Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays

I'm taking the week off. Enjoy the solstice and what not.

Io, Saturnalia!

Everything Bad Is Good Again

Guinness is good for you. Well, duh.

It helps prevent heart attacks and it's chock full of antioxidants, so all your metal parts will stay nice and shiny. If I have a choice between green tea with an aspirin chaser or a pint, I know which one I'm taking.

When taken correctly, side effects may include confusion, late night curry, public nudity, shots of Jagermeister, and, in extreme cases, Shane McGowan.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Number One is Number Two

In lieu of actual content, I present The Soviettes.

Rock, Rinse, Repeat.

Friday, December 14, 2007


On my way to work this morning, I stopped at the light, and looked up and across the cross traffic. There in the driver's seat of a big green van was a large guy with sort of standard issue gen-x facial hair. The only remarkable thing about this was that he was rocking his own private air arena on a colossal air drum kit.

As the light changed, I punched a few buttons on my radio, found the Bush song I was pretty sure he'd been listening to, and we went our opposite ways.



Monday, December 10, 2007

Merry X-Mix

I may have mentioned my Generation X-mas Mix in the past. I've found it to be an invaluable tool for getting through the holiday season (a phrase similar in construction and connotation to “the flu season”) which begins before the turkey is cold on Thanksgiving and ends long after you've run out of excuses not to bludgeon someone.

There are a few songs notable by their absence. You won’t find Christmas in Hollis here, or Fairytale of New York, or the somewhat spectacular reading of The Night Before Christmas by Henry Rollins from A Lump of Coal. They’re on other Christmas mixes, and this was supposed to fill in the gaps left by my existing holiday music.

Without further ado, the songs:

Christmas, Christmas – Mojo Nixon
Who hasn’t listened to Louie, Louie and thought that it should be a Christmas song? …with women’s prison and a foot fetish? If you aint got Mojo Nixon, then your mix could use some fixin.

Won’t Be Home For Christmas - Blink 182
Two of these songs stay on my iPod all year. When I clear the others, I always wonder if I should keep this one too.

One Christmas Catalogue - Captain Sensible
I broke my "Not in another xmas mix" rule for this. I love this song.

Hating You For Christmas - Everclear
This is the first of the two songs from this mix that stay on my iPod year round. What does that say about me?

Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses
Every mix needs a novelty song about a holiday hook-up, right? This one has cranberries.

Better Do It Right - Smash Mouth
If I’m gonna do wrong, I’m gonna do it right. This is the other song I keep when I pack the others away.

It’s Christmas - Bouquet of Veal
The most cheerfully offensive 81 seconds of Christmas music ever recorded. This never fails to put a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

Silent Night - The Dickies
Stukas over Christmas Town?

A Merry Jingle - The Greedies
That most annoying of holiday musical traditions, the medley of carols, actually rocks along in an enjoyable way in this version.

Feliz Navi-Nada - El Vez
The Mexican Elvis! Christmas songs need more feedback.

Hooray for Santa Claus - Sloppy Seconds
This is apparently the theme from Santa Claus Conquers The Martians, which is also to blame for the acting career of Pia Zadora. S-A-N-T-A! C-L-A-U-S! Hooray for Santy Claus!

Daddy Drank Our Christmas Money - TVTV$
Because there aren't enough Christmas songs advocating violence against your relatives.

Merry Xmas Blues - Celibate Rifles
Sex Pistols... Celibate Rifles... I see what you did there.

...and this isn't a blues song.

...and it's about 2 minutes too long. If this was live, I'd have thrown a beer bottle right about the second time they pretended to end the song. Wait... why is this in my mix instead of Christmas in Hollis?

Run, Run, Rudolph - Humpers
This is a pretty straight up cover of the Chuck Berry song by a band with a silly name.

Brown Christmas - El Vez
...just like the ones in San Diego. It's the Return of the Mexican Elvis!

Santa Claus is Smoking Reefer - Squirrel Nut Zippers
If they aren't ashamed of this recording, they should be. Not because of the song, but because of their lame ass talky segue into the song.

Oh Come Ska Ye Faithful - Celestial Image
Oh, that is so not ska. It is oddly catchy in a spacy Wurlitzer/toy keyboard/synthesizery kind of way though.

I'll dig up links if I can find them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Series of Improbably Stupid Events

Yeah, I saw the Heroes finale. Spoiler alert: I'm going to rant.

Allow me to suggest that if the writers can't do better than that, it's time for them to end their strike and nip off down to the Learning Annex for a workshop or something. If your plot relies entirely on a large number of otherwise intelligent people suddenly acting in bizarrely stupid ways, you may very well have gone astray. I have suggested in the past that my opinion of the average person is fairly low, but even I couldn't buy a fraction of the deuxfus ex machina that was unveiled last night.

If you tivoed the episode, stop reading now.

"Peter Petrelli! Yataaaaah! It's your pal Hiro! Remember me? We saved the world together this summer! I'm a fairly trustworthy guy, right? Yeah... well, don't trust that guy you busted out of prison. You know, the guy on the cross-country killing spree? He's going to release the virus."

"Duh! Peter smash!"

"You know... the virus that's going to wipe out the human race... the one that's been sitting here undisturbed in a secure storage facility in the middle of Bumblefuck, Texas, for decades? The one that's going to be released today, the very same day that you and Skippy show up? That's kind of a coincidence, hunh? Kinda makes you think, doesn't it?"


"Tell you what. Why don't we hang out, watch the vault, and if anyone other than your friend the immortal homicidal maniac over there tries to screw with it, I'll stop time and we'll take care of it? Sound like a plan?"


"What's that, Petey? Your girlfriend's fallen down a future dystopian hellhole? Wow, that sucks. If only you knew someone who could travel through time to go get her. Know anyone like that? Anyone? No?"


"You're testing my patience, Peter Petrelli. I'm just going to scamper off to Wal-Marts for a gun. I'll be right back. It won't take me a second. Literally! Ha! See how that works? Because... I... never mind."

"I like eggs!"

"You're going to zap me, aren't you? Sigh. Fine, do what you've gotta do, Einstein, but you may want to remind your pal Skippy that he can't move around when I stop time, and that the next time he pulls a sword on me, we're going to find out if he can regenerate from being julienned, 'kay?"

Or how about that Dr. Suresh? Not looking like such a brainiac this episode is he? As a web-certified genius, let me point out just a few of the flaws in his performance last night.

At the very most basic level, if too much of the cure is going to kill the gun-toting mutant sociopath intent on murdering you and everyone around you, then you should probably consider the option of keeping your mouth shut and cheerfully upping his dosage instead of warning him about the potential side effects.

And if, by some chance, you lose your fucking mind and decide not to give him a massive overdose, you may want to consider buying some time by telling him that he has a strain of the virus that you've never seen before and it's going to take you a while to come up with a compatible cure, instead of spilling your guts and telling him that by an unbelievable coincidence you have the cure right there, in that container over there on the floor. Because, as you may recall, he's planning to kill you as soon as you cure him.

And in the unlikely circumstance that he gets blasted through a plate-glass window before he gets the chance to kill everyone, you should probably tell Veronica Mars there that he's really not going to be all that difficult to follow, even with a five-second head start, if she just follows the trail of blood.

Crazy Nikki started out OK by pistol whipping the mad arsonist instead of listening to his shit. But then she got all "trapped in a burning building" because a beam fell at an angle across a hall. Get a pencil and paper. I'll wait. Draw a right angle. Make the vertical side tall and the horizontal side short, like (for example) the wall and floor of a hallway. Now, connect the ends with a diagonal line. That's what Pythagoras calls "the hypotenuse", and it's played in this case by the fallen beam. See all that open space under the beam? Hey, Nikki, did it occur to you to duck and lean to the left? It occurred to me.

And this last bit is just for the writers. While we're on the subject of you being bad at your job, could you remind me again how it is, exactly, that the characters know how to kill the Amazing Immortal Regenerating Man, seeing as there's only one of him and he isn't, strictly speaking, actually dead yet? Did you think that bit through? Didn't think so.

Speaking of not thinking things through, since you went out of your way to tell us over and over again that the immortal regenerating guy can only be killed by shooting him in the head, you probably should have reconsidered the scene where you use regeneration to bring the cheerleader's dad back from the dead after shooting him in the head. That's either a huge continuity problem or Richard Scarry's Most Obvious Foreshadowing Ever. Either way, you suck.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Apartheid II - Electric Boogaloo

Well, it's official. They're finally admitting that Israel is the new South Africa. Ehud Botha... my bad, Olmert, has publicly recognized that that Israel can't continue to be controlled by a racially-defined minority and maintain the status of Palestinians as second-class citizens unless they can get rid of the Palestinians before they get the right to vote. ...because you know how those people breed.

Dammit, does this mean I have to stop drinking Coke again?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blackwater Fatigue

When you saw the headline Blackwater killings 'broke rules' your reaction was probably the same as mine. "Well, duh."

I almost didn't bother reading the article. Let sleeping dead horses lie, or something like that. But eventually I did.

Johnny has been reminding us that we should really stop asking how things can get worse. I never learn. I always ask. They always find a new way.

The FBI says that at least 14 of the 17 killings of unarmed civilians by the heavily-armed, out of control mercenaries in just that single incident were unjustified? Saw that coming.

