Danny Boy! Come and take your medicine!

My buddy, Cliff, posted on his blog about Our Daily Meds.  You can read it here.  Coincidentally, I’ve had to think about prescriptions the last week and a half, as I was just let go from my job selling ads at the Caroline Progress, and the corporate powers that be in the backwoods of Tennessee didn’t hesitate an iota of a second to cancel my health coverage on that very same day.
I’m not worried about doctor visits or trips to the emergency room just yet–but the cost of prescriptions has had me worried in the short term.  Just in case you’re perfect healthy, or wealthy, prescription meds are fucking expensive if you don’t have adequate health coverage.  Here: read this insightful article in the Washington Post all about prescription costs in this great country of ours compared to prices across the world.  Unless you’re an idiot or a conservative who puts politics before people, the writer’s conclusion is accurate and inescapable: in America, greed drives the prices, and that’s why our meds cost so much.
For example: I take a daily pill for acid reflux–what my parents back in the day called “the heartburn.”  It’s not one of the affordable over-the-counter pills, as they don’t work on me.  No, no, my hoidy-toidy digestive system requires high-end mantenance: a daily pill with the brand name of Protonix, which also comes in generic under its proper name of Pantaprazole, which, I know, sounds like an Italian seafood dinner.
Yum.
I have fretted over the cost of prescriptions without coverage, and had resigned myself to doing without.  That would, in a day or so, result in a constant stomach ache that feels as though a human fist is lodged just below my Wornom sternum.
So I called my pharmacy, the very good souls at Target on Staples Mill Rd. here in Richmond, told them of my situation, and inquired how much I would have to shell out for my pills–and that I might have to resort back to my old profession of male prostitute.
Under a health plan: generic Pantaprazole costs $10.
Without insurance, generic costs $88.99.
And I hate to think what the brand name pill costs.
Without hesitation, the clerk on the phone, the lovely Antigone, said, “Hold on, let me see what I can do for you.”
Hold on?  I didn’t know there was anything that could be done!
She comes back and says, “I’ve enrolled you in a state program that helps out the unemployed.  It usually brings prescription costs down.”  I heard her type on her computer keyboard.  “There.  How’s $13.96 sound?”
How does that sound?  Like birds singing in the springtime, that’s how it sounds!
So thank you, Antigone; thank you, Target; and thank you, Virginia, for putting people over the drug manufacturers.
Stay well, my friends.

Blind Kiwi Hoover Makes Chili…

Mi amigo, guitarist and soul singer Blind Kiwi Hoover, who maintains his own down to earth blog right here, decided to take my chili recipe — which is a Manhattan Chili Co. recipe, Texas Chain Gang Chili, only doctored up a little — and then he doctored it up some more.


Here’s Blind Kiwi Hoover before he made the chili, probably listening to some obscure ’60s rock tunes emanating from his computer:



Here’s Kiwi’s recipe, as given to him by his old, sweet Aunt Nasty, and quoted here in his own down-South words IN GREEN:

