the statutory qualifications are met.  i.e. training, background check, fees, etc.

Several existing statutes still need revisions that would take away the ability of some elected or appointed bureaucrat to arbitrarily deny the issuance of such permits to those who otherwise meet the legal criteria to qualify.  For some bureaucrat to have the ability to deny my right, as a law abiding citizen, to protect myself from harm as I see fit, is just plain WRONG!

Then we have the "Elitist Mentality," where the ordinary citizen is routinely denied those discretionary permits, while the Hollywood Actor/Actress, the Elected Official, the Hotshot Professional Athlete, and the Rich Folks are readily approved.  Check the records!  You'll find that some of the most vitriolic of the anti gun crowd in public officialdom, have unrestricted carry permits in places like New York and California.  See how far your request for a permit as John Q. Citizen gets in one of those jurisdictions!

Next there's the hysteria when one of the new Concealed Carry, Castle Doctrine, or Stand Your Ground statutes does become law.  We always have dire predictions of "blood in the streets" and "old west gunfights" from the antis, and of course it never happens.  What does happen, is that assaults, robberies, and other crimes are prevented daily by law abiding, armed citizens; almost always without a shot being fired, and most definitely without any sort of positive press coverage.

As a former Nebraska resident with knowledge of their Unicameral system and some of the politics involved, I followed closely that state's debate and passage of "shall issue" legislation last year.  Their law allows citizens to begin applying for Concealed Carry permits this month.  Kansas passed similar legislation several months before Nebraska, and their first actual permits are being issued in January.

For several months after the laws were passed, the Attorneys General of both states struggled with the issue of what kind, shape, size, and location of posted sign would be required for firearm prohibition in places open to the public, but privately owned.

Now, I'm not naive.  I understand that politics being politics, for concealed carry legislation to receive public support and pass, the statutory language must provide that certain places are off limits for firearms, and that private property owners have the right to prohibit them.

But, despite the statutory language, the thing that continues to elude any measure of sensibility in my mind, is this issue of posting signs in businesses to prohibit customers from bringing firearms on the premises.  I puzzle about why or how ANYONE could believe that a potentially dangerous criminal would pay attention to a sign that says he or she can't bring a gun through the door!  Dang, I always thought the definition of "criminal" had something to do with the fact they often don't obey rules and laws!

After the weighty issue of signage  was resolved, I read a number of news articles describing interviews with certain Nebraska business owners and how they planned to respond to the situation.

One, a beauty salon owner, declared that a gun prohibition sign would be displayed in the business because, she felt an obligation to provide a safe environment for the customers!

Another interviewee, the owner of a bank, indicated that he had no plans to post signs because he's not concerned about the concealed carry permit holder.  He is concerned about the guy without the permit because he's the dangerous one, and wouldn't pay attention to a sign anyway!

Now which of those two opinions is most realistic in your mind?

Bear with me for a moment and mentally place yourself in the position of  "Manager" of a major warehouse or department store.  Let's further assume that the traffic through the doors rivals the volume of an average Target or K-Mart.  While there's no way to prove it, I would bet serious money that at least one concealed firearm, and likely more, will pass in and out of those doors on a typical shopping day.

Now, Mr. or Ms. Manager, would you rather that firearm or those firearms be in the possession of the concealed carry licensee, or the convicted felon, who is prohibited by law from even touching a gun?  Wait, don't answer that yet, I have a set of Ginzu knives I'd like to sell you!

Seriously, what do you think that the "regulation size, color, and shape" of "Firearms Prohibited" sign is likely to accomplish?  I'm bettin' the licensed carrier, who is least likely to be a threat, will leave his gun in the car while the felon will pack his through the door just like always!  (The next thing I would hope the licensed carrier will do, is find a place to shop where the management ain't dumb enough to think their sign will keep the gun totin' criminal out!)

I think a case can be made for the fact that I am placed in a situation that increases my vulnerability to harm when I enter an unsecured, "Firearms Prohibited" premises!  Do you think the killer, robber, or thief doesn't know that anyone who might object to his lawbreaking activity has very likely been effectively disarmed?  Do you believe that criminals don't like the idea of unarmed victims?

How's this for a suggestion?  Let's require any person or organization that wants to prohibit firearms from their facilities, to take the measures and precautions necessary to reasonably insure that there are, in fact, no firearms there!  I'm talking about secured entrances, security personnel, and metal detectors, much like the security measures we endure in order to board a commercial aircraft.

Yeah, I know.  It ain't gonna' happen at the privately owned business; eats into the profits!  We can effectively deal with that though.  Those who feel as I do can always elect not to enter a place that posts the dang signs without providing the means to fully enforce the ban!

Of course we are seeing more and more of these airport type security measures in publicly owned facilities.  Why?  There's no lost profit here.  The taxpayer will foot the bills!

Folks, there's a way to deal with armed criminals, and it ain't  the fruitless (and foolish) proliferation of "feel-good" "make a statement" restrictive gun laws, the "Antis" continue to push for!  Any semblance of logic should tell us they restrict no one but the law abiding and have zero effect on the criminal!

Don't you get tired of the nightly news stories on TV that describe the most recent arrest of the habitual criminal, "well known to authorities, with 29 previous felony convictions?"  There's a place for people like that, and it ain't runnin' loose on the streets of Anytown, USA!

Another novel idea!  Let's whack the habitual, armed criminal with meaningful "keep 'em off the streets" penalties.  I'm all for rehabilitation programs and giving people multiple opportunities along with the resources to help them mend their ways.  As a taxpayer, I'm willing to help pay for that.  But, there comes a point when the lowlifes need to be put away permanently, so they can't be a continued threat to society.  As a taxpayer, I'm willing to help pay for that too, but perhaps not at the comfort levels the bleeding heart, do-gooders would have us provide.

Here's an interesting tidbit.  New York City's Mayor Bloomberg is engaged in a series of huge public relations stunts and media events that purport to enlist other Mayors around the country in addressing gun issues.  (Personally, I think it has more to do with his Presidential ambitions than anything more meaningful.)  I recently discovered, while all this hoopla is going on, that in New York, being caught with an illegal, loaded handgun was only a misdemeanor offense!

That's right!  In New York, with some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation,  possession of an illegal, loaded handgun was a misdemeanor.  Well, just in the past few months, the state legislature finally decided that the offense ought to be a felony, and made it so, with a minimum penalty of three and one half years in prison!

Another recent law in New York made it a felony to possess three or more illegal guns.  (What the hell was wrong with making it read ONE illegal gun?)  But, I guess that's progress.  The old law this one replaced, required having TWENTY illegal guns to make the offense more serious than shoplifting!

If it were anywhere but New York, I'd be encouraged that the truth is finally getting through:  "It's the criminal, stupid; not the gun!"

The next paragraph in the story reporting these positive changes, describes New York's continued push for legislation that would somehow make the manufacturers of legally distributed firearms financially liable if their product is used in criminal activities!  Ain't that a bit like suing Ford Motor Company if a drunk runs you over with his F150?

Well anyway, there are positive signs out there.  Let's just keep preaching and pounding home the point:  "It's the criminal, stupid, not the guns!"  If we talk loud enough and often enough, someone's bound to hear us!

How's that for a trip to the Soapbox?

This month, I'd like to ask readers of the above commentary to email me your thoughts on the subject.  Both positive and negative comments are welcome.  My plan is to publish some or all of the reader comments in a future newsletter.  Tell me if you wish to remain anonymous.  Click on my email link on the Home Page.  Let me hear from you!

This month's hillbilly wisdom comes from an item that caught Ann's eye in a catalog:

Hillbilly Horse Sense:

Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction!

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

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