20 December 2011

Traveling at the Speed of Life

Traffic is awful and a waste of time.

That's not true; you can do the crossword if you drive with your knees and it gives you time to text your friends or order shit from Amazon.

But it also makes you think. And observe. For example if you observe your speedometer closely, it may give you some helpful clues about the type of traffic you may find yourself in.

0 mph

Your car is stopped. If you're on the freeway, then that means you're stopped in traffic.This is handy if you're driving blindfolded and cannot see the traffic around you.


Although, in that scenario you wouldn't be able to see the speedometer either.

At any rate, you're at a standstill. If it's August, you're probably also sweating through your dress shirt so don't forget to freshen up before that big interview. Also, the speedometer is telling you you're going to be late to your big interview.

Stop sweating.

5 mph

You're still in traffic, but it's probably raining. Everyone on the road is an idiot and doesn't know how to drive in the rain.

Except for you.

The constant white noise of rain drilling the roof of your car is like one of those zen fountains as re-wired by Tim the Toolman Taylor.

Try not to brake too hard because all of this traffic is going to make it hard to execute a proper hit and run.

30 mph - Speed Limit

If you're driving this fast and you're not in a school zone, then you're probably facing a regular commute. Find someone driving more dangerously than you are and follow that person. They'll identify all the openings in traffic by allowing their turn signal to blink once and then shooting the gap.

If that person is on a motorcycle and you are not, please see above for "0 mph" or prepare yourself for the previously mentioned hit and run.

This would probably be a good time to execute the dreaded "Swoop and Squat" that that State Farm guy talks about. Insurance fraud can be a lucrative hobby.

10+ mph Over Speed Limit

Congratulations! You're zipping along through a total lack of traffic. This is your new Christmas break and your new summer vacation.

Your victory is hollow, however, for two reasons:

If no one else is on the road then they're on vacation and not at all on their way to work. That means there's probably more people laughing at you than you're laughing at. Now you aren't just commuting; you're commuting as Carrot Top.

On account of everyone laughs at that guy but in a bad way.

Also shitty: You will miss that part on the morning drive show where they call someone and fake-deliver flowers to them to fake-expose a cheating significant other. You love that part. But you'll be at work when they do it because you're making such good time.

20+ mph Over Speed Limit

Uh oh! Where is everybody? It could be The Rapture, or they could have been methodically slain by robots. The end result is similar.

Suddenly a wide open freeway seems less than appealing. But don't fret! Turn around and go home - you now have the rest of your life to start a (one man) band or master oil painting. Maybe learn French like you always meant to!

The best part is that no one will be able to critique (or view or appreciate) your work! You better quickly find contentment in spending the rest of your days eating canned food and writing symphonies that will never be heard by another human. You may also want to grab a few books aboutthe slow food movement; so you don't die of starvation over a lifetime of winters without functioning supermarkets.

Also, stop sweating.

I guess though sometimes there's just not that much traffic on the road and that's so weird but it's probably not because everyone disappeared.

21 October 2011


They say to keep a notebook by your bed so when you think of something great in the middle of the night you can write it down and not forget it.

People also recommend this for remember dreams and subsequently enhancing your ability to recall further dreams.

I have a notebook next to my bed.

I used it once to write down this really great idea that was keeping me up. When I revisited it to flesh it out I realized it sucked. Actually that's happened twice that I can remember.

It may have happened more times than that but I haven't kept track of good ideas that actually sucked in the notebook I bought for that purpose. It's a bad habit.

Then the other night I had a really good idea for a post. It involved an extended metaphor wherein I drew a parallel between Dr. Doom and someone else. It was going to be great.

I forgot it. Because I didn't write it down.

So in the absence of a funny, substantial post filled with misdirection and simile please imagine something clever involving Dr. Doom.


19 October 2011

Fortune Favors the Bold

"He was a bold man that first eat an oyster."

So say Jonathan Swift, long-dead professional satirist and author of future Jack Black movies.

I've seen variations of this quote all over the place (occasionally with better verb tenses) and I get what he was saying. Oysters don't look like a thing you'd want to eat. They're quite gray, and wet. If you were coughing up sea life, the things that came out might look like the inside of an oyster. That means that someone, somewhere, decided that they were hungrier than this beach garbage looked bad and decided to smash one open and give it a go. Raw.

Wonderful for them -- and for the eminently quotable Smith -- that their accomplishment would go on to give us the much more eatable Oysters Rockefeller.

You may recognize them as:

     Cheese & Bacon in an Oyster Shell          14

I think what Jonathan Swift failed to do is give credit to all of the other gastronomical astronauts (gastronauts?) who also came between him and the Bravest Oyster Eater.

For the record I feel bad for using "gastronauts"; it seems lazy.

I think picking a bivalve up off the beach and eating it raw is far tamer than the legions of people throughout history who have done so much more with so much less.

An aside: I'm fascinated with the thing inside of us that recoils in horror when we smell something terrible, and then immediately sets us to finding someone else to share in that smell. I expect a lot of these hypothetical food proto-scientists did the very same thing right before declaring their invention a "delicacy".


The innovators of the first cheeses deserve some credit. Adding acid to milk creates a pretty basic cheese that's present in nearly any culture that had ready access to dairy. Farmer's cheese, queso blanco, Paneer, and so on. Good on them for deciding to roll with curdled milk instead of throwing it out but the whole process is pretty tame. If you're set on using up your milk I don't think it's too much of a leap to strain the lumpy bits out and see how they taste on their own. These innovators are noteworthy but I don't believe they are trailblazers.

The real pioneer of cheese is the guy who opened his cellar and noticed that his carefully hoarded cheese wheels had hideous bleu veins running through them. It would have looked a lot like any other thing he had ever tried to eat that had become, over the course of days or weeks, lousy with mold and inedible. On top of the visual warning the smell (mildew mildew mildew mildew) would have hit him first. He should have thrown it all out. He should have tied une bandana around his mouth and burned it in a trash heap downwind from civilization. He should not have eaten it. No one was there to say, "This is a thing and you'll be ok after you eat it because it is not, as your nose would try to convince you, poison." Being the first person to eat bleu cheese (or gorgonzola, if you're fancy) is very much a "roll the dice" situation.

Lucky for fans of buffalo wings, then, that the dice were rolled and people across the world decided to pretend that bleu cheese was food and not garbage.

Of course, this is not to say that bleu cheese is the only thing that eating garbage has given us.

Pickled Stuff

I try not to be too quick to discount the intelligence of people from olden times. They built pyramids and boats and castles and all kinds of other crap I don't know how to do. Clearly they pushed the bounds of the technology they had at the time. I'm typing lazily researched words about food on a machine that's ten times suited for the task. I'm hardly pushing any boundaries here. With that in mind I think it's not too much of a stretch for someone to have noticed that this vinegar they had on hand was great for all kinds of shit and was actually kind of handy at preserving food too.

