Monday, December 31, 2012

Worst Apocalypse Ever!

Worst Apocalypse Ever!

So here we are a little more than a week later after those pesky Mayans made a calendar that ended (how dare they!) and we all took it to mean that the end was here. Well, I'm still waiting for this crazy train of an apocalypse to take over. Especially since it's the last day of the year. Come on, man!

Apparently it was really just a case of Y2K for the Mayans. Which shouldn't be a big deal since they never actually sold anybody a mainframe computer without enough bytes of storage to hold an entire year, but hey, here we are.

I like how many people said they knew it wouldn't happen because of the rationalism or science or some crap like that, but a much easier way to be sure is to assume that NOTHING interesting is ever happening. Face reality folks, horrible things that happen always happen in incredibly dreary and predictable ways that the world has seen a thousand times before. Not in some fascinating ways like cosmic Armageddon.

I knew it wasn't going to happen because simply put, the Mayans never really said it was going to happen in the first place. We just translated this notion that a calendar ending means the end of the world. Sure, they got killed off by conquistadors - which they really predicted so well, didn't they? But at the very least they weren't dumb enough to think that the end of a marking for days meant the world was going to end.

It's pretty obvious with the increasing frequency of these failed apocalypses that people aren't so much predicting them as they are fantasizing about them. Doomsday Preppers is all about that. All those preppers are entirely banking on that doomsday prediction to go the specific way they want it to go. It's like they hate the status quo and they don't understand how delicate and transient the current arrangement is so they just imagine it going on and on forever unless some all-encompassing grand catastrophe intervenes to make it stop.

This is all how the collective depression of all people who yearn for something different but can't articulate their problems or their desires manifests itself.

Then again, there's been a constant stream of cranks predicting the apocalypse for all of recorded history, but most of them didn't get as much attention in the days before the internet and the 24-hour news cycle. They were set aside for what they were - fucking nuts

It's really interesting to see how this notion has survived all this time. Look at John Gray's Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion And The Death Of Utopia. It's a pretty interesting look at how the christian idea of an end times has survived all kinds of permutations, from communalist millenial cults to the enlightenment to of course the End of History.

Personally, I like to believe the theory that the rapture did in fact happen but that no one was virtuous so we have all been condemned to continue living in this hell of our own design.

Wouldn't that be something. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My God, What Have I Done?

My God, What Have I Done? 

It amazes me that the year in review shit hasn't driven me fucking crazy yet. Go figure. I do want to point out one thing though.That movie was released this year......  wow

Shockingly, the company that made a movie that looked that bad with such relatively good voice acting name quality went bankrupt. It was supposed to be released in 2003. It really looks worse than that mid 90's CGI kids show about the wonderful world that exist in your computer. Reboot.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Link To The Zelda Past

A Link To The Zelda Past

So for the longest time there has been a very big question with gamers. From the days of NES till present day on the Wii, gamers have played as Link in rescuing the princess and defeating an evil. But the whole time line of all the games has been one of the most confusing aspects of it. Though, to be fair, it is less confusing than the time line of DC comics these days.

In any event, here's a little Christmas treat. a video that explains the history and time line of the Zelda games. Enjoy;

Now it seems that everything is clear, wouldn't you say?

Friday, December 28, 2012

DC Comics - Blacking You Out with a Thought

DC Comics - Blacking You Out with a Thought

Even though it has been a year since the new 52 kicked off, I'm still having a hell of a hard time dealing with the new world of DC comics. It just doesn't feel right. It's like going into an alternative universe. Things are the same, only they aren't. There's something twisted to it all. As if this world they created was based off a foundation of toothpicks and silly putty.

It's as if they wanted to start with a clean slate to lure new readers, only they wanted to keep a lot of the older stuff to retain the older readers. It makes very little sense now since a lot of events that needed to happen in order for those status quos to remain just never actually happened. Take for example the death of superman.

In this new 52, it's pretty heavily suggested that it never happened. It's only been referenced in Swamp Thing #1. Superman went to check on Alec Holland and mentioned that if he needed any help with the aftermath from the dead, that nobody knew more about that than superman.

But then again, that was a #1 and I think it's been well documented by now that nobody, least of all DC editorial, really knew what the fuck was in continuity when that issue was published. But without Death/Return of Superman happening, Coast City never blows up and Hal Jordan never goes on to be Parallax, which definitely still happened. Only wait, if Hal was Parallax, then he must have died and been the Spectre, too! But there's only been one Spectre and he was just created like a couple of months ago...

Yeah, you can see already how this whole New 52 time line is all fucked up. It's been over a year now and they're still not quite sure what happened and what didn't. It's really astounding. We should all be talking about how moronic DC was in all of this for not sitting down and setting what exactly happened and what didn't. They had their chance to fix all of these inconsistencies but failed to do so with the issues #0's that were released in order to clear up and recap all the big events that actually did happen.

They also screwed up big when it comes to time-lines. They condensed them down and that sure was a dumb move. Now they can't even decide what's happened in the 10 short years of Batman. And it's kind of funny for that because having Robin fly around in a speedo might have been normal in the 60's o 70's pop culture, but that is not really flying right in 2002. It's really funny that they soft retconned Nightwing's suit but the contradictions of times between issues, the references to the previous "Titans" and the veiled references to Superboy punching reality - which clearly couldn't have happened, and yet all of those things still remain.

At this point, they need a Crisis event to just clean up one year of comics.

It really wouldn't surprise me if the carpet-bombing of old continuity is starting to get some resistance from those outside the DiDio and Lee alliance. The Titans, particularly those of the New Teen variety, are sort of the cornerstone of the DCU, the promise of legacy heroes fully realized.

It's as if what they seemed to want to do with the Titans would be like Marvel wiping out the silver age X-men and then saying that while Jean and Cyclops and Beast were around, they didn't know Xavier and the X-men really started eighteen months ago with a vampire named Jubilee, a hairy teen called Logan, and a new insectoid creature called Buzz-kill.

DC shouts out that the whole purpose of the relaunch was to establish a clean starting point free from the traditional bindings of cannon which typically dissuade new readers from jumping on... That's such a bullshit excuse it's not even funny.

They may have accomplished the goal of attracting new readers, but did so only on their ride of publicity. Not their actual performance. DC didn't create a clean slate, they created a slate so ambiguous that attempts to define it are nothing but persuasive and arbitrary. As evidenced by the fact that sales are low now that we're in the thick of it. As well as how long-time writers don't even have a clue what the fuck is going on any more. Cannon is far more muddied now than it has ever been.

It's such a shame because DC was changing around and heading down a good direction before the new 52. Were some aspects and stories stale? Yeah. I'll admit that. But it is really that fucking hard to say, "hey, look. Aquaman just crawled out of the ocean and totally acts different now?" No, it's not. They essentially did that anyway, but sacrifice they had to wreck a ton of character development on characters that were working. Marvel flips characterizations on a dime and doesn't bat an eye about it. But they draw the line when it comes to rebooting the entire universe every time it happens.

Swampthing and Animal Man are the two shinny beacons to come out of this, but they're nothing that couldn't have been done without a big reboot behind them. DC needs to let the writers have a little more direction with where they want to take characters, otherwise they're not going to lead them anywhere but through a couple issue arch that means nothing.

It's all a mess and well, I'm just saying that I'd really would have preferred if they just went "It's a total reboot, nothing before ever happened" and work off that. Instead we get this quagmire that results in comic book fans and the obsessives arguing about what actually happened and what hasn't. They really missed their chance during Final Crisis - That was probably the best time to play this reboot card and they sure as hell missed it.

Though, maybe they couldn't work with Final Crisis because Morrison had the good guys not only actually rebooting the universe from scratch, but also casting out everything that was wrong with the old universe.... which was everything that DC's editorial loved and shoved to the front and center of this new 52.

And this is why we can't have good things.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Makin' Bacon Pancakes Sort of Day

A Makin' Bacon Pancakes Sort of Day

Christmas is over. It's that sort of lingering hangover of the holiday ham going on right now as we do literally nothing. Why is that? Because generally the week between Christmas and the end of the year is a whole mess of unproductiveness. Why would anyone anything anyway? In a couple of days you're going to be able to just press the restart button for the year. So hey, let yourself go. And what better way to do that than by going with the basics..

Mmm, making pancakes, you get some bacon and you put it in a pancake! Makin' paaaaancakes!

