Saturday, January 31, 2009


Wherein what gets put where I have not defined

Cover Lay Down: Folk covers of familiar songs. Reimagined versions of folk songs. Because in the folk tradition, music belongs to the community.

Hmm, sounds like a bunch of damn commies. I'll let that pass for now and just enjoy the discussions and exposure to artists and covers I've not heard. For example, I really liked the jazzy Für Elise in The Covers Roundtable.

Yes, I am that infantile

Wherein because it amused me

I have created the one and only label this blog needs: Springsteen is teh sux. I don't plan on using it too much in the future...but if I do, it's there.

January reading

Wherein list may not be complete or updated for accuracy

Books completed during January, 2009. In no particular order.
  1. The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, H.W. Brands
  2. Where the Evil Dwells, Clifford Simak
  3. Circus World, Barry Longyear
  4. City of Baraboo, Barry Longyear
  5. Elephant Song, Barry Longyear
  6. Peter Pan in Scarlet, Geraldine McCaughrean
  7. All New Square Foot Gardening, Mel Bartholomew
  8. Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, Steven Levy; reread for the umpteenth time.

  9. His Majesty's Dragon, Naomi Novik

  10. Wizard of Oz, Frank L. Baum

  11. Misfortune, Wesley Stace

A couple of cookbooks received for Christmas that I've spent time reading and perhaps cooking from:
  • Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide, by Thomas Keller and Harold McGee
  • The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest, Mollie Katzen

Friday, January 30, 2009

I think America lost its innocence when we witnessed Justin Timberlake touch a woman, any woman

Wherein learned earlier this week from somewhere else this web publication exists I loved the Smith/Strausbaugh NY Press

Nick Gillespie is interviewed and speaks truth to power about THE BRUUUUUUUUUCE:
ST: Are you as appalled as me that Bruce Springsteen, that Philip Berrigan kind of liberal who eschews materialism, is playing the half-time show at the Super Bowl?

NG: Why Springsteen? Is Gary Glitter still stuck in Thailand? Is Buddy Holly not returning the NFL's phone calls?

I grew up in Monmouth County, New Jersey, which contains both Springsteen's hometown (Freehold) and his early haunt (Asbury Park), so I can't stand him in the same way that only a New Yorker can really, really hate the Yankees. I'll say this much about the Boss: His output over the past 25 years or so would make even Beethoven nostalgic for the first few albums. Springsteen is in that elite group of rock stars who have objectively sucked two, three, or even four times longer than they were ever any good (are you listening Sting, David Bowie, R.E.M., Patti Smith?). That, and in the video for "Glory Days," he had the worst fake baseball throwing arm since Gary Cooper in Pride of the Yankees. Which is saying something.

Watching Springsteen perform at the Super Bowl—and before him, rock mummies like Tom Petty and Rolling Stones—let's just say I'd rather go straight to the Bodies exhibition, where at least no one is pretending that the corpses on display aren't actually dead.


Short quote: indignant

Wherein having read the interview even factoring in the liberties taken by the NY Times the interview subject came off extremely poorly and sounds like she suffers from entitlement issues

Editing without labeling:
Perhaps I should have been more indignant, but I've learned not to expect much in the way of journalistic ethics from broadcast news organizations.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lost comment

Wherein as the show began I said Oh great we're going to find out about another Jack tattoo

Any episode without Jack is an instant classic. So when this show ends next year, who will be the ultimate villain? I'm betting Hurley. Though if this was a Joss Whedon production Hurley would have been killed off after running over The Others with the van.

Hurley: I saved the day!
Massive heart attack: drop dead, now

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Wherein free verse spam
she can't stop climaxing
Expensive watches sell at $220/piece



rotation of earth
Jonas Brothers
Pineapple Express
something about the 2008 Summer Olympics

bonus questions:
  1. According to Microsoft tradition, at your ten year anniversary you are supposed to bring in 10 punds of what?
  2. One of these doesn't belong: eggplant, potato, sweet potato, tobacco, tomato
  3. He was nominated for the Razzies Worst Actor award for nine consecutive years from 1984 to 1992, winning four times.
  4. In 2004, Ben Stiller was nominated for Worst Actor in 2004 for a record five titles in one year. How many can you name.
  5. By Mr. Owl's reckoning, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?
  6. According to the Tootsie Pop wiki page, three research studies have investigated the Tootsie Pop licking question. Two were mechanical licking machines that came up with averages of 364 and 411. In the study using 20 human volunteers, was their average lower, in the middle, or higher?

