the weirdest things can make us feel better

I got up at 2am this morning and was on the road within the hour for work.  It seemed to make more sense than spending another overnight away from home.  And the dogs came with me, because why not.  But then it was raining hard for the entire automobile based journey.  I always forget, and am reminded when in progress, just how unfortunate it is to have to drive in the dark when it’s raining.  I think it drops the chance of survival by like 83%.  My statistic on this is beyond reproach, I got the numbers from the WHO, so you know they’re good.

Anyways, about halfway through while downhill on the highway and at a low point across a bridge I ended up skidding on what must have been a puddle built up with the heavy rain.  So I was along for the ride for maybe 1.5 seconds.  Luckily, I didn’t get my one way ticket to Valhalla.  But then I couldn’t get it out of my head that I’d somehow screwed up.  Either through poor driving, or driving too fast.  I probably uttered one or more words that usually would be rather appropriate on this blog, but don’t feel like repeating them now.  And all the dogs did from the backseat was open their eyes briefly, wonder what the hell Daddy was so upset about, and then go right back to sleep, totally unaware of the troubles that could have awaited them in Doggy Valhalla.

But then ahead of me, a FedEx truck towing a pair of those dual-connected trailers started to skid out too.  His second trailer started to fishtail in and out of his lane.  I thought he was done for.  I actually started to slow down in the expectation I’d have to pull up behind him and run out to pull the driver out of an overturned semi.  But somehow he got it back under control and carried on.  And other than relief, my next thought was to feel better.  Surely, this guy is driving every day, and even he nearly trashed it on this road.  So it was somewhat okay that I’d nearly done the same, and I took my foot of my throat about that puddle.  The weirdest things can make us feel better.

Eh, maybe neither of us should have been on that road to begin with.  3am in the dark, in the rain.  Neither his job or mine is worth that insanity.  And yet we were both there.  And I bet you we’ll both be doing it again some day, no matter how stupid it is.

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Halloween costumes – when did this go off the rails?

When I was a young useless lad, mine own dear Mother made me and my Brothers into orange Crayola crayons by hand. These costumes undoubtedly took her hours to make, but probably cost $8 in material. And nobody’s ever forgotten them. But now this quaint, wholesome activity has been conquered by, by what?

First off, let’s start with a little history. Halloween is a cult Pagan festival honoring the dead; likely in a creepy grinding ritual that back in 553 BC probably involved a pile of bones, human sacrifice (which seems to defeat the purpose), or at the very least a bunch of club beatings.  They probably did this for three days straight, because what the hell else was there to do back then?

In order to quickly attract converts, the Catholic Church allowed the adoption of Pagan rituals into the Christian calendar. Depending on how you count, this emerged as All Hallows or All Saint’s Day around 1400 years ago. Thus the original purpose of involving the dead, leads us down the road of horror, vampires, fear, boy bands, gargoyles, Miley Cyrus, etc.

But this costume thing is only about 150 years old. And it always seems to have taken on a rather tame tact that gives one the impression that the culture mostly left to whole violent death concept behind. Here’s a photograph from 1924, not too many decapitated horror movie themes going on here:

1924

In my youth days, I remember the parents walking around in street clothes. All the kids wore either homemade or rather bland costumes which were actually street clothes just slightly altered. Maybe other kids wore ridiculously elaborate costumes back then and I just never saw it? I’m not sure, we didn’t exactly live in a rich neighborhood and so who knows what folks were wearing on the Giant Octopus mansion street.  Maybe those kids went around in $600 Monopoly Man costumes?

The Monopoly Man

“Terribly sorry Sir, but my Father is very wealthy, as the saying goes, and states that if you peasants do not provide me with the very best candy I am to slice you.”

 

But as to my home,  I just remember loving the simplicity of it all.  The family and neighborhood flavor of it.  When you’re wearing a homemade crayon around, your expectations of life are formed accordingly.  And I’m the better for it.  So are my Brothers.

Well, that was fun, for those days are over.  When did this go off the rails?

Culturally the planet’s gone from:

 

Pagan death ritual => Catholic soul day => wholesome costume culture / candy day => what?

