Wednesday, August 31, 2005

God hurls giant fetus at New Orleans?

I swear, I don't know where people come up with this crap. Apparently, there's some nutjob who's been passing around an email claiming that it's got to be some kind of sign that the color weather map displaying the hurricane activity resembles a fetus. Check it out:

God's giant fetus, as seen from Heaven

I wonder if the loon who sent this out originally realized that a great deal of the death and destruction happened in Mississippi and Alabama—two states where abortion rights aren't respected overmuch, and where craven images of the Ten Commandments have been known to appear? Mysterious ways, folks, mysterious ways...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I love the food at fairs.

Now that summer's drawing to a close, it's time to turn your thoughts to county fairs. There's a distinct... um... cuisine that's available at fairs. Of all those delicacies, my favorite is those sausage sandwiches you get with the peppers and onions on them. Restaurants could easily make them but they don't; they seem to be exclusively the domain of fairs.

The genius who invented fried cheese sure waltzed in to a natural market. Fried cheese is good for fairs and good for anywhere else; it's easy to make and it's popular, and it's easy to eat out of those little trays. It seems that this is an important component to fair food, which is why you don't see tuna salad booths or Hungarian goulash stands at the county fair.

Since this is America, there's always a craving for something new, something that's never been done before, something familiar that's been repackaged in a way we've never yet experienced. Come up with new ways to sell old, unhealthy food to people and the heart surgeons will beat a path to your door. I, of course, have ideas.

·Fried sugar. This would be great. If you could find a way to get a lump of sugar to hold together while you batter it, you could apply the fried cheese principle and sate this familiar craving. Aha! I know! Freeze corn syrup, batter it, and it'll hold together while you drop it into the Fry Daddy™. Of course, you might have to find a way to make the corn syrup sufficiently gelatinous, like cheese is. Maybe add flour? Just a thought.

·Porksicles. Pork fat is rubbery and feels gross in your mouth. Who needs that? But pork fat does stick together well. I guess if you puréed it enough you could freeze it and stick it on a stick. Alternatively, you could find a way to keep it more solid so you could lick it at room temperature. I guess these could be accompanied with either dipping sauces like barbecue or sweet and sour, or maybe with little containers of brightly colored sugar that you can roll them in.

·Kracklin' Krisps. We're all familiar with the wholesome goodness of pork cracklins: fried skin of pig, but different from pork rinds, in that sometimes you get a clump of pig fat still stuck to it. But pork cracklis can be a bit tough, so why not take care of this by really really seriously deep frying the things? I bet there's a way to get pork cracklins as crispy as potato chips, which I would dub Kracklin' Krisps™.

·Flavo-Fries. How about French fries that already have ketchup inside them? They'd have to be bigger, like cottage fries, but this could work. You could also put other things inside, like mayonnaise or mustard or chocolate sauce. You're only limited by your imagination! Again, you'd probably have to add a few things to the ketchup or other fillings to make it able to withstand the deep frying, but I'm sure the researchers at Dow or DuPont can come up with something.

Ha! This is more exciting that those old funnel cakes, isn't it? Anyone have any other bright ideas?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Car alarm alert

I heard someone say recently, "Do car alarms work?" Well, I'm sure they do work. Why, just the other day I heard one going off. Luckily, I live on the ground floor, so I got my slippers on and, still in my underwear, tore out onto the street. Not a quarter of a block away was the car in question, on stage four of the third run-through of the alarm. I was sure I'd find a thief under the steering wheel this time, but as I came closer, I saw that no one was in or near the car. "Get help!" I called to someone sitting on a nearby stoop. "This car alarm was going off! Someone was obviously just trying to steal this car! Get a cop here so we can check for fingerprints around the door handles! The thief might strike again—and soon!" The person on the stoop told me that no one had tried to steal the car, and that the alarm had been set off by someone driving by on a motorcycle without a muffler.

"Well," I said to the person on the stoop, "no matter. I heard the alarm; what solid citizen would ignore it? It's my—our—civic duty to respond to potential trouble, and we must remain vigilant. Vigilant." I shook the hand of the person sitting on the stoop and marched back to my apartment, my pride overwhelming the embarrassment of standing outside in broad daylight in my underwear.

Ted Rall is asking for trouble with "Terror Moms"

In his August 27 cartoon, Ted Rall is really asking for it. He did the something similar in late 2001 when he drew his famous "Terror Widows" cartoon. It was about women who lost their husbands in the World Trade Center attacks using the tragedy to cash in on the talk circuit. There was a terrible revanche, and conservatives everywhere were cursing Rall's name over this. I saw Tom Tomorrow speak in 2003, and he said he'd told his friend at the time, "Aw, jeez, Ted, not the widows..." I have to agree, too: it seems there might have been a couple of September 11 widows who might have been gratuitously exploiting the tragedy, but it didn't seem like that much of a problem. It seems that Rall, on that issue, brought out blasting caps where a hammer and chisel would have sufficed.

But this time, I pretty much agree with him. I'm all for protesting the war, and I'm all for demanding of Bush an explanation of what's going on and what he plans to do about this fiasco, but for Cindy Sheehan to demand that Bush meet with her—again—to discuss her dead son is over the top.

It's not that I don't feel for her; no parent should have to bury their child. However, the thrust of Sheehan's argument seems to be that unless you or someone you love is in the line of fire in Iraq—or in a body bag in the Walter Reade morgue—you have no right to an opinion on the matter. That's what Rall's new cartoon exposes in its last panel, and that's what really makes it for me.

On the other hand, the whole "Camp Casey" brouhaha probably wouldn't have happened if it weren't centered around a dead soldier. If Cindy Sheehan had headed down to Crawford and established her camp while her son were still alive—or if he hadn't gone to Iraq at all—the media wouldn't have cared as much, and she certainly wouldn't have drawn as many sympathizers. The media would have probably ignored a protest like this near Bush's faux ranch, and we'd never hear word one about it. And further, this is giving us a chance to see just how noxious many of the passionate Bush supporters really are.

Yeah, I'm still upset that there wasn't enough of an uproar before the war, when Bush was playing on emotions and lying to the populace. I'm still upset that people were more complacent about this largely because it looked to some that this thing would be quick and that we'd win anyway. But the damage is done, and if a few more nerves are rubbed raw by Cindy Sheehan, well, that's all the better. I just wish there'd be more emphasis on Bush's dishonest war policy and less on the non-issue of why Bush won't meet with her for a one-on-one about her son who died for... for... um, why are they over there again?