Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's wrong with this picture

Can you see it?




That's right! The boy in car number 3 is in sin.


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Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Musings - Final Four Edition

Go Sparty! Let's muse.

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So, the federal government fired the CEO of GM. I am entirely comfortable with this decision, and will simply assume that there will be no potential repercussions down the road. And I vote!

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One of my pet peeves? People who take something you intended humorously and pretend you were serious. I made the mistake of getting involved in a political discussion at the Village Voice, whose readership is nominally less daffy than that of Dailykos. Predictably inane results ensued.

Some fellow, who has dubbed himself "realist", made sport of my blog, thusly:

"The problem with Kevin is he's a fucking idiot. Seriously - top ten super powers? What are you, fourteen?"

I would like to meet the 14 year old who lists "my father" as his number one superpower. That's one macabre kid.

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Don't ask why I bother. Just don't ask. I have an eternal optimism that humans are capable of reason. I've been proven wrong, and will be again. I should get a cat.

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Three new restaurant reviews comin' your way in 2... 1.... (you see what I did there people? It's like a countdown. Blast off! I mean that seriously... Literally, I am hoping you will envision a rocket ship).

Finally had a chance to hit up the 112 Eatery. I can't add much that hasn't already been said, other than to note that it is easily the cheapest of the top-tier restaurants in the cities. The gnocchi is absurdly good, and you can pair it with a sandwich and wine for a hair over $20. On food alone, only Heidi's comes to mind as a clearly superior experience. Go for it, but make sure you get a reservation.

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If you are in the market for affordable barbeque, and happen to live on the North side, Brickhouse BBQ is at your service. $15 gets you more ribs than you can probably finish, and smaller platters barely clear double digits. The pork ribs balance crispy and tender nicely, though I might've asked for more smoke. At worst, you've supported one of a half dozen or so restaurants left on the North Side.

Side note: The owner's wife is from Ecuador, and they apparently throw ceviche on the menu every now and then. If you go, ask about it, if only for my own selfish reasons.

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Lastly, I cannot recommend Mort's Deli in Golden Valley. Their gig is that they replicate an ostensibly authentic NY Deli experience. If New York Deli's are overpriced, lack innovation, and serve bland food (and it might well be the case), Mort's has got it down. But I'm needing more for my $13.50 for soup and half a sandwich. To me, Mort's is more Granite City than New York City.

On a positive note, the free pickles (?) are great, and they have diet root beer on tap.

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As I am flush with cash, I have made the decision to purchase a laptop. After several attempts to give my money to Chinese manufacturer Lenovo, which ended when I accidentally received an invoice for $102,000, I turned my attention to Best Buy. Predictably inane results ensued. Now I am hoping that Dell will provide me with a computer in exchange for compensation. Seriously, what has this country come to when you can't even BUY something?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I told you so...

I warned you.

Last week, while everyone was enthralled with the majesty of the sun's renaissance, I foretold the snows of eight days later. Sure enough, Fox Nine Weatherman Keith Marler woke up on a blustery Wednesday morning and grinned. He had tricked us, and eagerly awaited the revelation of our delusion.

Marler (aka Deathspawn) almost certainly woke up, sat at his breakfast nook, and consumed his daily glass of OJ, which, in the Marler household, stands for "Orphan Joy". He then tucked away his unregistered firearm, crawled into his deceptively sensible, mid-priced sedan, and popped in his Captain & Tenille greatest hits record, which he enjoys unironically.

He then made his way to work, stopping only to smoke cigarettes and cuss out abandoned kittens at the local animal shelter. He also probably sped through school zones, but he goes to work early, so arguably the fines would not have doubled. Still, though...

Then, after a charming piece on the struggle to save a local hat emporium, Marler readied his message of doom. With unbridled glee, he unfurled his Marler prognostications. Snow for all, freedom for none.

