30 August 2007

Sometimes You Need To Reread What You Write



Is it just me, or is that a suggestive headline?

Things That Are Wrong



There's like no way, man, that Larry Craig is gay.

No way.

Things That Are Wrong



Associate of Karl Rove plays practical joke on him on his last day of work. This photo shows Rove ordering him to be shot (at least that's how I see it).

Things That Are Wrong



A Hummer as a taxi. WRONG.

The Idea Of Progress Shares Its Newfound Celebrity


Have I mentioned that an article of mine was linked to a fine blog named Adventures In himself Self Loathing? I did? I just wanted to make sure. This was the first time I've been linked to outside of a blogroll (some fine blogs, such as Save Your Generation, have included me there for decades (or weeks, depending on how far from the sun you are located).

I thought I'd return the favor by mentioning some fine entries I have been privileged to read.

-Speaking of Save Your Generation, a lovely post was written by Pistols at Dawn about the most popular searches that lead to his site, which this week was "Giving herpes to my wife." If you'd like to know more about this, perhaps you should visit.

-I would like to draw your attention to a blog Jesus Christ himself might have penned, if he was only more handsome and lived in St. Charles, the mighty Grant Miller Media. You should do yourself a favor and read his incisive commentary into why Huggies CleanTeam Soap proved far more useful than even its developers could have envisioned.

-A difficult blog name to spell: Weltanschau*ng. Difficult words in this post to spell: quinoa, tzatziki, cac─▒k.

-RocketRadio has pictures of Britney Spears wearing no pants, and David Hasselhoff wearing a thong and a leather jacket. I'm sure it's a great article, but those two images prevented me from focusing on anything else. I know something about pants. Or lack of pants.

-McGone over at The International House of Blogcakes wants to make love to Paul Rudd. I think.

-Cipher Theory wants to tell you all about Ben Stein's new movie. I'll give you a hint. Kirk Cameron, Billy Graham, Grant Miller* and George W. Bush could all watch it and be happy.


*not because he's religious, but because he is a huge Growing Pains fan

A Brief Word From Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho)


For the record, I am not gay. I've never been gay, I never was gay, and I'll never be gay. I don't go around anywhere hitting on men, and by God, if I did, I wouldn't do it in Boise, Idaho! Jiminy!.

Here's what really happened. I ate Taco Bell for Lunch. You ever eat Taco Bell? I had a chalupa, whatever the hell a chalupa is. I was in a hurry. I'm a very busy man, as you can quite imagine. The chalupa, and the hot sauce I unfortunately put on it, went through me like tax dollars through a Democrat's fingers (vote Romney!)


I went to the mens's room to, er... relieve myself. That's where a man goes to do his business! What a man does in the privacy of his own bathroom should be kept as confidential as our wiretapping records! The bathroom was full (the Taco Bell was, in fact, quite busy, which may or may not be a coincidence), and I waited for a moment for a stall. What happened next was described inaccurately by Keith Olbermann:



I was merely adjusting myself, and looking for the sports section, which I had carelessly dropped behind the bowl. Is that a crime? How could someone insinuate that tapping my foot was in any way an attempt to solicit a sex act?

My fellow Americans, This is a crime against me, and a crime against our great nation.

I'm not gay.

29 August 2007

The First Official Link


The Idea Of Progress has been linked in someone else's blog (visit the excellent Adventures In Self Loathing for more details. Did I mention it was an excellent blog with impeccable taste? Because it is). And so I'm replying with a link to that link. And you know why? Because the Idea Of Progress loooooves publicity.

A link that links to me. Now that's meta.

The Idea Of Progress Strikes it Rich!

(Text in bold actually received on Tuesday. Text in bold has been reprinted exactly, with all spelling and grammatical errors preserved)

Attention Sir,

My Name is Dr. Fouad Mazen,I am the chief accountant with the Nigeria Mines and steel co-operation(NMSC) After due deliberation with my colleagues and the official of The U.S Federal Reserve Bank in Nigeria, we decided to forward this proposal to you
.

