Obama’s Second-Term Theme: Enough is Enough

January 30, 2013

By Cole

If you were disappointed by President Obama’s first term, you had to love his second inaugural speech, where he focused on fixing what ails THIS country. He made scant mention of foreign policy or matters most dear to Republicans — namely, screwing anyone who isn’t rich and white.

Michelle was kind enough to toss Boehner & Co. a symbolic bone by dressing both the kids in purple.

After the ceremony, John McCain whined, “I would have liked to see some outreach.”

Yeah, for what? So you could spit on Obama’s extended hand and turn your back on him again?

Now that he has no more elections to win, Obama seems fresh out of cheeks to turn with Republicans. They seem to get the message.

Or perhaps a few Republicans heard about the recent Public Policy Polling survey where people ranked the 112th Congress below head lice, cockroaches, and colonoscopies, among other odious things.

Or maybe they got embarrassed watching themselves trying to rip Hillary Clinton a new one over the September attack on the Libyan Embassy. Beating Hillary over the head with the corpses of 4 murdered Americans for political show was exactly what we’ve come to expect of them. It was predictably pointless and disgusting and had Hillary exasperated.

Obama’s new calls for gun control, immigration reform, and gay rights have got the Republicans scurrying for cover, and led their standard-bearers, like vice presidential loser, Paul “Lyin’” Ryan, to tell his cronies they’d better start “picking their fights.”

In so many words, they’re admitting they’ve been hell-bent on sinking Obama just for spite, no matter what a mess they made of the country.

Isn’t that called treason?

This week, they’re allowing progress on immigration, and are letting women go in to combat.

Even the Boy Scouts are pulling their heads out of their asses to consider co-existence with gays (which they’ve probably been doing all along, just refusing to acknowledge).

Mitt Romney’s 3-million vote defeat proved that backward, conservative thinking is not the country’s preference. We hope Obama and Biden continue to drag Republicans into the 21st century.


UnFoodie’s Take on “The Taste”

January 23, 2013

By Karen

It’s official: Anthony Bourdain is “the Mick Jagger of food.” Just ask Nigella Lawson, who anointed him on their new ABC cooking competition, The Taste.

Eat your heart out, Tom Colicchio.

The 2-hour premiere felt more like 8 after the 567th commercial. It featured many filmed-at-puree-speed montages of hopefuls flaming out and judges’ hands hovering over the NO button. And then judges Bourdain, Lawson, Ludo LeFebvre, and Brian Malarkey each FAILED to pick 4 contestants for their teams.

WTF? There are MORE scenes of soul-crushing rejection to come?

A good many of the hapless saps, thinking this was their shot at fame, said they’d been fired or quit jobs to compete. In fact, one of those cooks unfortunately told the judges she now runs a bakery. After everyone rejected her (Oh, horrors, a PASTRY CHEF!), Tony called her “bleeping delusional” to think she’s a cook.

If she saw her treatment last night, today she may be “bleeping suicidal.”

Another woman with the tragic backstory of a sick husband and a foreclosure made the fatal error of preparing kugel with adobo (whatever that is) and jalapenos. Bourdain shot her down by claiming she lost him because he’s a “traditionalist” on Jewish classics. Nobody else came to her rescue.

At the other end of the bizarro spectrum, Ludo offered a job to one reject. He couldn’t bring himself to mentor her for the brief span of the show, but he’d take her on as a PAID employee after one bite of her food.

Yeah, that makes sense.

One would assume there was much more logic to the judges’ decisions than we saw. Too often, they loved the food but rejected the cook, while claiming they’d kick themselves later.

WTF?

But someone (Ludo?) said something about there being so many more contestants to try, he didn’t want to pick hastily. So did cooks who went last have a better shot?

Bourdain’s team ended up with three women…

  • 26-year-old Mia, a home cook with a crush on him (Ottavia, keep an eye on that one)
  • Diane from NY whom Ludo rejected for putting too much tzatziki (whatever that is) on his spoon
  • 28-year-old Ninamarie, a Bourdain fan from California, who made sea bass with butterscotch (Tony’s penance for booting Dale off Top Chef over butterscotch scallops?)

The question next week is, will Tony pick a guy, or stick with women of his wife’s generation?

In addition to determining cooks’ fates based on blind one-bite tastings, the judges apparently are vying to beat each other by having the last cook standing.

The biggest mistake I saw was cooks (mostly the pros, it seemed) trying to squeeze meat, seafood, AND sides onto one spoon. When they got shot down for muddled or indistinguishable flavors, they had only themselves to blame.

You had to feel proud of that little trailer girl from Mississippi, Lauren, who made Nigella’s team with a flourless chocolate cake, the only one who dared to do a dessert.

And Nigella’s a breath of fresh air. Gratuitous cleavage notwithstanding, she’s not trying to swim with the sharks. I don’t think she descended once into foodie snobbism. Ludo was the worst for nitpicking, but he probably thinks it’s expected because he’s French and they have such high standards.

I’m sad to say Bourdain was a close second.