The mercenaries weren't even following their own rules of engagement. Color me unsurprised.

So just how bad can it get?

Well, Howard Krongard, the guy in charge of State Department contracts and ensuring that the department behaves ethically might just feed a line of horseshit to the investigators. That would be a start.

The "ugly rumors" that his family was linked to Blackwater could turn out to be totally true. That would be worse.

When Howie said that his brother "had no financial relationship with the private security firm", he may have actually meant it in the sense of "my brother is meeting with their advisory board today." That's not so good.

Now he says he had no idea and that he never thought to check into that ...during the two months between the shootings and when he lied under oath. Apparently he discovered his intellectual curiosity just as soon as he got off the stand. And then he found out that everyone else was right and he was wrong. Oops. His bad.

Wow. Do these clowns have any credibility left to lose?


Lex reminded me recently that I once defined this word as meaning "That's ridiculous and I'm retarded."

Just thought I'd share it with the rest of the geniuses.

Monday, November 19, 2007

If You Can Read This...

You might be a

go and spam no more

And what does a genius read? Glad you asked. Here's a representative sample of the sorts of things that geniuses enjoyed reading last week:

"...blogspider-generated celebrity spamblog..."


"Fer chrissakes, lady, it was Planet Claire."

"...something something something about feeding the hungry that sort of rhymes."

"...aerodynamic bras, drive-in movies, cars with fins, and entertainingly bad sci-fi."

"...sharks with fricken lasers on their heads."

"Hey, guy... Yeah, you with your mullet on sideways."

Clearly, we're all geniuses here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Not A Project Runway Recap

Hey, guy... Yeah, you with your mullet on sideways.

Unless you're a Scotsman or a Catholic schoolgirl, there's no excuse for wearing plaid.

Just thought you should know.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Texans want a wider Rio Grande to discourage illegal immigration. They plan to make the river wider by putting in a series of dams which, correct me if I'm wrong, will provide a series of nice, dry land bridges connecting Mexico to Texas. Obviously they've carefully thought this plan through.

No word yet on their plans to stock the Rio Grande with piranhas or sharks with fricken lasers on their heads.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

War On Terror Enters the 1950s

Let's face it. The 1940s were a bad decade. Fascism, war, people doing without gasoline and other basic needs, wounded vets coming home, the cold war revving up... it was kind of like the Bush presidency with less corruption. On the other hand, while the 1950s had rampant social conservatism, they also had aerodynamic bras, drive-in movies, cars with fins, and entertainingly bad sci-fi. It was what we in the biz like to call "a step in the right direction".

So when a group of pilots and government officials, including a former Arizona governor named Fife, declare that UFOs are a national security threat, count me in. In what can only be good news for the Kucinich campaign, the panel is calling on the government to re-open Project Blue Book. In a post-9/11 world, they say, we can no longer afford to dismiss the claims of random wackos. If we ignore the aliens, then the terrorists have already won? Something like that, anyway.

The Air Force has said no, but I'm off the the soda fountain for a malt just in case. Who's with me? Don't be an L7.

Monday, November 12, 2007

If You're So Smart...

...let's see you do something about world hunger, Einstein.

OK then, how about Play a game, show off your brain, something something something about feeding the hungry that sort of rhymes.

All you have to do is know what words mean and as bloggers we use words, like... wait, what's that word that means "all the time"? We should be aces at this.

Go play now, 'kay?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

New York Stories

"Rock Lobster!"

I stared at the elevator doors trying to ignore the couple next to me and their small children.

"Rock Lobster!"

"Yes," I thought to myself, "I heard you the first time," but I make no sign that I have heard, except to glance up at the digital numbers, willing them to change more quickly. They steadfastly refuse to cooperate.

"Rock Lobster!"

Somebody does not understand the elevator code. We are trapped here together, but that does not mean that we are supposed to acknowledge that the other people exist unless it is absolutely unavoidable. I've done my part. I am staring straight ahead, not just wishing that my iPod is drowning out the baby boomer next to me, but resolutely pretending that it is doing so.

"Rock Lobster!"

Obviously, while not loud enough to seal out the outside world, they must be loud enough to bleed into it, at least in a quiet elevator, and at least as far as the mother of two standing next to me who is trying to share her enthusiasm for the B-52s with me.

My floor arrives, the doors open, and I make my escape.

Fer chrissakes, lady, it was Planet Claire.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I don't even want to know what kind of magnet you put on your car to raise awareness for this research.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Snark Detector Failure

I got curious and clicked on the "Blogs that link here" link, and I found this.

"What do you think of that?" indeed.

At first I was baffled. Could anyone really have taken my post at face value? I was prepared to tell the story about the writer from a skateboarding magazine who contacted me to follow up on an obviously fictional Amish Skatepunks story I wrote for Johnny's zine way back in the day. I was preparing to post a comment on uncoveredhollywood defending the lovely and talented Ms. Bohrer's honor, when it occurred to me that the writer of uncoveredhollywood might not actually be stupid, but might actually have a developmental disabilty.

Thinking I might have a teachable moment on my hands, I took a glance at their October archive and realized that the site is actually some sort of blogspider-generated celebrity spamblog.

Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.

Diluting the Brand

At the risk of turning into Andy Rooney, I'm going to dive right into an issue that has been irritating me to no end recently: magnetic ribbons on vehicles.

Long ago, there was only one kind of ribbon. It was red. It meant that you thought AIDS was a bad thing, and you would like people to work on a cure. AIDS, you may remember, kills people.

And then someone thought (and I'm paraphrasing here because I have no access to their actual thoughts), "You know what? That's a hell of a way to raise awareness. Everybody knows what a red ribbon means. I'll appropriate that idea, because I also have an important cause."

And then there was a second ribbon. It was pink. It meant that you thought breast cancer was a bad thing, and you would like people to work on a cure. Breast cancer, in case you haven't been paying attention recently, also kills people.

Several thousand shameless imitators later, there is a vast array of ribbons in a multitude of colors, and nobody knows what the fuck any of them are for, except for the red one and the pink one.

Here's the thing. Your love for doggies is, in no way whatsoever, comparable to the need to find a cure for cancer or AIDS, and if you think that it is, then you need a dose of perspective. The same holds true for your enthusiasm for vegetable rights, your love for your high school football team, or your desire to find a cure for water retention, excessive gas, or whatever the hell that lavender ribbon on your Sport Utility Car is supposed to represent.

Let me offer a few words of advice: If you aren't fighting against something that kills people, find a new and novel way to promote awareness of your cause. (Note: A rubber wristband, regardless of color? Already been done. Thanks for playing, please try again.)

If you own a magnetic ribbon for something that does not, in point of fact, actually kill people, then when you next aproach your vehicle take a moment to hang your head in shame before you remove the offending ribbon, take it inside, and cut it up to make your own DIY refrigerator magnets. Then, when you get home, write a check to somebody who is doing something important.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Perfectly Delightful

First, let me again apologize for using the phrase "perfectly normal" to describe CP and Becks. I really didn't mean it that way. What I meant to say was that they didn't conform to the blogger stereotype of unsociable introverts who are incapable of functioning in polite society without a keyboard in front of them. You know... like, for example, me.

At this time, I will also take the blame for the complexity involved in making our arrangements. Long ago, I was faced with the choice of getting a cellphone or an iPod. In my defense, it did not occur to me at the time that there might someday be people trying to get in touch with me who I might actually want to succeed. Until last week, my lack of portable communication had not proven to be a significant problem. I am now rethinking my decision.

Between working, procrastination, and my reliance upon late twentieth century communication methods, things turned into a last-minute scramble to finalize our plans. Becks eventually hit upon a white trash-themed restaurant. This seemed perfect, since I grew up in a white trash-themed town. CP gave me perfectly reasonable, simple directions on how to get there.

I would like to blame my late arrival upon the amount of time it took to achieve sartorial splendor, but unfortunately, there were witnesses. I stopped at the concierge's desk, asked how to get to the subway station, and was asked where I was headed. Eventually, armed with directions and a second opinion on the best way to get to my final destination, I sallied forth. In the station, looking for a subway map, I heard the Charlie Brown intercom say "Wah wahwahwahwah 23rd street wah wah wahwah E train wah wah boarding now." The guy at the hotel had mentioned the E train, so I hopped aboard.

As it turns out, there are two 23rd street stations on the E line located in opposite directions from my starting point. One is a dismal industrial wasteland in Queens, and one has bars and restaurants and my two favorite New York bloggers*. I mention this topographical oddity only because, two subway stops later, I found myself in Queens. I looked up and down the street and realized that something had gone wrong. I found a map, traced the line in the opposite direction and found out where I was supposed to be. Fabulous.

A second subway ride later, I was where I had intended to be and was only half an hour late. I set off down the street looking for CP and Becks and a white trash restaurant. My description was slightly more detailed than CP would have you believe. I also mentioned that I have a goatee. (Technically speaking, it's a van dyke, but if you tell someone that you have a van dyke, they will probably nod politely and assume you have some sort of falling-over-ottomans disorder.)

In any case, I walked right past CP (Becks was even later than I was. I think she was waiting for a favorable "maniac/not a maniac" report from CP before venturing within reach), but luckily he was cruising and intercepted me before I had to double back down the block.

