Big Savings!

November 28, 2014

Big Savings!

The Friday after Thanksgiving or ”Black Friday“ is reserved by global corporations for whipping Americans into a frenzy of over-consumption.  Millions camp out and line up for hours hoping for bargains. Most end up buying things they don’t need at prices they can’t afford.

Save big today. Don’t buy a single thing. If you want to spend something, spend the day with friends and family. Spend time at the library; borrow a book and spend time reading it. Spend time making something. You’re not what you buy. You’re not a “consumer.” You’re a human being.

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Thanksgiving Greetings from William S. Burroughs

November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Greetings from William S. Burroughs

A holiday poem from Williams S. Burroughs: “Thanks for the wild turkey and the passenger pigeons …”

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Pizza, a Thanksgiving Tradition

November 26, 2014

Pizza, a Thanksgiving Tradition

Fun Food Fact: The day before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days for take-out pizza, right up there with Super Bowl Sunday.

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Image (“First Fun Thanksgiving, after J.L.G. Ferris [detail]“) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Turkeys, Wild and Otherwise

November 25, 2014

Turkeys, Wild and Otherwise
There may or may not have been turkey at the first thanksgiving, but there will probably be one on your holiday table. Centuries before Columbus, the Aztecs domesticated wild turkeys, and Spanish conquerors took some birds home to Europe where they became popular, reaching England between 1524 and 1541. That means the New England “pilgrim” Puritans were as familiar with turkeys as their Wampanoag dinner guests, but neither would recognize the over-bred bird you bought this week.

A wild tom turkey usually weighs about 20 pounds and can fly for up to a mile with speed bursts up to 55 miles per hour. It’s dark-feathered, sly, slim, tall and long-legged, and can run like the devil through the brush. It can live up to 10 years if it doesn’t get an infection and can be found in any of the contiguous 48 states.

A domestic tom turkey can weigh up to 40 pounds, has white feathers, stumps around on short legs, and sports a huge breast. Most market turkeys come from Minnesota or North Carolina. A domestic turkey can’t fly or reproduce normally, is treated with antibiotics, and only lives for 2 or 3 months before it gets slaughtered for your dining pleasure. Happy Thanksgiving!

 More:

“Head To Head: Wild Vs. Supermarket Turkeys (Infographic),” World Science Festival

“Wild and domestic turkeys: birds of a different feather,” South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

“On This Thanksgiving, Celebrating The Wild Turkey,” Barbara J. King, NPR

Related:

“Look How Much Bigger Thanksgiving Turkeys Are Today Than in the 1930s,” Kiera Butler, Mother Jones 

“How Turkeys Got Broad, White Breasts,” Sara Bir, Modern Farmer

“How America’s Thanksgiving turkeys got so huge,” Svati Kirsten Narula, Quartz

“Benjamin Franklin praises the virtues of the turkey,” from a 1784 letter to his daughter via Lapham’s Quarterly

“Get to Know the Turkey Species You Don’t Eat,” Matt Somiak, Mental Floss

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Turkey Carving Tips for Real Guys

November 24, 2014

Turkey Carving Tips for Real Guys
Oh no! Despite reading Turkey Torching Tips for Guys you have a great big, fully cooked, deep-fried Thanksgiving turkey on your hands. You examine it minutely and discover there’s no little red zip tab to open so you can take out slices. What now?

That’s some big old avian cadaver you got there, buddy. There’s only one manly way to divvy it up. That’s right: chainsaw.

Step 1: De-grease the chain and call the manufacturer to see if you can safely spray it with Pam or a similar food-grade lubricant. Use a clean bedsheet as a dropcloth to gather the “sawdust” for making turkey salad.

Step 2: Observe all chainsaw safety rules, including use of protective eyewear. Imagine having to answer the question “Hey, what happened to your eye?”

Step 3: Start ‘er up. Slice away. Man, that sounds great!

Step 4: Clean out your Shopvac; use it to remove pulverized turkey shreds from the bedsheet drop-cloth before sneaking the linen into the laundry hamper. This may save your marriage. Reserve meat shreds for turkey salad.

Step 5: Chow down, dude!

Remember: Clean the saw completely before using it to prepare the winter woodpile or those goofy lawn sculptures.

Disclaimer:The above is provided for amusement, not actual cooking. Chainsaws have been known to malfunction when used on small objects and/or soft matter. NotionsCapital is not responsible for interpretations by the humor-impaired, mentally challenged, or emotionally disturbed. If English is not your native tongue, please ignore this post. Yes, we are aware that people are injured while improperly using chainsaws, so keep it to yourself. Jeez, what a country.

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Turkey Torching Tips for Guys

November 23, 2014

Turkey Torching Tips for Guys
The National Fire Protection Association claims “turkey fryers that use oil, as currently designed, are not suitable for acceptably safe use by even a well-informed and careful consumer.” Wimps! Thursday is Thanksgiving, when we give thanks for college football and a four-day weekend. That’s when Real American Men generate Code Orange air quality by incinerating poultry on the patio. Yeah, buddy!