I realize now that someone had to forge ahead with turned wine (vinegar being derived from "sour wine" [vin acre]) but that's more than I'm really going to be able to write about.

So they've got this jar of vinegar and these vegetables (cucumbers, cabbage) and some spices and salt and they figure if they throw it all into a pot they're ready to go with some edible vegetables during the winter when everything's dead. That makes sense. January rolls around, they pull the cucumbers out of the brine and have this "Oh shit!" moment when they realize what a tasty snack they just created. I have to assume that the next step was inventing hamburgers and hot dogs to have something to use the pickles on.

But that only covers one kind of pickles and leaves out a whole swath of delicious, preserved stinking crap. Someone had to try it without vinegar; just salt. Once again, I'll tip my hat to their likely knowledge that salt's fine for preserving meats and whatnot. So maybe it was out of necessity. They had too much cabbage and they just used all their vinegar on the pickles and they're just trying not to starve. Boom. Brine, cabbage, and fermentation. Fast forward to winter (again) and it smells like a raccoon certainly crawled into their root cellar and died there, possibly many times over. The cabbage they've been steeping with a bunch of other spicy stuff in Asia (kim chi) or basically unadorned in Germany (sauerkraut) has turned. It smells a lot like something awful and indistinct but wrong in a very visceral, evolutionary way. Once again, no one showed up and told them that in spite of what their nose and eyes were telling them, everything was okay. I can't speak to kim chi; it looks delicious I've just never tried it, but I can say that eating sauerkraut had to have been an alternative to starving to death. That sharpness of fermentation really strikes the nose in a way that lets you know something went wrong.

Sauerkraut is like one of those harlequin-bright rainforest frogs that will poison the living fuck out of you; they both tell you far in advance what you're about to get into if you proceed with your plan to eat.

It's possible, that in the process of not starving, the person who could not dispose of their brown, fermented vegetables grew to like this awful thing they had inadvertently created. And they decided that, after no one died from it, they could do it next year. On purpose! And then a name was bestowed upon it and you've created a fermented cabbage thing. Or if you were still on cucumbers you made sour pickles.

In Memoriam

To commemorate these long-dead unacknowledged food explorers I propose the following quote:

"Also brave were the people who ate this stuff that in no other context could be said to smell like people food."

Please join me in lifting a fistful of sauerkraut in their honor.

Free Band Names (Take One)

Being clever is a lot of fun.

I don't know how it feels but I know that a lot of other clever people have spent many an hour on a couch with other people trying to come up with a killer name for a band.

Also sometimes they just pick a word from a dictionary (REM, Outkast, Incubus &c.). That's lazy but it seems to work for those guys.

I have found that not being in a band is no barrier to entry for naming bands. In fact, being freed from the creative input of other people gives you an opportunity to just say whatever you want and declare that it could be a name for a band. Even if time died and no one named their band "Disintegrating in Centigrade", then that just means no one got around to it. It was still a viable option.

In the spirit of volunteer work and helping one's fellow man I've decided to donate a magically ever-growing list of killer band names.

I'll update it every time I hear, think or see something bitchin' and say "That would make a great name for a band".


I just did like ten off the top of my head so this list may quickly become bloated and awesome.

If you have a killer name for a band, and are not using it for whatever reason, let me know and I'll happily add it to my list and credit you and your very clever naming skills.

Post Script:

"Bloated and Awesome" is only an OK name for a band.

13 October 2011

IDK What R U Doing????

I came across this scan below in researching something else entirely (teletypes) and found it rather interesting.

Courtesy of this site.

So the next time someone bemoans the fate of spelling "these days" you can kick their ass into your DeLorean and send them back to 1963, where people were already substituting "U" for "you" and "thru" for "through".


Also, the joke here isn't that Kennedy was shot. It just so happens that those are the teletypes I found.

28 September 2011

Johnny Depp Disguise Kit

After a careful series of tests, the world is ready for the super-secret Johnny Depp disguise kit.

Here is a picture of present-day Johnny Depp to establish a baseline:

Below, a young Johnny Depp to establish utility in disguising other Johnny Depps:

Still good. Now let's go nuts.

Johnny Deppley, Johnny Depp's co-star from the Pirates movies.

Popular actress Johnny Deppschanel.

The rare Johnny Deppberry.

Johnny Depper.

Johnny Deppen Forty Seven.

Dooney & Depp

I believe I have proved, within reasonable doubt, that this is a foolproof disguise for turning any person or item into Johnny Depp.

300 ppi .png file on transparent background for use in Depping.
Now go forth and Depp!

Pest Control

If you've ever talked to someone who's had an encounter with an opossum they probably called it a possum. I will also call it a possum.

Possums are terrifying night-scavengers with pointy teeth.

If they were a creature from a Russian fairy tale they would pluck the tongues from children who told lies.

Instead, they root through your garbage and startle you when it's dark outside. The best way to handle them is via laser whip but since you've usually left that in your night stand, making noise or throwing rocks to startle them may work as well.

Why did you buy it if you're never going to use it?

If you have a persistent possum problem then you've just noticed how good I am at alliteration. You may also want to invest in fox urine granules, available in 20 oz., 3 lb. and 12 lb. sizes. The granules should rid you of those pesky possums but the scent of fox urine may attract other, larger predators to your home. This may includes coyotes, bobcats or depending on your local geography, timberwolves.

You'd have to live pretty far north.

With your new wolf problems you may find yourself needing a harder-hitting predator to clear the area. Bear urine should do the trick and you'll quickly find your home free of possums, foxes, wolves and friends.

Do not substitute synthetic bear urine with synthetic motor oil when servicing your car.

While wolves may think twice before coming around, you'll find you now have a rather large bear problem. Bears don't have any natural predators - but an unnatural predator's urine can be obtained to chase them away.

Obviously I'm talking about dinosaurs.

If Eric Kirby from Jurassic Park III is not available to collect T-Rex urine, you may have to improvise.

Then, to wrap-up this ridiculous game of animal urine one-upsmanship you'll need a beneficial predator (like bats, if you had mosquitos) to keep your T-Rex infestation in check. I recommend the Great White Hunter.

The most commonly available Great White Hunter is Muldoon from Jurassic Park -- although he may be engaged in a battle of wits and unavailable.

You may also want to consider the bad guy from Jumanji.

His name is Van Pelt and no, I haven't used too many pictures already.

Now that your predators are under control your only remaining concern will be guys with ridiculous accents and giant guns wandering around your property.

You can keep them in check by making a few modifications to a basic deer feeder:

I don't know. Were their accents even Australian?

