Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Music--"Ugly Christmas Sweater" It's a Hoot!

Just for fun today and to nudge you a little further into the spirit of Christmas. If you don’t get a laugh out of this then there’s no hope.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Tale of Two Veterans

Many is the time when my wife and I have gotten to talking about our fathers and how interesting it would have been for the two of them to have met. One was Hispanic from Kansas and the other was a farm boy from the hills of Kentucky. Both of them were veterans. More importantly, each of them spent more than 30 years in a military career.

Carolyn’s father, Onofre “Hank” Hernandez, retired as a Master Gunny in the Marine Corps. My father, John R. Blevins, Sr., retired as a Senior Master Sergeant in the Air Force. Both of them started their service in World War II. Carolyn’s father enlisted in the Marines shortly after Pearl Harbor. My father was drafted when he turned 18 in 1943. Carolyn’s dad saw multiple campaigns in the Pacific theater while my father hit the beaches at Normandy on D-Day and spent the next year and a half on the ground in Europe.

Carolyn’s father was about 12 years older than my father. He was a dirt poor underground coal miner in Kansas. In many ways his patriotic act of enlistment was his ticket out of the poverty and prejudice a Mexican man lived with in the 1930s and 40s. My father was self-described “white trash” whose family cash-rented cropland in Kentucky to raise tobacco. He was the second oldest of 11 children.

There wasn’t going to be much of a life for either of them in the environments in which they grew up. The military changed all that. It was a profession of honor and service and, yes, of risk. Carolyn’s father served in combat in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam. My father was only in combat in the Army in WWII. He served throughout the Korean War and Viet Nam. My father earned a Purple Heart in WWII while Carolyn’s father was fortunate to have been in combat far more often but went unscathed.

So, this is Veteran’s Day a day when we remember and honor veterans. The military has long been a profession where men, and increasingly women, from very humble backgrounds can thrive in service to their country.

Here’s what Carolyn had to say about her father: “My dad loved this country. Maybe he didn't agree with the way it was going or its politics, but I have literally never met more of an 'American' than my dad. He believed in this country and the concepts and idelas upon which it was founded, even though - being a poor Mexican and all - they were definitely not written nor intended for the likes of him. Or maybe, in their noblest form, they actually were.”

My Dad never talked of his experiences of combat in World War II other than to say that he had never been so cold or hungry or scared in his life. That was it. It was personal and private, locked in the recesses of memory. Like many veterans he knew that combat was nothing to be bragged about like a fourth grader during “show and tell”. That’s probably something else that he and Gunny Hernandez would have understood about one another.

Carolyn and I joke from time to time about the “military-isms” we grew up with. Lessons like “clean up after yourself—leave the latrine clean for the next guy” were mantras we both heard from the time we were youngsters. In my household, shoeshines were obligatory. But, Sunday mornings sitting in the old high chair while my Dad shined my shoes for church were also times for the old man to have some one-on-one time with his son. Just like when we were throwing the baseball or fishing, they were times when the remoteness of a military father softened to just a couple of guys.

By the time I was a bit older, I was spit shining my own shoes. I remember high school classmates who thought the wing-tips I wore with my choir blazer and slacks were patent leather. Nope, they were just spit-shined in a “thoroughly military manner”.

And in a lot of ways, our respective fathers could be unreasonable hardasses. But that was just the way they were hardwired from their background and by the military.

We always talk about how they would have found that they had far more in common with one another than one would ever assume and we think their conversation would have been fascinating. Both had a background of poverty. Neither was well educated (until later in their careers) but both were articulate. And both grasped the opportunity of service and honor and discipline as a path to a career.

These men took pride in their military professionalism. They had risen much further than they ever imagined from their humble backgrounds. Both of our fathers took pride in the fact that they were in “the service”. That term has stuck with us our entire lives. They served. There is no more noble calling.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cheap Bastid Chewing on "The Chew" and Blasting Yahoo

Cheap Bastid has done enough Cheap Bastidly cooking and writing by now to be entitled to express an opinion or two. So that’s what I’m going to do today.

I’m going to take a swipe at ABC’s new food show “The Chew”, a cutsey play on “The View”, and take a swipe at an insipid piece that showed up yesterday on Yahoo finance.

First, “The Chew”. This new show features Karla Hall who was a contestant on Top Chef along with Food Network Iron Chefs Mario Batalli and Michael Symon. It’s been on for a little over a month now. And it’s all right although a bit vapid. They’ve even made some efforts at showing how to cook good food fast and on a budget.

But yesterday they managed to pretty much alienate me with their snarky, almost condescending, take on “Southern Cooking”. Sure, they paid some lip service to the traditions of Southern or country cooking but they also managed to insert a recorded “Yeehaw” everytime they mentioned the theme or took a commercial break.

Hey jackasses, southern or country cooking is the epitome of making food dollars stretch. It’s not fancy but its inexpensive and filling and good and, most importantly, is usually made with more pinches of love than the paid shills manage to add.

To stand up in front of America spewing fake southern/country/Texas accents in the cause of entertainment demeans what they do and disrespects the food that they’re supposed to be extolling.

Certainly it’s entertainment but there are people from all over watching—not just foodies from the East coast. I thought it was offensive. Oh, and remember when earlier I said the show was all right? Too bad, because their audience (including me, at least for now) deserves something better than “all right”.

Now on to Yahoo. There was an article yesterday in Yahoo Finance—Financially Fit titled “How to Feed a Family on $15 a Day”. OK, not bad. It got my attention—I’m the Cheap Bastid. Fifteen bucks seems a bit generous, but it’s for a family of 4.

The article rubbed me the wrong way with its lead which said that the “average family of four” spends upwards of $1200 a month on groceries. Say what? The author was citing data from the USDA on monthly food costs—the $1200 a month comes from the column titled “Liberal Plan”. Even the “Thrifty Plan” at $615 per month struck me as high.

More particularly, the author was interviewing some expert who had “stopped by her kitchen” to share some advice. This expert, Allison Fishman, contributing editor to “Cooking Light”. Fishman was right when she said the important thing is to plan menus and plan shopping. I started doing that when my kids were little. Planning a menu prior to shopping was the key to making sure that ingredients were on hand and, even better, it had the result of significantly reducing the total grocery bill.

