Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Comments about the 'upgrade' to Windows Vista are plentiful. Microsoft discontinued a workable platform (NT/2000) and replaced it with something with so many bugs in it that are still not worked out after a couple of years. It really is enough to make one consider switching to a Mac.

I regret to inform you that Mac has now discontinued a vital application for their wonderful iPhone. I guess I will stick with the PC a bit longer.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Comment About Ben's Previous Posts that Needs to be its Own Post Because it is Big.

I was actually working on a similar couple of posts this week. Thanks for scooping me.

We went to Saddleback for several months after we first moved to CA seeing as how it was about a mile from our apartment and (theoretically) similar to our home church back in Little Rock. Rick Warren generally preaches the Word, but you do have to wade through stuff about himself to get to the Word. Without sounding too harsh, it seems that he has been grooming himself for the inauguration prayer and cozying up to Obama, anticipating an Obama victory since well before Hillary Clinton even announced her candidacy to run for the Democratic nomination. This was seen with his warm invitation to and even more heartfelt introduction of Obama at Rev. Warren's own personal international AIDS day summit at Saddleback Church a couple of years ago.

I agree that it appears this leader within the Evangelical Right seems to embrace the left and give the appearance of endorsement of Obama to lemming voters who "lack the skills for critical self-reflection and investigation of the actual issues".

When (I think) O'Reilly interviewed Warren about the Saddleback Debate, Bill asked if Rick gave anything away to McCain prior to McCain's time on stage. Warren commented that, if anything, he let something slip to Obama prior to show time. My thought at the time was that in order to appear 'impartial' he actually had to cozy up to the left.

I hope the youngster (Ben) is right three posts below. I hope God has touched Obama's heart and that he is truly heading to the center or even right. God does place the leaders, even the wicked ones, in power for His purposes. If a Christian Evangelical leader has the ear of a liberal President, so much the better. I hope that both men examine their hearts and motives for Rick Warren praying at the inauguration. I hope that it will lead the hard of heart to Christ by opening their eyes to the word of God.

Last Post On This, I Promise

But my fingers may be crossed. Anywho, "Atrios" of strident, hard-core lefty Eschaton blog (HT Instapundit) has declared Barack Hussein Obama to be his "Wanker of the Day" (don't you love it when pretentious American twits use Britishisms to sound clever? Bollocks, I say!) in response to the Rick Warren announcement. And the best part? Read the comments to that declaration. A short sampling (all asterisks mine, of course, as it's a well known fact that the left is devoid of any capacity at linguistic restraint or self-censoring):

im done with obama.
i hope we have better luck in 4 years.
euphronius Jenkins | 12.17.08 - 2:48 pm | #

Obama's sucking Warren's c*** is probably the major reason I was never a completely enthusiastic supporter.

F*** you, Barack.
dave™© | Homepage | 12.17.08 - 2:51 pm | #

I just removed myself from any and all Moveon, Plouffe and other campaign email lists. That's it. Has he learned nothing from the GOP announcements of plans to fight Obama tooth and nail? I'm done. Not another dime to the inauguration or anything else.
TK | 12.17.08 - 2:52 pm | #

BTW, Atrios, it took Rick Warren to finally give Obama wanker status?

Not Larry Summers, or Salazar, or Gates, or Jones, etc.?

No, those weren't outrageous enough...
Elias | 12.17.08 - 2:56 pm | #

and the Stockholm Syndrome Award goes to:
Rick f***ing Warren.

Oh, and f*** you, Elias. Twice, b****.

Obama was and is better than anyone else running, and certainly better than any Republican living, to damn with faint praise. I have no problem with that.

That being said, he's a big fan of telling his left to f*** off and die.
Meander | Homepage | 12.17.08 - 2:58 pm | #

Seriously, as of this writing, there are well over 500 replies to Atrios' post, and they range from denial to bummed out to frothing at the mouth, with lots of cognitive dissonance at every level. Great way to kill some time with glee if you're bored!


