three mushroom pappardelle

When you throw three different kinds of mushroom into a dish, the only question that comes to my mind afterwards is why didn’t I use four?

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three mushroom pappardelle

2 cups chicken stock

dried porcini mushroom pack

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 pound hot Italian sausage, diced

4 shallots, minced

1 sweet onion, chopped

1 Tbsp brown sugar

12 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced

6 oz shitake mushrooms, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

pinch nutmeg, rosemary, thyme, crushed red pepper, cayenne, garlic powder, salt & pepper

1/2 cup dry sherry

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, chopped

1 Tbsp pickled jalapeno liquid

1 spinach bag

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 pound pappardelle pasta

parmesan reggiano, grated

in a pot, warm the chicken stock, add the dried porcini & soak for 20 minutes, strain & chop porcini, reserve the stock

in a stainless steel pan warm 1 Tbsp olive oil over high heat, add the sausage & brown, use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage, set aside

stir in shallots & onion, saute until softened, then add brown sugar & caramelize onions over low heat

increase heat to medium, add the baby bella, shitake, garlic, and the spices to your taste and cook until they begin to stick to the pan, then add dry sherry, scrape pan and reduce until all brown bits are absorbed and most moisture is gone

add reserved chicken stock and reduce until all liquid is gone

add lemon juice, jalapenos, and jalapeno liquid, cook for a few minutes, then stir in the spinach and wilt it

add chopped porcini and heavy cream and simmer until a thick sauce is created, return sausage

separately cook pasta, in a large serving bowl add pasta, then add sauce, mix until combined but don’t aggressively stir

serve in bowls with grated parmesan reggiano

 

Let’s begin!

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Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in the chicken broth, then strain and chop them after about 20 minutes of hanging out.  Keep the chicken broth, we’ll use it’s mushroom infused tastiness later.

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Sausage improves any dish.  I shall duel anybody who claims otherwise.  But honestly, this is just extra credit.  The dish will do just fine without the sausage if you want to go the meatless route.

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Whoever discovered the concept of slowly caramelizing onions should have been appointed Emperor of All Humanity for at least one day.

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After you’ve added the other mushrooms, garlic, and the spices, you really want them to get a nice golden brown look throughout.  As they start to stick to the pan, this will help give it a nice deeper flavor.

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Then we use the dry sherry to deglaze the pan and start the sauce.  You can use white wine instead of sherry if you want, but really you should go with sherry if you can get it.  It gives the dish a unique flavor.  And if you take the trouble to buy it, try and get the better sherry that is like $20 a bottle.  It’s remarkably better than the $10 bottle.

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While you’re cooking the pasta, slowly reduce the cream until you’ve got a nice, deep sauce.  The recipe calls for pappardelle, but any long pasta of your choice will work great.

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You can eat this by itself or serve with a side salad.  Either way works, but most people would like to have the salad with it too, as the dish can be a bit heavy for some folks.

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Most of my recipes come straight from my silly brain.  But where I am inspired to steal the ideas of others, I shall always try and give credit where credit is due.

In it’s original form, years ago, it was based on this decent Giada De Laurentiis recipe.

But it evolved after I had the Pappardelle con Funghi e Capesante at Vigiluccis in Coronado.  Work made me go there with the bosses, the food made up for the otherwise weird evening.  It was one of those moments where you eat something, and you’re like, “I wonder if I could do that?”  So I did.  But theirs is much, much better than mine.

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we unbox the planet

Yet again humanity has generated a trend that its apparently taken me forever to hear of.  Hey friends, don’t judge, it’s hard to be in touch with things when your life is dominated by dogs, beer, and calculation of the metric weight of liquid calcium when used for espionage purposes.

There is a growing trend where you subscribe to a monthly service, and they ship you a box of random secret goodies.  You open said box and enjoy all this random stuff you didn’t choose in advance.  Here’s an example of one where the theme is nerd stuff:

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But I saw one ad on the subway this morning where the theme is foods of the planet:

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I first heard of this trend during RedLetterMedia’s recent satire broadcast of the nerd box category:

Oh boy!  Where do I begin?

Don’t get me wrong, I sure do love food, and certain categories of nerd stuff, but what precisely is the point of all this?  If you love food, or Spiderman, then go buy food and Spiderman stuff online.  It’s never been easier to get that one unique item within the online marketplace.

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Here you go!  Have you ever coveted those friends and family who had an ancient Incan kero drinking cup when you didn’t?  Great news!  You too can be that awesome.  They’re for sale on Amazon.

