Mar 31, 2010


In the spirit of Passover*, I decided that I wanted to make a traditional North African tomato and egg dish called Shakshouka that has become a staple at many Israeli restaurants. I've also seen it spelled Shakshuka and Shakzuka. Either way, it's a really delicious stew-type dish.  And I was also inspired by RW, who spoke of a hearty vegetable stew/soup he made.  And the fact that we have had a cold and miserable rain falling here in NY for about 3 days now.  Stew just seemed like a good idea.

*not really.

I first came across this dish when perusing the huge menu at the most awesomest, eccentric NYC restaurant ever, Shopsin's.  Kenny Shopsin and his crew make every item on their 1,000-strong menu from scratch and I really don't know how they do it.  His version of Shakzuka has more sizzling peppers and roasted zucchini than the traditional recipe.  I'm not a huge fan of zucchini, so I spied another similar dish called Zackzuka on the menu that opted for chorizo sausage and cilantro instead of zucchini. 

That's what I ordered.  It was delicious!

So I wanted to make something similar, but I didn't feel like cooking forever or looking at a million recipes.  So I took a gander at a traditional recipe, and I...ya know...made it my own.  I call it:

Earl's Gadzuka!!!
  • 1 28oz can peeled italian tomatoes in sauce.
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 small onion - diced
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves - diced
  • 3 or 4 roasted red peppers - diced
  • 8 or 9 small roasted hot peppers (jalepenos will do) - seeded and diced.
  • Some roasted zucchini - I'll explain later
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large chorizo sausage - sliced thinly
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a good deep saute pan.  Something with a lid as you are going to need that later.  I used a 3 quart saute pan and it fit everything nicely.  Once the oil is heated, add the onions and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes until the onion is golden and translucent.

Add the paprika, salt and tomato paste and stir thoroughly.  Here's a tip...don't chince out on the paprika.  Buy the good stuff.  A good smoked paprika will last you a long time and it adds so much flavor to just about any dish.

Add the full can of peeled tomatoes to the pan.  Use a wooden spoon or the like to chop the tomatoes into smaller pieces to speed up the process.  Or you don't have to.  Whatever you want.  Add the roasted red peppers and the hot peppers as well.  I found these great roasted and pickled red peppers at the local market.  I don't recall what they were, but the heat wasn't overwhelming and they had an intense sweetness that added a lot to the final product.  If I find out what they were I will leave it in the comment section.  Bring all of this to a slow boil and then reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

In the downtime, take your chorizo sausage and slice it up.  1/4 inch thick slices will do.  I used a chorizo that was about the size of a small pepperoni.  Most foot markets will have the packet of 3 or 4 smaller chorizos.   You can use those too.  The chorizo is already cooked, but I thought it would be interesting to quick fry them over a medium flame in another dish before adding to the stew. Gave them a bit of a char that was pleasant.

Add the chorizo to the sauce pan with the rest of your stew.  At this point I also added some roasted zucchini that I found at the shop.  They were jarred and ready to eat so I didn't want them to break down totally in the stew.  I don't know how many I used.  I just forked out a bunch of them onto the cutting board and ran a quick knife through them.  Dumped it all in the stew. 

Then I took went to work on the cilantro.  After washing them, I stripped off the leaves until I had a big enough pile.  "A big enough pile for what?" you might ask.  "A big enough pile to make me happy!" I respond.  I then did a quick chop and added it all to the stew.  Made sure it all came to a rolling boil and covered it for another five minutes of stewing on low heat.

Finally, I gave the stew one last stir and then cracked four eggs directly on top of the it.  That's right...the eggs are gonna poach themselves right in the stew!  Yummy!  Cover the saucepan and let it cook for around 6-7 minutes, until the eggs are mostly set with the yolks a little runny.  You can eyeball. it.

Dish it out into large serving bowls and sop it all up with some pita bread.  It should serve make decent-sized servings,  You can try serving it with some rice or polenta.  Gia loves polenta, so I used that. 

It was tangy, hot, sweet, smoky and wonderful.  Everything I could have hoped it would have been, and frankly quite a bit more.  What's nice about this dish is you can add or subtract anything.  Don't want the eggs?  Don't add them.  Not a fan of zucchini?  Ditto.  Maybe you like andouille instead of chorizo, or you don't want to add meat at all?  Chef's choice.

I'll be making this one again.  And again. And again.  And again.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Gadzooks, that's good food!

Mar 30, 2010

Turn it up

Last night I hopped in the car to head to the market. We were low on a few of life's little necessities and dinner was rapidly approaching. We've all been there. You have the stresses of the day on your mind. Your plans for the upcoming week, the weekend, Easter, vacation. Whatever. Your mind is a blur of minor and major problems and how you are going to handle them.

And then you turn the key on the car, the radio kicks in and the absolute perfect driving song has just started on the radio.  You forget about everything.  You barely remember where you are going.  You just put it on autopilot and you drive.  That happened to me last night when The Cult's "She Sells Sanctuary" appeared like magic on the radio just as I was pulling away from the curb.

I was a big fan of The Cult back in the 80's. Their Love album, the one with "She Sells Sanctuary", was a classic of that particular period. A little harder than the whiny 80's crap that was mostly playing on the radio at the time, and a little less goth than they probably wanted to be.  The follow-up, Electric, was an even bigger hit even if the band moved a bit away from their goth roots to become Rick Rubin's power pop/rock band of the moment.  It was all so very easily accessible for most radio listeners.

