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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Would you like gerbil brains with that?

As part of the American cable television industry's ongoing quest to better educate the general public, the Travel Channel has developed an eye-opening, orifice-tightening cuisine programme that must have the executives at the Food Channel salivating in envy. All right, maybe vomiting in envy. (A warning here - if you're reading this at mealtime, you might want to skip down and come back in a few hours. Seriously... unless you enjoy violent regurgitation.)

Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern is the story of one man's quest to sample the strangest foods on the planet. In true high-concept fashion, the premise of the programme is simple. Zimmern travels around the globe looking for the most unusual, stomach-churning, gag-inducing items in the local cuisine. In practice however, not all of the offerings are as peculiar and nauseating as one might think.

For example, during a trip to Scotland and London, Zimmern sampled such dodgy fare as Stinking Bishop cheese (not made from real stinking bishops mind you) and Laverbread (presumably seaweed paste, but possibly made from actual stinking bishops). However, he also sampled haggis, beef pie with mash, Christmas pudding, and fish and chips.

Fish and chips bizarre? Maybe to a classically trained chef who's not used to meals cooked entirely in boiling oil, but to the vast majority of the rest of the world, this is standard artery-thickening stuff. You can find beef pie and mash in the frozen meals section of your grocery in the UK and Canada.

Just who is the audience for this show, anyway, HM Queen Elizabeth? (Of course, I'm thinking even Bess has probably has a nice bit of fried haddie or cod with a nice side of well-salted and vinegared chips at least once a month. Who wouldn't?) During a trip to the American South, Zimmern even included turducken on his list of odd foods. The nerve!

All right, there are some real nasty menu items on the show that no human being should have to endure, much less to the point where they start thinking of them as delicacies. Zimmern has bravely (foolhardily?) chowed down on head cheese, mullet gizzard, giant coconut worms, balut soup with cow's feet, poached calf's brains, gooseneck barnacles, giant clam innards, and - according to the adverts for upcoming shows- something called "putrid meat and eggs" if I remember correctly.

So, the man has a stomach of solid, tempered steel (and taste buds deader than Queen Victoria's libido). Still, one can't consider him a truly intrepid awful-foods adventurer unless he's fully sampled some of the following rare and unusual delicacies:

  • Rabid Wolf Spider Curry
  • Ostrich Egg Shell Sushi
  • Leg Wax Risotto
  • Raw Navy Beans
  • Clamshell Chowder
  • Donner Party Surprise
  • Marmite Pudding
  • Honey Roasted Qtips (Used ones, for more flavour)
  • Whale Tooth Gumbo
  • Kentucky Fried Snake Anus
  • Josie and the Pussycats
  • Poached Slugs
  • Turnips, Parsnips, and Lizard Toes (Parsnips! Yuck!)
  • Baked Alaskan
  • Carrot Sorbet with the Bill of a Northern Gannet
  • Trump Bisque
  • McDonald's McRib (Truly ghastly)
  • Tongue Surprise
  • Lip Surprise
  • Tonsil Surprise
  • Esophagus Surprise (Which, along with the preceding three items, really has a poetic double meaning)
  • Cowpie Pie
  • Chicken ala Thong
  • Fish Scale Custard
  • Placenta ala Cruise
  • Badger Colon
  • Liver and Fava Beans

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Captain America Snuffs It

Yes, Marvel Comics has just released the latest and apparently last issue of Captain America (TM), in which the famous super-soldier finally sleeps the deep sleep at the end, after fatally slipping on a banana peel.

No, sorry, that's wrong. I briefly fell prey to classic comic instinct (unlike my last insipid little post, which on reflection reads like a collection of Reader's Digest selections). Actually [SPOILER WARNING] a hungry Captain America falls off a cliff whilst chasing a road runner.

No, no, that's not it either. [REAL, ACTUAL SPOILER WARNING] The man who has survived cryogenic freezing, poisonous Red Skull (TM) dust, and sharing the same cabana with the Incredible Hulk has fell prey to... a sniper's bullet. And they say comics are unbelievable!

Wanting to get some perspective on this tragedy, I called Marvel Comics, but they were all out of the office for the big Saudi Arabian DVD-release of The Fantastic Four (you haven't lived until you've seen Jessica Alba in a burqa). So, I called the person who probably best knew Steve "Captain America" Rogers, his sidekick and faithful manservant Bucky.

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Earl Fando: Bucky, thanks for talking with me at what must be a difficult time.

Bucky: No problem, Earl. Hey, I'm not worried. If Jean Grey can rise from the dead two or three times, Steve'll be back inside a week.

Earl: I haven't seen the actual issue, as I haven't read comic books since my "dateless-nerd" days university, but the reports say he gets it from a sniper's bullet. Isn't that a bit, well... mundane?

Bucky: I thought so, too. Then, I thought, "This can't be just any old sniper. This guy must have some special stealth equipment, combined with the enhanced mutagenic ability to perfectly target superhero weaknesses."

Earl: Actually, I've heard he was just a teenage autograph-seeker with a grudge against Rogers, because he wouldn't sign his plastic, toy shield in the midst of a battle with Galactus. He was apparently armed with a snub-nosed revolver.