But Fishman was also suggesting that meat be used “almost like a condiment” rather than as the main feature of a meal. Huh? Meat, a condiment? She suggested that beef at $5.99 a pound and chicken breast at $5 per pound was out of reach for many to be able to provide other than a sampling of it in a meal.

That’s all well and good. But where the hell is she buying her boneless, skinless chicken breast? I pay $1.97 a pound for it. The same with beef. I now buy “lesser” cuts such as bottom round (London Broil). I can get ground beef for about $2.50 a pound by having my grocer’s meat department grind it for me when chuck or round is on special. And maybe Southern California (or at least my neighborhood) isn’t as expensive as someplace like New York City but it’s still plenty expensive.

The way this expert was presenting herself, I kind of got the impression that she was trying to educate the ignorant masses to eat a diet based on beans and squash and legumes along with using the same chicken bone for a couple of weeks to flavor the meager soups.

The “average family” spends far less than $1200 a month on food. The average family spends less than $600 a month on food. Who are they kidding. And this kind of advice does little, if anything, to enlighten or encourage or educate. What it does instead is frustrate and infuriate.

And Cheap Bastid sees that as a disservice not as being helpful.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


A while back I wrote about one of my “big scores” at Costco—a year’s supply of Irish Spring. Now, I was going to say “dirt cheap” but that’s just too cheesy a pun to put into the context of shower soap, so I won’t say it.

Anyway, it’s been great not having to remember to put this nectar of the shower on the shopping list for months at a time knowing that I’m always going to have a goodly supply of the fresh smelling, clean feeling soap that used to be advertised as “Manly yes, but I like it too,” by a winsome young Irish lass with light red hair and freckles inhaling the aroma next to a stream on the Emerald Isle.

But I digress.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I have a bar of Irish Spring in the soap dish on the bathtub. If I count all the bottles, tubes, brushes and razors belonging to my wife and step-daughter in and around the edges of the tub, it numbers somewhere north of 20. It’s tough to pull back the shower curtain and step over the lip of the tub without knocking something on the floor or into the tub and have to precariously bend over, pick it up and put it somewhere where it can be found and where it no longer presents a hazard.

But I digress again.

(Note: Under of threat of punishment from my wife, I am compelled to notify the reader that this is NOT our bathtub but is one that I found on Google).

So for the last few mornings I’ve noticed that my green bar of soap is rapidly shrinking to sliver status. I’ve been telling myself for the last few days, “Self, you need to replace it.” I’ve even gone so far as to confirm that there isn’t another bar handy in the bathroom. But, by the time I think about it each morning I’m already wet in the shower and I’m not going to climb back out and open the bathroom door to go to the linen closet to retrieve a couple of bars to last me a while. So I’ve been making do with a sliver.

Besides, I keep having this mental image of me, stepping out of the shower in my birthday suit and bending over the shelf in the linen closet where we keep extra soap, room freshener, toothbrushes, etc. and have my step-daughter come out of her bedroom three feet behind me and being introduced to my “full moon”. Noooooooooo way. Carolyn would kill me.

Well, this morning the sliver disappeared in my hands. It’s no fun showering when you know you’ve got just a tiny bit of soap to wash your face and pits and between each of your toes, not to mention your rungi-schmelli and “nether regions” (that’s probably TMI but I’m sure most know the drill in the shower at least as well as I do). So, which parts do I skip? Hmmmm, well, I’m going to use deodorant so pits you just get a water scrub. And I’m going to put on clean socks, so toes I’m just going to rub you good and you’re going to be on your own.

Crap, this is just way too much decision making for early in the morning. Now, I wouldn’t have this problem is I left a bit more time each day. But, I usually head for the bathroom about 20 minutes before I have to leave for work—after 3 cups of coffee (one to function, one to wake up and one to soften things up--if you know what I mean). And after sitting and “reading” for a bit, I’m ready to hit the shower, then shave (yes, I have a beard but I still shave every morning) then clean my glasses, brush my teeth and head into the bedroom to get dressed for work.

With a “schedule” like that, there’s just no time left for Irish Spring inventory control unless I’m forced into it. So like a good boy I got done in the bathroom, went to the linen closet and took 3 fresh bars out, opened one and put it in the soap dish and put the other 2 in the drawer next to the tub. Now I’m good to go. Until the next time I run out. Damn.

There will be those who say to me “why don’t you just leave more time in the morning?” And to those I say, “Yes dear, you’re right”. But for me showering and then dressing and then heading out the door is like a matador or a knight getting ready for the bull-ring or the jousting arena. I’m transitioning from home to work and getting my “game face” on.

What ever happened to “soap on a rope” anyway? Tomorrow morning…the glory of a virgin bar of Irish Spring. I can’t wait.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Just Made Up a New Term: Assholitics

“So why,” you might ask, “have you come up with such a derogatory term?”
“It’s simple”, would be my response. “I just came across the most assholey piece of political crap that I’ve ever seen and I’m sick and tired of it.”

Or, the articulate political scientist in me would say, “I take extreme umbrage to the tone and tenor of the survey recently sent to my wife by the Republican National Committee.”

Yes, indeed folks, my wife is a registered Republican—but I love her anyway. I’m not sure if I forgive her for being a Republican but I love her. She puts up with my uber-liberal rants and even agrees with me some of the time.

Yep, my wife received a survey in the mail recently. On the outside of the envelope it says “2011 Obama Agenda Survey” and Republican National Committee. The 4 page letter inside “explaining” the survey and asking for donations is signed by Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus.

This diatribe is an absolute classic of every devious propaganda technique we learned in Dr. Tomasek’s “Political Propaganda” class way back in 1972. Hyberbole, reversal, half-truths run rampant both in terms of the description of Obama and Democrats and in reverence to the Holy Grail that is all things Republican. Good Lord, how can anyone with a measurable IQ buy into this crap?

And the “survey” itself. This is a classic of a “push poll” taken to the “nth degree”. It’s laughable. Here are some examples of questions in this “survey”:

Do you believe that Barack Obama deserves a second term as President?
(OK, not bad. A fair question although it smacks in the face for those who don’t believe he should have had a first term or for those for whom the word ‘deserve’ is a red flag).