The Silver Lining

In my last post, I commented on Obama's choice of Rick Warren to lead the invocation at his inauguration. It occurs to me that there is one, genuine upside to the whole thing, regardless of either man's intentions: it completely defangs the whole "anti-proposition-8" backlash. Think about it: any time one of those people throws a hissy fit and tries to boycott a business or smear an individual because of that business's or person's support of prop 8, the response will always be "well, Obama picked a huge prop-8 booster to invoke his God at the inauguration. You gonna boycott the Democratic Party now?" Just make sure to wear protective equipment for when their heads explode.

In the current political climate, I need as many silver linings as I can get.


Political Theater At Its Crassest

Obama has asked Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his (His?) inauguration in January, and if I'm reading the reports correctly, Rick Warren has agreed to this. Without any other information but what I already know, this lowers my opinion of both men.

Rick Warren, as most of you probably know, is ostensibly an evangelical pastor of a very large megachurch in Southern California, and author of The Purpose Driven Life, a well-reputed and oft-studied (at least at evangelical churches) book based on Christian principles. Most recently, he was the host of the Saddleback Debate Forum, at which John McCain and Barack Obama were both asked the same set of questions, separate from each other, and put on the spot for direct answers.

Anywho, Rick Warren is, to his credit, outspoken against both gay marriage and abortion. The former actually surprises me a little, as it seems that opposition to gay marriage is the first to suffer from defenestration when erstwhile evangelicals want to "cross the aisle", so to speak (Ted Haggard, call your office). But my one major complaint about Pastor Warren, up until now, is that he has given the appearance that he enjoys (and seeks) the limelight just a little bit too much. This latest incident only strengthens that assessment. And Barack Hussein Obama, as we all know, is about as far-left on abortion as one can be without actually performing them in front of an audience at birthdays and bar-mitzvahs free of charge. His stance on gay marriage is a bit more "nuanced", as the left likes to describe inconsistent and electorally-motivated stances. But nevertheless, it's safe to say that the Big Gay Homo Community has a sympathetic ear in our president-elect.

What do they have in common? Well, Pastor Warren is very much a "bleeding heart evangelical" -- which may not be a bad thing, really -- in the sense that he prioritizes certain issues that orthodox conservatives tend not to: HIV/AIDS in Africa (as opposed to the bathhouses of San Francisco), the environment, the poor, etc. All of these things we are called as Christians to support, so I can't fault him for that (I think I could write a whole post on this, and perhaps I will). So I think each man perceives a kindred spirit in the other, but perhaps for erroneous reasons.

But again, it is yet another manifestation of the Obama Temptation to be okay with this. Because, again, it all boils down to support for the man, as opposed to support for the office. Rick Warren is in no way obligated to perform the invocation for Obama. But by agreeing to do so, he effectively affixes his imprimatur to the Obama Presidency, as if to say "Hey, Evangelical Christians, it's okay to like this guy".

And, please forgive me, Lord, if I am wrong, but I can't help but believe that this is the exact reason for Obama's choice. He says "hey, Bible-thumping fundies, I picked your #1 celebrity to do my inauguration, so you can trust me!" And many, many gullible dupes, who go to church every Sunday and vote Republican only because their gut (and maybe pastor) tells them to, but lack the skills for critical self-reflection and investigation of the actual issues, will internalize that message, and Obama will have his loyal "bipartisan" army.

Maybe I'm wrong. I am, quite literally, praying that I am. Maybe Pastor Warren had a great heart-to-heart with Obama, and Obama has now seen the light on abortion. Maybe this is a shot across the bow, Obama declaring that his true sympathies now lay (lie? I never get that right) on the right sight of the aisle with regard to genuinely moral issues. If that were the case, as I've said before, it would devastate the two-party system, because it would probably flip a supermajority of the Right's base of "values voters" (ooh, another whole post -- the ramifications and subsequent axial tilt/paradigm shift of such a split!). Alternately, maybe Rick Warren views this as an opportunity to sermonize and rebuke from "the belly of the beast", so to speak. Maybe he will give a rousing, revivalist invocation that will sear the souls of all who hear it, and enrage everyone on the left for decades to come. Either one of those would be an excellent outcome.