Texas Chain SAW Chili:
(from Aunt NASTY)
This is NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART.
*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
1/4 cup olive oil or rendered bacon fat CUT THE FAT KEEP THE EEOO
large yellow onions ONE ONION GOES A LONG WAY
medium cloves garlic minced (I like garlic, so I used large cloves)I DON’T LIKE GARLIC MS. RAY
4 jalapenos stemmed and minced SIX FULL JALAPENOS WITH SEEDS
2 RED PEPPERS FOR TEXTURE (LESS ONE ONION)
2 HOT PEPPERS FOR TASTE (Uncle Wimply left these out)
1.5 lbs ground beef YEAH, OK, DEAD COW GROUNDED UP
1.5 lbs beef chuck, cut in 1/2″ cubes SOAK OVERNIGHT IN BEER
2 tsp salt (I use 2.5)WHO MEASURES?
5 Tbsp chili powder (or fresh/dried ancho chili pods) (Ancho chili pods are NOT in the original recipe.  I used 6 tbsp of chili powder.  I like chili powder.)FISTFULL ON THE MEAT, FISTFULL IN THE POT, FISTFULL IN THE BOWL
2 Tbsp cumin I AIN’T CUM’N IN MY CHILI
2 Tbsp oregano IT SMELLS GOOD SO THROW A BUNCH IN
2 tsp Cayenne pepper to taste.  (Aunt Diane left this out.  CRAZY!  By the way, after refrigeration, a lot of the heat disappears.  PUT IN THE CAYENNE!)
SHOVEL IT IN. APPLY TO MEAT BEFORE COOKING, DUMP IN THE MIX AS IT COOKS. THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH. ALSO ADD WHITE PEPPER AND PEPPER CORNS.
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes drained and well-crushed NEXT TIME I MAY TRY FRESH TOMATOES. JUST DUMP THEM IN.
4 cups beef stock  (Aunt Diane changed it to 3 cups.)FORGET THE WHIMPY STOCK – ADD DARK BEER. AND WHAT AUNT DIANE DOESN’T DRINK, KEEP POURING IN EVERY MINUTES
2 16oz cans dark red kidney beans rinsed and drained.  (I consider beans OPTIONAL, although they are included in the original recipe.  Authentic chili doesn’t have beans.)BEANS ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEART, THE MORE YOU EAT…
 *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
* Sauté onions, garlic, jalapenos.
* Cook beef separately and drain.YOU WANT FAT? COMBINE AND BRING TO A SIZZLE. DON’T OVERDO, IT WILL HAVE HOURS TO GO
Combine spices, garlic, meat.  Cook 5 minJUST THROW IN SOME HOT SAUCE
* Add tomatoes and stock BEER and bring to boil.
* Slow cook for a couple hours.  (Stir occasionally.)ADD A BOTTLE OF BEER EVERY 30 MIUTES.
* Add beans about five minutes before finished.  (Naaaaah.)UNCOOKED BEANS, ADD WITH THE MEAT. COOKED BEANS EAT OUT OF THE CAN.
* LADLE INTO A LARGE BOWL, TEAR OFF A CHUNK OF CRUSTY BREAD, TOP WITH HOT SAUCE, WHITE PEPPER, RED PEPPER FLAKES, AND A DOLUP OF SOUR CREAM.OPEN ANOTHER BEER AND GRAB A BIG SPOON. DIG IN!
(IF THE TOP OF YOUR HEAD IS NOT SWEATING WHEN YOU FINISH A BOWL, YOU DID IT WRONG)
i think it was a little watery (beery) so the next time I will allow some of the liquid to cook off. it was good for 5 days.

And here’s Blind Kiwi Hoover after his chili:



Enjoy the rocket fuel!

Not Just Another Life


Cliff, my best bud from work, writes a blog, and I urge you to read his latest entry before you continue here.

Go on. I’ll wait.

I’ll just sit here and hum for a few. Maybe look at some family photos…

So, Cliff and I always have a lot of fun when we go out, sharing stories, laughing so maniacally and so loud that people move away from us. Yeah, it’s that good. And Cliff forgot to add the punchline to his ferret story, that send me over the edge: “So it’s crawling right up my pants leg, and it bites me on the thigh! And if you don’t know ferrets, when they bite, they don’t tend to let go…”

If I’d had beer in my mouth, I would have spit it all over him.

And this is what else is really good: Cliff’s writing. His post to which I referred you was written spur-of-the-moment, as he was filled with energy from a few hours laughing and sharing good times. It comes across in every sentence: his joy of life, his wonder at being here and who he is. This is what makes a good writer: transferring his internal energy and soul onto the page or the monitor, that somehow evoke the same feelings in the reader that the writer is feeling.

Cliff’s a poet…and I think he knows it. A songwriter, guitarist, artist, digital art maestro…he’s getting better all the time, and he’s working on a semi-true novel based on his teenage life in a number of Richmond garage bands.

Keep the energy. Keep the words flowing. Maintain the joy.

Your words will see the light.