He had taken advantage of the the intervening half hour to come up with alternative drinking and dining plans upon finding that our first choice was occupied by a private party. We quickly dispensed with the religion-and-politics rule, and entertainingly passed the time waiting for Becks. He delivered the "not-a-maniac" code word via cellphone (remarkably useful, those things), and she felt it safe to come join us.

We got another round in and then had dinner. We'd been discussing Top Chef, and in memory of Brian Malarkey, I had the shepherd's pie. Their version looked less like a big green turd, but was, nonetheless, quite tasty. They were out of the house stout, but the house wheat beer made a good substitute.

Because it was a Tuesday night, we kept the debauchery level down in the sub-500 milliCaligula level, and much too soon, it was time to end the evening's entertainment. Knowing my subway track record, CP generously offered me a ride. A short ride and one gaffe later, I found myself back at the hotel dealing with a minor middle of the night security breach at the symposium.

*Not that I don't enjoy reading Catherinette's blog, but I thought I might be straying over the line from perfectly acceptable blogstalking into unwelcome, unacceptable actual stalking by inviting her.

A Modest Proposal

If Mukasey is OK with waterboarding, then I think I know how the Senate committee can finally get him to answer a few questions...

I know, I know. I really will finish blogging about the trip to NYC, including the blogmeet. It's coming.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mortification and Embarrassment

OK, the best part of that was not the rude guy's mortified daughter mouthing the word "sorry" behind his back, but his reaction when he realized that, in fact, we correspond regularly by email.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Look, Skippy...

If one of us ends up in the Emergency Room having a large pair of shears removed from them, it's not going to be me. Back away slowly and be very thankful for the tolerance I'm displaying toward your rude behavior.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tempting Fate

Hey, remember that missing DVD at my Local Indie BooksellerTM? Guess what's playing in 3-D in the movie threater right across the street from my hotel?

Village, Street, Same Difference.

My cow orkers and I went out for dinner tonight, with no particular destination in mind. One of them had always wanted to go to Greenwich Village, so we decided we would go, wander around a little and then find a restaurant. After a cab ride that she declared later to be the worst she'd ever taken (It was nothing. I've taken taxis in Mexico City... save your cabbie horror stories, amateur.) we eventually came to our destination where he stopped and waved us down a street and said there were restaurants to be found in that direction.

The neighborhood was not exactly what we expected, but there were restaurants and we found a decent little Italian place with the standard restaurant Sade mix. (The singer, not de whip enthusiast. I should really learn how to do accents in blogger.) Throughout dinner, we joked that the cab driver had finally become bored with driving the rubes around and had dumped us on a convenient street corner.

As we divvied up the check, she decided that one of us should ask where "Tavern Upon The Green" was. (I stepped fearlessly into the breach: "I am not asking them where Tavern on the Green is.")

After a brief discussion about where we were in the city, she found that we were, in fact, not in Greenwich Village, but in the meat packing district (this is an actual part of New York, yes?), somewhere near Tribeca.

It wason the way back to grab a cab that we spotted a sign on a semi-paved cowpath: "Greenwich Street".

Close enough, I guess.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dinner and a Show

I just finished working, changed, and went outside. I bought a gyro from a cart and watched a New Yorker try to parallel park her car.

She failed.

Sometimes the best things in life are free.

(Can someone explain how I made it this long without a Schadenfreude tag? Clearly I have some posts that are mislabeled.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Deadspot, Chicago, the Past, Redux

One advantage to blogging from the past: I can blog from the runway.

That part where they parked the plane and turned off the engines? That was a little more like it, but please. I have Naked Raygun on my iPod and I packed two books for the flight. You’ll have to do better than that, fates.

So here’s the deal. In New York, you don’t have to know simple arithmetic in order to be an air traffic controller. Good to know, if you’re not mathematically inclined. Apparently the assholes at Laguardia aren't sure which number is bigger: the number of flights they've scheduled or the number of gates available.

Instead, our departure time was delayed by an hour, and then after we pulled away from the gate, they shut down the engines so we can park here for 45 minutes while they sort things out in New York.

Really, bring some fire and brimstone next time. This is just sad.

Welcome to the New Future, Just Like the Old Future

So, here I am in Chicago, home on the late 90s, when people still thought “charging people for wireless acess” was a business plan instead of a way to look like a cheapskate. On the plus side, I have my iBook back in rehab. Apparently, someone believes that I will be so happy to find a row of outlets that I will buy insurance from them. I remain skeptical.

By the time you read this, it will already be the future. Do we have rocket cars yet? Are the robot overlords reasonably benevolent?

Here in the past, we compose our blog posts into an application called AppleWorks, and wait to make them available when communication with the present has been re-established. It is so primitive here in the past that Starbucks has not yet accomplished their goal of a barista at every gate. They have to get by on a measly five outposts between my arrival gate and my departure gate.

I started reading Lamb on the flight here. I was using this morning’s shopping list (“Water, Ricola, Books, Altoids.” See what a considerate traveller I am? I will not cough on you or engage in tedious conversation, and I’m always minty fresh. Go thou and do likewise.) as a bookmark, and as we were about to take off, I noticed the Far Side comic on the back of the list. In it, an airline passenger is about to accidentally hit the “Wings Fall Off” button on the arm of his seat. Is that really the best that you can do, fates? That’s some weak sauce.

On cue, the overhead speakers in the airport tell me that the threat level is Orange. I should secure my baggage and rat out my fellow travellers to the nearest available secuirty officer for appropriate disposal.

Do we really make it to the future? Let me know when I get there.

Fear and Loathing at the BMI

So, here I am on the road, coming to you live from the Green Zone at the enchantingly named Central IL Regional at Bloomington/Normal Airport. It's just as nice as it sounds.

Thus far, the horsemen have stayed well out of sight. I was in and out of my Local Indy BooksellerTM in 5 minutes, Lamb and Island of the Sequined Love Nun in hand. (It's going to be a very Christopher Moore trip.) I raced like a bat out of hell from Urbana to Bloomington without a police car in sight. I entered long term parking and found that the closest possible parking spot was empty and waiting for me. There were no lines at check in. The TSA officers were attractive, upbeat, and displayed a suspicious lack of neanderthal brownshirt swagger.

My traveling companion, an ancient iBook, immediately found the airport's free wireless network upon powering up, and aside from the fact that it's sucking down power like a Lohan fresh out of rehab, I'm online and blogging with a minimum of effort.

Not only has the other shoe not dropped, I'm starting to wonder if the first shoe slept in. The fact that my Local Indy BooksellerTM did not have Nightmare Before Christmas on DVD is hardly the kind of drama I expect from one of my trips. I packed Corpse Bride just in case. Suck it, fates!

Next stop, O'Hare. Assuming they have not joined the 21st Century (already in progress) since the last time I passed through, there will be no internet access. There will, however, be omnipresent announcements from the Ministry of Truth about the current state of the war against Eastasia (or is it Eurasia this week?) so I'll have that to entertain me.

It's almost time to board, so I will close for now.

I am Deadspot, reporting live from the BMI Security Zone.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Flying North

Tomorrow afternoon I'm off to New York. Oddly enough, even though I'll be working longer hours, I should finally have time to catch up on all of your blogs. So... um... I guess you have that to look forward to?

If any of the New York gang want to meet up while I'm there, shoot me an email, the link's in my profile.

Morlocks and Eloi

An evolutionary theorist working for Bravo has predicted that in the future, all women will turn into Lolitas with glossy hair, hairless clear skin, and pert breasts while all of the men will be athletic giants with big dicks, and if you don't get on board with that, you're going to end up in the dim-witted, goblin-like underclass.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhkay then.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Old Cold Leftovers

Sometimes a post is not a dish best served cold. Happy Bohrer Day seemed much farther off when I said I would start posting again. I thought I could whip this into something entertaining. Instead I found that I had waited so long that I no longer remembered details, and I was left with these sketchy notes. You may still find something tasty in there, or you may pop the lid and be sent fleeing from the moldy remains.

Your milage may vary.

First, the recap:

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong! Bad Judges! Bad!
We're in Aspen! Hung thinks the lift passes are movie tickets, they ride to the top of the mountain, and they're presented with a ton of ingredients. They're told that there will be no wacky challenges, they just have to present the best three-course meal they've ever made. Have they seen the show?

So they cooked and stuff... Oh, and there were some celebrity sous chefs and they brought back some of the last chefs to be eliminated. Hi, Second Sara, we love you! Brian, well, he got to eat with the judges, so he had that goin' for him.

The Producers' M. Night Shamalamadingdong Tweest was that halfway through prep, the judges revealed that the chefs would have to come up with and prepare a fourth course and get it ready within the hour they had remaining. How will they handle the pressure?

Hung won the first course. Mohawk won the second. Hung won the third course. Mohawk won the last. Yeah, Casey got shut out completely. Ouch. Sucks to be her.

The judges deliberated. Then they revealed on National Television that they can't follow their own criteria.

Here's why:

If they're comparing the results of the rounds, head to head, like they said they were, Mohawk won it. Radicchio said that the two best dishes were equally good. In their comments on the two second-best dishes, they had complaints about Hung's, but not Mohawk's. So if their best dishes were equally good, and Mohawk's second winning dish was better than Hung's second winning dish, it seems clear that in the head to head, they tied on the quantity of winning dishes, but Mohawk won on the quality of the dishes.

