Thursday, February 26, 2015

Where's the beef?

I've told ya'll about my friend Annette in posts in the past.
Well, for the past few months, she has been VERY successful in getting healthier (and even better lookin).  (Bitch.)  Sadly, I am afraid that some of this healthy livin' has made her a little delusional.  For example...the other day, she posted this:
...with the caption, "Cajun spiced cabbage steaks!"
Now, I like cabbage.  I like cajun spices. I like Annette's cooking.  I am sure that the cabbage in the picture tasted mighty fine.  However, I am equally certain that it did not taste like a steak.
I'm not judging...I've had these sort of delusions myself...when I've been successfully dieting for awhile...and I have my carrot "chips" and my fat-free ranch and I'm all, "I love these CHIPS!  Why, this is just like snack chips, only better!  I'll never eat another Dorito again in my life."
Until I DO eat another Dorito and my taste buds wake up from the stupor they have been in since I decided to forgoe "bad" food and eat right.
Carrots are fine.  They taste good.  But they are not, and they will never be a Dorito...or even a Ruffles potato chip.
Cabbage is all fine and good, but is not a steak.
"But it's called a steak because of how it's cut!"  Annette said to me. (This is when I texted her and asked if it was okay that I wrote this blog post.)

I looked up the definition of steak.  Merriam Webster's entry on the word "steak" was this:

Full Definition of STEAK


a : a slice of meat cut from a fleshy part of a beef carcass

b : a similar slice of a specified meat other than beef

c : a cross-section slice of a large fish


: ground beef prepared for cooking or for serving in the manner of a steak

Examples of STEAK

1. I grilled a steak for dinner.

2. We had steak and potatoes for dinner.

Now, I'm a purist and thus, the fleshy beef carcass definition is the only way I use the word "steak", but I can concede the other two (similar slice of another kind of meat or fish) definitions are also appropriate.

This, however:

is not a steak.  It is a funji.  Nothing against the mushroom family, but let's leave the land of make-believe for a moment.

Below me is an hunk of eggplant.

which is also not a steak.  And it is not covered in chickpea and feta gravy because such a thing does not exist.


Looks like a very nice start to some eggplant parmigana.  Throw some marianara and cheese on it...yum.  What it isn't? breaded, country "fried" eggplant steak.

I don't even know if I LIKE parsnips, because I have never had one.  I have faintly distrusted them ever since I got a fortune cookie fortune that read, "fine words butter no parsnips." (Not making that up.  You can see it here)

But this "Parsnip Steak" with "Beet ketchup"?

No.  The insanity must end.

And this is???? Cauliflower steak? Really?  And we've, what...garnished it with clover and rabbit turds?

Folks...I'm all for your diets.  I am all for lowering your blood pressure and your chlosterol.  I need to get with that program myownself?  But!  We do not have to try to delude ourselves by calling things what they are not.  Because frankly, all it does for ME is remind me that I am not, in fact, dining on a steak.

Beet ketchup, indeed.

Friday, February 20, 2015

It Could Be a Bowling Alley!

I had a great day yesterday.
At work, I was given what one might call...A Major Award!
It was major to me anyway.  My boss nominated me for it, which was flattering.
My co-workers struggled all day long to make sure it remained a secret to me until the big reveal during a town hall meeting that was teleconferenced to over 20-something corporate sites, and it was touching that they cared so much about me having a nice surprise.
The Division Manager (who is like my boss's boss's boss's boss....waaaaaay up the totem pole from my little peon self) announced that I had won it and said a whole bunch of nice things about me (well, read a bunch of nice things that my boss had written about me) in front of like 1500 of the Division employees was UBER flattering and a little humbling.
My boss called me afterward and told me that the award came with a few bucks and I was REALLY digging that.

I got to top the evening off with a lovely dinner with a great friend.  This is Tina:

She is smart, sexy, funny, beautiful (as you can see). You want to talk about angels among us?  That's Tina.  She runs a non-profit organization called Family Links through the Calhoun County Sheriffs Department.  She left a pretty prestigious position a couple of years ago to take this position.  Family Links works with at-risk youth in our area.  They have programs for parents to learn how to parent focuses on parents of kids that are "out-of-control" and teaches parents how to get their heathens back under control before they slide into REAL mischief of drugs, violence, etc. (I'm paraphrasing here).  There's a "Success Academy" to get the kids back on the right track academically. There's a program that offers therapy for the kids...and a bunch more.  Frankly, it awes me because I don't know how she does it.
She is understaffed, overworked and underpaid. (I don't care what she IS paid, it can't be enough).  I don't know how she does what she does without burning out.  She is AMAZING.  And she is always in need of more money to help more make her programs more make more of an impact.  Right now, Tina is involved in getting together a fundraiser for Family Links.  It's called Run for FUNds and you can read all about it here. 
It's a 5k run/walk on April 25th, proceeds go to Family Links.  You can register to do the run for $20.  Or you can sponsor the run.  I haven't decided whether I want to actually do the run (or in my case, aggressively walk). But I did decide to become a sponsor.  Since I had just been given my MAJOR AWARD, I was able to hand Tina a check that evening over a plate Masaman curry and plum wine.
It was the very best part of my awesome day.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Okay, Men, here's the deal.  In a couple of hours, some of you are going to be desperate.  Yes, you both agreed that you weren't doing Valentine's gifts.  Yes, she said that she didn't want flowers. Yes, she said not to buy her candy because it would ruin her diet.  But then...she started acting funny...and in a little while, maybe during the dinner that you both agreed was all you were going to do for each other for Valentine's Day, she's going to give you a gift.  It will be thoughtful and something you really like and you will feel bad about not getting her anything.
You will plot to sneak buy bread or something...or to pick up a bottle of wine and you will buy something for her and pretend you've had it al along.  But then, you go into the store...thinking you will get flowers and candy or something, and all they will have left is this:
Why, look at that!  That looks Valentine-y!  Pretty bow...kind of know, instead of a real bouquet they've used something in lieu of flowers.  Might even look more thoughtful than FLOWERS, because it's unusual.
But look closer...