Their lead singer, Ian Astbury, was a combination of a dandy vampire and a foppish pirate. Strutting around on stage like an upper-class peacock doing his best Steven Tyler impersonation. And Billy Duffy was ever the workman of the group. Pounding out power chords on his classic Gretsch White Falcon.

I remember reading an issue of SPIN soon after Electric hit the stores.  It contained a minor criticism of the band by some artist I can't quite recall.  Wait...hang on a minute, lemme see if I can find it.

Holy Shit!  I found it!

It was from an article about the critical darling band That Petrol Emotion (remember them?), and one of its members was talking about the sad state of what was passing for popular music in 1987.  Steve Mack, their American vocalist, spoke of the following:

I was at this gig last night and I had a revelation.  I was watching a band.  They were trying real hard.  The singer was really manic and he had this great pair of manic brown eyes.  He was running all about the stage and I thought "What's missing?"  I started listening to the music and I thought "He can't be serious!"  You can't sing "Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, I was born in a shotgun shack in a one-horse town."  I mean, let's get real here!  It just turns into a farce.  It's really important that people say what they mean.
It was plainly obvious that he was talking about The Cult and songs like "Love Removal Machine" and "Lil' Devil".  And he was right, I guess.  Even if he did use the word "manic" twice in one sentence to describe Ian Astbury.  But mostly I remember The Cult being something that I could turn on, turn up and tune out.  They never made "art", I guess.  But what they did, they did very well. 

And for 4 minutes and 23 seconds on Monday evening, I was happy that they did.

Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Oh the Texas sun, makes my back burn. 

Mar 29, 2010


I was watching the Nature show in HD on PBS the other night, as I am apt to do when I feel like vegging out. It 's beautifully filmed and very calming.  I don't know who narrates that shit, but they deserve a medal.

So there are these capuchin moneys, right?  Similar to the one that started that big virus outbreak in, um, Outbreak.  Well, these fuckers are pretty smart.  They find a bunch of palm nuts and proceed to tap on them to see which ones are ripe.  Looks like the dude at the grocery store tapping on cantaloupes to find the perfect one.  When they find the perfect nut, they take it up into a tree and strip the outer layer.  Then they drop them on the forest floor to dry out.  A process that takes several days.

When the palm nuts are nice and dry, they then take them to another part of the forest.  A place with large stone slabs that at the base of a set of cliffs.  They place these nuts in hollows that they have carved out in the stone slabs with some other, harder stones.  Then they take these stone "hammers" that sometimes weigh as much as they do and they bust a nut, to borrow a phrase.  It takes a lot of experience and just the right touch to bust those nuts, and the elder monkeys are quite adept at it.

But they know that all this banging will attract predators like the jaguar.  That's why they do it at the base of these cliffs.  As soon as they sense the big cat approaching, they hustle to the top of the cliff and start pushing over big stones causing mini-avalanches of rock.  Just to scare away the jaguar.

These are extremely bright monkeys.

I've heard this tune by Muse a bunch of times on the radio, but I came across the video for the first time over the weekend on some site or other. That's the only way to see new music videos, right? I mean since MTV doesn't show them anymore.

I like how this one follows the band as it follows a burning fuse rigged to blow up one of RW's miniature towns, and then a big, bad teddy bear shows up and starts rampaging and shit. Hehe. Imagine when they pitched that to the people who still make music videos in day and age.

The teddy bear, by the way, doesn't make it. Sorry for the spoilers.


So what does a bunch of monkeys busting nuts in the jungle have to do with the above video?  Nothing.  Nothing at all. 

Except that maybe we should all start preparing ourselves for the inevitable monkey uprising.  Will you be ready?


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. All the crazy smart monkeys are doing it.

Mar 26, 2010

Earl's favorite film scenes: Volume III

It's been a while since I've done one of these. Too long.  And the nice thing is that it is good blog fodder for a lazy Friday.  In honor of the rapid approach of Opening Day, a short and sweet classic (neo?) from A League of Their Own


That's actually not my favorite scene from the movie, but it's certainly up there as the funniest.  My actual favorite scene can be seen here in this much longer clip.  The whole 10 minutes or so is great, but my favorite part starts at 6:08 of the clip and runs pretty much to the end. 

"It's supposed to be hard.  If it wasn't hard everyone would do it.  The 'hard' is what makes it great." - Jimmy Dugan. 

He was talking about baseball, people.  Sheesh...the dirty minds on some of you!


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Throwing things at annoying kids = big fucking win!