You may now go on about your life content in knowing that an unceasing slaughter-circle of wealthy hunters, dinosaurs, bears, foxes and possums will be occurring around you at all times.

27 September 2011

Man's Greatest Discovery

It can be stated, without hyperbole, that man's greatest discovery is The Bag
The bag is the one thing that separates us from the foul, stinking ape-men from which we evolved.

Travel, if you dare, to a world without bags.

Your journey begins at the airport. Without bags, we'd feverishly pull fistfulls of clothing from our trunk before the shuttle pulled away. Once on board, we'd find similarly harried passengers with great armloads of travel clothes and toiletries trying in vain to balance themselves without the benefits of poles or grips. 'Cause they can't use their hands on account of they're full of clothes.

The plane itself would be worse! Each overhead bin would be like unto a giant, shared washing machine overfilled with clean clothes. De-embarking would involving yanking your undergarments out of the bin while trying not to let everyone else's fall to the floor. Rates of airplane-related panty theft would skyrocket.

The odds of arriving at your destination with your orginal set of clothing would be slim, at best.

Without the benefit of bags we'd find our yards strewn with garbage, having no suitable way to contain and compartmentalize it. We would be under contstant attack from pickers and hoarders who, not using bags anyway, would see the world as some sort of vast Golden Corral of broken lamps and old computer desks.

Without bags, how would we move the books we don't read from one apartment to another?

Every sharp turn or sudden stop would be followed by the hollow metallic THUMP of 100 loose college textbooks and Stephen King novels slamming against the sides of your rented U-Haul. Imagine the fees! Once you've arrived you'd have no way to store the books you're not reading. You'd have to throw them in the attic without even pretending you'll get them back down, space permitting.

Blood donation would be an unrelenting nightmare. The less said about it, the better.

Except that there would be blood everywhere and in a world without bags, there would be no Capri Sun to help you re-balance your blood glucose levels. You would faint in a pool of everyone's blood.

The bag itself is a miracle. If I take a quarter inch cube of plastic and attempt to balance my groceries on it, I would surely fail. Unless I was buying bouillion cubes - I may see a measure of success there.

If I take that same amount of plastic and blow it into a loose bag shape, imagine how many Lunchables it would hold. It would surely hold inside of it many more Lunchables than I could stack on top of it.

The bag can be used to hold other bags - making it a sort of cornucopia of storage. A horn of plenty that dispenses things to be made into horns of plenty. Each bag can contain more bags and so on and so forth. The bag is the closest thing man will come to clutching infinity.

So let's sing the praises of The Bag, without which we would find our arms constantly full and our flour, sugar and coffee beans just completely spilled everywhere.

23 September 2011

Nothin' Today!


Except, I am working on a super-secret Johnny Depp disguise kit.

Don't tell anyone.

21 September 2011

Conflict Resolution

Having recently written about effective punching -- and given the title of the blog -- one might make me out to be some kind of opposite-of-pacifist.

Quite contrarily I live in the world and I understand that you can't solve all your problems with fists.

With that in mind, I present below three non-punching ways to resolve conflicts.

These are presented in order of increasing violence.

Box Jump

Philosophers of morality maintain that might makes right. You can use this to your advantage by showing your might and accordingly, how right you are.

The box jump expresses, very specifically, how high you can jump on something from a dead stop. It's useful for reaching high places (like a snooty concierge's desk) without using your hands (because they're full of Cirque du Soleil brochures).

A successful box jump ends with a very satisfying and authoritative stomp when you stick the landing. Be sure there's nothing fragile (like the concierge's keyboard) in your landing zone or you're guaranteed to smash it to pieces. This can be considered a "feature" of box-jumping onto things like desks, computers and telephones.

The post-stomp result is an end to whatever argument you were just having, with your victory having been agreed upon unanimously based on your apparent might.

The above video shows excellent box jumping technique onto a nearly four foot high platform from the seated position. Execution of the box jump from a chair can be handy if you sense that your job interview is going poorly and you need to decisively end it.

Drop Kick

The drop kick has successfully been employed by professional wrestlers for several decades. It is ineffective in that it ends with you falling to the ground, but very effective in that you look like a badass when you do it. Looking awesome is almost as important as being awesome and a drop kick is a good way to do both.

A drop kick is not a punt. For many years I thought it was; punting is useful only for sending small items (like the concierge's walkie-talkie) long distances (like across the hotel atrium).

Execution of a drop kick begins with a running leap. Your body should be horizontal when your feet connect with the concierge's face (so damn snooty!) and you knock him out of his chair. Be prepared for a hard landing.

Also be prepared to make that landing look like it doesn't hurt because the rest of the hotel guests will be watching, aghast, at the magnificent violence occcuring in and around the Guest Services area and you'll want to make sure that they think you look cool.

The drop kick is useful when intimidation has failed, but you aren't ready to escalate the situation to full-scale felonious assault.

Godzilla is employing a few advanced techniques here, including magic power enabled flight. Note, however, that he is back on his feet immediately. This is an important thing to remember for drop kicks of any stripe.

Axe Kick

The axe kick comes into play when both implied and theatrical violence have failed.

It may be appropriate to use the axe kick if you have still failed to get tickets to Zumanity, in spite of having subdued several members of the hotel staff and security has been notified.

The axe kick takes advantage of the heel's ability to concentrates the force of your strike into a smaller area. This principal of focused pressure is the same reason why being stepped on by a regular shoe is simply called "getting trampled escaping the hotel lobby" and being stepped on with a stiletto heel is called "an erotic thrill".

The axe kick also takes advantage of several large muscle groups acting in concert. Your posterior chain - and hamstring specifically - will be stretched like a rubber band at the apex of your kick.

That stretch will help you snap your heel down with tremendous force, like some kind of deadly spring loaded swinging thing.

Look exactly like this guy on the left and you've done it correctly.

If the hotel security guard was not expecting an Axe Kick to the face, he may then expect to be rendered unconscious. If the kick is delivered to a prone enemy - such as one who has recently been knocked unconscious - then you may wish to prepare yourself for the reality of having delivered a fatal strike.

If you have delivered a killing blow via axe kick, your feet should end approximately shoulder-width apart and your body will come to rest in a position outside of Nevada and preferably somewhere closer to Juarez where you can hide out for a long time.

Ignoring the soundtrack and focusing on the kicks, it's clear that this technique is viciously effective in addition to being lightning quick. Unexpected, even by the most hardened hotel manager.


You will, hopefully, reconsider resorting to your fists when presented with a tricky situation.

19 September 2011

Leave A Message

I grew up in an era where we had machines that answered the phone for us.

In retrospect it was a despicable thing to do but at the time we didn't know any better. It simply was.