But my gut tells me that it's two powerful men seeking to exploit each other. Please, God, let my gut be wrong.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Crap on a Cracker

Socrates --via Plato--discussed piety and questioned the source of piety. Does something become pious because the gods love it, or do the gods love something because it is already pious?

I seek to modernize, commercialize, and appetize this mystery. Are certain foods considered a prized delicacy because they are expensive, or are delicacies expensive because they are truly tasty? Is it really good, or do we just like stuff because it is 'uppity'?

For the record, I began writing this post before the youngster wrote his previous one.

We will begin with the crustaceans. First up: lobster. It is generally the money item at fine restaurants everywhere. It is a cliche' when picturing an extravagant banquet. Surprisingly, as late as the early 20th century, it was considered the food of the poor. Household servants would specify in their employment contracts a maximum number of lobster dinners per week from their aristocratic employers. They preferred chicken. With this kind of history, it is amazing that you will pay $20 for around 6-oz. of tail meat when you buy a live lobster out of the tank at Kroger. Don't folks realize that it is just a big cockroach from the ocean?

What about oysters? They are little joyful bundles of sputum that live in the mud of polluted bays everywhere. They are known to transmit diseases to diners who consume them raw. They eat poop!

Have you ever seen the water that blue crabs are pulled from? I have. They are the kind of waters that good old Milorad slithered out of. It is no wonder that YHWH put them on the non-kosher list. Crustaceans are just gross.

Yet I can't get enough of them. I have yet to find one that truly disgusts me. I have eaten some bad oysters in my life, but that has not turned me away from them. Why do I like them? Why do I like the various marine cockroaches so much? I may have developed a taste for them over time, but what initially piqued my interest? It would have to be the exclusivity of it. I have grown to enjoy exotic foods, but as a youngster I was not as discriminating. I would eat such things more as a sign of status than for the purest of gastronomic pleasures. I would especially enjoy ordering lobster on my birthday just to annoy the youngster and make him jealous.

Sushi. Again, I can't get enough of it. By all appearances, it is disgusting with respect to pre-1990's American attitudes. Children are repulsed at the very idea of eating raw fish, or any raw meat for that matter. It is instinct to avoid those foods. I also can easily spend $40 or more just by myself at a sushi bar in Evansville, Indiana.

Pâté. I can pass this up. The liver scrubs toxins out of your system. Eating liver is akin to eating the filter from your air conditioner after your family just got over coughing Ebola during a particularly moldy, yet dry summer in Rhodesia. It does not come from free-range geese in the pure Canadian north, it comes from farm raised FRENCH geese who wallow in mud and puddles frequented by pigs, and the FRENCH.

I won't even get into all of the stuff that Andrew Zimmern chokes down each week.

Here is what I propose as the next stage in the evolution of cutting edge cuisine: Scâté. I am not talking about the greenish pile that hoovers* around the solidus/liquidus line of a phase diagram when a cow gets into some bad snake weed at a Superfund site. I am talking about a finely cultivated product that comes only from the hind end of an estrous Arabian mare two evacuations after feasting on a live patch of Kentucky bluegrass growing between the various sprouts and leafy plants lovingly hand raised only in Martha Stewart's very own private herb garden under a full moon after the last frost prior to the budding of the Bradford pear trees in the South. This stuff is going to be huge. The cost will be such that it will be cheap by comparison to shave white truffle over your Caesar salad at Romano's Macaroni Grill like it was the complimentary Parmesan cheese or fresh ground black pepper. The standard preparation will also involve capers and possibly a dash of anise extract for both flavor and medicinal/aphrodisiac effect. It will of course be served on matzoh lightly sprinkled with kosher salt and bitter herbs.

