THIS IS WHY I DON'T FEAR CHINA'S MILITARY BUILDUP

Posted in Rants on September 30th, 2005 by Ed

There's plenty of alarmism in the media and think-tank crowd – OK, at least in the conservative portion of it – about the military buildup of the ol' People's Repub in the past few years. Such stories are almost universally accompanied by some headline declaring our "Next World War" to be imminent. Before you run off to buy War Bonds and collect scrap metal to fight the new yellow horde, let me introduce you to the Jiangling Landwind.

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Caption: "Landwind is honored to be your final resting place."

Like most Chinese-engineered products, the Landwind is simply a copy of the kind of things Japanese, European, and American companies were making 10 years ago – but with the cheapest, flimsiest, and most cut-rate components substituted in. So the Landwind isn't so much a Chinese SUV as it is a Chinese copy of the mid-1990s Isuzu Rodeo/Nissan Pathfinder. Yeah, I'd say the resemblance is more than striking.

So take outdated architecture from the West, combine it with the legendary Chinese ability to make complete shit, and what do you get? The first car in history that is more likely than not to kill its occupants.

China's making a lot of noise about becoming the "new Japan"….an industrial exporting powerhouse. There are companies in both Europe and the US that are planning to start importing Chinese cars to compete with cheap Korean and Japanese models. Before receiving permission to sell the vehicles in Europe, Jiangling was required to pass the standard crash-safety tests administered by the German government.

Let's just say the Landwind failed. In fact, it got the first "zero stars" rating (five-stars is tops) in the history of any industrialized nation's crash-test programs. It's safe to say that this thing could kill you if you look at it too long. Here's a glimpse inside the cabin after a 40 mph frontal impact alongside another vehicle for comparison:

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"Die Landwind est un Shittenwagen."

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Volkswagen Touareg after the same test

The German authorities determined (probably based on the fact that the steering wheel is in the dummy's skull) that the occupants of the Landwind "could not have survived" the 40 mph impact. 40 mph. Can you imagine a 75 mph highway wreck? I'd rather take my chances eating lead paint and sharing needles with Magic Johnson (what….too soon?)

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I could post more still photos, but you really have to see the videos to get an appropriately chilling sense of what a piece of shit this thing is. It comes apart like it is made of Ramen noodles. Note on the exterior shot of the crash test that the drivers' side front wheel ends up in the well of the passenger cabin. On the interior shots note that the fucking drivers' door breaks off the frame. Say what you will about airbags, antilock brakes, and other doodads, but I think we can all agree that the doors staying on the vehicle is our first line of defense in an accident.

In a fitting and hilarious postscript to the story, the Chinese government defended its product by noting that the Landwind has passed the "National Chinese Safety Tests," which we can assume consist mostly of shouting at the vehicle to see if it will remain vigilant against capitalist expansion or retreat into a cocoon of shame.

I love the non-Western world's attitude toward safety. It's almost like the Chinese government sat down and said "Safety? We've got 1.4 billion people. Each fatal car accident is a welcome blessing." Let's go ahead and assume that this approach to manufacturing is not limited to their auto industry. Based on this evidence, I'm fairly confident that a couple of well-placed shots from a BB gun could disable a Chinese tank.

A Tale of Two Burritos

Posted in Uncategorized on September 28th, 2005 by Mike

Here at ginandtacos.com we receive several dozen emails each week centered around a certain topic, of which the following is an example:


Dear ginandtacos.com,

Being a fan of drinking, gin, and tacos I am drawn to your webpage. Your gin reviews, guide for being a good bar partron, and drinking games are all wonderful and show you are worthy of 'gin' in your domain name – but what about 'tacos'? I've been all over your page and their [sic] is not a lot of impressive material about mexican food. Are you really a fan?

Rosario Salois
Baco Raton Fl.

*sigh* This is something we worry about: how to best show our appreciation of all things tacos. We held the Ginaissance, which gave our webpage a lot of new taco related material. Yet the public questions our dedication. This is odd, as if you were ever around us you would know that our love for steak wrapped in a flour or corn shell is second-to-none. Last weekend I flew into Berkeley, California. Here are two random stories, highlighting the love our page has for all things tacos.

Burrito #1 – Midway Airport Chicago, September 23rd, 7:23pm (Flight Boarding Ends 7:25pm)

I was running late to the airport. It was the late where you enter the airport, pre-ticket and security, and see a "Now Boarding" for your flight. I was starving and had to use the bathroom. Worse, it was a four hour flight on Southwest Airlines, an airline that saves you money (god bless them, everyone) by not serving any food. For other reasons, I would not be able to eat once I landed in Ca., so I raced. I got my ticket and swept through security in record time, and had about 2 minutes left for boarding when I arrived at my gate.

