Music Monday: What’s Going On

 

In Closing: the cat came back; the wages of austerity; aww rats; adventurous surrogate mother wanted; rubber duckies; well yeah, it looks silly when he does it; too redacted; Clouds! Pork Exercise! Mexico! Pass the word; backtrack; never occurred to them that’s not an option for everybody; locking up the dumb b**** for not knowing what’s good for her baby; dealing with climate change; some bosses think Jesus wants them to break laws they don’t like (I seem to remember a line about rendering unto Ceasar…); on math; on history; and a prototype of facebook.

To the Lady in Workout Clothes ahead of me at the Grocery Store

Hey dear, let me tell you why you’re never going to lose that 10 to 20 pounds around your hips and waist and why your hubby is never going to lose the gut unless you change your ways.

I’m not going to put all the blame on the expensive whole wheat crap that you think is good for you, even though you should probably only eat half that at most, and even though there is a case to be made for that being your biggest problem. Many experts think that’s good stuff, but you still should put some of it back on the shelf.

I’m not going to be too hard on you for the gallon of frozen yogurt. Again, you think you’re doing the right diet thing, even though it’s still got far too much sugar in it to be truly healthy. Maybe you only eat a tablespoon a day? Maybe I wasn’t close enough to see that it was one of those fat-free or sugar-free chemistry sets masquerading as real food?

I’m not going to put all the blame on the plentiful sports drinks in your cart, even though there is simply no way you are working out hard enough for them to be beneficial to you. Have you ever looked at the nutrition panel? It’s probably replenishing every calorie you “worked” off, and many of those drinks contain corn syrup. If you seriously worked out hard enough for these to be a good idea, you would never dream of wearing your disgusting sweaty workout clothes to a grocery store — even fresh out of the wash!

I am going to rag on you just a little bit for the 3 boxes of different kinds of crackers. For pity sake, if you want to eat something that goes crunch, try an apple or a carrot! You might get some vitamins out of the deal.

I am going to rag on you just a little bit for the fact that the only protein I saw in your cart was a pound of ground beef. Come on, that’s going to last a week? If you don’t eat some protein, your body is just going to steal it from your muscles. In case you didn’t know, muscle is what keeps you from looking like a complete blob.

But the one thing that I think is your biggest problem was the stack of 6 frozen pizzas. That proves that you only give the faintest lip service to eating healthy: pizza is neither low carb nor low fat. Ever. Just, please, tell me that’s not a one week supply. Lie to me if you must. You want a pizza? Learn to make that stuff from scratch. I can guarantee you’ll eat less of it because it’s harder than stuffing that frozen crap in a hot oven, it will be better tasting because you’ll use better ingredients, and healthier. Why healthier? You’ll actually burn some calories kneeding the dough, shaping it, and putting quality stuff on top!

Want to make that gut vanish? Try eating real, minimally processed food. Sure, you’ll have to spend more than 3 minutes preparing it, but you and your husband will both be better off.

I’d like to say at least your dog eats well, but you didn’t buy any dog food.

In Closing: would you like to play a game?; playing it safe; poverty tax; ever wonder what the numbers mean?; duh; travel tips; “let’s just take these laptops with no anti-virus to a hacker’s conference! What could possibly go wrong???”; parks; make “the PillOTC, prevent abortions; we don’t need “administrators” with no common sense having any authority over children, ever, for any reason.

Have you seen this crazy thing yet?

Ok, here’s an explanation of that thing you just watched. It’s nice to see someone with a sense of humor about himself.
 

Ok, and here’s a Music Monday Bonus: 10 Songs that you’re more likely to have heard the cover than the original! Complete with videos.

In Closing: hiding in plain sight; seriously?; AOL paying shareholders $500,000,000 (didn’t know they still had that kind of money); pseudoscience; Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison defends the Republican stance on women without ever mentioning birth control or abortion (she does at least mention rape) (“People in red cars don’t necessarily drive fast. I used to own a red Ford Escort!”); and listen, if you are applying for a job with me, I don’t want to hear from your mommy. I hear from mom, and your resume goes straight in the NO pile.

The Shorties in Black

In Plane Sight: I have a soft spot for Boeing. Here’s the latest version of the 747.

True: About the 2012 Elections.

On the Economy: global growth; more than 3 people for every available job in June despite the highest number of job openings in 4 years.

Math: “With regard to mathematics, the problem is not that we are teaching too much of it—but that we are teaching math ineffectively.  The expectations and architecture of the new Common Core State Standards in Mathematics can help to remedy this.  Faithful implementation of those standards will support districts that want to adopt curricula that unfurl mathematics in a rational, coherent program and that jettison approaches that are illogically sequenced and that overuse and abuse manipulatives.”

Perhaps there’s a logical explanation: Kids who eat good food turn out smarter than kids that eat junk food. Is it that good food contributes to intelligence, or that smarter parents feed their kids better stuff? I fail to see that this study accounted for the IQ, educational level, or socio-economic level of the parents.

People stand with the Nuns: and they appreciate it.