So how about the challenge they tossed out? If it's important enough to give the challenge, it should be important enough to judge the challenge. How did they do under pressure? Mohawk improvised on the spot and pulled off one of the best dishes of the night with his Scallops and Purslane. Hung pulled out a recipe that he'd brought for some crappy ass Applebee's dessert and nobody was all that excited about it. Hey, Hung, your monkey can make chocolate cake and whipped cream. My mom can make chocolate cake and whipped cream.

So by my reckoning, Mohawk wins the the head to head and the challenge. Why are they still deliberating?

Instead of relying on the best dishes, head to head, and instead of relying on the challenge results as a tie breaker, they looked at the worst dishes of the night... or at least, the worst dishes of the night not prepared by Casey. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't they say over and over through the season that it was not enough to not be the worst chef? In any case, they decided that Mohawk's worst dish was worse than Hung's worst dish, so Hung won it.

They're the judges, I guess. Even though they're wrong.

The biggest issue is this: They said that it doesn't come down to a more fundamental question than "Would you hire this person to run your kitchen?" Hands down, Hung fails that test. Except for technical expertise, he never displayed the qualities they said they were looking for. He was wildly inconsistent, he never took an ounce of responsibility, and the only time he ever displayed an ability to work as a part of a team was when Second Sara took charge and made everyone toe the line in Restaurant Wars. This isn't Top Sous Chef, and there's no way in hell I'd let him run my kitchen.

And finally, Hung served up not one, but two dishes garnished with cat spit in the final. Enough with the fucking foam already. Can we get an automatic disqualification for foam in Season 4?

But you know... I'm not bitter or anything.

On to the reunion!

Reunited and it Feels So Good

"What was your favorite challenge? Clay?"

I laughed so hard at that. Too bad Clay didn't get the joke. Thanks for playing, Clay. There are some bagels in the Green Room. Help yourself to the leftovers on the way out. I thought that was definitely the highlight of the show.

A close second was when Padma told Howie he didn't get to have an opinion about the Grocery Aisle challenge because he didn't actually make anything.

Aside from the quote I led off with, Mohawk had the best lines of the night: "I've always wanted a montage!" and "It's Chicken Cordon Blow!"

Hung tried to say that the person acting like a dick week after week was not you. All I'm sayin' is, that guy bore a strong resemblance to Hung. The distinction between the kind of person who is a dick to try and make a few bucks, and one who acts like a dick to try and make a few bucks may make sense to Jesuits and Republicans, but not to me.

The love connection movie was amusing.

It was nice to see Sassy Lia again.

The dancing was amusingly bad, but not amusingly bad enough.

I'm sure there was other stuff I enjoyed... but I'm drawing a blank. I should have served this when it was fresh.

What am I missing? What did I lose to freezer burn?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, Corinne. Love ya! (But not in that creepy internet stalker way.)

You know, I've been thinking about my congenital snarkiness recently, and it occurred to me that if she were to google herself and stumble across my blog, she might not see my adoption post in the affectionate way that it was intended. She might, in fact, think that I'm kind of a dick.

Sorry. Mea culpa. I have, as my regular readers will attest, a genetic predisposition.

She's made a career doing something that she loves and people appreciate her for doing it, even if some of them are freaks or assholes. We could all do worse.

So Happy Birthday, Corinne, and the offer still stands. If you ever need a place to crash, the Villa del Punto Muerto is always open.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Silent Running

Instead of trying to get out a few half-assed posts while trying to keep my head above water at work, I'm going to take a brief hiatus until Corinne Bohrer Day, when I will return with the kind of full-assed posts you've come to expect.

I'll catch up on my comments in the meantime, but to answer one: yes, an NYC blogger summit sounds fabulous. I think I should have most of the evenings of October 30th and 31st open, but I realize that everyone probably has the 31st booked. I have to work bright and early on the 31st and I have to catch a flight back on the 1st, so I will have to limit the debauchery to something in the half- to three-quarter-Caligula range. Please don't hold it against me... unless the "it" in question is something that I might enjoy having held against me.

If those dates won't work out, let me know. I'll actually be in town starting on the 26th, but I won't have as much of my evening free and I'll have to be up even earlier. Since work is paying the tab, I'm kind of stuck with their schedule, and it's just a little bit horribly inconvenient.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Evil Dictation

Young Master Yen, Ze Evil Dictator, has pierced the Veil of SecrecyTM and asked 5 questions. I have responded with 5 answers, thusly:

If you could switch places with any dictator in history who would you switch with?
The Weimar Republic looks like a great party destination: it's decadent, it's German, it's stylish, and the architecture is fabulous. Despite the lack of high-speed internet access, it seems pretty cool, even if you have to burn Deutschmarks to keep warm. We could skip the Holocaust, go straight to the conquering the world bit, and there's not a chance in hell I'd wear that silly moustache.

Unfortunately, because we're switching places, Adolph Hitler is right out. My family and friends would never forgive me for dumping that little Austrian douchebag on them. Just as well... I'm hell on wheels at Risk, and we'd probably all be blogging in German. I don't know about you, but I can never remember how to get the umlauts to show up right.

I think I'll have to go with Fidel Castro. He seems like a decent enough guy that I wouldn't mind foisting him off on you guys, I'd get to hang with Che, and I'd get to make a whole slew of American presidents look like jackasses. Who wouldn't love that?

I'm not wild about the heat, but there would be plenty of rum, great old cars, and I think I've mentioned that I like a little hot, spicy Caribbean now and then.

I'm talking about food, people... This is a family post.

If you had a rock band what would you name them?
Like most of us, I've come up with and forgotten hundreds of great band names, so I came up with a brand new one just for this interview: Richard Scarry's Best Punk Band Ever. Of course, our first CD would have to be Richard Scarry's Loudest Punk CD Ever.

And yes, in the first draft, that said "album" instead of "CD". I'm old.

George Bush has publicly announced that he is the fourth reich, would you start a riot or eat cake?
I would have my cake and riot too. Angel food would be nice, or that raspberry fudge torte from Sweet Indulgence. I think that would go nicely with a tall, cold glass of kicking ass.

If your in a room with a shotgun, which politician would be in that same room with you?
Dick Cheney, because I'm a huge fan of irony.

In Chicago the newspaper wrote how many starbucks are in each neighborhood, about five neighborhoods have twelve alone, what is your
reaction to this true madness?

I'd have to take a stroll down to my local independent coffee shop, Caffe Paradiso, for a large cappuccino, extra shot, to mull it over. I've given up trying to understand why people go to Starbucks when there are such good alternatives. Maybe it has something to do with the extra f.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Chapter 8

Wherein the author is not, despite the name, actually dead per se.

I was going to blog about last night's weirdness, but the more I think about it, perhaps I won't. Parts of it were amusing, but it had a tragic twist in the tail that makes me not want to laugh about the earlier stuff. Instead, allow me to present a few rules for polite society.

Try not to mix alcohol and regret. It's the kind of thing that starts out seeming like a good idea and ends up with you on a stranger's doorstep trying to convince them that they are supposed to give you a ride home. (We walked. There was a little staggering into bushes, but no vomiting, so it went better than I had hoped.)

If you do find yourself on somebody's doorstep needing help to get home, no matter how confident you are that you know the way, lead with your address. It'll simplify things.

If you are just a garden-variety fuck up, pull your shit together and solve your own problems. You're sucking up people's ability to cope with actual problems. People should not be sharing their horrible news with me in the middle of the night because the rest of their family is too busy dealing with you. If your problems are your own fault, suck it up and deal, asshole.

And finally, I'm much more comfortable with the whole "crying on shoulder" thing when it remains strictly metaphorical, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do.

S'aright? S'aright. Let's move on.

There will probably not be a Top Chef recap today. Recaps are, like gazpacho and revenge, best served cold. Right?

Work continues to be a crushing grind. Did I mention that I'll be in New York at the end of October?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Flan Pressed

Up, up and away,
in my beautiful balloon.
So glad Hung's knifeless.

Frying Pan River?
You've Got To Be Kidding Me.
Who Named This Shit, Dude?

Trout cooked on a stump
is not seafood, says Brian.
Really? Are you sure?

Hung is done so fast.
Did his monkey bring lemon?
'Cause Hung sure didn't.

Hung Don't Know Cowboys
Like The Mohawk Knows Cowboys.
It's A Rodeo!

Yippie kai yi yay!
Them cowboys love some baked beans.
Thus sayeth the Hung.

Mohawk's cheese tart sucks.
Today, pressure is his friend.
Cauli-tatoes rock.

Cooking's for sissies.
Cowboys are like cavemen, right?
Casey serves raw elk.

Dublyuh tee eff?
Brian wears a cowboy hat.
No one is impressed.

Judges' Table Time:
Three Go To The Finals. One?
Pack Your Knives and Go.

Condescending Hung,
Mohawk kicked your ass real good.
Taste the justice, dick.

The judges have seen
Enough of frat boy antics.
Brian is sent home.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Olfactory Hallucinations

I spent yesterday afternoon cutting these out of my back yard, and I'm still, after several showers and changes of clothes, smelling them out of the corner of my nose. Tree of Heaven? More like Tree of Stank.