Whatever you want in life today, you can get.  No matter how rare or bizarre.  Provided you have the coin.  This is both an awesome and incredibly frightening proposition.

And I know the nerd box and food box company aren’t in this for the goodness of their hearts.  They need to make coin of their own.  So it’s natural of me to assume that it’d be cheaper to buy each individual item separately rather than pay a monthly subscription service.

So what’s this all about?  Of course, naturally, it’s the joy of unboxing something in a category you like.  It’s like getting a present, or a journey into the unknown.  You are paying a fee to add some enjoyment and excitement to your life.

I assume there’s a legion of YouTube videos of folks unboxing this stuff and posting it online.  I dare not watch these videos for fear I’d lose my faith in humanity for the next twelve hours.  But in general, this isn’t something I’m against.

If folks get a kick out of this, if it adds some happiness to their lives?  Okay, that works.  The planet is currently a cynical, desperate, angry wasteland.  Folks all go ahead and add that spice of joy to their day.  Please do so.

Hey, maybe I can make some spare cash too.  I could sell these things, right?  All I need is some hedge fund or venture capital backers.  They’re all about bankrolling lunatic bloggers I’m sure.

 

– The Australia Box

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Think the main export of Australia is didgeridoos or boomerangs?  Think again.  It’s creepy vegemite.  The sandwich spread for rugby hooligans, your Australian grandmother, and those condemned to death.  I don’t know what this is, but it tastes awful.  If you haven’t yet tried it, don’t.  It’s in your box because it has to be, but that’s about it.

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Dumb American fools who guzzle Natty Ice or Bud Light have no idea what they’re missing when the national-get-wasted-cheap-beer is actually a very good decent beer.  Plus, it’s named after a Queen.  I still can’t reasonably find this beer in the States.  That’s a greater crime to America than Turnbull having the gall to expect America to keep it’s word on previously agreed international agreements.

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The Aussie / Jim Henson co-production that was so simultaneously insane and awesome that it caused Henson to disregard his own health to the point that a 13th Century cold killed him.  If you love this show, you get it.  If you hate this show, it’s all good, it just means you’re a normal person.

 

– The Republican Political Acolyte Box

 

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We got the generic version because brand name was too expensive; and unnecessary.

 

– The Democrat Political Acolyte Box

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It Berns!

 

– The Super Bowl Box

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Only the finest in popped-collar capability is worthy of shirt for that Patriot fan who is so very desperate to cheer on their Tommy.  Gizelle would let Tommy wear it.  So you should too.

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There’s something quite wrong with your city when more people have heard of these women than Matt Ryan.  But whatever, it’s reality television, so you’ll watch it and enjoy it.  Or else.

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For clubbing your television where the plastic does not incur long term damage to the device thus enabling you to continue watching what will hopefully be a great game, but, still necessary after each time you remember how much you hate Joe ‘The Haughty’ Buck and Mike ‘Get the Fuck off the Broadcast’ Pereira.

 

And much, much more!  We’re on it.  Simply provide us your credit card number, a list of your fears, and your desired box category of fun.  We’ll make it happen, each month.  To add to your joy.  Simply provide payment directly to:

 

The Arcturus Project – Unbox the Planet! Program

C/O Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

1794 Aguiyi Ironsi Street

Abuja 900001, Nigeria

apparently, even bread and potatoes can kill you now

Oh no, it’s happening again. Everything’s trying to kill me. The rain’s trying to drive my car off the road into a watery grave. I caught my dogs trying to practice their knife fighting skills last night. The elves that inhabit my dreams are telling me to burn things. And, oh no, my bread is poisoning me, and, wait, what? What?

Oh yes, my friends. They’re at it again. Science has determined that bread, or potatoes, or other starches are a carcinogen that can kill you. Truly.

Humans have been consuming bread and potatoes for like 10,000 years. If these things cause cancer, then the very air you breathe must do so as well. But this supposed breathtaking science news was given front billing on the BBC. So everybody’s going to read this and wonder what’s going on. As a brief aside, I’ve noticed that the BBC believes the world is composed entirely of vicious death traps. If I claimed that cutting your grass led to lymphoma, I’d get published in the BBC overnight.

Well, we at TAP are here to help. We’ll leaf through this insanity because we’re insane, and bored, and don’t want junk science giving our tasty food choices an undeserved bad name.

The idea is that acrylamide, a naturally occurring chemical, is a supposed carcinogen. When you fry or heat starches such as bread or potatoes above certain temperatures, acrylamide naturally appears in that food. It also naturally appears in other stuff such as coffee.

