Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oh boy, this is a tough one.....

I lost a buddy today.  After 11 years of shedding, howling, raging around the backyard, tunneling in the snow, sprinting across the beach, and just generally being a fantastic companion, our dear Casey left us today.  I can't get this goddamn text to left align, so deal with it.  This is a tough day, but I am eternally grateful for the time she spent with me.  I was lucky enough to get to spend her last moments with her, and she will always be remembered for what she was: a smart, sweet, dignified old dog that could say "hello" with her bark.  And her ears were as soft as velvet. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I'm beginning to see the things I need to talk about.

It's been months since I've felt the mojo to put something up here- the Frenches have been busy, with all the moving, starting new jobs, and uprooting spouses from their comfort zone.  So cut me some slack.  I was hoping to have some sweet office gossip to talk about, but so far, no.  So here is what I have so far:

We are the puffy coat family.  We all roll out in our down puffy jackets, and we look like huge dorks.  The only salve is the fact that everyone I know owns a Patagonia down sweater right now as well. 

Now on to some other significant fashion discoveries.  We know a couple in town that are in their mid-40s, and quite affluent.  They dress like they are extras on a new remake of Oliver Twist.  Picture this on a middle-aged man:

She dresses in a similar fashion.  Here is my point- at some point in life, you have to make a decision about your appearance; you can either go for "slob" or "well-dressed confident adult."  I manage to mix the two.  But not my boy J**, whom we shall refer to as "Oliver."  He made a conscious decision to stand out in the crowd, by looking like he lives in 19th Century Liverpool.  He undoubtedly reached a crossroads, and had a hard choice to make- Oliver Twist, or another option:

Chris Angel.  All I'm saying is it is a slippery slope when choosing between several degrees of ass-clownery.

And one other thing- I saw this the other day outside my office:

 An adult drives this car.  I'm guessing they also have ten or twelve cats and a room full of Beany Babies.

Mr. K 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sorry I've been gone so long....

So, we moved in August.  Mrs. French is hating it, the little ones are happy or don't know the difference. I love it, but miss a few things about PDX, and hate seeing the wife sad- no one here knows yet how special she is.  It will get better.  Or it won't.  I will most likely post more often than once every 100 days, but I make no guarantees.  Frankly, I'm out of funny stories.

Mr F

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It may be happening....

I got offered a really, really good job in Bend.  Despite wishing for this for five years, it's harder than I thought it would be to make the decision to leave PDX.  Wish us luck either way- we could use it.

Mr. F

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chicken Killer.

This is Casey, our 12 year old Husky/Mutt.  She is an old, sweet, partially toothless dog we have had for over 10 years.  Other than a serious vendetta against any and all squirrels, she has never hurt a soul.  She does enjoy an occasional role in dead fish or a slide through fresh manure.  Aside from that, the picture above is pretty much an action photo. 

Well, last Friday the old girl outdid herself.  She slipped out of the backyard through an open gate and proceeded to amble over to a neighbor's house two blocks away.  A batshit crazy neighbor.  With a poorly defended chicken coop.  The result wasn't pretty (I know because Ms. Batshit showed Mrs. French pics of Casey's handiwork. Two dead chickens, a three day trip to the County Pound, several hundred dollars in fines, and a sign in our window that looks like this:
That's right- our county considers dogs that kill chickens to be every bit as dangerous as dogs that bite kids.  It's more a case of the law not catching up to the idea of urban chicken coops than any conspiracy, but at least we don't have to worry about solicitors now.

We initially felt awful about the whole thing; we assumed the chicken owner would have young kids, and we were worried we wouldn't get Casey back.  It turns out Huskies LOVE to kill chickens, according to the folks at Animal Control (who found the whole episode a bit silly).  Yesterday Batshit pulled up and began berating my bride about our deadly beast (I was gone at the time.  Getting  a massage.  My wife thinks this is pretty precious).  She is middle-aged.  And her kids are grown.  And she is openly trying to shake us down for her pain and suffering.  I seem to have lost a bit of my empathy.

It is really nice to have my old fat dog back.  And I am sorry about the chickens.  But I don't like the Chicken Lady.

