Monday, March 31, 2008

Book reviewers

I've long held that since we're all human it is virtually impossible to be 100% objective at all times and this came to mind after reading two very divergent reviews of the new book out by Melody Peterson sarcastically entitled Our Daily Meds. OK, so her whole premise is the pharmaceutical industry is greedy and gets dubious drugs to market before proper and thorough studies are done and once on the market lobbyists for these corporations strongly ply doctors to dispense them more and more and yada yada yada and do we really have chemical imbalances in our brains and what about all these potentially serious side effects to the most popular drugs and...well you get the picture, hers is not an uncommon position on the drug industry. Now the first review I read was very positive and called it important work but the second one was just the opposite and pretty much dubbed her part of the anti-medical progress crowd which brings home the point our biases are brought to bear on everything, ditto for movie reviews of films dealing with controversial topics, think Michael Moore. The point of today's blog is not my own personal position on the meds situation though I do tilt towards her position that we are a vastly overmedicated society but how we review and critique things we may strongly disagree with (or even agree with for that matter) which kinda got me thinking are book and movie reviews worth reading and considering in the first place? In an artistic sense isn't a review of anything literary or cinematic that may be loaded with social and political themes simply a reflection of ourselves and our own moral certitudes and pieties?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Our cashless society

I was watching this paid program on NBC last night about low fixed-rate loans by the government so more average folk can buy homes, it's Uncle Sam's way of trying to solve the subprime mortgage mess. The loans are completely protected by the federal government so lenders would not lose anything, they are guaranteed. Hey, I'm no egghead economic scholar, sounds good but the part that got me were the four people at the end who had questions for the expert. They had various questions about the loan program but all four were swimming in credit-card debt, not only that but the show's financial authority figure said nothing on this like tear 'em up and don't use 'em for now or only use them to rent a hotel room or if your car breaks down on a cross-country trip. I kid you not but the other day at Wendy's I saw a young couple whip out their piece of plastic to buy some burgers, is this worth going into debt over? I've made the personal decision to not use credit cards for now, I paid them off years ago and you know something? I'm better off, have more money in the bank and live well within my means. So these four troopers who maxed out on their credit cards are going for these government loans to own a home, well good luck but this Gotta Have It Generation doesn't set an example for the Next Generation.

Clearly Barack has rattled Hillary's cage

How else to explain her self-sabotaging ways? If it were anybody else, John Edwards or Joe Biden let's say, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts you wouldn't be hearing about all that sniper fire on the Bosnian tarmac or her pivotal role in the Irish Peace Process. NO, she didn't misspeak because she didn't remember every detail correctly or was sleep-deprived, she is clearly threatened by Barack's meteoric political ascendancy and so when you're under this much stress and pressure people weird themselves out. She wants it so badly she's self-sabotaging her own campaign and like the famous band still playing while the Titanic sank she doesn't know enough to say "stop the orchestra, we have a problem here."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Made in China

Don't know how we can protest and lodge our discontent over China's current crackdown of the pro-democracy movement in Tibet, after all even our toothpicks and keychains are made in China (apparently we now longer have the technology to make dolls over here). Sure the Administration always lodges its pro-forma condemnations but what kind of teeth does it really have? Nixon was famous for opening up trade with China but I don't think he had in mind that you couldn't walk into a Payless Shoe Source and not have trouble finding a sneaker made in America. New World Order.

Sex addiction, the new excuse?

So now we know what ex-NY Governor Eliot Spite-zer's problem really is, he's a sex addict. Now I know this stuff has been documented by people like Dr. Patrick Carnes, actor Michael Douglas once admitted to it but I think the real upshot of all this is therapy is replacing the concept of sin and free will. The famous psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger even wrote about this years and years ago in his Whatever Became of Sin? and that's going way back but even then rationalization was a problem. It probably helps explain wife Silda's apparent decision to stick it out with him but are serial cheaters now to be understood to be silently suffering with their addictions and is there a Pill just around the corner? They can even name it Spitzotrol or something, it'll be his legacy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Should news conferences henceforth be rated?

As in G, PG, PG-13, R and NC-17? and how would you rate the press conference New York's new governor David Paterson gave the other day? Well it certainly had your adult themes, adultery and serial affairs, it even had some psychology thrown in (he did it because she did it first). It was kinda like a mild R so maybe we'll give it a PG-13, maybe it shoulda had a parental warning advisory scrawled at the top of the screen. Wondering, and it's probably wise but during his next meeting with reporters the kiddies should be shooed out of the room. If anything it doesn't set a good moral example, I've heard women say it's bottom of the barrel stuff. Maybe he can give his next press conference after 9 PM when the kids are safely tucked away.

