Friday, November 28, 2008

Of all the Douchebags on The Food Network...

Which of these is the douchebaggiest?
I've narrowed it down to 3. Emeril Lagasse doesn't count because he's no longer the face of the network. Instead, they've given us these asshats. Which 1 gets your vote? We can use this mini-election as a practice run for the build up to the big end of the year celebration here @ Visions of Ypsi. And while we're thinking about that, don't forget to start considering who you'll nominate for the 4th Annual Celebrity MILF of the Year Award. Now, w/o further ado, here are your 3 choices for the lead Douche on The Food Network:
Guy Fieri: Host of an otherwise pretty cool show, Diners, Drive-ins & Dives
"Hey brah, who's up for some sick beer-pong?"

Mario Batali: Iron Chef & host of countless mediocre cooking shows including 1 called Mario Eats Italy... & by looking @ him, I wonder if maybe he actually did. Here's a picture of the man who, like George Lucas, wears a beard solely to let people know where his face ends & his neck begins
"Bonus points if you can find my chin before I sweat all over you"

Bobby Flay: The Iron Chef whose frat-boy good looks only mask his frat-boy date-rapist personality. This dude creeps me out! Along w/ being an Iron Chef, he has also hosted an ass load of shows including Boy Meets Grill.
"Hey baby, I've got a box of wine w/ your name on it in the back seat of my sweet ride!"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holiday Post #2: 2 Foods

Hot Sauce
Lately, I've really gotten into trying different hot sauces. Of course, I've had Clancey's (for those of you non-locals, a local hot sauce company) for many years & it's fantastic. 5 or 6 years ago, it was even the subject of a Food Network show about local food companies. That episode, if I remember correctly, also discussed Tony Packo's in Toledo... home of Klinger's favorite hot dogs & pickles. My recent fascination started after putting Frank's Red Hot on some eggs @ The Golden Egg. Of course, it wasn't called the Golden Egg then; the place has changed owners countless times lately. Well, technically, I think it's just been passed back & forth between a couple cousins for tax purposes. The funny thing is that I'd had Frank's plenty of times in the past; I love it on falafels & Mexican food, but w/ breakfast it did something different to my food & I needed to put it on everything thereafter. For X-Mas last year, Jean got me a bottle of Moonlight BBQ (a local Owensboro dive from which he also scored me a pretty sweet brown trucker hat) hot sauce which is great in chili, but I haven't really put it on much else because it's a bit too BBQy for potatoes or lasagna. A couple months ago, I bought a bottle of D. J. Jardine's Texas Champagne. It's good on chili dogs, but w/o the other spices it's pretty bland & doesn't really stand alone very well. Then, the other day @ Plum Market, I tried The Tropical Pepper Company's XXtra Hot Sauce which I'm really likin'. Although it has the double X in the title, the heat doesn't overpower the flavor as is the case so often. This brings up a 2nd issue though: why do we use the same system to rate hot sauce that we use to rate porn? Maybe I've mentioned this before, but I don't think so. A single X is like soft-core Cinemax porn... tits & bush. XX may have penetration but in a pretty tame way. Hot sauce w/ an XXX is, I guess, the sauce equivalent of a 12 layer face glaze.... or, if it's really hot, Tub Girl in a bottle. I haven't tried any XXX hot sauces. Anyway, feel free to post your favorite hot sauces so I can give them a try.Egg Nog
Speaking of porn, egg nog has a certain consistency that, I imagine, some people find rather revolting. None-the-less, it tastes awesome. I just got a free bottle of Guernsey Egg Nog today from Plum Market & Solstice & I almost finished it already. When it comes to drinking nog, I'm like a turkey getting fed: if no one stops me, I'll just keep drinking & drinking & drinking. It's like I can't judge when enough is enough. Although, I admit it's pretty apparent a 1/2 hour later when I feel like shit. Drinking egg nog before Thanksgiving seems a bit decadent to me, but it's the holiday season after all, so it makes for a great holiday season post.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Big Trouble in Little North London