I haven't even started on my Top Chef recap... crushing deadlines at work. I'll get on it, and hopefully get it posted before the second part. I will not resort to haiku unless sorely pressed.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Two Words For The State Department:

"Boo" and "yah".

Any time the State Department needs someone to give them the scoop, they can call. Really. Because I'd like to laugh at them.

Oh sure, there were times that I doubted my own mad skills, but I should have known better, and I apologize. I mean, I am me. And as the world's foremost expert on me, I should have known that I am consistently smarter than the Bush Administration. If that sounds like boasting, it isn't. Your average tabby cat is consistently smarter than the Bush Administration.

As predicted, the Iraqi government is currently moving to end the CPA's mercenary immunity provision and make them subject to Iraqi law.

This just in: the judges have indicated that they would also accept "Suck" and "it".

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Well Done, Nissan

In less than an hour, you managed to make sure that I will never, ever buy one of your cars for as long as I live. That's like some kind of land speed record, but for assholes.

I watched the Heroes season premiere with "limited commercial interruption" last night. In this case, "limited commercial interruption" is a phrase that means "three nearly identical Nissan ads in a row at every commercial break". I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if you are going to buy all of the ads during a television program, you may want to make sure that you have more than one ad to run. Unless you enjoy alienating and enraging your target audience. But, you know, whatever, I'm sure you know what you're doing.

Here's the thing about the ad that grieves me the most: it wasn't the constant repetition, it was the music. They used the Clash. Yeah, really, the Clash. And not just the Clash, but probably my favorite Clash song ever. Their cover of Pressure Drop is just a little bit sublime.

If I know one thing about the Clash, it's that they pretty much formed their band to sell midrange SUVs from a third-string Japanese car company. Wait, strike that. I meant that they pretty much didn't form their band to... you know the rest.

If I know one thing about me, and I'm one of the leading experts in the field of knowing things about me, it's that nothing pisses me off like using a song that I like to try to sell me crap that I don't want.

It's weird. I like companies that suck up to me by making special, soccer-themed advertisements to try to sell me things at half time during a soccer game (but woe betide if you should ever interrupt a game, even if you're a president, and you just fucking died. Asshole. Die on your own time. I digress...) Where was I? Soccer ads. Love 'em. If you're a beer or TV company or a bank and you come up with some lame ass way to show that you made your ad specifically to suck up to me during my soccer time, I'll at least give you a little credit for trying. But the second you try to suck up to me by co-opting a song that I like, your ass is grass. And I, as the kids say, am the lawnmower.

Metaphorically speaking, of course. I'm not actually a lawnmower per se.

So, just to recap: on the off chance that I might, someday, after some kind of head injury, decide to buy an SUV, perhaps because I've decided that I need a new way to look like an asshole; and further assuming that I have, as a complication from this head injury, decided that I should go with a company primarily known for being a foreign car company that isn't Honda, Toyota, or Mitsubishi; you can rest assured that I'll be looking for some kind of Skoda SUV before I'll consider your stupid little sports utility car and it'll be this commercial's fault.

Bite me.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Chicken, Onion, Potato

Hey, Hung, we don't dislike you because you're an immigrant, we dislike you because you're an asshole. Assholery knows no borders. ...but I'm getting ahead of myself.


The chefs wander around New York and the Talking Dog likes the smell of car exhaust... or something... They end up having dinner with Sirio Maccioni at Le Cirque. During diner, they are told that for the Quickfire, each chef will get 20 minutes to reproduce their dinner in an unfamiliar kitchen with a staff that seems more than a little irritated to have them underfoot when they're trying to get ready for dinner service. They'll go one at a time, and the kitchen will get more and more chaotic around the chefs as it gets closer and closer to service.

Hung goes first and he nails it. Maccioni is impressed. When Hung gets back to the waiting room, the chefs are kicking around ideas about the dish, and they ask Hung how he approached it. Hung refuses to join in and says it's a simple dish that anyone can do.

Apparently not. The Talking Dog fails on the potato wrapping. Mohawk underseasons his. Battabatta's is tasty, but her sauce is a big ugly pool instead of a few spots around the edge of the plate. Second Sara goes last and is totally boned. Deep in the weeds to begin with, she can't find a saute pan, and by the time somebody finds her one, she is way out of time. It's totally raw in the middle when she serves it.

Creepy Old Dude thinks BattaBatta is hot, but gives the win to Hung anyway.


For the elimination challenge, they will have to cook for the teachers of the French Culinary Institute using three classic ingredients: chicken, onions, and potatoes. The other chefs are too polite to point at Casey and laugh when they see the onion. They'll have $200 to buy the other things they need. Hung's Quickfire win means that he will get to start half an hour before the other chefs.

They go shopping. Casey is Mohawk's new straight girlfriend ...or something. I'm confused. We already have a Second Sara. I'm so confused that I miss part of what he says next. Something something big gay chef something something our asses. Really? On Bravo?

Last Mohawk Standing says he's going to go balls out on this one. In that case, I'd recommend an apron.

They get back to the kitchen and four chefs cool their heels while Hung gets started.

Hung makes Chicken ala Ziploc, Pommes Dauphin (Lex interrupts: "What a jerk! He's cooking dolphin?"), and flashes back to the first challenge by serving up crispy chicken skin. You do that to a pig and you're making pork rinds. I guess chicken rinds are a little more upscale.

Hung asks for help plating his dishes. None of the other chefs tell him that his monkey can plate chicken, but I'm sure it was only because they were too busy. Dude, you had half an hour more than the other chefs, and you acted like a dick during the Quickfire. What did you expect? If you want to play the game, fine, but if they burn your ass and laugh then you have nobody to blame but yourself.

Second Sara's Fricken Chicken Tartare isn't going over so well. The Swedish Chef says "Hurr durr dippy doo" or something. Schyeah... See, I know you're, like, some kind of expert on meatballs and dill or some shit like that, but when your claim to expertise on Jamaican cuisine is that you've seen a couple of reggae bands, you may want to take advantage of this special, limited-time-only opportunity to sit down and shut the hell up. Just sayin'...

That out of the way, even I'm pretty sure that raw chicken isn't a traditional Jamaican flavor. Compounding her problems, she was afraid that their classically-trained French palates would surrender in the face of her spicy Jamaican heat (The food, people! Haven't we discussed this already? So childish...), and tried to play it safe by cutting back on the seasoning. It's not a good plan.

The Talking Dog made Shepherd's Pie. Apparently, he thought he was cooking for a preschool, because he felt the need to turn the mashed potatoes bright green. What a dipshit. Mohawk points out that it looks like a big green turd. The chicken is overwhelmed by the powerful game sausage he bought at the market.

The Last of the Mohicans makes Chicken Two Ways on Pureed Potatoes, but in the rush to plate, he self-destructs again. This time he omits the sauces that would have made the whole thing work. While commiserating with the other chefs, he says he's going to turn it into a staple of his menu when he gets back to Chicago. Those must have been some great sauces then, because without them the judges are out for blood.

BattaBatta's Faux au Vin finishes strong. The judges like the food but hate the name.

It's pretty clear that Hung and BattaBatta are the tops, Second Sara and Mohawk are the bottoms, and The Dog is just filler. Well, crap.


Hung is a pissy little crybaby because the other chefs didn't want to help him plate his food, but he wins anyway. You've just got to assume the little tattletale got stuffed into a locker or two during culinary school.

Sara and Mohawk are on the chopping block. Mohawk knows exactly why he's here. Sara, hun, if they say that your chicken was undercooked, I'm not sure that telling them you personally checked every piece actually helps your case.

The judges decide that poor execution trumps poor conception, Mohawk cashes in his producers' Comedy Central: South Park Portmanteau Immunity and Sara must go. Shit. I should have kept my mouth shut about how much I liked her last week. That's it, Radicchio, I'm cutting you off. Stop reading my blog.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A CTV Original

"Hey, wait a second. CTV? I'm not in Canada."

I'd been watching yet another Scrubs rerun on WGN last night when it ended and the next show began. The familiar CTV logo popped up and the next show started. It was a show I hadn't seen before called Corner Gas. It wasn't until the show actually started that it really registered that it was a Canadian show.

It was funny. You should watch it.


Condi Rice just got snubbed by a Nazi. OK, OK, split hairs why don't you? Former Nazi, that's still gotta sting a little, hunh?

For those of us keeping track at home, that's

Chillin' with the Hitler Youth: OK,
Hanging out with the Bush Administration: Not so much.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Old Blackwater, Keep on Rollin

The Blackwater incident is spreading. The investigation into Blackwater has turned into an investigation into all of the mercenary groups operating in Iraq.

If you ask me, this isn't about 8 Iraqi civilians. That was just the opening that the Iraqi government needed to flex their muscles on this. This was just one incident in a series of many, but it was a juicy one. It's going to be hard for the U.S. to simultaneously say that they are in favor of the rule of law and argue that cop killers should get off scott free... but if anyone is a master of that kind of doublespeak, it's Condi Rice, and she's been kind of quiet since arguing that it was too soon for the Israelis to stop killing Lebanese civilians.