Mar 25, 2010


Just some quick update bullets of what's going down Earl-side.
  • I'm still cranking through the Hugos.  I'm currently reading The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon.  When I went to the library to check it out, I couldn't find it under Fiction or Science-Fiction, but I knew that they had it available because I scoped it online first.  When I asked the cranky librarian about it I got the title wrong and asked for The Yiddish Policeman's Ball.  Instead of correcting me, she told me that she didn't see that one available.  I was about to walk away when she said "But we do have one called The Yiddish Policeman's Union, if you would like that one instead."  I wanted to punch her in the vagina, but she was sitting behind a desk.
  • No Cool Blogger Fantasy Baseball League this year.  Only three of you responded with any interest at all, and we would need another 6-8 to make it fun and/or exciting so I nixed it.  I'm surrounded by baseball atheists, I tell you!
  • My friend's friend's Figga Please video on Youtube! hasn't exactly gone viral yet.  But around 5,000 people have watched it so far, and I'm sure that at least 10 of those views came from here.  So well done, I say!  Well done!
  • We are headed down to Charleston, SC for a vacation in a few weeks with a day trip to the fair city of Savannah, GA on one of the days.  All I'm hoping for is 80 degree weather during the day, and cold beers and seafood at night.  OK...I could probably do without the 80 degree weather or the seafood, and let's not kid ourself...the beer will be cold during the day too.
  • Speaking of nice weather, last week was absolutely gorgeous here.  I broke out the flip-flops and the shorts even though it was not quite warm enough for either.  But when you got gams like I got, you don't want to keep them hidden beneath pants!
  • Speaking of last week, we had our first bonfire of the season on Friday night.  We made s'mores, cooked hobo hot-dogs, listened to great music and drank Irish Whiskey out of the bottle.  It was a hella good time.   Looking forward to more of those evenings as the Spring turns to Summer here on our fair harbor.
  • Looking forward to BeerHer in NYC when we get back late in April.  All the cool kids (who aren't going to TequilaCon) will be there!  And The Ginger Man is a cool joint.  If you are in or near NYC on April 24th you should join us.  Dig.
Now go do something with your lives!

Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Really, librarian?  REALLY?

Mar 24, 2010

Wasn't Q that douchbag on Star Trek: TNG?

After reading this article, I was stunned to find out that I haven't mentioned one of my all-time favorite crushes Pauley Perrette in quite a while. Over a year, in fact. That's got to be some kind of record for me.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm one of those people that actually watches NCIS. You thought we were an urban myth, didn't you?  Sue me. The characters are actually fairly well developed for a crime procedural, and I just adore the lovely Ms. Perrette. And I think I've mentioned that Mark Harmon is one of my man-crushes before. That's right...I have more than one man-crush. Sue me again.

Anywho, it seems that these marketing folks asked a representative sample of other folks about a bunch of famous-type folks.  Questions concerning the familiarity and appeal of those famous-type folks.  Something called a Q Score.  And while the stunning Ms. P doesn't score very high on the familiarity chart, she is tied for tops when it comes to appeal or likability with a couple of guys named Tom Hanks and Morgan Freeman.  Isn't that swell?

Pauley Perrette used to write one of the very first blogs I ever read.  Way back in the day.  Great stuff about her life and the show and music and poetry and t-shirts and tattoos.  But she stopped when some of her more aggressive fans became a bit too stalker-ish. wasn't me, but thanks for asking  She was surprisingly available for a celebrity, responding to emails and whatnot.  A thoroughly pleasant individual with a very interesting life story.  Much more pleasant and interesting than her waste-of-space of an ex-husband

So congratulations to Pauley Perrette for being, um, likable! 

PS - I really don't care one way or another about the lives of so-called "celebrities".  If I found out tomorrow that she kills puppies in her downtime, I would be sad (for the puppies), but not really affected at all otherwise.  But from all I've read and from the couple of times that we chatted about music and t-shirts (really) via email, she seems like a good egg.  Plus, she's really cute.

Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Who watches NCIS?  Me and your grandmother...together in bed.

Mar 23, 2010

Fantasy Baseball, anyone?

So I've been contemplating running a fantasy baseball league for this little corner of the blogosphere.

Here's the deal:
  • It would be a fantasy points based league instead of Rotisserie.  I've done both over the years and I simply don't enjoy Roto.  A friend and I developed the point system that I would like to use almost twenty years ago and we are still using it to this day.  
  • The league would be automated on Yahoo! or CBSportsline and it would require setting weekly lineups. 
  • The way the league would be set up would mirror a lot of actual MLB action and rules.  Salary cap (well, the MLB doesn't have that...yet), trade deadlines, waiver moves, etc...  Details will follow if there are enough folks interested.
  • It would be a serious league for serious baseball fans.  Not something that someone could pay attention to for draft day only and let it play out.  No way.  I would only want people who would be really into it.  People who know the game or who are willing to get their hands dirty and learn.
  • It probably wouldn't be a money league, mostly because I don't know most of you in real life and giving money to strangers (like me) is a dubious affair at times.  But maybe there would be some kind of prizes.  I don't know...haven't figured that all out yet.  Besides, I'm gonna win anyway. ;)
So if you are interested, please drop me a line via email.  Yeah, I'm closing comments on this one if only because I only want serious inquiries.  My email address is on my profile page, so that adds another layer of seriousness to the whole deal.  If you have the patience to go find it and then actually send the email, well then I guess you mean business.

And by business, I mean baseball.

If I get 10 (or more) folks into it, then it will be on like Donkey Kong.  I'll follow up with the true believers by email.

If you aren't sure, but you would like to know more please send me an email as well.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. All the cool kids are doing it.

Mar 22, 2010

Quick Hits

Just a couple of quickies for a Monday morning.

I don't know if any of you use Google Books or not. The interface is a bit klunky, but there is some really good content. And some really, well, bubblegum content. A great example of the latter would be every single issue of SPIN magazine ever published.

Now I know SPIN ain't the greatest magazine ever, and it certainly never quite reached the heights that Rolling Stone did. But, for me, SPIN is a time and a place that's fun to visit again. It's college and alternative radio and bands like XTC or The Cult or The Pretenders.  This is a fantastic time-waster.   If only to see how gloriously out of touch they were at times, like choosing Jimi Hendrix for a cover piece on his continuing relevance in April of 1991.  An issue that contained a one-sentence blurb about "Seattle's" Nirvana.  Yowch.