This guy sounds serious. He's a doctor. He and his colleagues have been discussing me? The official of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank in Nigeria knows who I am? I must be more important than I realized.

We actually want a reliable person who could assist us to transfer the sum of Eighteen Million Five Hundred United States Dollars (US$18.5m) into his account.This fund resulted from an over-invoiced bill from contract awarded by Nigeria Mines and Steel Co-operation under the budget allocation to the ministry and the bill was approved for payment by the concerned ministries.

The contract has been executed, commissioned and the contractor had since been paid the actual cost of the contract.We are left with the balance of US$18.5m as part of the over-invoiced amount,which we have deliberately over estimated for our own use. I am contacting you to be our custodian of this fund.

1) 30% for you (Account Owner)
2) 70% for us
.

Soooo...that's not $18.5m, it's $18.0005m. I understand Dr. Mazen will be hooking me up with 30% of that ($5,400,150 (my math) or $5,550,000 (his math), so I guess I should stop complaining.

Phew! And it's a good thing that work actually got done, or I'd have felt guilty.

Upon reciept of this mail if you are intrested in assisting over this transfer you are hereby adviced to forward the following information inorder for me to start every other documentations in approving the payment of the fund into your account .

1) Your Full Names and Address.
2) Your Telephone and Fax Number
3)Your Bank Account Details.
4)Your Bank Address.
5)Your Bank Telephone/Fax numbers and Telex if available
.



Ah, my Telex. I'll just send word back to you via Pony Express. Oh, and you say that I should just go ahead and give you my bank account details on this first communique? Not a problem, Dr. I'll send it to you by carrier pigeon.

As you may want to know and to make you less curious, I got your address from a business directory that portrayed your establishment in good light. This transaction is 100% risk-free and devoid of any Trouble from my Government. We have been exercising patience for this opportunity forso long and to most of us this is a life opportunity we cannot afford to miss.To get this fund paid into your account, we have to present a foreign establishment like yours.

Oh, so that's how they found me. I thought I had quite the reputation in Nigeria, but apparently not. At least this transaction is 100% risk free. Now I can sleep at night. And the Nigerians seem to be cool with giving me $5,400,150 or $5,550,000. And I can sure use the money. I'm ready to go into some sort of business for myself...I just can't figure out which one.

My colleagues in this deal and myself will come to your Country to arrange for our share upon confirmation from you that the money has been credited into your nominated Bank Account. Our intention is to go into real estate, and the intention is you take us along, since we are not indigenes.Upon your acceptance of my proposal, do confirm your sincere interest by mail through my email to enable me give you the detailed procedure for the transfer.It will surprise you why we chose and trusted you for this transaction as we believe that good friends can be discovered and business like this cannot be realized without trust.

They're going to trust me to hold the money until they get here? That's a lot of responsibility. And they want to get into real estate? Maybe I can finance giant new condo buildings with my new friends, Dr. Mazan and Colleagues!

And they're right. This can't be done without trust.

However,it is pertinent to note that Honesty,sincerity and confidentiality must be our watchword.
We look forward to doing business with you.
Best Regards

Dr.FOUAD MAZEN (CHIEF ACCOUNTANT).
DIRECT LINE+234-808-277-1977


Dude even gave me his phone number. How does he know I won't call him up drunk one night to complain about my ex-girlfriend, or ask to crash on his couch? Trust, that's how.

He asked me to keep this a secret, but since I view all readers of The Idea Of Progress as colleagues, well, it's only right to share my good fortune with you.

I'll let you know when my condos go up for sale.


--------


I've thought about emailing this guy back. I got he idea from a play that was performed in Chicago called Nigerian Spam Scam Scam. An actor named Dean Cameron got a letter like I did, and decided to start emailing the guy back, adopting the persona of a sexually ambiguous eccentric Florida millionare that dotes over his cats Mister Snickers and Joe Joe the Dancing Clown. He took the actual transcripts of the conversations and performed them as a two person show (The transcripts are available on the site). Unfortunately I missed the show, but it sounds really funny.

