Auf Kazeem!

I more or less liked Iron Chef America: Battle of the Masters, though I am as yet only caught up on the first two battles and the Making-Of special. Some thoughts:

  • I don’t like the new Chairman, yet, though the apple is a nice touch. I really dug Kaga’s eccentricity, and think this is the one place in which Iron Chef America (ICA, henceforth) suffers in comparison with the Shatnerized IC-USA. I would enjoy immensely seeing Shatner chew the scenery in the much more limited ICA Chairman role.
  • I think Mario Batali and Wolfgang Puck were killer choices for Iron Chefs, but Bobby Flay annoys me. Was there no better option? The producers will regret this around about the dozenth time that the secret ingredient is served wrapped in cornhusks and smeared with mole sauce. (Judge: “Ohh, this is nice, but couldn’t you think of ANYTHING ELSE TO DO FOR ONCE?”) Come on, guys — go get Charlie Trotter or Sara Moulton or Emeril or, Christ, anybody. Get Jenny Craig, far as I’m concerned — least she’d do something different.
  • Speaking of the judges: I wonder how they managed to taste all the food with such a succession of Iron Dicks in their mouths. I cannot, top of my head, recall a single negative comment from any judge. Half the fun of the original was watching the judges trashing the spectacular dishes. (“I think the caviar in this could have been smothered a bit by the foie gras and nymph tears. Maybe next time you could try something less overpowering, ‘Chef’. “)
  • They MUST bring the position of Vacuous Woman In Prom Dress into the booth with Alton Brown. (Who was terrific.) This is the role Britney Spears was born to play.
  • The gent in the role of Ota needs to know more about food. Alton would say “What’s in that bowl?”, and the sideline reporter would say, and I quote, “Uhhh. I dunno. I think there’s some chicken.”

    On the subject, he also lacks Ota’s delivery flair for ripping off the most amazing lists of ingredients without batting an eye: “Fukui-san. In this bowl the Iron Chef is stewing duck meat, peanut oil, wheatgrass, goldfish crackers, live goldfish, lemon juice, salt, pepper, crushed Fritos, beer, gin, twelve pink peppercorns, squid ink, a whole onion, cat’s ass, and cardamom.”

    And then we need an exchange like this:

    Handsome Man: “I haven’t had cat’s ass since I was a child! My father used to make it all the time!”

    Hattori: “That’s about forty-seven thousand dollars worth of cat’s ass he’s got there. It should be really nice, stewed with the Fritos. Very traditional.”

    Fukui: “Yes, verrrry luxurious, cat’s ass — that’ll be a real treat for our judges.”

    Britney: “I love cardamom. (giggles)”

  • I want them to go back to the little pregame video packages, where they have to make delicate translations of clearly naughty Japanese adages. (See “Battle Escargot” for the best example of this.) This was also the point where you could summon people into the room after the ingredient was announced but before the grotesqueries really got moving. (“Honey, come quick! The ingredient is hamsters, and they’re whole!”)
  • Take just a sec to savor the image of Kaga saying “Kyo no te wa…koredesu!

    (musical flourish)

    Ham-stah.”

  • I GUARANTEE you, my friends, Morimoto’s look is the subject of many an angry Japanese blog this morning. (“Hey Matsui! Which of these characters means “fruity hippie freak”?)
  • The best part of the first show — “Trout” — was also the moment of their worst IC-purist goof. Pretty Boy Flay was toting a fish around the kitchen, and the fish kept wriggling free, and Bobby finally pinned it down on the cutting board, and just before the whacking they cut to the Blimp Cam. No no. Let us see Bobby’s vengeance for his loss in Battle Charisma.

    I understand the great Jeffrey Steingarten was a judge in the later rounds, and I did feel Alton was getting a groove on later in the second battle, so we’ll see. I think there’s a lot of potential here.

  • But He Considered It

    My father, his wife, and my younger younger brother Zachary went out to see my older younger brother in Santa Barbara last week. During the visit, they dropped in on a friend of ours and his five housemates.

