Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Musings - 4th of July Edition

No more unwanted retrospection. More musing. I'm back. Let's roll.


As you may know, the majority of celebrities died over the weekend. R.I.P. collectively.

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Are Democrats serious about this Cap and Trade nonsense? I'm increasingly unsure. For starters, the concept itself has already failed on the open market, and as a public venture (New Zealand). The bill itself would have no impact on global temperature, and is marketed as a symbolic effort which will motivate other countries to change. Do Dems really want to be saddled with this in 2010? I don't think so.

Then there is the curious matter of the house vote. The house narrowly passed the cap and trade bill before the bill had actually been written. This is (sorta) fine for an innocuous proclamation in favor of, say, establishing a monument to memorialize some Indian. But for a "landmark" climate change bill?

Then, immediately after the house vote, Harry Reid announced to ABC news that he didn't have the votes to overcome a filibuster in the Senate. That's not the kind of announcement you make when you really want a bill to pass. If the bill fails, congressional Democrats get the best of both worlds. They can placate their green base (which isn't exactly difficult) while holding Republicans accountable for hating the environment.

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Over at Shefzilla (the unofficial blog of the best restaurant in Minneapolis), I find a sterling rebuke of our mayor's bizarre, arbitrary war on bottled water. The highlight:

The World Wildlife Fund created a two-minute video recently that explains how a single latte requires 53 gallons (or 848 cups) of water to grow the beans and feed the cows that produce the milk to make the drink.


Perfect.

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Headline on CNN.com: "Airline policies juggle larger passengers."

Sounds downright exhausting.

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It was anniversary week at the Sawyer household, and so we ate. How did we eat? We ate as follows:

Heartland - We had our anniversary dinner at the celebrated St. Paul restaurant. This is as close to perfect as dining gets. The service was outstanding, the food (Heartland features a different menu each night based on whichever local ingredients are available) was exotic (veal and duck sausage) and comfortable (tomatoes and onions) at the same time. I can't recommend this place enough.

Tavern on France - We stopped for lunch on a lark after a day of paddle-boating on Centennial's man-made lake. Their specialty is build-your-own pizzas, burgers and salads. My burger was unspectacular. The toppings were fun (because I picked them), but the meat itself was flaccid and over cooked. Burgers should never get soggy. They can be messy, but never soggy. The service was very good, though, and the patio is nice. If you must go, stick with a salad.

Izzy's Ice Cream - The yin to Pumphouse's yang. Punchy, precise flavors and dense ice cream. You've probably been there already, so I'm late to the game, but I'm beginning to actually enjoy ice cream again.

Nala Pak - Hit the lunch buffet at the vegetarian Indian place of some repute. This was a business lunch (no wifey). The food was outstanding for a buffet, with several dishes a cut above. Highlights include the dosa (brought to your table) and this rice pudding-type deal that is out of this world.

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Worried about the damn potato bugs gettin' to my tomatillos, but you know how that is. Peas are swelterin' in this heat.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The best of TPWK

Continuing the unsolicited trip down memory lane

"Hey, Steve Guttenberg. Do you get high? Do you party? You wanna get high?"

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"Disneyworld is great."

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"I mean, it's pretty obvious that you guys want to see a Swedish a cappella group that performs covers of theme music from Commodore 64 video games."

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"If she dies, she dies,"... Sen. Hillary Clinton, in response to news that Elisabeth Edwards has cancer.

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"Michigan: Die WITH your dreams."

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"Captain: It's worse than I thought.

McLaughlin: There's four people in Garfield T-shirts. Is that to whom you are referring?

Zax: They have a goat!

McLaughlin: Well, that is a little weird."

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"Horowitz: Right, no way around it. I have actually thought it some what noble. My body spliced in concentric circles, laying on a nuanced ciabatta with some melted gorgonzola. Maybe some basil and olive oil on top.

TPWK: I’m putting you in a salsa.