Do you believe that Barack Obama’s nominees for federal courts should be immediately and unquestionably approved for their lifetime appointments by the U.S. Senate?
(OK, this is just wrong on so many levels. For some people if it were George Bush’s nominees then they would be fine with it. For others it’s the idea of a Democrat making nominations to the Federal bench. For still others the words “immediately and unquestionably” is a huge red flag. I’ve even got problems with that! And still others have issues with “lifetime” but that’s what the Constitution of the U.S. allows.)

Are you confident that new medicines and medical treatments will continue to be developed if the federal government controls prescription drug prices and sets profit margins for research and pharmaceutical companies?
(Huh? Confident? The evil federal government controlling drug prices and telling private companies how much money they can make? This is asking whether you think the “boogie man” will finally stay hidden under your bed and not jump out and scare you.)

There are a total of 16 questions in this “survey”. Yeah, I know that it’s only a pretense of a survey and really a pitch for donations especially since the bottom is a half page that is a “Contribution Reply”. Maybe this was written by someone who got their start doing mailers for a televangelist.

And I would imagine that it will appeal to only about 5% of those who receive it. Once upon a time I identified myself as a liberal to moderate Republican (socially liberal, fiscally moderate). But the organization turned mean-spirited in the mid-90’s. I can only hope that those who consider themselves “moderate Republicans” will read this and be appalled and turn away from those who would try to position their party in this way.

That’s why as soon I read through this I thought to myself, “Self, this is asshole politics”. And thusly a new term was coined “Assholitics”. We’re in for another 13 months of this and it’s only going to get worse.

I’ve always been naïve about politics—despite having both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Political Science. I believe it should be about issues and fairness (sheesh, how naïve is that!). I believe candidates should run “for” something rather than “against” someone. When I have been actively involved in campaigns I always strived to have the campaign focused in this way and was even successful in doing that several times.

But apparently Assholitics is now the way of American politics. I reject it and reject those who practice it. You know, if we all did that maybe we could get things to start changing just a bit.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

You Just Gotta Love Those Folks in Gubmint

Remember the old saying “Think global; act local”. I’ve always been a believer in that. Take a look at what the world needs and then do something in your little corner of the world to make it happen. Touch the lives of people who are your neighbors. If we could, or would, do that, we could change this big old world in no time flat.

So, when an opportunity presented itself here in Vista, California, I volunteered. Here’s my tale of adventure and woe.

I live in an apartment with my wife on the edge of an area known as the Townsite Neighborhood. Whenever the local newspaper prints a story about something happening in our neighborhood, it invariably uses the description “hardscrabble Townsite Neighborhood”.

Redevelopment in an area like this is a good thing. When the City extended its redevelopment district boundaries 3 years ago, it had to form a “Project Area Committee” to provide advice and feedback to the City Council about the area and improvement projects—known as Redevelopment Community Improvement Projects.

In late June I was looking for the dates of a particular community celebration and happened into the City’s website. While there I came across a listing for a vacancy on the Project Area Committee (PAC). It was a seat specified for a “residential tenant”. In other words, a renter. Hey that’s me! I’d love to do that.

You see, I spent over 15 years doing this type of work—community and economic development. I’ve done redevelopment planning. I’ve set up TIF districts—especially in industrial parks to create new manufacturing jobs. I have huge empathy for the people who live in my neighborhood and would like to see our local government do a better job of serving their interests. I was a natural.

So I filled out the application. And I was accepted (actually I think I was the only person who volunteered—let’s be honest here). I was invited to the committee’s July meeting (They meet every other month for an hour and a half. That should have been a red flag).

The committee meets in a meeting room in the City's 1-year old $55 million City Hall right on the edge of our "hardscrabble" neighborhood. We call it the Taj Mahal. It was financed by a local sales tax imposed by the City.

I sat through the entire meeting, listening (not my greatest skill) to the discussion and keeping my mouth shut (again not one of my greatest skills). I sat next to a man who had taken to time to go out into our neighborhood and photograph areas that have no sidewalks and streets that have crumbling asphalt. Yeah, there’s a chunk of this area that’s run-down and neglected.

And I’m thinking to myself, “Self, this could be interesting”. Then it came time to introduce me (the very last item on the agenda) and tell a little bit about myself. I told the members of the committee—property owners, renters, Chamber of Commerce members all from this neighborhood—a bit about myself and a tongue in cheek summary of some of the things I had done in the City in the 6+ years I’ve lived here.

I managed to get a stripe painted on a street (what I asked for was a street light at a dangerously dark corner). I managed to get the fences fixed at the nearby athletic fields of a junior high school so people couldn’t trespass (what I asked for was for the gates to be left open so people could continue to use the football field for pick-up soccer games). And I’ve managed to get a half dozen higher end cars towed from our street at a community festival earlier this summer and then a “no parking anytime” sign posted. When all I wanted was to get the cars ticketed for hindering traffic. Heads bobbed up and down—hmmm they’ve heard of me. In fact, one of the committee members commented, “oh, so you’re the guy…” Yep, that’s me.

They vote me onto the committee and I have to stand up and take an oath of office pledging to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. OK fine, it’s a bit odd but I’ll do it—yep I just renewed my social contract, this time officially.

So, I’m waiting for the next meeting. Hmmmm, there’s no follow-up generated from the previous meeting. There’s no communication from city staff. What kind of committee is this? Well, it’s a city committee. It fulfills a legal requirement. Does the City really want it to actually DO something? The notion that it meets for an hour and a half every two months should have been a hint.

Well, about a week before the next meeting—I still haven’t received minutes of the previous meeting or an agenda for the coming meeting—I got a call from the Redevelopment and Housing Director of the City. He’s calling to inform me that the required 3 year term of this committee expires at the end of the month and that the coming meeting would likely be the final meeting of the committee. What?!? I just got on the damn committee. I’m just getting going.

He told me that the City Council could, at its discretion, extend the PAC for an additional year. “OK,” I thought, “we can just get the council to do that.” But, the Director told me, staff is recommending that it not be extended in order to save money.

“And why not,” I asked.
“Cost saving in the budget,” I am told.

Rather than belaboring this further, let’s advance to the next, and final, meeting of the PAC. As they say in government, “discussion ensued”. The 2 staff members from the City re-iterated their recommendation that the PAC be allowed to “just fade away”. And they renewed their reasoning that the statutory requirement had been met and that it was a cost saving measure.

Ever the skeptic, I asked these 2 gentlemen just how much would be saved from the budget by the demise of this group. They didn’t know.

