Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cook Like A Baller: Prime Rib

Welcome to the first installment in what I hope becomes a regular series on my blog, Cook Like A Baller. I cook just about every night and over the years and through MUCH trial and error, I have developed some recipes that I can always rely on to provide a tasty, (usually) nutritious meal. I think the idea of "secret" recipes is stupid, so I decided to share some of my cooking knowledge with the world. If it's good enough for me to put my time and effort into, I guarantee you it's good enough for you to shove in your fat gaping McDonald's-loving crawhole.

So I decided to start with a classic holiday dish that can be prepared for special occasions like Christmas, Hanukkah, Tuesdays, or getting a sweet parking spot at Wal-mart-- PRIME RIB. I picked up a 7.5 lb prime rib roast from my local Safeway grocer for approximately $24, a great deal and a good excuse to indulge my taste buds as a holiday treat. My prime rib looked like this:

For starters, I trimmed off any fat more than about 3/4 inch thick until it was a uniform thickness throughout. Then I let it sit out covered with plastic for about 45 minutes until it reached room temperature. Then its time to season that shit. I made a paste of about 10 cloves of garlic, minced, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp coarse kosher salt, 2 tsp coarse ground black pepper, and 2 tsp of dried thyme. Put all the ingredients in the bowl, mix thoroughly until it's a uniform consistency, and you can even use a mortal and pestle to make it into more of a paste if you want to, though I didn't this time in the interest of saving time. Rub the mixture on the fat side of the prime rib and place in your roasting pan bone-side down.

Once you've got it all marinaded up, cover it with plastic again and let it sit for another 30-45 minutes while your oven preheats. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celcius). Place a meat thermometer in the middle of the prime rib, making sure it's not touching bone.  Take the plastic off (this should go without saying) and roast the prime rib roast at 450 for 20 minutes, then turn the heat down to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celcius) and roast for another hour and a half or so. For medium rare, you want to cook it about 14-15 minutes per lb. This was a 7.4 lb rib roast, so I cooked it for 1 hr and 45 minutes at 325. I added about 3/4 a cup of beef broth about an hour into cooking as it mixed with the juices of the prime rib to make a really delicious au jus sauce that can be saved and used for days.

 During this time I also cooked a baked potato, coated with a thin layer of olive oil and rubbed with kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper. It cooked at 425 Fahrenheit (220 Celcius) for 1 hour, unwrapped. I don't wrap my baked potatoes in foil because I find that the olive oil and salt draw the moisture out of the inside of the potato and allow it to be released, so the inside of the potato ends up nice and dry and fluffy while the outside skin ends up delicious and crispy. Wrapping it with foil seems to inhibit this process so I just skip it. Different strokes for different folks.

Anyway, once your prime rib has roasted for the appropriate amount of time, take it out of the oven, cover the pan with foil, and let it sit and rest for about 20 minutes. This allows all the juices to reabsorb into the meat so your roast stays juicy when you cut it. After 20 minutes have passed, cut your rib roast and dig into that shit like the world was ending tomorrow. It should look something like this (notice I scorched the garlic, so I probably could've used a lower heat initially, but it still infuses a nice garlic flavor into the meat and is delicious).
Cut it open and make sure it's to the right temperature that you wanted. I like mine on the rare side of medium rare, and it turned out pretty perfectly in that regard.
Here is a picture of the final product, cut and ready to eat on the plate with a hot baked potato loaded with butter, shredded cheddar cheese, jalapenos and chopped garlic.
If you ever find yourself gazing down upon a feast such as this, thank your god, for you have been blessed.

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Christmas is just around the corner, and if you're like me and haven't finished shopping yet, you're probably already getting anxious about what to buy your friends and family. As the deadline draws nearer and nearer, I thought I would provide my readers with some helpful suggestions for some last-minute Christmas gift ideas sure to please anyone this holiday season.

1. Crossbow

Whether your giftee is a hunter, a potential deranged lunatic, or at the top of his 2nd grade class, a crossbow is a great way to teach patience, vengeance, and dramatic breath-holding. Secret militia headquarters map sold separately.