Answering machines were a given in any household because the alternative was letting the phone ring forever. As I understand, that's why so many missing persons cases in pre-answering machine times ended when searchers found a seated skeleton holding a phone up to its ear.

"Wrong number," the police would conclude.

But just as phone-related deaths plummeted with the advent of the answering machine, so too did answering machine purchases plummet with the advent of voicemail. Probably, but almost definitely.

Pressing fast forward to today (and then hitting rewind for a second because we overshot it) I realize that I don't remember how answering machines work. I mean, if I had one, plus the instructions from the box (or maybe just the labeled jacks on the back of the machine) I could probably figure out how to make it work.

What I'm saying is, I don't understand the underlying technology. How did it know when to pick up? How did it count the rings? It must have had a microphone on it somewhere, right?

I don't even know anymore.

Like many things from that time, that tiny cassette tapes were involved. And there was probably an in and an out jack for the phone lines.

Beyond that though... I really can't say. And, I would rather leave some mystery in something that I could easily resolve with a cursory search of the internet instead of cynically tossing it in the bin labeled "shit I know about".

Probably I should know how an answering machine works, though. Just as a matter of principle.

16 September 2011

How To Throw A Punch

Prior to the invention of John Wayne, humankind was unclear as to how to punch properly. In fact, many punches were actually thrown with the feet and called "kicks".

John Wayne introduced several key concepts to the world of punching: Telegraphy, The Windup, and the One-Hit Knockout. These techniques have been heavily documented through John Wayne's cinematic efforts.

Without these innovations, many barroom brawls and punch-fights would carry on indefinitely. Victory would only occur when one or more parties collapsed from exhaustion or succumbed to the twin sisters of scurvy and starvation.

The keys to throwing a punch are outlined below and when followed to the letter, will ensure glory in battle.

The Telegraph

Telegraphing a punch is important. Before the discovery of the telegraph in olden times, people had to write each other letters of intent prior to punches being thrown. This was ineffective and often led fighters to fall back on other means of conflict resolution like matched dueling pistols or mediation through an ombudsman.

The telegraph changed the worlds of communication and fighting at the speed of information.

Now, in the presence of a metaphor for something sent quickly, punch-recipients suddenly had precious few seconds to prepare for a punch. A telegraphed punch arrived relatively quickly. This stood in stark contrast to the time when this information was carried via horseback and, unless the courier delivered the punch personally, gave the victim several days to properly ready themselves.

With telegrams becoming increasingly rare these days, telegraphing a punch is actually an abstract concept and does not involve a telegraph operator. It does involve an elaborate cocking back of the fist, leaning back and getting a mean look on your face. Telegraphing your intent (to punch) strikes fear into the heart(s) of your opponent(s) and in many cases, obviates the need for conflict by making them flee in terror.

This is similar to "tipping your hand" in poker. By letting everyone else at the table know that you have very good cards, they will often hand their money to you in despair without attempting to gamble for it. In either case you've gained the upper hand. Your enemy knows just how badly you want to punch them and they have a rough idea of what hand will be delivering the punch. They'll imagine that getting hit with that fist they see over there will hurt and they'll imagine that it's probably headed for their face, which is undesirable. Wanting to avoid getting punched in the face will put an end to 80% of your potential brawls before they start.

The Windup

Before being outlawed by the Geneva Convention, vast armies of punching robots were deployed as a last result in many of history's worst wars. Lacking reliable, portable sources of electricity it was determined that these robots be powered by energy stored in a wound-up spring. This technology would later find its way into smaller wind-up robots, proving that many of our greatest innovations have come from military technology.

In spite of military grade punching-robots being banned and launched into space via primitive rockets, the notion of "winding up" a punch persisted among human fighters and has proven to be invaluable. As the robo-punch derives its energy from the powerful steel coil contained within, so too does the human punch derive its power from an overly dramatic winding motion.

After having telegraphed a punch appropriately, the windup is the key to putting force behind your punch. The first step is to cock your fist as far back as it will go. Do not straighten your arm behind your head. That would describe the beginning of a windmill attack (suitable for engaging multiple enemies) and is beyond the scope of this article. Once cocked, you may add additional power to your punch by physically moving your fist around in a winding motion, clockwise. This circular winding motion helps slow down the pace of the fight and ensure that when you do finally punch your foe, you will be delivering the very punch they've been dreading since they received your telegram.

If you've wound your punch up appropriately then you will likely move on to the next section without effort.

The One-Hit Knockout

The goal of any proper fight is victory. If you do not accomplish this by telegraphing your blow and winding up your punch, then you will assuredly achieve it when your punch connects.

Historically, punch-dueling was conducted on a raised wooden platform in the town square. A circle was inscribed on the platform and the winner of the duel was decided by whomever successfully avoided being knocked out of the circle. The goal, of course, was to accomplish this in as gentlemanly a manner as possible. That meant a modicum of punches, with the most fashionable number being one. While this style of fighting has largely fallen out of favor, the concept and language of the "knock-out" persist to this day.

To the uninitiated, it may seem very difficult to render a man unconscious with one punch. While true, it is relatively easy to accomplish when fighting children and a sure thing when the Telegraph and Wind-Up have been employed.

As stated previously, the Wind-Up gives you time to breathe and assess the situation. You must take this time to locate your enemy's glass jaw. This will frequently be located in the jaw area but may occasionally be located in the nose or cheek. You'll know you've found the glass jaw when, after having punched someone there, they crumple in a heap on the ground. Depending on how much time you spent winding up your punch it is not unusual for your opponent's feet to leave the ground and/or for them to fly backwards through the air.

Note: If someone flies towards you through the air after being punched, then they are Count Dracula and you should not be fighting them.

Proper punching technique will end with your fist well past your opponent's face and afford you sufficient time to glower. While glowering, you may ensure that you have indeed knocked your opponent out.

You would do well to not have to attempt the Telegraph, Wind-Up and One-Hit Knockout again with the same opponent.

Helpful Tips

While the three techniques above are essentially as good as a guarantee for success you may find the following tips useful, depending on the situation.

Grabbing your opponent by the collar, necktie or bandana can be incorporated into the telegraphing portion of the punch. This helps you place your punch on target.

Assuming that you are fighting men (or children) who have received the same training, you may find that ducking under, leaning back from, stepping to the side of or simply raising your arm may be enough to deflect your opponent's attempt at a One-Hit Knockout. Keep this strategy to yourself.

If the opponent is "fighting dirty", they may grab you by the collar, necktie or bandana. You can break free from this by briefly struggling. Struggling will demonstrate your willingness to not be punched and your enemy will relent and let go of your collar. They will likely be disheartened by this and you'll be afforded sufficient time for the Telegraph, Wind-Up and One-Hit Knockout.