Maybe I can have a show with Dr. Mazen.

28 August 2007

Travel and a Bunny

I left work at 7pm today. This is not normal. I'm usually out around 5:30 or so, but I got caught up in conversation with my boss, and by the time I left, it was dark. I made a pit stop at Trader Joe's, and then got on the Blue Line to come home. After waiting for twenty minutes, the train shows up. We get on, the train moves perhaps 100 feet, and stops. The conductor informs us that due to construction on the tracks, service was going to be on one track only, and we were going to have to sit for five minutes while the other train passed us, as to allow us to continue on our way without any grisly accidents.

Two problems with this.

First, the CTA has told everyone that construction was happening on the weekends. They actually closed the Blue Line during the weekend of the Pitchfork Music Festival, and since all of the hipsters live off of the Blue Line, general pandemonium/apathy ensued. This is Tuesday night, which in case you're wondering is not the weekend.

Second, we sat for thirty minutes. Riders were eying each other in case we had to result to cannibalism. Good thing I'm a skinny vegetarian, we make for stringy eating.

I didn't get home until nine o'clock.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I didn't have a post for today, and I didn't want anybody to start hating. So I bring you a picture of a bunny, as is the tradition here at The Idea Of Progress, and the realization that this non-post has become, in fact, a post.

27 August 2007

25 August 2007

More News Bites


Man cycles home after being shot in spine
August 25, 2007
FROM STNG WIRE REPORTS


A shooting on the South Side Friday night left a 32-year-old man in critical condition.
The man got off his bicycle in the 6300 block of South Mozart Street about 5:40 p.m. and began a discussion with three other people, according to police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli. One of the men then shot the 32-year-old in the spine.

After being shot the man rode his bicycle home and his sister took him to the hospital.

He was taken to Stroger Hospital in "stable" but critical condition, police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said.

No shooter is in custody as of 4:40 p.m. Saturday. Wentworth Area detectives were investigating.


From the Chicago Sun-Times

Wine, Part Deux: Pairing Wine With Food


One of the biggest anxieties people feel about wine is trying to choose the right one to go with food. Does the right or wrong wine make any difference in your meal?

Well, it can. So let’s go over a few easy tips to make you look like an expert when you’re out dining. There re going to be exceptions to everything I write. There’s always exceptions in the world of wine, but these are good general rules to follow.

First and foremost, don’t panic. When in doubt, just drink what you want. Don’t let it ruin your meal. Really. It’s better to drink wine than soda, so just go with it.

Okay, assuming you want to actually begin pairing, how do you do it?

The Easy Way

The easiest way is color. What is the color of the meat you are eating? Red meat? Red wine. Fish? White wine. Chicken? White wine.

Look how simple that was. When in doubt, follow that rule. It’s a good one, and even works for fish like salmon. Salmon is actually pink to red, so which do you choose? Either! Simple, huh?

But you’re not reading this for generalities, you’re reading this for specifics, so let’s get down to it.

There are two ways to pair wine with food. You either choose a wine whose qualities reflect those of the food, or one that contrasts. Both are valid approaches, although I generally prefer the latter.

Reflection

The idea of this would be to have the wine and the food contain similar qualities. A sweet dessert with a sweet wine, for instance. A rich, creamy dish with a rich, creamy wine. In some instances this can work wonders (fois gras and Sauternes, anyone?), but I generally find it bland and boring. It’s like having bass and treble on your stereo. You don’t want all bass, and you don’t want all treble. You want the two to complement each other, giving you both power and definition.

But there is one aspect of this type of pairing that works well, and that is the fruit aspect. If you have a dish with lemon overtones, it can be interesting for the wine to also have this. Pork is a sweeter meat, and is great with a sweeter wine.