2. Family of wolves

The perfect gift for a significant other, a family of wolves signifies the most important thing in a relationship: commitment.  And nothing says commitment like family. Your special someone will feed, care for, train, and hunt with these majestic beasts in an increasingly difficult struggle for dominance, eventually culminating in a violent battle where the alpha is unquestionably established-- just like romantic relationships! Whether you train them to hunt birds, small children, or sparkling vampires, a family of wolves is the perfect way to say "I'm willing to chew open a caribou ribcage for you" this holiday season.

3. Ground Turkey

A healthy lifestyle doesn't have to wait until January 1st to begin- why not start a week early by getting your giftee a tasty slab of ground turkey? Add packets of relish, ketchup, soy sauce, honey, or Sweet & Low for an easy stocking stuffer that will perfectly complement your delicious and thoughtful gift! Cook thoroughly before eating.

4. Teddy Ruxpin doll

Whether your loved one is a 4 year old child or a fan of the Wu Tang clan, he or she will love having Teddy Ruxpin around to recite all our favorite stories or songs. And because Teddy Ruxpin is literally a mouthpiece for corporate America, you can make him say anything you want! Popular choices include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, Richard Pryor albums, 2 Live Crew singles, or Screams of Halloween! Tapes sold separately.

5. Orthopedic shoe insoles

I tried to think of a joke for these but they are seriously just fucking awesome. Go get some for yourself and everyone you know.

6. Loom

With the economy going to hell in a handbasket, self-reliance is becoming increasingly important. And when the world financial system finally collapses and everything goes to shit, you and your loved ones will be sitting pretty in your panchos, sarapes and blankets, lovingly crafted with hours of finger-numbing, tedious labor, thanks to your thoughtfulness! Spinning wheel not included. Some assembly required.

7. Predator skull

Trophies are a popular addition to any home decor and make for a great conversation piece, and what better trophy to proudly display than the severed skull of the universe's most feared hunter, The Predator? Assuming you can defeat the Predator's active camouflage and infrared heat tracking system without having your own skull and spine ripped clean from your body in a primal display of intergalactic violence, you can rest assured that your giftee will be both delighted and terrified when you present the head of mankind's mortal enemy on a pike this December 25th!

8. Methamphetamine

One of the worst things about the holidays is how quickly they seem to fly by. This year, why not help your loved ones enjoy every minute of the holiday season by giving them the gift that will let them stay awake to experience every minute of the holiday season! Just like the Grinch when he saw the people of Whoville singing around the tree, your giftee's heart will surely grow 3 sizes that day, and possibly more, as acute hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a potential side effect or "bonus gift" you can give them. Remember to leave $600 for Santa Claus, under the lid of the toilet in the men's room at the Denny's by the highway. No cops. And remember, Santa hates when his money isn't in nonsequential bills! Seriously though, don't fuck this one up. Adult supervision required.

9. Bus pass

Every year,  Lexus puts out a stupid Christmas commercial where some rich white lady comes outside and opens her eyes only to find an expensive-ass Toyota with a giant ugly bow on top of it. Now you can provide your own lower-middle-class version of this dream with a bus pass from your local transportation authority. The gift that keeps on giving, your giftee can experience the highs and lows of bus ridership all year round, from the sweaty exhaust fumes leaking through the urine-stained bus floor in the summer to being groped by a homeless man during the winter, any giftee is sure to love their ticket to exploring the main streets and accessways of their local corner of the world!

10. Millard Fillmore Cardboard Cutout

Your loved one is sure to love this fitting tribute to America's 13th President! Now you can celebrate President Fillmore's myriad contributions to American democracy, including admitting California as a free state, settling the Texas boundary, granting territorial status to New Mexico, and abolishing the slave trade in the District of Columbia. Caution: not recommended if the intended recipient is strongly aligned with the Northern Whig party.

11. Drug Cartel protection

Times are tough, and things are getting tougher every day as belts tighten all across the globe. Why not protect your loved ones from financial uncertainty in the days to come by providing them with the one thing everyone could use more of-- security. And nothing is more secure than the protection of Mexico's most powerful narcocorridos! Whether you choose the Sinaloa cartel or decide that Los Zetas are the folks for your giftee, buying protection from the drug cartels will ensure that your loved one remains safe and prosperous throughout the tough times ahead, even if it means beheading their enemies in order to send a powerful message about loyalty, timely payment of debts, or even a definitive answer to Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. This gift may be near the higher end of the price range, but it's well worth the investment. Si no estás con ellos, estás contra ellos!

