June 29, 2008


A small rant

I noticed some time ago that among the premium brands of ice cream that come in cylindrical cartons there is no longer such a thing as a half gallon. Even some of the off-brands have downsized the traditional rectangular carton somewhat, but the round ones are now exclusively 1.5 quarts - an astonishing pint less than the norm of my formative ice cream years. Add to that some reports that certain brands ahemBreyersahem add air to their product to boost the volume size, thereby decreasing their cost per unit, and the heinousness is a tough blow to the connossieur of true ice cream (and no time here to get into the use of whey in "frozen dairy desserts"). Folks with steel-plated willpower might notice that over time the inflated ice cream develops ice crystals and gets freezer burn much quicker. Can't say as I've had an opportunity to witness that heartbreaking development save in Albert Brooks' film Mother, whereby it worked just fine for Debbie Reynolds. I for one have taken to purchasing only half gallon containers on the now seldom occassions I buy ice cream. Blue Bell still makes 'em and for a damn fine, no air added product. Praline Pecan, mmmm.

And another thing that caught my eye just recently: Tropicana's "new improved pour spout" container is seven ounces less (more than one morning's glassful) than the old style at the same price. To me the new one is inferior because it's a snap-top as opposed to a screw-on top, making it more likely to spill whilst vigorously shaking one's Some Pulp orange juice for the prescribed time of 4.5 seconds. This conclusion assumes the non-existence of absent-minded spouses or roommates who might improperly replace the old style cap. Adding irk to ire is that to me, there is no OJ like Tropicana (not-from-concentrate), and I can't see buying any other brand despite my annoyance with their marketing quirk. Add to the list coffee - no longer a pound, but regularly sold in 13-ounce packages; cereal - brands vary widely, but almost all have been significantly downsized without a corresponding drop in price; sugar - standard bag size is four pounds not five as before. And when did a pint become 12 ounces? I've seen this with fruit in the supermarche, but even more aggravating is the American standard for a draft beer. Gotta give it to my mates across the pond for standing firm on this one.

Some may say that we Americans would do well to reduce our portion sizes and I would agree, but that has nothing to do with getting the most for your money (esp. in these sketchy economic times), unless you're in the habit of eating a half gallon of ice cream at one sitting.

As for the beer...

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June 24, 2008


George Carlin

I suppose for a life lived so full (and by his own account, so hard), 71 years was a ripe old age for George Carlin. He was one of the great subversive comics that took Lenny Bruce's mantle and ran with it. Peppered with a good dose of Mort Sahl's dry exposition, Carlin was as funny as Richard Pryor and as biting as Bill Hicks, but with a touch that didn't usually leave you squirming like those last two (unless of course you were an out-and-out establishment flunkie). While Bruce was the godfather of post-war legally provocative routines, Carlin brought forth the "dirty" words concept with a more concise delivery that could often make even those who blushed also giggle a bit.

Carlin started way earlier than when I first came upon him, by which time his almost conservative schtick had given way to hilarious counter-cultural insights. I hadn't even entered my teenage party dog phase when I was cracking up with our next-door neighbor's older kids who were playing albums like Class Clown and FM & AM. I remember watching him on TV along with my parents. His broadcast TV stuff is pretty tame, and though my mom ridiculed his long hair (and he ridicules her right back) both she and my dad got a kick out of Carlin. It was a good thing they were clueless to the blue side of his comedy. Here's some classic George from the Flip Wilson show in 1972:

By the end of his career he was a tad whacked on things like 9-11 conspiracy and his "act" was often so powerfully anti-establishment as to be almost humorless (akin to Hicks' cutting and over the edge stuff). Still for me there wasn't much squirming, because even where Carlin cut through some of my own hypocrisy and ignorance I couldn't help but say, "Damn if he ain't calling that straight." By the end he wasn't so much offering up social musings as he was putting forth a battle cry to WAKE UP AMERICA! You were once a generally decent example of good society (warts and all) but are now quickly deteriorating because of your rank-and-file's complacency and ignorance in the face of the machinations of the rich and powerful!

Carlin's death is a big loss for us anti-establishment sympathizers because his kind are few and far between. Even in the face of some of his heaviest bullshit-calling, George could make you laugh your ass off. There is now one less face, familiar to millions, steadfastly working to try and tell it like it is. Thankfully there will always be his past body of work.

Observe the genius, gone but not forgotten:

Via con el sol, Jorge. Thanks for preaching to those of us in the cheap seats.

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June 16, 2008


Bonus Max

A DIY attitude toward breakfast:


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June 13, 2008


The Monthly Max

Sweet 16! Summer's here and the time is right for:

Nosey-kissin' cousins...

Chillaxin at the park...

Checkin' my provisions...

And checkin' you latah!


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June 09, 2008


Try, try again

The gentleman from Ohio rises to the occasion and he has it right - "The House is not in order."

That Rep. Kucinich intended his opening proclamation to be so metaphoric of our nation's current condition is debatable, but it is highly relevant to the 35 articles of impeachment he presented against George Bush this evening (Raw Story has an article, C-Span video and partial transcript HERE).

UPDATE: A pdf version of the entire 65-page document is HERE

WTG, DK! Bush smugly says history will be his judge, and this will be one of the main reference points for the historians. It is in fact an excellent capsule. Thirty-five articles: torture, fraud, rendition, war crimes, obstruction, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and international law. He’s throwing every book he can find and I say BULLY!

What are the chances that this gains traction? Perhaps very slight, but I don’t think Dennis has any illusions about what he’s doing. Perhaps I gush a bit, but I'd like to think his contemporary 35-part summary is being posted for posterity as forceful as Luther's 95 theses were attached to the Wittenburg gate. Maybe he could tack them to Nancy Pelosi's forehead.

Now some (maybe most) Democrats are saying the primary objective is to elect Obama president, and I don't dismiss that sentiment out of hand. By pursuing impeachment now the Democrats will at least help fill the insatiable news void and show that they are actually doing something, that being to stand up for the rights of law. Think about it - Congress goes after the criminals and Obama goes after the heir apparent to the familia. It could also put the entire GOP on their heels trying to save their own ass and not allowing them to sharply focus on going after Obama. And what could better bring along B.O.'s call for change than to pursue not only throwing the bums out but convicting them and incarcerating them as well? Hell, it should be part and parcel of every Democrat's House and Senate campaign this fall, and for what it's worth would be a huge bandage (with antibiotic ointment) on the sore they've left me with in the past year and a half.

I exhort you to call The Madam Speaker at (202) 225-0100 to let her know you want impeachment back on the table. She just might take to it now that the wife of the last impeached president is not going to be her party's nominee this year.

Hit it, Neil!

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