And last week we lost one of those un-sung heroes of American music when Alex Chilton died.  I arrived late to the party when it came to Alex Chilton.  I first heard of him as the titular hero of The Replacement's song "Alex Chilton" in the late 1980's, and to be honest...I didn't think he was a real guy.  Or a real famous guy, at least.  But I soon found out, from people much smarter than me, that he was the lead singer for the Box Tops on their amazing #1 hit "The Letter".  He was only 16 at the time he recorded that.  Amazing.

He went on to front the influential 70's band Big Star.  A band that continues to inspire musicians all over the map.  When it came time to pick a theme song for That '70's Show, the producers of the show chose "In the Street" from Big Star because, sounded like the 1970's.  Chilton received $70 in royalties every time an episode of That '70's Show aired.  Nice coin, if you ask me.  Chilton kept on writing, kept on recording, kept on performing until his untimely death.

Well, so long Alex Chilton.  I'm damned glad to have known your music.  Here he is from a segment of MTV's 120 Minutes from back in 1985.  The video quality sucks, but the segment it top notch.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. "I'm in love.  What's that song?  I'm in love with that song."

Mar 19, 2010

Sedna and Nemesis

I've got a much longer post about Space stewing in my draft pile. It's all about our Solar System, our Galaxy, other galaxies and the universe. Not sure where I'm going with it or if it's even interesting enough for me to post, but it sits there. Taunting me.

Meanwhile, I was reading about Sedna the other day and it kept me up all night.  You see the basic structure of our solar system is the Sun (that's the big yellow one), some planets, (and their satellites) an asteroid belt, some more planets (and their satellites), some dwarf planets and something called the Oort cloud.  A hypothetical ring of Killer Comets that lies around one quarter of the way between our Sun and the next nearest star, Proxima Centauri.

Sedna is one of those dwarf planets I mentioned.  Or a candidate for a dwarf planet...I'll get into that in a moment.  Pluto was recently downgraded from a planet to a dwarf planet, for comparison.  That's a harsh look in the mirror in the morning, isn't it?  Sedna is a something called a trans-Neptunian object.  Really anything beyond the orbit of Neptune is classified as a trans-Neptunian object.  But Sedna is one of the larger and more distant objects to be classified thusly. 

Roughly half the size of Pluto (using my oh-so-scientific comparison of the two dwarf planets on this chart), it has a wildly elliptical orbit around the Sun.  Right now it is about 3 times as far away from the Sun as Neptune or around 88 astronomical units (or AU.  One AU is roughly the distance between the Sun and the Earth).  At its aphelion, or furthest point in its orbit from the Sun, it is an astounding 975 AU.  Or as I like to say, really fucking far.  That's why it's only a candidate for a dwarf planet.  Because it's so fucking far away we can't be absolutely sure yet.   

It's so far away that when it reaches this distant orbit in a few thousand years it may actually affect the path of those Killer Comets in the Oort cloud that I was talking about earlier.  It might not actually reach the Oort cloud, but its gravity might affect the orbits of one or more of those Killer Comets.  Maybe even sending one or two of them our way!  We need to prepare the rockets and the drills and Bruce Willis!!!!

Sorry...went off on a little tangent there.  But gets worse.

While reading about Sedna, I ran into something called Nemesis and my mind was further blown.  You see, you think that our solar system only has one star, right?  Well, my insignificant motes on a planetary pinhead, that may not be true.

Some astronomers actually believe that we are a binary system and that a brown dwarf star named Nemesis is out there, 50,000 to 100,000 AU away.  Somewhere beyond the Oort cloud.  So dim that none of our current instrumentation can pick it up.  Oh sure, we have a plan to figure out if all this is true or not.  But it might not matter.  Because the aptly-named Nemesis wants to kill us all.

That's right.  It wants your soul.

The idea behind the hypothetical Nemesis is a cycle of planet-killing destruction that seems to occur around ever 26 million years on our wee little planet.  A bunch of scientists sat around a campfire and came up with the scariest fireside urban story ever!  A star, a DEATH STAR, that has a wildly elliptical orbit around the Sun.  Kind of like Sedna, but scarier.  And because of its wacky orbit, it may actually go crashing through the Oort Cloud every 26 million years.  And that's when those pesky Killer Comets come into play.  Nemesis whacks them out of their normal orbit like a cosmic game of curling and sends them screaming towards us.

To kill us.

I'm having a bit of trouble wrapping my tiny brain around this.  I can't fathom that we can detect a dwarf planet that is half the size of Pluto that by all accounts is really fucking far away, but that we might actually have another freakin' star in our solar system!  That's like having a small, angry man living behind the hedges in your backyard.  And every once in a while he starts throwing shit at your patio.  You'd think we would know about stuff like this.

So sleep tight and try not to think of the Killer Comets or the dwarf planets or the brown dwarf stars that are out there trying to kill us all.  You should really just try not thinking about any killer dwarfs at all.  Especially ones that might live behind the hedges in your backyard.  You wouldn't want to anger him.

Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Can you imagine that I have a longer post about Space that is still to come? 

Mar 18, 2010

33 Years Old

No, not me. I got a decade on this baby here.