Contrasting

This is more how I think. Take for instance fettuccine alfredo. It’s what I think of when I think of a cream-based dish. Now, the dish is rich enough on it’s own. You can cut through this with a wine with a little acid to it, like a pinot grigio. The acid in the wine balances out with the richness of the cream, making the wine less biting and the dish less heavy. A dish with lemons in it might do better with a creamy Chardonnay than an acidic Sauvignon Blanc.

This also works with spicy food. The best pairing for spiciness is sweetness, which makes the heat more tolerable. So a spicy Thai curry would go well with a sweeter German Riesling or Gewurtztraminer than it would with a Chardonnay.

A note on sweetness and dryness. The word ‘dry’ refers to the sugar content in the wine. When grapes are harvested, they contain sugar, which when fermented turns into alcohol. If the winemaker allows all of the sugar to turn into alcohol, you have a dry wine. If they stop the process early, leaving some sugar behind, you have a sweet wine. Therefore, virtually all red wine is dry (the exception being port). Again, almost all red wine is dry, because it has no sugar in it. Red wines are often fruity or fruit forward (like some Merlots and Pinot Noirs), but they aren’t sweet. So instead of ordering a dry red, it’s more accurate (and helpful to the waiter/ sommelier/ person in wine shop) to describe a wine that is less fruit forward, or more tannic, or earthy. Describing a red as dry is a big pet peeve of mine. Now, white wines are occasionally sweet, so describing a white as dry is an accurate word to use, because it could be either. Moving on.

Remember, a heavy food should have an equally heavy wine. Delicate food, delicate wines, and vice versa.

Common Pairings

Let’s go through some common pairings.

Steak: One of the few foods that are good with tannic wines. Tannins come from the skins and seeds of the grapes, or the barrels the wine is aged in. What do tannins taste like? Have you ever made a cup of tea, and left the tea bag in too long? You get a dry, puckering feeling in your mouth, that you feel all the way up your jaw line. Your gums stick to the inside of your lips (we’ll go into tannins in another post, but that’s what they taste like). The protein in the steak and the tannins in the wine have some sort of lovely synergy, making both taste extra yummy. You can try for a really oaky, buttery Chardonnay, but generally white wine is overpowered by the meat. It won’t make your steak taste bad, but you really won’t be able to taste your wine, so why bother?

Pairs with: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Bordeaux, Syrah, Cotes-du-Rhone, Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino

Chicken: The nice thing about chicken is that not only does everything taste like it, but it goes with pretty much everything. I personally preferred Pinot Noir with my roasted chicken (in my carnivore days), but it’s really hard to fuck this one up. Drink whatever you want.

Pairs with: Everything

Fish: This depends on the fish, but almost always white wine (the most common exceptions being salmon and swordfish). Red wine has the effect of making both the wine and fish taste like tin foil, so I always avoid it. You want to drink cabernet and eat that tilapia? It ain’t gonna happen, friend.

Fish is one of the examples of wine that reflects often working better than one that contrasts. If the fish is in some kind of a butter sauce, something buttery like a California Chardonnay will probably be really good with it. If the fish has a sweeter quality, go with a sweeter white (something off dry, like a Vouvray or Chenin Blanc).

Pairs with: Sauvignon Blanc, Vouvray, Chenin Blanc, Arneis, Chardonnay

Pork: As I mentioned before, pork tends to be a sweeter meat, so a sweeter wine tends t bring out the best in it, although a fruit forward, non-tannic red can work also.

Pairs with: Riesling, Vouvray, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Beaujolais




When In Doubt: Wines That Work With Everything

What if a food is full of strange and contrasting ingredients, and you don’t know what to serve with it? Here are a few easy pairings that I keep in my pocket.


Champagne and sparkling wine: Goes with almost everything but steak. People don’t drink enough Champagne for some weird reason, saving it for special occasions and the like. Why? It’s great, it goes with everything, and it’s fun to drink. So crack a bottle!