Kudos to the cool head in ABC makeup who kept Tony out of the hair gel for the separately-filmed talking spots. His hair looked great, compared to that spikey wet-dog-with-mange look he usually goes for.

In case you missed it, Grub Street boiled the show down to 91 seconds. I may tape the rest of the season so I can FF through all the Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Olive Garden commercials.

Here’s a review in Time.

The (UK) Telegraph also weighed in.

Digital Spy provided detailed recaps on most of the contestants.


Can’t Wait for a Taste of “The Taste”

January 21, 2013

By Karen

Doesn’t it seem like we’ve been waiting forever for Anthony Bourdain’s new cooking competition, The Taste, to hit the airwaves? Finally, it begins January 22 with a 2-hour premiere on ABC at 8 p.m. I think it runs for 8 weeks.

Bourdain was an executive producer, as well as one of the judges.

One twist to the usual format is that the judges get to sample only one bite and won’t know who cooked what, nor how they prepared it.

But the judges are also supposed to be coaching teams of contestants. I’m wondering how they can do that in any meaningful way without knowing what’s cooking.

On January 15, Tony dropped by Good Morning America to talk about the show.

Eater had an exclusive preview clip featuring our Tony characteristically swimming against the tide to save a nonprofessional cook and recruit her to his team.

Last week, Tony attended some publicity event for the show in Pasadena and an AARP blogger wrote about eating with him.

LA Weekly had an encounter with him at another press event in Burbank, and it sounded like Tony was in top form.

Here’s the official ABC beta site with some video clips.

I gave up cooking competitions some time ago when I had all I could stand of Padma on Top Chef, but I’ll be tuning in to The Taste to see if Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, and Brian Malarkey really can resuscitate a tired old genre with a fresh slant. If anyone can do it, Tony can.

If you watch it, please come back and let’s compare notes.


Riddle: How is the NRA Like the Old South?

January 18, 2013

By Cole

Obama and Biden are showing welcome and long-overdue cojones in launching the gun-control battle. The NRA’s chicken response was to drag Obama’s daughters into it with a nasty attack ad calling Obama an “elitist hypocrite.”

In what way? Because his daughters attend a good school? Do kids in NRA families just run the streets?

As expected from those who dwell in a fact-free world, the NRA refuses to acknowledge that Obama’s kids—maybe more than anybody’s—need protection from all the gun-toting, card-carrying cowards the NRA is whipping into a frenzy for their trumped-up “fight of the century” with false claims that Obama will confiscate all their weapons.

NRA president David Keene and CEO/EVP Wayne LaPierre have become the poster children for lunacy, spouting that the government OWES every citizen access to the means to commit mass murder.

Whenever there’s killing, they clamor for more guns for more killing.

Crazy beliefs also started the Civil War. The North was never out to sink or subjugate half the country. It just wanted the South to stop exploiting innocent blacks, and justifying it with outrageous lies about their supposed inferiority.

The NRA would have you believe you’re inferior without a gun — and I’m sure they’ve got no shortage of nutty members who’d be happy to shoot you to prove it.

This week in Richmond, a 4-year-old found a loaded gun on a table in his home and shot a man, who later died. The NRA must be busting a gut with pride to see a killer toddler spawned.

Still, Virginia’s General Assembly REFUSES to get serious about gun control. Take a look at what falls on deaf ears in that loony bin.

Cats Working applauds New York’s Andrew Cuomo for having the guts to pass gun legislation with teeth, and to be quick and sneaky about it so gun nuts wouldn’t have time to spike sales, like they do in Virginia while Governor Bob McDonnell fiddles.

And let’s hope Obama and Biden don’t lose interest or back down. We can’t let go of this rat until it’s dead, folks. Decent people need to tell their NRA-bought representatives, “Enough is enough!” and DEMAND limits on the availability, types, and number of weapons dickless cowards can own — or don’t come crying to me when your bullet-riddled corpse ends up in some gutter.

Answer to Riddle: The NRA and the Old South are/were champions of morally indefensible causes.


Riddle: How is a Gun Like an SUV?

January 14, 2013

By Cole

Everyone in the gun control debate seems to agree that crazy people shouldn’t have guns. But Senator John McCain thinks assault weapons shouldn’t be banned.

I think McCain’s opinion is symptomatic of mental illness. Anyone who believes private citizens should have the means to commit mass murder in a minute is a sick bastard.

Similarly, hunters who think they should, need to, or just enjoy shooting innocent animals for sport have mental issues (and probably really small penises).

Also of questionable sanity are those who think they need arsenals in their homes from which crazy people can steal (see Nancy Lanza, the gun nut who facilitated the Newtowne massacre and found herself dead, thanks to one of her own guns).

This may surprise you, but I’m OK with private citizens owning one small gun that fires one bullet at a time — that’s all they need to stop an intruder. BUT, they should have a license, a thorough background check showing no history of violence or crime, AND they should complete periodic, mandatory gun training to earn and renew their license.

Some guns are called “assault weapons” because victims have no chance against them. By the same token, SUVs are “assault vehicles” and instruments of death.

