May 31, 2008

Aren't Breasts Great?

Category: Life — Cranky @

I like chicken. It’s just really, really terrific. Naturally, like any bachelor chicken afficionado, I’ve wrestled with a basic problem. How does one effectively freeze chicken breasts without destroying their flavour?

I’ve tried… good heavens I’ve tried. After all, chicken breasts are relatively expensive, unless you buy the “club” packs, and I don’t need 8 of them at a time. I’ve tried ziplock classic, ziplock double-seal, and several types of “freezer bags”. I’ve sucked the air out of bags with straws to get as much moisture out, hoping for less crystallization. I’ve tried plastic containers. In the end, though, I always end up with some freezer-burned dregs that have to be thrown out.

So I’d resigned myself to buying them when needed. That is, until now. I happened to come across a sale happening at a local meat store, and they had boxes of frozen chicken breasts – “The Chicken Breasts That Made Us Famous!”

Bold claim. I bought a box, and took them home. After a week, I opened the box, and not only was the bag not sealed, it was just folded in, hardly protecting the chicken at all. The breasts were clearly flash frozen somehow – they were completely frozen through and resembled opaque frosted glass. I thawed them, and when I sliced them, I immediately saw something different. This chicken was thoroughly moist in a way I’d never seen.

I sliced it into strips, dusted it with chipotle, and fried it in olive oil. It was incredibly tender. In fact, I think it’s safe to say it was the best chicken I have ever had, fresh or frozen. So, after well over 250 articles, I’m going to do something I don’t think I’ve done before. I’m going to recommend a product.

Seasoned, boneless chicken breasts, from M&M Meats. Take it from me – it has the Cranky Seal of Approval. These are fantastic breasts.

Cranky

May 26, 2008

Stultitiae Non Gratae

Category: Entertainment — Cranky @

The following have been declared dangerous to the public IQ, and steps should be taken immediately in order to eliminate their influence on the world.

– Pet rocks

– Any movie starring Hugh Grant

– Any movie that mentions Hugh Grant

– Hugh Grant

– The phrase “All of the sudden”

– Any theory about the universe that came about when the “philosopher” was stoned

– People who think that combining a bunch of video clips and some random song is being artistic

– Bloggers

– Youtube

– Anybody named “Ned”

– People who say, “The fact of the matter”, and then state what is clearly an opinion, and not a fact

– People who say, “At the end of the day” or, “When all is said and done”

– The television shows “Bones”, “Ghost Whisperer”, and “Touched By An Angel”

– Any website that uses blinking text

– DVD collections of “Three’s Company”

– “Dueling Banjos”

– “Holistic” anything

– People who butcher latin in order to make clever titles for their stupid articles

Cranky

May 15, 2008

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.

Category: Economy — Cranky @

The U.S government released some new figures this week and I’m not exactly sure what to do with them. The numbers are so far removed from reality that they’ve become completely fictional.

It’s amazing. Apparently they’ve pegged inflation at 3.9% for the 12 months ending April. Of course that figure, known as “Core Consumer Price Index”, doesn’t include those pesky, volatile food and fuel prices. Why they feel it’s okay to exclude those figures is beyond me. After all, everybody eats, and while not everybody drives, everybody consumes stuff that has fuel costs attached to it.

The Core CPI should be a useless statistic, but it has a very specific use. If you under-report inflation, you can avoid having to increase benefits to retirees who have pensions that are indexed to it. Great idea.

Bread is up 14%, milk up 13.5%, but food prices only increased 5.1% over the year. Of course anybody living at a subsistence level, such as senior citizens on fixed incomes, can tell you that’s complete bullshit. The government allows “substitution” when reporting inflation. If you bought New York steak last year, and this year chuck steak costs the same as New York steak did last year, they assume you’ll buy chuck steak, and voila! No inflation at all.

There are groups that try to demystify the statistics and figure out what is happening for real, but they lack that government seal of approval, so they don’t get airtime. One study I read today calculated the CPI using the methods employed in the 1970’s. They compared prices on the same products year over year. You know, they measured simple price increases. The 1980’s and the 1990’s brought all sorts of obfuscation into the picture, as they found new and inventive ways to hide reality from the voting public.

Using that method, the CPI this year is nearly 12%. That figure is far more in line with the reality experienced by Joe American.

The Gross Domestic Product is another fiction, as is the rise reported for energy. Using “seasonal adjustments” energy costs ended up being “lower than expected”.

The reality is that the crash is under way. 250,000 homeowners entered foreclosure proceedings in April alone. The lenders are facing bankruptcy, and so are the insurers. The government is frantically lending billions they may never recoup to banks that have no realistic plan for survival. Every home that is lost is also revenue lost for the cities they inhabit, and city bankruptcies have begun.

250,000 homes entering the market will further depress home values. Homeowners who owe far more than their homes are worth are walking away, causing more foreclosures to occur, which depresses home values further…. it can’t end well.

The United States of America is basically bankrupt from the top to the bottom.

This is it, folks. The massive reset has begun. In a few years things will improve, but the artificially inflated lifestyle of the American will never return.

Cranky