Hopefully these gift ideas help you ensure that everyone you're close to has a great holiday season filled with warmth, love, and awesome gifts. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Why does Ron Paul hate freedom?

Let's talk about Ron Paul for a second. The golden child of big-L Libertarians everywhere, Ron Paul has been making waves yet again this election cycle for his often confrontational and aggressive questioning of other candidates during debates. He is generally lauded as a candidate who seeks to preserve American freedoms by limiting the role of the federal government in the country's affairs, preferring to leave important decisions up to the states. For this, he receives lots of accolades as being a "pro-freedom" and "small government" candidate who seeks to uphold the Constitution above all else.

But is it true?

No, absolutely not. Rep. Ron Paul, R-TX has introduced legislation that is fundamentally the opposite of the ideals of freedom from government expressed in the Constitution. Specifically, I'm talking about H.R. 539, also known as the We the People Act of 2009. This bill, sponsored by Ron Paul, appears on its face to limit the role of the federal government in deciding certain matters Paul feels are best left to the states. The relevant portion of the bill states:
The Supreme Court of the United States and each Federal court--
(1) shall not adjudicate--
     (A) any claim involving the laws, regulations, or policies of any State or unit of local      government relating to the free exercise or establishment of religion;
     (B) any claim based upon the right of privacy, including any such claim related to any       issue of sexual practices, orientation, or reproduction; or
     (C) any claim based upon equal protection of the laws to the extent such claim is based upon the right to marry without regard to sex or sexual orientation; and
(2) shall not rely on any judicial decision involving any issue referred to in paragraph (1).
So Ron Paul's legislation would completely remove all claims relating to religion, sex, or privacy from the jurisdiction of the federal courts and the Supreme Court, leaving these matters up to the state supreme courts to decide for themselves. "But doesn't that increase freedom by removing the federal government from interfering in state matters?" you might be asking. Ron Paul would certainly have you believe so. His spin on the matter was expressed in an essay he penned as early as 2003:
Consider the Lawrence case decided by the Supreme Court in June. The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment “right to privacy.” Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states' rights— rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards. But rather than applying the real Constitution and declining jurisdiction over a properly state matter, the Court decided to apply the imaginary Constitution and impose its vision on the people of Texas.
Representative Paul casts this matter in a state vs. federal light- the federal government shouldn't have jurisdiction over a "properly state matter," and that "the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards."
Ron Paul probably has a Google News Alert set for "nip slip 10th amendment"
Make no mistake though: this is about as anti-freedom as it gets. What Ron Paul is saying here is that HE BELIEVES THE STATE GOVERNMENT SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO LEGISLATE PRIVATE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR BETWEEN CONSENTING ADULTS. He thinks it's ok for the state to legislate these things so long as the Feds aren't interfering with their "right" to do so. I cringe whenever I hear Ron Paul being described as pro-liberty or pro-freedom because of this mindset. Ron Paul thinks that the Texas State Legislature should be allowed to tell two consenting adults what orifices they can and can't use in their sexual activity, and that THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO INTERFERE WITH THE STATE'S RIGHT TO DO SO. I can't think of anything the government shouldn't be allowed to interfere with MORE than private sexual behavior between consenting adults in their own homes, the strongest bastion of privacy in our Supreme Court jurisprudence. Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said it best in one of his dissenting opinions: "the right to be let alone — the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. To protect that right, every unjustifiable intrusion by the government upon the privacy of the individual, whatever the means employed, must be deemed a violation of the Fourth Amendment."Olmstead v. U.S., 277 U.S. 438, 478 (1928) (Brandeis, J., dissenting). But Ron Paul doesn't care about that. He is perfectly fine with discrimination and government intrusion into private matters, so long as it's being done at the hands of the State government rather than the federal. Arkansas wants to pass a law criminalizing homosexuality, punishable by a mandatory minimum of 10 years in state prison? As long as the Arkansas State Supreme Court says it's ok, the Supreme Court can't interfere. Does that sound like pro-freedom to you?

