Friday, July 25, 2008

It's A Goddamn Pickle

Pickles are delicious, and while I'm not loyal to any one particular brand, Mount Olive is among my favorites. Still, I get the same thought in my head nearly every time I pop open the jar to retrieve a salty spear. A three-word phrase stamped on the lid, mocking me with its questionable authenticity, is the seed of that thought:

Refrigerate after opening

It is certainly not unique to Mount Olive, as I have seen it printed somewhere on the jar of every pickle brand on supermarket shelves. Claussen pickles are sold from a refrigerated case, so it makes some sense for them to be stored in the icebox. But's a damn pickle. The whole idea behind the cucumber pickle was that the preservation came from the vinegar and salt in the brine, and it didn't require additional help. Sailors in the sixteenth century would take pickles on long oversea voyages, and they sure as fuck didn't have refrigerators. What the hell did we do to the pickle to make it unsafe for dry shelf storage after opening the jar?

I've heard some people claim the pickle is crunchier after sitting in the chill chest. I don't buy that argument, since Koreans have been burying jars of kimchi for hundreds of years, and their pickled vegetables come out of the ground crunchy, even after months sitting around in the fucking dirt, without a fridge in sight. Still, it doesn't explain the wording: Refrigerate after opening. It's not a suggestion, it's a demand. As in, "You'll die of food poisoning if you don't stick this in the cold after exposing the pickles to the air."

Shit, maybe I should stop eating these things.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Thoughts During Squats

Think back to one of those times you fucked up really bad. No, not when you left the ice cream on the kitchen counter overnight, or when you locked your keys in your car. I'm talking about the big league shit: Getting caught in a bad lie or cheating on your theoretically significant other, committing a crime that warranted police involvement, or something of that magnitude. The point I am slowly reaching here is that, almost to a person, everyone who does something like that has the exact same thought: "I wish I had never done that." Of course, since genies only appear in Looney Tunes and porn movies, the wish is never granted.

Now take those times something minor has come along, attempting to ruin your day. Let's use the example of some asshole on a cellphone cutting you off on the road. Instead of yelling at the insensitive shithead, start creating a hypothetical situation in your head. Imagine yourself speeding up and ramming that jerk right off the road. Let the daydream carry out: You slide the fucker off the road and into a ravine. Their car explodes, and they are dead. Oh, shit! Now the cops are involved, and you're going to jail for a long while. Damn. Now you're thinking it. You know: "I wish I had never done that."

But wait! You have somehow traveled back in time to the exact moment you made the decision to kill that stupid driver, and you talk yourself out of it! Now, not only are you a time-bending magician, you have accomplished something all of those other sorry people could not. You "never did it". You will feel better about everything and suddenly your day will seem that much better.

It really will.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lists For Dummies

The "for Dummies" series of books are omnipresent, nearly to a point where we will begin seeing "Shopping For Dummies" retail stores in shitty strip malls very soon. While it is hard to begrudge something that has produced tomes that have helped so many people in so many different topics, it is obvious that they have run out of legitimate subjects to help people with. Here is a list of actual titles in the series that will make you wish the government tracked sales of the books and posted the purchasers' names online for public record. You know, in case you finally wanted to get that Ponzi scheme up and running.

