Monday, February 28, 2005

Tasmanian tiger unextinctified?

Brian
Used

This photo is causing whispers that the weird marsupial that was last seen in 1936 is actually still around.

It's all over the Australian press:
Here
Here
Here

Course it could just be a digital manipulation. But where's the fun in that?

Sunday, February 27, 2005

You're in my heart

Brian
Apparently some people experience mysterious changes of taste and interest after heart transplants, including a woman from my hometown:
For most of her life, the young woman hated sports.
And though she was born and raised in Tucson, she never liked Mexican food. She craved Italian and was a pasta junkie.
But three years ago, all that changed for Jaime Sherman, 28, when she underwent a heart transplant at University Medical Center, after battling a heart defect since birth.
"Now I love football, baseball, basketball. You name it, I follow it," said Sherman, a psychology student at Arizona State University. "And Mexican food is by far my favorite."

Link. I think the surgeon dropped some tacos in there during the procedure. And, uh, a basketball. And a junior mint.

Hours of Fun

Brian
Axe Feather

Thanks Bob.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Los Angeles: All Wet

Brian
WaPo has the story on the weather system that normally drops heavy winter rains on Seattle mysteriously being diverted to Southern California this year:
"We're one of the wettest places on the West Coast," said Bruce Rockwell, a specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard, an hour up the coast from Los Angeles. "I've never seen it rain like this, and you're talking to somebody's that has been in the field for 30 years."

Link. The LA Times leads with an optimistic outlook, forecasting an end in sight, even as the city sifts through the rubble:
Mayor James K. Hahn urged President Bush to declare a federal disaster in Los Angeles, where damage to public and private structures, including at least 96 homes made uninhabitable, was estimated at $10 million. The mayor's office said 27 homes had been red-tagged (entry is prohibited) and 69 had been yellow-tagged (entry is restricted).

Link. What could be causing this phenomenon? Global warming, perhaps? My money's on that pesky little Ebu Gogo.

Recizzle Fridizzle

Brian
Just in case you didn't catch (or didn't understand) last Friday's recipe, I thought it might be helpful if I gizzoogled it (and forthwith take no responsibility for the offensive language, hilarious or otherwise, that results):


Okay, today's recipe is going ta be really easy, fo` tha culinarily inept out there, coz I am feel'n lazy.
Las Quesizzles Locas

Stick'n wit tha Mexican theme today. You'll need:
2 flour tortillas (okay, this is going ta sound disgust'n, but if you can find them, git tha kind made wit lard pusha tizzy shorten'n--they is soooo much betta tast'n n authentic)
Some hustla
Couple fistfuls (`bout 1/2 cup, maybe) of shredded mexican cheese (monterey jack works wizzay or cheddar--they have these bags of shredded mexican blend in tha dairy section that wiznill work J-to-tha-izzust fine)
Two tablespoons of salsa (izzle playa tha nigga
Little bit of garlic powda

As far as hardware goes, you'll need:
A griddle or big skillet
A spatula
A butta knife
Maybe a cheese poser if you don't git tha pre-shredded cheese
A spoon

Lay out yo two tortillas n nigga one side of each. Tizzy fizzle them ova, gangsta side down n' shit.
Spread tha shredded cheese over one of tha tortillas until it's `bout a rappa inch thick all around droppin hits.
Spoon some salsa on tha top of tha cheese.
Sprinkle wit a shawty garlic crazy ass nigga.
Put tortilla numba two on top wit tha brotha side out (so now you've gots cheese n salsa sandwiched between two tortillas, wit brotha on tha top n bottom of tha sandwich).
Stick tha quesadilla on tha griddle n tizzy tha brotha up ta medium fo' real. Once it starts trippin' use tha spatula ta lift up tha bottom tortilla so you can chizzeck its color . Holla!. When it's golden brown, flip tha quesadilla ova

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Paris area code

Brian
Apparently someone hacked into Paris Hilton's little Sidekick phone organizer gadget and has been broadcasting the information over the internets.

It's alarming that she has business with Gary Shandling (Tucson raise the roof) and Gavin Newsom. It's even more alarming that she can't spell either of their names. But what's most alarming is that the URL for the MTV story about this contains the name "Lindsay Lohan." I think we have our prime suspect.

Ah well...it was only a matter of time before Paris Hilton's private life was available for download. What's that you say?

P.S. I remember seeing this newscaster on CNN Headline News several months ago talking about Paris working at a nudist colony for one of the Simple Life sequals. When the entertainment reporter wrapped up and invited banter from the anchors, the one anchor responded "let's just hope her cell phone doesn't go off!" Hmm, what has he been watching?

Monday, February 21, 2005

Ghost in the Machine

Brian

I was reflecting on the memory of Hunter S. Thompson today when I recalled an interaction I had with the Parking Authority of the City of Palo Alto a few years back. They issued me a parking ticket, so I issued them a letter:

Re: Citation Number XXXXXXXXXXX

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing regarding a parking ticket that was issued on 14 Dec 2001. The ticket was issued to my car in a public parking garage in downtown Palo Alto, apparently because my car does not have a permit.

I wish to contest this violation on the grounds that it was not made readily ascertainable that the lot required a permit. The lot was advertised as public parking, which I assumed meant for those who do not have a permit. The stall in which I parked was not marked with any indications concerning the requirement of a permit to park there.

I was completely surprised to find a ticket on my windshield when I returned to my car. I am not a Palo Alto resident, and so I was not readily aware of the minutiae of which public lots are actually reserved for the public and which are not. I do know that certain other people I have talked to have parked in the same structure before—legally, they assumed—and did not receive tickets. This contributed to my sense of security about the legality of my parking.