Rose: A dry rose (NOT WHITE ZINFANDEL) is the great equalizer. It’s my favorite summer wine, because it’s cold and simple, and pairs with everything. It’s a great wine to have at Thanksgiving as well, which is a really hard meal to pair wines with, because of all of the contrasting flavors. Almost every American winery makes a rose, too, and the best part is that most of them are cheap, which lets you drink something like Cakebread, but only have to spend $15 (when their whites and reds start in the $30 range, and go up from there).

Vouvray: This is a white wine from the Loire region of France, made with Chenin Blanc grapes. It is usually demi-sec, which means just a little bit sweet. Another great wine to sit on your porch and drink. and it goes with most foods, too. And you can usually find a bottle for less than $10!



Cru Beaujolais: Beaujolais is an area in France that is well known for making a wine called Beaujolais Nouveau. That wine comes out the third Thursday in November every year. It’s only aged for a few weeks, tastes like bubble gum, and is fun to drink and usually cheap (although with the weakness of the dollar against the euro, has become more expensive in recent years). That’s NOT the wine I’m talking about. They also make good wine as well, although it may not say Beaujolais on the label. Their quality wines are labeled from the town in which they are made (the crus, so to speak). A few are : Morgon, Moulin-auVent, Fleurie, Brouilly.


Any questions?


Coming Next: How to read a wine label

Download of the Day


Shout Out Louds, "Tonight I Have To Leave It," mp3


When I was in college, I was a radio DJ (106.1 FM, WZND!). I purposely chose the overnight shift, which would allow me to play whatever music I felt like, rather than the music I was supposed to, as WZND was modeled after a commercial station, unlike most college radio. This song reminds me of sitting in at the console at 3 in the morning, spinning a record from the 80's that I'd never heard before, and knowing that there was probably only two people listening out there, and enjoying every moment of it.

This is a song that I'd like to have on vinyl.

Blog Bites


-John Mark Karr is getting some.

--What the hell is a fuck lion?

--Grant Miller Media discusses a possible candidate for President: Princes Christina Gerasimos Billings-Elias. In case you're wondering, she's a Democrat.

--Is jatropha going to be the next cheap biofuel? (It's a weed, but not that one)

--It's Xenu vs. Tom Cruise. Who will triumph?

Castro is Dead! (says Perez Hilton)


According to Perez Hilton, Fidel Castro has died. Now, I'm not saying that Hilton is wrong...he seems to be up on his celebrity news, and Castro is nothing if not a celebrity. But if this is true, what does that say about our traditional news channels when they are being scooped by a celebrity gossip blogger?

Disturbing News of the Day

From Reuters:

Woman sets fire to ex-husband's penis

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A woman set fire to her ex-husband's penis as he sat naked watching television and drinking vodka, Moscow police said Wednesday.

Asked if the man would make a full recovery, a police spokeswoman said it was "difficult to predict."

The attack climaxed three years of acrimonious enforced co-habitation. The couple divorced three years ago but continued to share a small flat, something common in Russia where property costs are very high.

"It was monstrously painful," the wounded ex-husband told Tvoi Den newspaper. "I was burning like a torch. I don't know what I did to deserve this."

23 August 2007

Coming Soon! Wine Part Deux!


This weekend! How to pair wine with food! Just you wait!


Image from Muckster

Colbert


Tonight on the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert had his cast cut off of his wrist. He has put the cast up on eBay (it's covered in signatures from people like Katie Couric, Bill O'Reilly and Nancy Pelosi), with all of the proceeds going to the Yellow Ribbon Fund. I checked at what the bidding was at four minutes after he announced it at the end of the show. It had gone from $100 to $75,100. In four minutes. Wow. Perhaps I won't make that bid after all.

I'd like to direct your attention once again to his performance at the White House Correspondents dinner in 2006.

My two favorite quotes:

"I believe the government that governs best is the government that governs least. And by these standards, we have set up a fabulous government in Iraq."

and

"Now, I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in "reality." And reality has a well-known liberal bias.

