No matter what the conTEXT

29 08 2009

A warning that this is graphic. But…worth it.

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Hold the phony

27 08 2009

As I was searching for the WEATHER, on accuweather.com, I scrolled down to the bottom of the page and caught this clearly digitally enhanced, ludicrous ad.

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Here are some things I will not bother to point out, namely the obvious, namely that weight loss transforms people into literally entirely different people.  Others points of obvi (from hereto out noted as “poo”): 1. That weight loss apparently comes with a tan. 2. That weight loss apparently comes with a better haircut. 3. That weight loss comes, apparently,  with sex appeal via some kind of enticing/scoliosis-like  stance.

But the highlight of this picture, and it should go without saying, that the most precious thing about it. is the “Sweet nothing” t-shirt, that the “fat” girl (who, in real life, looks JUST FINE).  Finally, a weight loss product that GETS IT. It understands the elusive fourth reason on everyone’s list for their “weight loss journey.”

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Gin(ny) and Juice

20 08 2009

church2In the local Internet world, this week was pretty fucking awesome.  For one reason: The return of PittGirl, the famous anonymous Pittsburgh blogger, but she returned as herself, totally awesome Virginia “Ginny” Montanez at her new blog, That’s Church.

Today she wrote she was fired from her job after going public with her identity. A shitty situation for sure but I can only imagine how liberating it might be. (Perhaps I’d sing a different tune though if I was unemployed with two kids.) But you have to give props where props are due for someone who stands behind their work.

I think much credit is due, perhaps in the form of one of those snarky Budlight commercials. (So crack open a cold one, anonymous blogger who has an impeccable use of semi colons, capital letters and parentheses plus much-needed hilarious pseudonyms for real people.)

Everyone I knew who read her her “Burgh Blog” was devastated when she ended it for fear of being outed. She had no bones of telling how you how it really was, calling out the Pirates as the Buccos of Suckitude,  knocking those beloved Steelers down a few pegs when they did something stupid like beat their wives or failing a run test (Baby Cici Donna?). She made things that should be important to Pittsburghers relevant, but made them funny and accessible. I never gave Mayor Luke Ravenstahl a second thought until I read about “Lukey” on her blog. If she can make Pittsburgh city politics just as funny as pigeon-murder, then I’d say there’s a God-given gift.





The claws are out

16 08 2009

lobster

There were five of them.

Five oversized, somewhat sluggish crustaceans resting comfortably in the tank at Giant Eagle. They were piled on top of their counterparts. Claws rubberbanded together. Enjoying the flow of cool water on top of the fish case.

Julie_and_Julia_wallpaper_09_1024x768_largeThat was, until a recent day. The idea of cooking five live lobsters was daunting. In the midst of the book “Julie and Julia,” the author had just wrapped up telling me in a particularly fucking hilarious chapter how she committed crustacean murder as per one of Julia Child’s French recipes. It sounded stressful.

Back to giant eagle. The seafood dude was chatting with a friend until I interrupted him with a request. I need five lobsters. Particularly chill ones. So I can kill them. He proceeds to pull out one of those little claw crabber things that I’ve seen people use to get cups off the top shelf. He pulls one out. It’s….blue. Aka. DEAD.

Fanfuckingtastic.

“Whoops.” he said. He just set that on top of the case. A sight of what’s to come.

Then, at an incredibly slow pace for handling clawed animals, he extracts five crustaceans and sets them, two apiece, into yellow cardboard boxes that have giant holes inside. The lobsters, about 1.5-2 lbs, barely fit, and their antennas are sticking out. At this point, a small crowd has gathered. Some look amused. Some look annoyed that the seafood dude is wrapped up extracting fresh fish for kill.

At this point, it occurred to me that I really wish I had finished the rest of my grocery shopping for this situation. But, lo and behold, with a cart full of boxed lobsters, we navigate down the aisles looking for sour cream and paprika while those purchasing Huggies and coffee eye the large red antennas protruding from the card. What?

Back to the tank. Seafood dude then relayed the following information.