So the scientists have decided the solution to reduce your risk of cancer is to heat starches in manner that reduces the risk that acrylamide will appear. In other words, don’t always fry potatoes, boil them. Toast your bread, but not too much. Uh, okay.

First off, six sentences into the BBC report, this juicy line appears:

“However, Cancer Research UK said the link was not proven in humans.”

Oh, you, you mean nobody’s actually proved it’s a carcinogen. Oh.

Plus, may I remind you that acrylamide is naturally occurring. Humans didn’t invent it, it’s just there. So when the servants toasted the Pharaoh’s bread in 7,634 BC, he ingested acrylamide. If only they’d known to lightly toast the bread, but oh that goofy Pharaoh, he beheaded the last servant who tried that. Also, at some point thereafter, that Pharaoh died. So is it reasonable to conclude that Pharaoh died of acrylamide poisoning? Hey, why not?!

But wait, the scientists say! Acrylamide is actually a poison. If you ingest too much of it at once it’s toxic, you die. Governments regulate industries that leach out natural acrylamide and use it in industrial processes. So since it’s a poison, it makes sense that it’s a carcinogen, right?

Well, no, I’m afraid. I don’t quite agree. For you see, any substance, on the entire planet, can kill you if you ingest it with excess. Even water, yes freaking water, is toxic if you drink too much of it at once. So making the scientific assumption that just because a massive amount of acrylamide will kill you, thus indicates that even a little acrylamide will ultimately kill you, is worthy of third grade chemistry.

If you want to know why people don’t trust science, and why folks believe vaccines don’t work, or that climate change isn’t happening, I give you example A as to why folks distrust science.

Even if acrylamide is actually a carcinogen, I’m pretty sure it’s like a 0.000085% increase. If you have to devolve the cancer warnings to the point that folks have to divest bread and potatoes, you might as well post a warning asking folks never to leave their front doors each day. Hey it’s dangerous out there folks! Life kills!

Man, all this typing sure does make me hungry. Think I’ll go get a grilled cheese sandwich, with extra toasted bread. [gives cancer the finger] Thanks science, you’re swell. You’ve inspired me to add some enjoyment to my life before I some day become a bleached skeleton. Cheers!

we help you spice up your office Christmas atmosphere

Hopefully by the time anybody reads this nonsense post their office Christmas experiences will be long over and the weekend has begun.  Which is fine, you can table this for next year.  I’m sure you’ll remember it.  The brilliance on display within this blog is considered timeless.  My dogs swear by it.  Why would they lie?  It’s not like they’re entirely dependent upon me for food or anything.

At the new gig, I’ve discovered it’s pretty standard for folks to pass around Christmas cards along with a little piece of chocolate or whatever.  This kind of caught me off guard.  I’ve never seen this occur at any other job I’ve held.  At first I was a bit off put as I’m quite the introvert, but over time I’ve come to somewhat get behind this idea.  It’s a nice touch of positive energy in an otherwise ground down current planetary status.

I didn’t participate this year as I hadn’t planned on anything.  Plus I don’t really have much of a family to put on the card.  My dogs won’t sit still for eight seconds.  So a camera shot would not work unless I partially sedated them.

I also think my brain is still stuck in the beat down mindset of my last job, which was a mess of a place that I hated.  And I wondered, what kind of cynical card I could hand out to all them, my former coworkers.

Well, I’m glad you asked!  You can use these next year, if you hate your work as much as I did.  Just to spice things up.  Oh my.  This is the part where a post goes off the usual rails.  I mean, again.  [claps hands in empty room]

 

Audience: The Perky Talker

Gift: A small vial of pure dust.

Card Picture:

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My Handwritten Caption: “Great news!  Just 12 days left that you have to survive to make it through another year where you’ve foregone your future bleached skeleton status.”

 

Audience: The In Your Face Trump Supporter

Gift: A Miniature Jester’s Hat

Card Picture:

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My Handwritten Caption: “You’ve been had.   You’re not going to get anything you want for Christmas.  The swamp will not be drained.  You’re not getting a wall.  Your own children no longer believe in Santa.  Congrats.  :(”

 

Audience: The In Your Face Hilary Supporter

Gift: A One Dollar Bill

Card Picture:

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My Handwritten Caption: “You’ve been had.  Your Christmas is ruined.  But she’ll still spend hers within the torturous confines of her $27.3M mansion.  Please find enclosed this $1 bill which you can light a cigarette with.  To experience what she does when she does the same with a $1K bill and a $10K cigar.  Joy.  :(”

 

Audience: The Tyrannical Boss

Gift: An Authentic Nazi Broche You Procured from a Fifth Rate Bulgarian Arms Dealer

Card Picture:

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My Handwritten Caption: “Since 1941, the term ‘Nazi Party USA’ has been available for use via copyright.  I think you have what it takes to return it to its days of former glory.  Just be sure to post your efforts via Facebook.  I’ll friend you explicitly for that purpose.”