If you witness an enemy who does not employ any of the methodology discussed above, do not engage in combat. An enemy such as this, who is almost certainly a Communist or possibly a vampire, may punch you in the ribs, kidneys, stomach, temple or other non-jaw areas. These punches will be painful, you may not receive advance warning and they will likely come in rapid succession with a tremendous violence of action. They will also attempt to "block" your punch, possibly through holding their hands loosely in front of or near their face and head. Such an enemy is utterly without honor and likely something of an asskicker.


While punching has been around since Man has had fists, it has only been since the early, mid and late twentieth century that the modern form of the punch has been studied and documented. For further research,  look into the fighting styles of Capt. James T. Kirk, Dr. "Indy" Indiana Jones or the earlier exploits of OSS special agent James Bond.

14 September 2011

Choose Your Own Property Name

Some* would say that the best part about our soaring metropoles is the creeping suburban sprawl snaking out from their centers like burst capillaries in a bloodshot eye.

That's true.

Furthermore, the best part about suburban sprawl (which if you're keeping track makes it the best of the best or "Top Gun" of human civilization) is the strip mall. You may know it as a shopping center or "centre" if you're fancy.

The shopping center is the cornerstone of any unremarkable neighborhood. If we lacked a central place to shop -- a shopping center -- then where would we get our clothes dry-cleaned? Where would we buy our comic books or our pool cleaning supplies?

We wouldn't. We'd be driven into the city like feral dogs and we would die in the street. Spawn of the Sprawl are not equipped to handle buildings taller than two stories, one way streets or homeless people.

We would fruitlessly search for a tailor until the blood in our veins thickened and we died, thirsty and insensate. Now dead, no one will be there to hose down our boats when we return from boating or fret over HOA fees. Humanity must make way for the new apex predator (land sharks? bears?) because it has failed to get its shirts taken in and its pants hemmed.

Rather than permitting this doomsday scenario we turn to the strip mall. Strip malls are constructed in a modular fashion like prison cells; each storefront is purpose-built offsite and lowered into place by a crane. This makes it easy to mix and match the needs of the developer and quickly fill their acreage.

If no type is specified, storefronts are left empty with a "FOR LEASE" sign stuck to the inside of the front door. This accounts for at least half of the units produced.

The rest of the shops are often the "dry cleaner", "nail salon" or "DONUT" models. Like a game of chess, you get a free space in the middle of the board with no numbers on it. This free space is often a restaurant or some kind of out-of-date, overly specific retailer.

I love chess.

Often you'll find a VCR repair shop inexplicably still in business, a doll hospital or a catheter supply store in this free space.

When the cranes are done dropping stores into place you can stand back and admire your work. You've created something here. You've drawn order from chaos. You're a god.

Something is still missing and it gnaws at you.

The very thing that distinguishes shopping centres from each other is also the thing that makes them all hopelessly identical: the name.

Someone, somewhere, is selling square footage to an entrepeneur with a really great frozen yogurt store and they need to tell them something besides:

"It's the one by the gas station on the corner. With the nail salon."


"Yeah, the other one."

Strip malls need to sound like they're something substantial and important. So, people like to give them fancy names.

These names are often nonsense and basically interchangeable. Let me come up with a few off the top of my head:

"Towne Centre Crossing"

"Creekbridge Plaza at Magnolia"

"Plaza Creek Bridgecross on Magnolia Center"

You'll notice the third one basically just combined elements of the first two. Wonderful for you to have noticed that and please remember it. You'll need it a little further down. There's only a few rules that you need to make your strip mall sound plausible. After that, all bets are off.

It must contain a metaphor or grandiose adjective for what it is. It's not just a strip mall. It's a destination. With that in mind, you must include one of the following (or a variant) as the foundation. This will serve as the axle to which we'll attach the many spokes of the shopping centre wheel:

  • Corner
  • Plaza
  • Centre (extra points for British English)
  • Crossing
  • Shoppes
  • Market
  • Square
  • Circle

Now unless you were a very, very pretentious real estate developer and you simply wanted to call your place "Centre" (also, you're an asshole) then you'll need one to two more pieces. The first acts like an adverb. Make up something full of artifice that sounds vaguely geographical and old money and you'll be on the right track:

  • Twin Rivers
  • Meadowbrookview
  • Mesa Flats
  • Hilltowne
  • Riverham
  • Fieldholme
  • Dry Creek
  • Foxhunt
  • Any fucking word you want. Really.  

Okay so now we have enough words to mash together and create a new shopping center: 

"Twin Rivers Corner"

That's so fucking easy. You just finished "Naming Conventions 301" (it's a three-day a week class plus lab, sucks) and you're ready to wrap things up after you get the rest of your Gen Ed out of the way.

You can optionally precede the name with "The".  This is important because it can make it sound like the only place the consumer can go to get a sandwich from Subway. Let's pick the next two names on the lists and add the all important article to the front:

"The Meadowbrookview Plaza"

That's pretty good! I would definitely take my shoes there to be re-soled.

All that's left to really class things up is to give your strip mall that Shakespearean, Stratford-Upon-Avon vibe. That is, you need a preposition (at or in are fine) and a name of some kind. A city's usually good but in a pinch you can go with a street name or an intersection. Moving down the list we get two more:

"The Mesa Flats Centre at Stoneybrook"
"Hilltowne Crossing on Main St."

I want to buy discount cigarettes and/or lottery tickets at both of those places very badly. 

With these foundations laid you can riff on shopping center names all day long and irritate your friends.  If you do it long enough, anything sounds like it could be a name. Let me do two with things I see:

"Beer Bottle Scissors at Paperweight Globe"
"Razor Blade Camera on Eraser Skull"

Actually, now that I hear fake names totally stripped of context they kind of have a pleasant rhythm to them. Like naming a show dog.

This dog's name is Fireside's Spontaneous Combustion and it wishes it was one of those dogs that got hoarded instead.. 

PROTIP: If you're lazy you can substitute your street name or intersection for the adjectival portion of the name. So, "The Levee Square on Main St." can just be "Main Street Square". As I said, that's only if you're lazy and/or you suck.

I could do this all fucking day, at the expense of my health and sanity. I challenge you to do the same.


12 September 2011

Crown Fucking Jewel

I recently had the pleasure of renting a car.

To be clear, nothing about the experience was pleasurable except for the part where they told me all they had left were Crown Victorias.

I performed a quick knife-hand strike to the clerk's throat so he wouldn't ruin the moment with any more words, grabbed my keys and ran outside.

There it sat.

The bland exterior oozed sex and power and kill and fuck. I could picture its uninspired lines and long wheelbase cutting a wide, comfortable swath through any who would oppose me. I was staring at a live power cable. The air was thick with ozone and I could faintly see blue sparks dancing about its exterior.

This car that stood before me, quivering with anticipation, was cast from liquid energy and poured into a mold made of power.

