THREE TOTALLY UNRELATED NEWS ITEMS

Posted in Rants on July 28th, 2006 by Ed

Item #1: Burger King now offers a sandwich called the Stacker which proudly proclaims "No Veggies Allowed." The sandwich features 4 beef patties, 4 slices of cheese, 8 strips of bacon, and something called "Stackers Sauce." The nutritional payload? 1000 calories, 68g of fat, 240mg cholesterol, and 1800mg of sodium. Combined with a large fries, this "meal" more than doubles the RDA of every dangerous dietary component known to man.

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Note the "Make it Beef" logo. Catchy slogan, guys. Catchy.

Item #2: Hardee's now offers the Philly Cheesesteak Thickburger – essentially a giant cheeseburger with a pile of sliced beef, cheese, and sauces on top of the beef patty. The damage? 930 calories, 63g fat, 135mg cholesterol, and 1750mg sodium. Fortunately for Hardee's patrons, this new sandwich is practically diet food compared to the nearly-incomprehensible Monster Thickburger (1410 calories, 107g fat (!!!), 229mg cholesterol, 2740mg sodium).

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Yeah, that looks tasty

Item #3: Massachusetts surgeons and medical researchers announce that an increasing number of Americans are far too fat to fit in MRI tubes or yield adequate x-rays and ultrasounds. GE and other manufacturers are set to reap windfall profits by selling new multi-million dollar MRI machines to hospitals under the guise that the new machines are better for claustrophobes. If, of course, by "claustrophobes" you mean morbidly obese people.

Remember, these three news items are of interest individually but in no way related to one another.

REASONS TO LIVE, VOL. 1

Posted in Rants on July 27th, 2006 by Ed

I've been waiting four years, but on August 21 the world finally gets a new Giddy Motors album. Posthumously, of course. We all know that no British band can possibly stay together for more than two albums.

Listen to the single "Early Morning Pipe" (choose "new & forthcoming" on the pull-down audio menu, top right). Might want to have a change of underwear handy.

Camp.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 22nd, 2006 by Mike

Slate on Thursday had a special summer camp issue, with several articles on the camping experience. Two things of note:

1) Their excellent cultural editor, Meghan O'Rouke, writes about going to (her phrase) "nerd camp", a camp for only the top 3% of academic students in the country:

But the fundamental enterprise remained a shared one, and the weekly dances were, as a friend recently put it, wondrous displays of group awkwardness. In our day, each concluded with either "Sympathy for the Devil," "Ana Ng," or "American Pie,"

If the thought of a group of honors-honors kids dancing around to They Might Be Giants at a forced social doesn't make your secret (or not so secret) inner 13 year old nerd happy, I don't know what will. (re-watch the video for Ana Ng if you've forgotten how much fun tmbg are at times – the desk pounding and the weird hop walk at 2m18s are so wonderful).

2) Summer camp stories, especially about nerd camps, give me an opportunity to dust off my favorite thing I've done for this page, from back in 2000, the time I encouraged the kids in my Computer Summer Camp section to write essays I promised would not get censored or reviewed by parents. Here's what they wrote. They certainly had their finger on the pulse of the immigration debate.

Sending messages.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 19th, 2006 by Mike

I'm sure you all have reasons for supporting the Constitutional Ban on Gay Marriage. Here is one you probably haven't thought of: The recent fighting in the Middle East. Quote Rep. Gingrey:

The Democrats accused Republicans of raising the issue even as they ignored what the Democrats said were more pressing problems, including the war in Iraq, an expanding conflict in the Middle East, high gasoline prices and North Korean missile tests.

But Representative Jack Kingston, Republican of Georgia, said the marriage issue was “just as important and a top-tier issue as any of those.”

Another Georgia Republican, Representative Phil Gingrey, said support for traditional marriage “is perhaps the best message we can give to the Middle East and all the trouble they’re having over there right now.”

I also think that repealing the Death Tax and opening up ANWR for drilling will help with the situation in Darfur personally. It's the second best message we could send.

THE WORLD SPORT – THE UNEVOLVED WORLD, THAT IS

Posted in Rants on July 17th, 2006 by Ed

I have already made it perfectly clear that I don't "get" soccer. Much is made of how it is the world sport and apparently we Americans are the odd ones for not getting it. Uncivilized boors like us can only watch sports with violence, constant scoring, or steroidal freaks hitting a ball 700 feet. Blah, blah, blah.

Bullshit. We hate soccer because we have thumbs. Opposable thumbs. We realize this and we take advantage of it by doing things like "picking up," "throwing," or otherwise manually manipulating objects. And yes, we're guilty of demanding more action out of our sports. For some reason we just don't find 120 minutes of 0-0 action followed by penalty kicks to be exciting. Yeah, and we're messed up? Who the hell finds that entertaining? But I digress.