So, Mr. President, please, pay no attention to the people that say the glass is half full. 32% means the glass -- it's important to set up your jokes properly, sir. Sir, pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty, because 32% means it's 2/3 empty. There's still some liquid in that glass is my point, but I wouldn't drink it. The last third is usually backwash."


Remember, he said this to the President's face. In front of an audience. On television.

Here's the video, in case you've somehow managed to miss what I feel is the defining act of political criticism of his administration.



and part 2:



and part 3:




I just checked back in at the eBay auction. There must have been some people putting false bids up, because it's now down to $8,200. No, $6,600. No, $6,100. Hey, now someone can buy it for me for Christmas.

22 August 2007

Bombers, Hellboy, Bill Murray, Cars, Al Leong!

-An uninvited Russian bomber on its way to England was confronted by two very unhappy British fighter pilots on August 17. Putin has decided to revive the now retro/classic tactic of sending long range bombers on flights, presumably to show that he is able to squander every last resource Russia has on jet fuel and trying to pass off James Cameron movies as news footage.


-Hellboy, beware. The man with the World's Largest Hand went in for surgery to have it, uh...fixed. I want to warn you...DON'T CLICK ON THAT LINK unless you are ready to deal with it. That's all I'm saying.







-Bill Murray was arrested in Stockholm after driving drunk downtown...in a golf cart. When Swedish police asked him to take a breathalizer, he told them that under U.S. law, he didn't have to. A problem with that, Bill...you're in Sweden. He later submitted to a blood test, and more than likely a wicked hangover and a near-terminal case of embarrassment.


-They don't make them like they used to...Clarence Cleveland Curtiss is still driving the first car he ever bought. The thing is, he bought the car in 1938. It's a 1929 Ford Model A, which he bought for $10 from a guy during the Depression. If you think about it, he's had the car for 69 years. He paid ten bucks for it, meaning that car has cost him about fifteen cents a year.

-Al Leong is apparently the Greatest Ever.

21 August 2007

I must again offer you a bunny.

The Idea of Progress sincerely apologizes for a lack of posts today, but offers you another picture of a bunny as an acceptable substitute.

20 August 2007

Michael Vick is Guilty


Michael Vick has agreed to a plea deal in the case of rich, ignorant asshole vs. the state. It's a sad reality when dogfighting can make it all the way from the streets to the mansions. I live in Chicago, a town notorious for its dogfighting. I even had a pit bull that came from a shelter that specializes in unwanted, sick or wounded dogs. It's not the damn dogs' fault, it's assholes like Vick. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a great piece about this in the New Yorker.

Sorry, I get mad about things like this. I'm not going to discuss the particulars of the case. I do realize in the grand scheme of things, dogfighting is horrifying, but not on the same level, perhaps as famine and war, but you know what? When we can turn away from what is decent and right, when it's happening in our own backyards, then we've failed at some basic human level.

They should toss this motherfucker to his dogs. Pull him out while he's still alive, let that be his lesson.

Download of the Day


M.I.A., "Paper Planes," mp3.


This sounds like my fondest memories of 80's radio mixed with my nightmares about 80's culture. Who said pop music has to suck?

"Every Morning I Am Tempted to Go Right"



From Swiss Miss.

19 August 2007

The Idea of Progress: All Bono, All of the Time


Someone hates Bono as much as me. Some artist has created a wacky statue of Bono that's worth checking out. The pic of the Jackass with President Jackass was just an extra added bonus.

Thanks, Katarose!

Sometimes graffiti is okay



Taken by Paul Stamatiou.

Taste


I've just come back from seeing Ratatouille. I knew it was going to be good for two reasons: Pixar and director Brad Bird. Bird always seems to have a moment in each of his movies (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles) that make me tear up a little. Watching the mother panic in the Incredibles, the moment at the end of the Iron Giant where he closes his eyes and says "Superman..." Bird always comes through.

