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.

I'm Deadspot and I support this message.

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."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It Came From Matamoros

Johnny reminded me that he probably has only heard one part of this story, because it is usually told by someone else.

In the following story, names have been changed to protect the guilty.

So back in college Schmandreas, his girlfriend Schmisabel, and I hatched a plan to go to Mexico over xmas break. Disaster would dog our heels. We left Charleston amid the worst rainstorms in 50 years. We were the last car allowed through Memphis on the interstate. I recall seeing a huge lake of water off to the side of the elevated interstate, punctuated by a series of metal rectangles. They were the tops of semi trailers.

We would return from our trip to find the worst ice storm to hit Texas in a century. It was, as we like to call it in Illinois, "a little slick", but Texas drivers had no idea how to deal with it. We stopped at a McDonald's that had not received a meat shipment in 3 days. We backed away slowly. I didn't like the way they were eying the guy on the fry machine. That day, we would drive 8 hours to go 60 miles. The theme for the day was "Road To Nowhere." Why yes, the heater in the car did fail, why do you ask?

But that was later. At this point, we had only seen the first Horseman...

With the interstate closed behind us, we soldiered on, eventually passing through the wilds of Arkansas (We passed Hope, which had not yet been made famous by its most skirt-chasingest resident. "Hope" is, by the way, short for "Hope we aint still in Arkansas.") and into the amateur highway construction system of Texas. At one point Schmandreas jerked the wheel to send our car swerving around a hallucinatory armadillo.

We arrived at the border crossing at Brownsville/Matamoros just in time for the single largest devaluation of the peso. Ever. In the entire history of Mexico. A few days later, the government would cancel New Year's Eve when we were in Mexico City.

In retrospect, we should have seen the Horror From Matamoros coming.

Schmandreas and Schmisabel were savvy world travelers, but I was on my first trip to another country. We all took some precautions. Water should obviously only be consumed after it was fermented into something safer, like Cerveza Carta Blanca, for example. They were paranoid about their food. I was not. Choriqueso? Sure! Broiled cheese and mystery sausage sounds wonderful! A side of what appears to be some sort of Tomb Rot next to my burrito? I'll have to try that! Really, I should have been the victim.

We locked our luggage in the central bus station and went out in pursuit of suitably treated water. We found it in a seedy bar full of hirsute, chunky women and bad disco music, and we closed it down. We staggered off to the Hotel Azteca to rest until the buses ran to Mexico City.

When El Diablo de Los Intestinos came calling, he found Schmandreas, and vented his wrath upon this strange German gringo. Now, the Hotel Azteca was a little down at the heels. It had prewar plumbing, which probably explains why it was so unprepared for the mighty blitz that descended upon it. I think the plumbing may have been Belgian. In any case, it surrendered after only brief resistance. I prefer not to dwell upon what I heard during the time between when Schmandreas entered and when he was able to leave the confines long enough for a hurried conference where it was decided that we should run for the border so Schmandreas could recuperate in relative comfort.

However, it was a long trip back to Brownsville, so I had one more task which I had to complete before we left Mexico. To complete that task, I had to enter the bathroom he had just vacated. Again, I prefer not to dwell upon what I saw when I entered, but the phrase "full to the brim" is one that will forever have different connotations for you than for me.

Schmandreas ends the story when I come back into the room, shaky and pale as a sheet, and tell him, "I've seen worse."

Wherein there is a bit less poo than the rest of the story.

So while Schmandreas cooled his... er... heels in Brownsville, Schmisabel and I made the trek back to El Centro de los Autobuses. We retrieved all of our luggage from the lockers, and made our way back to Brownsville. As a poor college student, I had no luggage, so I had borrowed something from my friend Justin. It was a British Army roll bag of some sort, about 18 inches in diameter and tall enough to hold everything I needed for the week-long trip or, if I were so inclined, a medium-sized body. (Later that trip, Schmandreas, after having been woken to have his luggage searched yet again in the middle of the night, finally lost it, "Why don't they ever search your bag? You could hide a rocket launcher in that thing!") Schmisabel was a girl, so she brought approximately everything she owned. And of course, we split the bags Schmandreas had brought.

We got out of the cab, and because we couldn't find a Sherpa, loaded everything upon our backs. As we passed through the border station, the border guard looked at our passports and our mound of luggage and asked, "How long have you been in Mexico?" I glanced at my watch and absentmindedly lapsed into the kind of honesty that would land me a free cavity search if I were to try it today.

"Um... about an hour?"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tunak Tunak Tun

Say what you will, this dude has moves.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Steriphene II: A Review

We have a new air freshener in the restrooms here at work and someone used it before I went in. It's a little bit like baby powder and death in much the same way that Country Time is a little bit like real lemonade; it's more chemical-y, and you would really prefer the real thing if you were given the choice. It makes the air taste even worse than it smells.

I accidentally inhaled. Now my lungs burn and I'm suppressing my desire to pull out my own tongue.

Seriously? I'd rather smell your poo. There is nothing you can do in there that is worse than the spray, and that includes the horror that caused us to flee the Hotel Azteca in Matamoros.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Jumping Ship


Turns out there's not so much money in being the mouthpiece for the most corrupt and incompetent presidential administration in American history. Who knew?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Psych! Oh.

What the hell? Did the other chefs neuter Tiny Bald Howie after the last episode? It sure seemed like they wanted to. He is downright subdued tonight. ...but I'm getting ahead of myself again.