Horowitz: Oh…. No, no…

TPWK: …

Horowitz: Not like this."

From an interview with Horowitz, the deformed tomato. He was delicious, btw.

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"Proposed Counterattack ad:

Barack Obama's Matthew 25 coalition believes that there should only be enough oil for half of virgins. John McCain supports offshore oil exploration, so that every virgin in America can keep her lamp lit."

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What are your favorites?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Best of TPWK - 2006

Continuing my series of favorite quotes:

"Leroy: It's a Macrocosm.
Kevin: No, it isn't. "

(1/25/06)

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"Upon hearing that he had received the award, President Ahmadinejad had this to say:

"Mr. Foxman has pleased me. He will be among the last to die."

(1/17/06)

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"Anne LaMott: I was mortified: I had to eat my body weight in chocolate just to calm myself.

Me: This is why my church doesn't allow women in ministry."

(2/16/06)

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"So, what do liberals do when they receive their tax refunds? I mean, the average liberal I know makes somewhere in the vicinity of $6,400 per year. So, when they get that check for $3.43, do they feel guilty? Do they act like Liam Neeson, at the end of "Schindler's List" when he equates his material possessions to the lives they could have saved?"

(3/20/06)

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"I am going to waste you at Centipede..."

(4/18/06)

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Not a quote, and I have no ideas why I put it on my blog to begin with.



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A fully grown organutan: I'M SORRY SOUL SISTA! YOU AIN'T GOT NO RACK-O MOJO!"

(5/3/2006)

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Joke: A Rabbi and a Priest walk in to the bar. Bartender asks what they want. The Priest asks for a Michelob. The Rabbi says to the Priest "I didn't know priests could drink." The Priest says "then why did you bring me to a bar? What else are we supposed to do, play darts? For crying out loud." The Rabbi says "dude, sorry I brought it up. The Priest says "well, I just don't understand the logic. There are any number of places we could've gone. If I can't drink, we could've gone to any one of them." The Rabbi says "hey, let's just keep it cool, okay? Are we cool?" The Rabbi orders a whiskey and coke, and sips it awkwardly for about three minutes.

(6/22/06)

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What are your favorites?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Best of TPWK - 2005

I'm taking the week off, creative-wise. Fortunately, I've been doing this for almost four years, so I'm pulling a greatest hits out of my ass. Without any further adieu, and for the rest of this week, I offer some of my favorite lines from past posts.

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"Robots sometimes come into my room, and play my nintendo. Then they read my books, and tell me my literary tastes are, and I quote, "banal"." (9/5/05)

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"I'm as happy as an al paca in a Pennsylvania whorehouse." (10/27/2005)

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"Sometimes cats choke on balloon leftovers. " (10/24/2005)

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"No? Too much? Oh, pardon me then while I go crap on those infants over there. You think I'm playing games? I've got the bird flu man. You do NOT know what I'm capable of. Get bronzing, you bitch!" (11/2/2005)

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"Perhaps Mark, being from San Francisco, does not know where babies come from. Mark, they come from sex, and sixteen babies come from lots and lots of sex. Married Christians have sex. Lots of sex. Weird sex, even" (11/15/2005)

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"This morning I tried to go to Brueggers, but the wizard wouldn't let me in. He's getting ridiculous, the wizard." (11/30/2005)

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"I AM A 12th LEVEL BLOGGER " (12/1/2005)

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"TPWK: It's clip art of two bears having sex. That is completely inappropriate.

Ochuk: The clip art masks the sadness inside." (12/2/2005)

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"I'm gonna start swallowing my toothpaste. I mean, why the hell not?" (12/13/2005)

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"I hate the fact that my tax dollars (and yes, they are MY tax dollars, even though I happen to be a white male) fund the services of such incompetent teet-suckers as Jack Allison, and every other government-employed lowlife who can't find a job in the real world."

