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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Payback for Hitler

There is nothing too cruel for the biggest shit-heel in human history but I think that I have come up with some devastatingly evil ideas for revenge.  Even the Spanish inquisitors would gasp at some of these atrocities.

If I were childhood friends with Hitler and if I had a mini-bike I would never let him ride it.

If Hitler went on vacation and asked me to water his plants I’d tell him I would and then I totally wouldn’t and all his plants would die, the fucking asshole.

If I stayed at Hitler’s house for the weekend I would annoy him by not refilling the ice trays.

If Hitler were the host on Jeopardy and I were a contestant I would never answer in the form of a question.  If we were both contestants I would say “Jesus, what an idiot” every time he answered wrong and “Everyone knows that” every time he got one right. 

If I were hanging out in Hitler’s garage while he was trying to repair his lawnmower I would wait until he went into the house to answer the phone and then I would hide three or four key parts.

If I sat behind Hitler at the cinema I would talk on my phone the whole time explaining the movie a little in advance to the person on the other end because I had already seen the movie.

If I were Hitler’s next door neighbor I would secretly take his morning New York Times and do the crossword puzzle and the Sudoku and then put it back on his porch.

I would always pick Hitler last for my dodge-ball team even if he were pretty good.

If Hitler’s kid were proudly showing everyone the trophy he won at school I would laugh at him and say that everyone gets a damn trophy.

If Hitler were on my bowling team I would tell the uniform company to spell his name wrong on his shirt.

I would never tell Hitler that he looked good even if he lost a lot of weight or his acne cleared up, just to keep his self-esteem really low.

If Hitler were in my book club I would find out every place everyone had gone on vacation and then while we were sitting around drinking white zinfandel I would only talk about the cool places we had all visited except Hitler and I’d keep saying, “Oh my god, I can’t believe you haven’t been there” which would make that Nazi prick feel really left out.

Sin Noticias de Gurb (No Word from Gurb)

Sin noticias de GurbSin noticias de Gurb by Eduardo Mendoza

This is one of those books that you could kick yourself for not thinking of the idea first. It is the captain's log sent by an extraterrestrial who comes to earth, takes on human form(s), and dryly narrates what he discovers about life here on earth—or at least life in Barcelona. Upon landing in Barcelona the unnamed leader sends his underling, Gurb, out to explore the terrain. Gurb immediately goes AWOL and most of the book concerns the leader’s search for his partner as it takes two beings to drive their spaceship. While looking for Gurb the leader comments on dozens and dozens of aspects of life in this corner of the world.

No hay en toda la Tierra gente más aficionada al trabajo que los catalanes. Si supieran hacer algo, se harían los amos del mundo.

No one on earth enjoys work more than Catalonians. If they knew how to do something they would rule the world.

The author completely predicted the problems of Barcelona's bike share program (Bicing) as every day hundreds of bikes leave the upper reaches of the city and have to be trucked back every evening. And who among us wouldn't eat a couple of kilos of churros every day if we didn't have to worry about our waistlines?

It is laugh-out-loud funny in many, many parts and even more so if you happen to be something of an outsider yourself but have been in Spain just long enough to recognize some of the more absurd aspects of modern Spanish/Catalán society. There is a little bit of Gurb in anyone who has ever lived in another country.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Italian Cooking Lessons

I have been making my way through a lot of classic Italian pasta dishes. I think that it is very important to be able to create these dishes in the most traditional way. YouTube is an excellent source for recipes and I have been spending a lot of time there wading through dozens of instructional videos for each of these dishes. Determining the most traditional recipe is a lot like triangulating a location. If you look at 20 videos of a particular dish you can narrow down the ingredients to the bare minimum. Italian cooking is about using a few high quality ingredients to create a very specific taste and texture. As I heard one Italian chef explain, the three most important things about Italian cooking are quality, quality, and quality.

I made an experimental version of bucatini all’amtriciana last night but I didn’t have the correct ingredients. Instead of guanciale (pork cheek) I used pancetta and instead of Pecorino cheese I used Grana Padano, two substitutions that would disqualify this as being bucatini all’amatriciana.  The next time I make this I will track down the proper ingredients, even if I have to fly to Italy to do it. Anyone who has eaten from my kitchen knows that my Spanish dishes are 100% authentic. I am trying to carry this culinary honesty over to the Italian dishes I am learning.