We start off with a morning montage just so Lurch can remind everyone that we all still hate Howie, and then it's time to place some product.

I mean cook.

Room To Move As A Fry Cook
The guest judge is Daniel Boulud, and he doesn't seem to be as shocked and appalled as he should be at being asked to whore himself out as a shill for Red Robin. The challenge is to create a gourmet burger that Red Robin hasn't already tried to make a quick buck off of. Good burgers? You're welcome.

The Talking Dog recycles his mad fishdogs from the barbecue episode. Shocking! Brian's doing seafood? He's just one of many to offer up some sort of Burger of the Sea abomination. We get it. You're in Miami. Psssst! Burgers are made from cows. What the hell are they teaching these clowns in culinary school?

Tiny Bald Howie tells us that Daniel Boulud is famous for being the first person to make a $120 truffle burger. I hope that comes with a side of Punch In The Face, because if you spend $120 on a hamburger, you really should have one. Howie's serving up burgers with a heaping helping of ass kissing! I mean truffle butter, for extra richness and fat ...and ass kissing!

Daniel likes Hung's fishburger. Hung squeals and giggles and throws his panties.

Chef Boulud doesn't think Tre's steak sandwich is really a burger. Tre refrains from mentioning that it contains beef, which technically makes it more of a burger than most of the stuff still on the table. Daniel also doesn't like Sara's salad-wrapped bunless burger... didn't she go home last week? Oh! My bad, Second Sara's bunless burger.

Tiny Bald Howie's Asskiss Burger makes it into the top group and I shout at the television. Hung's fishpatty and Last Mohawk Standing's egg and burger sammich also make the top group, but Lurch brings it home with, I kid you not, a Scallop Mousse, Shrimp, and Tangerine Notburger. He sarcastically feigns excitement at not getting immunity.

He doesn't have to fake excitement when they tell him he gets to pick his team for Restaurant Wars. Tiny Bald Howie thinks "Well, now I'm fucked," but mercifully doesn't actually say it out loud, because it kept that mental image out of my head until just now. Ewwwww! Lurch grabs Tre, The Talking Dog, and after a long pause, Casey at the Bat. Now Mohawk, Hung, and Second Sara are thinking the same thing as Howie.

Right about now we have a hilarious commercial break that tries to jam in all of the sponsors. Good luck with that. By the end of the season, the commercials will be longer than the show. Can I suggest again that they should force the chefs to wear ASSCAR-style logo-plastered chef's jackets next season?

Speed of Lightning, Sound of Thunder, Stink of Vanilla?
Team Overdog decides that they will serve buzzword buzzword buzzword contemporary cuisine. Lurch shows us that he is a little sexist by putting the Batter in charge of design "because it needs a woman's touch," and that he's pretentious by naming his place "Restaurant April" (I don't care if it is his sister's name), but also that he knows what he's doing, because he makes Tre executive chef and nominates himself as sous chef. The Talking Dog is going to be front of the house, and you know he's serious because he sneaks in a suit.

Last Mohawk Standing takes control and Team Underdog decides that they will serve buzzword buzzword contemporary buzzword cuisine. Hung suggests that Team Underdog should name their restaurant "Ambrosia". The rest of the chefs don't even bother pretending that they aren't ignoring his suggestion. They settle on "The Garage". Last Mohawk and Hung are going to decorate, and then Mohawk will take front of the house duties. Second Sara kicks Howie in the balls, knocks him down, and dry humps him while yelling "Who's the alpha dog now, bitch?" Metaphorically of course, because, again, Tiny Sweaty Howie? Ewwwww! I think what I meant to say was that she nominates herself as executive chef and the newly-testicle-free Howie rolls over.

The decorators all go to a secure and undisclosed location. (It looks like a Pier 1 outlet, but the store didn't whore themselves out to Bravo, so we'll never know for sure.) Mohawk tells us that Queer Eye has nothing on him and Ted says "Say whaaaat?" They buy lots of stuff. Mohawk and Hung think vanilla candles are a good idea. Really?

Meanwhile, the cooks all go to Fresh Market to buy ingredients, then return to the kitchen to cook while the decorators try to put together a restaurant. Lurch is slow with the shellfish. Tre finds himself in the weeds, burns the potatoes, and decides to serve them anyway. Interesting choice, I wonder how that will work out for him.

Hung spazzes back into the kitchen to help out, knocks over a big vat of something red, and if looks could kill, he'd be going home in a bag. Hey, Hung, your monkey could knock pots off the counter!

Sevice starts and right out of the gate, Brian gives the judges dirty dishes and not enough silverware. *golf clap* Way to go. Somewhere Michael Midgley points at him and laughs. He probably says something like "Dude! You're so hosed!" Brian soon totally melts down and has a hissy in the kitchen, telling the other chefs that they need to stop cooking and help him, which begs the question of what exactly they would be serving if nobody is cooking. After a quick conference, HeyBattaBatta is sacrificed to the front of the house gods. Could Team Overdog be going down in flames?

Maybe not. The candlestink isn't going over as well as Mohawk and Hung had hoped. One of the guests goes so far as to put out the candle, set it on the floor, and cover it with a napkin. The judges are not fans either.

The candle-hating guest seizes his fifteen minutes of fame and runs with it by going all restaurant critic on Mohawk, dissecting the lamb experience at length. Mohawk shows that he's a much better waitron than I would be, because he doesn't stab him on the spot, set him on fire, or even quietly explain that he has customers who aren't assholes that he needs to check on. Obnoxious Douchebag finishes his complaints with "If that's a vegetable medley, I'm a monkey." Is this Hung's monkey? I thought he'd be better dressed. No fez? He's also fatter and considerably balder than I would expect for a monkey. Live and learn...