Yeah, I'm phoning it in as I allow my brain to melt with all the god damn end of the year best of list.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Scotch on the Rocks

Scotch on the Rocks

With the Holidays in full throttle, I guess it's time to show you how you should be drinking your scotch at all those holiday get togethers. Let this man show you how you do a thing or two...

Now you're probably wondering if this dude is for reals. I mean, he does that same "throw it on the floor" thing in every single video he has... So it leaves folks wondering if he's hamming it up or if he's entirely serious about all this shit. One thing to know for certain is that the advice he's giving seems real enough. 

For those of you who think it's a joke video, let me tell you - it's not a joke. It's Richard "the nose" Paterson and one of the top blenders in the industry. He's more of a PR man now because of his extroverted demeanor and antics, he blends whiskey that goes for 160 grand a bottle. He may be eccentric, but he's definitely not joking when it comes to whiskey.

On to a different topic - Rye whiskey and how it's different than malt whiskey. 

Rye's more easily compared to bourbon than malt whiskey, just since the process is overall the same other than the base grain mixture. Like, a bourbon you've got the aging in new charred oak so there's the caramel and vanilla from the wood, but rye is drier and spicier compared to the sweeter corn that dominates in bourbon.

Rye and Malt whiskey are only both known as whiskey by an accident of linguistics. The difference between at least 51% rye mashbill distilled to 160 proof aged in never-before-used charred white oak barrels for 3 years or more in some barrel, maybe bourbon, maybe sherry cask, is substantial. Rye and malt whiskey are only passingly similar.

So there you go. Now you're better equipped to deal with the Holiday season.

Baby It's Still Cold Outside

Baby It's Still Cold Outside

Okay, once more to wrap up all the bitching about Christmas music, let's just revisit the awful of the most awful. Baby It's Cold Outside;

So as it turns out, songs about date rape are not improved by the art of comedy. I mean, I still can't believe that the line "What's in this drink?" was not a line added for the sake of parody. No sir. It's in the actual song and it's truly disturbing that no one picked up on it and just passed it off as some sort of playfulness of the time.

But even with switched gender roles it's still so disturbing. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Elf's are Dicks

Elf's are Dicks

You're probably wondering what elves do when Santa is out and about delivering those gifts that they were slaving away all year long making, right? Well here's a little insight...

Yeah, they could be a little bit of a dick.

X-mas Music

X-mas Music

So here I am on Christmas day and the only thing that can come to my mind is the joy of not having to deal with Christmas music after the day is done. It really should be a capital offense to play Christmas music over speakers in the public areas. It really just makes me want to rip my ears off and put in plenty of tinsel in its place so I don't have to hear any more of it. Who wouldn't want to do that to get away from hearing timeless classics dealing with birds and the poors as well as literal date rape.

I'm pretty sure that they play Christmas carols 24/7/365 at Gitmo. Soldiers guarding the prisoners are each issued a set of noise canceling headphones and an iPod full of Slayer to avoid succumbing into the madness and torture that the inmates have to endure. But let me tell you, if I have to hear one more rendition of have yourself a merry little Christmas, I'm going to blow red, white and green chunks all over the place.

The worse is if you've ever worked retail. Working retail during Christmas is a simple road to madness. I'm thankful that I haven't had to work retail for almost a decade because, my god, that shit is just piping into the sales floor so it's never a matter of escaping that shit.

I mean, seriously, can somebody get this little fucking bastard his two front teeth so he'll stop singing about them?!

Though it's really hard to pick the single most horrendous Christmas song in the bunch, but that Grandma got run over by a reindeer is pretty awful. See, I told you I would come back to that god awful song. It's bad in every way possible. It is completely empty of anything remotely close to catchiness and is completely unfunny on all regards. But hey, at least it has actual music. "Christmas Wrapping" by the waitresses has no musicality whatsoever and yet will get stuck in my head at least five times before the new year. And for that I hate you with a passion, stupid song.

 Maybe I would appreciate Christmas music a lot more if I had a to hear it because David Bowie just dropped by my house to... well, to do whatever he was doing there or something.

Occupy The North Pole - Merry Christmas

Occupy The North Pole - Merry Christmas

First off let's just get it out of the way, there's very little CHRIST in Christmas. The whole notion is beyond stupid and the church complaining that Xmas is being hijacked by other traditions fails to see he fact that Christmas in itself was the Church's attempt to hijack pagan festivals.

In any case, there's a war on Christmas, which is ironic that Americans are battling so hard for a socialized holiday. Because in some sense Santa Claus could just be considered a huge communist. And I don't think it's just that he makes toys for good little boys and girls and gives them out, thus equal redistribution. But think about it, his workshop has to be like a co-op. He doesn't actually run it. He just goes out and delivers the presents.

Then I think the harsh reality sets in. The elves are slaves. In fact, the more I think about it, the more sinister this whole Santa thing becomes. The elves are his slaves and Santa gets fat off Christmas cookies while the elves toil and starve in a frozen wasteland.

And what about Rudolph? I mean, nobody liked him until they actually needed him. What the hell is the deal with that? I mean, it's basically how people behave, I guess. But it's all sorts of messed up to have that in a story and nobody bats an eye in seeing what's wrong with that message?

If I may make a stretch here, but perhaps they don't like him because he has a red nose. Just let me repeat that Hollywood blacklisting bullshit once more. No one likes him because he has a RED nose. Yeah, makes you think.

In short - Santa clearly represents total commodity fetishism and Rudolph is just typical communism hating.

It makes you wonder why we even keep this commie-red story alive? Typically when the topic comes up as to why we keep pushing this notion of lying to children about Santa Claus, it's some bullshit about keeping the magic of Christmas alive. As if the only possible magic associated with receiving gifts of an unknown nature is where they're coming from.  I once got a train set when I was 9, after learning the truth about Santa, and the magic was not harmed. In fact, I would not have cared if my parents told me elves made them, or if she told me that she found it in a sewer.

One of my first reactions when I found out the truth was to feel bad for my parents and parents all around. It must feel really unfair to have your kids give the credit for the nice things you're giving them to somebody else. They explained it that Santa Claus was just a marketing tool invented by Coca-Cola. It turns out they're not that wrong on that one.

You see, little buddy, Santa Claus is what we call a social construct. Which seems like the best explanation for the whole thing anyway. I tell myself that I wouldn't lie to my kids about it, but I'm sure by then the war on Christmas is going to be so dug in deep that Jesus will be delivering via UPS.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Little Christmas Eve Night Story

A Little Christmas Eve Night Story

With this being the eve of Christmas and all the kiddies are awaiting a fat man coming down their... well, opening to their home to give them gifts, here's a little story time.

Christmas Eve - Or As I Put it, Doctor Who Eve

Christmas Eve - Or As I Put it, Doctor Who Eve

Get ready for a new Doctor Who tomorrow!

Yeah, I don't look forward to some Coke invented costume freak coming down and giving me gifts. I look forward to The Doctor doing just that. Bring it on!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

TIME Person of the Year - Oh For Fucks Sake

TIME Person of the Year - Oh For Fucks Sake

You know, TIME Magazine, I sort of gave up on you a couple of years back when you sadly named YOU(tube) the Person of the year. Yeah, sure. That little reflective mirror thing on the cover, as to make sure that anyone who was looking at the cover felt that they themselves were person of the year for contributing jack of all shit to Youtube. But it was a god damn lame duck cop out of a call.

Well, that's what I thought, but after you just released who's TIME's person of the year this year, I take it back - This one's the lame fuck around.

Why yes, let's nominate Nobel Peace Prize and multiple Grammy award winner, Time Magazine's Extra Special Person of the Year, President Barack "Unmanned Drones are the shit, yo" Obama.

Bet you didn't know that Obama won a fucking Grammy, now did you?

You just thought that it was facetiousness on my part based on his growing collection of liberal "wonderful personhood" awards that seem to be thrown at him left and right. But nope, it's actually real. He's a multiple Grammy award-winner Barack Obama. IN DA HOUSE. He got it for the spoken word version of Dreams from my father.