I know you're all dying for an Arsenal update, so here it goes. After beating Man U a couple weeks ago in a beautifully fought 2-1 match @ the Emirates, they've lost 2 in a row, dropping 6 points & falling out of the top 4 as the gap between them & Chelsea is now 10 points. This is the 5th loss already, & 5 by Thanksgiving is ridiculous considering they only lost 3 all last year & still finished 4 points off the top. The problems aren't just w/ the dropped points though; it's much more complicated than that. William Gallas, the team's captain until yesterday, explained some rather problematic locker-room issues to the press this week & has since been punished by losing the captaincy & not being in the squad for their 3-0 loss to Man City this afternoon. Apparently, he explained that there was a bit of a "bust-up" in the locker-room during the interval of their home match against Spurs a few weeks ago. This particular fight is rumored to have involved Robin van Persie (& possibly Theo Walcott). RVP has acted a bit of a shit-head on the pitch lately so I'd honestly not be too surprised if he was involved. I guess Wenger is more upset that Gallas said something than w/ the fact that it happened. Speaking of what Gallas has said, he also suggested that the younger players players at Arsenal (the average age of the squad that beat Wigan a couple weeks ago was 19) are letting their success go to their heads before they've actually won anything. I don't quite understand why he was in the wrong for bringing these things up exactly, but it seems pretty clear that he'll be leaving the club in January. And based on their recent farm, I wouldn't be surprised if a few others were replaced too: Bendtner, RVP, Silvestre. Furthermore, as I stated in the summer, they need to buy some experienced players too: a new central defender, a new holding midfielder, & maybe a striker. I have a feeling they'll be alright in the striker situation as long as Eduardo, Vela, Adebayor, & Simpson don't fall apart too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ceci n'est pas une post

If you, like millions of other people opened up Google today, you would have noticed that today would be Magritte's 110 b-day... if he were still alive. He's 1 of my favorite Modernists, so here's to him. Happy 110, René Magritte!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just when you thought election fever was over: Obama's Cabinet

With all of the rumors flying around about who his picks will be, & after my successful endorsements leading up to the election, I thought I'd give a brief overview of the main people I'd like to see get the nods. Following each of my picks is a quick list of the other people whose names have been thrown into the ring lately.

State: Hillary Clinton
She'd be a nice pairing for Obama's Mick Jaggeresque rock star street cred... bringing a bit of the Tina Turner sensibility to Obama's top advisers. Besides, Mick & Tina did a great job together at Live Aid I say give 'em another shot. Besides, she's still really well liked around the world.
Bill Richardson, Richard Lugar, Greg Craig, John Kerry, & Sam Nunn

Defense: Jack Reed
Though less likely than some of the other possibilities, he's a member of Senate Armed Services Committee & a good New England Democrat. Some left of center ideas running the military would be a fantastic change of pace.
Chuck Hagel, Robert Gates, & Richard Danzig

Homeland Security: Susan Collins
Though I've always liked Gary Hart, Collins chaired the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs from 2003 to 2007 & is considered 1 of the most liberal Republicans in the Senate. She has the experience & would be a great "across the aisle" pick.
Lee Hamilton, Tony Lake, Richard Clarke, Tim Roemer, Gary Hart

Treasury: Sheila C. Bair
The chair of the FDIC has worked in both the Clinton & GWB administrations & worked as a chief advisor to Dole during the GHWB administration. Though a little fiscally conservative, she seems to know her shit; she'd make a nice "across the aisle" pick. However, Laura Tyson would also be pretty good if he actually plans to load the Cabinet w/ East Coast lefties. Ideologically, I'm all in favor of that, but it doesn't seem practical.

Education: Colin Powell
When he endorsed Obama a month ago, I assumed he was jockeying for a Cabinet post & this seems to be the one for him. He's made education one of his major causes since he finished his tenure as Sec. of State, & his political experience can't be overlooked. It's hard to tell if this would really be another "across the aisle" pick," but it'd make a lot of people happy. (Not to be confused w/ the former winger for Charlton Athletic.)
George Miller, Tim Kaine, Linda Darling-Hammond, Joel Klein, Tom Kean, Inez Tenenbaum

Agriculture: Bill Richardson
As far as I can tell, he's only been named as a possibility for Sec. of State, but if that goes to Clinton, he'll get a spot somewhere else, & I think this is the place for him. Though oddly central in Lewinskygate, he's a former UN Ambassador, Sec. of Energy & Governor of New Mexico. Plus, he just seems like an all around good guy.
Colin Peterson, Tom Daschle, Jim Leach, Tom Vilsack

