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!