 

What’s it now? Well, here’s a pair of screenshots that I think answer’s that question. And I hate the answer.

amazon

walmart

1) sex

2) sex

3) Diz-Nee

4) Mon-Nee

5) Other generic Giant Octopus product

6) Mon-Nee

7) sex

 

Uh, [shakes head], I want my crayon costume back.

so I guess I’ll have to stop eating meat now?

So that pork dish from Saturday night? Off limits. My Brother’s tasty chili accompanied by his own homemade hot sauce? Not going to happen. That leftover Indian dish I made last week? It’d be like I’m eating shards of glass.

All of this is the path you shall now take. For the World Health Organization (WHO) has decided that meat causes cancer.

Let’s leave aside for a moment that the WHO is tackling this urgent meat-flavored issue when they otherwise seem to have trouble executing their core mission.

Per the BBC:

 

Processed meats – such as bacon, sausages and ham – do cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Its report said 50g of processed meat a day – less than two slices of bacon – increased the chance of developing colorectal cancer by 18%.

Meanwhile, it said red meats were “probably carcinogenic” but there was limited evidence

 

That’s kind of exact if you ask me. Exactly 50 grams of processed meat equals a 18% chance I commute to Valhalla? How could they possibly get so specific?

That’s like telling me a scientific study has proven that if I drive exactly 13 miles per hour over the speed limit my chances of a twisted metal death are increased by 14%. Would you believe such a stat? I wouldn’t.

And then they go ahead and say straight meat, non-processed variety, is “probably carcinogenic” but then admit they can’t prove it. Well, I say that listening to Justin Bieber is probably carcinogenic, but I can’t prove it. But just take my word for it, okay.

So I guess I’ll have to stop eating meat now? Because they said so?

Let me lay this out for a second. Every human who has consumed food, any food at all, has died. The fatality rate for the consumption of apples is 100%. Everybody who’s ever eaten a piece of fish will ultimately become a bleached skeleton. That’s science you can bet your soul on. It’s 100% guaranteed.

Just ask this guy. He hate some hummus in 69 BC, and look what happened to him:

grave

So is this a license to dip your coffee in bacon fat each morning? Or drive down the road 34 miles over the limit while drunk and listening to Bieber at top volume? I mean, you could, I guess?

But no, not really. Common sense does apply. You don’t need the WHO to tell you that.

But I guess this pseudo-science really does bug me. Because it gives decent, legit science a bad name. And it could convince people to change their behavior for all the wrong reasons.

It’s your life. Live it.

As to me, so I guess I’ll have to stop eating meat now? No, not a chance. The leftovers to this excellent dish is what I’ll be eating tonight. It’s 100% guaranteed.

dinner

peppers unto happiness

My Brother gave me a Thai red pepper plant last spring because he is well aware that I like spicy cooking that melts my brain.  Unfortunately I travel so much for work and have so little direct sunlight into my place that the plant didn’t reach full quality this year.  Maybe next year if I leave it outside.  But I took three smallish peppers to cook with tonight before I leave again for work tomorrow and through the weekend.

 

Thai pepper

I yanked a pair of Indian recipes off Saveur so we’ll see how this goes.  I’m cautious but looking forward to trying some new techniques.

 

peppers

As you can see, the addition of four random habaneros should tell you how wrong my Bro was about my preferred level of spiciness.  I also have all those usual Indian dry spices.  And some cayenne, which I have sitting atop a spice pedestal under a white light ready for action.

 

But the below is his work, both in terms of growing, photos, and bottling.  He’s above my level of pepper awesomeness.  I’ll try and get there.

bro peppers

bottles

His peppers are: “Ghost, Thai, Scorpion, Choc. S.B., Trinidad Perfume, 1 Reaper”

His bottling is a Caribbean recipe.

you will be made to pay

The other day I strolled into my neighborhood shopette to purchase a pack of alcoholic beverages known locally as beer. I struggled to determine which style I desired to buy as I’m generally indecisive and as there are so many delicious options. But then I was shocked as I felt a sharp pain at the base of my back and I quickly found myself being led down the beer case aisle with a firm hand on my shoulder.

“Just right this way, Sir; just right this way,” the man said. I thought about struggling but it seemed as if the man could read my mind for as I made to break free the pain in my back increased and I realized I had a knife to my spine. I managed to glance over my shoulder and I was aghast to find my captor was no less than The Monopoly Man.