Will people buy it? The Emperor bought his new clothes for an exorbitant price. If it is expensive, it must be good. Once a bargain version of scâté arrives, the thrill will be gone, but until then, at $2750 for a 2.2-oz. loaf (the standard serving), rappers everywhere will be pouring (spreading?) this over their hoochies in their videos like is was mere Cristal.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bigger News

Tonight, I purchased, at the crazy-low price of $6.99/lb (thanks, Mr. Wegman!), three live maine lobsters, and cooked 'em up and ate 'em. I wish I were a photo-food-blogger, as then I would have had the foresight to photograph them and post pictures. Turns out the key to awesomeness is to steam them in water with a highers salinity than the lobster itself, to prevent osmosis leaching the precious salty fluids from the lobsters. Fan-lobster-tastic Lobstrawesomeness (ed. -- thought of a better word after the fact) was the result! In celebration, a relevant video:

Oh, and something about having a baby boy in probably the next day or two.

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Big News

The youngster is soon to submit some good news that will trump this, but for the record:

I am now a licensed Professional Geologist in the State of Kentucky!!!!

Oh yeah, and Ben is about to have a baby boy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

If We All Had Grace Like This...

The primary living "victim" of the F-18 crash in southern California (victim by way of having his wife, two children, and mother-in-law perish because of the crash), a man named Don Yun Yoon, has already forgiven the pilot and, from the article,
"I pray for him not to suffer for this action," Yoon said at a news conference, according to The Los Angeles Times. "I know he's one of our treasures for our country."
It came as no surprise to me when I read that blurb that Mr. Yoon is a Christian, and certainly, this is just about the greatest witness to the grace of Jesus Christ that I have observed in a very long time. This is particularly underscored by the fact that I have spent the last two weeks during my daily readings on the book of Job. Indeed, while Job, a righteous man who lost his family, his wealth, his living, and his health, most notably never curses God, he certainly spends a great deal of time questioning Him, and even doubting Him. But the whole point of the book is to demonstrate not God's caprice, but the way in which God may be glorified by both the success and the suffering of even His most faithful servants.

If Mr. Yoon can have the grace to forgive, and not even blame the pilot for this tragedy, then few of us can ever find cause to resent our fellow man. God bless you, Mr. Yoon, and may His Spirit grant you comfort and peace in the coming days. Amen.


Monday, December 08, 2008

When Liberals "Do" Religion

Mark Hemingway over at the Corner posts a link to a Newsweek article by "Newsweek's Religion Reporter Lisa Miller", on the supposed "Religious Case for Gay Marriage". Just from that alone, one could probably expect great things, but oh, it gets better. From the aforementioned Newsweek piece:
Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?

Mr. Hemingway does an excellent job of destroying the little blurb about Jesus in there, and you should click on the first link if you're curious (long story short: how can marriage between a man and a woman be meaningless, Biblically speaking, if the ultimate metaphor for the Christian church is as the Bride of Christ?).

But it's the references to the patriarchs and kings that really chap my hide. This is frequently a tactic of liberals who have no understanding of Scripture whatsoever, or even really religion in general: that they point to something in the Bible that paints our religious forebears in a negative light, and use this to discredit Christianity as a whole. And the target is always Christianity. Somehow the black marks don't impugn their Jewish friends; and never will you see a quote done up by some MSM "Religion Expert" from, say, the Koran, painting Mohamed (Propeller Beanies Upon Him) as the violent pedophile that he was.

My particularly favorite example of this tactic comes not from some MSM source, but from a book of historic quotations that we were expected to use in my highschool freshman English course for a writing assignment. Apropos of nothing, it provides the following quote in a section with the heading "happiness": "Happy the one who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock! -- The Bible". That's right. Didn't even provide chapter and verse. Just "The Bible." Wow! The Bible says we should all go out and smash our children against rocks! This must be religious justification for abortion, right? (Aside: even the most jaded abortion proponent would never use this approach, as it gives up the lie that abortion is, indeed, murder, which would just give rise to all sorts of uncomfortable comparisons between heroic abortionists and craven babykilling military personnel). Never mind that this quote, from Psalm 137, is a scathing indictment of the people of Babylon (about whom the Psalmist believes the verse applies).