Luckily there was a burrito stand right across from the departing gate with no line and a bathroom right next to it. I quickly purchased a large carne asada burrito. But I still had to use the bathroom, and the clock was ticking. I feared I wasn't going to get another chance to go until we were in the air, and in the adrenaline rush of running through the airport my brain didn't realize that I could probably have taken food on the plane with me. A choice had to be made – and if you can't tell what I did you probably don't belong at this webpage.

Now there are not many places in the world where a man can eat a large carne asada burrito in one hand while standing and urinating into a urinal with the other hand, but Midway Airport, on Chicago's southside, is one of them. And I was that man. The people standing next to me didn't blink. I like to think they viewed me as a spiritual brother-in-arms. Some of them may have thought "now why didn't I think of that?" It was a good burrito (Rating 7/10), and I got on the plane just in time.

Two things: (1) I'd like to get a comments poll going as to where that action lands on a continuum between 'hardcore' and 'horrendous' and (2) though I very much liked all the people I met and places I visited in Berkeley, I never really felt that if I was to immediately start eating a very large steak-filled burrito while urinating at the same time I would be treated as a brother-in-arms by the people around me.

Burrito #2 – San Francisco, Mission Area, September 25th, 2:15am (Bar Time 2:00am)

Someone in our group threw out the idea of us all getting mexican food after the bar we were at kicked us out. Naturally I agreed, and we all walked to a nearby taco stand.

Now I realized I might have been in a little over my head, seeing as I was in a part of town that I took to be some sort of weird combination of hipster and hippie hangout (if anyone can explain the Mission part of SF, particularly around 24th, please do so in the comments). But then I thought: I've been to the always dependable La Bamba's in Champaign past bar time, where all the guys who didn't hook up pour out of the frat bars wanting to cause a scene. I've also eaten tacos in Wrigleyville, both after bar time (see Champaign) and accidently around the time of a Cubs game, where it's even worse. I thought I could handle this.

I was wrong. The line was crowded and folded into itself twice, so I was surrounded on all sides by people. And by people, I mean the most bizarre mix of hippie-hipster I had ever seen. White men with dreadlocks and converse shoes. Then there were the straight-up hippies, wearing things that looked like woven rugs for clothing and sporting even longer dreadlocks. There was a group of transexuals – or to be more accurate, short body-building men with dresses and breasts. Then there were even more hippies smelling even worse. The awful smell of patchouli, BO, and disreputableness was blocking out the sweet nourishing smell of cumin. I was ready to bail and say "No burrito is worth being around these many hippies!"

Then I thought of you, our readers. And that I couldn't look any of you in the eye if I had run. So I stayed. Rating: 5.5/10. The shell wasn't cooked right, and the grease was causing it all to dissolve. The meat was bad, unspiced and spongy, even with the credit I'm willing to give the place serving to drunk people in the middle of the night. They did give free chips, but they didn't have a three taco deal (and their menu was unclear on their two-taco meal).

So question what you will, but never question our dedication to tacos. Ever.

Denis Marshall's Concept Album: Catching Herpes

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20th, 2005 by Mike

Let's get a working definition of a 'concept album' : "In a concept album…all songs contribute to a single overall theme or unified story." "Pet Sounds", Sgt. Pepper, "Dark Side on the Moon", "Double Nickels on the Dime", and "Ok Computer" are just some of the concept albums that people will debate for inclusion into the best of the best list. I'd like to put a new album, available online, into consideration: Denis Marshall's Betrayed. The unified story? The story of how Denis Marshall's ex-girlfriend gave him herpes.

Read more »

Deleese Williams is exceptionally ugly.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 19th, 2005 by Erik

**It has come to my attention that some ginandtacos.com readers believe this entry to be immature and cruel. Once again, it would seem that people found themselves focusing on the one point wherein they could utilize all their worthless pent up reactionary energy, thereby completely missing out on actual meaning. So, for all of you who are too amazingly stupid to read between the lines, I will spell out for you what it was I was talking about.

1. Deleese is not horribly ugly, but rather shows like Extreme Makeover force people to assume this.
2. It is ridiculous for someone to sue as a result of them not being offered a free service.
3. It is even more ridiculous to assume that her sister's mental problems which resulted in drug abuse were caused by Deleese not getting free plastic surgery.

I have not written anything for ginandtacos for quite some time now. Last week I began writing something that turned into an exceptionally long, more than likely quite boring, description of "intelligent design." Perhaps if in the future I can manage to get it to be more amusing and less depressing I might post it. That said, I have decided that my first post will not be visiting any type of intellectual subject. Rather, I will talk about how exceptionally fucking ugly Deleese Williams is.