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New Years Prediction for 2006: "Small children will continue their love/hate relationship with electrical outlets." (12/26/05)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Let me get this straight

So... My tax dollars are being used to reward those who made the most harmful environmental decisions?

And this is the pragmatic approach to environmentalism I am supposed to rally behind?

'Cause this makes me want to spray adorable baby owls with the gasoline I've not transmitted to the ozone layer by virtue of insisting on fuel efficient vehicles.

At minimum, when going green isn't popular anymore (say, June of 2013), I will be using this idiotic legislation to remind by hippie friends why I will never become an "environmentalist". The movement simply isn't ready for prime time.

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The One About W.A. Frost

As promised, here is the rundown.

W.A. Frost has long been on my list of restaurants to visit. This, in spite of increasingly mixed (restaurants never really get bad) reviews over the last several years. The owners have the good fortune of occupying a beautiful space with a fantastic patio and, well, I wanted a piece of that.

As it happens, Frost has been promoting its new happy hour somewhat relentlessly. Add that to a beautiful day (last Thursday) and a beautiful patio and, well, I am game. So I met some former colleagues at W.A. Frost. I got a piece of that.

And how.

Thanks to an almost comical series of encounters with miscellaneous road construction, I arrived to find my companions seated, bar menus in hand. This is to say, they had the happy hour menu.

I ordered a happy hour chardonnay, which was predictably awful, but served chilled. Even crappy wine is pretty good on a pretty patio. My wine was served with the ominous warning that happy hour was reserved for the other side of the patio. Our waiter assured us, however, that this has been a constant source of confusion, and that his admonishment referred to future visits only.

After about 45 minutes, our waiter asked if we could cash out. I find this practice tacky, generally. I'll cop to it at an Applebees, where teenager waiters get their egos involved over $6. But can't a place like W.A. Frost work something out internally? Guess not. We played along.

For the next 20 minutes, we were summarily, aggressively ignored by the waitstaff. We finally flagged down a waitress, and asked if we could order food. She responded by saying "oh, you came for lunch, but you're staying for dinner?".

We had arrived at 4pm.

We then tried to order off the happy hour menu, and were re-informed of the geographical happy hour distinctions. I protested. The waiter made promises, after all, prior to his bush league cashout, and the happy side of the patio was full.

No dice, the waitress who had been intentionally ignoring us apologized and impolitely refused our informally negotiated request. She even pulled out the old chain restaurant standby "I don't make the rules."

No, lady, you conspire to selectively enforce them, in accordance with their impact on the tip-line.

Irate, I asked to speak with the manager. This is what you are supposed to do when you are irate, instead of, say, stiffing your server or "making a scene". The manager knows all, and will listen to you. It is he who makes the rules.

The manager wouldn't speak with us. Instead, he nodded to the waitress to accommodate our request. I know this because he was standing four feet away. But, hey, we had the opportunity to spend $5 on reduced-size portions of averagish food. What am I kvetching about?

Let's revisit this entire scenario, as it raises some interesting questions.

First, why were we given bar menus when we weren't in the bar? That's like putting napkins in a bathroom stall in lieu of tissue.

Second, why, exactly, does W.A. Frost cares so greatly which side of the patio you are on? By my observation, the happy hour side of the patio was sunnier and more comfortable. Otherwise, I could not hazard a distinction.

Third, why is the waitstaff not permitted to make reasonable accommodations in the midst of a largely empty dining space?

I'll answer those questions. Waiters are given substantial latitude to honor diner requests. That's why they call them waiters. Our first waiter did not re-seat us because he wanted our tip money. Our second waitress wanted someone else's tip money, and so encouraged us out the door. The manager is accustomed to these pedantic squabbles, is biding his time until he can work at a better restaurant, and chose the path of least resistance.