And now we are left to pick up the pieces, the snowy tendrils of fallen angels, eviscerated by the official storm prophet of the Twin Cities. Also, there was a recipe for Sweet Pea & Mint spread which looked just delightful. To bad I'm dead inside, or I'd really enjoy that.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

On fake book reviews

I read the following one-star review of Mark Levin's latest, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto on Amazon:

Listening to mark one taught the book he gloated so much about would have offered some substance instead the SAME OLD.....re- pubic-ant message we need unity to have this county going forward togetherness no more dull politics


Posted by Raldopoo

Thanks for the illuminating commentary, Raldopoo. Reasoned and thoughtful as always.

Now, it's clear that this fellow has not read Liberty and Tyranny. In fact, I would hazard to guess that Raldopoo hasn't read much of anything outside of Dailykos. So what is the appeal of going online to review books you haven't read? The book is presently the number one seller, so it is not as though the star ratings are inhibiting book sales.

Here is a more sophisticated sample of the same phenomenon, from a fellow named Tom Markus:

I was really looking forward to Mark's new book but honestly found it to be lacking. I believe the Republican Party needs new and fresh ideas and Mark seems to just repeat the same exact talking points that Rush has been repeating for years. Now don't get me wrong, I love Rush and would never criticize the big guy. It's just that there is nothing new here. If we lost the last two elections, then Mark, Rush, and other GOP leaders need to mix up the message and try something innovative.


Thomas has the good sense to couch his criticisms under a veneer of authenticity. "I would never criticize the big guy" is a nice touch, and I love the can-do ethic of encouraging the GOP to mix up the message.

Of course, Tom Markus would have no idea whether Mark Levin has mixed up the message, since he hasn't read the book, and he isn't a Republican. Here is an excerpt from his review of Michael Moore's 2008 election guide:

One of the biggest dangers we face are the false prophets and pharisees from the Religious Right who profess to save our souls while raping the nation in degeneracy, drugs (Limbaugh), divorce (McCain), and toilet stalls (Larry Craig). This book magnificently exposes those frauds.


Hmmm... Accusing someone of raping the nation with drugs (!) sounds like criticizing the "big guy" to me. So you have a guy pretending to be a Republican so he can criticize books, which again he has not read. In another review, he claims that his fifteen-year old daughter didn't like a book. So he's doing the daughter-inventing thing, a phenomenon I find even more bizarre than the book review thing.

Creepy.

Here's some advice to the left-wing Dailykos types. Look yourself in the mirror and say to yourself "some people disagree with me. I'm going to have to deal with it."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Musings: Evening Edition

The hour is late, but the musings are valid. Read on, young soldiers...

So, our president made a retard joke last week. If a pastor-in-chief falls, and no emergent is there to hear it, does it make a controversy?

I am not offended by the fact that Obama made the joke. Face it, everyone reading this has had a laugh at the expense of the Special Olympics. In fact, I would argue that the joke was, by far, the most interesting thing Barack has said in public.

And, really, nobody can fault Obama for disrespecting the mentally handicapped. He's hired this inspiring fellow to be his press secretary.

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None of my moderate friends tell me I'm wrong about Obama any more. Just sayin'.

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TPWK regular Matt Watson (and editor of Detroitbadboys.com, which you should all check out) has been begging for more restaurant reviews, so here we go.

Had a chance to hit up Cafe Bon Xai in St. Paul, off Snelling and 94, by the Fantasy Gifts store (not that I'm a regular). The men greatly enjoyed their meat offerings (a brandy chicken dish and curried mahi-mahi), and both are an excellent value at under $15. The women were placated by a competent, but uninspired, pad thai dish, but if you are in the mood for an excellent Thai fusion joint, Cafe Bon Xai will give you bang for your dollar.

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On the topic of bang/dollar ratios, Blockbuster online is performing poorly. Since we have joined, the offerings have become as expensive as they are sparse. I had always assumed the rental giant would knock Netflix out of the market, by virtue of its ability to trade in rental movies at their brick and mortar stores.