Please withdraw the charges against me. I will steer clear of that parking structure in the future, now that I can be certain I am not welcome there.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

[The Good Reverend]

They responded to my letter by claiming that not only was it too late for me to challenge my citation, but also a late fee had been added to my balance, and I had to remit an additional twenty dollars. Faced with the prospect of fighting City Hall, I acquiesced, with a nod to good Hunter:

Re: Citation Number XXXXXXXXXXX

Dear Sir or Madam:

Past the date to contest a citation? Past the date to enact justice? I don’t like your tactics and I Fear you. Here is your dirty money.

Sincerely,

[The Good Reverend]

I paid the citation in full. In fact, I overpaid by two cents, just to annoy them. They sent me back my two pennies taped to the receipt. Then, inexplicably, they sent a collection agency after me:

Re: Citation Number XXXXXXXXXXX

To Whom It May Concern:

I received an “Assigned for Collections” letter from Professional Recovery Systems on March 9, 2002. I received this letter in error because I had already completed payment on the citation directly through the City of Palo Alto. However, when I contacted Professional Recovery Systems today, Linda told me that the account was still open and that as far as they knew my payment was still due. I informed her that I had already paid the City of Palo Alto in full, but she said that she needed to be contacted by the City to close the account. I sent them a copy of the receipt that I received from your office and advised them to contact your office to resolve the matter.

The bill for postage on that letter comes to a total of $0.34, as does the postage on this letter. In addition, I was charged $0.17 for the two copies I made at Kinko’s. The expenses are outlined below.

Postage for letter to PRS $0.34

Postage for this letter $0.34

Copies from Kinko’s $0.17

Total $0.85

Since these payments are a direct result of the failure of the City of Palo Alto to resolve matters with Professional Recovery Systems, I feel it is the responsibility of the City of Palo Alto to compensate me for them. Please remit payment of $0.85 to:

[The Good Reverend]

PO Box XXXXX

Stanford CA 94309

Thank you.

Sincerely,

[The Good Reverend]

Well that succeeded in getting the collection agency off my back, but I didn’t receive my payment from the City. So, in the spirit of the fairness of turnabout, I sent them a final letter:

Re: Citation Number XXXXXXXXXXX

To Whom It May Concern:

On March 13, 2002 I mailed to your office a letter outlining personal expenses incurred in the aftermath of a citation and the subsequent undue bureaucracy of Professional Recovery Systems, to whom you referred me. Since that time, I have neither received a response from you nor the payment ($0.85) due. Please consider this a second notice. Once again, I outline expenses below.

The bill for postage on the correction letter to Personal Recovery Systems comes to a total of $0.34, as does the postage on the March 13 letter to the City, as well as now this letter. In addition, I was charged $0.17 for the two copies I made at Kinko’s. The expenses are outlined below.

Postage for letter to PRS $0.34

Postage for March 13 letter $0.34

Postage for this letter $0.34

Copies from Kinko’s $0.17

Subtotal $1.19

Since these payments are a direct result of the failure of the City of Palo Alto to resolve matters with Professional Recovery Systems, I feel it is the responsibility of the City of Palo Alto to compensate me for them. In addition, late charges of $2.15 are now due because no payment was received within thirty days. Please remit payment of the full total, $3.34, to:

[The Good Reverend]

PO Box XXXXX

Stanford CA 94309

Failure to pay this charge in a timely manner will result in the matter being handed over to a collection agency. Thank you.

Sincerely,

[The Good Reverend]

I still haven’t received my money, and by now late charges have accrued tenfold. The passing of Mr. Thompson gives me a mind to swear out a warrant for their arrest. Damn fascists.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Laws of Cartoon Thermodynamics

Brian
Roger Ebert has a great rundown of the physics apparent in cartoons, mostly Looney Tunes, by Trevor Paquette and Lt. Justin D. Baldwin.

My favorite is Cartoon Law III:
Any body passing through solid matter will leave a perforation conforming to its perimeter.

Also called the silhouette of passage, this phenomenon is the speciality of victims of directed-pressure explosions and of reckless cowards who are so eager to escape that they exit directly through the wall of a house, leaving a cookie-cutout-perfect hole. The threat of skunks or matrimony often catalyzes this reaction.
Link.

Math does not equal fun

Brian
Harvey Mudd College has a site that will waste your time and provide you with knowledge to impress your friends. Provided your friends are nerds. Sample:

There are lots of Pythagorean triples; triples of whole numbers which satisfy:


x2 + y2 = z2.
But are there any which satisfy

xn + yn = zn,
for integer powers n greater than 2?

The French jurist and mathematician Pierre de Fermat claimed the answer was "no", and in 1637 scribbled in the margins of a book he was reading (by Diophantus) that he had "a truly marvelous demonstration of this proposition which the margin is too narrow to contain".

This tantalizing statement (that there are no such triples) came to be known as Fermat's Last Theorem even though it was still only a conjecture, since Fermat never disclosed his "proof" to anyone.

Many special cases were established, such as for specific powers, families of powers in special cases. But the general problem remained unsolved for centuries. Many of the best minds have sought a proof of this conjecture without success.

Finally, in the 1993, Andrew Wiles, a mathematician who had been working on the problem for many years, discovered a proof that is based on a connection with the theory of elliptic curves (more below). Though a hole in the proof was discovered, it was patched by Wiles and Richard Taylor in 1994. At last, Fermat's conjecture had become a "Theorem"!


