Who's watching The Watchmen?

Cover of Cover of Watchmen

Today a friend of mine sends me some email, and he's like: "What is the big freakin' deal with this movie? Why is every other thing I read on the internets about The Watchmen?"

And I'm like, "In terms of popular culture, it's akin to the first Star Trek movie. I hope it doesn't suck, but like the first Star Trek movie, it probably will."

And he's like, "I'm so glad I'm about 18 months behind pop culture. That way when (really if) I watch this movie I'll have long forgotten all the hype and nonsense."

And I'm like:
Get with the times.
The Watchmen "graphic novel" came out about 23 years ago.

It's so old, it wasn't even called a "graphic novel" when it came out.
it's so old, it was printed on newsprint instead of glossy paper.
It's so old, kids were reading comics instead of adults.
It's so old, Alan Moore... well, yeah, he looked about the same.

PS, this note from Wikipedia:
After the series concluded, the individual issues were collected and sold in trade paperback form. Along with Frank Miller's 1986 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns miniseries, Watchmen was marketed as a graphic novel, a term which allowed DC and other publishers to sell similar comic book collections in a way that associated them with novels, but disassociate them from comics.
PPS: I hope it doesn't suck.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


US Food Supply Could Be Worse...

derivative work, center piece by NatImage via Wikipedia

Despite the "gross" factor from learning the amount of allowable bug parts and rodent filth in processed food for sale in the US, at least the FDA is trying to keep our food safe.

Contrast this with a news article about people who ate tainted pig meat in China.
70 people in one Chinese province have suffered food poisoning in recent days after eating pig organs contaminated by a banned food additive......The victims complained of stomach aches and diarrhea after eating pig organs bought in local markets since Thursday, China's Xinhua news agency reported. A local health official said initial investigations indicated that the pig organs were contaminated by clenbuterol, an additive that is banned in pig feed in China.
Clenbuterol can prevent pigs from accumulating fat but is harmful to humans and can be fatal. One of the largest food poisoning cases involving clenbuterol happened in Shanghai in September 2006, when 336 people were hospitalized after eating pig meat or organs contaminated with the additive, China Daily said.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Don't read this before lunch (or dinner)

Two Chef Boyardee Mini Bites canned pasta prod...I read E.J. Levy's op-ed piece in the Oregonian today just after breakfast. A propos the peanut butter salmonella investigation the article talks about an FDA pamphlet called "The Food Defect Action Levels: Levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods that present no health hazards for humans."

Now, I remember in 7th grade a conversation I had with my sister how she learned from a friend that all canned food had some minimum amount of bugs or bits of animals accidentally included. We were talking while heating a can of Chef Boyardee Raviolis, and they still have a negative association for me. So, before you check out this pamphlet you might want to eat one of your least favorite meals.

In the introduction to the pamphlet it says "...it is economically impractical to grow, harvest, or process raw products that are totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects." Which even the 7th-grader in me knows is probably true when canning food. But when you process your own food, you get to chose how picky you are about the contents. Want to wash your lettuce twice? Use soap on the beets? Pick out every mushy strawberry, go ahead.

The problem is that most people depend on highly processed foods, and it's just too difficult to efficiently determine an average comfort level with what people eat. And it is a comfort level. The rest of the introduction points out "Products harmful to consumers are subject to regulatory action whether or not they exceed the action levels..."