  1. HAPPINESS FOR DUMMIES: Are you a mopey, self-centered fuckknob without any understanding of how to involve yourself in society? Do you buy black clothing at Hot Topic to show the rest of the world what an individual you are and the unknowing pain you experience being the only 15-year-old boy in the history of the planet to get rejected by a girl? Do you sit in your apartment all day bitching in online chat rooms about how hard it is to get a job in "today's market" even though you haven't filled out an application in nearly two years, and the only response you get from your "internet friends" is sarcastic insouciance? Guess what? As long as you keep lying to yourself, this book won't do shit for you, either! That leaves your options as A) Go get professional help for your depression, or B) Shut the fuck up and leave the rest of the adults alone. Quit trying to drag us into your quagmire, you selfish twat.
  2. BREASTFEEDING FOR DUMMIES: Yes, that's right. There are mothers in this world that need instructions for doing what every goddamn stupid-ass mammal on the planet knows how to accomplish without reading a ridiculous $20 book. Congratulations, lady. Your maternal instincts have been outclassed by a fruit bat.
  3. GRIEVING FOR DUMMIES: Grief is a terrible experience, and unfortunately one nearly every person deals with at one time or another. I actually don't have a problem with the content being addressed. However, the book title is insensitive and bewildering. The varnish of crass commercialism coats the endeavor, and probably turns away people who could potentially benefit from something written within the guide.
  4. NASCAR FOR DUMMIES, 2ND EDITION (!): Speaking of crass commercialism, hey! It's NASCAR! Yes, I was as shocked as you were to find out this book was more than ten pages long and not written in crayon. At least there are coupons for Pabst beer and Slim Jims in the book. I would assume.
  5. HAIRCUTTING FOR DUMMIES: There is some definite comedy value lurking from the publishing of this guide. I would guess, though, that most people who hear their friend or loved one offer a free haircut while catching a glimpse of that book on a table nearby, would be moving away from that potential situation with celerity.
  6. KABBALAH FOR DUMMIES: Do you wish to be just like Madonna, but are having trouble getting Alex Rodriguez to sleep with you? Perhaps you are British, and unable to make your accent sound as phony and retarded as the long-past-her-prime Material Girl's. Well, you can pretend to believe in the same bullshit faith she professes to follow! Let this book be your guide to a half-assed spiritualism denounced by an overwhelming majority of faithful Jews! Come on, if the woman who starred in Shanghai Surprise can't get you into heaven, then who the fuck can?
  7. SUSHI FOR DUMMIES: In Japan, there are chefs who spend their entire lives learning how to cut fish and vegetables properly, how to cook perfect rice, and how to create tiny pieces of art with lessons from master chefs who are passing down techniques culled from multiple generations of study. In America, we don't have time for that shit. Get that bamboo mat, throw in some Uncle Ben's Wild Rice mixed with red wine vinegar (you know, because you want to put your personal spin on it), top the calamity off with canned tuna mixed with Miracle Whip, and roll that fucker up. Don't forget to hack it up good with your chef's knife you bought from the dollar store. Hey look! It's sushi!
  8. BLOGGING FOR DUMMIES, 2ND EDITION: You had to know this was coming, right? To be honest, I'm only bringing up this title in hopes of getting mentioned in the third edition of the book. The idea is that if the book I'm ragging on is using this blog as an example about itself to...something about a temporal vortex...ah, shit, I'm getting a headache.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Remembrance of Crap Past

Fast food chains get into creative ruts, like any other business. Usually when it happens, they'll reverse the toppings on an existing sandwich and call it a "Deluxe", or bring out some ghastly creation from the past and try to pass it off as new. Every now and again, though, the grease barns come up with something surprisingly novel and even somewhat delicious. Which, of course, means it inevitably gets pushed aside for another uninspired and stupid concept. Here is a list of some items I had a short infatuation with before Big Burger coldly ripped it away, never to be seen again:

1. Taco Bell's "Wild Sauce": Since I'm too lazy to look it up at the moment, I think this stuff appeared about 15 years ago, and Taco Bell was seemingly trying to shake an image that their food was bland. Their gift unto the public was this remarkable tomato-based sauce, which still stands as the only legitimately spicy-hot item they have ever served. Goddamn, it was tasty. That shit-in-a-packet they serve with your "Tex-Mex Inspired Creations" today doesn't even compare. Tacos made with Wild Sauce had to be served double-wrapped, because the nuclear red goodness would eat through the first layer of paper before you could even get the tray from the counter to the lushly-appointed dining room. My friends and I would ask for cups of the stuff so we could take it home and use it as chip dip, burger topping, or as a Bloody Mary mix. I am convinced that Taco Bell had to get rid of it because it killed weaker members of society daring to survive its awesomeness.

What they replaced it with: Those weak efforts in little packets, one of which they call "Fire" sauce. I don't think Fire sauce could make a fat man's hemorrhoid flare up, much less destroy the elderly.