Energy: Tom Vilsack
He's been working to replace the Dept. of Energy w/ a new Dept. of Energy Security focused on reducing our dependence on foreign oil & increasing the search for non-fossil fuel options. He's been short-listed for Agriculture, but Energy is where I think he belongs.
Brian Schweitzer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jeff Bingaman, Kathleen Sebelius

Labor: David Bonior
A strong Union guy for years. He's worked closely w/ the auto industry & he's a good Michigander. We won't hold the fact that he went to Notre Dame High School, a rival of CC, against him.
Dick Gephardt, Dan Tarullo, Linda Chavez-Thompson

Commerce: Kathleen Sebelius
Like Bonior, she too is originally from Michigan. She's the Governor of Kansas & Chair-Emerita of the Democratic Governors' Association, & she would be a great pick.
Ed Rendell, Penny Pritzker, Olympia Snowe

Interior: Lincoln Chafee
Often refered to as the most liberal Republican in the Senate, he became an Independant a couple years ago & to look @ his record, you've never guess he aligned himself w/ the GOP. Again, he might be an "across the aisle" pick, but he's no Dirk Kempthorne. As a side-note, John Emmett would most certainly cream his jeans for this one.
Christine Gregoire, Brian Schweitzer, RFK Jr.

Transportation: James Oberstar
Hailing from MN, he's been in Congress since 1974, which gives him mountains of experience. He's the current chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, & he's also a member of the Bike Caucus & the Grate Lakes Task Force.
Ed Rendell, Earl Blumenauer, R.T. Rybak

Attorney General: Artur Davis
A centrist Alabama African American Democrat. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1990 and received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School. He's known for his public speaking abilities & he was the 1st Congressperson outside of IL to endorse Obama. Of course, Hillary Clinton would be pretty good here too if Richardson gets Sec. of State.
Janet Napolitano, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton

EPA Director: Kathleen McGinty
She's the former head of the Pennsylvania EPA, & she's known for her strong advocacy of Environmental protection. A pro-environment person in this job will be a nice change of pace after the last 8 years.
Ed Markey, Mary Nichols, Lincoln Chafee

Director of Veterans' Affairs: Tammy Duckworth
She is an Iraq War Veteran & the current Director of Illinois Veterans' Affairs. A double amputee, she seems to agree completely w/ Obama's claims about Iraq & Afghanistan, believing we should focus more on Bin Laden & begin the withdrawal from Iraq.
Chet Edwards, Max Cleland, Patrick Murphy

Ambassador to the UN: Caroline Kennedy
A strong supporter of Obama & extremely well versed in both national & international issues. Not to mention that any president who is trying to bring about a 2nd Camelot probably needs a Kennedy.
Susan Rice & Lee Hamilton

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Mayflys: Live @ The Corner Brewery

The official stage set-list signed by Jim Joe... note Joe's drunken mis-spelling of my name

To celebrate the Jim's big 4-0, The Mayflys (Jim, Joe, Charles, etc from the English Dept) played their debut show @ The Corner last night. This wasn't really the 1st time they played out, but the 1st time under that name. You may remember my reports on the English Dept. X-Mas party last year or on Andre Peltier is a High-On from last spring, but as far as they're concerned, those don't count so we here @ Visions of Ypsi aren't counting them either. The turn out last night was fantastic: tons of Dept. people, some former students, lots of neighborhood/local friends, old friends we hadn't seen in quite a while, & even a few people from the Dark Green Team who finished top of the table a few weeks ago in the Canton Over 30 league. Everyone had a great time, lots of good beer was had, & Isaiah was quite the hit. As far as the music is concerned, they were really fun. It seems like the general consensus is that people want they to play out more so I hope they get a few gigs. Supposedly, they'll put the show up on the archive soon for all to enjoy. (If you've never checked out the Archive before, take a look @ all the free live music... & it's 100% legal too!) Here's the set-list from last night:
Set I
What We Hide
Wall of Sound
Over My Shoulder
A Girl in Port
Where You Gone
When That Day of Judgement Comes
Thinkin' About the End
Not Fade Away

