Friday, May 30, 2008

Given that it's been almost two weeks since I've posted, I feel almost like I owe you a little more than this, but give me a break, life's been busy. I've been...doing things...relating to stuff...and people!...that I don't really feel comfortable discussing on this blog, as I don't know who's reading it, but those of you who talk with me regularly know what I'm up to. (And for those of you who don't, you'll find out in due time.)

So, with all of that being said, I'd like to share with you a couple pictures of our commander in chief which appeared in pretty much every major newspaper yesterday. In a gesture that almost makes me long for the days of "Thank you, Your Holiness, awesome speech", Bush gave some talk in front of a bunch of Marines (yeah, my research is thorough!) that culminated'll just have to see for yourself.



Needless to say, this is exactly the kind of macho swaggering that keeps us in an idiotic war in the first place.

Moving on, Hillary's campaign seems to be self-destructing at even a faster pace than usual, what with her "Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June" comments and all - we wait till tomorrow to find out what the DNC committee plans on doing about Michigan and Florida, and hopefully, in five days, we'll be discussing the official nominee, Barack Obama. Legions of fan-boys drawing pictures like this one certainly don't help Hillary's case, despite that it wins the prize for "I drank a little too much of the Obama Kool-Aid":


Oh, and this happened a while ago (I don't claim to be current), but it still cracks me up:


Fox News is running out of ideas.

And so am I.
Tim's home so I guess we're going to watch the new National Treasure or something.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


One day down, two to go.
I write, of course, of graduation weekend, when four years of classes, exams, and keggers culminate into six hundred people's worth of tense family reunions packing into one restaurant on Capitol Square. For the past month, I've heard the horror stories, and now I get to live them. Cooks and servers who've been there before speak of this weekend as old Vietnam War vets (or certain presidential candidates) relive helicopter landings under the cover of sniper fire, voices full of the tension-stocked crescendo of a monster-truck-rally announcer.

(and Friday and Saturday.)

It started last night, and needless to say, I woke up pretty sore this morning. I should get back there again in about an hour, for another ten fun-filled hours. Thankfully, there are only a couple of completely insufferable people there, and the rest are ridiculously quirky - see examples! : One of the servers is easily distractable and a med school student - last night, he picked up an armful of salads and was walking towards the dining room in the middle of the rush when I called after him - "Hey Jacques?" He turns around. "How does a kidney work?" He gets about thirty seconds into the description until I cut him off and send him on his way. Another has a prediliction towards peppering his speech with mainstream rap lyrics - commenting on his amiability with one of the dishwashers will get you a line like "Close like Starsky and Hutch, stick the clutch, you know?" Good times all around. So, enough about that for now.

Due to a lack of things to write about (well, that's not really true, but I'm not in the mood to dissect Huckabee's "That was Barack Obama diving for cover" comment), I'm going to show you around some cool things I found on the internet over the past week. Just so you're aware, I'm attempting to blog, look at some prints on, and add to my firecracker label collection all at once, so this may seem a little more random than usual (if such a thing is possible). On we go!

Chicago has finally repealed the foie gras ban. This is (obviously, if you're a cook or foodie) good news, as while people can argue what they want about ducks and geese being tortured, it turns into a slippery slope once we have to apply the same standards to every kind of food - next we'll be legislating chickens and veal. So, good call (for once), City Council.

How to make invisible shelves. If I didn't move every six months, I'd totally do this.

If you're a casual fan of Wile E. Coyote cartoons, you're familiar with his support of Acme products - somewhat odd, given that they fail every. single. time. Some poor, pathetic person has created an online catalog, so check that out if you've got a minute. (But, unfortunately, nothing's for sale.)

Want to surprise yourself? Head over to the Something Store. You send them $10, they send you...something. From the site:

It may be something you need, something you want or something you desire.
Yours may be a cool gadget, rare book, table game, handmade necklace, reverse clock, box of gourmet chocolates, set of shiny shower curtains, popular video game, big-box retailer gift card, the latest version of a software, a set of kitchen knives, a pair of designer jeans, garden tool, kitchen appliance, unique home decor item, electronic equipment, magazine subscription, office supply item, or ...
Your something will most likely be brand new, though it may also be refurbished or antique.

If you've ever watched The Price is Right, you KNOW that if you're the last one to bid, a great strategy is to go one dollar over the highest bid - anticipating that everyone else will have bid too low. Take a look at one woman's unique twist to that strategy - going one dollar under.
(I can't find an "embed" link, so click here for that video.)