That power was mine to control.


The trunk was easily big enough hold an entire mobile meth lab with room for two more in case one explodes. It swallowed my luggage whole and practically begged to be filled with bodies.

It would later go on to hold several bodies.

It drove like two couches strapped to an engine and held together with swagger. After rigging up a rope and zip-line system I was able to reach the passenger side of the vehicle comfortably and the round trip took less than two minutes.

This proved tricky on curves but was otherwise a successful maneuver on long stretches of straight road.

Everything inside was wrapped in leather and unremarkable styling that belied its monster-spirit within.

Also, it had armrests.

Between the power driver-side seat, the automatic headlights and the cruise control, I felt like the car must have arrived from the future, Terminator-like, in a ball of energy specifically to carry out its murder mission of comfortably carrying me to and from my destination.

Mission accomplished.

A pleasing feature resulting from being wrapped in so much steel and capacious luxury was the cavernous gas tank. It was large enough to empty one full gas station and required that I spend a king's ransom pumping the machine with distilled dinosaur-blood.

I also believe that driving a Crown Victoria allows you to blow through stop lights and speed. This belief resulted in a brief stint in county jail but I think that was a simple misunderstanding on the part of  local gendarmerie. I'll bring a light bar next time and I expect I won't have any problems.

The Crown Victoria gets a BBB+ rating and I would definitely rent it again. The only thing keeping it from 100% perfection was its inability to travel faster than light and awkwardly placed cup-holders.

09 September 2011


People like to use words incorrectly.

When that happens, a different group of people likes to make a lot of noise about how they used the word incorrectly.

I tend to fall into the ladder of the two groups.

(Pause for reaction.)

Not only are people using real words incorrectly, they've been given the luxury of inventing words which are subsequently misused. It's a little irritating. English, being what it is, makes it easy to tack a suffix onto a word and create a new one as if by magic.

Alcohol the noun becomes alcoholic the adjective with two letters.

Not really germain to this article but still a strategy is the prefix. There are believable truths and unbelievable untruths and any other number of words that are totally changed with a handful of letters.

English formally lacks an infix but anyone who's ever seen something un-fucking-beliveable or re-Goddamn-diculous may disagree.

At any rate, suffixes seem to be the biggest offenders of fake word creation and so suffixes are what I'll be covering.



If I have bursitis, that means the sacs between my joints are inflamed and I'm probably in a bit of pain. If it's bronchitis then my bronchia is inflamed and painful and so on and so forth. This suffix means that something is inflamed. Swollen, maybe.

So what the hell is senioritis? It's general malaise associated with being a (high school, usually) senior and people like to use it as an excuse for why they spent a year not doing anything. What it doesn't mean is that their senior is inflamed. Regardless, this seems to be everyone's go-to for "general problem":

Boy have I got a case of caption-itis!


How about -osis. Or -sy. Or -sia. Like, halitosis is the condition of having bad breath and leprosy is the condition of being a leper. And anesthesia is the condition of "a wanting of feeling". So right there you've got seniorosis or seniorsy. Which both sound much cooler.

I'll go ahead and knock out those search results as well. That first one has a bad case of Rufusy, the second one has Vancouverosis and that last one has a upgradesia.

Oh and if you're curious, I searched for ["bad case of" *itis]. Without the brackets. Try it and you can write lazy articles too!


I mentioned alcoholics before. The suffix "-ic" can mean, among other things, "having some characteristics of". This is pretty clear cut. It means that something relates to or has characteristics of alcohol. Like, an alcoholic beverage. It's also come to mean (in the context of the word alcoholic) someone who's addicted to alcohol.

But then we also get chocoholic, gasoholic, workaholic and any other number of variations meaning "addicted to".

Yep. Here's another one.

So okay, if an alcoholic is addicted to alcohol then maybe I'd greenlight like something like "chocolatic" or "petrolic" or like...

I don't know.

Maybe you would just say "I'm really addicted to shoes."

This person really likes Polish people. 

Oh - using "ic" to mean that you've got an extreme (excessive) proclivity towards something may be unique to alcohol. Someone who's really into fire is a pyromaniac and someone with an extreme thirst (for booze) used to be a dipsomaniac. People who like... nymphs... are nymphomaniacs. Anyway you could probably get away with shoemania or polishmania or really anything else.

I swear, I'm just trying to help.


Wait come back! This is one people seem to use correctly all of the time. It always triggers a pretty visceral reaction when you hear it -- people understand you're saying there's a lot of something.

So when someone's talking about Vote-a-rrhea or one of the 33,000 sites mentioning blogorrhea as an abundance of blogs, they're getting it right!

Man there's blogorrhea everywhere.

Your task, then, is to exhaustively research medical conditions and make sure that whenever you use a fake word, you're using it correctly.

05 September 2011

Helga; Olga

I kind of have a thing for words and names - as evinced by previous posts.

I realize now that I didn't really capture their full power.

Let's pretend that you and I are lazy, lazy writers. We've got a surefire comedy smash hit involving misbehaving children, a tough-guy caretaker (played by an actor who needs money) and a series of unsuccessful babysitters. Eventually, someone comes to a realization and then roll credits.

We've already covered the scene where the pushover babysitter gets covered in yucky goop and runs away, screaming.

But, before the tough-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold-who's-actually-okay-at-raising-kids-but-doesn't-know-it can step in the picture we need one more foil to really clobber the moviegoers with the idea that these kids, they don't behave so good.

In steps the disciplinarian babysitter. She's stout, she's got her hair in a bun and she doesn't take shit from anyone. Maybe she has a rolling pin or something. The assumption is that she's going to beat the kids with it but, being a lighthearted comedy, this is only implied.


That's a great idea. We'll put her in glasses too so when the pie gets thrown in her face, things get extra funny. People in glasses are justified targets for scorn and ridicule.

Also she has an accent because foreign people are hilarious and as I stated before, we're two very lazy writers.

Now that we've crafted this very flat throwaway character about whom the audience could not give a fuck, we have to name her. It's got to be a hilarious (like Chattanooga or Yazoo City) but it has to probably be an actual people-name.

Remember, she's foreign and her accent is hilarious.

After some head-scratching and a few more hilarious names that are actually cities (thanks, Native Americans!) we both come to the exact same conclusion at the exact same time.

It's Helga. It's got to be.

Or if not Helga then Olga would probably work. They meet all the criteria that we've outlined above and we can forge ahead and figure out how to get Hulk Hogan (or Vin Diesel or Ice Cube or... I dunno. The guy from the Transporter. Jason Statham.) into a tutu.


Is this fair? Should lazy writers try a little harder when they name their stock mean-nanny character? Are uncreative names the lynchpin of lazy character development? Maybe they would have said "We need a Helga" for this scene and everyone woud know what they were talking about.