Here's the payoff for the Iraqi government: these mercenary groups are operating in a legal void. They're not real soldiers, they just play them on TV, so they don't fall under the jurisdiction of the US military code of justice. They're not in the U.S., so U.S. law doesn't apply. And thanks to Paul Bremmer, they don't fall under Iraqi law either.

That's got to stick in your craw if you have a couple of thousand of these trigger-happy assholes running around shooting up your capital on any given day, and now Blackwater has given the Iraqi government the leverage they need to do something about it. Starting with the perfectly reasonable premise that shooting cops and civilians is a bad thing, they are going to look at all of these mercenaries hired by the United States to see if they are "operating in compliance with Iraqi law". Even if they can't prosecute them, the government can at least terminate their license to operate in Iraq and kick them out of the country.

But it gets juicier. Not only have they sent all of the Blackwater boys home except for the ones under investigation, they've managed to parley this debacle into a promise from the U.S. to hold any wrongdoers accountable. That sounds like this mess is headed toward a trial of some sort, which means that they'll have to be charged under some set of laws. That should finally define the legal status of these mercenary groups, plucking them neatly out of the cozy little void in which they've been operating.

And here's the big payoff: the logical choice of jurisdiction would be the Iraqi courts. The U.S. has a huge incentive not to admit that these clowns are acting as an extension of the U.S. military, which would tend to rule out the military courts. Baghdad is clearly not in the United States, and the U.S. has a long standing policy of avoiding the jurisdiction of the ICJ, so if the mercenaries are going to be charged, the Iraqi courts seem to be just about the only place left to do it. If that happens, then the provision giving them immunity has to go, and the all of the resource-looting, sovereignty-undermining provisions passed by CPA in their final hours are suddenly on shaky ground.

And that's probably the whole point of this exercise, if you ask me.

Monday, September 17, 2007

When The Going Gets Tough...

...the tough get their asses sent home.

Remember Blackwater, the creepy, borderline fascist mercenary unit so beloved by the republicans? It seems like on Sunday they came under fire and they fired on bystanders, killing a bunch of Iraqi civilians, including a cop. Now, the Iraqi government has told everyone working for Blackwater to leave the country unless they're currently under investigation.

Interesting tidbit: The State Department convoy wasn't being guarded by the army, but by these guys. Why?

Do we have to take those assholes back? Personally, I think we could do without them.

It's a good thing Madonna's on the case. She should have this whole Middle East peace thing wrapped up faster than you can snog Britney Spears.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mile Low Club

I really want to hear the Husker Du cover of 8 Miles High now. Fortunately, I've got a better version on my iPod. ...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Ugh. Padma's a Morning Person.
Lurch is so enthusiastic about being woken by Padma that it's borderline creepy. She might want to consider a restraining order. Mohawk, predictably, is less enthusiastic, muttering something about the fact that she can cook.

Padma wakes all the chefs up, tells them that they have to make her breakfast, and they finally have a use for that hemisphere blender they've been flogging all season. The safe bet is on smoothies.

Hung pulls an Alberto Gonzales. He has no recollection of knocking the bottle of truffle oil off the table. He can't remember anything anything related to oil spills or broken glass... He'll probably have to check for memos regarding all the shit he just dumped out of the fridge. What a dick. Hey, Hung, your monkey could be Attorney General.

No, seriously... this is the Bush administration we're talking about. Give them a call.

The chefs are agreed... Padma likes booze.

Lurch tells us that chicks dig crepes. Padma tastes Second Sara's, what do you call it, egg in a hole. It's heavenly. She likes Hung's steak and eggs and he guffaws like he's got a serious brain injury. Mohawk makes a ham and apple frittata... I'm sure there was some other food too, and lots of smoothies, some of them, like Brian's, filled with tiny hard seeds. Way to go, genius. He acts like Padma's the dumb one for not figuring out which berry they came from until she has to remind him that he might want to strain those seeds out before serving.

Hung wins. Padma's not a huge fan of steak and eggs, but his smoothie was chock full of Grand Marnier. Looks like Second Sara was right.

aaaaaand, let's take this show on the road! They're off to New York. Becks, take note. You never know... Ilan might show up.

What is This "Airline Food" You Speak Of?
If you say it fast enough, "New York" sounds a lot like "Newark", which is where they actually end up.

It's good to know that my flying experience has been reduced to "Greyhound in the Sky" levels so that the assholes in first class can have gourmet meals. Brilliant business plan, that: piss off the vast majority of your customers so that you can suck up to a handful of people who feel so entitled that they aren't going to care anyway. No wonder these assholes are always going bankrupt.

What the hell? Are they cooking in the staff lounge or something? Are we supposed to believe that this is an actual kitchen used to prepare actual food for actual passengers? Please. That shit comes hermetically sealed straight from the factory into the belly of the plane. This kitchen really, really sucks ass.

I like Second Sara. She's funny. "Hot shit behind, burn your ass!"

Once they finish making 18 meals (or 17... who's counting?), they'll put them in a foil box, destroy them in some sort of medieval food torturing device installed in the plane, and dump them on a plate. (Did I mention the plane? They'll be in a plane later. On the ground. In a hanger. The romance of flight is truly dead.) They're serving Bourdain, some boring airline chef (that's gotta be a career ender, you think?), the usual suspects, and a bunch of "elite" flight attendants. Wait... If they're serving all the flight attendants, who's going to ram the drink cart into their seats?

The Talking Dog makes Slab of Beast with a side of Potatoes and Are You Fucking Kidding Me Lobster Hash. Jesus, learn another chord already. Mohawk made a peppery filet mignon, but he miscounted and somebody didn't get a meal. So, it's pretty much exactly like a real flight then?

Next up is fish and fish. Can I just say now that Bus In Sky is bad enough without making it the Fish Reek Express? No fish on planes! Bad chefs! No fish! Hung's Sea Bass survives the gauntlet to the plate. Second Sara's salmon, not so much. Here's a hint from me to you, no extra charge: Sara, hun, if some of the meals are overdone, give them to the extras, not the judges.

Finally, BattaBatta's Veal Medallions and cheesy cauliflower go out along with Lurch's Halibut and Broccolini. OK. Remember what I said about the Fish Reek Express? The Fish and Farts Local is even worse. What are you thinking? We're sealed into that plane for hours... The judges are brutal, especially Bourdain. They should have him on the show more often. He loses me a little with his Bob Marley reference, but "scraped prettier things out of a garbage can"? Nice.

Donner, Party of Three
Padma has apparently had enough of Raddichio, and she exasperatedly cuts him off when he starts talking shit. She doesn't exactly toss her head and do the "talk to the hand" thing, but you can tell that she wants to. You know, if he goes back to the ticket counter and checks his balls right now, he can still probably make his flight.

Mohawk, Hung, and BattaBatta are the top three. BattaBatta wins and gets a pair of round trips to anywhere that Continental flies. I wonder how Mohawk would have done if he'd made one more plate, since he still made it into the top while completely stiffing one of the diners.

The Dog, Second Sara, and Lurch are called in and raked over the coals. They ask Brian and Lurch if this is the dish that will send them home, but not Sara. I guess that she's safe this week even though they weren't enamored of her Cat Food and Afterthought. There's some more joshing around with the chefs... "You couldn't serve that in prison," "Worst dish in three years of this show," that kind of thing, and they send them to stew, but it's pretty clear that Lurch is Moses.

...'cause he's not going to the promised land, see?

Never mind. Second Sara has the Producers' Meow Mix: It's Not Just For Breakfast Any More Immunity this week, The Dog still doesn't have a clue where he went wrong, and Lurch is packing his knives.

I predict that next week, The Talking Dog will serve seafood.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Unexpected Sentence

"Just 'cause she has a moustache don't mean she's not sexy."

--overheard at soccer practice yesterday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Having a Stupid Day

I'm back from the training thing, but I should have called in stupid today. I tried to leave you out of it with mixed success. I did manage to spare most of your comment sections, but sometimes I had something so blindingly stupid or childish to say that it just couldn't be passed up.

If I didn't leave a comment on your blog today, don't be disappointed, you're really not missing anything. Trust me. Instead, take this opportunity to give me an example of something clever that I should have said if my brain hadn't turned to mush while I slept. My comments await. If you hurry, I'll go post it on your blog and we can both pretend I was much cleverer than I actually am right now.

Do what you can, and we'll see if I wake up clever tomorrow.

I have my fingers crossed.

...It;s a [ain in the ass typing like3 thisd,;.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Two Hour Cruise... A Two Hour Cruise

OK, this may be a little rough... sorry. I'm sure we'll all pull through.

Stranded in a Desert Aisle
The chefs draw knives. They get $10 to buy ingredients from 1 aisle of an IGA.

Now that there's no immunity and the "prizes" have been of the "Oh... socks" variety, the pressure is off during the Quickfire and the chefs seem to be having a lot of fun. Everybody's laughing. They're joking around with each other. Even the people who were totally screwed by their aisle draw are having fun cooking weird shit that has no chance of winning.

Mohawk asks Hung if he's making a smurf village and everybody laughs. Hung misses the opportunity to answer "Smurf yeah!" Mohawk makes some insanely spicy breakfast thing that leaves Padma and the guest judge literally gasping for water. "It's got a little kick."