Finally, have you seen Manny's running-catch-high-five-double-up video?

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I'm pretty darn proud of myself right now, having successfully navigated my way through two separate (what's wrong with my brain? I just attempted to spell that "ceperate"...and it took a couple seconds before I realized it. Too much caffeine, and onto the story...) Capital One call centers, to cancel the CreditInform and Payment Protection plans on my card. It cost me $15 on a card I barely use anyways. So if anyone wants to steal my identity, now's your chance.
I also purchased a couple of new things for the wall from (in frames and everything! No "John Belushi with the College shirt" for this guy.). I guess they don't want people just stealing their pictures and using it as wallpaper or something, so I can't just put the picture on the page, but take a look:

Edinburgh Taxi
Edinburgh Close

So that's pretty cool. Next on my list is this one (yes, I'm a huge nerd), and maybe this one.

Speaking of being a huge dork, I just finished reading a book written about the history and usage of the word "um", more or less. And speaking of literary elitism, French author Michel Thaler (a pseudonym) has written a 233 page novel entirely without verbs. Le Train de Nulle Part manages this feat by (in my opinion at least), having a ridiculous story line (basically, a man rides a train, which might be like saying Lord of the Flies is about an island, but my French is no bueno, so who knows) and making the main character sound mildly retarded, or at the very least, having a severe case of aphasia. Seriously:

"Fool's luck! A vacant seat, almost, in that train. A provisional stop, why not? So, my new address in this nowhere train: car 12, 3rd compartment, forward. Once again, why not?" - Sourced from Wikipedia

For two-hundred-and-thirty-three pages. Ugh. If that wasn't bad enough (also from Wikipedia):

In the preface of the novel, Thaler called the verb an "invader, dictator, usurper of our literature". Considering the novel an act towards literature comparable with the artistic impact of Dadaism and surrealism, Thaler surmised, "The verb is like a weed in a field of flowers. You have to get rid of it to allow the flowers to grow and flourish. Take away the verbs and the language speaks for itself." Thaler went so far as to organize a well-attended, tongue-in-cheek funeral for the verb, at Sorbonne in Paris.

Reminds me of the infamous e-less Gadsby.
I'm about to be sick, so it's time to wrap this up and get back to work.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Gordon Ramsay and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Publicity Stunt

"Big" news from the BBC yesterday. Gordon Ramsay, the infamous four-star chef turned (bleeping) celebrity caricature, has called for a ban on restaurant food that isn't in season or locally sourced.

From the article:

"Fruit and veg should be seasonal," he said. "Chefs should be fined if they haven't got ingredients in season on their menu.
"I don't want to see asparagus on in the middle of December. I don't want to see strawberries from Kenya in the middle of March. I want to see it home grown."

"There should be stringent laws, licensing laws, to make sure produce is only used in season and season only," he said.

"If we don't restrict our movements within this industry of seasonal-produce only, then the whole thing will spiral out of control."

Following the chef's comments, Oxfam's head of research, Duncan Green, said he was sure "the million farmers in east Africa who rely on exporting their goods to scrape a living would see Gordon Ramsay's assertions as a recipe for disaster".

Mr Green added: "He [Ramsay], like all of us, wants to tackle climate change, but it is vital that we ensure that poor people who are already hit hardest by climate change are not made to suffer even further."

Meanwhile, Terry Jones from the National Farmers Union (NFU) said that, while he agrees with the chef's complaint, legislation would be going too far.

He said: "We've almost got too much legislation in food and farming as things stand.

"Really what we need to see is that passion and that commitment to seasonality being pushed into consumer education and into this commitment on menu transparency."

And the Soil Association's Food for Life Partnership director Emma Noble said the celebrity chef was right to suggest that "seasonal menus are a key step in cutting the environmental impact of our food".

Yes, you've got a point, Chef. But is legislation really necessary? Sure, it's a great sound bite, and might even sound like a good idea to people who don't actually think about the implications of this. It might work for a Michelin-starred restaurant, but what about the Italian bistro on the corner whose customers demand a caprese salad in June? What exactly is a restaurant, anyways? Are we going to tell McDonald's to use locally-grown potatoes in their french fries? On that note, what exactly does "locally grown" mean? Does Ramsay suggest we follow the 100-mile diet, or does he plan on asking some random bureaucrat to draw arbitrary lines on a map of England denoting specific food zones? Maybe Ramsay should set an example and practice what he preaches. If he allows a single (bleeping) lemon (imported from Spain) in his restaurant or in Hell's Kitchen, he's a hypocrite. End of story.