Set II
Terrible Sight
Dear Prudence
Come Pick Me Up
Baby, We All Gotta Go Down

Befpre the party, wee went out to dinner @ Chia Shiang, the greatest Chinese place this side of China. We'd never eaten there before though... just gotten take out, so it was a fun time, except for the kids in the booth behind Stephanie who kept pushing on the seat while they were making out. The next table featured a rather obese couple sitting w/ another guy, & the large man (who kind of looked familiar) kept going on & on about movies & music & specifically David Byrne. It was like the scene in Annie Hall w/ Mashall McLuhan... I really wanted to hit him on a gut level. The food was great though, so we were able to overlook the weirdness before we made our annual X-Mas trip to World Market which marks the official Visions of Ypsi beginning of the Holiday Season. Unless of course, it began yesterday w/ the unofficial Holiday music post.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The X-mas Season... Already?

This is not an official Holiday Season post because I refuse to acknowledge the fact that the X-mas season starts right after Halloween. I prefer to settle into autumn 1st. You may recall when the Holiday season was a simple 40 days: the Advent Season. of course, FDR, in his infinite wisdom, realised that if he pushed Thanksgiving back a week, people would have an extra week of Christmas shopping to spur the economy during the Depression. It was a good idea, but now that people aren't quite as concerned w/ the etiquette of holiday shopping, stores can promote X-mas w/o the fear of faux pas. Since we're now left w/o the traditional starting gun that was Thanksgiving, we have fallen on a new delineation. Stores replace the Halloween candy w/ X-mas stuff because, let's face it, what else can they put there for 3 weeks? Toilet paper & big rubber totes? I saw that @ Target once, but it was ridiculous. That leaves us needing to accept the X-mas merchandising, but it doesn't really give us the official line of demarcation we so demand. Sensing this void in our lives, 1 group of people has stepped to the plate & solved our problem: radio station programmers. And the lovely folks @ 100.3 WNIC have done just that. Starting Nov. 1, they've been playing X-mas music & only X-mas music & they will continue to do so until New Years Day. Unfortunately for me, I made the mistake of allowing the kids to listen to this the other day, & I've had a certain tune by Wham stuck in my head ever since. Because off that & because I'm almost ready to concede that X-mas season has started, I give you m 10 worst X-mas songs ever.

10) "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" - Brenda Lee: A cheap rip-off of "Jingle Bell Rock"
9) "The Chipmunks Song" - Alvin and the Chipmunks: I dig harmonicas as much as the next guy, but this is going too far
8) "Please Daddy, Don't Get Drunk this Christmas" - John Denver: Solely based on he title... I've never actually heard it
7) "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" - Phillip Brooks: When I was 3, we had a Time/Life 2 record set of X-mas tunes & I've hated this ever since
6) "Funky Funky Christmas" - NKOTB: So obvious it almost didn't make the list... sorry Elizabeth
5) "Wonderful Christmas Time" - Sir Paul: Happy Christmas, War is Synthesized... I blame Linda
4)"Do they Know it's Christmas?" - Band Aid: They do now... after the Bob Geldof found yet another way to force Christianity (& the resulting Western Hegemony) on an African culture... they did feed a few people though @ least there's that
3) "The Hoser" - Bob and Doug: Stupid
2) "Dogs Barking Jingle Bells" - a bunch of dogs: This is a hard 1 because everyone knows how much I just love dogs
1) "Last Christmas" - Wham: Get out of my head, damn song!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Quantum of Solace???

