Looking Nice With A Ribbon

Chef John Besh has a relatively new show on PBS called Chef John Besh’s Family Table, in a bright, spacious kitchen that’s a step up from his last teevee show Chef John Besh’s New Orleans, where the set was cozier, even a little claustrophobic. I enjoy listening to Mr. Besh talk, though I admit my mind wanders. Over the holidays, my brilliant stepmommy Darla and I were staring at our monitors while Chef Besh narrated from safety of the living room flat screen. Suddenly, we were both confused.

Chef Besh seems like a nice man and his food looks deeeelicious.

Chef Besh seems like a nice man and his food looks deeeelicious.

The new show is sponsored by BP and features an unusually desperate tagline asking you, person not from the Gulf Region, to visit the Gulf Region and eat its fine seafood. Though my memory is hazy, it isn’t a complete fog, so I remember an oil rig explosion, Corexit contamination, massive wildlife poisoning and mutation, ruined marshlands and, more recently, BP kicking up a big stink about settling with its victims. If BP asked me nicely to please eat some free-range sponge cake I wouldn’t touch that and – I am sorry – but neither should anyone else. That BP seeks to rehabilitate its and the Gulf’s images is exactly what we expect in this cynical time of spin and bullshit. So I looked up from my laptop when I heard their name at the end of a New Orleans-based PBS cooking show. There were two other foundations sponsoring the show, which I, a frequent PBS viewer, had not heard of until then. Darla scoured the Great Gazoogle for the who/what and found the L.E. Phillips Family Foundation, Inc. and Melvin S. Cohen Foundation, Inc. are both registered in Delaware and neither issues an annual report about revenue or donations. During my own Gazoogling, I found obituaries for a whole mess o’ Melvin S. Cohens, but our candidate for Most Likely To Have His Own Foundation was the Melvin S. Cohen who chaired Presto, whom you may remember as the pressure cooker and Frybaby folks. One surmises there would be interest in food prep in the wilds of Wisconsin, which is also where we find the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, the L.E. Phillips Senior Center, the L.E. Phillips Career Development Center, the L. E. Phillips Planetarium at the University of Wisconsin, and the L E Phillips Libertas Center for the treatment of alcoholism. Not a lot of interest in food prep and how could there be no annual report for a foundation engaged in that level of donating?

How did these Wisconsin foundations get involved with BP in this retooling of the Gulf’s image? I don’t know, but it seems like that should mean something.

Who’s To Blame?

(With apologies to the B-52s)

Surprise! Party!


Yeah, we just thought we’d drop in!

drop in

Where’s your icebox?


Where’s the punch?


Eww, House-a-tosis!


Who’s to blame when parties really get out of hand?

party gone out of bounds

Who’s to blame when they get poorly planned?

poorly planned

Crashers get bombed


Slobs make a mess

actual villain

Ya know sometimes they’ll even ruin your wife’s dress

George And Laura Bush Attend Groundbreaking For Bush Presidential Center

Crashers gettin’ bombed. (Who’s to blame?)

who's to

Can you pull it back in line?
Can you salvage it in time?

out of bounds

What can you do to save a party?

a party gone





A spur-of-the-moment scavenger hunt,

scavenger hunt

Or Queen of the Nile?

queen of the nile

Who turned out the lights?

turn out the lights


bombed - 1

Crashers gettin’ bombed,

bombed - 2

Crashers gettin’ bombed,



bombed - 4


bombed - 5


bombed - 6

Well, who’s to blame?

to blame

Who’s to blame when situations degenerate?

blame 1

Disgusting things you’d never anticipate

People get sick, they play the wrong games

the wrong games

Ya know, it can ruin your name!

Crashers gettin’ bombed. (Who’s to blame?)

who's to blame 3

Can you pull it back in line?

in line

Can you salvage it in time?

it in time

It shouldn’t be difficult!

Try not to condemn!


O.K. who ordered pizza?

I’ll be tactful when making the rounds

Be tactful when making the rounds

tactful when

And maybe you can save a party…

Debt Showdown

Party gone out of bounds!

completely out of bounds

Gone out of bounds!

disastrous and stupid

Images and videos courtesy of the Intertubes. Thank you, Intertubes.

You Find Out In A Little While

Food Network has Robert Irvine beating people into adequacy, Willie WhatsHisFace spying from crawlspaces and and health inspectors prowling around the salamander. On Spike, bars get backup and on BBC America, restaurant owners are going to get back to work if it costs Gordon Ramsay an aneurism. The two things all the establishments have in common is that they’re filthy and everyone’s embarrassed that they’re filthy. Dad used to say no one should be standing around in a restaurant; everyone who isn’t preparing food, serving customers or paying bills should be cleaning something. It’s true that Dad’s hobby was being angry and he was often very popular. So maybe people like to hear men shouting about clean freezers.

Where the Chess Players Used To Sell

I am pay-attentiony, so I am aware of stuff and shit, as Dad used to say.

