On The Ravages of War, with Recipe

Prise_Port_Mahon_Minorque_20_mai_1756Minorca, 29 June, 1756

Armand de Vignerot du Plessis (1696-1788), Duke de Richeleiu, soldier, Cellamare conspirator, philanderer, and thief, watched with smug satisfaction as British troops marched from Port Mahon.

Under the command of Lieutenant-General William Blakeney (1671-1761) the British had defended the city, which they called Fort Saint Philip, with honor and were allowed to retreat unmolested from the island. Blakeney would later be named the first Baron Blakeney for his actions in this early European engagement of what was to be known as The Seven Years War. Vice Admiral John Byng (1704-an abrupt 1757), the man in charge of the failed attempt to reinforce the British garrison, would be court-marshalled, found wanting, and executed by firing squad.

No matter the fate of the British officers involved in the battle, the day belonged to Richeleiu. He commissioned a celebratory dinner. His chef, having no cream for a sauce at hand, became desperate. Flailing about aimlessly he threw together whatever was at hand to come up with something, anything, to serve for dinner. He must have known that the final product he served was wretched, but he had neither time nor resources to correct his failure. So at the table of a criminal minded traitorous Duke within wafting distance of the yet unburied corpses of fallen soldiers, the air redolent of death and gunpowder*, humanity was first forced to endure sauce Mahon, or as we know it today, Mayonnaise. Continue reading

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Garry Trudeau: Polk Award Winner, Disgusting Human Being

Every so often someone disgusts me.

Charlie Hebdo dead, Vilks in hiding, Hedegaard shot, Rehman firebombed, Nekschot vanished, Molly Norris fled, Kurt Westergaard attacked by an Islamic axeman… But Garry Trudeau is on stage congratulating himself on “afflicting the comfortable”. You can’t “punch down” much lower than sneering at the dead and those no longer able to speak, can you?

The full article from Mark Steyn can be found here.

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A Highly Dubious Theory That Purports To Explain Southern Californian Culture In A Nutshell

LAPilates, juicing, hot yoga, paleo, gluten free, homeopathy, acupuncture, ionized bracelets, pole dancing workouts, acacia berries. If there is a health craze in existence, it has taken root in the Los Angeles Valley. I used to think this was so because of some creeping vanity that asserts itself when you live among the glitterati of “La-La Land” but after a recent trip to the area I’m not so sure.

My twenty seven mile drive from Hollywood to Redondo Beach lasted one and a half hours. That’s a lot of time not moving, looking at liquor stores, crazy people yelling at walls and dancing, barbed wire fences around schools, liquor stores, and more power lines than can possibly be necessary in the land of rolling brown outs. Continue reading

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The Ecstasy of Mark Halperin

This side of paradise“I don’t want to repeat my innocence.” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote. “I want the pleasure of losing it again.”

It’s from This Side of Paradise and remains one of my favorite lines from the genre that includes Look Homeward Angel, Pere Goriot, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in which the protagonist struggles to find a place in the world, visits a cemetery, and declares to nobody in particular some variation of “You were all prologue!” So I suppose I could add Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the movie of course, to that list.

So impressed was juvenile me with the Fitzgerald line that I had it enshrined as my senior quote in the high school yearbook. I imagined the headmaster and dean of students reading the line beneath my picture and howling “O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.” as they come to the realization that one of their students had been up to the business of innocence losing. In my mind I was blowing their little bourgeois world to pieces, but I was libertarian minded kid who read a lot of P.J. O’Rourke so I doubt I would have used the word “bourgeois.”  Continue reading

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Ghosts In The Machine

logo-facebookAccording to a Facebook notification, Saturday was my friend Jeffery’s birthday. At least it would have been if he were still alive. On this site, I’ve referred vaguely to a “talented chef” on many occasions as the source for various culinary tendencies or revelations. There is a coterie of professionals from whom I take inspiration, but the bounds of my aesthetic bear Jeffery’s influence more than any other.