short quote: harassment

Wherein why I've never donated to any politician or political cause and why I never will

Eugene Volokh:
I suspect this sort of technology may well make people much more reluctant to donate money to (or against) controversial propositions -- and may lead people to rethink whether the government should indeed mandate disclosure of such contributions, especially small contributions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

short quote: happy

Wherein what he said

Do we have to talk about this every year?
"Happy" is also a slap in the face of us miserable bastards.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Five videos that make me laugh

Wherein Har Mar Superstar is my musical idol


Word learned

Wherein edumacation

oding. To watch dragonflies. Heard on an episode of Says You.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Short quote: idiots

Wherein in my experience the idiots never listen that's why they're idiots

Football Outsiders:
  • While I have no sources for this, I personally always wondered if he has just been around football so long that it seems weird that people show up and ask him questions about it, so he's just plain bad at it. Like if suddenly the press started showing up at my office everyday and asking me a bunch of random questions about how my day went -- "How was the coding today? Did you expect the database to crash like it did? How come you didn't return that last phone call?" -- I'd be like, listen idiots, no one cares, and you won't understand my answer anyway so why don't you go bother someone else?

  • At risk of outing myself as a soccer fan, I think when they do this, they should get the talking-to from the referee. "Oh no, Ronaldo is getting the dreaded lecture" is one of my favorite things to hear during a match. DPI-begging is fast becoming the flop of American football.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Tim Curry festival

Wherein because he could sing

I'm Going Home, 1978

"Losing My Mind" ( Sondheim), 1997

M.O.T.H.E.R., 1974

Baby Love, 1976

Tim Curry does Ray Charles

I Do the Rock

Sweet Transvestite

Sweet Transvestite karaoke

Friday, January 23, 2009

First sentences

Wherein a lot of words contains text for all inaugural addresses. Let's see how each began.

George Washington, April 30, 1789:
Among the vicissitudes incident to life no event could have filled me withgreater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the 14th day of the present month.

George Washington, March 4, 1793:
I am again called upon by the voice of my country to execute the functions of its Chief Magistrate.

John Adams, March 4, 1797:
When it was first perceived, in early times, that no middle course for America remained between unlimited submission to a foreign legislature and a total independence of its claims, men of reflection were less apprehensive of danger from the formidable power of fleets and armies they must determine to resist than from those contests and dissensions which would certainly arise concerning the forms of government to be instituted over the whole and over the parts of this extensive country.

Thomas Jefferson, March 4, 1801:
Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow-citizens which is here assembled to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look toward me, to declare a sincere consciousness that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and awful presentiments which the greatness of the charge and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire.

Thomas Jefferson,March 4, 1805:
Proceeding, fellow-citizens, to that qualification which the Constitution requires before my entrance on the charge again conferred on me, it is my duty to express the deep sense I entertain of this new proof of confidence from my fellow-citizens at large, and the zeal with which it inspires me so to conduct myself as may best satisfy their just expectations.

James Madison, March 4, 1809:
Unwilling to depart from examples of the most revered authority, I avail myself of the occasion now presented to express the profound impression made on me by the call of my country to the station to the duties of which I am about to pledge myself by the most solemn of sanctions.

James Madison, March 4, 1813:
About to add the solemnity of an oath to the obligations imposed by a second call to the station in which my country heretofore placed me, I find in the presence of this respectable assembly an opportunity of publicly repeating my profound sense of so distinguished a confidence and of the responsibility united with it.

James Monroe, March 4, 1817:
I should be destitute of feeling if I was not deeply affected by the strong proof which my fellow-citizens have given me of their confidence in calling me to the high office whose functions I am about to assume.

James Monroe, March 5, 1821:
I shall not attempt to describe the grateful emotions which the new and very distinguished proof of the confidence of my fellow-citizens, evinced by my reelection to this high trust, has excited in my bosom.

John Quincy Adams, March 4, 1825:
In compliance with an usage coeval with the existence of our Federal Constitution, and sanctioned by the example of my predecessors in the career upon which I am about to enter, I appear, my fellow-citizens, in your presence and in that of Heaven to bind myself by the solemnities of religious obligation to the faithful performance of the duties allotted to me in the station to which I have been called.