Today I learned: apparently, a psychic’s word is enough to get a warrant to search somebody’s property for a mass grave. Local governments are strapped for cash, but somehow they’ve got money for psychics? I do hope the locals find a way to get rid of the sheriff and judge that signed off on this.

The truth about corporate income tax: Many companies don’t pay that much.

Killer Kats: Turns out that outdoor cats kill a lot more than anybody knew. Funny thing about them being predators.

Funny, I have yet to kill anybody: “People without Facebook accounts are suspicious“? Seriously? I don’t have a Facebook account. There are millions of people who don’t. I’d say that relatively few of us are planning violence. Except maybe against idiots who think it means anything that I choose not to participate.

Facebook

Facebook is a social media site that I don’t use. At all. Ever. You see a Bridget Magnus over there? It’s not me. Probably that lady from Vancouver.

Ok, disclosure out of the way.

So, it seems that their stock is at a record low. And it’s expected to dump more altitude in a couple of weeks when employee stock can start to trade.

Is it really relevant to talk about a stock being at an all time record low when it hasn’t even traded for 6 months yet?? Seriously?

If you want a real Facebook story, how about the fact that 80% of ad clicks might be bogus? That’s where Facebook makes it’s money; is it possible that their profits are padded by bot-generated activity? Which of course begs another question: who ever clicked on those ads? I had about 3 hours where I thought it might be a good idea to advertise over there, but then I came to my senses.

As for myself, I’m not buying their ads, not buying their stock, and not taking their free membership either.

In Closing: life lessons; Jill explains why the Post Office is really in trouble; enough with biometric security already (hello!); how far will this scandal reach?; sugar; Orwelling; nope, no such thing as global climate change (BTW it’s raining in Vegas today).

Hope?

It’s June, and I’m already really tired of the 2012 election season: delegate shenanigans; voter suppression (oh the irony of toting out the GOP’s token black man for this!); shoddy fact-checking; shoddy spell checking; fear mongering; birtherism; austerity. Blah! Some people are asking — and reasonably so — whether it’s even possible to have a constructive campaign this year.
But two things have me thinking that there may be a ray of hope. Maybe 2012 is doomed, but there’s signs that we may at some point in the future be able to talk reasonably about political issues, and maybe even find middle ground in the obvious places.
First, it looks like the IRS will actually be enforcing long-ignored rules about churches getting involved in politics. Nobody says your preacher can’t have an opinion and can’t have a political bumper sticker, but he’d better not preach that if you vote a certain way you risk eternal damnation. Damnation!!
Now it looks like the GOP is actually trying to get back to basics with people who  “stressed the need to work with Democrats to get things done in Washington.” Younger politicians who say stuff like “I think the government, again, should get off your back, out of your wallet and away from the bedroom.”
I sure hope that works out.
In closing: salt; stranger danger has gone too damn far; it turns out that unlawful intrusions are unlawful; is anybody surprised to learn that Facebook ads don’t work? Anybody? Bueller?; Fail; childhood poverty; don’t fight the ocean, it will win in the long run; too much of a good thing is bad; and anger management.

A City of Tradition

Why yes, Chicago is a city of tradition. They turn the river green for St. Patrick’s day — and I don’t mean for organic fishing. They have arcane fire codes because of an ancient fire which destroyed most of the city (and freed up the coastal areas for redevelopment as parkland). Foods like pizza and hot dogs have their own Chicago traditions. There’s so much tradition that according to legend, the dead vote.

And there’s also a fine tradition of Chicago’s police department pre-acting and over-reacting.

Sure, they are expecting protests of the NATO summit. Sure, abandoned luggage has to be investigated these days instead of being taken to the lost and found. And sure, there are lots of targets, although I fail to see what bombing the mayor’s place would have proved (and even if it would have accomplished something, any idiot terrorist should have expected more security this week than next week).

Was it really necessary to arrest people for something that they might have been thinking about doing? How do you prove you weren’t thinking something? And really, to describe a Malotov as a “primitive bomb” means that all those IEDs in Iraq are sophisticated devices. Anybody with gasoline, an empty glass bottle, and an old rag can make one. Of course, the “bomb making” equipment may well turn out to be “beer making” equipment. I understand the confusion; both start with B.

And if they were going to take 30 hours to come up with a warrant, couldn’t they at least have found a judge to sign the damn thing? Were these unarmed people really so dangerous they had to be shackled to a bench for 18 hours? Really? Did they get their phone call? Did they have to dial with their noses?

All snark aside, CPD could learn a lot from Vegas Casino security.

In closing: Hawaii tells Arizona where to get off; is a short middle-aged white guy in a hoodie a thug too?; he knew what the job paid when he spent millions of dollars trying to get it; bananas > Gatorade; apparently some people think preventing rape of prisoners is a luxury; 44% of Facebook users never click on ads.

Kitchen Tasks that Sound Hard but Aren’t

When I got out of college, I wasn’t much of a cook. Most of what I made wasn’t awful, but much of it wasn’t good either. Still, I never bought those Hamburger Helper type products, and I have gradually stopped using most processed foods. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot. Here are some things that trust me, you really can do at home.