Mr F

Sunday, June 5, 2011

One of Portland's more interesting commuters

Last week we were cutting through a neighborhood to avoid rush hour traffic on the main arteries.  We saw this guy:

I managed a pretty sweet pic out the window of the car.  So, a unicycling juggler.  Probably standard issue for any circus, but there was not one in town.  Nor was he just practicing- we saw him well ahead of us, and he was making good time.  Plus, the backpack leads me to believe he was commuting, either to or from work.  If anyone I worked with ever showed up with a unicycle and juggling pin-thingys the rest of his co-workers should promptly stomp a puddle in him.  For reals.

I was brainstorming for a less efficient or more complicated method of transport:

1.  Ice skating on concrete while shuffling cards
2. Hopping on one foot while braiding your hair
3. Crawling on your knees while eating soup with chopsticks

Hell, I don't know.  This was just plain weird.

Mr. F

Monday, May 30, 2011

I've been gone for a while.....

Sorry for the lack of posts-life has caught up with me, and I am out of poop stories.  Hopefully I will get a few more soon.  I have been temporarily inspired though, and I think I am going to try to post more frequently on the things I see that are uniquely Portland or just plain strange wherever you are.  I believe I will start these posts with this one.

It was awkward to get a pic of two people making out, but trust me, they were unaware of the world around them.  Where were these lovebirds during their tryst?  Well, the coffee shop at Whole Foods, of course!  We stopped in at 5pm to get some stuff and ended up building big, healthy, and entirely unsatisfying salads to eat in their cafe.  As an aside, I have eaten a small plate of nachos and some chocolate milk since dinner in an attempt to fill the void.

On to Billy Bob and Angelina in the pic.  He was a grubby hairy dude, and so was she.  The pic looks like they may have been enjoying a simple kiss; oh no.  It was a full-on makeout session, with tons of tongue, caresses of the face, and some inappropriate touching.  We skipped out only moments before a game of "Just the Tip" most likely broke out.  I'm sure he was about to lay her down on that uncomfortable looking bench and get busy.  It was gross, but also really funny.  My bride and I traded jokes for a good long time.  She is convinced they were on ecstasy- I wonder if other users of X know how awesome the espresso bar at Whole Foods is for a good session of heavy petting in front of tons of old people and their kids?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

This Is What Food Photography Should Look Like

I made quiche last night for the first time.  Here is a pic.

Yes, it is covered in Saran Wrap and partially eaten.  I didn't think to take a pic until late in the game.  Still, it looks stunning.  I could have taken a better one, but all quiche pretty much looks the same.  Plus, the plastic wrap is a great lead-in to my idea to start my own food blog- a blog about leftovers.  Yes, I will eat something, refrigerate it, eat it again, then report on it.  How about www.shitIateyesterdayand  That is not a real link, so don't click it. 

I have heard that is somehow effete for men to eat quiche, so maybe I should call it eggpie.  Nope, I'm sticking with quiche.  If you like quiche, you should give it a whirl.  Here is what I did:

Preheat oven to 350F

Dice some pancetta (or bacon) and cook it until crisp
Dice 1/2 onion and add to pancetta
Dice up 1 small red pepper, add after onion is starting to become clear
Add three cloves of chopped garlic to pan- cook another three minutes

In a large bowl, whisk six eggs until whisk-erific
Add the following:
1/4 cup sour cream
A big squirt of spicy mustard
A handful of shredded cheese
The stuff from the pan (pancetta, onion, pepper, garlic)
A handful of chopped spinach
A cup of chopped steamed broccoli

I used a pre-made spelt pie crust, which was pretty good.  Pour the stuff from the bowl into the crust.  Cook for 45 minutes at 350F.

To me, quiche sounds like something that should be hard to make.  It isn't.  Trust me, if I did it a monkey could be enticed with a single ripe banana to do the same.