In fact, Mohawk rocks the front of the house. He's doing tableside presentations and totally has his shit together when he's out in front of the customers. He only lets his inner crazy become outer crazy when he's back with the waitstaff, who clearly want to knife him if he should ever turn his back on them.

Oh yeah... I forgot that they cooked, didn't I? Team Overdog served up oysters and watermelon slush, scallops on corn and truffle custard, grouper with basil and artichoke hearts, beef covered with stinky cheese and mushrooms with a side of ashtray potatoes, and for dessert, mango brainfreeze and baked apple things. Nothing impressed, but Tre's Beef and Butts seems to have been the worst of a bad bunch.

Team Underdog opened up with Hung's Tuna Tartare Nicoise which I thought everyone would pan because, according to the Veterans of Foreign Foods, Tuna Tartare is so overdone, but the judges seemed to like it. Things went downhill from there. Team Underdog decides that diners really want their restaurant experience to include food induced paralysis. Tiny Bald Howie piled fancy ingredients into his Portland Risotto but most of the glutinous mass went uneaten. Second Sara served up monster sized Medieval Times style slabs of beast with sunchoke potatoes. They end the meal on a high note, though, with Grand Marnier and dark chocolate crepes tarted up with a tableside application of bitter chocolate whipped cream.

Are you guys looking for real details on the food? Experience disappointment! Just one of the many services we offer here at the Dead Spot.

Much Ado About Nothing
Team Overdog are called in, and the judges start by telling them that they aren't the winners. Ho, snap!

This week, everybody shows class at the judge's table. They take responsibility for their mistakes. People actually step forward to say that problems in an area should belong to them. Nobody gets thrown over the bus. I quickly flip channels to find Top Chef. What have they done with my show?

Team Underdog is called in. About half way through their ass chewing, I point out that they haven't been told that they're the winners. I think the judges are hazing them, but Sue suggests that maybe neither team has won. Nicely predicted. That hadn't occurred to me.

Howie argues that his way of making risotto is better than the way everyone else in the world has chosen to make it, but in comparison to every other episode this season, this seems to be some sort of low-sodium, reduced-assholery version of Howie. A little advice from me to you, Howie? If everybody else does it differently, the odds are that you're the one doing it wrong. No charge.

The mystery guest blogger may or may not know about food, but she clearly doesn't know shit about design. Everything should come in a matte black option, sweetheart, and that includes tablecloths. Mohawk is right, white plates on black let the food pop. She also says that Restaurant April is a better name than The Garage, so she's kind of a dumbass. Neither are good names, but if I had to pick one sight unseen, I'll take my chances with The Garage. Overpriced pretension gives me the hives and just hearing "Restaurant April" makes me itchy.

As it happens, everybody shares the producers' Robot Chicken/M. Night Shyamalan: "Now That's A Tweest!" Immunity. Burgerwhore gives a copy of his book to everyone, nobody goes home, and we're going to do this all over again next week. Somewhere, right about now, Michael just threw his remote at the TV.

Because the Judges didn't have the huevos to pull the trigger, I'll give you the head to head results.

Last Mohawk Standing vs. The Talking Dog (front of the house battle!)
Team Underdog crushed Team Overdog in the front of the house so badly that it wasn't even funny, unless you're really into Schadenfreude. Thankfully, I am. Mohawk didn't cook anything, but Team Overdog doesn't really seem to have been helped by their cooking this week.

Hung vs. Casey At The Bat (gopher battle!)
On the one hand, Team Overdog gets the edge in restaurant design. Despite the guest blogger's criminally wrong-headed disdain for black, she was correct that the stinky candles were a bad idea. Hung signed off on that decision. On the other hand, he seems to have made the best dish of the night, which should count for something. On the other hand, I'm not sure what that vat of red stuff was, but they made so much of it that it had to be important. He's got to chill in the kitchen. On the other hand, Casey did bail out her team when Brian completely lost it. I ran out of hands a long time ago, so I'm going to call this one a draw.

Tiny Bald Howie vs. Lurch (sous chef battle!)
Nobody wins here. Lurch was so slow with the shellfish that he contributed to Tre's disaster. Even if this was Top Sous Chef, Lurch wouldn't have come out of this looking good, despite Howie turning out terrible food. However, since Lurch was team leader and his team failed on all counts, he has to shoulder some extra blame. Moreover, he hand-picked his team, dumping all the losers onto the other team. There's no excuse for failure this week. I'll choke down my bile and award this one to Team Underdog on the basis that they failed less miserably in this department. I guess.

Second Sara vs. Tre (executive chef battle!)
Second Sara's food was bad, but Tre's was inedible. I'm giving this one to Second Sara. Moreover, I think Second Sara made a really good decision to squash Howie this week. We've seen how things went when he was in charge of the kitchen. Not letting him take charge again was a really smart choice, regardless of whether she was the best chef on her team for the job. Tre, on the other hand, showed really questionable judgment. He knew the potatoes were terrible and he served them anyway. That was just stupid. Nobody had seen the menu yet. Just serve the crusty meat. It would have been better on its own, and those oversmoked potatoes dragged the whole meal down.