Alas, and unbeknownst to subscribers who do not read the monthly fine print, Blockbuster has essentially rendered null the in-store trade program by refusing to ship the mail-order DVD until the store hard copy is returned. Way to squander your only advantage in a down economy.

Combine this with the fact that Netflix has aggressively cornered the online download market (their subscription comes with instant access to unlimited downloads of 12,000 movies), and it would appear rumors of Blockbusters' demise are well founded. Frankly, that's hard to do, even for a company that has made a practice of kicking it's customers in the nuts for 20 years.

Good riddance, Blockbuster. Take your stupid hamster and 24 trillion copies of Hancock with you.

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That's all you get, folks.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Top Ten Fridays: Super Powers

Here are my top ten favorite superpowers. I probably have most of these...


10. Prophecy (biblical)

9. Guns for hands.

8. Perseverance (it's a superpower according to the billboards)

7. Horse whispering

6. Magic lasso

5. Unicorn knowledge

4. Hobbies

3. Kittenstare

2. Fists of fury

1. My father


What are your favorites?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Go to your room, hussy!

With the economy hurdling downward like Natasha Richardson on a bunny slope (too soon?), it is incumbent upon us, as a nation, to be angry about it. Sure, the recession might stem from a confluence of fraud, bad personal decisions, political incompetence, and the cyclical nature of the market, but that’s a lot to think about.

Worse, there seems to be some sort of lesson in personal accountability. This isn’t time for learning, it’s time for outrage! Like a James Horner film score, our media and political elite are more than happy to tell us what to think, who to condemn, and how to be outraged.

We are, if I understand correctly, to be outraged at the dispensation of lavish bonuses at insurance giant AIG. Barack Obama’s Teleprompter has informed him that we own 80% of the company, and people are out of work, don’t you know.

Congress, too, seems to be outraged. This is a bit odd, like a mother who gives her teenage daughter $20 to go to the pharmacist, and it later perturbed to discover condoms in the backseat. “And to think, I thought you just needed lots and lots of ibuprofen. Go to your room, hussy! Just wait until your father gets home.”

Only the father in this case is Tim Geithner, whose credibility rates somewhere between Jocelyn Elders and Jeremy Davies at the end of Saving Private Ryan. He’ll stammer about for thirty seconds before arbitrarily unplugging her alarm clock and tearing her Twilight movie poster off the wall.

Also lining up to spoon feed the hate is Jon Stewart, who was once a comedian of some repute. He upbraided Jim Cramer, host of the absurd Mad Money on CNBC for encouraging people to invest before the market tanked. ‘Cause, you know, everyone knows precisely when that’s going to happen. Stewart’s pivot from dry comedy to righteous indignation is awkward at best (he has a cable show too, you know), but Monday morning quarterbacks can be prophets too, right?

If you took financial advice from a guy whose shtick is to pound tables and throw papers in the air, well, suffices to say, everyone is to blame but you.

Especially Bernie Madoff, whose dalliances are symbolic of, but entirely unrelated to, our present crisis. Madoff started a Ponzi scheme in the early 1990s that had duped investors into giving him money he did not invest. He is arguably the person least responsible for the recession.

No matter. Bernie Madoff might as well be the guy who sold you that Jeep Cherokee you bought for $33k two years ago. There is no way you could possibly have known this was a bad decision. But the “Madoff’s of the world” sold you a bill of goods. What? Your Jeep hasn’t broken down yet? Donate it while you can still write off the full blue book value.

Of course, I’m just raining on the parade here, but there is a good reason to be leery of scapegoating. If Congress can stoke enough outrage to make themselves look heroic by legislating, we’ll wind up with a law that bans bonuses, cable news and… Well, whatever it is Congress can convince America that Bernie Madoff is guilty of outside of that which already constitutes a crime.

This is known as window dressing. Meanwhile, our leaders will continue to reap the benefits that come with ignoring the maladies that are genuinely in need of redress. The mortgage fraudsters, unhinged speculators, and Jeep Cherokee buyers will emerge unscathed, lessons unlearned. The AIG execs and Jim Cramer will be back to work.

