May 252017

There seem to be two primary ways to tell if a forthcoming movie or TV series is going to be bad:

  1. The released materials – photos, descriptions, clips, trailers, etc. – just look or read as “bad”
  2. The people promoting the show start putting plans in place to downplay how awful it is, or to explain away a forthcoming disaster.

With Star Trek: Discovery, we’ve had a whole lot of #1. The disregard for established continuity, the jarring design elements, the apparent lack of any actual familiarity with Star Trek on the part of the people behind the show have led a *lot* or people to conclude that this STD is gonna burn.

But now they’re entering into Phase 2. Specifically… the “Ghostbusters 2016” playbook of “let’s blame the fans:”

Racist Star Trek Fans Decry Discovery‘s Diversity, Revealing They Know Nothing About Star Trek

Yeah, that’ll certainly help fix the problem. Someone doesn’t like your show? Call them a racist or a sexist. It worked *so* well for Ghostbusters 2016.



 Posted by at 11:15 am
May 212015

Some people try really hard to be clever and/or cute. Trying hard is no guarantee of success. Sometimes it’s the fast road to things blowing up in your face. Like… here:

Welcome the real world, kid. Of course it could have been better; she could have come up with a “no.” or my personal favorite from back in the days when I tried: “Good God, no.”

 Posted by at 5:19 pm
Feb 202014

Just back from the grocery store. The mission: procure a can of chicken broth. This idea was to add chicken broth to water, cats will like it and drink more, and it’ll help flush ’em out. End result: cats apparently don’t like chicken broth. Who knew.

While there I wandered the frozen pizza aisle and suddenly noticed this:

OK, frozen pizza. Big deal. But two aspects of it grabbed me:
1) “Feast For One.”

2) Photo of *three* friends goofing off.

On the basic level, this is a simple mismatch, like the art department got conflicting instructions. But on a deeper level… this seems to be wholly depressing marketing. What must the Honest Ad for this say?

“You’re all alone. That’s why you only need enough pizza for one person. But here is a photo of you with two friends you *used* to hang around with. And they’re not here anymore. Dwell on happier times and enjoy the pizza!”


 Posted by at 5:48 pm
Jan 232013

Neighbor’s son rescues man from apartment fire

Read the first sentence and tell me just how happy a story this really is.

Via, unsurprisingly, Fark, where we get relevant comments such as:

That shiat is like the first few minutes of Up.


There’s an old guy that hangs out at the bar I frequent….one day a couple of years ago, he comes up and asked me to sign his birthday card….that he bought for himself for his 75th b-day…felt kinda bad for the, I signed it, and bought him a beer and then played Happy Birthday on the jukebox for him, at which time, he promptly starts crying and won’t stop thanking me and shaking my hand….then I just felt horrible for the old guy, realizing that his only “friends” were those of us he see’s at the bar once or twice a week.

 Posted by at 3:56 pm
Jun 272011

Coming soon, the test-tube burger

Where we learn that Dutch scientists believe that a hamburger made from cloned cow stem cells, cultured to grow batches of muscle fibers, is about a year away.

Researchers at Utrecht University have calculated that an initial ten stem cells could produce 50,000 tons of meat in two months.

I’d like to see the math and engineering on that.

Couple the cloneburger with the poopsteak, and the future of disturbing food for all is just about complete. The topper will be when  the technology becomes commonplace enough to have a Clone-O-Mat on the kitchen counter next to the Mr. Coffee and the Salad Shooter… and hipsters replace cow stem cells with their *own* cells, and eat hipsterburgers.

You *know* it’ll happen.

 Posted by at 7:53 am
Jun 172011

Japan scientist synthesizes meat from human feces

The technology and science described sounds – at least to me – to be both credible and impressive. If it works on a large scale, it could of course solve a great many problems. Poop is, after all, simply “processed” former food; un-processing it is simply a matter of proper chemistry. But still… bleah.

I mean… bleah.

 Posted by at 3:33 pm
Mar 022011

Today Scruffy showed up on the deck begging for food, and tried to shove his way in the door:

At the same time, Mark also showed up… and a black cat I’ve seen from time to time. The black cat is really quite feral and has no use for humans. This is the closest I’ve ever been to the black cat, and this is the closest I’ve ever seen Scruffy and Mark get to each other without a fight breaking out:

What the photo does *not* show is why this is quite possibly the last time you’ll ever see the black cat: he’s only got one eye. From the looks of it, he transitioned from binocular to monocual vision within the past few days… it looks really quite horrid. Infection and whatnot might well do him in. Being one-eyed around here won’t help him, especially crossing the road. But there’s no chance of me catching him, thus no chance of me getting him to the vet. And I doubt there’s anything the vet would do with him apart from putting him down. So… while I’m sure Raedthinn thinks he has a hard life, there are other cats quite nearby who have a *really* hard life. As messed up as this feller is, it didn’t stop him from swatting Scruffy when he got too close while eating.

Also not visible in the photos are some rather shocking changes in Scruffy. Before winter, if you fed him he’d let you pet him for four seconds (I counted) before he turned on you and tried to claw your arm off. At the time, those few seconds were enough to show that he had a thick coat… and thick musculature. He was a *burly* cat. But now he has a very thin coat of fur with bald patches, and is really quite skinny. I guess the hunting has not been especially productive this winter. And given his violent and anti-social nature, he probably doesn’t get many opportunities to get human-provided chow.

 Posted by at 5:37 pm
Aug 212010

… is alive and well, and being funded by US taxpayers. Take THIS for example:

Step 1: Get food stamps. (Food stamps are good for only a limited number of products, and excludes things like smokes and booze)

Step 2: Go to the grocery store and buy, using the food stamps, cases of bottled water for $86.79

Step 3: Go around the back of the store, dump the water out of the bottles

Step 4: Go back into the store and feed the empty bottles into an automated “redemption machine”

Step 5: Collect $24 in cold hard cash

Step 6: Wisely invest that $24 in stocks, bonds or funds; buy gold or silver or real estate. Or spend it on beer and hookers. Whichever.