 

Audience: The Clueless Boss’s Boss

Gift: A Handwritten Hardbound Copy of the Office’s Own Basic Policy

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My Handwritten Caption: “I’d ask you to pick a card, any card, but honestly, it doesn’t matter which one.  Just pick any of them, the result is the same.”

 

Audience: The Kind Middle Aged Mother

Gift: A Chocolate

Card Picture:

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My Handwritten Caption: “Merry Christmas to you and your family!”

 

Audience: The Beaten Coworker

Gift: A Resume Writing Guide

Card Picture:

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My Handwritten Caption: “Don’t worry, Brother, it can only get worse from here.”

 

Audience: The CEO

Gift: A Baseball Bat

Card Picture:

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My Handwritten Caption: “Have you considered a profitable future venture within the Bangladeshi garment trade?”

 

Audience: Jesus (mailed to his castle in Hawaii)

Gift: Beer

Card Picture:

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My Handwritten Caption: “They say you suffered as we did, but then, you never experienced a cubicle.  But then again, they didn’t have beer back then either, so I guess we’re even.”

 

Merry Christmas, friends!

never talk to strangers

I’m kind of an introvert, and go on my merry way.  But nobody can know this if they’ve never met me.  So when somebody gets in my face out of the blue I kind of wonder what planet they’re living on.  They could be talking to anybody.  Why would anybody want to talk to me anyways?

What if I had a medical condition?  What if I turned out to be a salesman and wasted a half-hour of their day hocking ties to them?  What if I was a closet serial killer?  What if I could care less what these people had to say?  What if I let them in on the gig that Santa isn’t real?

I guess they don’t care.  It’s like they’ve got this ‘on’ switch inside their brains.  They can’t help themselves.  They instinctively interact with their fellow human without any coherent thought.  This can be a neat thing sometimes, I guess, but it can also get very weird very quick.

Today as I’m getting in my walk during lunch (I take my lunch break for exercise and eat at my desk) a guy steps in front of me and stops me.  He then proceeds to ask me a bizarre obscure question about why a downtown building is located in one place instead of the other.  Like why the builders chose that one spot.  Eh?

I’ve got no idea what he’s talking about.  He doesn’t look like he’s criminally insane, he appears a perfectly normal person.  But him stopping me like that, and the weird question were rather off the charts.  So I told him I didn’t know and was on my way swiftly.

And what was it, some day earlier this week, I can’t remember which.  I’m walking through the grocery store parking lot.  I’ve got my one big reusable bag.  I’ve also got a fist full of plastic bags which had reached end of service life.

Once upon a time you could put those old plastic bags in the local curbside recycling.  They banned that in my town, so you have to put them in the plastic bag recycling bin at the grocery stores.  I mostly use the reusable bags at the grocery store.  But will occasionally get plastic bags because they have oh so many uses other than carrying groceries (eat it bag tax politicians).

So I’ll use the plastic bags until they are unserviceable and then recycle those at the grocery.  I suppose the grocery store could just put them in the trash later, for all I know, but it’s all I can do.  Recycling is such a crap shoot.  If you doubt this, just do some reading online to find out how much of that glass you recycle is actually not currently recycled today.  This is why you should get canned beer and box wine.  They’ve fixed the can / box quality issues folks, it’s cheaper, and cans and boxes are 100% recyclable.

Anyways, so I’m strolling through the grocery parking lot with both types of bags.  A car viciously pulls right up next to me on the passenger side.  This guy is shouting at me from behind the steering wheel.  In the 1.5 seconds of mental processing time, I’m wondering where I can run, hide, or fight.

But eventually I determine that he’s shouting at me about how awesome it is that I’m recycling.  I guess he saw me carrying the old plastic bags, I guess?  I keep walking, all I offer in response is my most deadpan, “Okay.”

Then he peels out like he was escaping a robbed bank.  There was no mocking or irony in this dude’s voice.  He was dead serious.  Guy actually did an aggressive drive by on his fellow man just to voice his approval of supposed recycling.

