But it's not necessary

The biggest sucker deal in retail.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

What's this, a secret compartment?

   I don't usually care much for hot sauces, especially those that have no flavor just heat. What's the point when there are salsas and other seasonings that add flavor and heat? That said, the latest entry in a long list of things hastily treated with chipotle since April 4, 2002 is one that makes a lot more sense than most. Tabasco Chipotle, a pepper sauce with smoked jalapenos in it. Genius? No, rather obvious, I'm baffled it took so long. Seriously, it's been over four years since chipotle cracked the top ten of culinary buzzwords, debuting at No. 8 between 'angus beef' and 'sun-dried tomatoes'.
  The Review:
   I really like this stuff! The label touts it as the first Tabasco sauce that can be used as a basting sauce and a condiment, perfect for sprinkling or marinades. The label is right. They have recipes at the website, but I have already improvised one use; the first thing I used it for, in fact.
  The Recipe:
 "Super Fast Chicken Fajitas"
cooked, shredded chicken
bell peppers, diced
onions, diced
flour tortillas
shredded cheese
   I let Old El Paso cook and season the shredded chicken* for me, giving me time to clean and dice some green bell peppers and vidalia onions. On a cookie sheet I made an aluminum foil tent for these bits, drizzled the Tabasco Chipotle on them, and baked/steamed them at 350° for about 8-10* minutes; until they started turning darker from absorbing the sauce. Then I uncovered them and broiled them for about 3-5 minutes just to dry them out a bit. On flour tortillas I portioned the chicken, pepper/onions, and a good clump of 4 cheese* Fiesta blend available from my local grocery store, rolled them up and put them in sealable plastic bags. Mine went into the freezer* for lunch two days later, so when that day came I moved them to refrigeration first thing in the morning and they were thawed by noon. I nuked* them until warmed, then slid them into a 400° oven* for about 2 minutes to crisp the outside, plated them and sprinkled a bit more cheese on top for presentation. This should take less than half an hour, which is pretty fast for me.
The Stars: *****
   *I will be trying this with other meats, I might even try my hand at the chicken from scratch, you should too. The sauce is screaming out for ground beef and refried beans, or I may be hearing things. I don't know why the 'taco sauce seasoned shredded chicken' that I used isn't listed at the website.
   *This left the veggies quite crisp and to my liking, if you prefer them more squishy; up the time, but I wouldn't change the temperature.
   *If I were shredding my own cheese I would probably use a sharper cheddar than the blends have, I'll likely continue using the time-saving blend and just shred some extra sharp to add to it.
   *Since mine weren't meant to be eaten at the time of preparation, nothing was heated other than the veggies. If you are going straight to the table I would heat the chicken accordingly before assembly; but you still want to heat the finished product a bit to melt the cheese, and you really should crisp them because it makes them a lot easier to cut.
    *My microwave is different than yours, so there is no reason for me to try and remember how long it was, you know your microwave. I have a 400° oven available at all times, so that's what I used. A grill might have worked better, but since you just baked the veggies you might as well turn the oven up while your rolling the fajitas and it will be ready when you are. If you do use a grill, you can probably dispense with the microwave pre-heating and just grill them for about 6-8 minutes. Turn them, but I didn't have to tell you that, right?
Duty Freebie: Chuck Lorre is the guy that produced "Dharma & Greg" and currently produces "Two and a half Men". He started writing funny production company logo pages with D&G and continued with 2.5. All of these 'vanity cards' are available at the link, as well as episode guides for these two shows, "Cybill", and "Grace Under Fire". The flash version is better than the text-only one, if you must ask. Look at the bookcases, poke around under the monitor, have a ball.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Looks Good on Paper

  Eventually everyone does an Ameri.can I.dol post, this is mine. In the early episodes of each season, Simon is critiquing how the auditioning performers look and act, yet he also claims that talent is the most important part. The talented heavy girl is gone, the tiny pretty girl is gone, now the shaved head rocker is gone and you have what? Two crooners and an entry from the 'Barbie's less pretty friend' collection, all of which have less personal charisma than Carson Daly's shadow.