"But wait!" you say, "isn't there a long history of binding precedent that would prohibit states from enacting such draconian laws?" Yes, there is, thankfully. Unfortunately, Ron Paul also doesn't give a shit about this, as is evident from the text of the bill:

Any decision of a Federal court, to the extent that the decision relates to an issue removed from Federal jurisdiction under section 3, is not binding precedent on any State court.
So not only does he want to throw out federal review of cases relating to religion, sex, or privacy, he also wants to throw out any case that might bind the courts to prior decisions made when people like Ron Paul weren't pushing for totalitarian control. Griswold v. Connecticut? Sorry, no longer binding precedent, so you may or may not have a right to your own contraceptive freedom under Ron Paul's law. Roe v. Wade? Sorry, there's now a federal bureaucrat named Ron Paul who doesn't believe in science standing between you and your doctor, interfering with your private medical decisions and metaphorically wrapping his skinny little Rumplestiltskin fingers around your uterus. (Side note: Ron Paul seems to claim some kind of prescience about abortion-related matters by virtue of being an obstetrician/gynecologist. He also rejects the proven science of evolution, so his opinion on scientific matters doesn't count for shit in my opinion- you don't get to be taken seriously as a man of science if you reject the fundamental and PROVEN scientific concept driving all biological activity on this planet).

Ron Paul's vision of America is one in which the State government is allowed to tell you who you can worship, who you can fuck, and who can watch you do both, and there's not a damn thing the federal government can do about it if you don't like it. If that sounds like freedom to you, I suggest you put down your copy of Totalitarian Regimes Monthly and go read the goddamn United States Constitution a little more closely. Ron Paul may be a champion of federalism and states' rights, but don't for a second confuse those ideals with personal freedom. He's proven that he doesn't care about your right to that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Frosty the Snowman, R-rated children's classic

Frosty the Snowman is one of the most popular Christmas songs in the American canon. Written in 1950 as a follow-up to Gene Autry's hit "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" recorded the previous year, Frosty has continued to warm the hearts and minds of Christmasgoing Americans for over half a century.

But have you ever actually listened to the lyrics? The chipper, upbeat melodies and whimsical lyrics belie a much darker tale, one that's told plainly in the words of Frosty the Snowman if the listener is paying attention. Let's take a look.

Frosty the Snowman
Was a jolly happy soul
With a corn cob pipe and a button nose
and two eyes made out of coal

Alright, so Frosty the Snowman is a chronic smoker with dead, soulless black eyes. Sounds charming. 
Not creepy at all.

Frosty the Snowman
Is a fairy tale they say
He was made of snow, but the children know
how he came to life one day

There must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found
for when they placed it on his head, he began to dance around!

So what we learn here is that Frosty is actually an inanimate object brought to life with dark magic. Some neighborhood kids found an old wizard's hat and used it to summon the dark powers of Satan in order to bring their home-built monstrosity to life. One part zombie, one part Frankenstein. Great. 

Jimmy Durante's been dead for a long time.
Frosty the Snowman
Knew the sun was hot that day
So he said let's run and we'll have some fun
now before I melt away!

This is where it starts to get raw. Frosty, being an inanimate hell-beast summoned to life using dark magic, realizes where he is going to end up, and decides to go out with a bang. He decides he'd rather kill himself in a final blaze of glory, knowing his time to reign over the night is drawing short. But does he keep his final plans a secret? Of course not. Like any psychopath, he chooses to involve innocent children in his scheming. 

Down to the village
with a broomstick in his hand
Running here and there
all around the square
saying catch me if you can!

He led them down the streets of town, right to the traffic cop
And he only paused a moment when he heard them holler "Stop!"

Frosty has a weapon now and has gone from mischievous Christmas imp to full-on suicidal rampaging maniac. In this verse, he runs around town, madly attacking everyone in sight with a broomstick, blatantly challenging the authority of the townspeople to stop his terrifying rampage. He then takes a page straight from the psychopath's handbook and turns his aggression towards the police. Frosty leads his band of terrorists straight to the traffic cop, and barely even pauses when told to cease. 