It seems like it may be typecasting, more than a bit. Evidence?

Here's an actual Helga:

And here's an actual Olga:


Take that, lazy writers.

01 September 2011

The Fascist March of Time

I don't like commercials. A good commercial gets you to remember the brand and the product. In that regard, those damn Head On! (apply directly to the forehead) commercials were "good". They were successful but not clever.

Oftentimes the very clever commercials - the ones people talk about - lose connection with the brand that someone put a lot of time, money and creativity into promoting. Like that one with the guys herding cats? Was that Monster? Or a tech company or something?

I don't know. I don't remember.

I do remember a truck commercial from when I was younger, though. I associate it with night time and foreboding - so I think it must have come on during interminably long Sunday night football games. This was many years before I was able to select my own Sunday night programming (Air Force One/Firewall/Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie block).

Harrison Ford you magnificent bastard!

This commercial - this truck commercial - had a very crappy, soulful song that accompanied it. Apparently that song was "Like a Rock" and it was written by Bob Seager. These are things I didn't know at the time. What I did know was that it sounded an awful lot like this truck commercial man was singing about Fraggle Rock.

Watch the commercial now and fail to hear "Fraggle Rock" over and over again. You will not succeed.

That is, you will fail to hear it any other way than "Fraggle Rock".

Somtimes I think I should re-write stuff instead of launching into long, drawn out explanations.

I'm reminded of the fraggle rock commercials because there's a new truck commercial making the rounds. It's for GMC -- not that I or anyone who would be reading this cares.

Now, the backing tune for this commercial has been foretold for quite some time.

The "Now That's What I Call Music!" series marched in lockstep with newer and stranger tunes as I aged.

The late night infomercials for massive piles of greatest hits CDs grew closer and closer to the decade of my birth and veered sharply away from a bunch of golden Motown crap.

I don't like Motown.

Also one time I saw "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on some kind of best of the 90's thing. That sucked too.

Finally, this unstoppable Juggernauth of musical memento mori crushed me when I heard this fucking thing on TV:

It's Collective Soul. This is a song I remember. I remember.

I was alive when it came out - I might have even counted it among my total faves at one point.

Now they're trying to sell me trucks with it. That means when I was younger, they wanted to sell trucks to people who thought fondly of Bob Seager and now that I'm not younger they're trying to sell trucks to people who fondly remember Collective Soul.

Also though, fuck. Collective Soul? They don't make me think of trucks. Collective Soul makes me think of a shitty band from the 90's. They also make me think, "Man. I'm getting old."

Let me be absolutely clear on this next point. When life insurance is being endorsed by an aged Tom Araya and electric pickup hover trucks are being marketed with System of a Down in the background,  I will buy the living fuck out of those products.

31 August 2011


The more costume-minded of you out there are already five months in to your build of Songbird from the yet to be released Bioshock Infinite.

The other half of the world has really been eyeing that Austin Powers costume from the pop-up Halloween store and may finally pull the trigger this year. It will be more timely than ever.


That leaves the rest of us (the third half, if you're counting) stuck at home feverishly conjuring up costume ideas. The costume must impossibly satisfy the following categories:
  • It must be a totally unique concept that no human, prior to this Halloween, has conceived.
    • If it is a costume of a thing that exists, it must be a daring re-imagining or a Hollywood quality replica.
  • No detail can be spared and the end result will be a pitch-perfect recreation of the idea in your head.
  • You must be able to execute it without the proper tools or knowledge.
  • It will be done with limited time and as cheaply as possible, because you like to cut corners.
I'm currently straddling two or more bullets as I try to figure out my costume this year.

Like this, but without the slapstick.

Actually, pulling off a good costume will involve shattering every one of those criteria. You'll spend more than you were planning and you'll have to compromise (compromise!) on details that you just can't work out. Your ambitions will outstrip your skills -- this time -- and your limited skillset will push you up against the time-wall faster than you anticipated. You won't be this guy.

That's okay, though. Pursuit of the ultimate costume is okay. To expect to attain the perfect costume, year after year, is folly.

I have to tell myself all of this as I pursue this year's ultimate costume.

Pics to follow?

26 August 2011

Exposure III

This is the final part of my obnoxiously detailed anti-exposé on your frozen-ass desserts. Please read parts one and two.

You're being patronized. Not like patron of the arts, pay a sculptor to sculpt some shit patronized.

Patronized like being talked-down to.

You're getting "World's Greatest" chocolate cake slices straight from Sara Lee. You love it because it "satisfies patron cravings for chocolate while adding excitement and variety." Restaurants love it because its "strong visual appeal stimulates impulse sales". Fact. Some of this shit is so utterly fantastic that you, the customer, will think the restaurant "spent hours creating [it]".

Unsurprisingly, Cheesecake Factory is on it too. Unsurprising, because they go ahead and say that they're a factory in the name. So let's say I want to stock Cheesecake Factory desserts and maybe i'm even up front about that fact, but I'm a little shaky about what to do with them once I've got them stored at or below zero degrees fahrenheit. I can't just jam a mouth prop into my customers and force-feed them cheesecake. Can I?

No, you cannot use this to feed your customers.

What's my alternative? How do I make the consumer come to me?

I can pull up the Dream Factory Plating Suggestions and see what exactly they think I should do to make the plates more enticing. I totally forgot to mention;  their wholesale bakery wing is called the Dream Factory. 'Cause they make dreams. Armed with this .pdf I now know to garnish my Carrot Cake Cheesecake with an orange twist or a wafer cookie.

Everyone wins. Except you. 

You lose.

You lose because you're eating the same (the exact same) boring, frozen dessert that everyone else across the country is eating and it's utterly unremarkable. You lose because you're paying a restaurant to move something from their walk-in freezer to their walk-in refrigerator and then several hours later, walk it out to your table. 

Is there a solution besides bitching about the dessert menus and singling out companies who are providing a perfectly justifiable service? There is. 

Option One is swearing at me for wasting your time and going to back to doing whatever you were doing before you read any of this.

Option Two is to just ask if that dessert you're eyeing is made in-house. If it is it'll probably taste good, and you'll make the restaurant feel better for going the extra mile and making their own shit. If it's not, skip it because it will leave you over-charged and under-impressed.

Restaurants: This is what happens when you do it yourself.

This is the last part of the series. Please check out parts one and two if you missed them. 

24 August 2011

Exposure II

This is part two of my anti-exposé on how shitty desserts can be. Please be sure to read parts one and three.

Eventually I quit my catering job. Memories of thawing 48 identical frozen muffins laid next to each other, box by box, faded. I replaced them with important things like "how to recover from lost time experiences in heavy traffic" and "swearing at the radio".