“Wait a minute,” I started up—starting to head toward righteous indignation. “You’re both professional staff members of this department (actually the top 2 guys) and you’re saying that the reason for eliminating this group is for budget savings but you don’t know how much you’ll save? It would seem to me that if you’re making this argument that you would have run at least a rudimentary time and motion analysis to be able to estimate how much it’s costing.”

The 2 guys looked at each other. Their lips got tight. They had no response. I managed to keep my mouth shut as other discussion ensued.

The long and short of it was that eventually I made a motion to recommend that the City Council extend the committee for a year. The committee delegated to me the task of communicating the committee’s position to the Council. I wrote a short, impassioned letter about volunteers volunteering for additional service.

The Council vote was unanimous. The Project Area Committee was allowed to sink into the oblivion of its 3 year term. Of course, the City’s motion thanked us for our service.

Service? What service? I was only on it for one entire meeting and the last 5 minutes of another. Crap.

Just as I was getting over it, a large flat envelope arrived in the mail from the City. The cynic in me said, “looks like a certificate”. This morning I opened it. It was a form. The form was accompanied by a letter. The letter said that the form was a Statement of Economic Interests Form 700 from the California Fair Political Practices Commission. I have to fill it out. And supposedly list all financial interests I have including stocks and 401k, etc. It is a required form when someone “leaves office”.

Office? I didn’t have an office. I was on a committee. And I served for 2 months.

Here I was, expecting a certificate of appreciation and service. What I got was a state form to make sure that I didn’t profit from my long service on the committee. Remember the scene from “A Christmas Story” when Ralphie gets his secret decoder ring along with a certificate conferring “honors and benefits”. When he discovers that the “secret message” is really a commercial for Ovaltine he says “son of a bitch”!

I had hopeful expectations about being able to, in some small way, do some good for my neighborhood and community. “Son of a bitch.”

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cheap Bastid Does Sonoran Hot Dogs

I love Coney Dogs—a hot dog swimming in an ooze of chili. And I love Chicago Dogs—a concoction that’s a salad on a dog complete with iridescent green relish. But now, I lust after Sonoran Dogs.

What makes them so different from other “Dogs”? One word: bacon. Yes, bacon. Visualize a hot dog wrapped in crispy bacon, just waiting to be slathered with a host of toppings that will create a fiesta in your tastebuds. Wow! You’re going to like these.

The Tucson Citizen described Sonoran Hot Dogs as being “like a chili dog on steroids”. I disagree. I think they’re more like a Chicago Dog in afterburner.

Now, I don’t know where I came across these, but Sonoran Hot Dogs rule in Tucson and Phoenix and they’re making inroads here in San Diego and in L.A. They first appeared in the Sonoran capital of Hermosillo in the 60’s and erupted across the border in the 80’s. Now, they’re a staple of lunch-time and bar-closing time in the Southwest.

I’m doing the Cheap Bastid version of this recipe and find that I can get 90% of the taste for 60% of the cost. I’ll throw in the elements that make it pricier and more “up-scale” later.

So on Saturday Mrs. CB got a text from Miss Meggie that she wouldn’t be having dinner with us so we figured we were on our own with my newest concoction until she pulled up in the driveway and into the apartment at 6.

“So are you home for dinner?” Mrs. CB asked.
“What are you fixing?” Miss Meggie asked me (she knows who the cook is).
“Well, I doing Sonoran Hot Dogs. They’ve got salsa and beans and…” but she had quit listening, like 22 year olds do to old folks. “…and they’re hot dogs wrapped in bacon…”

Her eyes lit up at those 3 key words—hot dogs bacon. That was enough for her to become a willing participant in Cheap Bastid’s latest experiment. How about you? Here it is:

Cheap Bastid’s Sonoran Hot Dogs
• 1 package hot dogs
• 8 slices thin cut bacon
• 1 package hot dog buns
• 1 can refried beans
• 1 recipe Cheap Bastid’s Pico de Gallo
• ½ cup Mayonnaise or “salad dressing”
• Chipotle or cayenne
• Mustard
• Shredded cheese (your choice—jack, cheddar, mozzarella, blend, etc.)

Take out a skillet and put on the stove. Wrap the bacon around each hot dog (use shorter dogs so the slice of bacon thoroughly wraps around it). Take the mayo and add the chipotle/cayenne to it and mix thoroughly. How much chipotle or cayenne? Enough! To taste! Bear in mind, that as it sits, it’ll get hotter so start with a little, sample, add more, stir again, sample, etc. until it’s the way you want it.

Open the can of refried beans, put into a microwave dish and zap on high for 2- 2 ½ minutes until it’s hot—or put it in a sauce pan on the stove.

Get everything arranged for fixing the dogs—plates, bowls of pico de gallo, cheese, etc. so people can fix their own. Now turn the stove on to medium and put the dogs in the pan (see, do all this other stuff first because you’re going to want to pay attention to the bacon wrapped dogs as it cooks and keep giving them quarter turns so they brown and cook evenly.

When done, remove the dogs from the pan and put on a platter with a doubled over paper towel on it to absorb the bacon fat.

Assemble: Take bun and slather some beans on the bottom. Then drop the dog in. Put a line of mustard on the side and then top with the mayo mix, pico de gallo and cheese. Now you’re ready to really enjoy a taste treat.

Imagine, biting through this concoction! The flavors and textures explode in your mouth! There’s crunch from the fresh pico de gallo, there’s softness from the cheese, there’s tang from the mayo and heat from the spices. Then there’s more crunch of bacon followed by the meat of the dog with the taste and texture of the refried beans putting the finishing touches on the bite you just took. Oh man! This is good!

Now, you’ve just had the Cheap Bastid version. There’s other versions of this as well. Some call for freshly cooked pinto beans, others for a can of rinsed pinto beans. I used my Cheap Bastid “ends and pieces” bacon—which didn’t work as well because it’s thick cut. You might want to go with thin sliced bacon. And, most recipes called for “all beef” hot dogs. My problem with that is if I’m going to spend $4-$5 a pound on beef, it’s not going to be a hot dog! That’s how much all-beef dogs cost now.