If you've seen The Devil's Rejects it went pretty much exactly like that.

Frosty the Snowman
had to hurry on his way
but he waved goodbye
saying "don't you cry!
I'll be back again someday!"
Thumpety thump thump
Thumpety thump thump
Look at Frosty go...

In the final verse, Frosty vows revenge on those who have wronged him ("I'll be back again someday!"), then sacrifices himself in an ultimate display of anarcho-hedonistic rage. Fueled by Satan's power and armed to the teeth with weapons and a small army of loyal followers, Frosty's soulless coal-black eyes are forever extinguished as the police fire round after round of 00 buckshot into Frosty's cold, lifeless body in a desperate attempt to stop his deadly Yuletide rampage. Pop pop pop. Thumpety thump thump. Thumpety thump thump. Look at Frosty go, innards melting all over the street, Free Bird blasting at full volume in the background. 

Some men just want to watch the world melt. 

Merry Christmas, children. Frosty will return someday. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Songs I Hate

1. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

This song is offensive to both feng shui and rock & roll enthusiasts. First off, they are really taking some liberties with the word "rockin'" in the title. Pantera is rock. Dream Theater is rock. Pink Floyd is rock. Brenda Lee's song? Not rock. Here's another problem: "Everyone's dancing merrily in the new old-fashioned way." New old-fashioned? I don't think Ms. Lee understands antonyms. Finally, the thing that annoys me the most about this song is the logistics of it. Rocking AROUND the Christmas tree? Where do you live, Whoville? Rockefeller Center? Christmas trees are almost always up against a wall or in a corner, so getting around it to "rock" (if you can even call it that) would be a nightmare. Having to unplug all that crap and move everything? What a stupid song. This is basically the Justin Bieber pop of 1958.

2. We Need A Little Christmas

  This song, first sung by Angela Lansbury in the classic musical "Mame," is a lively little song that masquerades as a Christmas tune. But listen closer. "haul out the holly/put up the tree before my spirit falls again/fill up the stockings/i may be rushing things but deck the halls again now/For we need a little Christmas/right this very minute..." This song is basically a work song aimed at glorifying tireless toil during the holiday season. Sorry dudes, but I like to relax during the holidays. If I want to celebrate a holiday with work, I'll come into the office on Martin Luther King Jr. day. Until then, stop singing songs at me that are essentially a giant list of Christmas chores.

Haven't seen anyone that demanding at Christmas time since this guy.

3. Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer

This song is about some loser's alcoholic grandmother who gets hammered one Christmas and ends up getting mauled by a caribou while stumbling home from the bar. Why do we celebrate this song? Are the fatal consequences of alcoholism that funny? "You can say there's no such thing as Santa, but as for me and Grandpa we believe." Ok, so what does the reindeer have anything to do with whether or not Santa is real? It doesn't say she was run over by one of Santa's reindeer, because that would probably be vehicular manslaughter. It just says a reindeer.  A single reindeer doesn't mean anything. I live in Alaska and there are literally hundreds of thousands of reindeer up here, but it doesn't make Santa any more real. Not only does this song celebrate substance abuse and death, it's also nonsense. I hate to break it to you dude, but your grandmother sucks. Let me tell you what-- my grandmother would never get mowed over by some stupid reindeer or any other ungulate. Even if she'd been drinking, she would still whip a reindeer's ass in a second if it tried to give her any attitude. Don't believe me? Here is a picture of my grandmother and the last deer who tried to give her any shit:

Yes, that is really my grandmother holding a dead deer. Motherfucker tried to front.

4. The Chipmunk Song

Dave Seville originally got the idea for the Chipmunks while singing after inhaling some helium from a party balloon. This song makes me wish it had been full of carbon monoxide instead. Nothing further.

5. Let it Snow

"Since we've no place to go/let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" Hey asshole, just because you don't have any friends or family worth visiting doesn't mean the rest of us don't. Don't wish the nightmarish traffic snarl of a holiday snowstorm on the rest of us just so you can have a picturesque view out your stupid window. That's what screensavers are for. I hope your power goes out for 2 weeks, jackass.

Let it snow? Fuck you.