    The boys at the house have set up a ramp that allows one to ride a bicycle into the air and then into the pool in unusually rapid succession. My father, who usually enjoys behaving as though fifty-nine is well into elderly, admitted to me that he considered giving it a try, as it looked like fun. He eventually decided not to have a go at it for the following reason, which I quote to you exactly:

    “I realized that I might hurt myself badly, and then someone might say to me ‘Why did you do that?’, and I wouldn’t be able to think of anything to tell them.”

    So I would like to take a moment to observe the first known instance of something left undone because it Seemed Like A Bad Idea At The Time.

    Like Bulldog Drummond

    Some of April’s How-The-Fuck-Did-I-Get-Here Search Terms. Now featuring pointless, unfunny* commentary!

  • any mascot in kansas thunder bird
  • I think what you’re looking for, sir, is “Jayhawk,” though you would probably get partial credit on a Kansas Entrance Exam as long as you were there to play for Bill Self. And boy does he need you.

  • photos of only women fucking horse video
  • I bet this guy was way pissed that this query led him to me.

  • famous al al gore al bundy
  • I am officially, now, a “Famous Al” — and I rank above History’s Greatest Al and a former Vice-President of the United States. I can move on to Life Goal Three, now: “Degenerate King”.

  • phil the showkiller pictures
  • I have seen the Showkilla. Cease your questing before it destroys you.

  • hot pirate
  • This was Life Goal One

  • blood and thunder magazine
  • What an fine idea. Who wants to be the centerfold?

  • alan fried wrestling 2004
  • Have you ever been presented with a situation where your brain just said “Dude. What?” and took a powder on the spot?

  • pookie s mole gay
  • Pookie, give your mole a heads-up, please, so it can stop talking up its “Canadian girlfriend”. We know the truth, now. (Like we bought that Marcy-lives-in-Montreal rubbish in the first place.)

  • main ingredient in jagermeister
  • If this brought them here, I’m pretty sure that we can infer that the ingredient in question is bile.

  • ellen degeneres ragdoll cat
  • This is Lottery-level coincidence. Two unrelated items, in the same post, months ago. Now I’m all goosebumpy. Was it one of you three, or just an Infinite Number Of Monkeys situation?

  • hooter brown
  • I saw him play at Buddys Guy’s two weeks before his death. The world misses your harp, Hooter. (This is a little detour into search-term Balderdash. Indulge me.)

  • more bullshit
  • You, my dear, have come to the right place.

    * (You want funny, go listen to Roy D. Mercer’s phone calls. Great stuff.)

    The Great One

    I once knew a woman who couldn’t spell cat.
    Her face was as homely as chintz.

    (Piano flourish)

    (stops)

    Groucho Marx: That wasn’t necessary, that part you did.

    Marvin Hamlisch: Could I…could I try it again?

    Groucho: Let’s keep it on a high basis.

    Hamlisch: Could I try it again, sir? Could I get another crack at it?

    Groucho: OK.

    Hamlisch: Thank you.

    (Piano begins again. Much more basic music this time.)

    I once knew a woman who couldn’t spell cat.
    Her face was as homely as chintz.
    In winter she always wore last summer’s hat,
    And her size eleven shoe was a pinch.
    When she played piano, strong men would faint,
    And weak men would cry out in grief.
    And as for her singing, well, it made you feel,
    That it wasn’t so tough to be ‘deef’.
    But with all these things that the people would say,
    Her voice and her looks couldn’t drive them away,
    ‘Cause, ach, how that woman could cook.

    Her bread was like angel food’s cake.
    She could take soup meat, and give it one look,
    And right away it was porterhouse steak.
    Her pfannkuchen! What a beautiful dream!
    Her tripe! Was like peaches and cream!
    And with the table between us,
    She looked exactly like Venus.
    Oh, God! How that woman could cook!

    -Groucho Marx, from the 1972 Concert At Carnegie Hall

    Ask Google Anything

    Got this in a Guide To Google e-mail a few days ago:

    Phrase your question in the form of an answer. “After all, you’re not looking for Web pages that ask your question,” explains director of technology Craig Silverstein. “You’re looking for pages that answer it.”

    So instead of typing, “What is the average rainfall in the Amazon basin?”, you might get better results by typing “The average rainfall in the Amazon basin is.”