Maybe at one time, they did have "bouquets" that were made with candy bars and were cute.  But those were all sold before lunch to other men who were just a leedle bit quicker on the uptake than you.  Now this one is the only one left.  Because?  It is a bouquet of diet bars.
I don't know what sick bastard had this idea, but it is a bad one.  Do not be taken in.  Do not tell yourself, "Maybe she will think I listened to her about the "no candy" thing."
Just. Don't.
The only thing that giving your woman a bouquet of diet bars will get you is slapped up-side your head. Maybe repeatedly.
So walk away from it.  Now.
Almost ANYTHING else you can buy at Winn Dixie will be a better choice than this.  You can take her home a raw chicken and tell her that your plan is to make her a roast chicken dinner tomorrow.  You can bring home cereal and milk and tell her that you're serving her breakfast in bed in the morning.  Just do not take her home that travesty of a Valentine's "gift" they are trying to lure you into buying.
This concludes my Public Service Announcement.



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Commercialism run amok

Hey, guys?  We have to have a talk.
Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I am a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool animal lover (except for squirrels and possums).  Specifically, I am a PET lover.  I have waaaayy too many critters of my own and I have found many, many more homeless varmints loving homes of their own.  I am a SUCKER of magnitude.  I have lost sleep about stray animals.
My own animals?  Well, I think they have a life that is pretty darn enviable.  They are well fed, well loved...they receive medical care (both preventive and acute).  They seem really happy to be here, and we are really happy to have them.
BUT...I think as a society we maybe go a LEEEDLE overboard when it comes to our furry companions.  Recently, I have run across a few items that are for sale out there for our four-legged family members that I believe prove my point.
Dear pets of mine, I am sorry...but here are some things that I will never buy for you.  For example:
I was in Walgreen's buying allergy medicine when I saw this. can spend $5 and buy your dog something to chew on that "CONTAINS REAL WOOD!"  It also, apparently has that "Natural wood smell that dogs love".
Do you know what else has a real wood smell? What else contains real wood?
Like this stick shown below that Simba likes to gnaw on. 
They just fall out of my trees in the backyard when the wind picks up.  I don't even have to pay sales tax on them.
Then there was this.  It came as a sample inside a container of cat litter: 


Understand, now...this is not a free sample of a packet of cat food.  This is a free sample of a packet of "decadent silky broth" that you swirl gently and then "serve" as a complement to cat food.  Do you have cats?  Do you "serve" your cats anything? 
At feeding time here, I line up all of their bowls, get a scoop of cat food and hurriedly slap some of it in each of their bowls while they are milling around and shrieking like banshees and trying to climb me like a tree.  The cats then snarf their food down as fast as they can while they all glare and make growl-y sounds at each other.
I can't even try to imagine fending off the horde as I gently "swirled ingredients" and placed a "complementary bowl of broth beside their balanced cat food diet."  They would either faint from hunger (which they swear upon their souls is about to happen while I am getting their food dishes together as it is) or the smell of "silky broth" would drive them into a frenzy and I'd end up needing stitches.  (BTW, "silky" broth?  They use this word over and over again for this stuff. I don't get it).
The broth packet came with a coupon for $1 off of four pouches.  Which made me ask myself, "How much is this shit anyway?" The answer?  $1.30 a pouch.  There are 1.4 oz in each pouch.  You know those cartons of chicken broth that you buy to make HUMAN stuff like soup out of?  If it were as expensive as the silky, decadent Fancy Feast stuff, a 32 oz. carton would cost you $29.71.  Swanson's chicken broth is on sale at Walmart right now for $1.98.
The flip side of the coupon had this picture:
I love my feline friends...but they are NOT getting something that looks better than what I'M served as a first course in a restaurant.
Finally, we come to this last product in my rant.  It was in the Sky Mall magazine the last time I flew up to Maryland in December.
This is a $1000 cat bed on stilts.  Oh, is a cat serenity pod.  It was designed exclusively by the designer of the Men in Black III pod designer (who strangely enough, they don't name).  It's a "monolithic fiberglass pod with a color changing LED light on the inside. According to product description, the pod's elliptical exterior blocks 90% of outside noise while its interior two foci amplify white noise inside, helping your pet to sleep. (Is this a problem for any cat owner, anywhere?) 
And....No cat on the face of this Earth would ever set paw in one.  Trust me on this.  Would they battle each other to the death over the right to sleep in the box the serenity pod came in?  All day long.
Would they chase each other around the room and skip off the top of it and knock it over 15 times a day?
You're damn skippy.
But I'm betting that trying to stuff a cat inside of this thing would be like trying to handle live, land-bound ,furred piranhas.  I can't even imagine the required protective gear.  The more I look at the advertisement's picture, the more convinced I am that the cat in the picture has been photoshopped in.
The ad promises that your cat will: "float away on a cloud like bed into a bliss state with calming color changing light." (that is a direct cut-and-paste from the ad...not making that up).
I guess fortunately for me, all of my animals seem to be able to enter into a "bliss state" all on their own:

I think they've got it pretty good.