Perhaps the example I've cited is an extreme one, meant only to malign the reputation of Scripture, and subsequently its adherents. But the tactic is the same in the article I've linked. The Bible, indeed, records that Abraham slept with his servant when his wife seemed infertile. And his action was immediately rebuked by God, and spawned millennia of trouble for his descendants. Solomon's relationship with his hundreds of wives was presented in a negative light. David's biggest sin involved his relations with women, in particular Bathsheba and her husband Uriah, for which David was mightily chastised, not even being permitted to build the temple for his God as a result.

Indeed, Scripture makes it clear that God's ideal is one man and one woman, united for life. Deviations from that ideal, which Scripture records in great plenitude, always result in suffering and punishment in one way or another. But this is indicative of what happens when, as my title indicates, liberals try to "do" religion -- they invariably get it wrong, often in innocuous ways, but more frequently in ways that conveniently support some absurd position that is in actuality antithetical to the very message of the Bible.

From the Social Gospel to Black Liberation Theology (which is a very short distance indeed), from bizarre contortions of scripture to justify everything under the sun from abortion to euthanasia, from gun control to gay marriage, liberals who have no grasp on actual meaning make themselves look foolish (except of course to other liberals, who routinely mistake the foolishness for wisdom) whenever they do this. What appear to me like simple and straightforward narratives of disobedience to God followed by stern reproof are taken by these fools as license to all sorts of absurd and immoral behavior. And thus, I am able to understand passages like this one in perhaps even a broader context than originally intended:

That's from Matthew 13:15, quoting Isaiah 6:10, with regard to Isaiah's predictions of the Messiah, and Israel's subsequent rejection of Him. But somehow, I think it applies here as well -- people have, either through conscious decision or lifestyle choice, closed their eyes and ears to obvious truths, and instead gain precisely the opposite conclusion than that which was intended from God's Word.

Silly liberals. Please, just stop trying to "do" religion. You're only making it worse for yourselves.


Obama been Lyin', But That's Kool

I am not saying that politicians are compulsive liars, but they are compulsive non-truth tellers. It seems to extend far beyond just covering things up that are bad. They simply can not utter a truthful statement to save their lives. An easy example is the 'Snipergate' incident with that broad (this is what came up in Wikipedia when I entered snipergate as if it was THE key word for her run) back earlier in the year . She had no reason to even bring it up, yet she did, and it was exposed as the fabrication that it was, and it cost her. She compulsively had to say something false that would give her, at best, no gain, and at worst, a[nother] black mark on her integrity quotient (IQ of a politician). But that is not the point of this entry.

This is. First off, why have I not seen 'Obama been Lyin' printed or said anywhere yet? Am I really that good. (The previous sentance was ended with a . instead of a ? on purpose). Too the point: While being interviewed (hey, look at that, I actually referenced a 'credible' source), Obama been Lyin' was questioned about his smoking. Brokaw specifically asks, "Have you stopped smoking?" OBL replies, "You know, I have, but ...".

In order for OBL's implied 'yes' answer to Brokaw's question to be truthful, OBL must redefine what 'yes' implies, hence the "but".

OBL continues, "...what I said was that, you know, there are times where I've fallen off the wagon." I know that if you are in AA and have a drink, you have to turn in your sobriety chips, and your initial sobriety date resets. Therefore, you were a practicing alcoholic fully up to that date. I believe that this applies to quitting smoking as well.

Brokaw then goes on to say, "Well, wait a minute. Then that means you haven't stopped."

Obama been Lyin's reply is, "Well, the--fair enough." HE DIDN'T SAY YES!!! He semi-capitulated without actually agreeing. Slick. He is one Kool customer.

He goes on to say how terrific he is due to his own efforts. He also implies that the circumstances that he is under are too much for him to do his truthful best.

Obama been Lyin' then concludes this line of question with, "...and I think that you will not see any violations of these rules in the White House." This refers to Madam First Lady Clinton's Executive Order in 1993 banning smoking on White House grounds (what did her husband end up doing with a cigar?). If OBL can't even be firm with his 'yes', what does that tell us about his 'I think'?