Hoodog. Well, don't take my word for it. A Random Math Fun Fact!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Manitoba Legislature: Conduit of the Occult

Brian
Okay, not the legilsative body itself, but the building. Take a look at this!!!:
Scary!
Whoa I think I just peed my pants.

But seriously, this sphinx has sent Canadian scholar Frank Albo into the depths of madness. According to his calculations, the building is
[A]n architectural talisman built to the specifications of the same divine blueprints found in ancient temples.

Link.
The Globe and Mail elaborates:

Mr. Albo is convinced that the legislature building, which was designed in 1912 by two English architects, holds "secret encoded clues" that suggest it was built as a talisman to harness energy and ward off evil -- a sort of beacon of the occult.

From the Golden Boy statue, which famously glistens from a dome atop the building, to the pair of large bison statues that guard a massive staircase leading to the legislature, Mr. Albo said the building was constructed to the specifications of the divine blueprints of ancient temples.

He said even the lieutenant-governor's reception room was built exactly to dimensions that match those of King Solomon's inner sanctum.

"I haven't researched every legislative capital in North America, but I doubt that you will find another one that is built to Golden Mean proportions, . . . that has Hermes -- the father of all occult sciences -- on the dome and is in the centre of North America," he said.


Link.

Whoa, this totally reminds me of this dream I had last night. There was this building or something with flames coming out of it, and there were creatures writhing around it, and they were growling and snarling. And there were flames, and I heard a voice say "Zuul."

Recipe Friday

Brian
Okay, today's recipe is going to be really easy, for the culinarily inept out there, because I am feeling lazy.
Las Quesadillas Locas

Sticking with the Mexican theme today. You'll need:
2 flour tortillas (okay, this is going to sound disgusting, but if you can find them, get the kind made with lard rather than shortening--they are soooo much better tasting and authentic)
Some butter
Couple fistfuls (about 1/2 cup, maybe) of shredded mexican cheese (monterey jack works well, or cheddar--they have these bags of shredded mexican blend in the dairy section that will work just fine)
Two tablespoons of salsa (the hotter the better)
Little bit of garlic powder

As far as hardware goes, you'll need:
A griddle or big skillet
A spatula
A butter knife
Maybe a cheese grater, if you don't get the pre-shredded cheese
A spoon

Lay out your two tortillas and butter one side of each. Then flip them over, butter side down.
Spread the shredded cheese over one of the tortillas until it's about a quarter inch thick all around.
Spoon some salsa on the top of the cheese.
Sprinkle with a little garlic powder.
Put tortilla number two on top with the butter side out (so now you've got cheese and salsa sandwiched between two tortillas, with butter on the top and bottom of the sandwich).
Stick the quesadilla on the griddle and turn the burner up to medium. Once it starts cooking, use the spatula to lift up the bottom tortilla so you can check its color. When it's golden brown, flip the quesadilla over. Then cook it until the bottom side is golden brown too. The cheese will melt and mix with the salsa.

And boom, you have yourself a quesadilla.

Variation: Las quesadillas locas con el pollo que es el mas maravilloso del mundo

To mix it up a little, you can add chicken to your quesadillas. Take a skinless boneless breast and stick it on a George Foreman grill for about nine minutes. Then slice it into strips. Put the chicken strips on the quesadilla right after the salsa and then follow the rest of the directions the same way.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Homo-genized

Brian
So apparently Homo sapiens have been around longer than previously expected. We had people walking around 195,000 years ago. This news comes at a time when researchers, along with the New York Times, are speculating that maybe they made whoopie with Homo neanderthalis. Neanderthals were around up until 28,000 years ago.

Personally, I think they probably made whoopie with the Ebu Gogo. After all, H. floresiensis was around until at least 13,000 years ago. And they had those pendulous breasts.


--If Homo sapiens were really "Homo"-sapiens, is that why they're extinct?
--Joey, Homo sapiens are people.
--Hey, I'm not judging.

Random Movie Quote Thursday

Brian
Well, I believe in the soul,
the cock,
the pussy,
the small of a woman's back,
the hanging curve ball,
high fiber,
good scotch,
that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap.
I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter.
I believe in the sweet spot,
soft-core pornography,
opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve
and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Deep Throat

Brian
There's a lot of buzz about Deep Throat of late. For one, there's a documentary out about the making of the picture (which was apparently the most profitable film of all time, raking in a reported $600 million).

The other stream of buzz comes from the rumor that Deep Throat, Woodward and Bernstein's anonymous Watergate source, is dying, and hence his identity will soon be revealed. Slate has a story attempting to guess his identity, or at least attempting to eliminate a few possibilities. Editor & Publisher, your source for all things journalism, recently ran a poll of its readers (presumably mostly news industry insiders) called Name Deep Throat. The surprise winner? Chief Justice Rehnquist. Other leading possibilities include FBI Deputy Associate Director Mark Felt, Nixon's deputy counsel Fred Fielding, and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. A report from a 2003 University of Illinois Department of Journalism investigation puts its money on Fielding. Slate talks about that possibility here, here, and here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

This is awesome.

Brian
RockRage: Music Band Fonts

Thanks Boingboing.

Valentine's Day Spectacular

Brian
Here's an example of the many little-known legal ways to get free music off the web: cdbaby.com lets you download the first two minutes of many of the songs on the CDs they sell. As an added bonus, you can download all the songs from an album at once, queue it up in Windows Media Player (I know, yuck), and listen to a dozen half-songs. With some genres, you don't even miss the resolutions. When you think about it, they truncate songs like that on the radio all the time.