Of course, if you ever work your way into the position of receiving a seven figure bonus, well, too bad. Congress banned those. You know, Madoff and all that.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

How about that weather?

At last, Old Man Winter lies dormant and comatose, defeated.

The once impenetrable snow retreats into amoebic lumps of innoucuous ice. Puddles evaporate under our mother star's gentle caress. Co-workers engage in pleasant conversation. Bloggers are pensive and thoughtful. Parents pay attention to their children, and husbands stop drinking. Everyone is eager to show off their spring wardrobe. Apple Valley residents stop renting Kate Hudson films.

Everything is sunshine and gigglesnaps. Maybe you've drafted the first page of that novel you've always wanted to write. You know, the one about a Christian woman who finally realizes that God is about more than just religion after a near death experience?

But, you know what happens when old men go dormant and comatose? They die and release their bowels, that's what...

This is Minnesota, people. Eight days from now, when the last ice chunk has melted away, and the trees are beginning to bud, you'll tune into Fox Nine News in the morning. Keith Marler (aka Deathspawn) will be there to great you with the somber news. 8-9 inches of snow.

This will be followed by three weeks of 32.4 degree weather, producing a trickling mass of mud and slush, which will coat the city entire.

Your co-workers will return to their acerbic and incompetent selves. Bloggers will rant about the recession. Parents will resume ignoring their children, and husbands will switch to straight gin with a dash of salt. Spring wardrobe will be sullied and torn, and Bride Wars will hit the DVD shelves.

After penning three pages of (alternatingly turgid and banal) prose about flowers, you'll realize that what you had to say was never all that illuminating to begin with, and that administrative assistant is probably your ceiling. This would be asoul crushing revelation if you didn't find your husband's have-drank bottle of gin in his sock drawer.

Go Spartans!

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Throwing Caution to the Wind

You know what? The hell with it, I'm renting Starman.



See, Jeff Bridges is an alien, and he doesn't understand our world. I find his adventures compelling, humorous and even poignant.



Also, this punchline is well worth 3 minutes of build up. I don't see how you could come to any other conclusion.



What? Um, no. I can't take out the trash. I have to watch Starman. I rented it already. It would be a waste of $2.95 if I don't watch Starman right now. And yes, I just might have nachos while I watch Starman. Seems reasonable to me...

In fact, if I am sufficiently moved by Jeff Bridges' plight and general selflessness w/r/t shiny orbs, I may be compelled to purchase the Starman/Close Encounters of the Third Kind two-pack on Amazon. I am pleased to see two similarly regarded films on the same discs.



I get free shipping if I add the Ghost Dad/Sophie's Choice and Casablanca/Two if by Sea packs.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I'm supercat

Yo, yo. It's supercat. Believe it.




What makes me super, you ask? Um, super powers? Duh!

For example, I can leap over objects six times my height. I can also fall from three stories and live to talk about it. Boom!

What? You say that an average cat can do both of these things. That I am not, strictly speaking, extraordinary? You've even constructed a syllogism?

Hmmm... Yeah, that's pretty irrefutable. Come closer to me.

(swipe)

There you go. Enjoy your new corneas Mr. Magoo...

Super cat! Super cat! He know what to do!
Super cat! Super cat! Brings joy to me and you!




Sunday, March 08, 2009

Monday Musings

The government stole our hour. I want it back. Let's muse.


In an effort to build goodwill between the United States and Russia, Hillary Clinton offered Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a red button that said "overcharged" in Russian. It was supposed to say "reset".

Setting aside the fact that, had this been Condoleeza Rice, the New York Times (see you at the unemployment line, suckers) would be penning it's 136,542th article on the issue, I have to ask... Why are we evoking cold war imagery by giving Russia a little red button?

Of course, this is the administration of the most brilliant man EVER, so who am I to question.