So, by now you're asking what's the hubbub, bub? As Levy summarized the pamphlet:
Among the booklet's list of allowable defects are "insect filth," "rodent filth" (both hair and excreta pellets), "mold," "insects," "mammalian excreta," "rot," "insects and larvae" (which is to say, maggots), "insects and mites," "insects and insect eggs," "drosophila fly," "sand and grit," "parasites," "mildew" and "foreign matter" (which includes "objectionable" items like "sticks, stones, burlap bagging, cigarette butts, etc.").
Tomato juice, for example, may average "10 or more fly eggs per 100 grams -- the equivalent of a small juice glass -- or five or more fly eggs and one or more maggots." Canned mushrooms may have, among other things, an "average of 75 mites" before provoking action.
The sauerkraut on your hot dog may average up to 50 thrips. And when washing down those tiny, slender, winged bugs with a sip of beer, you might consider that just 10 grams of hops could have as many as 2,500 plant lice. Yum.
Peanut butter -- that culinary cause célèbre -- may contain approximately 145 bug parts for an 18-ounce jar, or five or more rodent hairs for that same jar, or more than 125 milligrams of grit.

Eee-yew! Well, maybe you don't like sauerkraut or peanut butter. Well, how about chocolate? Chocolate and chocolate liquour allows insect filth (60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams) and rodent filth (1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams).

And the canned raviolis I ate as a teenager? Macaroni allows one insect fragment per gram,and 4.5 rodent hairs per 225 grams. So, there's a bit of a bug in every bite! I didn't see that slogan on the label.

If you want to gross yourself out, read the whole pamphlet. Meanwhile, I'll stick with eating as much fresh food as possible, where I can spot the bugs before I consume 'em.

Enhanced by Zemanta


Speaking of Prawo Jazdy

Speaking of Prawo Jazdy, here's another funny translation error.
When officials asked for the Welsh translation of a road sign, they thought the reply was what they needed.
Unfortunately, the e-mail response to Swansea council said in Welsh: "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated".
So that was what went up under the English version which barred lorries from a road near a supermarket.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Driving on the right and left

There's a news report from the BBC of a notorious speeder in Ireland. His name is Prawo Jazdy, and he's wanted scores of speeding tickets and parking fines. Turns out Prawod Jazdy is more of a myth than a man.
"Prawo Jazdy is actually the Polish for driving licence and not the first and surname on the licence," read a letter from June 2007 from an officer working within the Garda's traffic division.
"Having noticed this, I decided to check and see how many times officers have made this mistake.
"It is quite embarrassing to see that the system has created Prawo Jazdy as a person with over 50 identities."

But, maybe Prawo should get together with Animal. In Germany traffic cameras have been repeatedly catching the wild Muppet in flagrante delicto.
An Audi TT with British registration plates has been repeatedly caught speeding on roads in the Bavarian city of Bayreuth. But because continental speed cameras are set up for left-hand drive vehicles, the cameras keep missing the driver’s face.
Instead, they keep capturing clear views of a manic Muppet-like toy which the cheeky Brit has propped up on his passenger seat. But police admit they are even baffled about the identity of the muppet.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Recipe: Delicious Homemade Pizza

You get home and you're hungry, tired, and don't want to leave the house. Order out, right? Nope. It takes about as long to make pizza as it does to have it delivered. In 40 minutes or less you can have your own homemade pizza.

Here's my simple recipe:
  • 4 cups of flour

  • 2 cups of warm water

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast

  • 1 tablespoon or less kosher salt

  • 8 oz (1 small can) of tomato sauce

  • 16 oz ball of mozzarella cheese

  • Dried oregano

  • Olive oil

Toppings: pepperoni, black olives, jalapenos, sausage, basic, bell pepper, artichoke hearts, you name it.

Toss the yeast and 1 cup of water into a bowl and let the yeast proof for about 10 minutes. The water should be warm, about 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the yeast bubbles, mix in two cups of flour. I like to use Bob's Red Mill Unbleached White. If you use wheat you will need more water, and I'd suggest mixing half and half, white and wheat. Gently mix the flour and water with your hand or a wooden spoon until it's a slurry. Toss in the salt and mix some more.

Add most of the second cup of water and then the remaining two cups of flour. If you want a crisp crust then the dough should be on the wet side, whereas a drier dough will make it more bready. Don't knead it too much: that makes it tough. When all the dry flour is mixed in, make a ball and drizzle it with olive oil. Then divide the dough into two balls and place each ball onto a cookie sheet covered with tablespoon or so of olive oil (hint: you can't use too much olive oil).