Some people add guacamole which is fine but CB just isn’t a guacamole lover. And I left out the mustard the other night and a hint of mustard on these would make a big difference—with that hint of vinegary tang to add to the dog and re-frieds. Plus you can also add a fresh-roasted or even jarred pepper to the side (just like on a Chicago dog) for extra taste and texture.
Bolillo rolls are often used for these, adding authenticity and a more upscale taste and texture. If you want to do that, slice a “pocket” in them—don’t cut end to end like a hot dog bun. This will take the Sonoran Dog up a notch. And last but not least—next time I’ll use toothpicks at each end of the dog to hold the bacon in place while it cooks and then pull them out when I finish the dogs.

The Cheap Bastid Test: So how’d I do? Let’s see, the dogs were bought on sale at $.75 a package. The Pico de Gallo cost me about $1.50 and I used half a recipe so it was $.75. The re-fried beans were on special for $.89 a can. The buns were $1 at the dollar store. And I spent $2 on a pound of bacon and used, let’s say ¾ lb so the cost was $1.50. What’s the total for 6 Sonoran Dogs that provide dinner for 3? If my arithmetic is right: $4.89 or $.81 per dog. That’s pretty cheap!

That’s the Cheap Bastid Way: Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's Repelling that the Media Can't Spell Rappelling

OK, so maybe this isn’t the most grave and compelling thing happening in the world right now. But it gripes my butt.

What the hell has happened with our ability to spell? Have we gotten that lazy that we 1) don’t KNOW how to spell or 2) don’t bother to run spell check—even though spell check doesn’t correct every error?

It’s bad enough when you or I do it. It’s even worse when the media does it so conspicuously as was seen yesterday all over the internet, TV and print media. And when it comes to the media, whatever became of editors or even interns who double check this stuff?

So just what the hell am I ranting about? Yesterday, inspectors crawled out of a tiny “hatch” at the top of the Washington Monument in order to begin inspecting the entire structure. They are going to work their way down the monument by rappelling.


They’re two entirely different things. TV stations got it wrong. Newspapers got it wrong. Bloggers got it wrong. And, in all likelihood, the poor schmuck who wrote the press-release got it wrong and everybody else just copied him or her in their collective ignorance.

Apparently it takes an anal retentive like me to spot it and take umbrage.

Here’s what they’re doing—rappelling

Here’s what they’re not doing—repelling (as in “repel all boarders”)

And it's certainly not this kind of repel:

No wonder most of the adults look so dufus on “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?”

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cheap Bastid Brings Home the Bacon

Today, let’s talk a bit about bacon.

Let’s talk about how damned expensive it’s gotten. In the last year or so, it’s doubled. Now I find this kind of interesting because other pork prices haven’t doubled. Is that because there’s just a lot more demand for bacon and the producers charge anywhere from $4 to $6 a pound now because they can?

But geez, I’ve been thinking not just twice but three times before buying bacon. We’ve gone from cooking up a pound for BLTs or breakfast to a half pound (Wow! Talk about sacrifice!) We’ve gone from having 2 or 3 pounds in the freezer to a pound.

Crap, I don’t like that. There’s got to be a better way. Well, thanks to the meat manager at my local Stater Brothers grocery store, I came up with a solution. I was chatting with him one day and mentioned how bacon had taken a big jump. He agreed and told me what he buys—“ends and pieces”.

And I thought to myself, “Self, those are going to be little bitty 2 or 3 inch pieces of bacon and they’re just not going to be the same.” I was wrong.

Usually, the ends and pieces are mostly slices that weren’t as uniform as the other slices that went into the meat display case or they’re half slices with just a few “pieces”. Take a look:

Here’s the package:

Here’s what was in it:

And here’s the best part. This bacon is $4 a pound in the display case. The “ends and pieces” are $1.99 a pound. I can do that math. And all I have to do when I get it home is take it out of the package, separate the full slices from the half slices from the pieces and repackage it for the freezer. That takes about 5 minutes. And I’ve got 5 minutes to save half the price of the bacon.

The slices and half slices get fried up just like any other bacon and the pieces end up in something like Spaghetti Carbonara.

If your grocer has “ends and pieces” for cheap, then check it out and see if you can save some money. Give it a try.

And here’s a couple of Cheap Bastid bacon recipes you might want to check out:



That’s the Cheap Bastid Way: Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cheap Bastids Lights Out Pico de Gallo

Well, it’s been a while since Cheap Bastid came up with a recipe to share. I’ve been too busy trying to eke out a living selling cars to affluent people who are cheaper bastids than Cheap Bastid. Plus there’s been a lot of stuff going on with our family that’s finally starting to wind down. And, I just haven’t felt like coming up with new recipes and writing about them.

But I’ve got something simple and cheap today. And it all started last Thursday. It was my day off and we hit our grocery store, Stater Brothers. While there we had the bright idea of making some homemade salsa which I haven’t done in a while. It’s actually “pico de gallo” which translates from Spanish as “rooster’s beak”. So we picked up some extra tomatoes and a bunch of fresh cilantro along with a bag of chips that was discounted.

We got home and put the groceries away and I set about chopping the ingredients and letting them macerate.

Now up until now it wasn’t any big deal. It was a hot day and that was the reason for the salsa. It’s something that has some zing and zip from the tomatoes and acid and spiciness. So, along about 3:40 in the afternoon I’m sitting in the living room with some mind numbing drivel on the tube, reading a book—just kicking back on my day off. And zap! The power went off.

Now apparently not too many folks elsewhere in the country really knew that a major power outage occurred that effected the extreme southwest corner of the country for more than 12 hours last Thursday. The power blackout stretched from Tijuana through San Diego and into Orange County and from the Pacific Ocean all the way across California and into Arizona. Several million people all at one time without power. Thank goodness I was at home. I live 15 minutes from work and one guy I work with lives near me. It took him 2 ½ hours to get home.

Oh well. Like I said, it was hot and our apartment isn’t air conditioned. But in a blackout, it wouldn’t work anyway. Our cell phones weren’t working. And obviously we had had no internet because our modem wireless network are powered by electricity. There wasn’t any cable TV. We managed to find some batteries for a small radio and there was one station that was on because it has an emergency generator and does 24/7 news. At least we were able to keep track of what was or wasn’t going on.

I had planned on cooking chops on the grill anyway so dinner was grilled pork chops, grilled summer squash planks and fresh salsa and chips. Think about it…pico de gallo is made from fresh tomatoes, onion and jalapeno. That’s both tasty and actually pretty healthy. So we ate pretty good, by candlelight on a powerless Thursday night. And that’s why I call it “Lights Out” Pico de Gallo.