Andrew Jackson, March 4, 1829:
About to undertake the arduous duties that I have been appointed to perform by the choice of a free people, I avail myself of this customary and solemn occasion to express the gratitude which their confidence inspires and to acknowledge the accountability which my situation enjoins.

Andrew Jackson, March 4, 1833:
The will of the American people, expressed through their unsolicited suffrages, calls me before you to pass through the solemnities preparatory to taking upon myself the duties of President of the United States for another term.

Martin Van Buren, March 4, 1837:
The practice of all my predecessors imposes on me an obligation I cheerfully fulfill—to accompany the first and solemn act of my public trust with an avowal of the principles that will guide me in performing it and an expression of my feelings on assuming a charge so responsible and vast.

William Henry Harrison , March 4, 1841:
Called from a retirement which I had supposed was to continue for the residue of my life to fill the chief executive office of this great and free nation, I appear before you, fellow-citizens, to take the oaths which the Constitution prescribes as a necessary qualification for the performance of its duties; and in obedience to a custom coeval with our Government and what I believe to be your expectations I proceed to present to you a summary of the principles which will govern me in the discharge of the duties which I shall be called upon to perform.

James Knox Polk, March 4, 1845:
Without solicitation on my part, I have been chosen by the free and voluntary suffrages of my countrymen to the most honorable and most responsible office on earth.

Zachary Taylor, March 5, 1849:
Elected by the American people to the highest office known to our laws, I appear here to take the oath prescribed by the Constitution, and, in compliance with a time-honored custom, to address those who are now assembled.

Franklin Pierce, March 4, 1853:
It a relief to feel that no heart but my own can know the personal regret and bitter sorrow over which I have been borne to a position so suitable for others rather than desirable for myself. (looks like a typo at the beginning, but this has the same text, and this. Wikisource has It is, which is probably correct, but no source is given.)

James Buchanan, March 4, 1857:
I appear before you this day to take the solemn oath "that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1861:
In compliance with a custom as old as the Government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly and to take in your presence the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States to be taken by the President "before he enters on the execution of this office."

Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1865:
At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first.

Ulysses S. Grant, March 4, 1869:
Your suffrages having elected me to the office of President of the United States, I have, in conformity to the Constitution of our country, taken the oath of office prescribed therein.

Ulysses S. Grant, March 4, 1873:
Under Providence I have been called a second time to act as Executive over this great nation.

Rutherford B. Hayes, March 5, 1877:
We have assembled to repeat the public ceremonial, begun by Washington, observed by all my predecessors, and now a time-honored custom, which marks the commencement of a new term of the Presidential office.

James A. Garfield, March 4, 1881:
mmmmm, lasagna -- just seeing if anyone is still reading.... We stand to-day upon an eminence which overlooks a hundred years of national life—a century crowded with perils, but crowned with the triumphs of liberty and law.

Grover Cleveland, March 4, 1885:
In the presence of this vast assemblage of my countrymen I am about to supplement and seal by the oath which I shall take the manifestation of the will of a great and free people.

Benjamin Harrison, March 4, 1889:
There is no constitutional or legal requirement that the President shall take the oath of office in the presence of the people, but there is so manifest an appropriateness in the public induction to office of the chief executive officer of the nation that from the beginning of the Government the people, to whose service the official oath consecrates the officer, have been called to witness the solemn ceremonial.

Grover Cleveland, March 4, 1893:
In obedience of the mandate of my countrymen I am about to dedicate myself to their service under the sanction of a solemn oath.

William McKinley, March 4, 1897:
In obedience to the will of the people, and in their presence, by the authority vested in me by this oath, I assume the arduous and responsible duties of President of the United States, relying upon the support of my countrymen and invoking the guidance of Almighty God.

William McKinley, March 4, 1901:
When we assembled here on the 4th of March, 1897, there was great anxiety with regard to our currency and credit.

Theodore Roosevelt, March 4, 1905:
My fellow-citizens, no people on earth have more cause to be thankful than ours, and this is said reverently, in no spirit of boastfulness in our own strength, but with gratitude to the Giver of Good who has blessed us with the conditions which have enabled us to achieve so large a measure of well-being and of happiness.