It was March 18th of 1977 when The Clash released their first single "White Riot". In a stunning move, The Clash had earlier "sold out" by signing a £100,000 contract with CBS Records. Remarkable really, since they had only played around 30 times together as a band and only a few times as a headliner.

"It ain't punk. It ain't new wave. It's just rock and roll." - Mick Jones


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Twice in one day?  What?

Cracky the Clown

There is no way for me to tell the following story without appearing insensitive. Or racist. Or both. But really, it's pretty racist. I'm just gonna have to own to it. I'm normally a pretty good guy, but this time I don't mind if anyone gets mad at me. I deserve it.

So you know that Gia and I watch a lot of baseball, right? Well, there is this guy who manages the Texas Rangers named Ron Washington. This guy:

Well, ugh...I can't believe I'm admitting this, every single time we see him on TV in the dugout for the Rangers, one of us always says something to the effect of "He look like a crackhead.  Crackity-crack-crack-crack-crack crackhead!"  And we laugh.  A lot.  It's kind of become a game for us.  See who can spot him and say it first.

I know, awful.  There is no excuse.

And then the news come at me today that Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine use (MLB tests its team's managers?  Really?) last July.  He says that it was a one-time thing for him.  He only tried it once.

As Bill Cosby used to say "Riiiiiiiiiiggggggghhhhhhhttttttt!!!!!!"

I know crack and cocaine are different. I know about society's views on each of these drugs. I know about unfair mandatory minimums and all that crap.

But damn if I didn't smile a bit when I heard about this today.

Isn't that awful of me?


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Definitely going to hell now.

Mar 17, 2010

Let the free birds fly!

Have some black beer. Or twelve.

Have an Irish Whiskey. Or twelve.

Have some corned beef and cabbage (if you are American).

Have a laugh. A bunch of them.

Have a good time. Because that's important.

Just don't get behind the wheel of a car afterward.

And really...don't be an asshole.


I'm staying home and quietly celebrating with my woman.  I love her so much.

Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day.  Be safe, y'all.

Mar 16, 2010

Chili Burgers

Yesterday, our own Dr. Zibbs was looking for a good macaroni and cheese recipe. I, being the keeper of all the cool recipes, promptly emailed him mine. Hopefully he likes it. I had made it just the other day to go along with my chili burgers. No, silly. I don't put chili on TOP of my burgers. That's messy. And a waste of good chili.  You bite into it and the chili winds up in your lap.  That's no fucking fun.

No, I put all the ingredients that go into a big batch of chili INSIDE my burger. That's right. Shocking, isn't it? Who would dare tempt the Fates by putting chili ingredients INSIDE a burger?

This guy!  OK, you can't see it from your computer, but I was pointing both my thumbs at my chest when I typed that.  Or right after I typed it.  Yeah.

Earl's Semi-Famous Chili Burgers
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 2 or 3 large green chilis
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
Now you can really add or subtract whatever spices you like here.  You dig on oregeno?  Add some of that shit!  You don't dig on cumin?  Don't add any of that shit! It's your burger.  Do with it what you will.  The above recipe will make 8 quarter pound burgers or you can put on your man-boots and make 'em the way I make 'em.  How is that?  Well, lemme tell ya!

First off, I like to prepare this the day before I eat them.  The spices mix with the meat in the fridge over night and make for a more delicious meal. And we are all about the more delicious meal.  But you don't have to.  This last time I made them I did it all right then and there, and they still tasted great.

Dice up your onion and your green chilis and saute them with some olive oil if you like.  Butter if you prefer.  Cook them up for a few minutes until the onions are nice and translucent.  Then set them aside until they cool to room temperature.  Be sure to drain the excess oil and liquid first.  You don't want your burger to be a liquidy mess, do you?

After the veggies have cooled, you are gonna need a big mixing bowl. Dump the ground meat, the veggies, the...well all the ingredients into it and start mixing. Use a big wooden spoon if you like, but you're eventually gonna have to get your hands dirty so why not start now? Hmmm? Get in there and make sure all the ingredients are folded in with the meat.

Once it all looks uniform and yummy, you can start making your burger patties. I like to take about a quarter pound of the meat mixture and make it into a large flat patty. But these aren't your normal quarter pound burgers, no? Because now we are gonna kick it up a notch. You see, we are gonna stick a slice of cheese on top of that raw patty. Cheddar, American, Monty Jack, whatever. Then you are gonna take another quarter pound patty and make a cheese sandwich outta that sucker. That's right...a slice of cheese INSIDE the burger. Intrigued? I am.

Now you've got a giant half pound burger that is all ready for the grill. Make sure you pinch the circumference of the burger so that it becomes all one patty. Making each half of the burger thin is key so that the burger cooks uniformly. A few minutes on one side, flip it carefully, then a few more minutes on the other side. Whatever temperature you normally prefer for a burger. What do I have to teach you how too cook a burger the way you like it now?

When done right you get a juicy, cheesy, spicy, delicious burger that is unlike anything that you have ever had before. So juicy that it doesn't need ketchup or mayo or mustard or whatever the hell you normally put on a burger. But feel free to fly that freak flag that you own. I topped my with another slice of cheese (hehe), some sliced green pickled tomatoes and some normal red ones.

The result was glorious!  Just be warned.  You may need a nap soon after finishing one of these bad boys.

Now then...what have YOU done for me lately? Hmmm?