Is McCain getting a free pass?

So far it's all about Barack Obama and his pastor problem, you know, the Rev. Jeremiah "God Damn This Country, Land That I Hate" Wright, and Barack was even forced to give a major speech distancing himself from the Rev's theology. For the last few days Hannity's been beating this horse on the airwaves but what about John McCain's own pastor problem? nary a word. McCain recently warmly accepted the endorsement of one John Hagee, prominent evangelical pastor and friend and advocate for Israel to the point where he has publicly said that when those Jewish settlers were forced to leave their settlements in the Gaza Strip God punished US with Hurricane Katrina. Not only that but Hagee holds that the Roman Catholic Church is the seat of the Antichrist. All Mac said was a tepid "I can accept someone's endorsement without agreeing with all of their positions." So where is his major Obama-esque speech clarifying his own Rev problem? and in fairness shouldn't Hannity be talking about this as well? I am not loyal to the Republican Party come hell or high water, I am loyal to conservative principles first, read into that what you will Mr. McCain.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Is Tiger Woods a sinner?

The Vatican's new sins, among them are abortion (although this is kind of a new old sin), polluting the environment and excessive wealth. Now this last one I kinda agree with in this sense. Tiger Woods has more money than he knows what to do with or will ever use in his lifetime, hell if he runs out of Charmin ain't no thing to use 100 dollar bills. Now I wouldn't say excessive wealth in and of itself is sinful (the Vatican seems to be saying it is) but seems to me there is an almost moral obligation to use your excess to help others, to give to charity and other philanthropic purposes otherwise what's the point? Dunno but if you use it all for your own pleasure and lifestyle you turn into Hugh Hefner (yes I know he was very very concerned about all those displaced animals or pets or something after Hurricane Katrina) but, I don't know, what do you think?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Aren't we all crimed out by now?

Crime has been a HUGE staple of TV over the last several years judging by all the C.S.I.'s alone (next up - "C.S.I. Anchorage, Alaska") and it's not just crime, it's lurid crime. "Dateline", "48 Hours Mystery", even "20/20" has gotten into the act on occasion. Ever since Hannibal Lecter first made his debut we seem to have this cultural fascination with the dark side. Personally I find it very depressing like I was checking out the new Fox lineup last night, something called "Canterbury's Law" starring Juliana Margulies. So far so good, a new legal drama I thought but in walks some guy into her law office and opens up a duffel bag and there are human remains inside. He claims to be psychic and offers to help her find her missing son. Anyway turns out he may not be psychic after all and may have killed five or six young boys and buried them. Turns out he has an advanced and inoperable brain tumor and can't remember whether he did the crimes or not and so I wasted a good part of the evening watching the current weirdness of the latest TV schedule and then you go to bed in a disturbed mood like doesn't TV offer inspiration anymore, human interest stories and people helping each other out? When film critic Michael Medved knocked all the hoopla over "Silence of the Lambs" getting an Oscar nod I thought maybe he was just being his overly critical self, if it's not his cup of tea don't rent it but I now see it was only the beginning of a trend, a genre that Laura Ingraham calls "tragedy tv" and check out all those nasty and gruesome anti-smoking ads on the tube, we all know by now it's bad for you but as the NY Post's Andrea Peyser said the other day by golly children are watching. It might seem radical but I'm almost there. As the bumper sticker says


Monday, March 17, 2008

Sesame Noodles

You can either use fettucine or else linguine noodles, box usually tells you something like "perfect in 11-12 minutes", Barilla fettucine takes a little longer but is preferred by more chefs these days. OK so after they're done you dump it all out in a colander in the sink and shoot some cold water through it if you're in a hurry. So now you've got your teriyaki marinade and sauce, I tend to use alot so as to have alot of sauce leftover, noodles can get that dried out look in short order after sitting in a bowl for a day or two. Grab that small bottle of hot chili sesame oil off the shelf, if they don't have that some mongolian fire oil is just as good. Don't be shy, pour the whole bottle into your mixing bowl to give it that kick. Get a bottle of, oh I don't know, a nice miso and sesame blend and, oh why not, a bottle of ginger-soy sauce and dump it all in. A bottle or two of sesame seeds and at this point some scallions, known as green onions in some recipe books but in the big YO we call 'em scallions, dice 'em up small with a good sharp chef's knife. Whisk up that baby and let it all blend and now add your cooled-off pasta and voila!, sesame noodles.