You have to wonder what the running time on that is. I mean, can anyone work out how many people died in Afghanistan in the time it takes him to read the entire book? I'm pretty sure it will be a large number. I can't imagine how many are from Drone attacks. You know, that highly against the rules of war/war crime worthy task of using unmanned drones... the ones that the Military had to ESPN to help analyze the vast amount of footage they were getting in.
JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – Can SportsCenter teach the military something about combating terrorists?
After rapidly expanding the number of drones around the world, the Air Force is now reaching out to ESPN and other experts in video analysis to keep up with the flood of footage the unmanned aircraft are transmitting.
"They're looking at anything and everything they can right now," said Air Force Col. Mike Shortsleeve, commander of a unit here that monitors drone videos.
The remote-controlled aircraft are mounted with cameras that transmit real-time video of terrorism suspects to military analysts in the USA.

Anyhow, on a side note, this is Obama's second person of the year win. The last one came in 2008 when he won the election. So having him win it again during his re-election is just really lazy. Though, truth be told, picking the American President as the biggest news maker of the year is such a softball choice. Especially the case when you already picked him last time around.

I wont even get to the crimes against humanity he has done - and I'm an Obama supporter. Amazing that I can talk like this. But seriously, shame on you, TIME magazine. Shame indeed.

A Very Christmas Aquateen

A Very Christmas Aquateen

I know the feel.

I know the feel

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Seasons Greetings From The NRA

Seasons Greetings From The NRA

First can I start by saying that we at the National Rifle Association decided to keep our silence for the last few days in the belief that recent events in Connecticut did not deserve to become a political football or exploited to advance a political agenda. But I can assure you all that we are just as shocked and appalled as anyone by this week’s crazed attack on innocent semi-automatic rifle owners everywhere.

Let me be clear: we at the Association entirely agree that these random shootings must be stopped. But we must fight fire with fire. Just ask any of our nation’s courageous firefighters.

In the wake of these headlines we have to ask: how would things have gone at, say, Fort Hood, if there had been armed guards on patrol?

Or earlier this year in New York, when nine innocent pedestrians were senselessly gunned down by police officers bravely attempting to arrest an armed man who shot nearly two people? How would things have gone, if a coordinated tactical response had resulted in more armed officers shooting the stray bullets out of the way?

This has to be the start of a national conversation.

No questions.

Excuse me. Excuse me. I've just been given to understand that during our press conference an armed man in Pennsylvania gunned down several people, including three state troopers. We can only urge lawmakers again: we need armed guards in every squad car. The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun are an unquantifiable number of good guys who can effortlessly overcome the human instinct not to kill others and have easy access to lethal weapons.

Then again, what happens if one of those guys gets shot? Did you ever think about that? We'd have to put armed guards around every armed guard. Yes, that should do it. Because you see, guns don't kill people, they kill lots of people. Like, wow. Look at how many people they seem to kill.

But it's those mentally ill that we need to worry about. Perhaps we should demonize everyone with mental illness. Maybe make some sort of national database to track them? Who knows? I'm just a lowly gun pusher.

To be honest, the whole speech they actually gave was complete and utter insanity and out of touch irrelevance. Between the "The answer is to put armed guards in every school" and the speech getting interrupted by protest banners, the whole spectacle was just one huge farce. The fact that at the same time a Pennsylvania nut jub was on a shooting spree was just the icing on this massive mountain of bullshit cake.

Like, I think people should probably have the right to own guns. But this is just stupidity. The NRA actually wants the government to crack down on the mentally ill and possession of mental illness, but hey, have even more guns in every school RIGHT.THIS.MOMENT!

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," said Wayne LaPierre, the group's chief executive officer, as he lit a cigarette and scowled menacingly, eyes fixed on a city that was filthy. Crime was everywhere, working it's way throughout the city like so much dust in a neglected place and as he thought of his .44 magnum revolver realized that he would be this city's swiffer sweeper.

Besides, we already have a national registry of people who are most likely to shoot innocent civilians. In fact, most of the time you don't even have to consult the registry at all. All you need to do is look for someone who is wearing identifying badges and/or dog tags. 

The Minimum Wage Machine

The Minimum Wage Machine

I just thought I would share this really interesting piece I came across. It's called the Minimum Wage Machine.

So what is it? Well, it's as advertised;

Minimum Wage Machine (Work in Progress)


Custom electronics, change sorter, wood, plexiglas, motor, misc. hardware, pennies (approx. 15 x 19 x 72 inches)

The minimum wage machine allows anybody to work for minimum wage. Turning the crank will yield one penny every 4.97 seconds, for $7.25 an hour (NY state minimum wage). If the participant stops turning the crank, they stop receiving money. The machine's mechanism and electronics are powered by the hand crank, and pennies are stored in a plexiglas box. 

I really find this piece interesting. Mainly because that's what most minimum wage jobs end up being. Something that just keeps the wheels turning and even though this foundation is really important for our every day living, we treat the workers as if they're just some monkey cranking that wheel keeping the song going. The moment they stop is the moment that we stop taking care of them.

Seems pretty mean in the long run of things. Or for that matter that as a society we don't put protections in place and safety nets there to catch them before they fall... especially since they're bound to fall the moment someone else can produce it cheaper.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I Wish The Mayans Were Right

I Wish The Mayans Were Right

I mean, who doesn't want the world to end? Especially when you have news stories and legislation currently getting fast tracked to allow teachers in school to be allowed to carry weapons -
Monday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said that teachers with licenses to carry concealed handguns should have "access to weapons in their school."
Tuesday, Huffington Post counted "at least six states" where lawmakers "have outlined plans to introduce legislation in 2013 to allow teachers to carry guns into schools or require several teachers to be armed in school buildings." Those states: Florida, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota and Tennessee.
Today, there's word from WMBF in South Carolina that a legislator there "has prefiled a bill to allow teachers to carry guns in schools."
Yeah, that's exactly what we need, a poorly paid, terribly treated by society and full of pressure by little Timmy's parent's to get him to learn with the ability to carry a weapon. Surely this person will not eventually snap and go postal - I guess it'll then be changed to going Teacher.

Oh yeah, I dare you to try to bust up their unions and take away their health benefits after you give them the legal right to carry a gun into school. Not to mention that where the hell will the teacher put the weapon? I know when I was young I would always get into my teachers desk to get my confiscated toys.

Surely this will end well....

 In any event, so what are we doing for this end of the world? Well, it seems like we're blaming the Mayans for being wrong. Which is very odd because the Mayans NEVER SAID that the world was ending. The calendar just ended. We defined meaning to all this and proclaimed it was the end of times. Not sure why we should even blame the Mayans anyway. They don't even believe in that end of the world stuff.

If anything, you should blame the Spanish for coming in and conquering. That's why the calendar production assembly line sort of, you know... stopped. So what's the first thing people want to do? Well besides act as if the zombie times are coming? Well, I guess act like the end of time is here.

4chan and reddit blew up with this stupid idea.

I dunno, it just seems kind of mean spirited given how many mentally unstable people commit suicide or kill their kids over these end of the world sort of things. I'm sure there's some doomsday prepper who bugged out last night and is in his hidden sanctuary eating MRI's.

Besides that, there's no chance of this actually working anyway. I wish it did, cause nothing would be a better way to top off 2012 than to mark the end of 4chan's lulz culture.

Welp, maybe next randomly picked end of days predicted day, I suppose. 

A Doctor Who Christmas is coming...

A Doctor Who Christmas is coming...

Ah, tis the season for Christmasy things. One thing in particular is the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special. And to prepare you for that upcoming annual wonderment, here's a little prequel with souffle girl.

And if you weren't teased enough, here's a little more to get your interest peaked and have something to look forward to with the blessed birth of lord and savior - Matt Smith

Oh goodie oh goodie oh goodie.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Amazing Spiderman #700

Amazing Spiderman #700

There was a time when I would have said that I'm glad I don't remember much of the Clone Saga. Hell, even the Maximum Carnage story line was terrible enough to forget. Then in the past few years we had some seriously stupid stuff come out. The Other, for example, taught us that Spider-man has bone claw spikes of some sort. Then we have One More Day. A story line that had Spider-man make a deal with the devil to keep his aunt alive, but he lost his marriage with Mary Jane as part of the package deal. The point of this move was to get Peter Parker back into that teenager troubles he got when the current editor at Marvel first read Spidey.

You know, the days when he would book a date on the same night with both Mary Jane and Gwen, have to do a favor for Aunt May and here comes trouble for Spider-man... all while trying to avoid Aunt May finding out his secret! Boy howdy, how is Peter going to get out of this pickle?!