  Not that Katherine isn't quite nice to look at, but she is a bland singer. She is what vanilla would be if it weren't flavored. I know Jessica Simpson is reportedly a great singer, but I don't know anyone that intentionally listens to her music, and Katherine doesn't look like a Maxim girl. Like most men, my idea of handsome begins and ends in the nearest mirror, so the last one of these guys that might make it on his looks would have to have been the guy with the hair, whose name I've already forgotten. Bucky, I remembered. The other guy with the hair, whatever his name was, maybe him too. Taylor's act is schtick, not 'pop idol' material, so of the three only Elliot might be able to move a few records, yet I kind of doubt he will be all that successful.

  Sure, they might sell it for $9.99 or less to boost sales like say Bo or Gwen Stefani, and they (Simon Cowell and Co.) have plenty of money for buying radio/video airplay, but that is not what we have been lead to believe this competition is about. I'm not saying the thing is rigged, although there is definitely a stacked deck when you are basing things on the whim of only those willing to continually hit redial for a few hours one night a week. It would almost be a relief to find out that it is rigged, then they could revamp the show and have you vote against those you want removed, which just makes more sense anyway. It just doesn't sound nice.

Duty freebie: I don't remember how I got to Electricvenom , but I enjoyed this particular post especially. She writes long posts when necessary, which I enjoy but you should consider yourself warned if you prefer the soundbite drive-by style weblog.

A bit more about AI winners and country music follows ...

  What ever happens to the winners and runners-up anyway? I know Kelly Clarkson is genuinely famous and successful now, but who else? Unfortunately, both my carpool and ambient music at work are top 40 country, so I know Carrie from last season is still famous currently, but that is as far as she will go, no pop idol there. Reuben and Fantasia may be selling records, but I don't have to hear them, at least not yet. Clay? Nope, not since that one song went away have I endured that guy. Which brings up the rigging question again. First season, Kelly and Justin are the final two, and whomever actually made the decision decided to go with the talent rather than the comedy choice; and Justin was never heard from again. (Not true, he was heard/read whining in a multitude of interviews for years.) Reuben is a walrus, but male, so he won but disappeared. Mandisa has more talent than any two of those that outlasted her, but she is a heavy woman, and that's not allowed. Fantasia is talented, but incredibly hard to look at, she won and disappeared. As I mentioned, Carrie won and is continuing to flog the New country airwaves, whining about Jesus, which is her right, of course. White girl, black guy, black girl, blonde white girl = white guy. I'm not saying I know it is rigged, but it doesn't have to be at this point; would you buy a record from Katherine? I didn't pay much attention last year, but I think the favorite white guy had too much hair is why they didn't follow Fantasia's win with him. They even made William Hung a rich man so they can safely leave out any Asian winner for years to come, with him to fall back on.

  Back to Carrie, whom I despise as I do most country singers, for one simple reason: she's fake. Have you ever heard the Beatles? Elton John? Roger Daltry, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, any other British singer? Okay now, have you heard them speak? They have British accents when they speak, yet the fundamental difference between the spoken word and the same word sung is that one doesn't have dialectical nuances in their singing voice. Oh, Paul may pronounce 'writer' the more correct British way in "Paperback Writer", but for the most part you don't hear accents in a person's singing voice. Add Celine Dion, for that matter. She has an annoying accent that you never pick up from her English recordings. Klaus Meine, German singer of the Scorpions? No accent. (For a few cheap laughs check out their early recordings for some nonsensical broken English lyrics, still no accent though.)