Mr. F

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eating Light, Dirt, Glitter, and the End of the World

This should be 2 posts, but it isn't.  Concentrate and try to follow my stream of consciousness.  The wife recently bought a new vegetarian cookbook about eating fresh and healthy- we have sampled a few recipes from it, and it is quite good.  I decided to make something from it on Sunday night.  I looked through it and instead chose "Bisteces Ranchero" from The Art of Braising.  Plenty of meat in that one.  This was an honest shift in direction, but couldn't have been a bigger 180.  Ranchero is a big beefy hot mess of goodness.  I was going to take pics of my creation, but I decided to play a little Plants vs. Zombies instead.  Lame.  I have plenty of leftovers, which I am guessing is an underreported food blog topic.  I think I will call it   

On to the thought of the day.  My wife and I both work out of our home, which is good and bad.  Bad because she likes to keep The Today Show on, which is to news and current events what USA Today is to the written word.  At least USA Today has pie charts.  I don't much care for The Today Show (no more time for italics) although I am convinced Ann Curry struck a deal with the devil to stay looking like she is- she is in her mid-50's. 

So, one day last week we switched over to VH1 for some morning videos- and I was introduced to Ke$ha.   Here is what I don't get, and I fear makes me quite out of touch- apparently, the end of the world is coming, and  we have to party like it is our last.  OK, I am aware of the existence of several apocalyptic theories (but blissfully unaware of the details of any), so I understand the desire to go out like a shooting star.  What I don't get is why everyone wears so much glitter.  And dirt.  They simply don't go together.  I googled the term "Glitter and Dirt," and got this.  Yep, photos of Barbies.  I Holy shit, I am old.  What is the world coming to?  It reminded me of "Derelicte" in Zoolander. 

Plus I hate being dirty.  I propose glitter and litter, where you get all shiny and then drop things in your wake.  I googled that and found this:

Now we are getting somewhere.

Mr. F

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I shall confess to my biggest phobia

This is not a picture of me.
I have a real issue with body hair.  I haven't taken the step to rid myself of it, but I sense the day is near.  I was lying in the tub this morning and realized hair is taking over my body like kudzu on a magnolia tree.  And I would consider myself relatively hairless when compared to some of the man-apes out there.

That's a house underneath all that vine.  Picture my body instead of a house, and you understand my fears.  Ok, perhaps that is taking it a bit too far.  Regardless, if it were easy, socially acceptable, and painless, I would clean things up a good bit- most likely leaving hair on my head and eyebrows only.   Think how much cooler summer would feel?  Unfortunately, I can't bear the thought of looking like a 200 pound cyclist.  Hirsute it is. 

And don't even get me started on hair on women. 

Mr. F

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Darth Vader Wears a Pashmina

 A week ago I finally convinced my bride our son was ready to begin watching the Star Wars movies- we had a Friday Movie Night (complete with popcorn) and watched Episode 1; The Phantom Menace.  A great time was had by the boy and I, and the wife found it tolerable. 

 Watching the movie spurred another round of Star Wars infatutation- as seen in the pic above.  Which led to an interesting statement from five-year-old Bridger today- as I was helping him get his costume on, he said "Darth Vader has a pashmina" in reference to the cape attached to the costume.  How does he know what a pashmina is?  How do I? 
It's a scarf.  Or a shawl.  Or a serape.  But on Vader, it is definitely a bad-ass cape.

I blame my wife for filling his head with fashion.

Mr. F

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Glamour Shots, a New Religion, and People That Take a Lot of Pictures of Themselves

A blogger I know (not my bride)  and I were having an interesting discussion this morning- she mentioned that there seems to be a trend amongst Mormon women bloggers to take pictures of themselves and post them online, showing everyone what they are wearing and what their hair looks like.  This prompted the recall of a memory of mine- when I was in the Air Force, Mormon pilots I worked with tended to have "Glamour Shot" pics of their wives on their desks.  Is there a Mormon glamour shot tradition?  I don't know.  Before anyone assumes I am Mormon-bashing in any way, I'm not.  I'm simply pointing out what may be random coincidences

This conversation meandered onto the topic of how weird it is to take lots of posed pics of yourself and post them on Facebook or a blog.  I was going to take one of myself as an example, but I am too lazy and vain already. 