Did anyone see that coming? Lurch managed to throw away every advantage at his disposal. If it wasn't for those candles, Team Underdog would have whipped him at every stage of the game. Don't expect a return from Bizzaro Top Chef next week. Even though Team Underdog has to revamp less of their menu than the Overdogs, don't expect it to help them.

After Tiny Bald Howie's Tragedy Plate, Second Sara will try to really take charge of the kitchen and Howie will flip out. The judges will notice that Mohawk didn't actually cook in this episode, and he'll get raked over the coals no matter what he does next week. Hung will either show his thus-far veiled contempt for his teammates or accidentally stab someone. I'm hoping for both.

The Overdogs will smack Brian with a newspaper and put Casey in the front of the house, where she saved their ass. Tre can't possibly burn his food and serve it again. He's too good to make that kind of amateur blunder again. They'll probably remember to wipe their dishes this time too. They have to completely overhaul their menu, but they'll have all 4 chefs on deck to do it. I think they'll pull it off.

The only question at this point is whether we have a double elimination next week.

Weekend Update

NPR is saying this morning that there is more to the Missing Iraqi Guns story than was originally reported.

We have not only managed to destabilize Iraq by pumping hundreds of thousands of guns into the hands of people who shouldn't have them, but new findings show that we are destabilizing other countries as well. It looks like the Kurds are using their share of the missing guns to arm the PKK in Turkey, and four plane loads of guns sent from a US army base in Bosnia simply vanished.

That last bit is particularly important, because it shows that this mess can't entirely be laid at the feet of the Iraqis. They were gone before they even got to Iraq. In this case, we're the ones guilty of the kind of staggering stupidity one normally only associates with... oh, right... the Bush administration or the U.S. military. Point taken.

We have no one to blame but ourselves. It turns out that we chose to ship these guns using a cargo courier company that had a record of violating arms embargoes in Africa (Liberia and... crap, the other one escapes me now) in the 90s. That makes sense. Hand over tens of thousands of guns to a bunch of shady Moldovan gun runners. How could that possibly come back to bite us in the ass?

What's more, these guys didn't even bother filing a fake flight plan to Iraq. Amnesty International checked up on this shipment, and flight controllers in Iraq said that the company doesn't even have any landing slots in Iraq... they're not even authorized to land in Iraq.

I'll add a better link when I can find one. Probably some time after we stop sucking our internet through a bar straw...

In other news, we've launched a new offensive in Iraq. It's unclear at this time whether this is a new new offensive or part of the old new offensive.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

That's All It Takes

All you have to do is not be a dick. That's all it takes.

I'm Deadspot and I recognize the irony... I mean, I'm Deadspot and I support this message.

You know what? I don't think I will leave it at that after all.

Look, I, of all people, know that sometimes you can be a dick without meaning to. It happens to me all the time. I don't always mean to be a dick, I just am one sometimes. (As opposed to the rest of the time, when I really do mean to be a dick... because it's funny when I do it.) I have a genetic predisposition. I may have mentioned it.

So I'm willing to buy the idea that nobody on the staff of Top Chef realized before the show started last week that the challenge would put the women at a disadvantage. It seems... unlikely... but I'll buy it. I don't think I buy the idea that nobody realized it once the challenge started. I'm sure that I don't buy the idea that nobody realized it by the time the show wrapped.

Look, it's OK for women to want to be sexy in some situations and not others. In fact, I'm a fan. Thank you. No really, thank you. Mmm... sexy. Wait... what was I talking about? Oh yeah. Clothes. Look at the way the guys dressed for clubbing compared to the way they dressed for work: not so different. Of course the guys didn't let the challenge get to them. Well, duh! Pants and shirt... pants and shirt. If you look at the difference in the way the women dressed: much different. And I don't think anybody would be surprised by that.

So what was with the puritanical bullshit attitude that somehow Sara deserved what happened because of the way she dressed? Can we now rejoin the 21st century, already in progress? It's easy... all you have to do is not be a dick. Just admit that the women were playing a whole different game than the guys last week.

OK, again, with a little reluctance, I'll buy the contention that somehow this never occurred to Radicchio and Ted and Govind during judging because a) they're dudes and b) not exactly the sharpest crayons in the box, and c) Radicchio and Govind were probably easily distracted by the boobs on display. Ted only has a) and b) to fall back on. However, by Thursday morning, we have a leetle more context, yes?

So what was the deal with Bravo sticking the shot down Sara's shirt as she leaned over the grill on all of their blogs last week? Yeah, it's the internet, which was basically designed to give people a place to store their pictures of boobs, and yeah, it is kind of relevant to the plot that she's a) hot, and b) flashing some cleavage, because it led to her elimination. However, she was also a) really upset about the situation and b) really screwed by it. From her exit interview, it sounded like the night started off with drunk guys hitting on her and went downhill from there, so it wasn't just "I'm sad because I'm hot. Boo hoo." There was no need to run that shot over and over and over, and to keep putting up new copies day after day after day. How long does it take for a little enlightenment or consideration to kick in?

Look, if you want to show that the women were dressed in a sexy way, how about a shot of Second Sara? (...please. Ba-dum cha!) She was a) showing even more cleavage and b) (and this is the important part) not upset about the way she was dressed. Or if you think it's important to show a shot of the way Sara was dressed, how about one that's not right down her cleavage? They had hours and hours of video to choose from and all of their blogs ran the same damn picture. There's really no excuse.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, all they had to do was not be a dick. That's all it takes.

I'm Deadspot, et cetera.