I'm so proud of our governors up here in the Northeast

Then there was the former Republican governor of CT, John Roland, involved in some corruption investigation, he later pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax fraud and was replaced by his Lieutenant Governor M. Jodi Rell but before even Eliot Spite-zer there was former NJ Governor Jim McGreevance, you know the guy who while he was still married to Dina Matos and had a little family going and while he was still the Governor had anonymous and quickie gay sex at reststops along his State's highways and bi-ways. Now he's trotted out one of his numerous boytoys to tell the world that Dina and them had 3-way sex sessions and so she had to know he was gay the whole time. Of course they're all in the middle of a bitter custody dispute over their daughter so...but I don't believe a word of it, he's mental is all but just the same

it's awesome.

Eliot's Dilemma

The missus won't give him so much as a backrub, rumor has it they both pulled an I Love Lucy and sleep in separate beds. He can't see the escorts, everyone's onto his act by now and you can bet dollars to doughnuts he is being watched. Now maybe it's just me (although I don't think it is) but seems he's the one least bothered and devastated by this mishegas. What's missing is what the shrink class refers to as nostalgic depression, a shattering of your dreams, and it's what the winos talk and brood about on Skid Row, you know the best years of your life are behind you and boy how you messed it up. Maybe it's a divorce and it's all your fault and she ain't never coming back and she took you to the cleaners, whatever. So there he is happily waving to the press, there he is walking the family dog looking like there's not a care in the world, there he is getting into the limo with his wife always separated by him by at least a 3 foot bubble. He has a rich father and won't lack for a job in the family real-estate business but you keep asking yourself when is it going to hit him like a freight train, nostalgic depression, he ruined his whole life by his own doing, the apex of his career is gone, he can't drown his sorrows anymore in a loving ho's bosom, so when is he going to drink too much or dabble in the drugs or at least show some well-worn signs of angst and existential despair on his visage? Everyone else around him is positively devastated 'cept the main player. Oh well he has some choices, he can either move to Nevada or Amsterdam, they say in Holland people smoke doobies in cafes.