Over at cdbaby they also sort their songs into different "flavors" to fit your mood or situation. One particularly appropriate such flavor is "To Have Sex To":
Self-explanatory, though I'm sure everyone has their own definition. Ours is somewhere between Barry White, Sade, and the Girl from Ipanema. Sensual and sexy. Get your groove on.

Monday, February 14, 2005

If not now, when?

Brian
I've decided to blow off this whole law school thing and go into cryptozoology. I'm going to discover and record bigfoot, the loch ness monster, the jersey devil, and many more!

Let's not forget Chupacabra.

Who's with me? Marisa, you're good with animal bones.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

My type, indicated

Brian
So I took this Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test on the web. Turns out I'm ENFJ, which stands for Extraverted Intuitive Feeling Judging (compare with Introverted Sensing Thinking Perceiving). I guess ENFJ is a good one to be. Makes me sort of a teacher-politician. I could see that. Other ENFJs are Abraham Lincoln, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, and Ronald Reagan. You could do a lot worse than being the same type as Abraham Lincoln. Although I heard that Oprah was something else entirely when she actually took it, so who knows about these things.

Lincoln is certainly a great type to be modeled after. There's a bust of him on the stairs where I go to school, and every time I pass it I feel inspired. He's an interesting character.

I got the idea to take the test after I watched the Peanuts' Valentine's Special last night on TV. Charlie Brown keeps pining for "that little red-haired girl." I remembered hearing that Charlie Brown was INFP, which is supposedly the rarest of the 16 types. This table implies that Winnie the Pooh is the same.

It made me wonder what type is Hitler. The closest answer I found was this, which implies that he could be ENTJ, INFJ, or ENFJ. No one wants to be the same type as Hitler, so I hope he's not ENFJ. I also hope he's not INFJ, because I'm close to the Extravert-Introvert middle. Then there's this Wikipedia debate on the Hitler MBTI issue, incorporated into a debate over the mertis and legitimacy of the test in general, with one particularly salient quote;
[N]obody ever tells you what category of MBTI Hitler fell into - only positive category models are used . . ..

Well for now I guess I'm going to have to settle with Lincoln. What about you?

Friday, February 11, 2005

Stay cool

Brian

Mrs. Good Reverend was tired in the Bahamas. And hot. In both senses of the word.

In all fairness, I was tired and hot too.

Looking back on it from February in the Northeast, I think it sounds pretty nice.

The Night They Invented Striptease

Brian
The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968).
I've had this movie in my head ever since they showed it the other night on PBS. It's not really very good. I mean, it's the kind of movie where you watch it and you keep thinking "why did the producer/director/writer/actor/editor do that? That's stupid." But it's stuck with me.

It's a musical comedy, sort of, set in the age of Burlesque. An Amish (pronounced, oddly enough "ay-mish") girl, played by Britt Ekland, comes to Misky's burlesque with dreams of being a dancer. The insiders there, (actors, dancers, businessmen) laugh at her behind her back. After all, the dances she plans are stories from the Bible. Meanwhile, the morality police are plotting to close the burlesque down, so the Minsky's loyal conconct a scheme: they will tell the cops that they are going to feature an act at the midnight show that reaches new hights of lewdness and eroticism, luring the police in to raid them, but then at the last minute they will feature the Amish girl doing her Bible dances. Meanwhile, two comedians romance the girl while her angry, overbearing father walks the streets of New York in search of her. It all leads up to a climactic final scene wherein the girl, torn between her father, calling her a whore and dragging her back to Amish country, her lover, who wants to protect her, the Minsky's people, who want to use her as the butt of their joke, and the audience, calling for erotic satisfaction, takes the stage and...

Well, no fair ruining it I suppose. Not really fair ending a synopsis on ellipses either, but I did it anyway. In a lot of ways it's a terrible movie. Little things just don't click quite right. But there's something in there that strikes me as a really interesting story. Ekland's character progresses from a one-dimensional, doe-eyed girl to a complex woman in the space of a day or so, and all these men are pressuring her with regard to her sexuality. There could be a great feminist spin on the story. The movie as it is now seems to contrast puritanical society with a sort of sexual revolution (it was made, after all, the year after the Summer of Love), but what's really interesting is the comparison of the father, who stands in for Amish morality, with the lover, representing sexual freedom. With a bit of work, these two could have been characters in their own right, rather than (in addition to?) stand-ins, and Ekland's struggle could have been that much more real. The father wants to repress his daughter's sexuality not just because it's the Amish thing to do but because he is sexually frustrated. The lover wants to save or protect Ekland because of his madonna-whore complex, his desire to keep her pure and away from the burlesque lifestyle whether she likes it or not.

I'd like to see someone remake it. Between the feminist themes, the musical numbers, the opportunities for challenging performances, and the period setting, there might emerge a really great movie.

Roger Ebert's old review
.

Recipe Friday

Brian
And you thought I was just a superficial, boyish weirdo. Well, I have news for you: I have depth. And if you plunge my depths (which I know you want to do), you'll find that one of the unexpected things I enjoy is cooking. So, in the spirit of adventure, freedom, and not judging a book by it's cover, I bring you...
Recipe Friday
Don't worry. These recipes will be (1) awesome, tasty, good for you, etc., and (2) straightforward and easy for even the kitchenphobic to understand. If you really have a fear of tackling a large cooking endeavor, try imagining that all this stuff comes in a box from Trader Joe's and the instructions are right on the outside of the box. Today's recipe is inspired by the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, which I love, and which belongs in every kitchen in America.