The discussion of Mormon photography trends eventually turned to a dissection of the Mormon religion itself.  People love to criticize Mormons by saying it is crazy that a guy found some stone tablets in the woods less than two hundred years ago and the faith was born.  I say if you look at them objectively, all faiths make no sense- the Mormons's problem is their faith is too new- it helps to have several thousand years of wind at your back to make people believe you. The Book Of Mormon is no stranger than the Old or New Testament, the Torah, or the Koran.*

I have decided to start a new religious faith, as I discovered several stone tablets while biking, and the meaning of life was handed down to me by the one true God.  Since I am his chosen vessel, I will relay his word over time.  It is most important that I begin spreading my seed in order to expand the faith.  The difference in my new faith and most others (aside from being so far un-named) is I will not use young girls to procreate- 32 years old and up is all I can tolerate, for several reasons. My wife isn't really ok with this yet, but things are pretty new and everything is on the table.  I will wear a lot of comfortable robes, though.  That one is non-negotiable.  As are a total ban on skinny jeans, trucker hats, small dogs you can carry in a purse, tofu, and tallbikes.

*If you are a devout Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, agnostic, or atheist, I'm making fun of all of you equally, and with a warm heart.  I believe in a higher power, as it explains the unexplainable.  That's my idea, feel free to come up with your own.  I embrace your faith (regardless of what it is), as long as you use it to elevate yourself and not to judge others that are spiritual (or not)in a manner that is different from you- the judging isn't your job.  But you can judge those crazy bastards at Westboro, the guy in Florida that thought it would be wise to burn a copy of the Koran, and the Afghans that slaughtered some folks because of it. 

Mr. F

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Italian Prime Minister, Chili Ingredients, and a Sport Popular With Native Americans.

Wow, that is a diverse group of topics.  Here we go.  On the news this morning, I heard the details of the upcoming trial of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on charges of having sex with an underage prostitute.  Mr. Berlusconi is in his seventies, quite wealthy, and a total sex fiend.  He has been linked to more prostutites, strippers, and mistresses than probably any politician in history.  The lady in question in this case has the stage name of "Ruby Heartstealer."  Here she is:

I also heard an NPR interviewer ask a Congolese man that had been castrated by rebels how it "affected his life."  Great question. 

Back to Ms. Heartstealer- one of the best stage names ever.  Which got me thinking.... As those of you that read my "French Foreign Legion Name Game" post might have realized, I like name games.  I like coming up with names for adult film stars that are terms used in common (or slightly less common) speech.   Here are my current faves:

Liquid Smoke.  We used it in chili tonight.  Great name.  But nowhere near the All-Time Greatest action hero/male porn star name:

Duke Lacrosse.  The greatest ever?  Possibly.

I bet you didn't think I could link the three topics in the title together, did you?

Mr. F

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Portlandia is alive and well!!

These pictures tell an amazing story.  First off, the dash of our sweet ass VW wagon is quite clean.  That is not the main story here though.  We loaded up yesterday and rolled out of the driveway, headed east to Target.  As we got a few blocks down the road, I saw the specimen in the pics sitting at a light.  I immediately turned around, headed southwest, and began a 10 minute chase of the "bike" above, which is more difficult than you would imagine.  My family wasn't quite as into this adventure as I was- the bride was eager to get to Target to get new socks, and the boy was anticipating dropping $20 from a gift card in the toy section.  Only Lui seemed to be on board.  Two hippies facing opposite direction and pedaling while laying down is not the most efficient means of travel.  I knew they would be headed south/southwest, as this would return them to their hippy hive in Portland.  A tandem recumbent is range-bound by its inherent inefficiency and lack of reason for existence, so I knew they would be slowing down.

After finally catching them, I attempted to snap a few photos discretely.  This turned into a more brazen frontal attack when I couldn't get the angle I was seeking.  Now for the description.  What you are seeing is a modified tandem recumbent bike with a trailer behind it.  You can tell it is full of dirty hippies because any other recumbent would have a fifty year old cat lover with a beard and helmet mirrors strapped into the cockpit.  So, you have rider #1 laying feet forward, rider #2 facing the rear, and some serious pedaling going on.  And what else could possibly be in the basket except another bike?  Maybe a little patchouli and a wizard bong, but otherwise it has to be a bike being towed by a bike.  For those of you that have seen "Portlandia" on IFC, it isn't even really that satirical.  These characters all exist.

Mr. F

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Curse Has Lifted!