William Howard Taft, March 4, 1909:
Anyone who has taken the oath I have just taken must feel a heavy weight of responsibility.

Woodrow Wilson, March 4, 1913:
There has been a change of government.

Woodrow Wilson, March 5, 1917:
The four years which have elapsed since last I stood in this place have been crowded with counsel and action of the most vital interest and consequence.

Warren G. Harding, March 4, 1921:
When one surveys the world about him after the great storm, noting the marks of destruction and yet rejoicing in the ruggedness of the things which withstood it, if he is an American he breathes the clarified atmosphere with a strange mingling of regret and new hope.

Calvin Coolidge, March 4, 1925:
No one can contemplate current conditions without finding much that is satisfying and still more that is encouraging.

Herbert Hoover, March 4, 1929:
This occasion is not alone the administration of the most sacred oath which can be assumed by an American citizen.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, March 4, 1933:
I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our Nation impels.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, January 20, 1937:
WHEN four years ago we met to inaugurate a President, the Republic, single-minded in anxiety, stood in spirit here.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, January 20, 1941:
On each national day of inauguration since 1789, the people have renewed their sense of dedication to the United States.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, January 20, 1945:
Mr. Chief Justice, Mr. Vice President, my friends, you will understand and, I believe, agree with my wish that the form of this inauguration be simple and its words brief.

Harry S. Truman, January 20, 1949:
I accept with humility the honor which the American people have conferred upon me.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 20, 1953:
MY friends, before I begin the expression of those thoughts that I deem appropriate to this moment, would you permit me the privilege of uttering a little private prayer of my own.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 21, 1957:
We meet again, as upon a like moment four years ago, and again you have witnessed my solemn oath of service to you.

John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961:
We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom—symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning—signifying renewal, as well as change.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, January 20, 1965:
My fellow countrymen, on this occasion, the oath I have taken before you and before God is not mine alone, but ours together.

Richard Milhous Nixon, January 20, 1969:
I ask you to share with me today the majesty of this moment.

Richard Milhous Nixon, January 20, 1973:
When we met here four years ago, America was bleak in spirit, depressed by the prospect of seemingly endless war abroad and of destructive conflict at home.

Jimmy Carter, January 20, 1977:
For myself and for our Nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.

Ronald Reagan, January 20, 1981:
To a few of us here today, this is a solemn and most momentous occasion; and yet, in the history of our Nation, it is a commonplace occurrence.

Ronald Reagan, January 21, 1985:
This day has been made brighter with the presence here of one who, for a time, has been absent—Senator John Stennis.

George Bush, January 20, 1989:
There is a man here who has earned a lasting place in our hearts and in our history.

Bill Clinton, January 21, 1993:
Today we celebrate the mystery of American renewal.

Bill Clinton, January 20, 1997:
At this last presidential inauguration of the 20th century, let us lift our eyes toward the challenges that await us in the next century.

George W. Bush, January 20, 2001:
President Clinton, distinguished guests and my fellow citizens, the peaceful transfer of authority is rare in history, yet common in our country.

George W. Bush, January 20, 2005:
On this day, prescribed by law and marked by ceremony, we celebrate the durable wisdom of our Constitution, and recall the deep commitments that unite our country.

Barack Obama, January 20, 2009:
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lost Commentary

Wherein good start but still too much Jack

That was a fuckload of flaming arrows. Better have been a lot of people.

Keith Richards is a badass

Wherein I had no interest in seeing the Rolling Stones in 1981 but other than J. Geils Band their show would've been better than anything else I saw Foreigner 4 anyone

Watch this video of Mick Jagger running like a little girl while Richards beats the crap out of a stage-rusher before calmly resuming playing.

Photodude has more from the same tour:
It was a memory trigger that made me think about the night I saw them on that tour. They were playing big stadiums and outdoor shows before tens of thousands at a time. But for one night on the tour, they played for about 4,000 people at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, and I was lucky enough to be there.

How lucky? The announcement of the show and the beginning of ticket sales happened at 2AM one night, and within two hours the tickets were gone. I basically woke up to the news of a sold out show. However, being program director of a rock station in Macon, I did what I always did … call the promoter and ask for comps (“complimentary tickets”).

But the lady who’d always been able to come through for me before told me “there are no comps for this show, all the radio people have to pay for their tickets (!!!), and we were only given enough for the Atlanta stations. Sorry.”