This Friday marks the release of the 22nd EON Bond film, & those of you who read this regularly know I'm some-what of a James Bond enthusiast. Though I've only seen 5 of the films in the theater (A View to a Kill @ Fairlane Towncenter in Dearborne w/ my soccer team, The Living Daylights @ the now defunct Gaslight Cinema in Petoskey w/ my friend Brad, Goldeneye @ Showcase Ann Arbor w/ Stephanie, The World is Not Enough @ the Goodrich Quality 16 in Ann Arbor w/ Stephanie & Casino Royale @ the Showcase Ann Arbor w/ Jean), I've made a habit out of watching them on TV since I saw For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, & Never Say Never Again @ the Rossis' house in the early '80s. The fact that there are 21 of these films (plus Never Say Never Again which isn't included in the official Bond canon), averaging about 2 hours each, & that I've seen them an average of 5.318181 times (I did the math to the best of my ability which is hampered by the fact that I'm guessing how many times I've seen each film... 8 for Dr. No, 2 for License to Kill... it might not be exact but it is close enough), suggests that I've spent 234 hours watching James Bond films which comes to 9.75 days of my life. This seems like a lot, but considering the fact that I've been alive for roughly 294,768 hours, 234 isn't really that much. Besides, I'm absolutely certain that there are many people out there who have spent a greater percentage of their lives watching Bond films, not to mention the people out there who have spent many more total hours watching them.

Although the film was released in the UK last month, it isn't out here yet so I obviously can't review it yet. Having spent so much time watching the others, I feel that I can make a basic preliminary observation though. The title sucks! Apparently, Daniel Craig came up w/ it in an attempt to avoid the hacky titles that deal w/ death & blood. Furthermore, it's taken from a Flemming short story about Bond @ a dinner party which apparently contains no action. It's more of a tribute to W. Summerset Maugham w/ the focus on irony & character development... not Bond's mind you, the character development of 2 people w/ whom Bond never actually speaks. Supposedly, the film has absolutely nothing to do w/ the story which means they could have come up w/ a better title & no one would have been the wiser. It sounds like they pulled random words out of a hat (incidentally, this is also how George Lucas came up w/ the prequal titles). Of all the ways they come up w/ Bond titles, this has to be the worst system. And as best as I can figure there are ways it's been done
1) Name of bad guy = name of film (Dr. No, Goldfinger, etc)
2) Random message in the film (From Russia w/ Love, For Your Eyes Only, etc)
3) Name of evil plan (Thunderball, Moonraker, etc)
4) Random line in the film (You Only Live Twice, Live and Let Die, etc)
5) Random secret agent lingo (On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Licence to Kill, etc)
5.1) Occasionally, there is also a secondary consideration in the naming, specifically, it makes a cool song title ("Live and let Die," "A View to a Kill," etc)
Unveiling a brand new naming system 46 years into the series just doesn't seem right. I'm sure I'm going to love this film as much as I love the rest, & probably more than I love most of them, but it's hard to really embrace a film w/ such a shit name. I'm sure this is the reason films like Manos: The Hands of Fate & Mitchell never really took off. The again, Forrest Gump was huge so I guess you never know.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

He writes more songs by 9 AM

Ryan Adams' newest album came out last week & it's everything I assumed it would be plus a little INXS influence on a couple tunes that I didn't really expect. There's also plenty of the obligatory Dylan/Dead/Smiths stuff, not to mention the darker goth-country of Neko Case. His lyrics are every bit as weird as on albums like 29 where he occasionally for-gos basic rhyme and meter to create a sort of tableau of Modernist imagery & ideology. Themes of loss & alienation are found throughout the lyrics while the traditional country settings of Cold Roses & Jacksonville City Nights are often neglected as they wear their '80s influences on their sleeves more... like on Rock 'n Roll. Yet, they're still able to maintain the basic guitar/pedal steel/piano sound of those earlier discs. It's so good that most of the reviews I've found on-line are calling it his best effort yet. I don't know if I'd go that far, but it's been growing on me more & more so maybe I'll be agreeing by the time he's written another 40 or 50 songs (later this week). Speaking of his prolific career & his best albums, here's my ranking of RA CDs since he left Whiskeytown in 2000. Of course, if I were to post this tomorrow, it would probably change. Furthermore, this doesn't take into account the dozens of albums on which he's appeared as a guest, nor does it include his enormous live output.
11. Demolition
1o. Rock 'n Roll
9. 29
8. Love is Hell
7. Easy Tiger (w/ the Cardinals)
6. Songbird (w/ the Cardinals & Willie Nelson)
5. Cardinology (w/ the Cardinals)
4. Cold Roses (w/ the Cardinals)
3. Gold
2. Heartbreaker
1. Jacksonville City Nights (w/ the Cardinals)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