I am not at all protesting smoking in this post. I do have a problem when your habit makes me stink, but when out of the line of fire, it is your choice. I implied that OBL smokes Kools because he is partially African American. That is just buying into a racial sterotype. On FOX News this morning, they commented that they believe OBL smokes Marlboros (though probably still menthols). Interestingly enough, it is a fact that there are coded messages within this brand that clearly illustrate some of OBL's intentions. One such is his true stance on Israel. When read upside down and backwards, the title, as printed on the pack, is a homonym for horrible Jew (seriously, one of my fraternity brothers at Tulane who is Jewish pointed this out to me). Next, the Latin phrase in the coat of arms is clearly a reference to OBL's Caesar-like imperial ambitions.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Subtle Hints

I might just be really paranoid about the political sinister and its influence on all popular culture. You may decide for yourselves. I just witnessed a Pillsbury commercial that by extension appears to be a subtle hint that acceptance of the 'alternative' throughout all seasons of life is the down-home, warm and cozy thing to do.

The commercial series is entitled Home is Calling. It has the full version as linked, but I unfortunately first viewed a clip version featuring a young boy in a library, including extended scenes. That was my first and lasting impression. It features this male child closing his eyes, leaning his head back, and clicking his heels three times. It implies that he is thinking "There's no place like home" just as the young Ms. Gale did in 1939. The viewer is then flashed to a presumably holiday dining table with piping-hot biscuits or crescent rolls as the centerpiece.

The full version features equal numbers of males and females. The oldest female is college age, but only one of the males is a juvenile. Two of the males are apparently under 40 metrosexual businessmen wearing heinous shoes. The 4th male is a grandfatherly factory worker. The younger 3 males tend towards slightly effeminate, where as the oldest male is benign at best, but definitely not ruggedly masculine.

I am stretching a bit with the females, but there is subtle imagery with them as well. One is a professional, young, skirt wearing lassie who sets us at ease. The next is a cute high school aged girl waiting at a train platform in the snow. The click of her heels, however, is the first sign of trouble. The next female is a short haired college student being indoctrinated with ideas fostered in an academic environment. The final female representation is a primary school aged girl in a prep-school uniform standing, essentially alone, on the front steps of her school. She is very serious, even ambitious in her expression and movement while alone, yet, in the end, disarming when in the presence of others. She is the most obvious metaphor of the females.

The links that I have infused tell the sub story. Am I a hater, or am I a prophet?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Betty Crocker Cut the Cheese and it Stinks!

Theoretically, when you change a commercial product, you do it to improve it. I guess you might also do it to improve efficiency, but when it comes to food, I do not want efficient. I want 'good'.

My wife and I have a number of 'ritual meals' that we do which are tasty and easy to fix and require a minimal number of items to purchase, or can be made from items that will be used in other meals as well. These meals are done on such nights that we either get home late, or have something to do later in the evening (our church group on Wednesday for example).

One such meal is BLT's and pasta salad. We usually have L and T around for other meals including but not limited to tacos, Cobb salad, side salads and similar concoctions. Bread is a staple item, and mustard and mayo are always in the fridge. Bacon is one of my favorite vegetables and is always present as well. The only specialty item that we purchase specifically for the meal is the pasta salad. We really like the Betty Crocker kind that comes with pasta and veggies, dressing mix and topping. We supply only water and olive oil. There are two versions that we regularly use, the Classic, and the Caesar (which should actually be called the Cesar', but I digress).

The Caesar was our favorite. It came with green and white pasta, dehydrated mushrooms, the dressing mix, and toppings in separate packets: croutons and Parmesan cheese. Everything combined to make a delightful dining experience. The 'moist maker' of the concoction are the croutons. These are not the buttery-crispy ones that you get at Outback. They are actually small and have a stale-like hardness to them. The genius is the juxtaposed texture when consumed in the first few minutes of dining. You have the soft pasta with the satisfying crouton crunch in the center. It is kind of like putting Fritos on a turkey sandwich.