Sure, the rate of return is pretty poor… you get less of a third of the cash value of the food stamps. But you get *some* cash for free, while screwing over the suckers (AKA taxpayers). What’s not to like?

The article talks about how this is all very terrible, and that while illegal (Why? Not one single step in the process here is morally repugnant… except perhaps Step 1), it’s not often punished because there are no penalties.

There is, of course, an incredibly good solution to this sort of thing.

1) Get rid of food stamps *entirely.*

Now, we could stop it right there, and that’d be just fine. Those who aren’t in actual need wouldn’t be able to abuse the system. Those who are in need can visit charities.

But, sigh, some people will nevertheless bitch and moan about how horrible this is that we’re not providing free food to people “in need.” So, fine. Then here’s my proposal: provide free food. Not “food stamps,” but actual *food.* Specifically… “food loaf” (AKA “Nutraloaf.”)

“Food loaf” was developed for prisoners with behavioral problems (which would seem to be pretty much all prisoners… if they didn’t have behavioral problems, what are the chances they’d be prisoners?) Basically, it’s an entire days worth of food – institutional size in preparation – fed through a blender and baked into meatloaf-style loaves and served like slices of bread. All the nutirition you could ever hope for… all your cereal, peas, carrots, bread, taters, oatmeal, chicken, cheese, pork, eggs, fish, nuts, whatever all mashed together into an apparently tasteless – or slightly nasty-tasting – slab of nutritional goodness. You can’t stab anyone with a slice of bread.

Food loaf can be dehydrated so that it weighs approximately nothing, and, kept sealed, will last approximately forever. It has all the nutritional value you could want. The US could crank out food loaf by the kiloton and stockpile it, for use in disasters, emergencies… and as a food stamp replacement. Grocery stores or government offices could have one small corner constantly stocked with food loaf; any person could walk in, grab a set amount (a weeks worth for a family of four, say) and leave… don’t have to pay, don’t have to flash a special card, don’t need food stamps.

Food loaf would not be a real competitor with standard food items because it is, again, at best bland. It comes in one flavor, one texture, one format. Nobody who’s not in financial distress would willingly eat much of the stuff. But it *is* perfectly, and wholly adequately, nutritious.

So, food loaf could be made freely available to all. If you don’t need it, you can buy regular food. And if you choose not to eat it…. then you didn’t *need* it, and thus you don’t need government food assistance. Does it suck to eat the same bland crap every day? Yes, I would imagine so (says the guy who survived four years at university surviving on a pretty stead diet of Ramen noodles). But at most it is the government’s job to keep you from starving, not to supply you with treats. Don’t like surviving for years on blandness? Fine. Get a job. And instead of food stamps being used on crap junk food, food loaf is nutritionally balanced, and few people are likely to eat much more of it than they have to. America’s problem of fat poor people might finally begin to abate.

Unlike food stamps, free food loaf would seem to be immune from corruption and scams. First off, very few people would actively try to seek it out. Second…. it’s free. It’s impossible to have an underground economy using a medium of exchange that’s freely available to all. While someone might try to score a bag of crack using a bunch of food stamps – because in the proper hands food stamps can be turned into cash – food loaf would be useless as a medium of exchange, since the drug dealer could get his own free for the taking.

Replacing food stamps with food loaf would seem to be a winner on many levels. It would be cheaper. It would reduce bureaucracy. It would be healthier. It would incentivise getting *off* the government dole. It would reduce options for crime, corruption and scams. It would naturally stockpile vast amounts of storable food useful during disasters. And it would separate those in actual need (who will eat it, and be happy to have it) from those who are simply trying to scam the system.

 Posted by at 12:39 pm
Apr 302009

Whole Chicken in A Can.

<> chickeninacan-11.jpg


A review:

After following the directions to chill the product, I opened the can, dumped the contents into a large pan, and found myself staring at a quivering mound of congealed goop. Figuring there must be a fowl in there somewhere, I pawed my way through the gelatinous mass and, sure enough, discovered one very sorry-looking chicken about the size of a Cornish hen. I poked at a wing; it fell off. At this point it was hard to imagine anyone following the label’s suggestion to “serve cold just as [the] chicken comes from the can,” but I’d been planning on a hot meal anyway, so I popped the pan into the oven for the specified 15 minutes and then sat down to some of the blandest chicken it has ever been my duty to consume.

But hey… at least it’s cheap:


 Posted by at 4:05 pm
Mar 052009

Today I went out to do some grocery and hardware shopping. I found a few odd things:

1) At the Smith & Edwards, a big-ass hardware/suplus/outdoor/clothing store, there were some changes in the displays. Prominantly displayed up front were books on the Constitution, the Founding Fathers, the coming threat of socialism, and survivalism. In the gun department, .45 caliber ammo was not to be had. In fact most pistol ammo was greatly depleted. Camping and emergency rations were selling at a brisk pace. Numerous people in the gun department looking at pistols.

2) At the Ace Hardware, most of the pistol ammo was gone, including all the .45 ammo. Several people in the gun department looking at pistols; overheard a staffer talking to another customer on the phone, telling them that whatever gun he was talking about had a waiting list.
3) The Kent’s supermarket had stocked up on 9mm ammo, but were sold out of .45. Also Kents, which formerly had sold pretty much the usual run of the mill processed foodchows, now has large new displays set up for long-term-storable emergency food, sold by the 5-gallon bucket.

Obviously, the optimism brought on by Teh One is infectious.

 Posted by at 2:01 am