And so they had their fun with that sort of story for a while and with today's release of Amazing Spider-man #700, things take a drastic turn for the far far worse. First off, there will be spoilers here. So hey, be warned. Anyhow, I don't know about you, but after 700 issues of the adventures of Spider-man, you would think that they'd want to celebrate such a milestone in a better fashion then what they did.

First off, they killed Peter Parker. Specifically Doc Ock, a long time villain of his. Even worse is they did it in what has to be the dumbest way possible. Apparently Doc and Spidey have switched brains ala trading places. Peter now being in the body of an old man about to die... well, in a shocking turn, he dies. Leaving Doc Octopus to remain in Spider-man's body. Yeah, not the birthday celebration that after 700 issues you would expect. 

The ending leaves it that Spock, if we will call him that, beats the hell out of Peter Parker in Doc's body and then after he's dead proclaims that he'll be a far better spiderman than Peter ever was. He'll be a SUPERIOR SPIDERMAN!  Which is what the comic book is turning into. After 700 issues, Amazing spider-man is no more. The book is starting Superior Spider-man with Spock as the character.

This in itself is fucking disturbing. How much hate do you have to hold for a character to do this to one of the biggest franchise characters of the company? How much hate do you have to have for its fans? You know what would have been a better ending? Doc Ock voluntarily switching bodies back after realizing what an incredible person Peter Park was. A reflection of the past 699 issues and realizing how great this character was. That would have made this supposed heel-face turn far more believable. But nope, all we get is "I'm TOTALLY gonna be a better Spider-man than that fucking nerd!"

I don't know how much more insulting it can be than to have it end like that - Peter Parker dead in a gutter with his loved ones celebrating his death while Doc Ock declares that he will be better than Peter. How exactly is your average reader suppose to feel okay with purchasing this book at $8?!

As a writer it just seems like a fucking mess. We're now going to have to endure 12 issues of Spock as a complete asshole Spider-man before they ham-fistedly push Peter Parker back into his body. It's even more amazing because Doc Ock as Superior Spider-man acts absolutely nothing like Peter. He acts like Doctor Octopus. It's like the other characters realize there has been a change but they do nothing in any way to address this. You would assume that she would notice something, especially since the Chameleon's tried this before. She was married to him for years and Spock seems incapable of even making a joke.

Even worse is that in the book Mary Jane is asking for a second chance at their relationship and all Spock does is call her a glorified sidekick. How in the fuck is she not picking up on that? Even worse is that after he does that, she begs him and he kisses her.

I can't wait till the feminist groups rip into the writer because he paints the picture of Mary Jane as a completely useless and welcome mat female. It's truly awful and the notion that Mary Jane gets back with "Peter Parker" now is just all levels of creepy as fuck. To the point of if Doc Ock does anything with her, it should be considered rape. So what exactly is the driving force behind all this?

The answer to all this is Dan Slott. He's found his excuse to keep writing Spider-man the way he wanted to write it for another year or two as this story drags out and sales drop. It's a big finger to the fans, but hey, his stance is if you don't like it then it's your problem and not the person making their loved characters act completely different... or, you know, having their favorite characters get murdered by their villains and take their place in their body.

Visually it's still Peter Parker with the rest of the same cast. Hell Spock knows all of Peter's memories somehow with the mind swap. It's just we're going to get a lot of arrogant attitude out of the character because Dan Slott wants it to be that way. While I know this could all be avoided if you just don't buy the book and don't listen to Dan Slott's interview or twitter feed, but then again, the dude is crazy.

Don Slott will actually go out and search for his name, the words Amazing Spider-man and even Spider-man through social media, as has been documented in many situations, and fire off at you if you disagree with him. He's just that passionate about twitter that he delves into the realm of e-stalker behavior. He's built this reputation off of it. He wants to nag at people on message boards, twitter and anywhere he can. He gets off on this shit of breaking the internet. It's rather stupid. I guess the answer is simple with this though, don't buy Spider-man books and just vote with your wallet. 

Even More Shooting Ramblings

Even More Shooting Ramblings

Here we are almost a week since the event and when I'm sitting down with some radio news on during the commute back home, I have to say that this amount of coverage for the shooting is utterly mind blowing. I almost feel like I want to just vomit. It's just so sickening to see all the contortions and contrivances used by for-profit news to milk as much money as possible out of the deaths of 18 children.

But hey, let's not talk about WHY this happened or HOW to prevent it in the future, that would mean there's a reason for things happening and that won't fucking stand in America's media circus. Let's just keep going on about this senseless tragedy after all. It's literally incoherent and the only reason we know it happened is because we just won't shut the fuck up about it for at least one more day.

Oh, if only they had some sort of guidance in learning how to report on this tragedy.

But nah, who needs set standards and any sort of moral ethics when you're a news journalist? It's really got to be harsh when even you wouldn't put up with that bullshit. I know I couldn't. I was, at one point, looking to join the journalism force. Man, I'm so glad that didn't pan out as I had hoped for. It's all about appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Just look at this twitter exchange and I dare you not to be completely disgusted by how far the media will go to try to get the scoop on the story;

Then again, it's not the news outlet that has me mad a lot more on this issue. And that is those fake well wishers. It's those people who loudly proclaim their sympathies over this tragedy on their facebook pages, twitter accounts and whatever else you'd see it. Mainly because those people who are outraged, saddened and otherwise stumped are the same type who will not bat an eye when its learned that Drone attacks kill far more innocent people than guilty terrorist. Though it's only when those drone attacks hits its magical target every time. So you can't really take into account those Gibberishtan people's safety. As my father put it, "no one's innocent" or some bullshit like that. What it comes down to is that the kids who died at the school were white - the towel heads in the desert are on their own.

On the other hand, maybe it was all part of some divine intervention and we're all just being judged now? It does make you wonder why the big man wasn't present.


You see, God is like a vampire and can only enter houses he's personally invited into. I mean, what an awesome God. He doesn't intervene to save kids from being shot to death solely because the teachers didn't force them to recite a prayer. Man, that God dude is a real asshole.

Then again, perhaps I'm digging the whole aspect of "there's no god in our schools, that's why there's school violence" aspect of this that keeps going around. As if it were kindergarteners reenacting Lord of the Flies instead of an adult breaking into an elementary school with a bunch of guns.

I know plenty of people who aspire to be teachers someday and currently are teachers and I can not even begin to fathom what kind of teacher would feel comfortable taking a weapon to school and then considering actually using it in the school instead of doing whatever possible step to keep the students safe. Like, what kind of teacher would go "Hey kids, stay right here and I'll be back. Gotta go cap these mother fuckers." and then Rambos the fuck out the door with bullets flying?

And thus we go on to the subject of gun control. I still believe that we first need to get rid of the stigmatization that mental illness has. Hell, just saying you went to go see your shrink will get people thinking that you're crazy. And that's really the best thing we can do? Universal access to high quality health care including mental health care, with strong enforcement of anti-discrimination regulations are what we need. Along with anti-poverty and offender re-entry programs, it would be a great step towards reducing gun violence. Banning guns, on the other hand, would not be.

I'm pretty sure you're aware of computer piracy. Getting a gun on the black market is a lot like that - it's also very easy, if you didn't know. I had a friend come home from prison and suddenly have the best idea that they would get a pistol. A couple of phone calls later and a few hours pass and sure enough - after a hundred bucks or so, they had a pistol. They later decided to get rid of it as being caught with a pistol on probation would have been an easy 10-year mandatory minimum. And for what, a security blanket. Besides, if we get rid of guns, they'll just start using knives. It's as simple as that. You can replace the tool, you just need to fix the tool user and find out why they're doing this in the first place.

A lot of this has to do with the issue that mental health in the US for people without any means has been turned into a prison system by another name. Shit, the countries biggest mental hospital is literally in the jail building in downtown Los Angeles.

The most common argument I'm seeing made is that the guns carried by teachers will work as a deterrent and never be used in schools. Ah yeah, the deterrent will surly work great on the consistently suicidal premeditated-mass-murdering demographic.

The whole notion of giving teachers guns is beyond silly that I don't even know where to start with it. How about the fact that as a kid, I broke into my teacher's desk all the time for the contra band that she took from us. Now I'll be able to find a gun in that desk? Just think, kids will somehow be breaking into the armory and suddenly they will have access to a lot of weapons. 