Then Tiny Bald Howie ends the Quickfire by saying that he's not serving anything because it didn't live up to his standards, and nobody can believe that shit. I mean, did he see the crap the others served up?

Lurch can't believe he's in the bottom with someone who served up a dirty, empty glass. Wow, that must've been a real kick in the ball. The Talking Dog wins with his Spam, Spam, Hash, and Spam.

We go to commercial and I have to ask if Bombay Sapphire really wants to give a cocktail selection for Spam and hash. Lex said it best: "That'll go nice with your trailer."

Like Robinson Crusoe, As Primitive As Can Be
Brian gets to select the team leader. He steps right up and says that a Top Chef has to lead if they're given the chance. Lurch looks like he just ate a bug. The chefs have to prepare appetizers for a 2 hour party cruise for a bunch of models and fashionazis on a budget that won't even buy them a McDonald's meal, and they have to prepare it in the ship's galley. Like we don't know they're going to be purging it all later anyway...

The chefs dash off to buy ingredients, and there is much wailing and shuffling of budgets. It looks like each pair of chefs is making 3 things (one each and a shared dish), and Howie is making 2 by himself to try and rcover from the Quickfire. Second Sara and Casey team up, Mohawk and Hung team up, and Lurch gets the Talking Dog, who is bragging about his "money dish", which is some kind of tuna tartare. Really? Are you sure?

I'm telling you right now that there are an assload of dishes. If you want a full rundown, this is probably not the right place to look. You probably knew that.

Hey, what happened to Tiny Bald Howie's gazpacho? That sounded good, I love gazpacho. Gazpacho shots would be an awesome appetizer. I am so serving that at my next supermodel cocktail cruise. His nasty looking poo on a cracker? Not making my menu.

We come to the end and Second Sara and BattaBatta's chocolate squits completely fails. It's so terrible that they want to dump it rather than serve it. everyone tries it and agrees.

You Can't Fire Me, I Quit!
Let me just say right now that I hate the guest judge, whoever she is. I'm totally unimpressed by her critiques from start to finish, and she can't do math.

Right off the bat they come up with a ridiculous suggestion. Sure, just scrap a dish to buy the goat cheese... Brilliant. Serve 10% less food when they were barely able to make it to the serving table with food on the tray as it was. That makes ever so much sense. What a dumbass. Were they even at the same party we saw?

Radichhio can't figure out why $350 wasn't enough to serve a party full of eye-popping, gorgeous, delicious food. I'm going to guess that it's because they had less than $6 a head to feed 60 people for 2 hours out of a boat galley. Go figure. I suppose they could have bought 2 of his restaurant's $150 steak specials and sliced them really, really thin. That would leave them $50 to buy... I dunno... a bunch of LSD? I kid! I kid!

Like it would even have time to kick in on a two hour cruise.

The judges' on-again, off-again hatred for Tuna Tartare is back. How are you supposed to predict whether they'll like it or not from week to week? They loved the hell out of Hung's tuna tartare during Restaurant Wars, but this week they're ready keelhaul the Talking Dog.

Ooh ooh, the chefs served something that has been served before. What a surprise. How long have humans been eating food? If they'd been served caviar on blinis, would they be complaining? "Oh... I've had this before. Why didn't they serve it on a Cheezit?" If Hung hadn't already admitted that he was playing it safe, he would have more of a leg to stand on here, but he has a point. Classic combinations are classic combinations, and people like food that tastes good. What are you gonna do?

They do like a few things. They like BattaBatta's Beef Spoons. They like Second Sara's savory tomato bread pudding. Casey at the Bat wins a brand spanking new Macbook. I don't know how that fits into the challenge but I know that I want one. To a certain extent, this choice just shows how hypocritical the judges can be. What the hell do they think carpaccio is? Raw beef is brilliant, but raw tuna gets you a kick in the ass? Why wasn't beef carpaccio "So 1950s"? Whatever.

What don't they like? They don't like that the Talking Dog didn't take a strong leadership role, despite the fact that they um... didn't actually spend any time in the kitchen this episode. He backpedals like crazy on the whole "If you get the chance to lead, you have to lead" speech. They didn't like Mohawk's yogurt puffs. They thought Hung and Mohawk's curried stuff on cucumbers was too eighties. Hey, some of us liked the eighties. They hated both of Howie's appetizers... It's a long list, these are just the highlights.

Tiny Bald Howie sees the handwriting on the wall. He tries to pretend that he's Mia and that he's nobly sacrificing himself to make sure that some other chef, " this guy here, who showed great leadership" doesn't go home. Lurch looks really confused at being singled out, since he wasn't the team leader, and Padma slaps Howie down. "That's the judges' decision." So much for consistency, but it was fun to see her put him in his place.

And then they kick his ass all the way home anyway: You can't quit, Howie, you're fired. Ha!

Hey! Next week it's Tony Bourdain!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Mea Culpa

Sorry again. I'm swamped right now, and I've got to get a ton of stuff done before they dismantle my computer. I'm not going to get that Top Chef Recap up today after all.

I know. I suck.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Get Your Priorities Straight

The Congress of the United States of America has more important things to worry about than the profit margin of the Smithsonian's gift shop.

Charles Grassley, I'm lookin' at you.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

WTF Wednesday

Witch burnings, lost nukes, and animal sacrifice? Can we please rejoin the twenty-first century, already in progress? How the hell can you a) operate a jumbo jet and b) think that the best way to fix it just might be snuffing a couple of goats on the tarmac? Remind me not to fly Nepal Air.

In other news, lead is still poisonous; religion still can't wrap its head around the idea that gay people are actually people; stealing money from the working class is still bad for the economy; drugs, alcohol, and rock stars is still a bad mix; and Austrians are apparently still a pack of Nazis. Who in their right mind would let one of those assholes run their government?

Oh, and Crocs? You know they're still evil.

Has everybody lost their collective minds? Get your shit together, people!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


I ran around enjoying all of your blogs and playing with Photoshop (I blame Tanya), and now I'm all out of time to blog. If you all were less entertaining, I would have posted something less pointless or responded to your comments here.

Hey! I guess that means it's technically your fault.

Now I don't feel so bad. I win!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Jay Effing Pegs

Oh, authors, do you have a sec? I know you think you're doing everyone a huge favor by saving that image with the "smallest file" setting, but all you're really doing is making me want to gouge my eyes out with a spoon.

Go and open one of those files, Jackson. I'll wait.

See how your image looks like crap now? Mmhm. See all those dots? Yeah... see the thing about the JPEG format is that it uses lossy compression. If you're trying to make it look like Seurat took that picture, then well done. But if you're shooting for a quality level that says "respected scientific journal" rather than "elementary school book report", you have failed.

Let's go back to that word "lossy", because it's important. It means that when the JPEG fairy squishes your file, she tosses out all of the stuffing, and by "stuffing" I mean "the bits that make your picture not look terrible". And then she burns them with napalm and salts the earth behind her as she flies away laughing, and I can't get those bits back to make your picture look not terrible again.

If we start having a shortage of ones and zeros, then by all means, compress the hell out of those files. Until then, nimrod, storage is dirt cheap. How about if you let a professional decide how small your file needs to be?

Hey. Look over there in my coffee cup...

It's a spoon.

Top Chef Recap

Hey! This is a repeat.

I changed the channel. I forget what I watched.

Oops. It's Friday Already?

We need a word like "guy" that applies to gir... uh... wome... err... you know, babes. We need one that isn't age specific and doesn't make you sound like you're on your way to a hoedown if you use it in polite conversation (e.g., "gal").

Imagine this conversation:

"Where's the post office?"

"I don't know. Why don't you ask that _____?"

If they're pointing at a male, "guy" will fill in the blank in pretty much every situation. If the pointee is female, there is no obvious choice without more information.

If you're born a guy, you're a guy 'til you die... barring expensive surgical options or duct tape and denial. That's just not true for women. After thousands of years, how can we not have come up with a similar word for the female of the species?

I'm Deadspot, and how can heaven hold a place for me when a... Crap. And I just got that song out of my head.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Phil Collins Might Not Be Satan

I wanted to wallow, big time, deeply, and with the least amount of perspective possible.
-- Starlee Kine

I just listened to the most recent podcast from This American Life. It had a story that, in addition to having the best quote about breakups, ever, in the entire history of breakups, contained a bit where the narrator sort of serendipitously got a chance to talk to Phil Collins about how to write a breakup song.

While I listened, I realized something. While Phil Collins does write mediocre, treacley pop music, he probably isn't a horrible guy; he's just not Peter Gabriel. If he hadn't gotten a divorce at just the wrong time, he'd probably be a jazz drummer somewhere getting free drinks from aging Genesis fans, and we'd all have been spared decades of cheese. I blame his ex-wife.

The weird thing is, I actually think I dislike him less now. Don't get me wrong, his music still sucks, but I enjoyed the fact that he looks down upon the music of Michael Bolton, and I liked the way he said "ugh, nice..." in a sort of exasperated way when he heard about a jerky thing her boyfriend had done. He was a strangely realistic simulacrum of a human being when he was talking to a stranger on the phone. I'm willing to entertain the possibility that he is not actually evil.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Marketplace Is Not the News

An open letter to the folks at Marketplace:

Hi, guys. My local NPR station just swung a little farther to the right by picking up your program and I couldn't be more happy that I stopped contributing after their pathetic cheerleading in the run up to the invasion of Iraq. At least they aren't pissing away any of my money on your show. Your cheesy production values and poorly-disguised business PR fluff pieces run as legitimate news stories are a disgrace to the once proud institution of public radio.

