Well, it’s official, the government has pulled down the blinds, closed up shop, and gone home for the day. How does that work exactly? Sort of like putting the plane on auto pilot, handing the pilot a parachute, and hoping the plane will land itself. Personally, I think paychecks for both houses of congress should be withheld. My guess is this tomato slinging standoff would be over about five seconds once that announcement was made. In the words of Jay Leno, “I’m not so worried about the government shutting down. I’m more worried about it starting up again.”, or something to that effect.
Watching these men circle each other reminds me of a group of parochial boys playing dodge ball on a playground. “If you won’t play the game my way, I’m taking my ball and going home.” Then there’s Senator Cruz who gives the world a glimpse of the level of sophistication our government operates on here in the U.S. by reading Green Eggs and Ham during a filibuster against Obamacare. Really? I’m a huge supporter of Dr. Seuss, and after viewing that particular performance, I think he has distinctly more to say than either the reader or, in this particular case, his viewing audience.
If you put your bifocals on and take a closer look at what our lawmakers are spending money on, you could do an entire stand-up comedy routine and still have material left over. Over $300,000 spent in Florida studying the mating habits of cactus bugs. I don’t know about you, but what cactus bugs do in the privacy of their own bedrooms once the lights are out is really no business of mine. I hate to admit my ignorance, but I have no idea what a cactus bug is. How about the $4.2 million spent in Oregon to raise railroad tracks 18″ so local residents didn’t have to detour around them? Is there nothing else more pressing in the world to spend money on like say, hunger, to invest these dollars in? Another grant for $1.5 million sent three researchers to Alaska to study how grandparents impart their knowledge to younger generations. I have some knowledge to impart on this particular subject I also deem noteworthy. To sum up, “take good care of your grandmother, you may be in her will someday”. Where do I submit my grant application?
On further researching this subject, I found $175,000 was spent to determine the link between cocaine and the mating habits of the quail. I hope the researchers dug deep enough to discover who’s responsible for selling the quails the stuff, because I have my eye on a sneaky woodpecker who frequents the same tree in our yard every day and seems to attract a lot of squirrels.
California is currently in a mess in another area of government, EDD. A computer glitch has caused a large group of unemployment check recipients to not receive their checks. If, as the word unemployment may in itself imply, you have no job this could be perceived by the parties involved on some level as a financial crisis. One burglar, or possibly several, broke into a Northern California EDD office and made their displeasure known by apparently using the office as a sort of toilet. Citizens, if you will, are pissed off.
Lots of things cooking in Washington D.C. these days. Big doin’s on the hill. In all my travels, one place I missed along the trail was our capitol. Several times I’ve had it pinpointed on my map, and something always happened to prevent me from going. I would be fascinated to see the White House up close and personal, explore the Washington Monument, which I believe is closed for repairs at the moment, or have my picture taken next to Mr. Lincoln seated in his chair. Now, definitely wouldn’t be the time for me to choose to immerse myself in the Washington scene, as from what I understand a lot of the famous attractions are closed during the government hiatus. Even Lady Liberty’s light has dimmed for the time being. Yosemite has gone dark, Social Security offices aren’t issuing any new cards, and people with disabilities are out of luck until the two sides come to agreement.
While exploring DC on-line, I discovered it is not a cheap place to hang your hat. It’s high on the list of the most expensive cities in the U.S. Perhaps this is because they can afford it. Certainly Congress rarely denies themselves a salary increase or refuses a paycheck even if they vote against someone else getting one. Sorry. I read a home recently went on the market there for $26 million, not bad for government work. If that’s a bit of a squeeze on your pocketbook you can move into a nice two bedroom apartment downtown for about $3,500/month. Like the old saying, “It’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there”, applies for me in this instance.
As the impact of this enforced shutdown continues to make itself known, I would imagine anger will build in the effected groups and the cost to taxpayers continue to climb. It will be interesting to see how long both sides will hold out and how much damage will be incurred before they throw the ball back in the game.
My political rant for the day. This is my first slow cooker cake, and I admit I was skeptical. I had quite a few pears, so I took a recipe given to me and added my own twist and it was delicious.
Pear and Apple Slow Cooker Upside Down Cake
3 Tbsp. butter, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 pears, halved lengthwise and cored
3 1″ slices of apple, cut across and cored
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 Tbsp. brandy
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. whole milk, room temperature
Whipping cream if desired
Spray the inside of 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Place a large sheet of tin foil in bottom and form along the sides. Spray well with cooking spray.
Sprinkle the cut pieces of butter along the bottom of the pan on top of the foil. Distribute brown sugar over top.
Place two pears on either end of pot cut side down and line apple pieces across the center. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. of brandy and toss almond slivers around on top.
In large mixing bowl combine flour, corn meal, baking powder, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
In the large bowl of your mixer blend 4 Tbsp. of softened butter and granulated sugar at low speed to combine. Turn to high speed and continue mixing about 4-5 mins. until fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and continue mixing 1 min.
Reduce to low speed. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients and 1 Tbsp. milk and mix until well blended. Add other 1/2 of dry ingredients and 1 Tbsp. of milk. Increase speed to medium and continue beating until smooth.
Spread evenly over top of apples and pears.
Place a paper towel over the top of the slow cooker before placing lid on.
Cook for 3 hours on low until sides are browned and cake is set. Allow to sit turned off for 20 mins.
Using tin foil lift from slow cooker and set on rack to cool. Invert onto platter and peel off foil. Serve with whipped cream if desired.