It's fairly obvious now that the answer is to arm not only the teachers, but the students as well. But not the custodial staff, though, you understand.

But as much as teachers should be bodyguards first and educators second, students should not feel they are automatically entitled to an education if they can't navigate the mono-filament wire traps and ghost the remorseless sensor pits of the kill-drones to reach the book shelf. Look, if you didn't learn how to field-strip an AR-15 blindfolded before third grade, well I just don't know what to tell you about the shitty education you were given.

In the end all that can be said about this situation is FUCK IT, FUCK IT ALL TO HELL

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Talking About a Little Pappy Whiskey

Talking About A Little Pappy Whiskey

With Christmas just a couple of days away, it's perhaps no better time to get your drink on. And what better to drink than some good Bourbon. So how about we talk about my favorite-  Pappy Van Winkle. Oh, the double bladed sword of delicious goodness. But it has left me wondering why it's so fucking hard to find it.

When and why did Pappy Van Winkle develop this crazy cult following? Don't get me wrong, I love the stuff. It taste amazing, but there is so many other fine bourbons out there that could take some hype off this sucker. A couple of years ago I could get this stuff on the shelf whenever I wanted. Now? Not so much.

I have to go into my bottle shop and get on a waiting list and when they do get it in, the prices are always on the higher side. Maybe it was because the 23 year old bottle, which let's be honest here, is well beyond most people's price range, was given the title "Best whiskey in the world" by some random folks a few years back. It's the same thing that happened to Westyletern.

Look, I love the stuff, but perhaps Van Winkle isn't worth getting this attention of being the best or anything. That's how you create high expectations for a drink. Not to mention I want something I'm not going to feel guilty drinking due to its rarity.

But yeah, there's some kind of crazy mystique behind Pappy that makes it so interesting to people. It's always reviewed amazingly, it's rare and it's expensive - especially for a bourbon. I bet that a lot of folks don't know that most of Pappy's stuff is actually Buffalo Trace and their Stizel-Weller days are almost all gone.

And even after I just said all that, I still want a bottle of it right now. So I guess the only thing to talk about now is maybe a proper alternative. From the press release, I'm thinking that this is very noteworthy. Woodford's 2012 Master Collection seems well worth checking out. Especially when the tasting notes and opinions coming out are very glowing.
Our Four Wood Selection is crafted from a unique batching of mature bourbon, matured in American Oak Wood, that has been finished in barrels made from Maple Wood, Sherry Wood and Port Wood.

The practice of batching together various types of finishing barrels is a less common, more exacting craft – delivering a product of exceptional complexity and smoothness.

The Oloroso Sherry barrels contribute notes of walnut and caramel; the Ruby Port barrels add rich berry fruit while the Maple Wood barrels bring in additional layers of maple syrup and baking spice. The result is a whiskey with an unsurpassed depth of fruit character that is easily savored neat or over ice.

The Four Wood Selection is available November 2012, but supplies are limited, so ask your retailer today.
But yeah, that Woodfords release sounds pretty interesting and seems to follow the trend some bourbon distillers have been doing lately in experimenting with different woods. And perhaps I should touch one more topic before the Christmas miracle happens of you getting completely shit faced....

That is the question of how long does your booze last once you open a bottle. In that, how long do you have to drink your stuff before it goes completely south? 

The answer is simple. A long time. Generally speaking, they last a very long time. It's not like wine or beer were oxidization kills the liquor. If a bottle has a very small amount in it, like less than a quarter of the bottle is actually alcohol, then it's time to drink it within a couple of weeks or decant it into a smaller bottle. But the general rule is that more air surface area means more oxidation But I've had some that were there for years and weren't any less delicious. 

Diluting Your Drink

Diluting  Your Drink

With you surviving Thanksgiving, and Christmas only being a tiny bit away, it's probably a good time to talk about how you're going to get smashed in order to deal with your awful family. What better tool than alcohol for this task? For all of you who are wondering how much water one needs to add to a drink, here's your How to drink scotch guide just in time.

You basically add enough to dilute it to 30% to get the most amount of flavor out of the drink. And while it may seem a little strange, and you'd probably wonder why you're doing so, remember that a lot of aroma and flavor comes out this way. It also sort of depends on the spirit. With a 100 proof bourbon, you'd probably need just enough to calm the alcohol vapors. But if you're drinking something like cask strength, it may take up to 2 tablespoons to mellow it out. The trick here is to add just enough to open up the aromas and flavors without drowning it.

Then you should note that some whiskies will take water far better than others. The ABV of the drink really does factor into it in indication towards how much to add, but it's not a hard solid thing on how much water you should put before it just falls in on itself.

Basically, if you could smell your booze, you probably could add a little more water. Just know that you graduated from the standard Coke and Bourbon school and are now entering the world of Bourbon and ice.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas' Good Feelings

Life is pretty shitty. Let's just get that out of the way. The holiday season is indeed one of those most depressing times of the year and for proper reason. It gets a lot darker sooner and the whole lack of friends and loved ones to spend it with kick in. Well, it's just bleak. So how about we turn that frown and potential blood splatter on the wall upside down and inject some cuteness into this blog post for one day..

Enjoy this series of pictures of two unlikely best of friends.

I'll let you have a moment to say the biggest Awwwww around.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Oh, Another Shooting - Let's Talk About Gun Control

Oh, Another Shooting - Let's Talk About Gun Control

Here's my problem with all this. The narrative of what exactly happened and how it happened in this latest gun shooting case was that Adam Lanza killed his mother and then took her three guns and went to the elementary school five miles away

So I have to ask, how would an improved gun control or more restrictions prevented this tragedy from occurring? His mother, an unemployed teacher probably passed every restriction and criteria met in getting those guns. I'm sure though, that on her shitty salary, even if she had a job - which she didn't, she wouldn't have been able to afford the proper mental health care that her clearly disturbed son needed.

Tightening those gun restrictions and gun control laws any tighter will not fix this issue. Hell, here's Morgan Freeman's brilliant take on what happened yesterday :
"You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here's why.

It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed
people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN's article says that if the body count "holds up", this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news."

That last part is just so spot on. Why do we even bother with jumping to gun control? They already have a five day waiting period, in most states you can't own an automatic weapon. Most of all, IT WOULDN'T HAVE CHANGED A GOD DAMN THING IN THIS SITUATION. I bet his mother was fully permitted to own and have those guns. She went through the proper channels to get the licenses that are required and unlike most guns that are used in murders, they had serial numbers and were accounted for in the system --- Yet they still were used to kill children. Why? Because someone who was clearly mentally ill got a hold of them.

There's no amount of gun control measures that could have been taken to avoid the situation that her son was potentially going to get a hold of them. Should we also do background checks on all the members of the family of the person who wants a gun? That's a waste of money. Money that could be used to that field that is very underfunded - mental health. Hell, any health for that matter. It's those crazy hobos and mentally ill folks who were kicked out into the streets and away from treatment when Reagan decided to close up the hospitals for mental illness in a method of saving money.

Mental illness should be the subject here. How this kid should have gotten helped for his demons and now society had to pay for his actions - when they could have just paid in another method of dollars and not innocent lives for available mental help/treatment. Do you honestly think that his unemployed teacher for a mother could have afforded to take him in for help? Hell, even if she was employed, the amount of benefits that your average teacher gets, as well as a complete "fuck you" in the way of a shitty pay scale means that his mental illness wouldn't have been treated anyway.

Shouldn't we worry about that more so on tightening restrictions on gun laws? I'm not even one of those right wing NRA members either, I just know from seeing the war on drugs, that if you make something harder to get, all that means is that someone is going to screw out someone else for the money to get it harder. You'll create a black market for it and that just continues the cycle of violence. Gun restrictions are tight enough as is, and again, making it more hoops to jump through wouldn't have prevented this tragedy.

So how about we curb this bullshit about making gun control a bigger thing and focus on helping those who clearly need some sort of help mentally. Hopefully that way we'll prevent this sort of thing from happening again.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cooking Under Economic Hardship Part 6

Cooking Under Economic Hardship Part 6

On to part six... which is all about Ethnic supermarkets.

Seriously, do not underestimate the wonders you will find at the ethnic supermarket.