So, before this gets too long, here’s the simple recipe. Try making it yourself. It’s tasty and a whole lot cheaper than buying something in a jar or in the deli section of your grocery store.

Cheap Bastid’s Lights Out Pico de Gallo

• 4 Roma tomatoes
• 1 baseball size white onion (about 2/3 or so cup worth)
• 1 jalapeno
• 1 orange—navel or Valencia
• ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
• Salt, garlic powder, chipotle or cayenne

This is really simple. Most of what you’re going to be doing is chopping and cutting so get out your cutting board and good knife along with the bowl for your salsa.

First though, take your jalapeno and roast it. You can use your grill, you can use a burner on your stove or you can put it in the oven at 450. It’s going to take 5 to 10 minutes. If you haven’t done this before, what you’re doing is putting a char on the outside of the pepper and you’re literally steaming it from the inside. When it’s done put it on a plate on top of a paper towel or napkin to cool.

Start dicing your ingredients and putting them in the bowl. You’re going to chop and juice the orange too. I love the flavor that the orange puts into the salsa along with the extra juice that’s both sweet and acidy. When you get all this into the bowl, add a healthy dose of salt—but don’t overdo it. One of the reasons for the salt is to pull the juices from the tomatoes and get the liquid mixed into your salsa.

Now, back to the jalapeno. When cooled, use the paper towel to rub the skin off the surface of the jalapeno. When it’s all peeled off, cut off the top and the cut the jalapeno lengthwise in half. Remove the membrane and seeds and toss them out (this is where the heat is, so quite frankly, you can leave them in if you want your pico de gallo hotter). Chop the jalapeno into about ¼ inch pieces and add to the bowl.

Now, taste your salsa! Add some garlic powder to taste and then add some chipotle or cayenne a little bit at a time until you get the right amount of heat. Then put it in the fridge. Serve it later with tortilla chips or do what we did—we used it as a topping for tostadas tonight.

So, what to do when you’ve got “Lights Out”, you’re hungry and you’re hot. Pull some freshly made Pico de Gallo out of the fridge (be quick going in and out of the fridge if the power’s out!), dig out some tortilla chips, scoop up the salsa and enjoy! That’s what we did. And we like it spicy!

Cheap Bastid Test: This is really inexpensive, especially this time of year. The tomatoes cost about a dollar, the onion was about a quarter, the jalapeno was about a quarter and the orange about 35 cents. Less than 2 bucks! This made the equivalent of 2 jars of salsa. Those 2 jars would cost $6-$7 at the grocery store. And this is a lot fresher and a lot tastier!

The lights were back on the next morning and it all ended up as one of those little adventures that really aren’t all that bad. Except that it really does let you know just how addicted we are to technology.

That’s the Cheap Bastid Way: Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fifty-Five and Five

Well Monday was my 60th birthday--6 decades, 3-score years. Dayem.

When I got home from work Monday night, my wife had a "special" cake waiting.

See, we have this thing which has now taken on a life of its own. We don't like to go out and buy those big number candles that a lot of people put on their cakes. We like to "make do"--one time we even cut the top off a "7" to make an extra "1". Now, Carolyn wasn't about to load up a cake with 60 candles. But she didn't have any big "6's". So, she got creative. Here's what she came up with:

(By the way, the chunk of flame between the 2nd and 3rd "5" was a "plus" sign made out of 2 regular birthday candles).

And now, back to doing research on all those places where I can get a "Senior"discount. We already know that you have to be 62 to get a Senior Discount at Kohl's. Carolyn has promised to take extra good care of me at least for the next 2 years.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cheap Bastid's Mac & Cheese

It seems like every time there’s some cooking show on or one of the chef’s competitions like Top Chef or Next Food Network Star, someone always does Macaroni and Cheese.

If you check out recipes like I do, you’ll find a whole bunch of different recipes for Mac & Cheese. And there’s a lot of “foo-fooing” going on. Exotic cheeses, different ingredients—even truffles!

It’s always seemed to me that Mac & Cheese is a family dish. It’s supposed to be a simple dish—and it’s evolved to one which is most usually prepared out of a box. (I’ve had it many times out of a box and never thought twice about it). And, it’s associated with “soul food” which is usually home cooked, inexpensive cooking that has 2 main elements—it tastes great and it’s inexpensive.

So, Cheap Bastid set out to make Mac & Cheese that will fulfill these 2 critical “soul food” criteria. To make it taste great and to make it as inexpensively as possible. (Notice I didn’t say cheap. I quickly discovered that this isn’t necessarily a cheap dish at all). And, if I were going to do it, I vowed to use that most American of cheeses—Velveeta.

So here’s what I came up with. It’s simple, but it takes a bit of time to prep and make. It’s reasonable, but by no means “cheap”. And it’s thoroughly customizable.

Cheap Bastid’s Mac & Cheese

• 1 lb elbow macaroni
• 1 lb Velveeta Cheese
• 1 8 oz. bag shredded cheddar (or whatever shredded is on hand or that you like)
• ½ lb bacon cooked
• 2 tbsp chopped jarred jalapeno peppers
• 1/3-1/2 cup milk (skim, 1%, 2%, whole—it doesn’t matter)
• 4 slices bread (white, wheat—whatever)

First of all, notice that some of these ingredients are based on what you have on hand or what you prefer. That’s the way cooking is. Cook what you like. Substitute for what’s in the pantry—for example if you don’t have any bread, use saltines or Ritz or even hamburger or hot dog buns. This ain’t rocket science.

If you don’t want to use bacon, leave it out. If you don’t have any but want a bit of meat use spam or ham or bologna or hot dogs. Like the homegirls say: “Whatevah”.

So, let’s cook. Prep first! Get out your pasta pot, a small skillet, a casserole dish, cheese grater (don’t have a cheese grater? Just cut the cheese into small cubes), 1 gallon freezer bag, rolling pin (or meat tenderizing mallet or the bottom of a sauce pan), a big mixing bowl, a medium bowl, cutting board and a small baking sheet.

Turn the oven on to 250. Put the 4 slices of bread on the baking sheet and then put it in the oven for about ½ hour.

Put the skillet on a burner turned to medium and put the bacon in it to cook. Start grating the Velveeta into the mixing bowl.

