• Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    Spotted Pigs, Fire, Hogzilla II

    The World Could Use a Little Frankenstein

    I think most of us agree the death of SNL's Phil Hartman was tragic. I remember his quiet, off-camera response to an interview question, simply saying "the world needs laughter."

    Who can forget the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer? Frankenstein? Where are they when we need them?

    Nine years later we can thank the steady stream of news about men behaving badly to help us howl in his absence. Exhibit A. This New York Post story about chef setting himself on fire while demonstrating flaming shots (was he quoting Dante? was it the signature drink in Hell?) at The Spotted Pig.

    His audience? You won't be surprised. As if the stunt were not silly enough, it seems he was doused by fellow barflies flinging drinks at his flaming self, and somehow his hand was cut by glass. If only Frankenstein had been there to warn him: "FIRE BAD!" Especially following a night of drinking...

    Filling the Unfrozen Caveman Void - Thanks, Dixie!

    I'm not saying all men are primitive, or anything. I like men. Some of my best friends are men. Heck, I even married one. But seriously, have you seen the news hit of the 11 year old Alabama boy shooting with his Dad? Actually, they're calling it Hogzilla II. Call this Exhibit B.

    I found this hilarious post on
    Michael Ruhlman's blog indicating the young, Christian-educated honor roll student was spurred on through his three hour shooting rampage, inspired by Ruhlman. I think his Dad also wanted to see Tony eat the poop shoot or testicles or something. (Must've read Peddling Flesh and Pushing Limits.) Ah, the civilizing effects of culinary education.

    By the way, maybe one of my hunting, unfrozen caveman readers can tell me why an 11 year old is allowed to carry a gun and when did anyone start hunting with revolvers? Various reports also indicate that he shot his first deer - - at age 5.

    By the way, Field & Stream reports (yes, I do my research!) that the original "Hogzilla" was actually most likely one of four hogs escaped from a neighbor's pen. Later documented to be smaller than initial reports. Several hunters have also posted on many sites that the weapon reported to have been used would be an unlikely weapon for an eleven year old.

    The web is already abuzz with hoax rumours. All I can say is WTF?!

    Southern Christian child-rearing issues aside, it's still a lotta pork. I wonder if Paula Deen's people will be gifted some sausage? After her ill-advised endorsement of environmental and labor violators, Smithfield Foods, perhaps she's in the mood for a little "free-range" pork. Even if it came from a neighbor's yard.

    Thanks to , del Grosso et al. for putting a proper ironic spin on it all.

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    Friday, May 25, 2007

    Holiday weekends are for hot dogs, movies and hot buttered popcorn. Hold the diacetyl.

    You may be heading out to the movies this holiday weekend or staying in and grilling. If you’re grilling some dogs, be sure they’re gourmet. Or at least really, really good.

    If movie night for you includes microwave popcorn…you might want to read this piece from the Grist blog. I guarantee you’ll think twice about popping that butter-flavored popcorn in the microwave.

    It’s entertaining reading (if reading about disabilities caused by the industrial flavoring chemical diacetyl, can be called that) amidst the doom and gloom of food safety warnings. Once again, California legislators are on the forefront. One of the aspects of this news that made me laugh out loud is the absurd doublespeak of our governmental officials of the food industry hacks.

    The Feds essentially acknowledge (sort of) that there is a genuine public safety issue while stating that the nature of it makes it impossible to investigate because technically it falls in between the stated missions of various agencies. Well, that’s comforting isn’t it?

    The best comment comes from the food industry insider who claims the need for the chemical which is proven to cause irreparable lung damage is justified because there simply is no other single thing that provides that buttery flavor. Kudos to California Assemblywoman who succinctly notes that, um, BUTTER might actually do.

    Full disclosure
    On regular trips to the left coast I have been known to rant about the safety warnings which cover every public surface as required by the hyper-vigilant California legislature. I remember the famous John Riggins advice to a Supreme Court Justice that she needs to “loosen up baby.” (Whereupon he, being loaded, fell flat on his face.) I mean it’s California, which this side of the Mississippi is short-hand for laid-back, stoner, hippie, choose one.

    I’ve got to say the diligence of the California legislature seems to over-compensate for a handful of beach bums. Like a small man driving a big, long car, the handiwork of these hardworking protectors of the public is everywhere. The assumption seems to be we need to be saved from the perils of our own ignorance. Everywhere you turn, there are plaques with warnings, such as ‘Warning: the California legislature has determined that parking garages are known to contain toxic fumes which are harmful if inhaled.’ And, what exactly am I to do with this knowledge? Not breathe while I park the car or walk through the garage?

    Anyway, I feel they’ve kind of redeemed themselves with the Assemblywoman’s concise and witty response and her pursuit of worker safety. Now that Californians are making sense to me, I'm sure this represents my first step on the path to the hell, or at least to California. Sure as the sun will shine, there will be a plaque on the door “Warning: The California legislature has determined that hell can be hazardous to your health.”

    Alternative to Chemi-pop
    Take a regular lunch bag, place about one-third cup of popping corn in it. Fold the top, one staple to close and your microwave popcorn will be ready in a couple minutes. No oil, no transfat, no guilt about bronchiolitis obliterans. I never took Latin, but I’m relatively certain that any illness containing the word “obliterans” can’t be good.

    Toppings for your home made microwave popcorn can include: butter, grated parmigiano reggiano, a sprinkle of Old Bay, hot sauce or that great retro-hippie combo: brewer’s yeast and soy sauce.

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