I really lucked out in having some amazing stores nearby. In one parking lot there is a Mexican market, and Indian market and an Asian market that has everything you could probably think of. Even better is that it's all on route of a bus route. Not that anyone really takes the bus system in L.A., but I'm just saying that it's a nice option.

One thing you should do is you should go into the local Chinese grocery store and buy a minced pork and dumpling skins in bulk. It'll only cost you a couple of bucks, but it'll be amazing for your weekend staying in.

You just spend an evening or two making dumplings with your buddies of your family. You'll net around 300-400 dumplings in around 2 hours on a weekend while watching a movie or just shooting the breeze. Just put them in the freezer and whenever you're hungry you just have to take a couple of them out and cook them. Cost you less than $20 for the lot and is a tasty emergency food in the event that you need it and it'll last you for months. 

If for some reason you just can't handle garlic cloves for the life of you, you are better saved scavenging up your change and buy yourself a tube of anchovy paste. $5 will get you a largish amount. What you do is you get a pan and heat oil in it, brown some garlic in that son bitch and then add the anchovy paste - a littl less than 2/3 tsp, or a couple twists of the tube. you now have an excellent base for sauces of all kinds. Some people will tell you to use anchovy silvers instead, but the paste stretches further and lasts longer.

Then again, you could just plant your own food...

On till next time.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit - For A Shorty, You're Very Long

The Hobbit - For A Shorty, You're Very Long

The number one complaint I'm hearing about the hobbit right now is that people are dumbfounded in how you can take a 300 page book and turn it into three 3-hour films. My answer to that is that this has got to be the dumbest complaint about the movie ever. The audio book version is 11 hours long. That's just someone reading the book out loud. And then you have the fact that if in the book there is a like like "they fought off the golbins", that one line translates into a few minutes fighting on screen.

You need to have it long in order to cover everything - and I mean everything. Because even though The Hobbit was only 300 pages, the supplemental material in the other books explaining why the events in the Hobbit happened need to be there. Or would you rather just have Gandalf leave and come back abruptly and not follow in his adventures?

A lot of the critics are saying that the film is bloated. That it's stuffed with so much extraneous material that it often barely feels like Tolkien at all. For example, Tolkien didn't write a prologue about the events in the film, but then again he didn't write a prologue for Fellowship either. Let's be honest here,t hat was pretty great in that movie as it is in this one. 

So folks complaining about the family ties of dwarfs need to relax, all of that was always part of the story as you can see from the back of Return of the King. The question to reclaim Erebor was necessary in telling the story of how the dwarves were forced out of Erebor in the first place. And since Thorin is a far bigger and prominent character in this film than he was in the book, it really does make sense to give him a push in his motives here. He's fighting to reclaim his homeland, win his birthright and  avenge his forefathers before him.

And if you don't need to go into the appendices for this, all of this stuff was in the actual book of the hobbit. It's right there, pages 32-35. Thorin goes through it all ina big monologue about Erebor, Dale, Arkenstone, Smaug, Azog and Moria. It does get fleshed out after Return of the King when Tolken was revisiting The Hobbit in connecting the two, but

I think that a lot of people look at Fellowship of the Ring with some massively rose-tinted glasses. Nobody except for Frodo had any real development arcs underway by the end of that film. Legolas, Gimli, Merry and Pippin were all window dressing. Boromir and Gandalf are pretty much missing by the end and we get a very faint sense that Aragorn has some grander quest to fulfill, also he's got a chicky-pie that may or may not come back up. In all, it was a very rough film and we all still loved it when it was all said and done.

The characterizations in LOTR were pretty stiff, to be honest. Every character in LOTR is basically the same. They were all warrior kings and princes and champions saving the world from that faceless external threat and it's pretty much all there is to it. Apart from the elf-dwarf buddy film, they never really developed beyond that because they were all perfect people from the start of the fellowship. Here, on the other hand, we have what in the book was a homogenous lump of dwarves, but the film just completely has me sold that they were actual characters with reasons for being there.  

Just consider this film to spending its running time like Fellowship did - in that it was used to introduce viewers to the characters and sowing the seeds for their arcs. We can all look back and see that yeah, Pippin redeems being a fuck up and Legolas and Gimli become best of buds and so forth, but there wasn't any signal that those things were coming up unless you were already familiar with the books.

This is the only questionable thing to the film, the Hobbit movies are going to be a lot of uncharted territory to roam because we have 13 dwarves that don't really go anywhere in the books, but do have to go some place character development wise in the films. Even in a two-part movie, this would have needed to be done. So perhaps a little faith would be helpful on this regard. 

So far we got a lot. Of the six that did get any development, we had Thorin who is trying to reclaim his honor and lost kingdom, Balin is the sensible voice in his ear following out of love for his friend. Dwalin is the loyal soldier and badass in the field. Kili and Fili are young and idealistic, with Kili also being beardless-legolas for the ladies, and Bofur just wants the best for everyone. So far there's already a lot of character development for these fellas who in the book are just background who have names that sound similar.  

Besides, if the film tosses us new stuff like Radagast's rabbit sled, who can actually complain?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I Fought The Beer Law, And the Law Won

I Fought The Beer Law, And the Law Won

There is a lot of places where the law is the law is the law. Not everyone likes the law, but you sort of have to follow it. Well, in some places, following the law is a tricky thing.

I live in Pennsylvania. To buy beer by the case, you must go to a distributor. A distributor can also ONLY sell cases. To buy quantities less than a case, you must go to a bottle shop, or a pizza/sandwich shop. Also, our beer is not sold in most grocery stores not named Whole Foods or Wegman's. We also cannot buy liquor and beer in the same place. At least the beer distributors and liquor stores are now allowed to open on Sundays now.

Virginia is an ABC state, so we have special state run liquor stores which are the only place to buy liquor. That said beer and wine can pretty much be sold anywhere and in whatever quantity so I'll take that. We just recently passed a law allowing breweries to sell full pints out of their tasting rooms instead of just samples, so all in all we are moving in the right direction.

Mississippi just recently (July 1), change the law that limited ABV in beer to 10.2%.
Previously is was at 6%.

Much better, but still lower than it should be.


Texas is so screwed up that I can't possibly remember them all, but:

(1) No one ships to TX, at least not legally
(2) Stores that sell beer and liquor have to close by 9pm, and stay closed all day Sunday. Grocery stores, etc., that don't sell liquor can't sell beer on Sundays until after 12.
(3) Companies that want to distribute their beer here from out of state have to purchase an expensive license to do so, which therefore means a LOT of companies don't distribute their beer here!
(4) Labeling is a huge pain in the ass for local brewers - TABC has to approve all labels, the process is extremely slow, and I know it used to be more stringent than it is now in terms of what exactly could be written on bottles.
(5) Breweries can't sell their own beer on-site: 3-tier system. So you can go to a brewery and sample their beer, but if you want to buy some, you have to then go to a store and buy it.

There's a lot more, but I'm starting to get angry just typing these.....

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bicycle Riding Cat

Bicycle Riding Cat

Now this is pretty awww inspiring. Time to have your heart grow a couple of sizes right here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Learning To Drink Like a Man

Learning To Drink Like a Man

Having Thanksgiving dinner with your family has probably pushed you to drinking heavily. Now what you need to do is learn how to deal with this new embraced hobby. For example, you may be new to scotch and whiskey drinking and wondering what you can actually afford on a budget without looking like some dirty hobo. Good news! 

Good news! You can drink on a budget with your varying taste preferences! If you want some introductory level Scotch, Bourbon, Rye, I'd suggest the following. These tend to have more of a softer somewhat caramelly flavoring. This is popular among entry level whiskey drinkers who can sometimes find the heat and strength of whiskey abrasive or overpowering.

Add in that they're relatively affordable and of high quality too boot. Peated whiskey can be very polarizing and I would be hesitant to start with something of that nature.

Bulleit Rye Whiskey

Buffalo Trace

Single Malt Scotch
Auchentoshan Three Wood
Aberlour 12 - An alternative if budget is an issue. Less sweet but still delicious. I know a lot of people in this forum prefer it to the Three Wood.

If you want to step it up some, I would recommend going for the Green Label of Johnny Walker. You should do so quickly as it's going to be discontinued - which is a tragedy as it's probably one of the best Johnny Walker scotches. It's just amazing why they'd want to dump Green Label. It's probably one of their best and the price is actually reasonable enough to make it a buy.