Remember to check the bvacon while it’s cooking—don’t get too focused on grating the Velveeta. We’re multi-tasking here! When the bacon is browned, put it on a plate covered with a paper towel to cool. When cool, chop it into about ½ inch or smaller bits.

Put about a gallon of water into the pasta pot and put it on the stove turned to high. Bring to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt and add the pasta. Cook for about 8 minutes. Keep grating that Velveeta! Cook about 8 minutes—just a bit “al dente”. Pour the cooked pasta into a colander and shock with cold water to both stop the cooking and cool it down. And if you’re an anal retentive foo-foo foodie who would say that rinsing the pasta removes the starches, just go ahead an have an ice bath set up an put the drained pot full of pasta into a bowl and then into the ice bath.

When the bread has been in the oven long enough to thoroughly dry-out, take the pan from the oven and let it cool When it’s cooled you’re going to put it 2 slices at a time into the freezer bag and then use the rolling pin to turn it into crumbs—if you’ve got a bit of hostility to release, feel free to use the bottom of a sauce pan and whomp it into submission and crumbs. (When my wife does that I know without asking who she is metaphorically “whomping” if you get my drift).

Put the bread crumbs into a medium bowl and mix them up with a generous handful of shredded bagged cheddar (or other cheese) and then sprinkle about 1 ½-2 tbsp of your favorite green herb (parsley, cilantro or basil—and if you use another “medicinal” herb add an extra tbsp, but I don’t want to know about it).

OK, so now all the prep work has been done. Pasta’s cooked. Bacon’s cooked and chopped. Jalapenos are chopped. Cheese is grated. And the oven should be pre-heating to 350.

Take all the ingredients (pasta, bacon, jalapenos, rest of shredded bagged cheese and grated Velveeta) and dump them in the big mixing bowl. Add the milk. Stir everything together in the casserole dish. Smooth it out and then evenly spread the bread crumb mixture over the top.

Pop this into the oven at 350 for about a half hour. Take a peek—has the top browned up? If not, turn your broiler on for about 2 minutes (do NOT leave the room when the broiler’s on!), then take another peek and see if it’s browned. But remember, under the broiler anything in the oven can go from toasty golden to charcoal in about 14 seconds if you’re not paying attention. If it’s starting to brown at 2 minutes, turn the oven off and just leave the casserole in the oven for about another minute. Then remove. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and then dish it up and enjoy!

The Cheap Bastid Test: So how’d I do? Well, the pasta was the cheapest part. It cost me fifty cents (on special at the grocer). The bacon was about a third of a pound at $1.99 per pound for a total of $.67. The jalapeno was out of an open jar in the fridge and I used a couple of tablespoons that cost maybe a quarter. The cheese, that’s the big ticket.

I used a pound of Velveeta which cost me $4.50 and about 1/3 bag of shredded cheese (that’s all I had) which cost about $.80. So the total if my math is right is about $6.75 (I had to add a bit for the milk and 4 slices of bread). We got about 8 servings which means that they cost $.84 apiece. The bottom line is that’s not bad! Not bad at all for 2 dinners for 3 and a couple of lunches.

Next Time: We went to Fraiser’s Farms the other day and checked out the cheeses. I really want to get under $4 a pound for cheese. I can get a 2 lb block of mild cheddar for $3.29 a pound and Mozzarella for $3.99 or real American (not the crappy stuff that’s individually wrapped) for $3.79 a pound. So, next time I think it’ll be Cheddar and American mixed together.

That’s the Cheap Bastid Way: Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Makin' Whoopee

There’s no instruction manual for raising kids. And there’s definitely no instruction manual for when your 21 year old (in my case step-daughter) moves in.

Now, we’re smart enough to know that when Megan moved in with us (in our small 2-bedroom apartment) last November to leave her alone and pretty much let her come and go as she please. She works full time and she also takes classes on a part-time basis. Her work schedule will vary from day to day. Some days from 1 to 10 p.m., others from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. It keeps her hopping.

We know that on Wednesday nights she likes to go out for hot wings with a bunch of friends—what she calls the “Wing Nuts”. That’s cool. And she’s good about e-mailing her work schedule to her mom each week. And that’s cool too.

Where things get a bit iffy is whether or not she’s going to be home for dinner—so I get a better idea of what and how much to cook. And sometimes she gets off work and goes to the gym or comes home for a bit and then goes to the gym.

So it’s not the easiest thing in the world to predict when she’ll be home, how long she’ll be home, etc. But that’s all right. Mostly.

The hard thing is…OK, so how do I put this delicately? The hard thing is, well, it’s “makin’ whoopee”.

Look, some people might consider me an old fart at 60 and some might even consider my bride “old” at 49. And most assuredly, the young woman my wife gave birth to just doesn’t want to even “go there”—you know think about her Mom “making whoopee”.

It’s scheduling. My work schedule is a bit goofy too. And trying to coordinate with Meg’s comings and goings makes it trickier.

And, well just figure that we’re of an age when going to bed at night pretty much means it’s time to go to sleep. We get tired. A 21 year old can get up at 4 to go to work and come home at 2 and then go out half the night knowing that she’s off until the next afternoon and then crash and burn a couple of days later when she’s got a day off. We can’t do that. We gotta go to sleep at night.

So, we wait until we know she’s gone. Gone all day, gone all day when I’m home from work. We put off other things waiting in anticipation. Waiting until after her lunch time to make sure she’s not going to pop in during her break.

And then…..oh yeah! And then. “Afternoon Delight”.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cheap Bastid's When McDonald's Becomes Comfort Food

Last Wednesday night, I had promised to make spaghetti with home-made meatballs—and believe me, I can make some wicked good meatballs. Well, when I got home from work, Carolyn and I got talking.

She’d had kind of a bummer of a day. She was still trying to get things done with her Mother’s house and that afternoon we took care of the 2 cars that were occupying the garage, selling them to a guy I know who owns an auto repair shop who offered to take them off our hands. And the day before, Carolyn had taken Stucco, the dog, to the ASPCA shelter. So she was a bit bummed by the finality of things—and the house which now lacked occupants or life.

So, with just a minimum of whining, I let her talk me into a treat for dinner for her. For Cheap Bastid, a treat for dinner is a trip to McDonald’s for some McDoubles. I was dispatched to get a half dozen McDoubles off the dollar menu for the 2 of us and step-daughter Meg along with fries. OK, not bad. It’s reasonably inexpensive.