   American 'country' music is decidedly different on this matter. Since singing removes accent, one would have to intentionally put forth effort to insert an accent into their singing. Why? Because those who lap up this pablum have grown to expect it, and don't think it is authentic without it. This is your example for irony class, btw. They choose country-sounding names, they wear country clothes, they mistune chalkboard scratching intensity twanging into their instruments - and they sing lahk thay tawwlk. Even if they don't really talk that way. It's fake and insulting to all of my friends and relatives that can't help but speak that way, and the fans should be insulted by it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

one little, two little, 4600 little indian boys

  I went to high school with a guy whose birthday was May 5th. This was southern California, so there were plenty of parties going on every year, and even though Mexican beer is only good when compared to American beer; I'm sure we cruised a few Mexican de Casas on Li'l E's birthday over the years enjoying free cervezas. We had to have, I just can't recall big chunks of my high school career, that makes me think there was tequila involved. There are parades all over the Southland on Cinco de Mayo as well. I don't know if it was true, but he said that when he was little his Mother told him the Mexicans were celebrating his birthday. It's probably true, she did a lot of weird stuff like that to torture him. He turned out to be a very strange cat once the meth sunk really deep into his brain, so we lost touch after I chose not to have contact with him anymore. He's probably dead or in prison by now, but if you're out there Li'l E; Happy Birthday!

Duty Freebie: I love me some Sneeze, even if Steve hasn't updated since my last visit, there is lots of archival material worthy of delving into.

Mexican Independence Day is September 16th, independence from Spain, that is. Today's celebrations commemorate Mexico's victory over Napoleon III's French Foreign legion, which was a much bigger deal than the words 'French defeat' might lead you to believe. They were among the elite fighting forces of the day, and with the English and Spanish out of the way; the armies of the U. S. killing themselves in a civil war; and nearly double the manpower; they were soundly defeated by the Mexican Army and militiamen. For two days that is, but some theorists offer that this reinforcement period for the French, which kept them from aiding the Confederacy, greatly contributed to an earlier end to the U. S. Civil War. I would go a bit further, had the French simply taken Puebla and then in turn Mexico City, the entire continent would likely have become a French colony! Consider that the Confederacy would have gained not only their promised ally, but a geographically fortuitous one at that. The French contingent in Canada would have collaborated with the Mexican French Colonialists and the victorious Confederate Army in a world-changing Risk™-style pincer formation: and Wisconsin would be the Brie Belt to this very day. Ironically, it was the U. S. Civil War that first led the Spanish, English, and French to believe they could pull a smash and grab in Mexico while their neighbor was unable to aid them.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I went to MyS.pace and made myself sad, now you can too!!

  Not make me sad, but make yourself sad like I did, grammar; I'll study up on it.
   Mydeathspace.com is an ongoing compilation of the MyS.pace profiles of people that have died. I'll tell you about it so you don't have to visit, but go ahead if you want. It is a tragic idea for a website, tragic in a different way than MyS.pace is, of course. Some of them are just regular sad, someone has died; but by the very nature of the website -- teenagers gathering to display their horrible taste in music and web design and lack of spelling/grammar essentials -- they are all rather young, so you've got extra sad points there. Plus, they have the heaping helping sadness ones: A deaf girl that was hit by a train because she was walking next to the tracks - A girl and the boyfriend that murdered her (they list murderers too); this one is particularly gut-wrenching because a mutual friend has commented on the dead girl's page that he is so sorry that he told her the killer was a good guy that she should give a chance. Fuck me that is something to live with, real or imagined guilt it's all the same.
  I imagine it is an easy website to update, check the obits and anyone dead that was between 10 and 25 probably had a MyS.pace account. I just don't think it is a necessary idea, not that there are very many necessary websites out there, but this one makes rotten.com look tame. At least at rotten there is a clinical detachment, photos of disfigurements and decapitations, but this is somehow more disturbing because they were just here making loud, shiny, blinky nonsense and now ... 
Duty Freebie: Avitable is a little twisted, funny at times; but he doesn't read me so don't tell him I sent you. Or do, \/\/.
Oh, I got smacked today at http://italk2much.com/: I'm as dull as I thought, but the comments were kind (mostly).