copyright 3/17/08 by Z-man, all rights reserved

Saturday, March 15, 2008

OK, so quiche~~~

~~~Whatever kind you're making go to the frozen food aisle and get, say your frozen chopped spinach, broccoli, asparagus spears, mixed veggies maybe, imitation crabmeat for seafood quiche, sliced mushrooms is good for a nice mushroom quiche. The famous and always popular Lorraine quiche is simply done using diced ham. Anyway make sure you squeeze as much of the water out of the broccoli and spinach using a colander, you'd be surprised at how much water is in there! OK, so set that off to the side (mise en place, everything in place). Now you have your 6" pie shell, your 9"er if you prefer or hey, do both. Most important thing is your mixture, I use eggs, heavy cream, some 1/2 and 1/2, I mix it all up with my whisk (beat your eggs first of course), then I add some sugar, a dash of nutmeg (and I like a hint of cinnamon too, hehe), some red cayenne pepper for color, little white pepper as well, bit of paprika for the color too, a packet or two of Goya Sazon is great. You'll have to judge the quantity of these ingredients depending on how much quiche you're making. The grated cheese, they say it should consist of at least 75% Swiss and based on experimentation I have to agree here although I have seen in gourmet food stores all cheddar quiche and goat cheese quiche as well (dunno). Anyway with the Swiss Jarlsberg and/or Finlandia is the best. Don't use any low-salt cheese as your quiche will not turn out right, it'll look like an open-face grilled cheese sandwich that's burned. Now first into the pie shell I put some grated cheese, alot of quiche you see has a concave effect, I tend to use a little more cheese than most but don't overdo it. Ladle in your blended mixture and don't be shy. Lastly I put my spinach or broccoli or mushrooms or whatever on the very top and then I spoon in even a little more mixture so that when it cooks it'll all sink into the cheese but still be visible for a really nice effect. Into the oven for about 1/2 an hour it goes, usually a little longer if you're making a whole bunch. I like to go for that burned look, don't wanna blacken it of course but that nice browned on top look will have your guests ooohing and aaahing. Bon Appetit!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Yesterday I re-registered to vote

This time as a member of my state's Conservative Party (as Sean is fond of saying "I'm a conservative first, a Republican second"). Last time I voted as one of those influential and much-feared and sought after Independents. Years ago it was RTL (Right-to-Life). Now a pattern emerges here and that is I've been shying away from becoming an official Republican. I've analyzed this and I think it has to do with I'd be walking around one day and get poked in the butt with somebody's horn.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ashley Alexandra Dupre Youmans - Part of the VRWC?

I'm surprised nobody has brought this up, that Sean and Rush may be running a prostitution ring to bring down high-ranking Democrats. No crack whores they, they have names straight out of some Harlequin tale or Gothic romance, nothing but the best for our Governors and Judges and Senators. Dig deep my friends, dig deep


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

You really look like you could use a glass of water

The Associated Press just concluded a 5 month investigation into our water supply, turns out there are trace amounts of various pharmaceuticals in many major American cities, things like mood stabilizers, medicine for whooping cough, high blood pressure, you name it. Guy on the Newshour last night said not to worry, only traces but then a few minutes later says even those traces can have an effect on your body, also water filtration plants don't even test for pharmaceuticals. Eh, small price to pay for our overmedicated society. Tom Cruise, we'll give you this one.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Daylight Savings Time & a new feature

They should leave the clocks alone at this point and let Nature take its course, not sure of the official reasons why this practice is still followed, had to do with the farmers years ago and maybe schoolkids getting hit in the dark so dawn "starts" earlier in late Fall but anyway we all set our clocks ahead by one hour last Sunday morning (2 AM to be exact) and the next day I felt like there were a pair of invisible hands pushing on my shoulders, "come on you slowpoke!", after such an enjoyable day (the weather was fabulous) you can't help looking at the clock and when it says 5 you go it should really be 4. Let President McCain or HillObama work with the new Congress to get rid of this anachronism, it upsets our sleep patterns and biorhythms, whew!!! into the dustbin of History.

Guru Watch

He even looks a little like Dr. Wayne Dyer so I had to do a double take but caught Dr. Daniel Amen's show on some PBS station the other night. Now these gurus all begin good and rational and that's how they suck you in, just look at the sheeple in their audiences with their mouths agape in Awe, but then they say something that you really have to question and one of Dr. Amen's points about brain health, the subject of his lecture, is this, that if you don't get a minimum of 6 hours sleep every night you will suffer from chronic stress. Now not to downplay the importance of a good night's sleep not to mention its pleasures but there were many times I went to work the next day with 4 or 5 hours sleep and functioned fine, it's not ideal and you're likely to feel somewhat tired during the second half of the day but imo his position seems rather radical, many of us don't get the mandated 8 hours of sleep a night for various reasons and yet we live our lives. One wonders where the very lucrative pharmaceutical industry ties into all of this, is there some Lunesta connection but keep your eye on the gurus folks, a new feature here (woo hoo!).

One of my favorite talking heads

Mark Shields of The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, uncommon common sense for someone with liberal leanings, said a few years back that it is important for the Democrats to not appear too pro-abortion, did they listen? The other night he said something incisive and not a little profound, "liberals have to learn to be a little tougher and conservatives have to have a little more compassion." Looking back on your life how many of you remember a liberal boss whom you thought was a pushover but he or she gave you some tough love and looking back on our folks, many are so perfectly blended, very conservative but when push comes to shove very compassionate as well, strict in our upbringing but would never let you be homeless either. Maybe by his liberal comment Shields had in mind people like Barack Obama and on the other side his conservative comment seems to point directly at Michelle Malkin, many great points about the subprime mortgage crisis in her recent columns but where's that dash of empathy and fellow-feeling? You may not agree but hats off to Mark Shields for so many great years on the Newshour.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Monster