1. Lobsters can live out of water for nine hours.

2. You can keep them in the fridge to “stun them”

3. If they get pissed, just rub the back of their shells. Oh yeah, right. WTF.

Checkout comes and goes and the lobsters are now in the trunk of the van. Where does one put a crustacean guest in their vehicle? In a cooler? On the floor? In a seatbelt? Nay. The laundry basket. Obviously the best locale.

To add context to this tale, the lobster fest was a secret, a suprise meal for my dad’s birthday. So complicating the situation was not only traveling with such beasts, but then sneaking them into the house, then cooking them secretly. Thank god we got him a basketball hoop for his birthday to distract him from the pending Kitchen carnage.

Prep for the meal came and went — the five lobsters, who we refused to name for fear of attachment — chilled, quite literally, in the fridge. Indeed, seafood dude, they were stunned.

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The instructions on the side of the box were clear: Bring water to a rapid boil. Plunge lobster in headfirst. Slam lid on. Boil for x amount of minutes pending on the poundage. We had about 7 pounds total and two very not-adequate pots. For once in my life, I actually waited until the water boiled. Big old fucking bubbles baby. It boiled so much, it actually evaporated a little bit. The water portion of this endeavor took a good half hour. We had shrimp on the grill at the same time. Shellfish be warned, you will be consumed ASAP if you cross me.

While this is all going on, my brother is filming on his iPhone. It comes time to remove the first lobster and plunge it in, headfirst, into the pot. Tongs in hand, they slide down into the box. While tongs are not adequately designed to wrap around a big fucking red shell, it kind of grasped the first guy ok.  Two things were in the front of my brain — plunge the guy in quick, and it’s not going to scream (they don’t have vocal chords.)

So after holding it headfirst over the steaming hot water grimacing for about 3 minutes, I did it. I plunged it in. It went. thank god. “Did you say a prayer?”  my friend asked?

until…

The fucker started clawing the sides of the pot.

Hence, why you need a lid.

PHEW.

Lobster number two. The big guy. 2.5lbs. Specifically for the man celebrating his birthday. He was unruly. Fell out of the tongs twice and could not give a shit that I was rubbing his 2.5lb shell.  Do it fast, my brother and his wife shouted. Hurry up! So, lobster-in-tongs, I moved it to the pot. It plunged down into the wa-…some resistance. He fought back.

He stretched his shitty little body out and braced himself against the side of the scalding hot pot. It kind of looked like this:

NOBut opposable thumbs prevailed and he found himself in the pot. As did the following three lobsters. 20-25 minutes, they were cooked. 30-35 minutes later, they were eaten. Humans 5, Lobsters 0.

A video version of this story can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15w8J3_aUn4





The end of a grilling era

15 08 2009

Terrible news.

There’s been an “accident.”

Or, as I refer to it, an incident of tampering-with-deliciousness.

As most of you know, the grill travels in the van with me just about to any and all locations. As does a bag of charcoal, a lighter, cooler, and assorted spices. Why? Because you just never know when you’ll need/want to have freshly grilled and awesome delicious meats.

Over the weekend, I left my van at my dad’s house while out of town. Grill in trunk. All is right with the world.

My dad, whom I love dearly, cleaned my van (because lets face it, when you run a small restaurant out of the trunk, it tends to get messy.) But the grill, whom I also loved dearly, had an “Accident” he says. OR, THE LEG SOMEHOW FELL OFF AND IS UNABLE TO BE SCREWED BACK ON.

Now, it is a $20 walmart apparatus that was purchased in a moment of passion prior to a Pirates game. It has had a tremendous year. It has gone to about 15 pirates games, a handful of state parks, my work’s parking lots, and other events. It has had a lengthy and delicious life. Highlights include grilled bacon (yessss), tater tots (it CAN be done), and the zenith of my magic dust rub.  Some highlights from its career:

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Let’s also not forget it helped me overcome my crippling fear of flames.

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But it has not been well. Before the leg ‘incident’ (now how the leg fell off is still under investigation but the legal authorities told me to stop calling), a folding chair fell on the lid and formed a small dent.

There are simply no words to say other than, goodbye. I plan to visit Loews and purchase an exquisite new charcoal replica this weekend. But, to the $20 wal-mart grill — it’s been a good run. You will be missed. (especially by Oliver Onion, who won every race he was in when you were in the parking lot.)

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