Friday, October 30, 2015


Babies are bottomless pits of sleepless work--that's the subliminal story told by many in the current generation of parents when their childless peers dare to even joke about how something in their life is preparing them for children. Eyes roll. Difficulty is laughed off. You must bow before the impossibility of having children because having children is harder than anything you've ever done in your little life. Your pre-children trials are filled with helium, skippy. 

Replacing a radiator, for example, is nothing but work--but you aren't likely to be taken seriously if you decide to be dramatic about the task. Even if you replaced ten radiators in one day, you can bet money that you could find a parent somewhere who would shrug and tell you about how they once had an eleven-diaper day. And nothing is worse than eleven dirty diapers--oh, you don't know humility until you touch that much poop! What's that--you have to push your internal hemorrhoids back in every time you have to flush twice? Applying cream doesn't count when its on yourself. *quickly changes subject*

Monday, October 5, 2015


Anyone born after 2001 has never known a time when America has not been at war.  Every day that "we the people" allow our troops to be used as a solution, we tell ourselves that violence and killing is the answer. News of the US military's bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan comes only days after a mass-shooting in Oregon, and neither the military advocates nor the gun control advocates seem to be talking about the overlap between the two: violence, when used as a solution, resulted in equally dead people in both cases.

Violence in America should come as no surprise. Many Americans are nothing if not patriotic, and patriotism is 99% supporting the troops and 1% voting. Voting only changes the color of the party ordering the troops. And what do troops do? A few National Guard units may help out after natural disasters, but--with rare exception--hammers are almost exclusively used for hitting things. Troops kill, maintain things that kill, or support people who kill. And you, American, must support your troops. It's like an ice-bucket challenge that you aren't allowed to forget.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


After a few weeks of relatively intense house projects due to a rapidly approaching deadline, the backyard grill provided a distraction. As in, the grill itself was the distraction--it was time to install some lava rocks.

Flavorless flavorizing

I've cooked on gas grills with lava rocks, albeit many years ago. Lately, though, all of the grills in my price range have what many manufacturers call heat tents, flame tamers, or--the worst, at least in terms of misnomers--flavorizer bars. Whatever one calls them, these are the angled pieces of sheet metal which sit directly over the burners in a gas grill. Their primary job is to prevent flare ups by instantaneously burning off grease from the cooked food, provide (relatively) even heat at the cooking surface, and to protect the burners from grease drippings.

Flavorizer bars do all of these tasks quite well. They rust out eventually, but replacing them is about as hard as replacing a roll of toilet paper. The real problem I've always had with flavorizer bars is the flavor--they don't provide much, if any, flavor. The grease from the food burns off so quickly and efficiently that it barely smokes when it burns. This efficiency, and the lack of smoke that is produces, provides a grilling experience that is more akin to cooking in an oven--clean and efficient, rather than the smokey mess that makes grilled food special.