Stephanie Power, a key Barack campaign aide and analyst, has called Hillary "a monster" off the record, he has fired her but dunno, does loyalty mean anything anymore? Even conservatives in the prime of their Clinton impeachment heyday never used these terms, can't we just laugh hyperbole off? and if she really is the Monster she's made out to be can't she just wish Barack into a cornfield or something?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

"Agents of intolerance" can come in handy...

...around Election Time in a big way. Yeah, time was John McCain lumped the Rev. Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson/Jerry Falwell together in one big Fringe Element, "to the left to the left to the left" and then the right, but these days as Bill Moyers discussed on his Journal last night McCain and the Rev. John Hagee are buddy buddy these days. Sure he's a very prominent minister and vocal advocate for the State of Israel, he rails against the threat radical Islam poses to the rest of the world but he also refers to the Catholic Church as the Great Whore of Revelations, he's not Bill Donahue of the Catholic League's cup of tea to put it mildly and McCain fobs it all off as "I can accept somebody's endorsement without agreeing with all of their views." Dunno but this seems way over the line, it's being tolerant of intolerance if you will.

Friday, March 07, 2008

All Aboard!!!

As I recall our friend Newt said at the time that should the Republican Party not nominate a true conservative he might feel the tug, nay the moral duty to run as a bona fide right-wing American...ummm...

Whatever it turns out to be, HillObama or ObamaHill vs. McCain the general election may well turn out to be a referendum on the War, this could be good or bad for McCain as his powersurge pretty much defines him now, conventional political wisdom I guess would have it bad. "They" say that he'd have an easier time of it against her than against him (I'm still waiting for the soon-to-be-published book "The Collective Wit and Wisdom of They", if you're a regular reader of my blog or even an occasional eavesdropper you know that I quite often go outside of They). For the younger generation which seems pretty much primed to vote this time 'round Obama more symbolizes Kama Sutra and McCain Viagra, Nickelback vs. AARP, 2 1/2 Men up against I Love Lucy...I just get tired of the same talking heads is all, how 'bout Pee Wee Herman opining or even Barney the Purple Dinosaur?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Bus

So O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake have been driving the same bus cross-country for quite some time now looking for the real killers. They take their turns driving while the other takes a nap. They could be on the links, who knows? pull the bus over and grab your 9-iron. Phil Spector in the meantime, all he does is pretty much hang out in the back smoking his reefer, wants to stop at some Sloppy Joe's joint for a bite to eat but they're ain't no time man. The scenic cruiser pulls into a gas station somewhere out West, just ran over a sidewinder, wheels pull up some dust clouds as it turns in, young girl/gas attendant looks up from her magazine...

Monday, March 03, 2008

OK, so you turn gay for a day,

maybe you're like porno pete, big loser your whole life and so you make the Big Switch, the chickie-poos may have rejected you your whole life but the Gay Man is known for his spirit of adventure so petey heads out into his local gay bar, "hi pizza face", and yet nobody waves the yellow flag (you'll know what this means if you've ever seen that horrible in an existential sense movie "Cruising" starring, yes you Al Pacino), you go back they throw you out for being a nuisance,

is this how the whole farm action gets started?

Thought people mellowed with age

What's up with these liberal dinosaurs? always hating, never participating. Last time we checked Gloria Steinem embarassed herself on the NY Times Op-Ed page making the case that Bubba flashing Paula Jones was not sexual harassment but Clarence Thomas asking Anita Hill out more than once was, now she opines that McCain being a POW of the Vietcong for 5 1/2 years doesn't entitle him to the presidency (although methinks he's entitled to a free lapdance or two). Don't recall McCain running on this however, maybe I missed this as his platform, dunno but apparently everyone mellows with age except liberals, always fighting, always dividing the Universe into Good & Evil,

it's old.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Matchmaking, never a big fan

I never cared for when people try to set you up with somebody. Maybe they're ok but it's the whole idea of a group of people pushing somebody on you, it's the principle of the thing. They'll devise clever little situations to get the two of you alone together so you're forced to talk ("ok, I have to leave the party now, have to feed the cat, I have a dentist's app't..."). Well this is the way I feel about the primaries and McCain, the dating analogy is the most apt one I can come up with. It's like they're were forces beyond our control and now we're forced to maybe marry him and wake up with him every morning at least for the next 4 years. You just woke up, you roll over and there he is looking at you all googly-eyed ("wanna rock 'n' roll before we get up? kids still asleep"). You don't even know how it all happened, I mean was there like some emergency pregnancy or something? what was the big RUSH?...and the worst part of all is others are telling you should be happy, your friends are saying maybe he ain't as sexy as OBAMA but he'll run a good household, take the garbage out, take the dog for a walk...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Obama/Hill vs. McCain/Thompson

at least this is the way I see it. I agree with Beth, the idea of Obama in the White House is starting to get scary. Yeah I surfed the Obama Wave for a while there but to think of having him sitting in the Oval Office making major, and I mean major foreign policy decisions especially in a time of war and meeting rogue leaders like the upcoming Raul Castro with no preconditions, even Madame would never do this. BTW McCain needs the more conservative Thompson to balance out his own ticket, it sure as hell ain't gonna be Rudy.

Trouble in Paradise

What if Adam and Eve had never sinned? there would be no disease and death, be fruitful and multiply and so replenish the Earth but would God eventually have to come down and set limits? birth control people, you're all bumping into each other, a kind of Genesis conundrum.