Any pantywaist can cook on those SUV-sized natural gas, propane, electric, or gelignite-powered barbecue grills with all those fancy features (good subwoofers can help spread sauce evenly, though). Nah, let’s get ready to deep-fry us some turkey. Here’s how:

1. Put Fire Department on Speed-Dial. Keep your cell phone in your welding apron pocket. It is unwise to enter a flaming residence to use the telephone.

2. Purchase more equipment. You can never have enough Real Guy outdoor cooking gear. Buy some new stuff at Home Depot first. Forget about those electronic gizmos from Leading Edge, you can never read their LCD screens outdoors anyway. Williams-Sonoma? Isn’t that the California wine the wife likes?

3. Don’t forget the turkey. It should be big enough to bother messing with. Double-check to make sure you are not buying a goat or lamb.

4. Check interior compartment of poultry (note: light does not go on automatically; use your Maglite). Any paper-wrapped parcels inside will not contain Surprise Creme Filling. Remove; give to wife or cat. If the bird is frozen, use your Benz-0-Matic torch judiciously or the meat will be dry. At this point you may marinate the turkey in any fluid mixture as long as it contains beer.

5. Equipment check list. This will vary but should definitely include safety equipment (welding apron, Kevlar™ gloves, safety glasses, fire extinguisher, cell phone, well-stocked beer cooler or full beer keg with ice), fire ignition tools (lighting chimney, matches, butane torch,  highway flares, flamethrower, etc.), food manipulating tools (tongs, skewers, forks, knives, pneumatic jack), cooking implements (meat thermometer, meat hygrometer, count-down timer, 55-gallon deep-fry container, perforated deep-fry container insert with turkey stand and handle, caulking gun for stuffing insertion, brushes, sprayguns, and hypodermic needles for applying sauce, tattoo gun for decorations, crane), deep-fry medium (vegetable oil is better than animal fat; Marvel Mystery Oil is not recommended), sauces, rubs, marinades, condiments, spices, and essential vegetables (potato salad, cole slaw, ketchup). Anything missing? See Step #2. Got everything? Cheers! Begin beer consumption.

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Yoga Pants: Threat or Menace?

November 22, 2014

Yoga Pants: Threat or Menace?
Revealing, stretchy yoga pants are often the (ahem) butt of jokes, even when they’re not transparent. Now we hear that they may be a (ahem) fundamental health risk, causing buttne, acne of the buttocks:

“You know it’s serious when a doctor tells you to give up the yoga pants. It works like this: Your yoga pants are tight. They’re sweaty. They stick to your butt when you sit or even when you’re not sitting. So does bacteria and sweat, which clog pores. Dr. [Carlos] Charles puts it this way: ‘Sweat that sits on the body for extended periods of time leads to the overgrowth of bacteria that can exacerbate acne.’”

– “Your Yoga Pants Might Be Giving You Butt Acne,” Kathleen Hou, New York Magazine

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Image (“Yoga, after a 19th Century Punjabi Manuscript”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com  

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Food Chains

November 21, 2014

Food Chains,” a film by Sanjay Rawal, documents where your produce comes from, who makes it available to you, and the cost. Executive Producers: Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser. In theaters and also on iTunes.

More:

“Eva Longoria and Eric Schlosser take on fairness for farmworkers in ‘Food Chains,’” Soraya Nadia McDonald, Washington Post

“Sanjay Rawal’s New Film ‘Food Chains’ Asks “Is My Food Fair?” Big Think

“‘Food Chains’ Looks at the Real Cost of Your Cheap Tomatoes,” Maddie Oatman, Mother Jones

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Jimmy Ruffin, 1936 — 2014

November 20, 2014

Jimmy Ruffin, 1936 -- 2014

Soulful singer Jimmy Ruffin passed away on Monday at age 78. He was best-know for his 1966 Motown recording “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.” His younger brother, David Ruffin of the Temptations, died in 1991.

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The NFL: Bastion of American Socialism

November 18, 2014

The NFL: Bastion of America's Socialism

America’s National Football League has held a few games in the UK and is trying to form a franchise there. British writer Matthew Engel has let his compatriots in on the league’s radical secret:

“In the US, sport is the habitat of the nation’s secret socialism. Through revenue sharing, salary caps and the draft (which gives the worst teams first pick), the NFL pioneered the notions that the last must be allowed to finish first. To that end, the rich must subsidise the poor.

In part, this is a mechanism to make capitalism work better, though it is not a mechanism favoured in other aspects of American life ….”

“… I suspect the NFL is using London as it uses Los Angeles which, bizarrely, has been without a franchise for 20 years. If any city gets mean and refuses to subsidise a new stadium or whatever, there is a threat so obvious it hardly needs saying: ‘Pay up or LA will.’ In Britain, such geographical shifts are almost unknown and totally anathema. Another piece of secret socialism: American teams are subsidy junkies.”

– “‘Socialist’ NFL would fail in capitalist London,” Matthew Engel, Financial Times

Hipper Brits already knew this, because UK artist Fraser Davidson animated the passage of Bill Maher’s book that points it out:

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