Mrs. Williams is in fact so ugly that she applied for the show Extreme Makeover on ABC. For those few of you who are unfamiliar (consider yourselves lucky) this show involves everything surgery and style can muster to make someone who was previously unattractive into someone who is marginally less hideous. That said, amongst all the heinously beastly people in the world (celebrity mom's excluded) one would have to assume that you would have to be near to the top of stack of painfully mirror shattering ugly to make it onto this show.

Presumably Deleese Williams was

I know the picture is of fairly low quality, but the accompanying article makes a point of telling us that she has:

"[a] deformed jaw, crooked teeth, droopy eyes and tiny boobs"

If there is a moral to the story it is that in the end her "procedure" was going to take longer than the time frame allotted by the reality television program. Hence, her makeover was cancelled and she had to return to Texas (in her words) "as ugly as I left? I was supposed to come home pretty."

Well, she did not come home pretty. As a result, she is suing ABC. Amongst the claims:

  • The network intentionally humiliated Deleese Williams
  • The network broke its contract with Deleese by not making "payment" for the humiliation
  • The network caused Deleese's sister to OD on pills booze and cocaine

Yep…that’s about it.

Oh, right. Did I forget to mention the Cocaine, booze, and pills. Yeah, that’s a central player. Apparently her sister was so distraught about the derogatory things she had said that she developed a Cocaine, booze and pills habit.

Now…that’s about it.

Fall House Heretic Cleaning.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16th, 2005 by Mike

Ginandtacos.com didn't comment on it, but did anyone else notice a sense of sadness on the cultural left with Cardinal Ratzinger becoming Pope in April? I hate to pick on any one blog, but the excellent planned obsolescence had this odd moment of despair – "with the announcement of the accession of Benedict XVI. And I sat and cried in front of my television set, watching my relationship with the Church be severed once again."

I was actually quite happy. Not because I'm excited to see the old Pope's favorite right-wing henchman get the top job, but, by not picking someone from the third-world to usher in a new era of Catholicism, it was only a matter of time now until the Catholic Church became a matter of pure spectacle. Like any institution in its decline, half the fun is watching it kick and struggle. I knew this new guy was not going to try and save the church by running a saint factory (John Paul's grand total – 483 saints created, 1,345 people beatified; click here to see a timeline and get a sense of how fast he was churning out the new icons). My secret hope was, as Ratzinger was prefect of the position that used to be referred to as Holy Office of the Inquisition, I'd get to see a good ol' fashioned Inquisition in my lifetime.

And so it begins! Leaked to the New York Times today:

Investigators appointed by the Vatican have been instructed to review each of the 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States for "evidence of homosexuality" and for faculty members who dissent from church teaching, according to a document prepared to guide the process. The Vatican document, given to The New York Times yesterday by a priest…Expectation for such a move rose this year with the election of Pope Benedict XVI, who has spoken of the need to "purify" the church…The seminary review, called an apostolic visitation, will send teams appointed by the Vatican to the 229 seminaries, which have more than 4,500 students. The last such review began about 25 years ago and took six years to complete.

At each seminary, the visitors are to conduct confidential interviews with every faculty member and seminarian, as well as everyone who graduated in the last three years.

Among the other questions are these:

¶"Is the seminary free from the influences of New Age and eclectic spirituality?"

¶"Do the seminarians or faculty members have concerns about the moral life of those living in the institution? (This question must be answered)."

¶"Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary? (This question must be answered)."

A team is being assembled to weed out homosexuals and heresy in the Church! Awesome! One can almost imagine Bernard Gui questioning the kitchen staff in private, playing them off one another in a prisoner's dilemma, trying to find secret letters from long ago (or in these days, an old IM/email/browser history), and establishing Order through a full public confession (does Ratzinger read Foucault?).

Why is this urgent, you might ask? Well, because among your Opus Dei far right Catholics, it is common knowledge that (a) seminaries are under control of a "gay majority", (b) that this gay majority is causing the decline in priests, as it creates a hostile and liberal environment to study Christ, and (c) these homosexuals are behind the child abuse scandals.

For evidence that this is the worldview of that crowd, check no further than the amazon customer 'reviews' of Goodbye, Good Men : How Liberals Brought Corruption Into the Catholic Church, with it's talking points of

[the author] also makes it clear that homosexual behavior has been rampant, and largely ignored, on some seminary campuses. While his purpose is not to address the clergy sexual abuse scandal currently rocking the Church, the astute reader will wonder whether such behavior has contributed to the problem the Church is currently facing. Many observers tend to think that the two are related.