Bucky: Hey, give the Captain some kind of dignity to hold on to. Plus, that kid's still out there. I can sleep better at night thinking he's some kind of mutated assassin freak. I'm probably next.

Earl: Fair enough. Tell me, Bucky, what do you think the Captain's legacy will be remembered as?

Bucky: Well, he was a straight-shooter. The chicks digged the tights, and he was a mean poker player.

Earl: What about the legend of his intense patriotism and his unwavering committment to truth, justice, and the American way?

Bucky: You're thinking of Superman, Earl.

Earl: It sounded nice.

Bucky: Well, sure he was tireless, but you try getting a day job when your only suit is star-spangled and skin-tight.

Earl: Who do you expect to be at the memorial service?

Bucky: Oh, the usual gang of idiots.

Earl: That's MAD Magazine's catchphrase.

Bucky: Umm... the usual suspects: Nick Fury, crying out of that one good eye; Stan Lee, Thor, The Hulk, Wasp Woman, Spiderman, Iron Man, Iceman, Ant-Man, Nick Cage...

Earl: Surely you mean Luke Cage, the Power Man?

Bucky: No, no, Nicholas Cage. He's always wanted to play Steve in the upcoming movie. Let's see... Namor, The Thing, Wolverine, Spider-Woman, the Scarlet Witch, Storm, Shadowcat, the Red Skull...

Earl: The Red Skull??? I thought he was a villianous Nazi, sworn to the destruction of Captain America and all he stood for.

Bucky: Nah, that's just his role in the comic. In real life he's a Libertarian named Butch from Wisconsin.

Earl: Ah... How confusing. So, if the Red Skull isn't real, then is Captain America really dead?

Bucky: Don't confuse me. I saw the corpse. He wasn't that good of an actor.

Earl: Apparently not. Any final thoughts on what you'll miss most about him?

Bucky: He had a sweet motorbike. I'm betting that'll go straight to E-Bay, though.

Earl: I'll keep an eye out.

Bucky: You and me both, man... you and me both.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Quick Hitters

Just a few quick observations, etc. to while away the busy parts of Monday with:

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Lawyer: Well, I see the Supreme Court ordered the removal of the Ten Commandments from yet another statehouse.

Hollywood Producer: Those cats must hate Cecil B. DeMille!

[Editors Note: We're thinking of submitting this to Grit. Thus, the relative quality of the "joke."]

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The craze to sell naming rights has gone to far. At first it was limited to athletic events, such as the "Tostitos Fiesta Bowl," or stadia, such as "Emirates Stadium." The next step though is municipalities and even states. Look for these in the coming months:

From Trenton, N. J. to Trumpton, N. J.
From Boston to The Boss-ton (Springsteen has gone too far - just in case you didn't get that one)
From Croydon to Coldplaydon
From New Mexico to NBA-Mexico
From Freedonia, KS to Frito-Laynia, Kansas
From Buffalo, N.Y. to Garafalo, N.Y.
From Alabama to Apple-bama (possibly just Obama, if the politics work out for him)
From Massachusettes to Massa-Cruise-settes (They can't all be gems, people.)
From Arkansas to Wal-Martansas (It could have been worse. The original suggestion was "Low-low Pricesansas.")
From Buckinghamshire to Beckhamshire
From California to Cokelifornia
From Pennsylvania to Pepsivanian
From Oklahoma to Oprahoma

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How many lawyers (soliciters) does it take to change a lightbulb?

None. There's no money in lightbulb negligence.

How many medical ethicists does it take to change a lightbulb?

None. They believe the lightbulb should simply be allowed to die.

How many sportswriters does it take to change a lightbulb?

Twenty, but they sit around on their fat arses waiting for someone fit to do it, so they can write about how badly they bolloxed it up.

How many bloggers does it take to change a lightbulb?

One, but they never get the lightbulb changed. They just write, and write, and write, complaining about how the lightbulb went out in the first damn place.

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One last one, my favourite lawyer/solicitor joke that I've ever written. Apologies if I've done this one before:

What's the difference between lawyers/solicitors and piranha?

The piranha will leave bones.

Quiet weekend

Apologies for the dearth of postings here. I'm sure we're all still recovering from the stressful technical difficulties that accompanied the Live Oscar Blog of a week ago.

Blogger has yet to return my e-mails from the night or even acknowledge that there was a technical problem, even though their system failed to run as advertised. Their "Help" support is the worst I've ever encountered in my 11 years of working in technology, with the one exception of a company that shall remain nameless, that install a product that never properly worked except just after they put it in, and then refused to fix it because their expensive service agreement ran out. They then had the nerve to write that they felt it would be "unfair to their other paying customers" to service something that had not been paid for, even though it never worked properly beyond the initial install.

Fortunately, the vendor that made us use this purgatorial product in the first place got wise and moved on to a completely different product to support their new version. I'm sure the nameless company in question still has loads of nameless, faceless customers lined up to pay expensive service agreements on their crap software.

I'm being sarcastic. I just went to their website and it comes up blank. I'm sure their either out of business or made the fatal error of relying on their own product to keep their website up. Either way, I'm not surprised.

Anyway, the people at Blogger Help might take a lesson and start returning my e-mails now.

Rant concluded. I'll try to be funny tomorrow. I've no idea where the hell everyone else is.

Yes, I'm very grumpy.

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