It's not that Blue is bad. It's just bad at its price point. In particular, it's not better than Green, which is a fraction of the price. Maybe that's it. It's still at a price point where most people shopping today will go right to the single malt rack without look its way. The general public doesn't know what a pure/blended/vatted malt is, they just think it's the third up in the line.

Maybe Green Label was just not selling at all. Well, not anywhere outside Taiwan. As it had no sales presence at all in Europe and only slightly better popularity in the rest of Asia and the U.S. It's definitely one of my favorite scotches

So there. Now you're better equipped to handle the holidays.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Beer is Hitting The Books

Beer is Hitting The Books

Rogue brewery is a beer company that really likes to do a lot of gimmicky beers. In the past they've partnered up with Voodoo Donuts to create a maple bacon beer and they constantly have strange experimental beers like "Let's use the yeast strain we found in our head brewers beard!".

Well, it looks like they just taken it one step further into the realm of stupidity as they're planning to make a special beer in honor of Powell's Book Store's anniversary. The special ingredient? Moby Dick

Powell’s Books and Rogue Ales and Spirits, two unique Oregon businesses, have collaborated to create a beer that’s dedicated to everyone with a thirst for books and artisan craft beer –  White Whale Ale.

White Whale Ale is infused with the sea-faring spirit of Moby Dick. Michael and Emily Powell took pages from a copy of the book and, along with Rogue brewmaster, John Maier, placed them into the brew kettle. Moby Dick is especially meaningful to Michael Powell, who was inspired to become a bookseller when he found a first edition of the novel in a box of books he’s purchased.
I have to wonder, is even putting printing ink into a beer all that safe?

At least Voodoo donut was at least a shot at what they were trying to emulate. I don't get the point of putting several pages of Moby Dick into a beer. It'll add nothing to the taste that you could at least say "Hey, this taste just like Moby Dick!" so it's pretty much pointless. How about, you know, going for something like Melville's opus as it's probably the single most densely symbolic work of American literature. They're just too lazy to use an actual ingredient or tailor the recipe of a beer from literature or do some research for the period it took place.

Nope! Let's just chuck some pages of a book in there. How fucking lazy.  Rogue has safely taken the crown from Dogfish Head as the brewery with the dumbest gimmick beers. Though for once you will know why people describe a rogue beer as papery and cardboardy flavored.

It would be one thing if it had been done with an actual 1st edition of Moby Dick. And that's a huge MAYBE, Mainly because after some time, the chemicals used in books could break down and create a vanilla-like aroma to form. It's why old books smell so good. But chances are these pages were from the last half-century and this is going to taste like eating a ream of paper. Though let's be honest, it would have tasted bad anyway.

When it's all said and done, this is just incredibly stupid and pointless and just paints craft beer drinkers in a light that we actually tolerate this stupidity. Though, I guess I should be pleased that they aren't using a real whale's dick to brew it.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Saving Face... Book

Saving Face....Book

Many people feel that Facebook is a sort of devil's tool. Something that you sort of have to have but at the same time they make it really hard to like it. I know of a lot of people who left as soon as they started rolling out Timelines - a feature that pretty much made mapping out your entire life online possible.

In actuality, Timeline is just how they display content on your profile. It looks cool at first but it's a really difficult way to try to read someone's profile. Let alone attempting to keep things private and not completely out there about yourself and your actions is a bit of a pain in the ass.

It's too late for me to delete it. I'm too far down the rabbit hole in it, I have my entire life going back nearly 8 years on it and do most of my social planning via it. So it's kind of a stuck situation for me.

Look at myself, my facebook is and always has been under a false name and I basically untag anything that is labeled as myself and you need to go through some hoops to label pictures of me. So it's not really so bad. I have like 70 friends and my wall is basically as plain as it can be. I generally just post links to these articles I write and every now and then I get some old high school friend or random friend of friend tell me "I read all your articles, you're pretty insightful" and I'm all, hmm, I guess I have some facebook fanclub. Neato.

On the flip side, I also succeeded in making everyone who wasn't a communist red bastard loathe my post and dread my status updates on something most people enjoy.

This doesn't mean I don't get why people hate it. I mean, has Facebook even pretended that it's anything more than a giant data gathering farm for advertisers at this point? It has got to be some of the scummiest practices around, even by American standards. And yet we all just love it so. I'm not sure why America trust it so much.

It's gotten to the point that you can be turned down for a job because not having a Facebook account is seen as suspicious activity. I can't be bothered to dig up the article, but Facebook is so much of an important aspect to the hiring process, at least for particular jobs, that you won't get them if you don't have a social media profile.

Like, it's as if not having a Facebook or not using it makes you be seen as not being a "social person" or something like that. Also, if you don't have a Facebook account, that sets off red flags because Facebook is so ubiquitous that not having one must mean you did something bad to get banned, which speaks of what kind of person you are.

I sort of wish I was making this up but here we are. Lots of jobs now also like to ask for your Facebook password so they can check your shit and also if you DO have a Facebook, you better be careful about what you say because if you complain about your job or you complain about customers who make you stay literally like an hour or two after your shift is up at as a waiter and then leave a $5 tip, you can possibly get fired because of it.

While I like the aspect of using the internet to talk to people from across the country or whatever, it seems like we constantly use technology for the wrongest things possible. Especially when it's something like "social media integration" - Because really, how on earth could they ever really justify asking for your password. I'm thinking it's this article.

It basically shows that wanting to have some semblance of privacy means you're suspicious. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear - or some Orwellian stance like that. I mean, they already basically fucked you by allowing your friends the ability to share your profile with the government
A federal judge has ruled that investigators can go through your Facebook profile if one of your friends gives them permission to do so. The decision, which is part of a New York City racketeering trial, comes as courts struggle to define privacy and civil liberties in the age of social media.
In an order issued on Friday, US District Judge William Pauley III ruled that accused gangster Melvin Colon can’t rely on the Fourth Amendment to suppress Facebook evidence that led to his indictment. Colon had argued that federal investigators violated his privacy by tapping into his profile through an informant who was one of this Facebook friends.
The informant’s Facebook friendship served to open an online window onto Colon’s alleged gangster life, revealing messages he posted about violent acts and threats to rival gang members. The government used this information to obtain a search warrant for the rest of Colon’s Facebook account. The Colon information is part of a larger investigation into crack-dealing and murder in the Bronx.
Fucking hell, I have to laugh at this shit. This is the real clinchers;
Ironically, Colon’s current account suggests that the government’s ability to peruse Facebook profiles may have become even easier since the introduction of the Facebook Timeline. The feature can in some cases reveal past events and status updates to the public unless a user changes his or her privacy settings.
HAHAHAHAHA Privacy settings... HA!

Don't even bother asking if it's secure and safe if you set your Facebook to private. That is a joke in itself and Facebook can easily change that setting without your permission and most of all, without you even realizing it. They did just change everyone's email address to some generic @Facebook address, after all.

I think the best thing about Myspace, and why I miss it just a little is that the private messages had two options at the bottom of it -
Reply to Message and Remove From Friends.

made it completely easy to just delete friends and keep some sort of level of privacy from others. Be it you were going to be bombarded by stupid indie bands trying to sell their record.

Don't get me started on twitter. I can't hold myself to only 140 characters and thus I hate that program. I simply refuse to be constrained to 140 characters, we're not posting in London during the blitz with letter rationing in full swing.

Ironically enough, that post was less than 140 characters.

You have to admit, Facebook is really creepy. I constantly get recommendations friend wise that Facebook just shouldn't know about, it's ability to make connections based on information given is fucking scary good and I've been recommended to add a shit lot of people I knew in real life from college and family functions and the such despite FB not knowing what college I went to.

This is done by Facebook making "dark profiles" of people mentioned in updates and shit by other people. So if you don't have a Facebook account, but like your mom or brother or friend or something mentioned you - congratulations, you have one sitting around off the grid just waiting for you to sign up and "officially" activate it.

Then again, Facebook is literally the only way most people have to stay in touch with some of their friends and it does serve as a good information organizing platform. That said, you need to basically accept that everything you do on the internet is being watched.

So the way around all this is basically not care too much about it anymore.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas Music - Running Over Grandmas and Date Raping Women

Christmas Music - Running Over Grandmas and Date Raping Women

If there was ever a reason to hate Christmas music besides the fact that they start playing it on November 1st and continue to play it never ending like till the day after Christmas, it's for the messages that they lace all throughout the music that is really some terrible shit.

