Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Current Threat Level: Kook

For the Chicken Littles of the wingnut world it's been a great week. First there's been the chance to cry "Communist Indoctrination!" over a video of schoolkids singing about Barak Obama. Then we had everybody's favorite crazy dictator* (or at least my favorite crazy dictator) addressing the United Nations and calling Obama a "son of Africa," which makes him Orly Taitz's most credible supporter to date.

Then it was disclosed that Iran has a second nuclear facility. I can understand why both Western intelligence uncovered it and Iran came clean about it: for almost two decades Western observers have been predicting that Iran is five years away from being able to build nuclear weapons. If you want to keep some spice in a relationship you can't just do the same things over and over, you have to throw in something new every now and then. That Ahmadinejad--he's such a tease.

Meanwhile, Joe Lieberman (among others) has been asking Obama to state he's open to all courses of action (read: invade) should negotiations over Iran's nuclear facilities fail--because God knows invading countries isn't something we've been doing enough lately. Practice, practice, practice--maybe one day we'll get it right.

Of course no one is discussing the obvious: that Iran's nuclear facilities will probably never be used to produce weapons and that this brouhaha has been totally fabricated to distract everyone from the scariest thing in the world right now: Tom DeLay's dancing.

Then there's one of those more, um, under-the-mainstream-radar threats: the real reason Census workers have handheld GPS devices is not so much so they can find houses for their work but so all locations of U.S. residences can be recorded to enable missile attacks against undesirables.

Now I'm as much a fan of conspiracy theories regarding elimination of undesirables as the next guy: but last I heard Mitch Albom's house was still standing. If the goverment really has this capability, what are they waiting for?

*I refuse to write his name, since nobody can agree how to spell it--some fights are best avoided.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Week in Food

Warning: even reading what's behind this link may give you heart disease (hat tip to threegoodrats for the info).

Cook and eat whatever you want--just don't talk about it. And talk about it. And talk some more.

Did we really need another reason to eat chocolate?

Here's one food fight that's over. Suck it, Melton Mobray.

Once again, Flintshire diners can call Spotted Dick Spotted Dick. (You in the back--stop giggling. This isn't funny).

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Week in Food

What's Mandarin for "Mmmmm....chicken feet."?

Almost fifty years after the first appearance of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, some (but by no means all) French chefs are finally warming to Julia Child.

Mario's Cafe in Westhoughton, England, makes its customers an offer they should probably refuse (hat tip to BoingBoing).

PSA: If you go to Wendy's, don't eat the utensils.

Food fights: First the English and the Scots went at it over haggis. And then black puddings. Then the Scots started claiming they invented chicken tikka masala. Now on the other side of the world the Malaysians are on the alert: "Hands off our chili crab!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Latest Chapter in the Philadelphia Story

It turns out the Free Library of Philadelphia won't close. The Pennsylvania Senate voted to allow the City of Brotherly Love to temporarily increase the sales tax by one percent.

Raising taxes to pay for public services? Wow, that's some real out-of-the box thinking. I'm not surprised that it took the prospect of major city services shutting down to make the Senate consider such bold, unheard-of measures.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A City of Firsts

Philadelphia was home to the first hospital in America, the first town fire engine, and the first lending library.

So it's fitting, in a way, that Philadelphia would go for another first: the first major American city to close its public library system. Yep. Close completely:

All Free Library of Philadelphia Branch, Regional and Central Libraries Closed Effective Close of Business October 2, 2009

The author of the announcement goes on to add that Philadelphians should return all their library books by October 1. After all, we can't have people continuing to read after the library closes. That would just be wrong. Those books need to be locked up where people can't get at them.

In any case, Philadelphia's trying to establish city-wide wireless access, so if all goes well Philadelphians won't need libraries anymore. I mean, it's all on the Intertubes anyway.*

*And it's not like that many people used the Philly library system anyway. They only had 6.6 million visits in 2007. And you know some people went more than once just to pad the numbers.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Week in Food

According to some, beer helps prevent heart disease and strengthen bones. Bavarian brewer J├╝rgen Hopf makes an additional claim for his particular beer.

"It doth thoak aw the moisthture out of your mawf." That's Dogfish Head founder Joe Calagione talking about some of the drawbacks of making his newest brew.

Marriage equality has truly arrived: it's been recognized by Ben & Jerry's.

Kobe beef, smoked paprika onion rings, mango chutney: welcome to the world of gourmet hot dogs.

The food police will never stop: first it's cut back on red meat, then it's buy organic, and then don't eat processed foods. Now this.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Oh, Well.....

I recently submitted something to McSweeney's "Lists." I got a very complimentary rejection note this morning. Complimentary, but still a rejection. So I thought I would post my submission here:

Franchises Founded by Film Studies Majors

In the Olive Garden of the Fitzi-Continis
Dollar Tree of Wooden Clogs
Victoria's Secret of Roan Inish
Urban Cowboy Outfitters
American Beauty Apparel
Caribou Coffee and Cigarettes
Panda Midnight Express
My Left Foot Locker
Bath & Body Heat

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Week in Food

Good intentions perhaps, but genetically engineering farm animals that can't feel pain makes me think too much about The Dish of the Day.

Tomorrow is International You-Know-What Day.

Make your money go twice as far: when you buy jewelry, buy kitchen equipment at the same time.

One more reason to love Chicago: this weekend they're hosting an ice cream festival.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

News Roundup

I love it when a politician goes out on a limb: Putin has condemned his country's 1939 alliance with Nazi Germany.

Trivial Pursuit was the emblematic game of the Reagan era. Tetris is a good candidate for the nineties. Online Scrabble was the game of the Bush years. What's the game of the Great Recession? I'm in a retro mood, so I'm going to say...Monopoly.

And speaking of retro...the "welfare queen" is back.

Glenn Beck can relax: Obama can't take control of the Internet.

Are Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh in some contest I don't know about? Something like Let's See Who Can Make the Least Sense and Tell the Most Lies?

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