W.A. Frost inhabits a beautiful space. I'll return when/if a restaurant takes over that isn't staffed by jerks.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Monday Musings

Was going to get into the David Letterman-Sarah Palin flap. Then I read James Lileks , and I can’t at all top this:

How did we get here? Blame Dave. When he came on the air, he was utterly new, and hilarious.
He may have invented the posture of Nerd Cool… the skill at deflating enthusiasm, puncturing passion with a hatpin lobbed from a safe distance… Now he's about as edgy as a soccer ball,”
An apt description of political satire in this country. Lileks continues:

Yet reserve some sympathy. Money aside, it can't be fun to deal flat, rote A-Rod jokes night after night and hear laughter you know the joke didn't earn.
Ouch.

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Realpolitik types are heralding Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “landslide victory”. The logic is as follows. A victory by his challenger, who is only nominally less extreme than Ahmadinejad, would have placated the Iranian masses, thereby stalling needed reforms.

I disagree. At present, the Iranian masses (or the reform minded among them) are taking to the streets in violent protest. In other words, they have already given up on the notion of civil reform. This is a path to the sort of anarchy the breeds tribalism (see: Afghanistan), not Democracy.

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Over at Sojourners (whose blog has banned me from the comments section in a typically petty gesture on their part), Jim Wallis regurgitates the left-wing talking points on the Holocaust Museum shooting. With regard to the “hate speech… spouted by radio talk show hosts or cable TV commentators…” he writes:

I am not normally for the old practice of “shunning,” the practice of deliberately and habitually avoiding association with a group or individual. But these recent events make me think it is time we consider shunning those who propagate the hate speech that provides the framework of justification for these heinous acts.
This, from an organization that has publicly labeled Jeremiah “Them Jews” Wright a prophet and includes links to Crazykos on its blogroll.

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It wasn’t a good food week either. Had the chance to go to Pizza Nea, which was extravagantly unspecial, a disappointment since I am a fan of Neapolitan style pie. The crust was chewy and dry, the toppings were soggy and sparse. No dice.

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That is nothing compared to my experience at W.A. Frost. Regular readers know I hate happy hour shenanigans. My philosophy is that you should either honor your happy hour, or that you should not have one.

Long story short, my visit was high on shenanigans, but they merit a separate post, so look for that later this week.

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Kentucky Grilled Chicken is simply the worst tasting thing being sold at any restaurant. It’s slippery. So help me God… Slippery.

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Ending on a high note, the Pumphouse Creamery is, well, a high note. You know what I’ve noticed about quality ice cream? It doesn’t melt. I mean, it melts eventually, but not while you’re eating it.

Also, it’s never too cold. Cold Stone is served at like 35 degrees Kelvin, and almost immediately turns into a puddle.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Top Ten Fridays - Iranian Ballot

As a blogger, I am often privvy to highly classified information. Today, I received an advanced copy of the ballot for the upcoming Iranian elections. My translator friend from Tehran was able to decipher the following before being drug into the street and burned to death. Way to take one for the team, Cindy. Fascinating stuff.

VOTE FOR PRESIDENT (VOTE FOR ONE. ANY OVER VOTES WILL BE COUNTED FOR MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD)

-Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

-Ten votes for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

-Death

-Death by hanging

-Allah (vote counts for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad)

-Life in solitary confinement in praise of Allah

-Torturous death

-I am a woman, please stone me so I am not tricked by Jew swine into believing I have rights

-I am gay, " " " " " " "

-Ron Paul

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I hate that band

You know that band that like, they're always on the radio? I hate that band.

I hate their music. It's like "nerrrrr". I hate that. Like "nerrrrrrrrrrr". Like, whatever, man.

When I listen to music, I want the SOUND, man. I want, like, "waaaaaaaah!"

You know, that s--- rules. Nobody does that anymore.

Now it's all like "nerrrr".

Seriously, man, this is what got my sister pregnant.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Monday Musings - NBA Finals Edition

Frigid June morning times. Musishness ensues. Enjoyment invariable follows.