I got home with them while they were still hot. OK, they were warm—what passes for hot at the “golden arches”.

We dug in. Oh man, it was a burger orgy. Now I make a pretty mean burger either in a skillet or on the grill. But every once in a while you just get a jones on for a “gut bomb”. You taste the grease—beef fat—and you taste some salt as you chomp into the brownish-grey blob of meat. As the meaty fat hits your palate you get a hit from the pickle and mustard and then a dollop of sweet from the ketchup. And you feel guilty. You know this isn’t “good food”. It would make a true foo-foo foodie barf—but they don’t know what they’re missing while they’re chomping their $30 Wagu beef burger on a fresh-made "artisan" roll.

Then after a bite or 2 you dive into the fries. They’re perfectly golden—you can never get that perfect shade of yellow-gold at home. Salty. A hint of crisp on the outside and tender ‘tater on the inside. These are heaven. It’s no wonder that McDonald’s has a reputation for making the best “fast-food” joint fries.

Oh, and by the way, why is it called “fast-food”? It took 6 minutes from the time I placed the order for 6 McDoubles and 3 large fries for them to appear in a sack in my hand. I don’t call that “fast food”. I remember as a kid ordering them at a walk-up window at McDonalds. A dime for a burger and twelve cents for a cheeseburger. The person in the window processed the order, took the money, turned around, grabbed the grub, flipped in a bag and handed it to you. All in about 15 seconds. That’s fast food, Bubba.

But what would a Cheap Bastid piece be without some sort of rant? A double-cheeseburger is still a “value” at $1. And, if I were smart, I would have opted for the $1 small fries. But no, I wanted lots of fries and ordered 3 large fries, one for each of us. They’re $2.50 apiece! Damn!

I can get 10 lbs of potatoes for $2.99! $2.50 for a large fry? They’ve got to be making at least 2 bucks for each order. Holy crap! Two-fifty! My six bucks for the double-cheeses ended up being right at $15 by the time I was done. How damn stupid am I? And I didn’t even order sodas—no way, I’ve got soda at home. Cans for the “girls” and my 2 liter bottle of Vernor’s for me.
Yeah, I know, they’re good! But, I just Googled the calorie count in a large order of fries from MickeyD’s. 570. That’s a lot. Damn, they’re good. But that’s a lot. And there’s 30g of fat. And there’s 390 calories in each McDouble. That’s 1350 calories. And I wonder why I’ve been gaining weight.

But…Yeah, here comes the but…they’re good. An occasional binge on McDoubles and fries isn’t all that bad. Or is it?

But, (here’s the real but), when your wife needs a special comfort food—like McDoubles and fries—because she’s bummed from losing her mother and is having to take care of a lot of stuff from the estate, it’s worth it.

And...have you ever noticed that all the pictures in ads for McDonald's fries show the fries over-flowing the container? And when you fish your fries out of the bag they don't even get up to the front lip? Are we getting hosed? Oh yeah, a two-fifty hosing!

So, do you think we overdid it with the bowls of ice cream an hour later? Naw, me either.

And that’s the Cheap Bastid Way: Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Uh-Oh, The Feds Are After Me

A rare advantage of posting my blogs on Blogspot is that I have it linked to “Sitemeter” which lets me see the number of visits, what post was seen, the ISP of the visitor and often the city of the visitor. OK, don’t get bored and move on…hopefully this will get just a little bit better.

Unfortunately, far too many of the “hits” to this site are for people looking for pictures of Giada DeLaurentiis’ cleavage, Joy Hickey, banana hammocks, the V-22 Osprey, used car salesman cartoons and Sarah Palin as a Zombie (actually I’m kind of proud of the Sarah Palin/zombie connection). Oh yeah, and Buckwheat.

Yep, Buckwheat. You know, the cute little African-American kid from “The Little Rascals". The one who Eddie Murphy parodied on “SNL” and in his shows. That Buckwheat. The one who’s brought me to the attention of the Feds.

The Feds. As in Federal Government. As in Department of Justice. As in Drug Enforcement Administration.

You see, I wrote a blog post in September of 2010 featuring Buckwheat and how my wife and I like to talk in his unique language that we call “Buhweet”. Like, “Otay Buhweet”.

This particular blog post was inspired by a newspaper article I read which said that the Atlanta DEA office was looking to hire translators—in Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Farsi and…are you ready?...Ebonics. So that got my imagination going and I made the connection to Buckwheat. And I wrote a tongue-in-cheek blog post. Here’s a link:


So how does that bring me to the attention of the DOJ and DEA? Well, in the interest of interesting illustration, I did a Google Image search and included a DEA logo in the blog post. And, the other day (see this is where Sitemeter comes in handy) I noticed that someone had spent the better part of 6 minutes in my Blogspot blog. Hmmmmm, I wonder who? The ISP was “US Dept of Justice” and the ISP is “usdoj.gov”. The search was for "DEA Logo". To quote Ralphie from “A Christmas Story”: “Oh fuuuuuddddggggge.”

And I asked myself, “Self, do these guys have a sense of humor?” And, of course, the answer is, “Hell no.”

Anytime now I expect to hear the sound of doors slamming on several Crown Vics, the sound of multiple feet thumping up the flight of stairs right outside our door and then the crash of a sledgehammer on the door as they come after this serious miscreant. Half a dozen guys in jumpsuits and bullet proof vests and helmets wearing windbreakers that say “DEA” on the back.

Will they Mace me? Will they tackle me and kneel on my back (hey guys I’ve got some pretty bad arthritis in my right shoulder so take it easy when you cuff me, OK?).

The music from “Dragnet” is going through my brain. “Dum, dee dum dum. Dum, dee dum dum, dum!” “Just the facts, ma’am,” they’ll tell my wife.

And it’s all DEA’s fault for stepping on my funny bone about hiring Ebonics translators. If they hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have had my brain-fart about Buckwheat. I wouldn’t have started writing. I wouldn’t have uploaded their damn logo into a blog post.
But that’s OK. I know they have to do their job of protecting the American public. From no-good-niks like me. At least there’s no one at DOJ.gov checking out Giada DiLaurentiis’ cleavage.

And if I have to go to the slammer all I have to say to my wife is, “I wubbu”.