You probably don't know how we ended up out in Portland- my wife is a city girl and I am a mountain guy.  I love to ski; it is literally the only non-carnal thing in the world I could do every single day.  Portland was our compromise that attempted to satisfy both our needs.  That's not me in the pic, by the way.

For the last five years, I have been a season pass holder at Mount Hood Meadows, the largest and gnarliest ski area of the five on Mount Hood.  For you Colorado snobs, Meadows is the size of Copper Mountain, and gets a ton of snow.  Granted, it is really heavy, wet goo- but we get 500 inches or so a year.  I have averaged about 10-15 days a year of late, but this year has sucked royal ass- new baby, getting sick, kids getting sick, and shitty weather have conspired to keep me at home.  I have been a grand total of four days, and the conditions have sucked for three of them.  Well, Sunday was the fourth, and we finally hit the jackpot.  Thirty five inches of snow over the last four days and a new ski bud added up to a great day.  we got in early and made the first chair, and didn't cross another track for the first two runs.  Mount Hood has pretty extreme weather- usually if it is snowing, the visibility is horrible and the wind is howling- not so on Sunday.  Just steady snow and light wind.  We skied the bowls, a ton of trees, and I even dropped a small cornice (my feet usually stay on the ground).  All in all, one of the five best ski days ever.  Thank you to the wife for letting me slip out on the weekend. 

I have a pretty solid case of "wooden leg" today, and doing a ton of squats here today didn't help.

Mr. F

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm putting this out in the universe for all to see.

It is said that when you really want something, you should share your dream with everyone in order to make the universe aware of your plans.  Well, here is mine.  I've become quite infatuated with it of late.  When he is serious about something, my friend Matt Fritz likes to say "this is no sweet bullshit."  And this is not sweet bullshit. 

I'm going to buy MT Bachelor in Bend, Oregon.  Is it for sale? No.  How much would it cost? $30-50 million.  There are a few details I don't have figured out yet (although I have figured out the financing!).  Bachelor is a wonderful ski area, and it is the sixth largest in the U.S.  It is enormously popular in Bend, which is a place I have a burning desire to live.  The real issue is no one buys a ski area in order to make money.  It's kind of like saying you want to start an airline or breed horses.   Taking on $50million in debt in order to live like a pauper is unappealing to me.  And there is the little fact I don't know anything about running a ski area.  Oh well.  I'm not going to let that slow me down.  I need to win MegaMillions in order to not care. 

MT Bachelor is owned by a Salt Lake City-based company called Powdr Corp.  They own several other resorts (Killington, Copper MT, Park City, etc) and are not too popular in Bend due to a lack of investment in improvements.  I intend to make Bachelor the Crown Jewel of the West, and the most enjoyable place to bring your family that has snow.  Think Bill Veeck (famous baseball promoter) but on a mountain. 

And so it was said, and so it shall be done.

Mr. F

Monday, March 21, 2011

This is definitely our last child.

This is the face I saw when I came into her room 30 minutes into what should have been a three hour nap.  That is pretty much the standard for her.  This is a baby that apparently only needs 3 hours of sleep per week.  She is now waking up about 4 times per night, and has consistently been a horrible napper since she was born.  In spite of that, she is pretty sweet- look at that face.  It was pretty hard to be angry that she was up early when she busted out a smile like that.  Our first was soooo easy, we assumed we had it all figured out- but Lui has thrown us for a serious loop. 

It is most likely common knowledge I desperately wanted another boy, as I was pretty vocal in expressing my opinion.  I have changed my mind now.  I want a Lui.  But I want her to freakin' sleep.

Mr. French

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Book Report: The Big Rich

So, I am a bit of a reader.  I am currently working on a book called The Big Rich by Brian Burrough, a WSJ reporter based out of Texas.  The book tells the story in great detail of the rise and fall of the great Texas oil fortunes.  It is full of stories of hard work, good and bad luck, and amazing perseverance.  It is also a great story of the forefathers of American new money decadence. In some ways, ostentatious behavior in the US was invented by the Texas Oilman.  In addition, this relatively small group of Texans influenced US politics in ways vastly out of proportion to their popular name recognition.  I have selected a few of the more important characters to give some vivid examples.