Pollo Relleno (it's Spanish for stuffed chicken)

This tastes really good. It's like a cross between Chicken Kiev and Chicken Parmesan, but Mexican. And it's easier than it sounds. Never stuffed anything before? Well, this is more like rolling. And we know you can do that.

Ingredients:

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (they tell me you can skin and bone your own, but why bother?)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tablespoon regular, all-purpose flour*
1/2 tablespoon dried minced onion (or mince your own - mincing means chopping as finely as possible)*
1/2 teaspoon beef bouillon granules*
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt*
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin*
1/2 teaspoon paprika*
1/2 teaspoon chili powder*
1/4 teaspoon onion salt*
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper*
[if you're really feeling lazy, you can substitue 1/2 of a 1.25 oz. package of taco seasoning from the store, which you can find with all the Mexican foods, instead of everything marked with an asterisk*]
2 roasted peppers (they come in a jar in juice/water/oil - pick whichever color and level of hotness you want or can find).
1 block of Monterey Jack cheese (cheddar is okay, but monty jack is so much better. If you have some on hand, you just need enough for four 2" x 1/2" x 1/2" boxes with a little left over for shredding)
2 tablespoons cilantro (fresh and chopped is best, but out of a little spice jar will do just fine)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or one packet of the red peppers that come with pizza)
1 egg
Some salsa

Other stuff you will need:
A sink
Paper towels
A sharp knife
A cutting board
Some plastic wrap
A meat tenderizer/mallet or rolling pin
Two bowls
Baking pan (13" x 9" x 2" is a good size, but close will work)
Oven
Sense of purpose

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Rinse the chicken under running water, then pat it dry with a paper towel. Put it on the cutting board and slice all the disgusting pieces of fat off it. It's too hard to get all of them, but get what you can. Then open them up so they are sort of splayed apart and slice them in half. They have a sort of natural seam down the middle, but usually there is a big half and a small half on either side of this seam, so you'll probably have to slice a little to the big half side of the seam to make each side roughly equal. Now you have four skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves.

Take out the plastic wrap and cut off two square pieces (as long as the wrap is wide). Place one of your chicken breast halves between them and start smacking it with your mallet or rolling it with your rolling pin. Try to flatten it out to a rectangle or circle about 1/4"-1/8" inch thick. Get it as thin as you can without it being so thin it falls apart. Then set it aside and do the same with the other three breast halves.

Take out the cheese and cut off four boxes that are 2" x 1/2" x 1/2". Also take out your two peppers and scrape out whatever seeds are hanging on. Cut them in half lengthwise.

Place one pepper half on top of each of the flattened breast halves. Then place one cheese block widthwise sort of near the bottom end of each breast half, kind of in the same orientation you would use for the stuff that goes in a burrito. Sprinkle each of the chicken-pepper-cheese stacks with the cilantro and the red peppers. Then roll up each one like you would a burrito - bottom first, over the cheese, then sides in, then roll up to the top. Shred some more of the cheese.

Now crack your egg into one of your bowls and beat it lightly. In the other bowl, mix the corn meal and all the asterisk taco seasoning ingredients. Set up the two bowls and the empty baking pan as an assembly line, in this order: egg bowl, taco seasoning bowl, baking pan. Now take a chicken roll and dip it in the egg, making sure to cover every outer surface. Then dip it in the taco seasoning, again making sure to cover every outer surface. Then place it with the seam down on the baking sheet. Do the same for the other three chicken rolls.

Place the baking sheet in the middle of the 375 degree oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. You'll know when it's done because you'll cut into the thickest part of the chicken a little bit and you won't see any pink--it'll be white as far as the eye can see. As soon as you take them out of the oven, put the shredded cheese on top of them, then a gob of salsa.

Serve with some refried beans (easy to get in a can and then just heat up) and your favorite kind of salad.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Random Movie Quote Thursday

Brian
The space goes
Down, down Baby
Down by the roller coaster
Sweet, sweet Baby
Sweet, sweet delectible
Shimmy, shimmy cocoa pop
Shimmy, shimmy rock
Shimmy, shimmy cocoa pop
Shimmy, shimmy rock
I met a girlfriend
A Triscuit!
She said "a Triscuit--
A Biscuit!"
Ice cream, soda pop
Vanilla on the top
Oooh, Shanita
Walkin' down the street
Ten times a week
I meant it, I said it
I stole my mama's credit
I'm cool, I'm hot
Sock me in the stomach three more times.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

My beautiful children

Brian


It kind of bothers me that so many children are named after virtues. Faith, Hope, Charity, Chasity, etc. I don't have anything against them as people. Many of these folks are quite nice. And even their names in and of themselves are nice, to a degree. It's just the overwhelming trendiness of it all that bothers me.

They say that parents are more likely to give their baby girls trendy names and their baby boys traditional names. There's a lot of turnover on the annual list of top girls' names, but "Matthew" and "David" and "John" are always at the top of the boys' list. Sucks for the girls. Well, in a way, sucks for the boys too. Sucks all around that it has to be along gender lines like that.

Anyway, to buck the trend, I'm going to have seven children. Why seven, you ask? So that I can name them not after virtues but after the seven deadly sins. Hence, my children, male and female, shall have the names:
Gluttony
Pride
Wrath
Lust
Envy
Avarice
and Sloth.


Sloth is my favorite. He reminds me of the Goonies.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Depravity Scale

Brian
A group of psychatric researchers in New York is working on a Depravity Scale to help courts know when people are evil.