2. Wendy's Pitas: Ten years ago, Wendy's unveiled a warm pita sandwich with fillings such as Garden Vegetable and Chicken Caesar. For a joint known mainly for square burgers and chili made from chopped-up square burgers, they were surprisingly good. At two bucks apiece (initially), they were even a decent deal. The Garden pita was easily the best vegetarian option ever offered by a major fast-food chain, light years ahead of the goddawful veggie burgers once sold by McDonald's and Burger King.

What they replaced it with: This thing:

The Frescata, a remarkable achievement made by Wendy's in making a deli sandwich that was worse nutritionally than their hamburgers and fries.

3. Long John Silver's Wraps: After the disaster that was Mr. Norman Bigfish in 1995, sales at Long John Silvers Fried Seafood Emporiums plummeted. The restaurant's regular clientèle was dying off, thanks mostly to their advanced age and partially to their large-scale consumption of awful breaded fish, and nobody new was coming in. The solution was ingeniously simple: Wraps, made with the customer's choice of fish, shrimp, or chicken, and a choice of five different sauces. They came with lettuce and the mysterious "crunch nuggets" that were the cherry on this sundae of deep-fried decadence. The large wrap was a bargain at three bucks, because it could easily feed two people. Alas, Long John Silvers could not sustain prosperity, as their employees were apparently incapable of quickly rolling up a damn burrito. Franchise owners bitched about the extra time the wraps took to prepare, the company ditched them, and people resumed not going to Long John Silvers.

What they replaced it with: I have no idea. Who cares.

4. McDonald's Arch Deluxe: Yes, seriously. For those who don't know or remember, The Arch Deluxe was McDonald's attempt at a "grown-up" burger. The toppings included pepper bacon and a new "secret sauce" that contained whole-grain mustard. The burger was served on a split-top potato-flour sesame roll they only used for this sandwich. Most people were too busy mocking McDonald's for the effort to notice that this thing actually tasted pretty damn good. It was a gutsy move by the Golden Arches that backfired due to incompetent advertising, a high price point relative to other McDonald's offerings, and a wild overestimation of the sophistication of their average customer. Some consumer groups had an issue with the caloric content of the sandwich, but A) it pales in comparison to some of the belt-dropping numbers of sandwiches currently offered at fast-food places, and B) nobody gives a fuck about dietary advice offered by consumer groups.

What they replaced it with: All sorts of retarded shit, most of which involved adding extra meat patties to existing products, including their milkshakes. There was also the brilliant McSalad Shaker, which came to pass when (apparently) someone important at Hamburger University thought that having a salad which fits in a car's cup holder was a great fucking idea. Hey, what motorist doesn't want to drink a salad while driving? At least the McLobster Roll never escaped the Northeast.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dropping blogs in my porcelain bowl

First and foremost, thank you for reading this. This will likely be the most serious thing I write in this blog.

The great majority of what I put in this blog is intended to entertain you, although I'm sure I will occasionally utilize the forum to complain about trivial, personal events that only I care about. Feel free to ignore those posts, use them as an excuse to practice your amateur psychology, or to just point and laugh at my paranoid idiocy. Who am I to tell you how to think? There are a few points I would like to make about what will be forthcoming in Quagmar's Porcelain Bowl:
  • I write in English, and I try very hard to make sure everything is spelled correctly and that proper grammar is utilized. Unless I am being sarcastic or referencing something involving a captioned cat picture, this is a LOL-free zone. That applies to emoticons, too.
  • The reason this blog has an adult rating is because I like to use "bad" words. A lot. I don't smoke and I rarely drink, so I need to make up for it by cussing excessively. I am running clean on this introduction, but the epithets will flow afterwards.
  • There will be musings in here that will offend at least a few of you. Please consider the following sentence: "A dead baby rolled in broken beer bottles and hung up by its feet makes a fascinating disco ball." It's not a particularly funny line, but it was the best I could do in my current state of sleep deprivation. In any case, if that string of nonsense made you want to email me in an enraged tizzy, you probably shouldn't read any further.
  • I will do my best to keep up with this thing. I'm not going to force a set date upon entries, but there should be a new one at least once a week.
That's it. Once again, I appreciate your time, and hopefully I can encourage a laugh or two with my moronic rantings.