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Mar 15, 2010


9 out of 10 flicks that I "find" on Netflix are crap.  That's okay, I sometimes dig a good crappy movie.  And I'm not talking about major studio releases.  I'm talking about finding something you never heard of while browsing through the genres that you love.  But every once in a while you find a gem.  Something that really surprises you in a good way.

The French horror flick Frontier(s) is one of those gems.  I've had it on my Instant queue for a few months now, but I finally got around to watching it last week.

Let's not pussy-foot around here.  This is a brutal flick.  With a capital fucking Brute!  But if you can check your morality at the door for a couple of hours, it's also a highly entertaining one.  It's about a handful of small-time crooks on the run after an ultra-violent altercation with the Paris police.  They hold up in a little hostel (yeah...a hostel) in the French countryside that is run by a neo-Nazi family of utter degenerates.  Bad stuff ensues.

So it's a bit of Texas Chainsaw Massacre mixed with Hostel mixed with, oh...The Boys From Brazil.  Throw in some creepy things crawling around the abandoned mines under the area and you've got a party.

The film never had a chance here in the States.  Foreign films rarely do.  Foreign films that garner an NC-17 rating never do.  And that's what happened with Frontier(s).  Look, I know this isn't gonna be for everyone.  But if you dig slasher flicks, or torture porn (not my expression) in the vein (hehe) of Saw or Hostel, or if you just like seeing Nazis getting their asses kicked, then this might be the film for you.


Note: Okay, nobody reads blogs on weekends so I'm gonna re-post what I posted this weekend for all of you who only blog during working hours.  You know who you are.  If you read it this weekend already, well good for you.  This is for the other guys.  I also posted a thumbnail of the video over on my sidebar that I'm gonna leave up for a while.  Just because.  Just for scuzz.

OK, I think the embedded video here is hilarious. And it was done by a friend of a friend, so here's where I ask all of you for a favor.


Watch this video and if you think it's funny, if you really think it's funny, then post it on your own blog. Either a link or the embedded video itself. Jut put it at the bottom of a post you are gonna do anyway. In a postscript or something. I've never tried to use my blogging powers for good before, so I'm interested to see if we can get this thing to take off. Even in a mild way.

Suit up, kids!


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Jeux sans frontieres.

Mar 13, 2010

Figga Please

OK, I think the embedded video here is hilarious. And it was done by a friend of a friend, so here's where I ask all of you for a favor.


Watch this video and if you think it's funny, if you really think it's funny, then post it on your own blog. Either a link or the embedded video itself. Jut put it at the bottom of a post you are gonna do anyway. In a postscript or something. I've never tried to use my blogging powers for good before, so I'm interested to see if we can get this thing to take off. Even in a mild way.

Suit up, kids!


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. With a twist and a little glitter on my eyelids.

Mar 12, 2010

Movie Brain - Ferris Bueller

Here are some lines I use all the time from Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and I only recently realized that's where I got them from.  Most of them anyway.
  • Never had one lesson.
  • In what........waaaaay?
  • Pardon my French, but you're an asshole!
  • Don't ask me to participate in your stupid crap if you don't like the way I do it.
  • You heartless wench!
  • Mint.
  • Why don't you put your thumb up your butt?
  • You killed the car.
  • It's been in my pocket.  They're real warm and soft.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Life moves pretty fast...

Mar 11, 2010

NCAA Blues

I used to be a big fan of NCAA Hoops. It was something to fill the gap from the end of the NFL season and the beginning of baseball. Ah, it was a bit more than that. For a while, back in my college years and directly afterward, it was my favorite spectator sport. I loved NCAA Hoops. It felt like a purer game than the NBA, although I'm not really sure that's true at all.

Why I bring it up is that the NCAA tournament will be starting next week and I find myself not giving a crap at all. Hell, my very own college made the tournament with a victory in their Conference Tournament Final on Monday and I didn't even know about it until Wednesday afternoon. This will be the third year in a row (dynasty!) for the Siena Saints in the tourney and their 6th dance overall. They even won their 1st round games the past couple of years. That's 4 wins overall in the NCAAs for the program including a win in the play-in game in 2002. Not bad for a small Catholic college from upstate NY.

Yet I don't really care. Sure, I guess I will watch when Siena plays whomever in the Opening Round.  And I guess I'll watch the Final Four.  But I can't see myself sitting down and watching every game that was on like I used to.  Even just a few years ago.

Makes me a little sad for some reason.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. For our own form of March Madness.

Mar 10, 2010


There are all kinds of rumors floating around Hollywood these days about who is gonna get cast as Captain America in the next big superhero movie.  Names like Dane Cook or one of the Jonas Brothers.  Or that guy from The Office.  All good (really?) choices.

It really doesn't matter to me who these geniuses choose to play The First Avenger.  There is just no way that Captain America is gonna translate from the wacky world of comic books to your local multiplex.  Sure they did it with Iron Man, right?  But the difference between Cap and Iron Man is that Iron Man always had the potential for looking cool on the big screen.  Cap, on the other hand, wears a ridiculous outfit and throws a shield.  Yeah, he's a bit goofy.  So they should really pick somebody who will embrace Cap's inner goofball.  Someone who can do justice to this theme song:

When Captain America throws his mighty shield,
All those who chose to oppose his shield must yield!
If he's led to a fight and a duel is due,
Then the red and the white and the blue'll come through.
When Captain America throws his mighty shield.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. I'm hoping for Zach Galiafinakis.