A key factor in many Italian pasta dishes is having good tomato sauce on hand. I make tomato sauce in bulk (but never enough) and freeze a lot of it in small containers. My tomato sauce is infinitely better than anything out of a jar or can and it is easy to make.  As I have said before, for me it is one of those un-improvable dishes and comes out delicious every time. This un-improvable tomato sauce will improve just about any pasta dish that calls for tomatoes. 

The next dish on my list will be carbonara.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Myths of The Titanic #302

Perhaps a bigger disaster than the sinking itself.
 Although supposedly the most luxurious ocean liner of its era, the Titanic only had one bathroom for all of its 3,300 passengers and crew, and this was just a port-o-pot (port-a-loo) on one of the lower decks.* The port-o-pot often fell over in high seas drenching passengers in the deck below, although this was a Third Class deck and no one seemed to notice.

*I could have said “poop deck” for an added laugh but my humor is much too sophisticated to stoop that low. In fact, most of what I write goes right over the heads of most of the people who read this blog and only a select few really “get it.”  We know who we are so don’t raise your hands and make the others uncomfortable.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Hazardous to Your Health

You really have to watch what you say and do these days. People can be touchy…touchy and obscenely violent...touchy and obscenely violent and—in many cases—armed to the teeth. Before you do something you can’t undo, or you open your fat pie hole and get yourself into a world of hurt that a team of surgeons can’t undo, take the time to answer these questions.  Decide which choice presents the least risk and then try to avoid both options:

1)      Mistakenly wandering into the snack food aisle at Wal-Mart, or running with the bulls in Pamplona?

2)      Asking the waitress, “Can I get bacon on that?” in a crowded vegan restaurant, or blaspheming the prophet Mohammed in a Saudi Arabian mosque?

3)      Buying your teenager (who probably owns a firearm) anything less than an iPhone or Blackberry, or cutting the wrong wire while defusing a car bomb?

4)      Hinting to a group of Tea Party members that Ronald Reagan probably wasn’t some sort of divinity, or admitting that you don’t know what NASCAR stands for while having a beer in a bar in the American south?

5)      Bad-mouthing vampire movies around a group of adolescent girls, or insulting Woody Allen next to a table of south Florida retirees?

6)      Entering the Paris-Dakar rally on a moped, or offering to carpool in your Mini Cooper to your Weight Watchers meetings?

7)      Standing between a priest and a group of altar boys in the shower, or getting caught between a mother grizzly and her cubs while you’re carrying 25 pounds of raw hamburger?

8)      Shooting your way out of a Taliban ambush, or being stuck in an elevator for two hours with a group of off-their-meds Jehovah’s Witnesses?

9)      Being forced to watch television without basic cable for three days straight, or living without a TV for three whole days?

10)   Listening to the Titanic theme at least once a day for the rest of your life, or having to say at least once a day to random people that it’s your favorite song?

Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Most Frequent Words Out of My Mouth

I tend to repeat myself so if you spend more than a couple of hours around me you'll probably hear one or more of these stock phrases.

1)      I’m starving.
2)      I need a damn drink.
3)      I should clean up around this shit hole.
4)      I thought penicillin was supposed to cure every damn thing.
5)      What color is supposed to make people look less fat?
6)    Don’t I get one phone call?
7)    Bartender, I was out in the parking lot throwing up when you made last call so it doesn't count.
8)    Can you spell that? (When asked at a police checkpoint to recite the alphabet backwards)

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Valencia's Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias

The spectacular clouds make this corner of Valencia even more awe-inspiring. I never fail to stop when I ride across this bridge and marvel at everything: the park, the architecture, and the sky. I wanted to use music that was free of copyright infringement and to this end I sought out free music. I downloaded this piano piece by some asshole named Taylor Hayward. Youtube informed me that the music belongs to someone else. Thanks for nothing, you stupid dipshit.