And then two things happened that pulled me back into the frozen depths of institutional desserts.

I had the misfortune of seeing a dinner companion get a half frozen piece of chocolate cake at a pretty decent restaurant.

How could this be? Why would the slice have come out with frost on all sides. Aren't they baking these things or something? If this slice came out totally frozen then that would mean it was individually frozen. If it was individually frozen, then that would mean they didn't make it on site.

This was a troubling notion and it planted itself firmly in my brain, dislodging bits of movie trivia and friends' birthdays as its root system grew.

That dinner experience was followed up by another one where I got a really honest waiter who told me that the best dessert they had was also the only one they made in-house. In the boring industry, we call that an "a-ha" moment.

Picture is unrelated.

That a-ha moment did not occur at a Red Lobster.

Happily, people don't go to Red Lobster for epiphanies. They go for cheesy biscuits and they go for shrimp and when they're done, they usually go for the dessert offerings.

In fact, people go for one specific dessert so much that Google thinks I should be searching for it.

That particular dessert is the Chocolate Wave. If you're not familiar with the Chocolate Wave (it's nautical, sea see?) then you may recognize a picture of it.


That should look familiar, but this shot has been staged and the Chocolate Wave's signature enormity is a little hard to discern. Let's try a picture with a little less style. This one comes courtesy of food industry supplier and Department of Defense contractor Sterling Foods.

Pictured: clinical disinterest.

What does this mean? This means that Red Lobster is buying their signature dessert from the good people at Sterling Foods. It's no big deal. In fact, Darden Restaurant Group (of which Red Lobster is a part) named Sterling Foods one of their "Distinguished Suppliers" way back in 2004. That means Darden (and by extension, Red Lobster) has a great relationship with their suppliers and everyone's happy.

So what's the problem? Sterling definitely has their shit together - just look at everything that goes into their Product Development:

The problem is, Red Lobster is not advertising, "Our Dessert Undergoes Accelerated Shelf-Life Testing"

To their credit, they also aren't saying they make it in-house. The reason this whole setup gives me pause is that when I go to Red Lobster I want to feel an intimate bond between the menu items and me. I want to feel this more than I want to feel totally nauseated by Cheddar Bay Biscuits ten minutes after being seated. I want that connection more than I want to feel like every hair on my head has been thoroughly saturated with the stink of seafood.

But when I order that Chocolate Wave I'm not getting that connection. I'm being funneled institutional, precision engineered chocolate cake from a factory somewhere (it's in San Antonio) and Red Lobster is acting as an overpriced middleman. 

It makes me sad and sick in a distinctly non-biscuit related manner.

I just want a restaurant that makes their own shit. I want them to be up front. 

If someone is going to plant their flag in a dessert like the Chocolate Wave, I want them to make it their own damn selves.

In the third and final part we'll see how much deeper this goes and what you, the consumer, can do to ensure yourself a decent fucking dessert.

If you missed them, please be sure to read parts one and three of this non-expose. 

22 August 2011

Exposure I

Once upon a time, I catered for a living.

It wasn't the classy, dinner party kind of catering.

So much fucking class.

It was "catering" on an institutional scale for institutional crowds and by God, we used every last bit of institutional equipment we had available to us to do it.

We had walk-in refrigerators the size of studio apartments and walk-in freezers you had to go through the refrigerator to get to. They were dark, terrifying and occasionally accumulated an alarming amount of ice on the door opening mechanism. A single bulb lit the space and tried its damnedest to fight the brutal cold but could only cast a sick, yellow pallor on the frozen boxes.

There was a rack full of dirty winter coats to wear and if you were going to be in there for more than a minute or two, you were wishing you had taken the chance and grabbed a communal coat.

What I'm saying is, it was pretty fucking cold. Deep freeze, 0 degree constant temperature kind of cold. I would guess that when people die from exposure, those kind of temperatures are the last thing they feel.

The deep freezer, incidentally, was where we kept the muffins. The muffins are what we laid out, by the dozens, for our morning catering gigs. You can't put frozen muffins on a plate, of course. They have to thaw first. Fourteen pounds at a time, we'd thaw those boxes out in the (also walk-in) refrigerator.

Thawed and served.

Actually, that's how Otis Spunkmeyer (of cookie fame) continues to market their thaw and serve muffins to the foodservice industry. These tasty looking treats are not only the "#1 brand of individually wrapped muffins in foodservice", but they also have the "quality appearance consumers love". The implication of the first statement of course is that there may be a number one provider of non-individually wrapped muffins (?) and the latter statement implies that Otis Spunkmeyer knows exactly what you, the consumer, love.

The muffins are passable. They're perfectly consistent and if you take them out of the walk-in soon enough they're nice and room temperature-y by the time all the conventioneers have turned to them in a desperate bid to clear their hangover-fogged heads.

If you're a restaurateur or in the foodservice industry, none of this is surprising. And you probably don't really care. But then you've probably also stopped reading already. I point this out for every person who ever walked into a ballroom at the Hilton or the Metro Convention Center and thought, "Damn. That is a tasty looking batch of muffins." Next time, think twice.

They aren't fresh baked. They're not very tasty and the biggest thing they have going for them is thaw and serve convenience. Skip the muffins. And if you opt for the bear-claw instead and find it's a little cold in the middle? Now you know why.

I will always lie to you.

Parts two and three to follow.

19 August 2011

The Scientific Method

I thought I had it figured out.

I gave the world of food porn a cursory glance and said, "Yeah. I got this all figured out."

In my head I had devised a food porn machine. You just check the box next to "make better" and set the glisten slider to 95% and there you have it. Pictures for the most discerning palate.

Operating on this false, bold assumption I posed the question to no one in particular: Can all food be porn'd? Can any food item be photographed to within an inch of its life and slapped on the cover of Bon Apétit? 

My head said yes -- but my gut said yes. 

I grabbed my digital picture machine and pointed it at the evening meal.


This should be easy. Let's start with some golden sunlight streaming in on delicious ingredients.

Okay yeah, cheese. That looks pretty good.

Tortilla chips.
Good texture on these.

So far nachos pass the test. Things are looking good and graphic so let's keep building our plate of nachos.

Ground beef.
Kind of gross.

Alright well the ground beef is unappealing - but it's got the hallmark contrast, glisten and bokeh of any glossy food-magazine centerfold.

At this point things are looking a little shaky but I think our nachos are still doing fine. Let's throw some beans on this and call it a day.

Let me help.

That's... really unfortunate. There's plenty of texture but it's all the wrong kind. If this picture could talk it would say, "I came directly out of a can."

Then it would croak "Killlll meeeeee" like one of the cocooned colonists from Aliens.


Based on the evidence presented I would conclude that no, not all food can be porn'd.

At least, not yet.