Mar 9, 2010

Hugo Challenge Update - Month 2

Because I know this is riveting stuff, I thought I'd give you an update on my Hugo Challenge for this year and some quick one paragraph reviews. Three more on the list bite the dust, but I'm already itching to read something else that isn't on the list. Must. Be. Strong.

The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge - After a slow start, I wound up having a lot of fun with this one. I wouldn't necessarily call it science-fiction, per se.  The setting, a world on the doorstep of a cyclical wormhole that allows for faster-than-light space travel, certainly belongs in a sci-fi novel.  But the story was pure fantasy.  And that's okay.  The Hugo Awards honor the best in sci-fi and fantasy.  It just threw me for a loop is all.  Based loosely on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson, it tells the tale of a world divided by trade, social status and well...Summer and Winter.  When the wormhole closes, it's time for the simple Summer people to rule.  While it is open and trade with the rest of the known worlds flourishes, it is ruled by the Winter people and their queen.  A ruthless and charismatic leader who attempts to enhance her legacy by using the age-extending blood of a sentient race of sea-creatures that her people "harvest" and by cloning herself so that she can arrange to have her own progeny rule as the Summer Queen.  It was a rip-roaring space opera that was a lot of fun with more than a few stabs at our own lack of humanity at times.

The Dispossessed by Ursala K. Le Guin - You know what I forget about while reading this novel?  I forgot that Le Guin might be too smart for me.  I just have such a hard time reading her books.  The Left Hand of Darkness took me forever to read and that was back when I was a reading machine.  But I trudged on.  This one took place in the same fictional universe as TLHoD, but I barely remembered that.  The book moves in a chapter-by-chapter fashion between the two worlds of Anarres (really a moon) and Urras in the Tau Ceti system.  The politics on Urras are divided between two states/countries that are clearly parallels of the United States and the USSR during the heyday of the Cold War.  Anarres is set up without any real political system with it's "citizens" focusing on scientific research.  Then, of course, a revolution breaks out in a third-world area of Urras that is a clear allusion to the Vietnam War and the battle between Capitalism and Communism.  This wasn't really my cup of tea, to be honest.  It dragged in a lot of areas for me.  But I did find it interesting that the term and functionality of the ansible was first written about here by Le Guin.  A concept that Orson Scott Card took and ran with in his Ender series.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein - OK, I've got to come clean here.  Just a few pages in on this one I realized that I had read it quite a long time ago.  Apparently I have the memory of a moth, because this is the second book on the list that I've come across that I had forgotten that I had already read.  It's becoming obvious that it won't be the last one.  But I soldiered on, reading it in that "sometimes skimming" fashion that one does when re-reading something they have already read.  Don't get me's a fantastic piece of sci-fi.  This Heinlein character can really write.  At the very least it whetted my appetite for the other Heinlein work on my list which I promise to get to soon.  In short, this novel is about a revolt of what amounts to a penal colony on the surface of the Moon against Earth-rule, largely in an effort to avert an ecological disaster that has to do with the Loonies (Loonies!!!) exporting a huge amount of crops to Earth..  The inhabitants of the Moon (Loonies!!!) are mostly criminals and political exiles.  A small group of them are encouraged to start a revolution after a series of violent acts against Loonies by the Earth's security forces.  And hey...look at that, the revolution begins in 2076!  Shiny.  The revolutionaries (Loonies!!!) build a couple of super-cool electromagnetic catapults that hurl huge rocks back at Earth with the force of small atomic bombs.  Earth retaliates with their own atomic bombs and it's nuclear war a-go-go.  Lots and lots of action is crammed into this one, and it's a lot of fun.

Next up: The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon and Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Bored yet?

Mar 8, 2010

Oscar Hangover

It's over and we did it. We live-blogged the Oscars. Thanks to all those who showed up.
  • Holly Hall
  • Water Logged Canine
  • Savannah
  • Sir Begley Braveheart
  • RW
  • Candy
  • Sybil Law
  • Anyone else who I forgot because I'm tired.
And a big congratulations to The Dude.  I like yer style.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. That was fun.

Mar 7, 2010

Live-Blogging the Oscars

Well, it's all set up for 8PM tonight. If the dispute between Cablevision and Disney/ABC is settled by then. So pour your favorite cocktail, put your feet up and join us for some witty repartee. Or not.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. 10 choices for Best Picture?  Really?

Mar 5, 2010


I was watching footage of a concert Nirvana gave in 1992 last night on Youtube's new Vevo channel. I guess that's what it is...a channel. I dunno. All I know is sometimes you go to a video on Youtube and it goes to the Vevo screen. The video is a little bigger and the setup of the page is a bit different, but it's still Youtube. Check out Nirvana performing Love Buzz here.  What's with that dude dancing around on stage?

Anyway, one of my favorite songs from the "Bleach" album is Negative Creep. I'm only going to link to it here because, oddly, I can't find the embed code on this page. Weird. But it got me to thinking about all the songs named CreepRadiohead has a song by that titles.  So does Stone Temple Pilots and Mobb Deep (featuring 50 Cent).  And, of course, so does TLC.  That's T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli, y'all. 

My favorite is Radiohead's version.  And I found this really odd video of it last night on Youtube that features Johnny Depp.  I don't know if it was specifically made for this song or if it is a clip from some movie I never saw, but it fits the music pretty well.  Enjoy!

Oh yeah, I think I'm gonna do the live-blog this weekend. I'll post it on Sunday morning...if I have access to ABC, that is.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. You're so fucking special!