Bummed, I was. But on the Friday afternoon before that Monday night show, this nice lady called me out of the blue: “I’ve had a last minute cancellation, do you want two tickets?”

Yes, indeedy. How much are they? $32.50 each!?! (this was twice the going rate for tickets in 1981) Gulp, OK.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

just put your lips together and blow

Wherein answers

1. cagney, james
2. you whedon it and then use it to kill off a beloved character
3. polio
4. china
5. 86
6. football, nfl
7 whistling

Short quote: hockey

Wherein it was my understanding that skating was best when the ice temp was near freezing But what do I know the coldest I've skated was only about 20 below

Patrick Reusse:
"My mom told me it was 38 below in Warroad [last week]. All I could think of was how great the ice was for us to skate on when it was that cold."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Short quote: truth

Wherein mmmm hotdogs

Ignatius J. Reilly:
So that's who that obvious appendage of officialdom was. He looked like an arm of the bureaucracy. You can always tell employees of the government by the total vacancy which occupies the space where most other people have faces.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Short quote: acting, what a life

Wherein among many other roles she's the elder daughter in The Great Santini which I'm currently watching

Lisa Jane Persky:
During the play, I was stage-raped by Divine eight times a week for about a year (with a couple of brief respites during which time I was stage-raped by understudies Holly Woodlawn and Monte Rock III). I was riding that wave, so to speak.

Infrequently updated blog

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Less binging, more purging

Wherein theme of the year

While reorganizing the bookshelves New Year's Eve, it was decided that it was time to part with 63 books. This is never an easy decision; however, these were books that would never be read, books read once that would never be opened again, and a handful of textbooks and technical material that had outlived any usefulness or sentimental value. About half were traded for credit at two used book stores and the others were donated.
I had intended to list all the books. I changed my mind. Instead, I'll insert a bunch of blank space so you may imagine a list of books.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A book to read next month

Wherein their spin on Inferno got me to read Dante's Inferno which kinda freaked out my 10th grade English teacher when I told him it wasn't required I was reading for the fun of it Even in advanced lit classes I was the only one who ever finished the books

Released next month is Escape from Hell by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. It's their Inferno sequel. Other Niven and Pournelle collaborations I've read:

  • Lucifer's Hammer -- comet beats the crap out of the planet. Hardy band of Californians fight off cannibals and attempt to save civilization with books hidden in a septic tank. Overall, I remember this being quite good.

  • Inferno -- a modern retelling of Dante's story. Hardy science fiction writer refuses to believe he's dead.

  • The Mote in God's Eye -- There's these aliens and they have a secret -- psst, not as friendly as they appear to be. Hardy band of humans try to prevent a catastrophe. Probably their best book.

  • Oath of Fealty -- There's this arcology outside Los Angeles and conflict ensues. Hardy band of hive-minded individualists fight off terrorists and government bureaucracy. Uneven story with a few interesting ideas and most well known for the phrase "think of it as evolution in action." funny...checking wiki, that's almost exactly their short description.

  • Footfall -- Elephant-like aliens invade earth. Hardy group of humans find a way to fight back. There are a couple of major plot points they borrowed from other novels of theirs. Maybe more, I'm not really fluent in most of their separate works.

  • The Gripping Hand -- sequel to "Mote in God's Eye." Don't remember much about this other than it confirmed why I'd mostly stopped science fiction in general, and Niven and Pournelle more specifically. I considered myself hardy for finishing it.

Adding Appetite for Self-Destruction to the list for February.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

short quote: surprised

Wherein there's also the strategy of knowing what battles to pick and when

the annoyingly redundant preposition:
Those of you who have ever worked in a service industry will not be surprised to learn that the rest of Prof. Fish's interaction with multiple levels of AT&T call-center personnel went badly, and in the end his voice mail was not turned on.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Short quote: lunch

Wherein underground economies

illicit tamales:
Not only is she la cocinera of the year without doubt. For her courage, consistency and quality she is my culinary hero.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Short quote(s): membership drives

Wherein how come no one has done a full-blown mockumentary in the Ken Burns style

  • I did sit through all of Jazz, carefully counting the number of times in 19 hours that PBS's golden boy allowed a whole song to be played without interruption. The final total: 1.
  • Burns devoted the same amount of time to Louis Armstrong's recording of "Hello Dolly" that he spent covering the entire career of Charles Mingus.
  • It will be interesting to see what happens as we get to fourth and fifth generation zoo-born orangs. They'll probably escape using hang gliders and blow guns made out of discarded soda cups and string.