And now Bravo makes me look like a dick. They've gone back and removed the shot from all of the blogs. Whatev'.

For those of you playing at home, the answer to the question "How long does it take for a little enlightenment or consideration to kick in?" is, apparently, "For Bravo, about a week."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

On The Off Chance That You Haven't Seen This Yet

Hey, look. It's 1994, and it's the vice president predicting the current quagmire in Iraq.

What a Dick.

It's On Tonight, Becks.

Just a little reminder for our Top Chef scheduling impaired friends.

Speaking of delicious food:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Evil Takes A Vacation

Evil pulled his Hummer into the parking lot of the Yakov Smirnoff Theatre, flipped his cell phone closed, and called out, "In Soviet Russia, ass bores the comedian off you!"

"Jesus, Dad. Enough with the Russian reversal already; you've been doing that since St. Louis. It's been four hours and it's still not funny." The Spawn of Evil hopped out of the back and threw his half-empty Big Gulp toward a trash can. It hit the rim and burst open, spraying a nearby car with watery cola. "Two points!" yelled the Spawn, leaping clumsily into the air and giving an imaginary high-five.

"Nice shot, Hoops," muttered the Wife sarcastically as she got out, kicking Evian empties out of her foot well with her bright red Crocs, "It's only two points if you make it."

"Christ," wondered Evil, "has her ass always been that big?"

A hot, dry wind blew through the parking lot, ruffling the Spawn's mullet. "Dad! Dad! Fireworks! Let's blow some shit up!" The Spawn dashed across the parking lot toward the roadside stand with the Wife and her big, square Midwestern ass in pursuit.

Staring out through the windshield, Evil took a long, slow sip of his Venti Decaf No-Fat Caramel Frappuccino. "Just throw it back into drive. Stomp the gas," he thought to himself. Evil sighed and turned the key. "Time was I wouldn't even have thought twice about running over those two assholes. When the hell did I become so middle class?"

Monday, August 13, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Little Something To Throw Up Later

What? Mohawk's gay? Well, that explains the manpris last week. Pardon me while I feign surprise. Aw... and he's got a little buddy. Just so there's no confusion, Sara explains that he's her new gay boyfriend.

You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream For Cauliflower Foam
It's the Coldstone Creamery Ice Cream Quickfire Challenge and Govind Armstrong is the guest host. Hey, if I give Govind a dollar, will he sing? Quick, somebody get me a buck!

Most people play to win, but not everybody is into that whole conventional "not making the customer vomit" style of cooking. Casey At The Bat decides to piss away her shot at immunity this week by dumping Sriracha over the ice cream without bothering to taste it. She tells the judges, "We joke around that it goes with anything. I guess we'll see." Yes, Casey, yes we will. Hung tells us that his monkey can put fruit on ice cream. Hung's monkey obviously knows more about cooking than Hung, who has about 90 different ingredients including tempura flakes, cauliflower, and some kind of foam.

Tre helpfully explains to us that the guest judge is an african american. Thanks. I'd missed that.

What a surprise. Hung is at the bottom again. Does anyone still consider him the chef to beat? You know, unless they mean "with a mallet". He humbly accepts the guest judge's criti... I kid! I kid! He manages to be even more condescending than Micah about what common people want to eat. What a dick.

Tiny Bald Howie makes something with... masturbated berries? WTF? Oh! Macerated... my bad. Last Mohawk Standing wins it with something I would actually eat. His Grand Marnier peach cobbler ice cream sounds delish.

In Da Club
What? Nobody saw this coming? Are you kidding me? They must have forgotten their very first experience on Top Chef: "Hey guys, we're throwing you a party. Welcome to Miami! Have fun! Woo hoo!... Psyche! Now make us an amuse bouche out of the leftovers, bitches." They're cut off from phones, TV, books, the internet, and apparently common sense if they think they're really going to get a night out on the town. They get dressed to the nines (Does anyone say that anymore? Probably not.) and the limos take them to a pair of mobile kitchens parked outside a trendy nightspot. The chefs are surprised. Nobody else is.

Mohawk actually does get the night off, and everybody hates him for it.

To the knife block! Oh sure, Tre's on the Black Team. Why'd you have to go there? Racists. Joining him are Hung, Second Sara, and Brian the Token Dog. That puts Lurch, Casey at the Bat, Sara, and Tiny Bald Howie on the Orange Team. Why'd you have to... oh, wait... I've got nothing that goes with orange.

Everybody there knows that the Orange Team is boned already, and so do you. The chefs on the Black Team are so relieved that Howie isn't on their team that they're practically dancing.

The teams check out the mobile kitchens, figure out a menu, and go to the store to buy ingredients. Then they come back and start cooking for drunks.

For the Black Team, Hung is on the fryer station and he's making onion rings and chicken wings. Hey, Hung, your monkey can make rings and wings. They're also serving... oh, god... Raw oysters on top of heavy drinking? Does the raw bar come with a stack of barf bags? I hope they have a hose handy. If you're surprised that the Talking Dog made ceviche, then this must be your first episode of Top Chef. Welcome! Tre is making bacon-wrapped shrimp, but he's putting it on grits, because nothing says "outdoor eating convenience" like a big glop of slop? That said, Second Sara's goodies are on display and they look fabulous. Hey, get your mind out of the gutter! She's making jerked flank steak tacos that look delicious. She can jerk my steak any time. What? Again with the gutter? I just like a little hot, spicy Caribbean now and then... That's all I'm sayin'. Oh, you people are awful. Moving on...