They have tables defining evil actions, e.g. "Left in the desert begging for his life."
And they have others defining evil intent, e.g. "We figured that the best time to put the nerve gas on the train was at rush hour."
With a bonus for evil behavior, e.g. "I didn't rape her, she wanted it."

Plus you can take their survey, to help them figure out how depraved we all are.

I for one think evil should be measured on the Scoville Scale:

Scoville Scale

That way we could equate some criminals with the Guatemalan Insanity Peppers of Quetzalzacatenango. ¡Ay ay ay!

Vaux Dialect Survey

Brian


Sub sandwiches (red) are everywhere, but Pennsylvanians love their hoagies (green), New Englanders have heroes (purple) and grinders (blue), and Gulf Coast residents eat poor boys (orange).

This linguistics scholar, Bert Vaux, had this comprehensive survey of American dialects when he was at Harvard. Now he's moved to Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and you can take his survey here.

Anyway, they took the survey's site down at Harvard. Actually, they took down the homepage. But all the data's still up, and it's hours of fun. Commonly heard reactions: "People actually say that that way?" and "I can't believe so few people say that the way I do."

Edit: Actually, the data is down on the Harvard site now, but it's back up on the Wisconsin-Milwaukee server here.

1. How do you pronounce the vowel in "aunt"?
2. How about the one in "been"?
3. How do you pronounce the first vowel in "Bowie knife"?
4. How do you handle the word "caramel"?
5. How do you pronounce the second vowel in "cauliflower"?
6. How do you say the last vowel in "centaur"?
7. What about the word "coupon"?
8. And what about the name "Craig"?
9. What's the deal with "crayon"?
10. How many ways are there to pronounce "creek"?
11. What about the state "Florida"?
12. How do you "flourish"?
13. What's the last vowel in "handkerchief"?
14. So you want to be a "lawyer"?
15. Mary, merry, and marry?
16. Please pass the "mayonaise"?
17. Can you say "miracle"?
18. Are you feeling "mischeivous"?
19. How do you say the last vowel in days of the week, like "Monday" or "Friday"?
20. The second vowel in "pajamas"?
21. How do you say "pecan"?
22. How many syllables in "poem"?
23. "Really"?
24. How do you say "Realtor" (which is apparently a registered trademark)?
25. How do you handle the double os in "roof, room, broom, and root"?
26. What about "route," as in "the route from one place to another"?
27. What's that first vowel in "syrup"?
28. Any difference between "cot" and "caught"?
29. How do you pronounce "almond"?
30. What about the "s" in "anniversary"?
31. What do you call this thing: "*"?
32. What about the first "d" in "candidate"?
33. And the "s" in "chromosome"?
34. Etc., etc., etc.?
35. "Garage"?
36. "Grocery"?
37. The "h" in "huge, humor..."?
38. The "s" in "nursery"?
39. The last "s" in "Elvis Presley"?
40. "Quarter"?
41. "Spigot" or "spicket"?
42. The "g" in "strength"?
43. "Texas"?
44. Where's the stress in "cream cheese"?
45. How about in "insurance"?
46. Which word is stressed in "New Haven"?
47. "Thanksgiving"?
48. "Umbrella"?
49. You "dragged" or you "drug" her lifeless body?
50. "You all," "you guys," "y'all"?
51. "Are you coming with"?
52. "Where are you at"?
53. "Might could do that"?
54. "He used to nap on the couch, but he sprawls out on that new lounge chair anymore"?
55. "I do exclusively figurative paintings anymore"?
56. "Pantyhose are so expensive anymore..."?
57. Babies eat messily, so "forget the nice clothes anymore"?
58. What do you call it when you sell unwanted items on your porch or in your yard?
59. Throw knives at people much?
60. What's the area of grass between the sidewalk and the road?
61. What about the one in the middle of some streets?
62. What's the long narrow place in the middle of a divided highway?
63. "Milkshake," or something else?
64. Hoagies and grinders, hoagies and grinders?
65. What's the summertime insect with a glowing rear end?
66. Mini lobster?
67. Long-legged spider?
68. Maternal "Grandma"?
69. Paternal "Grandma"?
70. Maternal "Grandpa"?
71. Paternal "Grandpa"?
72. Dust "bunnies" or "balls"?
73. "Sneakers" or "tennis shoes"?
74. "Pill bug" or "roly poly"?
75. "Shopping" or "grocery" cart?
76. Across diagonally?
77. "Doing donuts"?
78. "Scratch" or "scrap" paper?
79. Big, fast road?
80. Rain falls when the sun is shining?
81. When you're cold, you get little points on your skin called--?
82. Gooey or dry stuff in the corners of your eyes?
83. What do you call a really easy course in school?
84. Traffic situation with several roads meeting in a circle?
85. Women tie their hair with a--?
86. "Cruller"?
87. "Bear claw"?
88. People who walk with their feet pointed outwards?
89. "Slaw"?
90. "Coffin" or "casket"?
91. Which came first, "oil" or "vinegar"?
92. Driver changes lanes quickly?
93. "On" or "in" line?
94. "Frosting" or "icing"?
95. "The City"?
96. "Dinner" vs. "supper"?
97. Where do you put your trash and garbage?
98. "By" or "on" accident?
99. "Frontage," "service" or "access" road?
100. Cut or mow the lawn or grass?
101. "Pass" or "hand" in homework?
102. Insect on the surface of water?
103. "Water" or "drinking" fountain?
104. "Subway" or other?
105. "Soda" or "pop"?
106. Covering houses with toilet paper?
107. Traffic jam around an accident?
108. "Bag"?
109. You bring home groceries in a--?
110. Night before Halloween?
111. End of a bread loaf?
112. "Barbituate" or "barbiturate"?
113. "Amphitheater"?
114. "Citizen"?
115. A purely academic point?
116. "Thesbian"?
117. "Basement" vs. "cellar"?
118. Drive-through liquor store?
119. Food you take home from a restaurant?
120. "Dibs" vs. "shotgun"?
121. "Ogle"?
122. "Especially"?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

There are only two things I'm deathly afraid of in this world...(Part II)

Brian


...and the other one is Lawrence Welk.