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This
is one of the most reasoned, intelligent pieces I've read in a while. It's about foie gras, and it comes from Mark Pastore, owner of Incanto, a well-regarded Italian restaurant in San Francisco. Here is an excerpt:

"Much of the outrage being stirred up over foie gras production centers around the practice of gavage, the use of a funnel inserted into the duck's esophagus to force-feed grain to the duck over the final 15-21 days of its life... However, this approach is the crux of the problem with an argument meant to play upon human empathy: it anthropomorphizes an animal whose physiology is fundamentally different than ours. Ducks and geese are waterfowl. Their digestive tracts evolved to accommodate swallowing of whole fish, the occasional amphibian, and rocks for the gizzard to assist in digestion."

In other words, intellectually dishonest vegetarians and eviros have used the delicacy as a public relations vehicle, when really what they want to do is get everyone to stop eating meat.

Foie gras, if you have not partaken, is delicious. Eat some today.

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While I'm on the food topic... Anyone who has not tried Be'wiched in the Warehous district should absolutely feel compelled to do so.

As the name implies, it's more or less a deli, specializing in sandwiches and salads. But Be'wiched sandwiches house absolutely top notch ingredients (e.g pastrami made on-site) and are crafted with extraordinary precision. Every nuance of the sandwich makes sense.

Go during happy hour, and they'll put together small plates for you and your party. Just tell them what you want, and how much you want to spend, and they'll do it up. Seriously, it's that laid back. Oh, and Surly's are $2.

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I'm less infatuated with Smalley's Caribbean BBQ in Stillwater. The jerk chicken is exquisite, as is the mac and cheese side dish, so on that basis I can recommend it if you happen to be in the area, but the food is uneven and often greasy. I appreciate the idea of BBQ that goes beyond dousing everything in sauce and turning it into jerky, but I'm not sure "it's better than Famous Daves" is enough to merit a 40 minute hike across the cities.

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And, lastly, you should make it to the Blue Door Pub while they are serving their Merriam Park burger. Stuffed with bleu cheese, garlic and bacon, and topped with a sweet chili sauce, that thing is heaven.

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You know what story I'm sick of hearing. "Man goes from $100,000 per year to poorhouse". If you were making $100,000 per year in 2007, and you don't have any money now, you are getting what you deserve.

I suppose that's why the stories are so popular. Schmucks like us get to read it and feel a sense of empowerment. Except the stories themselves are actually pretty banal. That's what we get for being schmucks.

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Besides, Obama has saved us. If you aren't employed, it's because you didn't hope hard enough.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sorry...

I'm not keeping up with my blog. I'm sorry...

(shoots nail into forhead as penance)

Oh, wow... I thought that would just kinda leave a mark or something, but... Whooo! Not cool. Alright, I think I'm good. Let's see, the president of the United States is Barack Obama, St. Paul is the Capital of Minnesota.

2 + 5 = Saddam Donuts...

Oh, that's not right at all... I should probably go to the hospital.

Go Pistons!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Robbinsdale Redemption

I'm not mad at Robbinsdale anymore. How could I be? Here's what went down. After penning my hysterical blog post, I shot an e-mail to Robbinsdale mayor Mike Holtz, voicing my frustrations, more or less verbatim.

So what does he do? He responds. Not only does he respond, but he gathers more information to forward to the city police chief. Apparently, the police chief knows what's up, cause he e-mails an apology, and offers to rescind my citation.

Has anyone seen (or, less likely, read) Les Miserables? You know that scene where Inspector Javert hangs himself? I'm a blogger. I'm supposed to hate city leadership. But yet, here is Mike Holtz, a Democrat no less, demonstrating competence. Not only competence, but something borderlining on compassion.

And then, I remember... Jean Valjean was a mayor. Perhaps Mike Holtz was once accused of stealing bread, but now lives to redeem others. Vengeance was his, and he gave me back my life.

Stars... In their multitude...


But yeah, sorry Hackenmueller's, El Toro and Aquarium store guy. You kinda got thrown under the bus on that one.

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