The first sign of trouble in paradise was when the mushrooms disappeared from the recipe. It was then that I realized that they too made this a unique dish. The second harbinger was the combination of the croutons and Parmesan cheese into one envelope. I liked to thoroughly mix the Parm into the salad and then sprinkle the croutons separately over each individual serving so that they remained crisp. If mixed into the whole bowl, they loose their crispness by the second helping. The third sign was the disappearance of the product from store shelves.

We decided that we could survive this. We enjoyed the Classic version nearly as much, so we just went with that. It came with the pasta, the dressing mix, a separate packet containing dehydrated peppers and olives, and a packet of Parm (sans croutons). The pasta came in the three colors of the Eyetalian flag and was pleasing to the eye. The veggies added depth to the texture. The dressing was a bit tangier than the Caesar, but good none the less. The Parm, when thoroughly mixed with prepared pasta, soaked up any pooled dressing allowing it to adhere to the pasta.

I do not remember the specific day or instant like I remember November 4, 2008 (wait, that isn't right), November 4, 2008 (that was probably a little over the line), November 4, 2008 (getting warmer), November 4, 2008 (there it is), but when I opened the box, the olives were gone, the dehydrated bell peppers were integrated with the pasta, and that f****** b**** c*** Betty f****** Crocker had cut the m************ Parme m************san cheese out of the recipe s********p********q********r********!!!!

I think that it was a bad day to begin with, and that just capped it off. Why make things worse? Why take the goodness out of little things? Why decrease quality?

About a year and a half later, at a Target store in Foothill Ranch, CA, my wife and I were shopping and we noticed several boxes of the Caesar Salad version on a shelf. Oh joy! Could this be a fluke? Let us not take the chance. We bought the 5 remaining boxes and took them home. That very evening was to be a BLT and pasta salad dinner anyway. I stormed into the kitchen like Ralphie with his prize. I tore open the package, and there it was. It had the pasta (sans mushrooms, but I already knew that). It had the dressing packet. It had!!! That was all that was in there. There was no Parm, no croutons, no other envelopes in the box. I actually opened 2 more of the boxes that we bought just to make sure. What made the Caesar variety special was that stinking pack of croutons and Parmesan cheese. Betty Crocker, you did it to me again.


The dressing mix recipe changed too and it sucks.

We have all had little disappointments perpetrated by the man that alone are insignificant, but together can really create a serious problem. What are yours?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Obama Is The Death of Funny

Before the election, or more importantly, before the Age of Obama, it was very easy to satirize the empty suit that was running for president on the Democratic ticket. How easy? Even I could manage it! There was so much fodder: his absurd lack of experience, his absurd radical ties, his absurdly leftward leanings... well, you get the picture: he was an absurd man.

But now he's the President-Elect of this country. With Slow Joe Biden as the Vice President-Elect. With Hillary "My main qualification was being the wife of a crappy president" Clinton as Secretary of State. Is it still an absurd situation? Yes. But it's gone from comically absurd to gravely absurd, and I'm not sure what it means for the eventual fate of this country.

My point is this: what was once funny-because-it-could-never happen is now terribly not-funny-because-it-did-happen. Seriously. I've been sitting here, trying to rekindle the old Obama-satire magic, and I draw a blank. Now, I think, I understand the media and talk-show-host reluctance to poke fun, however lightly, at their Anointed One. In their minds, well before the election, his ascension was already a reality. QED, they were unable to make fun of him due to the gravity of the situation. Now that the virtual reality in their minds has reified into The Office Of The President-Elect, I am in the same boat, albeit for different reasons.

Wait a second... Office Of The President Elect... absurd presumption that such a thing exists or has any power... hmmm... maybe there's something there... stay tuned...


Hate the Hater Haters.

I moved from Southern California to Louisville, KY about a year ago. I really miss California even with all of its peccadilloes that just simply piss me off. It is the state of anti-freedom liberties. I am sure that in the future, I will comment on them, but this issue is in the news, so I will comment.