Pete and I grew up in the same town, playing in the same woods, stomping in the same creeks and, when our town finally got a grocery store, walking up and down those same store aisles with our moms. That ShopRite left town and was replaced by another grocery store, which changed companies and names several times and recently moved to another building in the same mall for more, cleaner space. We know this Stop & Shop inside-out and backwards, so we were both perturbed when about a month ago, we found it in an uproar as the staff rearranged it. Last weekend, the stupid partitions, bread racks and crooked handwritten signs were gone, so the current arrangement has a look of permanence. It is our habit to walk in the front door, stop at the Hot Wheels display – because Hot Wheels! – and head right for the natural foods aisle against the left wall. We turned the corner and skidded to a rough stop.

At last, my camera phone captures both angst and ennui. Pulitzer, please!

Ta darling, you’re saying, just because spokesmodel Andrew Zimmern says don’t make it so. Perhaps the perimeter is optional, not optimal. Oh yeah?

The Mayo Clinic:

Picture your favorite grocery store. Chances are the fresh produce section, the meat and seafood departments, and the dairy case are all located around the perimeter of the store. This is where you should concentrate most of your shopping time. Why? Fresh foods are generally healthier than the ready-to-eat foods found in the middle aisles. This helps you better control the fat and sodium in your diet.

Staid Reader’s Digest:

Shop the perimeter of the store. That’s where all the fresh foods are. The less you find yourself in the central aisles of the grocery store, the healthier your shopping trip will be. Make it a habit — work the perimeter of the store for the bulk of your groceries, then dip into the aisles for staples that you know you need.

Doggone, even WebMD:

Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.

Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot. “There are exceptions – honey – but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren’t food,” [Michael] Pollan says.

These helpful people agreed strongly enough to make YouTube videos about this topic. Not food, and certainly not natural food, but it is a lie and a very cynical manipulation, isn’t it? Anguished cries of Mommy, HoHos are health food! must rend the air a hundred times a day.

At this point, I was looking for store security but they were probably on their phones, too. In grocery stores, everyone is. Possibly with the Mayo Clinic.

Crossposted to Brilliant@Breakfast.

Some People Are In Charge Of Bombs

What’s clucking up at the Henhouse?

Fox News Says Gabby Douglas’ Leotard, Other US Olympic Uniforms Not Patriotic Enough

Bless us, a grown man is talking smack about a teenage girl, so it’s got to be about fashion. He must be very butch. So says the assistant principal:

[David] Webb noted that gymnasts “adjust their uniforms within boundaries sometimes,” but he still had an issue with the “anti-American feeling.”

“If you want to be in the Olympics, you’re playing for your country,” said Webb. “The Chinese are wearing red predominantly as that’s their national color, if you will, so why not us with the red, white and blue? There’s a meaning behind the red, white and blue that has been lost.”

Gymnasts sometimes push up their long sleeves and judges sometimes penalize for it. The rules are very strict. Last night, Gabby Douglass was chewing gum in the stands and I was as shocked as if I’d seen her eating actual food.

Has the gold medal. And detention, apparently.

Believe it or not, Webb, who should be arguing about hall passes in the Mr. Blackwell Middle School in Nowhere, Pennsyltucky, is in a state of high dudgeon over little pink leotards. I mulled over the pink uniforms too, but I wondered how the designers got away with it. The elite athlete of questionable patriotic fervor is a teenage girl; in the general population, teenage girls carry pink phones in their pink purses and wear sweats with the word PINK plastered on their tiny teeny butts. Teenage girly-girls wear pink and our women’s gymnastics team is composed entirely of teenage girls whose femininity is seriously and publicly policed by the US Gymnastics Federation and the Olympic authorities. Some committee okayed these uniforms made by the blistered hands of tiny Chinese slave-children. Just kidding. I’m sure they were slave-adults.

Not on the team but still pretty, which counts bigtime in gymnastics.

Also: it never crossed my mind that Alicia Sacramone might have been the intended wearer of the fuschia leotard. No. Not at all. No. She looks great in fuschia.

Assistant Principal Webb again:

‘What’s wrong with showing pride?” Webb asked. “What we’re seeing is this kind of soft anti-American feeling that Americans can’t show our exceptionalism. Frankly, if they are offended about our showing our exceptionalism then they have that right and I don’t care. And neither do most Americans.”

Gymnastics has rules against showing your exceptionalism. Or your cootchy. Don’t do that. It’s a big deduction.

What is this frustrated jerkwad talking about, anyway? Four other girls were dressed the same unpatriotic way. He doesn’t mention them. Maybe he wanted Gabby Douglass to roll a tank down the vaulting runway and end every routine with a military salute? This is stupid and inappropriate and in keeping with Mouthbreather-Americans’ fetishization of all things military and flaggy. Yes, this is an international event, but the point of the Olympics is peaceful competition between nations. That point is lost on a lot of people. So what the fuck is this guy doing in turning one teenage girl’s outfit into a nightmare of thwarted hypernationalism? And doesn’t it sound a lot like what the Henhouse cluckers say about President Obama?