After your reaction to the previous paragraph, I refuse to even use the phrases "chocolate-dipped banana" or "covered with nuts". Wait... oops. Casey's making those and she's also making quesadillas with salsa verde. Tiny Bald Howie is making some kind of sweaty faux cuban sandwich. Lurch is making ceviche. We get it, you're in Miami. Enough with the ceviche already! Sara's obviously seen drunk people before, because she's making sliders.

Sara is also on milkshake duty and wants to add ice to them, because that's how she makes them. Interesting choice. Trivia for the day: did you know that about 90% of asians are lactose intolerant? I wonder if she's used to making something more like a smoothie or a lassi to cut the amount of milk in her shakes. Tiny Bald Howie starts to argue and then decides that he doesn't really care if someone else screws their dish up.

The Talking Dog is having some kind of reaction to being crated last episode, because he's become a huge camera whore. He's channeling his inner frat boy, and I agree with Lurch that Brian is the most annoying contestant out there. Lurch says he's going to turn it up in response, and the result is pathetic in a sort of gangly, shambling, incoherent kind of way.

The Orange Team's food takes forever when Radicchio shows up. That doesn't bode well, hunh? He waits and waits and it's nearly as awkward as Govind and Mohawk's little dinner party. The food inside was, I'm told, "awesome"... no seriously, it was awesome. They give us some other shots of judges tasting food and then it's off to the judges' table.

Asshole: It's the New Bulldog.
Obviously the Black Team won, and they are called in first. Interesting. Grits, like hot sweet cousin lovin', moonshine, and country music sung by toothless hillbillies, is an acquired taste mainly confined to the south. I know they're in Miami, but I'd assumed Tre was going to be hosed for slopping gruel on a paper plate. It just goes to show that booze, cheese, and bacon can overcome just about anything. Tre wins a book on late night snacks and some kind of platinum VIP access to all of Govind's clubs. Yay?

The Orange Team are called in to find out who is going home. Somebody forgot to give Casey and Sara the memo that they were supposed to smile and lie about their reaction to the challenge, and the judges hate them for not being robots. Casey says something about gouging the eyes out of any of her staff that see her outside the kitchen or something like that. I may not have been listening carefully.

Can somebody buy the judges a fucking dictionary already? Tiny Bald Howie's sandwiches can't be both "dry" and "doughy". Words mean things, people!

Aaaaaaaand there it is: Howie throws Sara over the bus. What an asshole. Drink! Casey the "expediter" says that she had no idea that things were going badly in the kitchen... the kitchen that she was standing in... expediting. Wha? Lurch didn't know they were having problems until just this second? Really? I think they're trying to defend Sara without going too far out on a limb, but would it kill them to come out and say that Howie can't lay all the blame on Sara? Apparently nobody has the spine to admit that they all sucked today.

Chef Radicchio is, unsurprisingly, a dick. Yet again, he gives completely impossible-to-follow direction that contradicts his comments in previous challenges. He tells Sara that if the team shot down her ideas, she should have ignored the team's decision, bought her own ingredients, and done her own thing anyway. Right. Because that wouldn't have come back to bite her in the ass... Does he even listen to himself any more?

The team is sent out to await the final verdict, and there is a palpable sense of doom and resignation in the air. Tiny Bald Howie is unrepentant, Sara is pissed, and this is all for show because the outcome is not really in doubt. This is just a chance for the chefs to yell at each other before commercial. Everyone, Howie included, concludes that Howie is an asshole. Drink twice!

Tiny Bald Howie has the producers' Greyhound: Over The Bus Immunity this week because I already made a joke about assholes (Drink!), and so Sara packs her knives. The general consensus afterward is that all the chefs want Howie to go die in a fire. That dude is such a disaster to work with that you just know the judges will keep him around until the end.

Next week, if history tells us anything, is Lurch's week to leave.

Yes. I do know I predicted that last week. Why do you ask?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Call A Spade A Spade

John McCain's position on Iraq isn't "principled", it's "really fucking stupid".

I would also accept "delusional", "totally ludicrous", or "completely divorced from reality".

Not Advocated in Business School...

Corporations should have fewer rights than individuals, not more. Any right given to a fictional person should automatically be granted to an actual person. Always, no exceptions.

I'm Deadspot, and I support this message.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Better Off Dead.

How much should you really trust an online dating service that comes with a tool to figure out how much your dead body is worth? I just have to think that would raise a warning flag.

"Hi! I'm AngryLoner666, and I enjoy power tools, long walks in the dark, and abandoned buildings. My turn ons are runaways, women who work alone late at night, and cars that break down on lonely country roads. My turn offs are cops, bright light, and good cell phone service. Call me!"


Also, can someone explain why my appendix drove the price up? Is there a black market for appendix transplants that I don't know about? 'Cause, you know, I've got one that I'm not using...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Good Thing Guns Don't Kill People

Because we're not so great at keeping them out of the wrong hands. It turns out that there are "discrepancies" in the records of what happened to the weapons and armor that we gave to the Iraqi security forces.

Out of 185,000 AK-47s given to Iraq, they've only managed to keep track of about 40% of them. 110,000 have gone missing. They've lost almost half of the pistols we sent, 80,000 out of 170,000. They've lost almost 2/3 of the body armor we sent: 135,000 sets are gone, only 80,000 are where they're supposed to be. More than 80% of the 140,000 helmets are missing. I know this administration is used to failing grades, but this is ridiculous.

