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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Life in Post-Bush America

A quick reminder to what life looked like before President Obama took over. It has been seven years without a scandal, with a growing economy, relative peace for America all led by a man who isn't an embarrassment to the country.

We're never supposed to forget what happened on September 11, 2001 but I think it is infinitely more important never to forget that Bush led us into two disastrous wars.

At the onset of the Iraq War its supporters threw themselves into fits of hysteria when anyone tried to compare Iraq to Viet Nam. As it turns out Iraq can't be compared to Viet Nam because Iraq had a clear-thinking president to pull the plug and clean up after his moronic predecessor. 

So think about that whenever someone screams about Hilary’s emails or four U.S. citizens dying in Benghazi, not-shit scandals to be sure.

Friday, September 04, 2015

The Art of Mayonnaise

If you aren’t making your own mayonnaise and alioli at home then you are letting one of the best things in life (or at least in the kitchen) pass you by. Store-bought mayonnaise is for chumps as making it at home takes literally less than a minute. I don’t recommend making it with a whisk like the French guy does in the video but I like how he broke down the “whys” and “whats” of making this simple sauce. First of all it is essential to begin with all the ingredients at room temperature as he advises. Take your eggs out of the refrigerator well before the start or your oil won’t emulsify as I learned the hard way on more than one occasion. I watched a video in Arabic and the woman said that if everything goes as it should, and if God wills it (in sha Allah) you will have mayonnaise.

I don’t think that divine intervention is necessary to pull off great mayonnaise every time in your kitchen. I haven’t made a video because there are already hundreds out there in every language to walk you through this. I have a few tricks that I use in my version. I use a LOT of garlic, like 3-4 cloves. I mash them first in a mortar with a pinch of salt and oil just so I know that no little chunks escape the fury of the hand blender. I also use extra virgin olive oil even though many people say that it is too strong for this delicate sauce. I just figure that olive oil is much better for me than any other type of oil so that’s what I should be using. I also like to squirt in a bit of red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice, mostly because I always have vinegar on hand which isn’t true about lemons. I have a special glass container that I use to make it so that I don’t have to transfer the finished product. I just pull out the blender and put on the cap.  I also like to stir in a little more seedy Dijon mustard when I'm finished just for an added kick.

My last batch of mayonnaise was so good that I could eat it like ice cream.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Quite Possibly the Stupidest Thing I've Ever Written (and that's saying a lot)

Many people would probably think that it isn’t a wise use of time for a beyond middle age man to spend the better part of an hour watching YouTube videos of monkeys riding bicycles. I certainly wouldn’t defend that man until I remember that it’s me doing the chimp inspecting. I think most adults would agree that mankind has made huge leaps in the field of lower primate leisure activity instruction. Barely a generation ago most apes wouldn’t have known the difference between a bicycle and a popsicle and now monkeys of several species happily pedal bikes…and often without training wheels! Miraculous!

When I say “happily” I don’t mean this literally as the chimps wouldn’t perform unless there were guys hitting them with a stick if they didn’t spin around a small track lined with spectators involved in illegal gambling. Cruel? Perhaps, but we employed the same techniques to motivate scientists in the early years of America’s space program and look where that got us. So by saying that monkeys “happily pedal bikes” I mean they prefer it slightly to being beaten with a stick.

And consider this: what if after viewing these “cruel” videos this same beyond middle age man came to the conclusion that perhaps we aren’t so different after all? If I may be allowed to stretch a metaphor to the bursting point, what if I said that the only thing keeping me pedaling a bike is the stick that represents the tyranny of our image-obsessed society, that I ride to keep in shape so as not to be struck by the “fat stick?” Perhaps I’m not violently coerced to perform three shows a day,  six days a week with a matinee on Sundays but I think I have some idea as to what these little guys are going through. Am I not just a big, slightly chubby monkey riding a bike in a vicious circle solely for the pleasure of others?