Every time I find myself watching soccer I can't help but wonder how in God's name a fan can possibly take it seriously with the amount of diving, method-acting, and exaggeration the players do. It's a small step away from pro wrestling – a very small step.

I don't think I saw one World Cup game (and living among soccer fanatics, I saw about 75% of them) that didn't feature:

1. Player One slide-tackles Player Two, making minor leg-to-leg contact

2. Player Two goes limp and crumples to the turf in a near-perfect (and no doubt well-rehearsed) re-enactment of Frame 323 of the Zapruder film

3. Player Two grabs his calf/shin/ankle and makes a grimacing face as though he is attempting to defecate a shattered beer bottle

4. Player One throws up his arms, gesturing a combination of "I'm innocent" and "This man is an enormous vagina" to the crowd, followed by "Surely you aren't buying this horseshit" to the ref (who is always from a neutral yet vaguely dislikeable country, usually Argentina)

5. A team of doctors rush over to Player Two with a stretcher, neck brace, donor kidney, gas cromatograph, and the Jaws of Life.

6. After carrying Player Two off the field on said stretcher, he waits until the crowd's attention is diverted back to the game before getting up, walking it off for about 10 feet, and then "heroically" re-joining the action moments after his near-crippling injury.

Charlatanism – and not even very good charlatanism (click for a wonderful video example). I hate to go all neocon on the rest of the world, but I think America should continue to act unilaterally against the global community on this one. Soccer is retarded.

OUR SONG (TM)

Posted in Rants on July 14th, 2006 by Ed

Finally, Ginandtacos.com has its own theme song. Actually it's had this song for about 20 years but didn't know it until recently.

We set high standards that heretofore precluded any possible theme song from meeting our approval. We asked all contenders,

1. Is this song gin or taco related?
2. Is the song really, really gay?
3. Is the performer of indeterminate gender?
4. Are a cape and glowing cane involved?

Finally someone was able to answer "yes" to all four questions. Thank you, Taco Ockerse.

Wow. Need I even point out that s/he also has a tsekkitukka?

MONEY MONEY MONEY

Posted in Rants on July 10th, 2006 by Ed

(Warning: Contains cute photographs intended to cause sympathy)

I am an uncle. Those who know me well are aware of the fact that I can't go more than 15 minutes without talking about my sister's kids. Like me and many others in my family, one of them (John, currently 4 years old and about to start classes at a magnet preschool for baby geniuses) has multiple food allergies. Unlike the rest of us, John's are wide-ranging and quite severe. He is highly allergic to soy, wheat, gluten, peanuts, dairy, eggs, beef, strawberries, and other (more obscure) foods. It might be quicker to list what he can eat (hint: rice) than what he can't.

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John, Ed, and a rather large lizard

Even with a very carefully controlled diet eliminating any trace of these foods, John still has a lot of allergic reactions to what he eats. They manifest themselves in the form of skin problems. Despite daily full-body medical cream applications, most of his skin, at any given moment, is covered in hives, rashes, and hard, scaly skin. It has not been easy for him to gain weight (given the dairy and gluten allergies) or to deal with the skin irritation, but he hardly ever complains. A trooper, he is.

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"Hi. I am cute."

All of us – family, friends, etc – are participating in the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) Walk for Food Allergies in Chicago on September 13. Our team is named "The Power Gloves" in reference to the socks that must be duct-taped to John's hands every night to prevent him from scratching himself into a bloody mess as he sleeps. Power Gloves give him super powers in the fight against allergies.

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I told you he was smart for his age

Please consider making a small donation to sponsor Team Power Gloves. FAAN is a great organization, responsible for a lot of important legislation aimed at those with food allergies (like those warnings on food labels like 'May contain traces of peanuts' or 'Prepared on equipment that also processes nuts'). I understand that many of you readers are as broke as this site's principals, but even $5 helps.

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"What? No donations?"

While I feel a bit like Sally Struthers in one of those "For the cost of a cup of coffee…." commercials, I have faith in Ginandtacos Nation. The call is from heroism: won't you please accept the charges?

Ghouls come out at night.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 9th, 2006 by Mike

I'll leave it for you to judge: Is this too horrible to turn away from? Too endearing not to be moved by? Too interesting to not stop reading? My Death Space, a complete directory of people who have died on myspace and now have memorial webpages (you can see the list of recent updates too).