Gee, I wonder where they could possibly have gone... The writer thinks that they may have gone to the insurgency, which is, I suppose, one possibility. It seems rather more likely that the Shia-dominated security forces are arming Shia paramilitaries, rather than the Sunni-dominated insurgency, but I'm sure that there's a pipeline to both sides of the civil war.

Now, because there are not already enough guns in Iraq, the Pentagon wants to give another $2 billion (with a b) worth of equipment to the same assholes that "lost" the equipment we gave them the first time. Do we have any reason to believe that they will do a better job this time around?

Food Poisoning?

It sucks beyond all reason.

...and that's as much description as either of us care for me to give.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Just Chillin'

Wherein Lurch becomes the voice of the author.
Did Lurch speak before this episode? Since I liked him, it can only mean one thing: he's going down soon. But, as usual, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Breakfast Montage, Get Thee Behind Me
This episode runs an extra 15 minutes long, do we really need this? I miss Lia too, but do we really need to see all the guys hanging around in their jammies talking about it? On the other hand, if we didn't get the montage, we would have missed Joey Bagadonuts saying that sometimes you have to throw someone over the bus. Let's point and laugh, and then it's on to the Quickfire...

Oatmeal? WTF? OATMEAL?
The guest judge is... really weird looking. Is he made of plastic? It's Rocco DiSpirito from The Restaurant. He's distractingly creepy.

The Quickfire is an ingredient identification bee. Lurch opines that Hung will be tough to beat, and that he is an arrogant asshole, which leaves me with nothing else to say about him. Chefs come up in turn to identify a mystery ingredient by either taste or sight. It's a massacre. Six chefs go out in the first round on weird stuff like yucca and taro root (I'd have guessed "horse turd" on that one). But then what's this? That's not "bowtie pasta", Casey, it's farfalle, and I'm bugging now. a) They're asking a chef to visually identify "bowtie pasta" and they consider it a challenge? b) How did they let her get away with that answer? and c) bowtie pasta? Seriously? Second Sara gets tahini, and guesses it correctly, but is knocked out because the first thing out of her mouth was peanut butter. And by that I mean that she said "peanut butter" first, not... ewwww! What's wrong with you? Hung gets the crazy mystery ingredient oatmeal. Are you kidding me? It's not even cooked, so it's totally obvious what it is. If I'd been knocked out by raspberry vinegar, when they are allowing bowtie pasta and oatmeal, I'd have stabbed someone before the day was done... and that's just one of the many reasons I'm not a contestant. My propensity for saying things like "horse turd" on camera is another that leaps to mind. After Joey's knocked out, he blames it on Padma's distracting hotness, and the "asshole" standing next to her. Nice!

Oh! And Lurch called it... Hung gets called up to taste a tiny bowl full of seeds and answers before he even tastes them. What a dick. Happily, he's wrong. Lurch laughs and calls him a douche. Again, I have nothing to add.

In the end, Casey At The Bat gets immunity again. The Talking Dog had to visually identify a bowl of round green things as Japanese Eggplant and failed, while Casey had to taste... roasted red bell peppers? Schwa? I love Lee Anne and everything, but unless Padma and Plastic Man royally screwed things up somehow, the difficulty level of the challenge was shockingly uneven.

Did this remind anyone else of the booze-fueled junk food taste off from Season Two? That was really funny. The only thing funny about this was Lurch.

Oh, and just for the record: that wasn't a cheese slicer, it was a cheese planer, dumbass. I know. I've been to Wisconsin. How the hell do you cook a cheese planer, anyway? Weren't they supposed to be identifying ingredients?

Hey, Mambo! Mambo Italiano...
Ah. It seems that Recycled Rocco is a shill for Bertolli frozen pasta. Those commercials are going to account for the rest of the extra 15 minutes, aren't they?

To the knife block! The chefs draw knives to form 5 teams: Hung and Joey (Go Team Asshole!), Tiny Bald Howie and Second Sara, Sara and the Talking Dog, Lurch and Tre, and Last Mohawk Standing and Casey At The Bat

Each team has to make frozen Mediterranean meals that can be cooked in 10 minutes and then unload them on customers at a grocery store. The winners each get a trip for two to Italy. Sweet! The chefs get some time to examine an actual frozen meal in the kitchen... because they've probably never seen one before. They will then go shopping with a hundred bucks to make 15 meals. When they get back, they have two hours to cook, they'll freeze them over night, and then have an hour to package the frozen meals the next day. An hour to pack 15 meals into a cooler? That should tell them something. For the most part, it doesn't.

Hung likes his team's chances because he "understands the science" of freezing food, and Joey's Italian. Oh please, do drop some science on us, Hung.

During the shopping segment, Tiny Bald Howie launches into a semi-coherent rant about tricolor fusilli, and thinks Second Sara is an idiot for suggesting it. Has Sara mentioned that Tiny Bald Howie is a bulldog recently? They're getting along so well. Howie's mancrush Joey, however, thinks tricolor fusilli is the shit, and Hung goes along with his new Italian buddy. I take my nickname back. Go Team Coattails! It looks like Hung is going to try to ride Joey through this challenge like a tiny obnoxious jockey. Now, if Hung can get his monkey to ride him while he rides Joey, then you've got a show... or a video that belongs in that special section at the back of the store.

I may need therapy.