Turn on the oven to 400 or 425 Fahrenheit to preheat.

Use a food processor to grate the mozzarella, and also use it to slice the bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and any other veggie you can think of (I usually avoid broccoli on the pizza). This should take about five or ten minutes.

Use your hands to flatten out the pizza dough on the cookie sheets. There's enough dough to form two pizzas that are almost 18"x12" each. Don't worry about getting too thin, although you'll want to squeeze shut any holes that develop.

Open the can of tomato sauce and divide it between the two crusts. Use the tablespoon to spread the sauce around evenly. Give it a good dose of oregano and then spread the mozzarella over the sauce. Add your toppings and then pop the pizzas in the oven. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes. If your oven is small, you might want to swap racks about 10 minutes in so each pizza cooks evenly.

Instead of tomato sauce you can use two or three fresh tomatoes blended in the food processor with a touch of salt and maybe some basil. Or, use fresh pesto.

I usually use part-skim mozzarella. If you get low-fat mozzarella the cheese doesn't melt very well. It's slow to melt on the part near the sauce, and forms a crust on the top. And if you use Soyrella go extra light. That stuff hardly melts at all, but turns instead into a gelatinous liquid.

When heating water for yeast, you can either get hot out of the tap, or use cold water and heat it up in a microwave. In either case it should feel hot to your fingers, but not burning hot.

Serve with beer. (And a salad, if you're into that.)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Charles Darwin, photographed by Julia Margaret...Image via Wikipedia

Google trends is a good way to compare popularity of different topics. It lets you compare up to five separate terms.

I guess the net continues to evolve.

Now, for twitter, there's twopular (easy to read, hard to say aloud). It appears that Charles Darwin, Joaquin Phoenix, and Valentine's Day are hot tweets right now.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Twitter Zeitgeist?

Zeitgeist album coverImage via Wikipedia

I still don't get twitter, although John Borthwick seems to think it's the best thing since sliced bread.

I only follow a few people, and fewer follow me, so I guess I don't have much of a zeitgeist.

But, for grins, I put a twitter feed on my blog under "Twittering Moss." You can get an RSS feed from twitter with this URL: "http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=moss". Changing "moss" to whatever you're searching for.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Book Review: The Dart League King

I wanted to like "The Dart League King." I saw the author was going to appear at Wordstock, and the plot summary reminded me of high-school friend who liked to spend his time in smokey bars working the darts league. Unfortunately, I ended up missing Wordstock, but I still got to read the book.

As I worked my way into the story it seemed to play like out Hemingway's short story, "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber," except the lion is a stream-of-consciousness spewing drug dealer, the guide is a covert DEA agent, and the safari takes place in the 321 bar on Thursday night. Or maybe it's not like that at all.

The events take place in a single night, but the book explores the lives of many of the lead characters through multiple flashbacks, and other clever mechanisms. The characters start out as stereotypes, but the back stories help flesh them out (although they are still "types").

A couple of places it gets predictable, but Morris manages to pull out of that enough to keep the story exciting. In my opinion the lead character is ok, but Vince, the drug dealer's internal narrative makes the story really outstanding.

My rating: The Dart League King by Keith Lee Morris is worth reading. Published by Tin House books.

Here's the jacket plot:
An intriguing tale of darts, drugs, and death. Russell Harmon is the self-proclaimed king of his small-town Idaho dart league, but all is not well in his kingdom. In the midst of the league championship match, the intertwining stories of those gathered at the 321 club reveal Russell's dangerous debt to a local drug dealer, his teammate Tristan Mackey's involvement in the disappearance of a college student, and a love triangle with a former classmate. The characters in Keith Lee Morris's second novel struggle to find the balance between accepting and controlling their destinies, but their fates are threaded together more closely together than they realize.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]