[different review] I used to think that a good Catholic fellow who believed and followed what the Church taught about such issues as abortion, contraception, homosexuality, the primacy of the Pope, transubstantiation, the immaculate conception, etc. would be a shoe-in for the priesthood…devout young men are being routinely TURNED AWAY from the seminaries for no other reason than that they hold and believe these eminently orthodox positions! Who are being accepted in their places? I think the current and growing scandal within the Catholic Church in America provides a clear-cut answer.

Nevermind that there's no evidence that homosexuals abuse boys (is it assumed that all straight men abuse little girls?). Who knew that teaching a philosophy of the spirituality of persecution would lead to a place where people actively seek out the experience of persecution? Everyone who has been to Catholic School remembers a priest who was probably gay. The idea that he was/is acting on behalf a liberal/secular agenda of destroying the Church and molesting children could only be put forth by those who can't admit that something is rotten at the core. Their immediate reaction is to find the nearest minority group to scapegoat.

Best of luck with the interrogations.

"BROWNIE, YOU'RE DOIN' A HECK OF A JOB"

Posted in Rants on September 12th, 2005 by Ed

"….now clean out your fuckin' desk."

Didn't take long for him to get thrown to the wolves, did it? Looks like the former head of the International Arabian Horse Association (seriously) has been "asked to resign" again.

I don't know what's more pathetic – that he really was the head of the International Arabian Horse Association or that he was forced out of that position for incompetence. Seems like a hard thing to screw up, no?

WHICH ONE IS LOOTING?

Posted in Rants on September 7th, 2005 by Ed


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GINANDTACOS.COM SALUTES THE DIRTY SHOTGUN

Posted in Rants on September 6th, 2005 by Ed

I'm pretty much at the point in my life at which I've given up on the idea of working hard in school, getting good grades, and launching a successful career. I put this phase off longer than most people (who embark upon it during Sophomore year of college) but I am handling it the same way: massive amounts of Counter-Strike.

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Ginandtacos.com is no stranger to this game and the bizarre cult that surrounds it. As such, we collectively tip our hats to the cheap, manual-loading shotgun. Not only does it make one look and sound much cooler than the opposition, but there's a special sense of pride and joy one feels upon using it to blow an opponent away from about 6 feet despite its considerable shortcomings. You round a corner and stumble upon a terrorist, who of course starts moving around and spraying bullets everywhere from his $6000 assault rifle. In contrast, you calmly level your archaic 12-gauge to chest height and lift him a few feet off the ground.

Yes, it's slow and inefficient. Yes, if you miss you're dead. But yes, it also makes that bad-ass chambering sound in between rounds. The cheap shotgun: ginandtacos, salut!

TIM RUSSERT: "BITCH, YOU WILL ANSWER MY QUESTIONS"

Posted in Rants on September 4th, 2005 by Ed

Want to see Vintage Tim Russert ripping an asshole a new asshole? Check out these video clips of his Sunday show with Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff. Russert's opening question: "Are you considering resignation?" Clip 1 is the handjob, then clip 2 aims for penetration. Tim quotes me at the end of clip two, re: a nuclear of biological attack!

Check out Americablog's excellent summary of why the desperate White House spin attempting to blame this situation on the city government and state of Louisiana is so asinine. The .pdf file of the letter sent by Louisiana's Governor on August 27 (before the storm) requesting federal disaster relief is particulalry nice. Of course no one in the White House responded, they're all on their well-earned vacations.


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It's also fun to read about how Condi Rice left on vacation the day after the hurricane hit, Bush went to San Diego to play guitar with country music stars at a fund raiser before he bothered visiting the Gulf Coast, and Dick Cheney is still on vacation, fueling the persistent speculation that the VP's disappearance in the last month is connected to health problems.

THE MENTAL FANTASY WORLD OF MODERN CONSERVATISM

Posted in Rants on September 2nd, 2005 by Ed

This story from noted left-wing mouthpiece Fox News is pretty revealing about the perpetual head-in-ass existence that exemplifies George Bush's America ™. According to FEMA chief Michael Brown, the agency is "shocked" to see looting, violence, and general lawlessness impede relief efforts.

But Brown also acknowledged that little in the government's preparedness plan took into account the likelihood of lawlessness in such dire straits.

"Before the hurricane struck I came down here personally and rode the storm out in Baton Rouge," he said. "We had all of our rescue teams, the medical teams, pre-deployed, ready to go. … The lawlessness, the crime that is occurring, did surprise us."

Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," the FEMA director said he "never thought I'd see" the lawlessness that has overtaken the city and interrupted emergency relief efforts.

So our multi-billion dollar Homeland Security disaster management plan never considered the fact that complete anarchy brings out the worst in people? Maintaining order wasn't considered a potential problem in the wake of a nuclear attack or massive natural disaster?

Good work, FEMA. When I think of major catastrophes, "orderly" is the first word that comes to mind.