Oh my god! Hey, Science Boy, did you just double dip? What the hell? I tell you, if I saw Hung dip a spoon in the sauce, put it in his mouth, and then put the dirty spoon back in the sauce when he's cooking for me, they'd have to x-ray the little bastard to figure out the best way to remove it from his colon. The constant stream of sweat from Tiny Bald Howie into the food is nasty, but double dipping? That's on a ho... nuvva... levvo. Oops. Wrong channel. Watching this season, it's hard to believe that the first person to ever get eliminated on Top Chef got sent home for just dipping their finger in the sauce.

Tre and Lurch have figured out that they have to freeze everything separately, and Tre is so damned excited about it that he's practically wetting himself. Hung figured it out and wants to make the little sauce cubes like in the Bertolli, but Joey bulls on through and dumps the sauce on the pasta, just like he's packing leftovers for lunch. Hung lets him do it. I wonder how that'll work out for them?

The next morning, 4 of the teams pull their baggies from the freezer, drop them into a cooler, and spend the next 55 minutes watching Lurch and Tre. I wonder if they realize that they screwed up? (Actually, if you listen carefully, it turns out that Mohawk and the Batter did package their sauce separately, but everything else is a big lump, and the Talking Dog and Sara packaged their parmesan and pine nut toppings in a "flavor packet", which you and I probably call a "zip-lock") At the store, Lurch and Tre sit around watching the others try to thaw their bricks of chow, then finally get started, busting out their food in half the time allotted. Mohawk and the Batter are the first to unload all their food on customers, closely followed by Tre and Lurch. I'd tell you what happens with Brian and Sara, but they're getting no airtime this week. Maybe if they had an hour and a half... Second Sara and Howie finally unload three of their 15 meals, and it's Italian Joey and his tiny jockey Hung bringing up the rear, unable to give away even a single box of their inedible mush.

Armagideon Time
The best are called in and it's Lurch and Tre's Truffle Butter-Kale-Parmesan-Tomato Linguine vs. Casey and Mohawk's Pesto and Meatballs Orecchiette. As they walk in, check out Mohawk's outfit. At this point I'm forced to quote one of my favorite Venture Brothers episodes: Are those giant shorts or tiny pants?

If Tre says "I.Q.F." one more time, I'm going to brain him with a meat tenderizer. The judges say "one of those metal meat hammer thingies" would also be acceptable.

The dude with the Lee Press-On Hair asks Casey and Mohawk again if they tasted their food, and still doesn't believe them. He loved their pesto, but his meatball was still a little frozen in the center. Damn, thassa chilly meataball. In their defense, we did see them sample their food at the store.

"Frozen meatball" trumps "crowd favorite", and Lurch and Tre win. They send back the losers and Sara and Brian wonder whose leg you have to hump to get a little screen time here.

Hung is in the bottom again, and for once he shuts his yap... for a few seconds. Once the questions start, however, he reverts to form and throws Joey over the bus. Now, to be fair, it was pretty much Joey's insistence on freezing the sauce with the pasta that hosed them. Hung tries to have it both ways, though, and says that he isn't trying to blame their failure on Joey... while trying to blame their failure on Joey. The judges call him on this bullshit. Joey defends himself by saying that he's a big dumb guy. Um, Joey, this helps you... how exactly?

OK, Radicchio, let's you and me take a little Logic Break, shall we? If the dish was a complete disaster, and Second Sara didn't have anything to do with it, shouldn't that be a mark in her favor? See how that works? Because, you know, if she was responsible for the dish and it sucked... Here, let me draw you a diagram. I'll take a minute or two while you think it through.

You probably didn't think of this when the episode started, but if you've been drinking a shot every time you heard the word "bulldog" during this episode, you're as drunk as the Pogues right now. Try it during re-runs and let me know.

In the waiting room, Tiny Bald Howie is, and this should come as no surprise to anyone, still being a jerk. Sure, he can be a graceful winner, but he's a bad, bad loser. Lurch gives Howie a little shit, and Howie blows up. It is kind of a dick move for the winner to hassle someone facing elimination, but Howie was still the bigger asshole here. And when you take into account how big Lurch is and how little Howie is, then... carry the one, multiply by... I don't know. It has something to do with density, right?

Honestly, I thought Second Sara was probably going home because of the way Radicchio went after her. He was like a... what's that dog again? The ugly one with the flat face? Never mind, It'll come to me... Joey was my second pick, though. If you can't give your food away, you're pretty much boned.

The judges surprise me by actually caring whether the food was edible. Hung has the producers' They Shoot Horses, Don't They? immunity this round, so Joey Bagadonuts is outta here. Everybody hugs, Joey has a good cry, and they won't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more... Wait. What?

Lurch got a lot of air time tonight and he was surprisingly funny. I bet they can him next week.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

It's Thursday Again

If we stopped engaging in wars of choice, we would have the money to repair our infrastructure.

I'm Deadspot and I support this message.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Dude, I'm So Sorry About Your Penis.

You know what they say: the bigger the rattle, the smaller the saber. Barak, buddy, check your email. There are probably several offers already waiting there to help you with your little problem.

Why can't these clowns just get through their midlife crises by buying sports cars and chasing younger women?

Attention, Catherine Tate Mafia

Does anyone know of somewhere else that I can dump this slightly-used horse's head? I don't think I need it any more.

If you were as disappointed as I was to see that Catherine Tate was in only one episode of Dr. Who, you will be pleased to hear that she will be back for an extended run in Season 4.

In other geek-related news: Kylie Minogue will be guest starring in the next Dr. Who xmas special, and Torchwood is coming to BBC America.