List of shows

Wherein lately very little interests me

List from NY Times of shows restarting or starting for the first time. My comments in bold.

  • SCRUBS (ABC, Tuesday). Final season? Fine with me. The few times I tried to watch it just seemed like one of those comedies written by bright and clever people trying to hard to be clever. Never worked for me.

  • NIP/TUCK (FX, Tuesday). Never watched.

  • DAMAGES (FX, Wednesday). Never watched.

  • THE REAL WORLD BROOKLYN (MTV, Wednesday). Never watched any version.

  • FLASHPOINT (CBS, Friday). Second season? Never heard of it. Won't start watching.

  • HOWIE DO IT (NBC, Friday). Oh, hell no.

  • MONK (USA, Friday). This is still on? I thought we stopped watching this a decade ago.

  • 24 (Fox, Sunday). Bailed on this the 2nd episode of the first season. Not coming back.

  • AMERICAN IDOL (Fox, next Tuesday). Never watched.

  • THE BEAST (A&E, Jan. 15). Huh? I thought Patrick Swayze was dying? (He is; then again, aren't we all.) No longer get this channel, so never mind.

  • FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (NBC, Jan. 16). Never watched.

  • BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (Sci-Fi, Jan. 16). Never watched.

  • BIG LOVE (HBO, Jan. 18). Never watched.

  • FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS (HBO, Jan. 18). First season is on DVD, will probably watch 2nd season same way if it sounds good.

  • THE L WORD (Showtime, Jan. 18). Never watched.

  • THE UNITED STATES OF TARA (Showtime, Jan. 18). Don't have Showtime.

  • LOST (ABC, Jan. 21). Will watch, though I hope it doesn't conflict with Life on NBC.

  • LIE TO ME (Fox, Jan .21). Probably won't watch.

  • BURN NOTICE (USA, Jan. 22). Never watched.

  • THE LAST TEMPLAR (NBC, Jan. 25). Highly Doubtful.

  • THE CLOSER (TNT, Jan. 26). Never watched.

  • TRUST ME (TNT, Jan. 26). Don't have channel, probably wouldn't watch.

  • MEDIUM (NBC, Feb. 2). Never watched.

  • HEROES (NBC, Feb. 2). Never watched.

  • DOLLHOUSE (Fox, Feb. 13). Somewhat doubtful. .

  • CASTLE (ABC, March 9). Will give it a shot.

  • BREAKING BAD (FX, March 15). No longer have FX.

  • REAPER (CW, March 17). I enjoyed this, will try and watch again.

  • KINGS (NBC, March 19). I'm curious.

  • CUPID (ABC, March 24). I'm apprehensive.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Dave Mordal has a new show

Wherein it's a whole show of "hold my beer and watch this" moments

Discovery channel puts this on youtube but disables embedding. Why? Since we nuked our DISH access back to the local channels a few months ago and I'm unlikely to see this, that's it for the free advertising.

One more, since I can embed it.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Short quote: joke

Wherein thoroughly scrumped

In Language Log:
I hope you know that the Boston City Council has declared that the Official Joke of the City of Boston, and ordered that it be told on all official and public occasions.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Blais, Flip, and a Blowtorch

Wherein fire good

For the day after Christmas, I cooked Richard Blais's 14 Hour Brisket. Man, was that good. However, I did freelance slightly from the directions. He instructed:
Coat the brisket liberally with the Cajun seasonings and salt. Fire up a grill and grill the surface of the brisket aggressively, searing it well on each side for maximum flavor.