Our journey concluded in front of the ubiquitous Bud and Miller case. For of course they’re usually side by side. “Pick one,” The Monopoly Man whispered seductively in my ear. Sweating, and scared out of my mind, I meekly uttered, “Which one?”

“It doesn’t matter,” he firmly responded. Five minutes later I departed the shopette with a six pack of Bud or Miller. I can’t remember which as I was too concerned with the fact that I’d soiled myself shortly after The Monopoly Man returned the switchblade to his pocket and disappeared behind a Grolsch display case, never to be seen again.

bud

Why yes, yes it is.

$104B is a lot of money for a beer company. $104B is a lot of money for anything. $104B could buy you ten nuclear aircraft carriers or 20 years of budget for America’s PEPFAR anti-AIDS program. But AB InBev is using it to absorb SABMiller. Why? Straight cash, folks.

Should you care? After all, nobody is made to buy beer. Alcohol is scientifically a poison to your body. It’s why you get drunk. So technically speaking, I don’t suppose there’s any reasonable difference between deliberately ingesting alcohol, and deliberately ingesting drain cleaner. It’s just that one is more poisonous than the other. Except that beer is tastier, so there’s that.

But this purchase is the latest in a trend. Depending on where you live, there are only about three mobile phone providers you get to choose from. The health insurance companies are merging now too. Experts predict that eventually instead of having five health insurance companies that there’ll be only three soon enough.

The health insurance companies claim they need these mergers to keep costs down. So good news, your health insurance cost will go down over the next five years. Guaranteed. They’ll swear to it.

The problem with capitalism is you need genuine competition for it to work. Otherwise you get something other than capitalism.

AB InBev has shelled out $24.3M in political campaign contributions equally split between the parties, as well as $102.3M on lobbying the government. SABMiller’s numbers are $2.1M and $21.0M, smaller, but still equally split between the parties. Hmm, why would they give an equal amount of cash to each party?

You certainly shouldn’t really care about AB InBev and SABMiller. Instead, you can just always buy tasty Yuengling.

But I suspect you do care about health insurance. Or the cost of your phone plan, seeing as how you can’t compete in the modern knowledge economy without one. How about the cost of your Internets? Or your power bill?

The same thing is happening to them all. You will be made to pay. The Monopoly Man is sure of it.

The Monopoly Man

“Terribly sorry old chap but you’ll be made to pay lest you force me to slice you open.”

I know what’s in Tut’s new tomb rooms

I don’t know what’s in Tut’s new tomb rooms.  Nobody does.  But hey, you never know where life’s going to take you.  There are all kinds of things that could be in there, including nothing.  So why not gamble away recklessly in the hopes we can guess it right?  After all, my Guests possess the most unbridled surveillance resources imaginable, so certainly I can figure this out.  Except that they’re usually too drunk to use them; and I also happen to be an idiot.

– Tut’s genuine Mommy in Nefertiti is in there and it’s the archeological discovery of the century

– Tut’s new tomb rooms don’t exist

– Tut’s 2011 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI with the 2.0L 4-cylinder diesel is parked in there pending investigations by the Egyptian Ministry of Transportation

– They break it open but instead of Nefertiti or Tut, it’s just Khufu sitting there in a lawn chair downing a highball glass of barley wine, and he’s like, “Fools!  I’ve stolen all of Nefertiti’s treasure and added to my stash.  You were only four-thousand years behind the power curve.  You’re fucked!  Ahahahahahahahaha!”  And then he re-ascends to Valhalla in the blink of an eye; and all they get is the lawn chair

– Tut added six-thousand amphora filled with booze in there to ensure he could get ripped in the afterlife with abandon; but then he ran out in 1134 AD and he’s been sad ever since.  The archeologists could try adding more booze filled amphorae to the stash to hook Tut up, but I don’t think it works that way

– They find completely empty rooms because they buried Tut in a hurry, after the murder and all

– Zahi Hawass shows up wielding a pair of old Yugoslavian machine pistols and holds everybody hostage, shouting at the top of his lungs to the Geraldo cameras, “Sign up for my newsletter to be first to here about my upcoming lectures and books!”  Poor, poor Zahi, dude you supported the wrong dictator, you should try and get in good with Sisi to get back in the game; you were a hoot to watch

king tut

give up your secrets ya bastard