I just got back from voting @ Adams Elementary School which is @ the end of my street. Solstice & Aiden came w/ me, & we had a great time. I love bringing them w/ me so as to get them used to the process so by the time they're 18 it will be 2nd nature & they'll look forward to it. I remember registering to vote on my 18th b-day back in the summer of 1992. I was so excited that after years of following politics, I'd finally get to participate in the democratic process. I may be a nerd, but I'm a nerd for the left. This morning, there was absolutely no line which kind of freaked me out ("Where is everybody?" I asked myself, "Is on one getting out to vote?"), but they said there'd been a huge line earlier between 7:00 & 8:30... we got there about 9:00. Overall, the process went smoothly w/ no hanging chads & the volunteers were friendly as usual. We were even able to document the entire process w/ the trusty old camera. As you can see, we had a beautiful morning for an election. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a General Election Day as nice as this one. As for my fashion choice, I went w/ the new tweed slacks, a white shirt, & a McPherson Hunting tie. The entire ensemble has now been brought together nicely w/ my "I Voted" sticker. For this evening, we've gotten a bottle of Cider, a couple cans of Guinness, some nice Triple Cream Brie and some fig spread to top off the cheese. My friend from Plum is going to be @ Aubree's for an election night party so I might go up there for a bit too... & I imagine there'll be something happening @ the Corner Brewery too.
Obama/Biden Home Page
Statewide Ballot Proposals
NPR Election Map
Election Results from CBS
BBC Election Night Guide
Before we went in

Aiden in the midst of the signage

Getting my Ballot

W/ Solstice

W/ Aiden

Monday, November 3, 2008

Holiday Post # 6: Weekend Stuff

Halloween Wrap Up
On All Hallows' Eve, which doubles as Stacey's b-day, we went to her for dinner and trick-or-treating. Everyone had a great time wandering the old 'hood after a nice pot-luck dinner. Once the kids were done going door-to-door, we went back & they all sat around the living room trading candy & watching Young Frankenstein while the adults were in the other room checking out a sweet sweet puzzle that Stacey is giving to Evan for X-Mas. Shockingly, no one threw up or received any candy w/ razor blades so it went pretty smoothly over all.

The Kramer
The following night, Elizabeth & Dan had a costume party. Solstice spent the night @ her friend's so it was just the 4 of us. Aiden in his Mutt Jones outfit, Isaiah as a pumpkin, Stephanie as Ma Ingles, & me as Cosmo Kramer. The problem w/ the costume was 2-fold. First off, other than the shorn face, no one thought I looked any different than I usually do. (Except for some guy @ Burger King who thought I was dressed as an English professor... that was pretty funny). Secondly, I hate not having a beard. As it turns out, I should have gone as Kramer w/ a beard. If you feel the need to see me w/o a beard, you'll have to check out the soccer photos because no Kramer pic exists.
Dan's friend Jeff /w Isaiah
Last Night
The Dark Green team had its final game of the season, beating the Blue team 9-1. Usually, a scoreline that big isn't a very fun game, but this team beat us 7-2 earlier this fall & they've been total assholes, so it was nice to teach them a lesson. They were trying to start fights & a couple refused to shake hands... it was fantastic. When the game started, the other team only had 5 people , but rather than taking some of ours, they thought they could take us 5 v 11... after our 3rd goal, they admitted it was ridiculous. It was a stupid, cocky thing to try though, none-the-less. Your friendly neighborhood blogger got 2 goals & 2 assists (all after they borrowed some people & were @ full strength). The 1st was mainly due to strong play down the right wing by Roger who crossed it to me behind the goalie so all I had to do was tap it in. The 2nd, however, was pretty sweet. I beat a defender about 16 yards out before turning & sending a rocket of a shot into the left corner. These were my only goals of the season, & just as Elizabeth was destined to score last week, I vowed to score this week. I also vowed to nutmeg someone & make a nice backheal. No one was nutmegged, but my backheal was an assist to Juan... beautiful futball! We finished the season 7-1 which meant we were on the top of the league table, a 1st in a few years. Afterwards, we had our little pizza & beer time @ The Crow's Nest in Canton... pics (including ones of me w/o a beard) are up on the team blog.