Not the man, really. I've got nothing against him as a person. It's his show that scares the hell out of me.

I'm the only Welkaphobe I know, but I can't understand why this isn't one of the world's most widespread fears. Everything about the Lawrence Welk experience gives me an anxiety attack. The colors are so bright and fake, like a colorized movie. The people stand and smile politely, waving, singing, playing, all orderly and unoffensive. The camera seamlessly pans across, tracking, zooming, almost the opposite of Hitchcock but infinitely eerier.

I can't watch it. I have to leave the room. Staying, watching, letting it seep into my brain--that would lead to panic and suicidal thoughts.

The thing about the Lawrence Welk Show is, it's so sweet and earnest and polite and in-your-face wholesome that it forces me to realize, to know deep down in my bones, that something absolutely horrible is about to happen. People can't smile so much unless there is impending horror. I can't get the thought out of my head that something violent and terrifying is going to happen to all those happy, singing, family-entertaining people. Somebody's head is going to suddenly explode, or a huge amount of blood is going to soak those pretty pink dresses and blue suits. And the camera will just keep seamlessly tracking and zooming.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

There are only two things I'm deathly afraid of in this world...

Brian
And one of them is pumas.

Well, okay, not pumas per se. It's really more of a fear of the dark. I always get anxious when I walk into unfamiliar, dark rooms, or nooks outdoors, or expansive fields shrouded in pitch. The thing is, this fear of the dark manifests itself as a fear that an unseen puma will spring forth from the darkness to pounce on me and rend my flesh. I equate dark rooms with killer cougars.

Last year at Stanford there was a killer puma loose in the foothills. It was attacking horses and mutilating livestock. There was a big mystery surrounding these attacks. Pumas aren't supposed to attack animals so much larger than themselves, and they usually don't come down out of the mountains so close to town. Feeling simultaneous dread and duty, I posted the following message around campus:

Y'all know me. Know how I earn a livin'. I'll catch this mountain lion for you, but it ain't gonna be easy. Not like going down to the pond and chasing bluegills and tommycocks. This lion, swallow you whole. No shakin', no tenderizin', down you go. And we gotta do it quick, that'll bring back your tourists, put all your businesses on a payin' basis. But it's not gonna be pleasant. I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I'll find him for three, but I'll catch him, and kill him, for ten. But you've gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter. I don't want no volunteers, I don't want no mates, there's too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing.

So, armed with a large tree branch, my intrepid best man and I set off into the hills in search of the creature. We wandered for hours, sticking diligently to the well-populated, paved path. We never encountered it, but I think we really scared the puma away. Soon after, a mountain lion (we cannot be sure it was the same one, but circumstantial evidence suggests so) meandered down out of the foothills into Palo Alto, where it was shot to death by the fuzz. I wasn't entirely convinced, however, and I told the newspaper so...

What I am saying is that it may not be the mountain lion. I don't wanna get beaten up for this. Look, Daily, there are all kinds of cats in these parts, you know? Cougars, pumas, catamounts. And the chances that these bozos got the exact cat--it's a hundred to one. A hundred to one. Now I'm not saying that this is not the mountain lion. It probably is, Daily. It probably is. It's a man eater. It's extremely rare for these parts, but the fact is that the bit e radius on this animal...is different that the wounds on the victim. I just--I wanna be sure. Now what I want to do is very simple. The digestive system of this cat is very, very slow. Let's cut it open. Whatever it's eaten in the last 24 hours is bound to still be in there. And then we'll be sure.

The horse mutilations stopped after that cat was sacrificed. But I still lose sleep thinking that the true killer might be out there, in the dark, lurking.

Friday, February 04, 2005

My ancestors are watching

Brian
Harrison

Every day in class, his stern gaze fixes on me. I would think nothing of it if he didn't look exactly like old pictures of my grandfather. But seeing as he does...

What is the meaning of this?
How does my grandfather figure into my schooling?
Is it some sort of cosmic coincidence?
Did the fates weave my presence in that classroom into their complex tapestry?
Is it my destiny to be right there, every day, at this point in my life, under that portrait?
Why?

I will get to the bottom of this.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Badonkadonk

Brian
Badonkadonk

What the hell is this?

Instapundit linked to it. It is clearly a regular Amazon URL. And its manufacturer, NAO Design, looks like a real company that sells art lamps on Amazon.

Well, there are a few clues.

This looks like an art car, a species I recognize from Burning Man 2003. The background in some of the pictures clearly points to a Burning Man connection. Must be 2004. It was listed in October 2004, and Burning Man was in August. So I think it's fair to say that this isn't really for sale as a mass-produced item. It's one of a kind.

This picture is the real clue though. That's a Stanford building in the background. Sudden repressed memory flashback...the BAND! The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band had this thing last year. They used it around campus, took pictures, took it to Burning Man, and then made up a page for selling it on Amazon.

The reviews are clearly fake, but they don't tell us much. Might not even be by the same people who put the page up. Are probably just from folks who saw it and think it's funny.