    Who decided that the average rainfall in the Amazon basin was The Answer That All Other Answers Aspire To Be? Was this ALL Gary Larson’s doing? Why isn’t the prototype question something useful, like “How many tablespoons in a pint?” or “Why does a camel’s dick point backwards?”

    Here’s a test to determine the success of using the Amazon basin question as a cliche: What is the average rainfall in the Amazon basin? Anyone? Anyone? Don’t look it up, you chickenshit cheater. You’ve heard the question, probably in a quasi-amusing fashion, a thousand times in your life — did you EVER FUCKING BOTHER to look up the answer before right now?

    You lying crap-sack. You did not. You went and looked it up, probably on Google, and probably with the EXACT SAME PHRASE that Craig Silverstein recommended. You sheep.

    I think we need to elect a new First Question. As a nominee, I eventually settled on: “Is the Pope Catholic?” (Best possible answer: “Yes, but he’s not supposed to be. Hey, how’d that happen?”)

    My first choice for First Question was “Does a bear shit in the woods?” Problem was, my choice of bear was the Spectacled Bear, and where they live gets eighty inches of rain in an average year, so I’m guessing that they use Portapotties outfitted with pontoons.

    Pantheon

    I am toying with adding another to the High Holy Days.

    As stands, the holiday roster of a Year Of Al looks something like this:

    April:

    Opening Day: On the first day deemed adequate, just enough of a barbecue is held to stave off the pig-pangs for another month. This is also the first major fixed-date holiday of the year.
    The Day of Resumption: Rejoicing and ritualized lizard-eye movements greet the return of girls in summer clothes.

    July:

    “The 4th”: I cannot bear to leave a holiday so closely associated with barbecue and bomb-making materials off the list.

    September:

    Kickoff Sunday: The Season begins anew. Hope springs eternal.

    October:

    Halloween Party Eve: Partial nudity and potions greet what has effectively become a sort of peer-group birthday.

    November:

    Carnivore Wednesday: Carnivore Wednesday is observed by obtaining a cleaned, plucked turkey in the most pointlessly elaborate and difficult manner possible.
    Thanksgiving Day: (Traditional)

    December:

    The Festival of Lights: The day on which the little twinkling lights are placed on top of a variety of local dwellings. Traditionally observed with schnapps and shouted cautions.
    The First Day of Christmas: The season is formally rung in with the annual viewing of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and a great deal of nog.
    The Pilgrimages of Purchasing: Trips are made to local holy sites for purposes of savoring the true spirit of Christmas.

    January:

    Super Bowl Sunday: The holiest day on the calendar, colloquially known as “Real Thanksgiving”. This is a day of feasting and wagering, marking the end of the previous year.

    ***

    I find myself seriously considering elevating Whiskyfest to the status of Holiday. Opinions?

    Murderers Row

    Just One Bite*, Sports Guy**, and Easterblogg***: Towering home runs all the way around, today.

    * This post is safe for work, the rest of the blog is pretty much not. Also, for the curious, I’d say I’m a 6/13/15/19/25.

    ** This is the writer I wanted to be three years ago, before this brilliant fucker took the spot.

    *** This is the writer I wanted to be six or seven years ago, before I worked in news.

    Testify!

    Thirty-six beverages on the List of the Chosen, thirty-six check marks next to them, plus maybe ten more I wasn’t expecting to try and did.

    Please stand by.

    Okay, then put down that demijohn and come up forward here,
    And let us lead you on the path of righteousness.
    Not long ago, brothers and sisters,
    This helpless soul was the foremost brain surgeon in this grand and glorious country.
    Success was smiling down upon him.
    Now go ahead and tell us your story. Don’t be shy.

    Let me tell. Let me tell. You see I use spirits for medicinal purposes only. (Yeah?)
    I manufacture it for medicinal purposes only. (Yeah?)
    Then I started drinking what I manufactured till I drank myself out of a hell of a business for medicinal purposes only.

    Mister Booze, Mister Booze
    Mister B double-O, Z Eeee! (That sure spells booze!)
    You will wind up wearing
    Tattered shoes
    If you mess with Mister Booze.