Could this all be a publicity stunt for Hell's Kitchen? Or is he, in some twisted, convoluted way, hoping to garner interest in the Hell's Kitchen video game?

Okay, anyways. I'm at the parents' house in Greendale right now, just hanging out and checking in on things while they're in Russia. Two days before they left earlier this week, the city sewer system decided to back up into their basement (not as disgusting as it sounds, but still a mess), so I was here last weekend helping to get the basement and my dad's office cleaned up. Everything was hauled out of the office, then the carpet was torn up and the basement sanitized, and I just got done putting everything back in the office - a couple of desks, a bunch of boxes of books, etc, etc. Fun stuff.

I'm rambling, so I guess I'm done.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

This is going to be a quick one, as I have to leave for work in ten minutes. Consider it a reprieve.
So, Obama took North Carolina by a pretty decent margin last night, and it took until the middle of the night to call Hillary as the winner of Indiana. CBS, apparently unaware of problems we had about eight years ago with calling elections too early, gave it to her much earlier in the night - but all of those political analysts couldn't figure out that northwestern Indiana had yet to be counted, which was predicted to go heavily towards Obama. Despite the fact that it did, Hillary still took Indiana by 17,000 votes or so - which sounds like a lot, but only amounted to a razor thin 51 to 49 percent "victory." As of now, she's still staying in the race, as confused as ever about her real prospects of clinching the nomination. I'm too lazy and pressed for time to grab the link, but during her press conference last night, she spoke of Pennsylvania going to her, North Carolina going to Obama, and Indiana being the tiebreaker. I'm not sure she can get much more delusional.
So how did you spend your "economic stimulus" check? I was going to buy a plane ticket or do something totally irresponsible with the $600 Uncle Sam dropped in my account last night, but I decided to be an adult and put it towards my debts. I've got about $200 to go until I can buy a new computer. So I'm looking forward to that...
The How I Spent My Stimulus Blog asks that same question, so go and check out how your decisions stack up with the rest of your fellow Americans.
Time to head to work!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Oh please oh please be finished...

Yes, I'm a terrible, terrible blogger. It's been a really busy week and you know how it is.
I'm sitting in my living room following the Democratic primary results out of Indiana. CBS has already called it for Senator Clinton, but, as I type this, she's only up 52 to 48 (overall), and northwestern Indiana still has to be counted, which is expected to go strongly Obama. So we'll see if CBS jumped the gun on that one. It'd be nice if this whole thing could be over as soon as possible, as this whole contest is getting positively Tolstoy-esque (-ian?).
It's hill-arious (see what I did there? Haw haw) that there's this whole debate about "who's more blue collar." Frankly, I think neither one deserve the title, but as Hillary's been harping on it most of all, I'm going to take this opportunity to share a remarkable video showcasing her obvious unfamiliarity with that Holy Grail of the midwestern working man, the convenience store coffee machine:

I was in Milwaukee on Sunday helping my parents get the basement cleared out. The city sewer system backed up right into their basement - thankfully, it was clear water, not...well, you get the idea. But it's still rather a pain as we had to take everything out of my dad's office in anticipation for the carpet being ripped out and the whole thing cleaned (as supposedly the water is still contaminated). So that's fun.

As if we're shocked by anything anymore, the news is all over the release of Grand Theft Auto IV (not to be mistaken with Grand Theft Auto 4). And the reaction's been predictable. For those of you who have been hiding under a rock, the Grand Theft Auto series features a guy who runs around town killing gang members, picking up prostitutes, and stealing cars (hence the title). Apparently, in this version, the protagonist has a conscience, and what was no big deal before affects his psyche (although how this works in a game, I'm not entirely sure). It's a ridiculous argument on both sides - Mothers Against Drunk Driving is angry because the main character can drive drunk, while fans of the game argue that he's not very good at it, and has the option to call a cab instead. There's the predictable "WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?" outcry. But here's an idea for you all. Maybe concerned parents should (gasp) monitor their kids' game playing habits. We shouldn't expect mass media to babysit. Parents, why don't you think of your children and be real parents. See? Problem (somewhat) solved, much better than censoring the entire media industry because you can't be bothered to check up on what your precious little snowflakes are up to.
Conan O'Brien envisions a "kinder, gentler Grand Theft Auto":

And, I'm out.