Opponents of Proposition 8 lost 48% to 52%. People showed up and performed their civic duty. They made their choice. The losers are sore. I can relate to that in that goodness in our nation was also defeated by a similar margin in the Presidential election and an even greater margin in the legislative bodies of this once and future great nation. I would like to storm welfare offices and university faculty offices across the nation to protest the lies and hate that have given us the government that we deserve (same link as previous).

On to the point. From what I have read, it is mainly the LGBT community who has singled out the LDS as the primary benefactor and catalyst for the pro-prop-8 victory. That is, 10% blames 1.9% for 52%. Certain deviant behavior rights activists have called for a boycott of anything LDS, including the Sundance Film Festival simply because it is near Salt Lake City.

As I recall, back in the 1930's, a political group was having problems and decided to focus the blame on a specific group to shift blame from the real issues. By blaming a small but visible group for all of the ills of society the rest of us can unite as one people and overcome the hatred of the few. We cure hatred by focusing our hatred on the haters.

I am comparing the deviant left with the Nazis. Should I write a book called Liberal National Socialists? The People spoke in California. I am truly surprised that Prop-8 passed, but it did, and I am pleased. Now it is up to the state supreme court to decide that the will of the people is unconstitutional and overturn the verified and uncontested popular election results.

I definitely think the LDS have some major theological issues. They are a little nuts from what I have learned on South Park. HOWEVER, they are an important ally in the fight for conservative values. They are an opponent of my enemy and are thus my friend. Therefore, a boycott of them is an offense to me.

Monday, December 01, 2008

That is Chucked Up!

I really like wine. When I moved to the West Coast and discovered Trader Joe's, my special occasion wine became cheaper than what I marinated with in Arkansas. When I moved from there to Louisville, my wife and I bought several cases of a variety of wines to bring with us. We were bootlegging our way across the USA.

Anybody familiar with Trader Joe's is also familiar with Two Buck Chuck. I am stating the obvious for emphasis. It gets its name because it is $2 per bottle. Actually, it is $1.99 per bottle. Even if it was, say, $2.50 per bottle, its moniker would be relevant. It is not great wine, but it is real wine, not Boone's Farm or Mad Dog 20/20. A Shiraz is a Shiraz, and a Cabernet is a Cabernet. I will not comment on the Chardonnay because my favorite white wine is Corona.

The closest Trader Joe's to Louisville is in Cincinnati. My wife and I noticed that our stash was dangerously close to falling under 20 bottles, so we decided to make a trip north. The store was surprisingly easy to find being only 2 blocks off of the interstate. It was a bitter and wet day, the first bad one of the season for us. On the way we stopped at Skyline for lunch. It was awesome, but more on that later.

We entered the store and were immediately aware that not all was right. The set-up was similar to the new store on the former El Toro MCAS in Irvine. I think it was the general dourness of the patrons that threw us off. It was a chore for them to be there. They were not happy to be buying relatively inexpensive semi exotic items exclusive to Trader Joe's.

We made the usual rounds saving the best for last: the wine. For me it is like childhood when I got to pick out a candy bar at the check out line for being good while mom did the shopping. Not that I was ever good, or ever denied. One thing that I have noticed about non-West Coast Trader Joe's is that the California wines are integrated with the general population and not nearly as abundant and diverse. I observed that because there were a couple of Zinfandels that I was looking for that were not where they should have been, but I digress.

Against the back wall was a large display of the various flavors of 2 buck. Also, there was a sign proclaiming a sale on the house hooch. I thought that was odd, because at $24 per case, they would be losing money just on the cost of the glass bottles and foam 'corks'. It never goes on sale. I then examined the sale price. If a patron bought a case of Two Buck Chuck, they could pay as little as $3.49 per bottle. In a wild stretch of the imagination, a politician could redefine $2.99 as 'Two Buck', but I can not abide by $3.49 as an avatar of 'Two Buck'.

I realized why the patrons of an otherwise happy place were not. They have redefined the new normal. They have taken a term that has a traditional and definable meaning and tailored it to suit their purpose. It is good old Two Buck Chuck even though it is really not. This is kind of a tangential segue to the other post that I have been working on for a couple of days that deals with redefining words with traditional meanings.