I've been told by avid watchers that you can try and predict deaths over time – following the 4th holiday there's been a death due to firework injuries. Evidently a lot of teenagers are dying from auto accidents, and people who commit suicide (or die from suicidal-ish drug overdoses) have extensive web presences. Hmm…please help reset my moral compass to Absolute North by leaving a comment as to whether or not this is awful and ghoulish.

AMERICA – FUCK YEAH

Posted in Rants on July 6th, 2006 by Ed

As a small percentage of you may be aware, I was on vacation for the previous two weeks. I drove (using a not-even-close-to-direct route with as many side-trips and diversions as possible) to Glacier National Park in Montana. In 14 days, I:

  • Drove 6113 miles. In a rented vehicle. That's right, Budget Rent-a-Car. I said "Suck it."
  • Did not sleep indoors. And let's not talk about how much I bathed. It's best left unsaid.
  • Lost 5 of the 20 pounds I gained this semester while studying for exams.
  • Used the elderly to shield myself from curious grizzly bears. If your childhood Brookfield Zoo experiences are hazy, let me be emphatic: grizzly bears are fucking enormous. They look like minivans with fur. I am not ashamed of having diverted said bears' attention to old people.
  • Killed at least one animal from every phylum, including about 30% of the nation's insect population. To wit:

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    That bird had to go. Yeah, that bird died. I killed that bird.

  • Took several hundred pictures. The essence of some natural features can't be captured with a camera. Others can.

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    Not pictured: humanity

  • Passed through Manly, IA and Cooter, MO. And some small town in North Dakota with an enormous 10 Commandments tablet as a "welcome" sign. Ever notice how you only see that kind of stuff in the most depressing, decrepit, run-down backwaters in the country? Yeah, me too.
  • Became one with a colony of prarie dogs, earning their trust through an hour of careful approaching…..only to have some jackass woman come barging out of her Ford Expedition with a handful of Wonder Bread, whistling and yelling for them to "do tricks." Of course they all immediately disappeared. I wanted to stab her. Such desires usually fade, but in this case I find myself wishing I had done so more and more as time passes.
  • Received a speeding ticket on an Indian Reservation for going 34 in a 25. It was all I could do to refrain from saying "This is complete bullshit, but I guess we have it comin'."
  • Received a speeding ticket in Hutchinson, KS for 75 in a 65. Refrained from saying "Hell, I was doing 90 a minute ago. I slowed down to 75 because I was reading a guide book."
  • Drove across the entirety of 12 states and portions of 4 others. American politics make sense after doing so. America is not Chicago or the pretty college town in which you currently live. No, America is fat white women with black eyes, hundred-mile stretches of vacant land, the smell of Busch Beer wafting from ramshackle houses, towns with no library (but 3 Baptist churches and 5 bars), and mulleted retards driving pre-fuel injection Ford trucks.

    All in all, I learned a few things about this land. It is beautiful and it is ugly. It is depressing and it is encouraging. It is rewarding and it is frustrating. Part of me finds America and its people deeply inspirational, yet that part must constantly fend off the desire to see a massive comet hit the Earth and end humanity as we know it. It's such a promising country. If only it were full of people who aren't proud of how stupid they are – people who aren't trying to replicate the foundational sociopolitical ideas of the Dark Ages.

    In short, it's a great country as long as you don't have to talk to most of the people who live in it.

  • MAKING UP SO MUCH LOONY SHIT MUST BE REALLY HARD

    Posted in Rants on July 5th, 2006 by Ed

    Ann Coulter's job might seem easy – wake up, dress like a cocktail waitress at a Reno truck stop, and say the most inflammatory and ridiculous things that come to mind. Liberals hate America! Gays are evil! You're gay! Boom – check falls in her lap.

    Well apparently it isn't quite as easy as it seems. It's so hard to come up with fresh lunacy that Ms. Coulter has had to glean some of it from those who have gone before her. Which is a polite way of saying she plagiarizes. A lot.

    According to noted liberal bastion the New York Post, new plagiarism-detection software has been used to analyze Coulter's latest book and years of her syndicated columns. The searches turned up numerous examples of direct word-for-word plagiarism (often from newspaper editorials by other authors who are not attributed) in many of her writings.

    Whoops.

    As an instructor at the University level, I have long since been aware of the wonders and glories of plagiarism tools such as Turn it In and the like. We don't even need to submit anything – the threat that we might do so is more than enough to dissuade 99.8% of the students from plagiarising. The idea that such tools – invented to bust stupid, lazy college freshmen – are being turned against stupid, lazy right-wing media whores and war profiteers is really quite heart-warming. God Bless America, and here's hoping that Ann's plagiarism lawsuits turn out very poorly for her.