Only the Stanford Band would be behind something of this sheer magnitude. Those evil geniuses!

Your face is insufficiently analyzed

Brian
Faceanalyzer.com

Works like a charm. I'm apparently 89% Southern European and 11% Anglo Saxon. I've got average intelligence, ambition, honor, politeness, and sociability and low risk, promiscuity, and gay factor. And I'm a female.

I have this theory...

Brian
...that whoever invented camouflage got the idea by looking at sycamore bark. Still not convinced? Check this out: the middle four letters of "sycamore" are c-a-m-o. Need I say more?

Course to figure this out it takes someone from Arizona, where they have no trees. Actually Arizona has a state tree, but it is a cactus. And their state flower grows on the cactus. And their state bird lives in the cactus. And their governor wears clothing woven out of cactus.

Babelfish telephone

Brian
Just thought I would share with you a new useful fun tool I've discovered. If you go to babelfish, you can translate something from a language into another language. If you do this a bunch of times, you can play "telephone" by translating through several languages and then back into English. For instance, if I translate the text of this message from English to Greek to French to Portuguese to English, I get this:

Exactamente thought with vocês a new useful I've instrument of amusement that is discovered would share. If it goes to babelfish, can translate something d'une language in another language. If made this a relation of the years, can play "telephone" with the translation it saw diverse languages and seguidamente behind l'anglais. For example, if I translate the text of this message d'anglais to the Greeks to the Frenchmen to the Portuguese in English, volume this:

You too can be a pop punk superstar

Brian
Homemade formulaic pop punk song, with special thanks to Mrs. Good Reverend for her major contributions (credit and blame should go her way):

She hated
Her boyfriend
But she swore...she would stay...'til the end
He told her
She's worthless
And then she...started to...believe it

Then she saw
An ad for
A concert...she'd never...seen before
Sex Pistols
Next Thursday
She dressed up...and snuck out...on her way

[Chorus]
Johnny Rotten said
He was an anarchist
As Sid Vicious strutted and pumped his fist
And with the crowd at CBGB dancing with themselves
That's when she knew she had it bad
For the Sex Pistols

Now this is
The part where
She does stuff...like change clothes...dye her hair
I find some
Rhyme for "ass"
So I can...then say that...she kicks ass

[Chorus]

[Derivative guitar solo]

Then she dumps
Her boyfriend
Runs off with...a roadie...a changed woman
I mix up
The rhyme scheme
To once more...suprise you...with the word "ass"

[Chorus]x2

[Grand finale shout:] Kick ass!

Celebrity Death Pool

Brian
So a few of my buddies and I have a celebrity death pool going, hoping we can cash in on a few of these dead celebrities we hear so much about. If anyone on our lists dies by the end of 2005, we get a score equal to 100 minus their age at time of death. If it's one of the people with a predicted mode of death, and we have correctly guessed the mode, we get triple points. Whoever has the most points by the end of the year wins. Also a winner: heaven, for gaining so many great new angels. PS No killing allowed.


The Good Reverend
1. George W. Bush (assassination)
2. Dick Clark
3. Jerry Colangelo (cancer)
4. Michael J. Fox (Parkinsons)
5. James Brown
6. Ayad Alawi
7. Charlton Heston
8. Michael Irvin
9. Fidel Castro
10. Courtney Love

Clay Town
1. Kirk Douglas
2. Boris Yeltsin
3. J.D. Salinger
4. Paul Newman
5. Macauley Culkin
6. Viktor Yushchenko (Assasination, or suspected assisination)
7. Larry King
8. Warren Christopher
9. Hamid Karzai (president of afganistan) (Assasination)
10. Muhammad Ali (Parkinsons)

I-Beam
1. William Rehnquist (thyroid cancer...that's what he has right?)
2. Dennis Franz
3. Bob Barker
4. Milton Friedman
5. Barbara Walters
6. Walter Cronkite
7. Lewis Black
8. Fat Joe (heart attack)
9. Gene Simons
10. Clint Eastwood

Seggy Seg
1. christopher lee
2. dr. dre
3. alan greenspan
4. chuck palahniuk
5. richard pryor (multiple sclerosis complications)
6. dick cheney (assassination)
7. wolfgang petersen
8. michael jackson
9. rupert grint (mauled by dog -- i'm going all-in on this baby...)
10. george h. w. bush

Z-Bone
1) Pope John Paul II (old age)
2) Osama Bin Laden (killed by US troops w/ bomb)
3) Bill Murray (heart attack)
4) Shaquelle Oneal
5) Barry Bonds
6) Warren Sapp
7) Jeff Gordon
8) Dale Earnhardt
9) John Madden
10) Angela Lansbury

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

What I've learned today

Brian
The state of the union is confident and strong, and there will be six more weeks of winter.

A few years ago when I was working on this book I never ended up finishing, I was going to write this one chapter from the point of view of a really messed up individual, so I had this idea that I would drink a beer for every page I wrote and I would write them all consecutively until I passed out.

Never happened though.

This was when I was living in a tent in the woods and writing on a typewriter. Why that book never saw the light of day the world may never know. It seemed like a good idea but it was mostly high concept and not a lot of substance. It included a Christ figure. That's all I'm saying. And a parrot that could recite Shakespeare. Ok, that's really it.

The woods were lovely, dark and deep. But I had promises to keep.

One of these years that I'm in Pennsylvania, I'm going to visit Punxsutawney on Groundhog Day. Hopefully it will be like the movie. The polka part, not the constantly repeating hell part.

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Brian
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Brian
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Philadelphia Blogs

Brian