He did so again in Ratatouille. It was once again at a moment of high emotion, one that I've never seen expressed in a film before, let alone an animated one. I will try and discuss this very vaguely, for those of you that haven't seen the movie. This is what happens:

A character takes a bite of a dish prepared by the chef (who happens to be a rat). The customer puts the food in his mouth and freezes. He recalls a memory of his from childhood, one where he remembers eating the same dish. It flashes back to the present, and he slowly chews the food, tasting it, savoring it. It is by far the most visceral food moment I've ever seen in a movie, and the most accurate.

This may come off as a load of bunk if you're not a food person. It's okay, I don't think any less of you. I only feel bad, because there is so much in life that you're missing out on. I'm sure there are things in life that I'm missing out on, too, like the pleasures of Nickelback and NASCAR.

This moment of the movie rings true to anyone who has ever really tried and tasted food. Where it becomes something more than sweet/savory fuel to keep you from feeling hungry. Think about it for a moment. What was the last great thing you've tasted? The last thing that you wanted to grab someone by the shoulders and shake them and say "You won't believe what I just ate!!!" Maybe it was a perfectly cooked piece of salmon. Maybe it was a Hot Pocket (I really hope not).

I ate brunch yesterday (and today, too in fact) at a restaurant in my neighborhood called Lula Cafe, which I believe to be one of the best restaurants in the city of Chicago. It's not the most expensive, it doesn't have the fanciest waiters or most formal service, but what it does have are two chefs, a married couple, who both prepare the food, cooked from mostly locally produced and/or organic/sustainable ingredients. The menu changes weekly, to reflect what is in season, and many of the farms are noted on the menu along with the ingredients they provide.

Yesterday, I ate French toast there. It wasn't regular French toast, of course. It was brioche French toast, stuffed with mascarpone, served with Klug Farm blueberries and peaches, with some sort of creme anglais on the plate. It was incredible. The berries more than likely had been picked no more than a day or so before, transported only two hours to the restaurant, where they ended up on my plate. The dish used the mascarpone and creme anglais in the place of more traditional maple syrup, the creaminess offset by the tartness of the fruit.

This is what I had for breakfast.

It was great because of the ingredients, of how it was prepared, because of where I ate it. But one of the most driving reasons why it succeeded in going the distance is that it evoked memories of my childhood.

On Sundays, my Dad would make French toast for all of us. Nothing fancy, he'd use wheat bread from the supermarket, eggs, and that's really it. We'd put syrup on it (I'm not sure if it was even real maple syrup...is Aunt Jemima even real maple syrup?). The extra egg left over would be scrambled and we'd eat that too (a little left over for the dog). Eating the French toast at Lula brough back memories of those Sunday mornings with my family, before we all grew up moved on. My parents weren't much older than I am now, and I am now typing on the table that we used to eat those meals on. There's history there. There's history in my breakfast. There's those sight and smells and sounds and tastes and sensation that harken back to more innocent days, and when art is able to tap into those, it succeeds in creating a reaction exponentially stronger than what it could do on its own, more powerful, more memorable.

I've never seen a movie show that so accurately. They were absolutely right, and I thank them for sharing that emotion with me.

Satan Rents a Billboard



So Satan is buying advertising now. How do you think that transaction went? Did Satan just cut them a check and ship the artwork to them? What bank would he use (My guess would be Citibank)? Or did he come in for an appointment, and draw up the materials with an advertising agency?

What other ads do you think Satan was behind? I'd guess this commercial for Skittles:



Maybe that's why that guy is suing them.

And not to mention that he has a website. And that the website, amazingly, isn't foxnews.com.

17 August 2007

And they say we have a litigious society.


You know what makes America great? Our ability to sue anyone, anything, anywhere. Of course, then there's this guy's lawsuit, which takes things to an entirely new level of wonderful.

I can understand suing Dubya, or Tony Danza, or the Pope, but Jay-Z and the Magna Carta? Now's he's taken things too far.


Courtesy of Cieslak.

16 August 2007