Whip Butter: Put some softened — not melted! — butter and some milk (or half-and-half) in the mixer. If it’s unsalted butter, add a teaspoon of salt. Start your mixer fairly while everything mixes up or you’ll spray milk everywhere. Keep turning it up gradually until it’s set to the highest setting. Keep going until that stuff is light and fluffy! Put it in a container in the fridge and enjoy for a week or two. Oh, whatever shall you enjoy that butter on? How about some homemade sourdough bread?

Sourdough Starter: Until recently, I kept a starter in the fridge. Let’s start with a film:

The short version is mix whole wheat flour with bottled or filtered water (chlorine in tap water kills microorganisms that would make you sick, but it will also kill yeasts). Put it out someplace covered with cheesecloth to keep bugs out. Once it’s going, you can use a folded paper towel and rubber band instead. Add some more water/flour mix every day until it gets foamy. Feed daily if you leave it out, weekly if you put it in the fridge.

Caesar Dressing: Ok, there are two intimidating parts to making this at home. First is called “coddling the egg.” Put a small pot of water on the stove. Use a pin to poke a small hole in the big end of the egg. Put it in boiling water for a minute. The other “hard” part is the emulsion. More on that in a minute. Toss a clove of garlic, a couple tablespoons of lemon juice, your choice of a total of 2 teaspoons of anchovy paste/Worchestershire/both (I use both), fresh ground pepper, and everything you can scrape out of 2 coddled eggs into a blender. Turn it on, and keep blending even after it looks blended. Now comes the “tricky” part: very slowly add a half cup of olive oil. Seriously, very slowly. That’s the key to the emulsion. Once you’re done, toss that stuff with some romaine hearts and parmesan and call it done.

Devein Shrimp: Ok, I admit this one is a little gross. Recently, my partner got “a great deal” on a box of frozen shrimp, and we discovered that they were whole. Get some water running because you’re going to need it. If they still have heads, you’ll need to twist their little heads off. Then follow these easy tips. By the time dinner is ready, you will have forgotten the shrimp heads.

Seasonings: I am mystified by those little packets of things like “taco seasoning” or “Italian seasoning” sold in every grocery store. Come on folks! I know it seems more expensive to buy things like garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and basil, but a bottle of each will last quite a while through many meals. And you’ll probably get a lot less salt and preservatives too.

And don’t even get me started on canned soup as an “ingredient.” Expensive, loaded with crap you don’t need, and not nearly as good as making your own sauces.

In Closing: more Facebook; income inequality and job creation; honestly in the so-called pro-life movement; just change how we grade the test so more people pass; and crash.

Dark Shorties

Hey folks, I made it to the 16th posting every day either here or on my professional site without any shorties! Let’s see if I can make it a single shorties month.

Attack of the Zero Tolerance Policy: Man fired for picking up a gun he found at work and turning it in to police, despite the fact that the police said he’d done the right thing. Sounds like something I wrote once.

I hope nobody is surprised: The most popular times for American birthdays is just about 9 months after winter.

Don’t forget the War on Terror: Where are the missing terrorists? Why do the FBI have to keep making them up? And when did Rolling Stone become a go-to source for serious investigative journalism?? Back in the day it was a music rag!

Context is Everything: GM says it’s evaluating the effectiveness of its $10,000,000 worth of Facebook ads, just days before Facebook’s $105,000,000,000 Initial Public Offering (BTW folks, IPOs are a sucker’s game unless you’re a genuine insider).

Whatever Became of Iceland?: Turns out they had a peaceful revolution, debt writedowns, indictment of bankers, and a host of other reforms we can learn from.

Seemed like a stupid idea to me: FTC fines Sketchers $40,000,000 for advertising shoes as having magic weight loss properties. They always looked like a good way to lose my balance and fall to me.

Amazing what you can do when you are driven by a goal: Harvard MBA pays down $90,000 in student loan debt — in 7 months! Spoilers, it involved selling stuff he didn’t need, taking in boarders, frugality, and taking a second job.

Most balanced thing I’ve seen written on the subject: Internships. It’s sad that a college’s job has to include teaching “job readiness” skills like professional behavior.

And finally: fingernails.

Happy Rapture Day!

How’s that working out for you? I feel fine.

So I haven’t said anything about the brouhaha surrounding now-former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn.  Let me remedy that right now:
Matt Bors

But by far, the best actual headline has to be IMF Aborted Internal Investigation of Strauss-Kahn in 2008. Thank you, Businessweek!

In closing: the truth; if even joking about having a bomb is enough to get you arrested, then why weren’t TSA officers arrested?; most Americans don’t give a **** what gender your spouse is; Disagree with me? And you’re a woman? Or an underage female? You deserve to be killed and raped! (*ahem* at least according to some animals who consider themselves conservatives — just a friendly reminder, you don’t know whether I’ve got a concealed carry license, now do you); For pity sake, Mr. President, just freaking appoint Elizabeth Warren already!; The People want more regulation of Wall Street (are we mad enough to “vote all the bums out?”); the environmental case for legalizing marijuana; are your children at the park?; and Mark Zuckerberg is a freaking idiot.