I also get an electronic reminder when it’s my friend Daniel’s birthday. He endured an astonishing ten year battle versus recurring brain tumors before succumbing. Another Jeffery, brother of my brother in-law, fell to a heart attack in his early thirties while jogging. Jason’s motor cycle stood no chance against a truck on a rainy Oklahoma highway. I sent Chris home for being high during his shift. He was fired and died of an overdose two weeks later. CJ’s life as an evangelical ended with ALS. Can a guy pull off the nickname “Spanky” into his late thirties? I knew one who could – father and all – until, again, heart attack. All still inhabit either Facebook or Google Contacts. Continue reading

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A Republic, If You Can Keep It

Queen Anne Pistol Creative Commons“The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” goes the phrase often, and likely erroneously attributed to Thomas Jefferson. It’s most likely an abbreviated version of Ireland’s apparently dreamy John Philpot Curran‘s “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.”

Whatever it’s provenance, the phrase is meant as a warning to the citizens of a free state to jealously guard and protect their freedoms against any government encroachment as the natural tendency of government is to slide toward tyranny. The state of New Jersey, bulwark of the American way and whatnot, has a different reading of things.

Lately it seems that it is the power of the state to regulate in absolute terms, with no regard to mitigating factors or mercy, the behavior of those unlucky enough to find themselves within it’s jurisdiction that New Jersey busies itself to jealously protect.

The current threat to our republic on the receiving end of The Garden State’s eternal vigilance is 72 year old retired English teacher, antique collector, and alleged illicit gun owner Gordon Van Gilder.

What is alleged is not whether he’s guilty of carrying a concealed weapon with out a permit. As to that, Van Gilder told National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke, “I did break the law – to my shock.” And according to the state’s archaic gun laws, he is correct. What is alleged is that the object he was carrying, a Queen Anne single shot flintlock pistol manufactured in Belgium circa 1760, would meet any modern definition of a weapon. But for having the antique in his possession, scofflaw Van Gilder is being charged with a second degree felony and faces a minimum of three and a half years if found guilty in a court of law. The maximum sentence is ten years, no doubt a comfort to the 72 year old. Continue reading

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“Well, she was wearing an awfully short skirt.”

Placed under my wife’s windshield wiper while she was shopping at the local supermarket:

Bham Police Flier

There is nothing wrong with the flier per se. The advice listed amounts to no more than a reminder to use common sense. But there is something unseemly about the local constabulary evaluating the citizenry as potential marks. Is there an insinuation that if you don’t behave in a particular manner you are asking to be a victim? Maybe it’s just me.

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On Made Up Holidays

NPD 1Forgetting an important occasion can lead to embarrassment, so you can understand my relief when I came upon a tweet posted last Monday by @BHamRestaurantRaider which read, “So today is #NationalPizzaDay Where will you celebrate?” Thus was avoided a repeat of the National Pasta Day Fiasco.

Properly reminded and informed, I celebrated National Pizza Day (February 9, not to be confused with November 12 which is in fact National Every Thing but Anchovies Pizza Day) where all the great holidays should be celebrated: at home with family. We kept things simple in the spirit of the solemnity of the day; a pepperoni pie for the children and an anchovy one for us. Continue reading

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How to Dominate Social Media and Influence People

Twitter Logo 2I’m not certain why websites run international stories in their regional editions, but that’s just what the International Business Times did. In their Australian edition they ran a story about Twitter earners which claims that according to Forbes, over the course of a year, one third of Lady Gaga’s $52,000,000 haul was earned via Twitter related activities. The Australian edition of an international website may seen like a roundabout way to find out what an American performer makes according to an American magazine, but there it is.

So how did La Gaga weaponize her tweets to the tune of $17,333,333.33? As far as I can tell she runs paid advertisements. It’s that simple. A brief glance at her feed reveals no theme or relationship between her and her clients, but I’d like to think that on occasion she let’s her 44.1 million followers know that when the truly fashion conscious decide to wear a dress made entirely from meat products, “Hormel® Black Label® Bacon is the only brand that makes everything better.” Continue reading

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It’s National Signing Day!

Arie Kouandjio CaptureIt’s National Sign… but then you already know that from the title. Barring a meteor strike it looks like my beloved Crimson Tide will be reeling in another top ranked recruiting class. The cocktail hour may come early today.

Limited eligibility is one of the many (many, many, many) things that make college football great. Programs wax and wane. Fortunes change and success or failure are always right around the corner. We love to see the new guys, but recruits coming in means known and often beloved players leaving.

Over at rollbamaroll.com we took time to look back on the careers of our graduating seniors. Here’s my post on Arie Kouandjio. I do love brutal offensive linemen.

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