The thought process playing out with guns today is a replay of what happened when massive SUVs became available to any moron with a driver’s license.

Just like guns, SUVs make their owners feel invulnerable, immortal, and in possession of a bigger penis. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Mini Cooper would be no match for Woody Allen in an SUV.

But SUVs are as impractical for citizens as home arsenals. They hog EVERYTHING — the materials they’re made of, gas, roads, parking spaces. They’re an utter waste.

But you see SUVs everywhere because enough nuts initially bought them to make sane people feel compelled to do likewise — IN SELF-DEFENSE.

Gun sales spike after each massacre in a self-defensive response. (Nuts jobs use massacres as excuses to bulk up their arsenals.)

The only way we’re ever going to stem this country’s rising tide of mayhem is to forcibly insist on civility for all.

People need to scream for bans on assault weapons and ownership of multiple weapons. Limiting the type and number of firearms people can have violates NOTHING in the Second Amendment.

The government can take another baby step back from the fiscal cliff by taxing the hell out of bullets to make them prohibitively expensive. It can also tax the hell out of SUV sales to make regular cars all most people can afford.

Want the answer to my riddle? A gun is like an SUV because NOBODY, besides active military in a war zone, needs to have either one.


UnFoodie Makes a Hash of Quorn™

January 7, 2013

By Karen

My latest Weight Watchers®-friendly experiment with the non-meat substitute Quorn Grounds was inspired by the blogger Losing 100 Pounds, who posted her recipe for Vegan Hash, accompanied by brilliant photographs that put mine to shame.

WW sends mixed signals about potatoes, calling them a “Power Food,” but saddling them with more points than are usually worth it (4), so I substituted squash (0) for spuds.

Reducing it all to WW-speak, I think Losing 100’s recipe is roughly 6 points per serving without toppings, and mine is 4 points WITH toppings (using 2% cheese and light sour cream, not vegan versions).

Anyway, my recipe for 4 hearty servings is:

1 12 oz. package Quorn Grounds
1 pkg. taco seasoning (or any seasoning you prefer)
2/3 cup water (the seasoning calls for it)

You can use any veggies you like, but here’s what I did:

1 onion, diced
1 yellow squash (or any squash you prefer) cut into chunks
1 zucchini chunked
mushrooms chunked (as many as you like)

Toppings (all optional):

1/4 cup 2% cheese
1/4 cup salsa
1 tbsp. light sour cream

In a big skillet, cook all the veggies in Pam until tender.

Hash1

Stir in Quorn, taco seasoning, and water. Cover and simmer until heated through.

Hash2

Plate it, top with cheese (you can melt it in the microwave), then the salsa and sour cream.

Hash3

It tastes better than this looks. And this recipe leaves me 3 nights of leftovers that become dinner in 5 minutes or less. Can’t beat it!


Weighing in on New Weight Watchers 360 Program

January 4, 2013

By Karen

Weight Watchers® recently augmented their PointsPlus® system with yet another layer called 360°. President Dave Kirchhoff ecstatically proclaimed it the “most innovative change in Weight Watchers’ 50-year history.”

360’s explanatory tag line on the website is…

A program built for human nature so you can expect amazing.

I think they should have named it Weight Watchers for Dummies.

Two new components are called Managing Spaces and Routines.

Managing Spaces is a collection of tips on how to control your eating at home, at work, eating out, traveling, and on special occasions, and how to shop for groceries. The tips include such astounding insights as…

Shopping: Have a list, don’t shop hungry, and skip the bite-size samples.

At Work: Bring safe lunches and snacks from home.

Traveling: Bring bottled water and snacks.

Eating out: Study the menu in advance online, and then order whatever fits your points.

Online members can indicate if they find these gems of wisdom helpful, and thousands have.

Routines are things you should be doing every day, such as getting enough sleep, eating vegetables or fruit with every meal, drinking more water with meals, and eating breakfast every day. There are 16 in all.

You’re supposed to track your chosen routines by clicking “Yes” daily if you follow them, as if the never-ending chore of calculating and recording points on every blessed bite (which I do) and tracking the numbers of servings of liquids, milk products, fruits, veggies, vitamins, and healthy oils you consume (which I abandoned within the first month) aren’t enough.

Don’t get me wrong. Weight Watchers DOES work. I’m living proof of it, having just lost 41 pounds in 6 months — and still going. But I think 360 jumps the shark by selling it as “normal” behavior to spend every waking minute dwelling on your relationship with food.

If you need the obvious pounded incessantly in to your head to control your food intake, you either aren’t motivated enough to do it or you’ve got psychological eating issues so deep-rooted, you need more help than any mere eating plan can provide.

Meanwhile, in spite of the 360 makeover, the WW website continues to be a poorly functioning, maddeningly laid out, and inexplicably organized train-wreck — and I find the mobile app for iPad useless. They must figure we online-only members get what we pay for, since it’s far cheaper than attending meetings.

Thank God they figured out what works for losing weight!


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