Don't believe me, just take a listen to this little innocent number;

I'm half expecting there to be a Lifetime movie of the week based off that situation. It's seriously date rape material all up in there. There's no other way to explain the context and even if it's just tongue and cheek innocent, it's still all sorts of fucked up in terms of mysoganistic women hating that the era seemed to just be filled with. Here's what you should have been listening to in the film;

Since that's what it summed it up as. It's a song about date rape and pushing yourself on a woman who clearly has given you every excuse in the book as to why they want to leave... but no, please stay a little longer and drink this, why don't you.

I'm not even sure what to say about this attempt to hammer in Christmas cheer...

Shake it Santa? Like.. really? We know you're gonna take it to that house.. My god, it really seems like there's a serious amount of sexual repression just laced all over that song's lyrics. It's as if it was suppose to be some regular hip hop gangsta song about some hoes, but then they decided to drop the e and add two more ho's in there.

I could easily go into the whole I saw mommy kissing Santa Clause, but I won't go there. I guess I should mention Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer. But that seems pretty simple - why would you sing about your dead grandmother. Especially when the subject matter is how she got plowed by a fat man going far too fast. Grandma was involved in a hit and run. Authorities are on full alert for a fat fuck full of cookies.

Simply put - fuck Christmas music.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Beer Bubble And Potential Poppage.

The Beer Bubble And Potential Poppage. 

Stone Brewery founder Greg Koch warns us about the pending brewing bubble...
“We are in a time of irrational exuberance in craft brewing,” said Greg Koch, co-founder and CEO of Stone Brewing. “We are like a Third World bus, with all these people hanging on to the roof. Sooner or later, we are going to hit a bump in the road.”

It's interesting because the majority of the article is all about how craft beer is really booming and growing out there. His concern is that the market is being over saturated. And much like any other product, once it hits a breaking point, then it's only the cream of the crop. The Stone Breweries that survive to see the next period of growth and bubble bursting.

When you think about it, during pre-prohibition, there were about 1,700 breweries in the U.S., which at the time had a population of around 100 million. So if you project that out to today's population, you'd get about 5,000 breweries. Not quite that insane amount of the first figure of the era gone by. But it's still twice the current amount. And yeah, AB and the other three major companies have the lions share of the market, but that % is coming down. It's been shown that more people are caring on who brews their beer. Perhaps this move will increase so that locals actually support their.. you know, local beer.

Nationwide there really is no bubble. Sure, in San Diego there's a ton of new breweries popping up left and right, but you go out to places like Riverside, Ca. and you'll find that it's not as insane as you would expect. We are basically working towards the way it should have been all along. Every city in the U.S. that isn't run by stone age thinkers, could easily support one brewery for every 30,000 people there. Some do even better than that, but this means we could easily have something like 10,000 breweries - depending on the size and locations of the town. If they don't expect to strike it STONE or SAM ADAMS rich, they could make a nice profit.

Factor in that there's also over double the number of wineries in the US compared to breweries and they don't have this mentality that the bubble is coming. Nor do they see that they're going out of business anytime soon. Especially with the fact that this "Irrational exuberance" is all happening during what is being considered a recession.

Yeah, some cream of the crop breweries who make great quality products will remain, the ones who make poor products and can't market themselves correctly will obviously fail, but I don't see this being like the mid-90's when the bubble burst. It's not going to be a huge plunge nor could you really call it a market bursting, just a market settling on who is successful and who isn't. 

Either way, let the good beer flow and the bad just sink to the bottom like it would even without a bubble to push it along the way.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Vote Or Die

Vote or Die

Apparently that's actually a thing. I  mean, yeah, the elections have been over for more than a month, but I came across this story which happened shortly after and well, you know how the holiday season is crazy.. so here we are. Anyhow, this happened..
Wife mows down husband with car for allowing Obama to win

Holly Solomon, a pregnant Arizona woman, ran over her husband for not voting in the 2012 presidential election, according to CBS affiliate KPHO. Ms. Solomon’s husband reportedly stepped out of the car during an argument and gave his wife a dirty look, at which point the woman became enraged and chased her husband around a parking lot in their Jeep SUV.

According to the CBS affiliate, the woman was upset that her husband had failed to vote in the 2012 presidential election. The woman, the officer said, was convinced that her family wouldn’t do well under four more years of President Barack Obama.
Makes you really reconsider even saying things like you didn't vote or telling people who you voted for. Though the wife's concerns were pretty valid. She was worried and convinced that her family wouldn't do well under four more years of Obama. She didn't even have to wait for the second term to start before her family was destroyed by the Obama administration... and her car.

Just think, what goes on in the mind of a person when they think 4 more years of a democrat president? Better murder my family! Just imagine a panicked husband, hysterically explaining the electoral college while running from his crazy driver wife.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Repeal Day

Repeal Day

Today is repeal day. It's the only time that a constitutional amendment was ratified and all because America wanted to get liquored up. It does make you wonder what exactly happened to cause prohibition in the first place. I mean, joking aside that this was all some idea of fuddy duddy house wives tired that their men, who at once were used to farmhouse ale - a low abv alcoholic drink suddenly getting introduced to hard liquor and not knowing how to deal, and thus calling for it all to be banned seems like the general consonance. 

But joking aside, the temperance movement was largely born out of societies reactions to the widespread alcoholism in the 19th century. It's true that with the advancement in technology with distilling that one could produce a lot more potent liquor now at a very cheap cost. Hell, most farmers were happy they had something to do with their extra corn stocks.

Add in that with the new machines using higher temperatures and pressures made for a higher yield of alcohol per bushel of grain. So yeah, there's a lot of truth to that people used to wine and farmhouse ales suddenly got overwhelmed and didn't know how to handle their own with the new high potent drink. People also drank crazy quantities of the stuff, which lead to an uptick in domestic violence and other social ills.

This is a major reason that women were a major part of the temperance movement. Their husbands were getting hammered and then beating them and their children. The absinthe panic also gave them a boost, though the effects were extremely distorted and most of the deaths were likely caused by adulterations with poisonous compounds to provide coloring and flavoring. You won't actually go crazy, despite what Van Gogh did to his ear, by drinking it.

Hell, for a time during prohibition, our government was actually poisoning liquids that were used to mix into other drinks in making them alcoholic. House cleaners were given far more dosages of toxins to make sure that those who attempted to mix them would be in for a surprise. Many people died through that mean.

And yeah, it does seem like a bit of an extreme, some guys get too drunk, so let's just ban it completely to be safe. The classic method thinking of a panic filled society. It did actually work in our favor. What prohibition did was create a lot of new social norms. Before prohibition it was unheard of for a woman to be in a bar. So in a sense, prohibition created the whole method of taking a gal out to the bar. Dating essentially began. One could argue that this was a stepping stone for women's rights in itself.

There's that famous image that is always associated with the temperance movement. In actuality it's a staged propaganda piece and is meant to mock the movement. In reality, the temperance movement was not so much against alcohol as it was against drunken spousal and child abuse, marital rape, and violence in the street. Which were all starting to get introduced with more easy means of alcohol production.

Ironically enough, it's because of prohibition that we have organized crime. If there's one way to make something worth doing and desirable, it's to make it illegal. More serious crimes and murders happened during prohibition than you could ever imagine with just simple bar room brawls of drunks pre-prohibition.

But it should be worth noting that a lot of the temperance movement was made up of men. It was a great amount of AA sort of mentality and there's a few famouse examples that everyone associated with women's suffrage, and indeed their actions contributed, but the only way the law got passed was through the male support. Which politicians did make up.

One other cause could have been the wave of German immigrants that came with their offerings of their beer styles. The Bush's of the world were very popular, but once World War I hit, well, let's just say that Germans weren't on anyone's favorite list. In a lot of way they were treated like the Muslims of the modern day. So scapegoating them and making sure they didn't succeed was a big driving force that politicians played to gather voter sympathy as well play on their fears.

What also resulted in prohibition was NASCAR. Which is a strange tale indeed, but the need for a faster car to run your moonshine across state lines was the motivating force to racing cars that we have no today.

So raise a glass tonight in honor of the day when you could officially and legally sell and make alcohol. Because let's be honest, there was plenty of drinking being done during prohibition.