Just to reiterate, we are friends with Islam now. Don't you dare ask for tangible evidence of this friendship. We are like dudes. We can just hang out and drink beers, and not even talk to each other. Just so long as one dude bombs the other dude's family once in a while. But again, don't expect to talk about that.

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Count me as the gossipy guy who talks behind his friends back.

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Caught Slumdog Millionaire this weekend. The appeal is lost on me. Danny Boyle's visual flair is there, as always. He has a remarkable ability to show, rather than tell. It's nice to see him get his due as a director regardless...

But the romance is uninteresting, and the plot twists not clever (and, therefore, implausible), and I just didn't care much about what was going on. Are all of these second rate screenplays (I'm thinking also of Benjamin Button, Milk and The Reader) the result of the writers strike?

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Conversation from the conversation on a blog post bemoaning the (bemoaning of) the Emergent Conversation's decline.

Josh: perhaps let me give you a hypothetical example of a doucher. the 28 year old son of a huge megachurch pastor who was the former head of the Southern Baptist Convention... (he goes on like this)

Sonja: As a woman, could you please find another scatalogical word to call people for whom you have so much disdain besides, “doucher” … that’s really quite misogynist when you get down to it.


Finally, a movement that gets it.

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Went to Flame in Rosedale shopping center today. Their specialty is meat, and so I had a french dip, which was fine. There are better sandwiches around, and probably better meat around. But if you wanted something in Roseville that isn't an Uber-chain and isn't China Jen, well, there you are.

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I want a kitten.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Top Ten Fridays - Things I learned from Obama's Speech

Today, Obama gave a speech in Cairo. This was important because, well, I actually have no idea why it's important. It's not like this accompanies any actual policy. But hey, he's the president, so if he wants to be frivolous, let's all unduly congratulate him. Besides he taught us many things, including:

10. Islam is magic. But it is only magic if we are friends.

9. If you repackage the same damn things the last administration said, but do so in a soothing baritone, this will make change happen.

8. Unicorns fart Skittles! And by unicorns, I mean Muslims.

7. Al-Ashar is a state-sponsored institution that excludes applicants on the basis of their religion. This is not at all problematic.

6. Colonialism caused terrorism, so it is best to define that term as broadly as possible.

5. 30% constitutes a small minority.

4. There are seven million Muslims in America, even though there are 2.5 million Muslims in America. After all, the more Muslims, the better. See #8 above.

3. Morocco was the first nation to recognize America as a nation. This does not require any further qualification. Do not consult Wikipedia. No.

2. In related news, Peter Welle has recently taken a position as White House speechwriter.

1. Action is cheap. Talk is where it's at.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

An Interview with the Rabbit

Every now and then, my blog affords me the opportunity to speak with various newsmakers. Without any further adieu, I would like to welcome the rabbit in my front yard. Rabbit, welcome.

Rabbit: (chews grass)

TPWK: Yeah, you're quiet now, aren't you?

Rabbit: (chews grass)

TPWK: Guess what? Rabbits go the hell. You're hellbound.

Rabbit: (chews grass)

TPWK: That's right, go ahead and chew. In fact, go ahead and chew the leaves off my basil plant. Lot of good they'll do you in hell.

Rabbit: (chews grass)

TPWK: Look at you. Acting all calm. I know your fate. I possess what is called dramatic irony, as it relates to your eternal situation.

Rabbit: (chews grass)

TPWK: Get off my lawn!

Rabbit: (chews grass)

Khris: Honey, are you going to eat your quesadillas, or should I just put them in the fridge.

TPWK: Quiet honey. I'm contending with a rabbit.

Khris: Yeah, that's what you do, isn't it?

Rabbit: (chews grass)

TPWK: You know what? I'm gonna rent Terms of Endearment.

Khris: What has that got to do with anything.

TPWK: I wouldn't expect you to understand.

Khris: You've changed. I don't even know you.

Rabbit: (chews grass)