Please pass these notes along to your "correspondents" regarding this morning's broadcast:

Hey, Elizabeth Wynne Johnson, on nationally-syndicated radio this morning, you used the phrase "Cloak of Inflammability" to describe the application of fire retardant to the homes of the ultra wealthy in fire-threatened areas...

a) That word doesn't mean what you think it means.

b) I know you love Harry Potter, but wizard please...

c) The real story here isn't that the insurance companies are protecting the homes of the ultra wealthy, but that if you aren't ultra wealthy, they're perfectly willing to let your stuff burn. Because they hate you.

d) You're not very smart.

Hey, Jeremy Hobson, the middle class is not shrinking because they are all getting richer, dumbass. Somebody kick him in the balls for me.

Maybe Helen Palmer could do it, since she did a story on how middle class Americans have to fly to Cuba to afford health care... if the story hadn't been a thinly-veiled scare piece threatening them with fines and jail time if they try to evade the clutches of Big Medicine. I hope you enjoyed that check from the HMO industry. Don't spend it all in one place. You may need it if something was to... 'appen to you.

And finally, can you jackasses stop talking about the sub-prime lending crisis as if it is a bad thing? Look, they were lending money that they didn't have, for less than it cost them to borrow, to people that couldn't pay them back. The only way they could make money off this deal is by bankrupting the poor bastards that took their loans and seizing their assets. These lenders deserve to lose money in a big way. And for all of the assholes who tried to make a quick buck off these predators, and the banks that supported them and benefited from these Shylocks? Caveat emptor, caniculae.

Monday, August 27, 2007

God Makes You Bulletproof

According to rabbi Ovadia Yosef, soldiers who "believe and pray" don't get killed. Good to know. He seems to be willing to take this on faith. I like science, so I propose an experiment: he believes and prays while someone shoots him in the head. Let's see what happens, shall we?

I bet there's a family member or two of these fallen soldiers who would volunteer right about now.

Ovadia also blames their deaths on the fact that they don't put on their magic prayer boxes every day. Hmmm... That sounds strangely familiar, but far be it from me to draw parallels between superstitious aborigines following a discredited system of belief and superstitious practitioners of a not-yet-discredited system of belief... especially when they have thermonuclear weapons.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Coulda Been A Contendah...

wow. Just wow. ...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

We have a quick montage to recap last week's episode, which you no doubt have already read about, and then we go to the Quickfire challenge, which is mercifully product placement free.

It seems wrong somehow.

I Could be Manager in Two Years. King. God.
It's the Mise en Place Race. Those of us who just read Kitchen Confidential know what the Meez is, and nod knowingly, but Raddichio explains for the viewers at home. The winning team gets a sommelier and extra wine money. I go out on a limb. Could it possibly be Top Sommelier?

The prep consists of shucking oysters, dicing some onions, cutting up whole chickens, and separating eggs and whipping the whites until they'll stay in an upside-down bowl. One person has to do each step, and they have to finish before the next person can start. Gee, I wonder which Overdog will take on the seafood. Radicchio toots his bosun's whistle, and they're off. It's Tiny Bald Howie vs. The Talking Dog. Sweaty has no chance. He's only 2/3 done when the Dog steps aside.

BattaBatta tells us that dicing onions isn't exactly "brain science", but I think the phrase she's looking for is "rocket surgery". Holy crap. They need a time lapse camera to make this watchable. It's like Casey saw a diagram of how to dice an onion once, but has not actually done it before. As soon as Tiny Slow Howie steps aside, Second Sara has become Shiva, the destroyer of onions. There is a bowl of onions, and then some flashing blurry stuff happens, and then there's a pile of diced onion. Second Sara just made everyone her bitches. She's got so many bitches, they're gonna have to call her "Bitches". (...and if you've never watched Boondocks, you have no idea what the hell I'm talking about. It's OK. I get that a lot.)

Hung goes after those those chickens like they killed his mom, and everybody counts their fingers afterward... you know, just to be sure.

Casey finally finishes dicing onions. Tre starts on the chickens, but Team Overdog is so far in the weeds, they're hearing banjo music. Mohawk cruises to a finish, and in the end Tre just watches him.

Speed of Lightning, Sound of Thunder, Hold the Vanilla.
Both restaurants have to open again, and this time, they have to have two options for each course. Major menu changes are the order of the day. But first they are going to redesign their restaurants and ditch the stinky candles.

Oh look. It's Obnoxious Douchebag from last week. He's a designer... not a very good one, but he's Madonna's brother so he still gets work. I think it's because people hope that Madonna will show up... the hot one... from the early 80s. If this were Clue, it would be Mohawk with a candlestick in the dining room, but it's not, so Mohawk pretends not to remember Douchey Ciccone. Team Underdog renames their restaurant "Quatre". Douchey doesn't like it, but they tell him he can lump it.

Back at the house, Tre spies on Team Underdog's menu meeting. Hey, Tre, it's Top Chef, not Top Weasel. Tre's big scoop on the rabbit course will turn out to be wrong, so he's acting like a tool on national TV for nothing. Fresh Market only has 2 bunnnies, so the Underdogs will have to scrap the rabbit idea.

They're off to shop. Oh, look, it is Top Sommelier.

When they get back to the kitchen the menus are as follows.
Restaurant Overdog: last week's scallops or some kind of salmon-pesto-grapefruit thing / cold carrot soup or lobster salad with cauliflower / last week's Beef and Butts or monkfish with mascarpone mashed potatoes / and to finish, bread pudding, which Tre assures us he can make in his sleep.
The Underdog Four: Hung's Tuna Tartare Nicoise from last week or Mohawk's poussin with mint gnocchi and some kind of orange drool / halibut with grapes and leeks or lamb with white and green beans / and for dessert, Hung makes panna cotta with berries for anyone foolish enough not to try last week's killer crepes.

Radicchio is going to hang out in the kitchen. According to her blog, Lee Ann had to bust the chefs' chops after the show last week for letting their dishes and shit pile up until it became a safety hazard. They tried to give her some shit, so he's going to ride herd and eat with the help. They should keep this for future episodes. If they are going to judge chefs on leadership, it seems like a good idea to see if they are leading, as opposed to hoping someone gets thrown over the bus.

Second Sara takes control of her kitchen. Every once in a while she goes over the top, like when Mohawk comes back and tells everyone that table 7 is VIPs as a segue into telling everyone that Sara and Joey are in the house (Hung is confused, "Who are Sara and Joey?") and she tromps all over Mohawk's news by interrupting with "They're all VIPs". But most of the time, she just demands that they send out good food, like when she tells Tiny Decaf Howie that his shit is not, in fact, going to get better if he "lets it rest" and to do it over. He slams an oven door, but astonishingly, does not revert into bulldog mode.

I can't believe that the snappiest thing I can think of to say about Hung is "Your monkey could forget his housemates' names." That's so weak. C'mon, Hung, give me something to work with.

There are only a few misses in the Underdining room, and they don't seem that bad. The guest judge has been hanging out down at the VFF and tells us that everyone serves tuna tartare. Frankly, he's so boring I'm not even going to make fun of him. Joey Bagadonuts tries to impress Sara by picking out Tiny Mancrush Howie's dishes, and dissing on them: they're underdone.

Midway through the service, Mohawk tells Top Sommelier not to "overserve", which is a polite way of saying "Less talky, more poury, monkeyboy."

Team Overdog wins in the former contestant challenge. They get Camille Who and Sassy Lia. We miss you, Lia, come back. Take Casey's place. She bores me. They also pulled Meltdown Dog back to the kitchen and put Casey At The Front. Aside from that, things go straight to hell. Ted says that Tre's salmon and grapefruit is terrible and has to wash the taste out of his mouth. Lurch's lobster is too salty. Tre's Beef and Butts, even if not oversmoked this time, is just not good. BattaBatta's monkfish isn't seared, it's overdone. To finish, it looks like Tre did make the bread pudding in his sleep.

Much Ado About Something
The judges can't believe it. Team Underdog is called in to be told that they won. Everyone gets praise. They liked Mohawk's lil chickies, so I guess losing the bunnies worked out just fine. Second Sara takes the win for her stunning victory over Team Overdog. I hope Rocco DiPlasticHair feels like a dumbass for saying she was the wrong choice to lead the kitchen. I wish I'd told him he was wrong. Oh wait, I did. Check me out... first post. Go me. If she actually won something, I missed it. That would suck, hunh? Opening a bag of frozen pasta gets you a trip to Italy, opening a fucking restaurant gets you a pat on the back. I don't get it.

The judges take Team Overdog to task. It sounds like they wish they could send a couple of them home. At commercial, I predict that they are looking for a loophole to send Lurch home instead of Tre. In a huge surprise upset, they follow their precedents and Tre has to pack his knives. He was the team leader, even if Lurch abdicated that position to him, and he turned out the worst of their dishes.

After the show, Lurch sidles over to Tre with the producers' Ambien: I Could Cook That In My Sleep Immunity. "Dude, I think you dropped this."