A couple of things, here. One, this went into the oven at 5am and I didn't feel like firing up the grill at 5am. Two, didn't want to take the time and effort to fire up the grill just to sear one piece of meat. Now if I was grilling something the night before, I could have just added it; this however, was not the case. Luckily, Harold McGee came to the rescue.
Just so happens I still have a 2004 "Fresh Air" interview with Mr. McGee. During one part of the interview he's discussing slow roasting:
McGee: Something that I learned from a colleague of mine in England, Heston Blumenthal, is that if's very helpful for example to cook a very large piece of meat like a prime rib very slowly, because that gives you a much bigger window of time during which the meat is cooked through to the doneness that you want, but not over done. And it also means that the meat is cooked more evely thorughout. The problem with cooking meat at a relatively low oven temperature is that the outside doesn't get as nice and brown as it would in a nice hot oven; and what Heston showed me is that you can actually take a torch and just very lightly torch the meat at the very beginning of the process. In fact, you don't even have to really see an affect from that torching. You just kinda prewarm the surface. Then when you put that pretreated roast into the oven and cook it at a low temperature so that the interior comes out moist and succulent, the outside does end up developing the kind of flavor that you would get in a higher temperature roasting.
Terry Gross: So what do you use? A blow torch or something? heh heh heh. What kind of torch?
McGee: Well, these days you can get these nice, cute, little crème brûlée torches. The problem with using one of those on a roast eather than crème brûlée is that a roast has a huge surface area. So it's a very slow and tedious process. So, yeah, I go to the hardware store and get a regular old blow torch...and, uh. Actually, a heat gun works really well, too. You know the thing you use for peeling paint off a wall, that does a good job as well. I've also tried a hair dryer, it doesn't get hot enough.

I have a blow torch and it worked excellently. In fact, I think I will now sear most  of my slow roasts this way. Maybe even steaks -- instead of searing a couple minutes on each side and finishing it in the oven, I'll just torch it before throwing it in.

The VIP party was nice. Luckily we got there early, so had plenty of samples and got to talk to Blais for a few minutes. Basic hamburger was good, The Wife loved the shrimp poboy and I loved the Vietnamese hamburger. Fries were tasty, didn't get the onion rings, though I've heard they're excellent. The Wife also got to sample the Krispy Kreme milkshake which she's been waiting on since Blais desribed it last June at Home. More than met her expectations.
Went back a week later -- around 6pm and had to wait about 10 minutes. Decent crowd turnaround while we were there and for being open a week the staff looked to be on top of things. Talked with Blais a bit, commented that the reviews looked mostly positive, and he said "about 80%, give us another week and we'll get there." Business has been good and "it's burgers and fries...what's not to like."
Burgers are around $8-10 and sides are a la carte (around $3). We had two sides, three hamburgers, and a ginger margarita for $41.82. Waitress forgot to charge us for the milkshake ($7) and when we mentioned it she waved it off. Two people drinking water could have sides and burgers for under $30. Make it 2 sides, 2 burgers, 2 drinks, and you're around $40.
Fries ($3.50 and double-fried in duck fat and lard) are awesome. I preferred the tempura rutabega sticks ($3) served with smoked mayo and a pepper jelly that could have used a bit more pepper.
The Child had the basic flip burger ($6.50) -- no exotic toppings, just tomato and lettuce. The Wife had the RBQ ($9.00) -- burger topped with pulled pork bbq and cole slaw. I had the Bun Mi ($8) -- a spicy pork patty with a pickled vietnamese salad. I could eat a dozen of these.
We thought the burgers were a nice size and the fixins' weren't piled on too extremely tall. All are served on the same type of bun (buttery brioche that doesn't fall apart) and smash down to a manageable size. FYI, looks like the beef burgers are all cooked to a very nice medium rare with a lovely pink center. If hungry, and skipping the sides, I could easily eat two burgers.
The Wife loves the Krispy Kreme milkshake. They throw a Krispy Kreme and some milk in a blender and add liquid nitrogen to freeze it. Also have a nutella shake with burnt marshmallows (we tried something yummy and chocolatey at the party, might be the same) and a pistachio shake (this we did not like at the party and reading the menu I now know why. It also includes truffle oil, which, in the immortal words of Poppy Z. Brite, "tastes like ass."). If rB reads this, no offense meant -- that stuff does not agree with me.
Went back on a Saturday afternoon, about 3pm, and they were lining people out the door. Food was pumping out at a good pace and no one seemed to wait too long. I had the pate burger, which the waiter pimped as having the "most complex flavors." It was good, though still didn't approach the awesomeness of the Bun Mi. The Wife had the Southern, which is deep fried and served with pimento cheese. That was good.
other reviews

Short quote: reflexes

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Most people don't handle their first combat experience that well.

But isn't that really just about stalking an apartment?