If a brick had been at my feet, I’d have picked it up and chucked it at his car.  You can’t recycle broken rear windshields, the planet is worse off now, and it’s all your fault.  That would’ve been my robotic / lame 1986 action movie line to this idiot.

There’s a reason you tell kids not to talk to strangers.  Even us adults end up dealing with folks who in one way or another, just don’t seem wound right.  I mean, I’m a lunatic, but I’m pretty sure if I stop somebody on the street cold, my reasons and demeanor are legit.

Obama nominates amorphous lifeform to Court

Let’s face it, nobody knows who this guy is.  It’s like Obama rolled around in a nondescript black van from Peter’s Opulent Tea & Unlimited Shoppe (POTUS), and just grabbed some dude off the street at 3am as he was walking back wasted from the bar.

And the guy’s in the back of the van screaming, pinned to the floor by a half-dozen Secret Service agents.  Then Obama, smoking, leans down and whispers.  And the guy, drunk as he is, knows it’s the Prez, so he quiets down.  Obama: “Howdy.  How’d you like to be my Supreme Court pick, buddy?”  [pulls on cig]

Okay, I guess, if you happen to be a part of the ruling legal / political / media establishment of DC, you knew who Merrick Garland was before this morning.  But the rest of us don’t.  Is this dude qualified?  I have no idea.  Neither do you.  Perhaps the ruling legal / political / media establishment does?  I have no idea.

But it’s like Obama picked the most faceless wonder you could imagine.  Why did he do that?  Who knows, clearly there must have been some political calculation, I guess.  But I’ll tell you what, both sides are going to paint these next few months like Garland’s holding the keys to a vault that possesses the souls of 16K cute kitties and puppies.  It’s going to be absurd.  It’s going to be sad.

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Garland: “I uh, promise, to uh, be a good judge.  Yeah, yeah, the best judge.  On that Supreme of all Courts.”  [Obama pulls on cig]

Thoughtless denial is delightful to watch

Some things just don’t work. Square shaped wheels went out of style five thousand years ago. You can’t go buy a shoe that’s made out of lit matchsticks. Trying to brush your teeth with a live squirrel will result in an unfavorable outcome.

Yet, in the finest of human traditions to generally never give up on anything, some folks just can’t respond to reality. And so, for whatever reason, I was rather surprised to hear there’s still an active Communist Party USA:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26126325

Is there still a Nazi Party USA? I mean, not the Klan or some other poser gang, but the real Nazi Party USA? Like back in the Thirties when they marched in uniform? I’m afraid the NSA, my mistress, and the Wall Street Journal are monitoring my internet. So I’m not going to search for “Nazi Party USA” in my browser. Either that or I’m just lazy. Either way, I have no idea if they still exist too.

Anyways, even after over a century of abject economic failure, several bouts of wildly fun genocide, and generally just laughable outcomes there are apparently three-thousand Americans who, for whatever reason, still believe in a future that will never exist. Chairman Sam Webb, yeah, he’s actually called Chairman, says:

“The longer-term goal”, says Webb, is “the communist society, the ending of all class divisions, a society of equality, the withering away of the state”.

In other words Chairman Webb believes in witchcraft and the ability to completely alter human nature at the genetic level. Good for him. It’s beneficial to have ambitions in life, even if they’re less achievable than going to the Moon with your car, drunk, before lunch.

Even the world’s former Red A-Team have all woken up to how the universe works. Depending on how you measure things, Russia, China, and Cuba are probably more capitalist than half the capitalist world. And our North Korean friends, well, there’s no political ideology associated with an oligarchy that rules things in a manner that even Stalin would find “rather aggressive”.

I also don’t understand why the BBC is talking to these folks? With only 3K members it means the Reds have less activity than the Handweavers Guild of America. But the real question you should be asking yourself is why am I talking about why the BBC is talking about the Communists? Look, don’t ask me hard questions friends, you’ll just get scared by the creepy, bizarre responses.

I guess I’m just fascinated at why a free thinking human would offer their time and money for something like this. I guess the only conclusion I can draw is that people are idiots. Now we’re all morons, I know I am, but these guys are at the outer edge. Good for them, it’s neat to be the best at certain things.

And also I think it’s that humans are happy to be a part of something, drawn to an idea, a history. Even if your cause is the worst Earth concept since inviting a bunch of treacherous, grizzled Arcturan exiles into your home? Well, it’s still a cause, and we all need a purpose in life.

So I guess, work hard you Red bastards. Too many of us are doing nothing. At least you’re doing something.

sad_folks

The saddest boardroom on the planet since Netscape circa 1999