Mar 4, 2010

Question about the Oscars

Note: Hey...remember this blog?  Yeah, it's still around.  And we are still watching bad movies so you don't have to.  A new review is up.  Ignore it at your leisure. - Earl

Last year I live-blogged the Oscars using a widget from Cover It Live. It was hella fun. OK...maybe not, but it was a hella distraction. At least for the 4-5 people who showed up and participated.

So I'm thinking of doing it again, but it all depends on you. My faithful sycophants. Is anyone interested in joining me here for the excitement? Let me know in the comments and if 4-5 of you are into it then I will accommodate.  You are gonna owe me though.

That is, of course, if my cable provider doesn't dump ABC from it's service on Sunday before the telecast.  Could happen.  Disney, the parent company of ABC, and Cablevision are having a real nasty to-do over $40 million that Cablevision wants to charge Disney for retransmission charges.  I have no idea what that means, but it sounds technical.  The TV commercial battle has been particularly brutal.  I imagine executives from each company stroking their long-haired Persian cats while mwuh-ha-ha-ing at us lowly peasants.

No big whoop for me if I can't watch the Oscars live.  I'll just drink a few bacon bourbon cocktails (bacon drink) and watch a movie instead.  As long as they resolve their issues before next week's episode of Lost.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Don't fuck with my Lost!

Mar 3, 2010

2002 Called

And it wants it's viral video back.

I swear I have no idea how the following video has escaped me in the past 8 years. But I'm glad it finally found me last night, because Gia and I saw this clip on some television show and we couldn't stop laughing. We kept rewinding it and watching it over and over and over again until our ribcages ached.

The noises that this manly man of a man makes when the lizard jumps on him are pure comedy. But you've probably already seen this a hundred times, right? No...well then ch-ch-check it out!

What?  You want something new?  How about OK Go channeling their inner Rube Goldberg?  Good?


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. He is the Lizard King.  The news guy, I mean.  Not Rube Goldberg.  Sheesh.

Mar 2, 2010

Gone With the Pope

Just a quick video today for y'all. So there was this "actor" named Duke Mitchell who started but never finished this film called Gone With the Pope. Get it? Because it's supposed to be epic like Gone With the Wind, but with, ya know, Italians.

But the tragedy of never finishing this film before he passed away has a silver lining.  Because this film editor named Bob Murawski took it upon himself to finish Mitchell's unfinished masterpiece. And that's clearly what this is.  A masterpiece. 

A couple of warnings. This clip is NSFW, so play it at your own risk. Honestly, it probably won't last long on Youtube. What with the nekkid females runnin' around. Enjoy it while you can.

hat tip to the kids at FilmDrunk


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Looks like Brillo.

Mar 1, 2010

I have a weird

How ya doin', kids? Welcome to March. Remember to go play my trivia game. It's a brand new month and a brand new game, so hit it.  Maybe one of us can knock Limpy off the big board.

So about three times this past week I had a thought that began with "I have a weird..." Since there is no such thing as an original meme anymore, I figured I would post a derivative meme. Meaning, I've seen some like this, but not exactly. Huh, what? Anyway, here goes:
  • I have a weird head.  I look at other people and they seem perfectly comfortable wearing winter hats.  They put them on and it appears that they stay on.  You know the ones I'm talking about.  A plain old woolen hat that you either pull down over your ears or just have sitting on your head.  Me?  Nah...doesn't work that way.  My wool hats don't like to stay on.  I pull one on and it stays there for about a minute.  Then it slowly begins to creep up until it is barely sitting on my head and I look even stupider than I normally do.  Frustrating.  I have a weird head.
  • I have a weird body.  You know what never works for me?  Wrapping a towel around my waist after I shower.  It won't stay.  I see movies and TV shows where guys walk around for 15 minutes with a towel wrapped around their waists.  Not me.  I can't even just stand there blow-drying my hair (shut up!) without the thing falling down around my ankles.  Maybe I'm just too well-endowed.  Maybe not.  I dunno.  I have a weird body.
  • I have a weird sense of humor.  While visiting some members of my family over the weekend, my 7 year-old niece fell down and hurt herself.  Not badly, but she did cry for a while.  I know most people laugh when other folks fall down, and some especially love when children fall down.  I'm one of those people.  But I still got a kick out of it even after I realized that she was kinda hurt.  Maybe it's because she was being annoying right before that.  I dunno.  I have a weird sense of humor.
  • I have a weird sleep disorder.  I swear, before the dawn of the Internet I thought I was crazy.  I have Restless Leg Syndrome.  Sounds like something that hypochondriacs make up, but there it is.  A real thing.  Or so says the Internets.  Even describing it to someone sounds crazy.  "Well, it's like there is a mouse or some small creature running INSIDE my leg.  Like under the skin.  I know...crazy".  I have a weird sleep disorder.
  • I have a weird dream life.  When I finally do fall asleep, you wouldn't believe the crazy shit that pops out from my subconscious in the form of dreams.  Really detailed movie plots with a soundtrack and character development and popcorn and guest-stars, both from my real life and from the entertainment world.  I tried describing just one of them to Gia the other day and she just shakes her head at me.  Apparently, I have a weird dream life.
I also have a weird cat and a weird friend named Slyde, but we'll get to those another time.

How about you?  What's weird about you?


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Seriously, if we team up we can beat Limpy.  I'm sure of it.