 "Silver Dollar" Jim West Jr.
Mr. West was known as "Silver Dollar" for his habit of handing everyone around him silver dollars.  He had special pockets sewn into his pants for the purposes of carrying the coins.  He used to hand doormen stacks of 20 coins, throw them in pools for kids, and drop them along the aisle as he walked through restaurants.  He also was a law enforcement buff, and wore a diamond-encrusted Texas Ranger badge at all times.  He wore a diamond coated pistol as well, and favored a full-length mink in the Houston winter that was coated with (what did you expect) diamonds.

Glenn McCarthy
Mr. McCarthy is famous for using his oil fortune to build the Shamrock Hotel in Houston, at the time the biggest hotel in the world.  It was decorated entirely in the colors salmon and emerald, and was described by most as "ghastly."  He was also quite fond of getting in bar brawls, courting Hollywood starlets, and running up nearly $100million in debt he never really even attempted to pay back.  he was described by his friend Howard Hughes as "eccentric."  No lie.

HL Hunt

Mr. Hunt is "famous" for having four separate families.  No particular reason, he just had four "wives" and sets of kids at the same time, and managed to keep each of them from knowing about the others for years.  He was apparently very good at managing his time.

Hugh Roy Cullen

Mr.Cullen was a 5th grade dropout that made his fortune in the first wave of the Texas oil rush.  He went on to be one of the preeminent figures in the birth of the conservative political movement, fighting long and hard against anything that might allow black people to vote or basically do anything except be owned by white folk like himself.  He also built several hospitals in Houston, and founded the University of Houston.  People sure are complex sometimes, aren't they?

It's a pretty interesting book.  So read it, or don't.

Mr French

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The French Foreign Legion Name Game

I was watching the Military Channel while my darling bride was working, and we hit upon an interesting conversation.  First off, I am a huge history buff, and she has managed to remain as informed as a day-old fawn on matters of historical record.  I admire her dedication to remaining a clean history slate.  Anyway, a program was on about the modern incarnation of the French Foreign Legion. 

For the uninformed, the Legion is a French military unit formed in 1831 and intended to be staffed with foreigners.  French citizens are welcome, but still make up less than 25% of its ranks.  The Legion has a distinguished combat reputation throughout its history, which is somewhat unusual for the French.  The most unique characteristic of the Legion was its willingness to accept foreigners on the run; in the past, you could join the the Legion with absolutely no questions asked, and assume any identity you should choose.  The Legion had very strict rules and tremendous esprit de corps, so your past didn't matter in theory- you would conform to the way of the Regiment or be gone, regardless of what you had done previous to joining.  This has changed a good bit in modern times, but the Legion is still a haven for disenfranchised soldiers from around the world, with eastern Europeans being the current flavor of the decade. 

Anyway, the idea that you could change your name and start over in a foreign army sparked an idea in my little head; I asked my wife what her Legion name would be, and she immediately answered "Latasha."  My first effort produced "Clock Hardwick" and my second was "Jocko LaRoque," pronounced LA ROCK..  This is a fun game.  I recommend you try it. 

Mr. F

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tomato Jam

Clearly I am going places with this food photography.  Look at that image, the artful manner in which the right side of the plate is cut off.  Look at the well-framed crumpled napkin at top left.  Perfect, perfect, perfect.  I'm sure most great photographers really only on their iPhone camera as I do.

I am really into anything pickled, except most pickles.  I know, it is a bit confusing.  I love all relishes, pickled vegetables, and some actual pickled cucumbers.  I have a hankering for tomato relish right now. 
I am also really into tomato jam.  Tomato jam is a pretty unique flavor for those that haven't had it.  Sweet and savory, and utterly delicious.  A friend of ours brought us some she made a few months ago, and I ate the whole jar in a day.  On Tuesday, she gave us another.  Gone by Thursday.  I decided it was time to learn to make it myself.  It turns out the recipe was from Mark Bittman of the Times.  I followed it almost to the word.  Here it is.

1 1/2 pounds good ripe tomatoes (Roma are best), cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeƱo or other peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste.
1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan, Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.
Yield: About 1 pint.

Here are my "adjustments:"  I didn't core the tomatoes; I just cut out the stem and used all the rest.  I also made sure I had a really hot jalapeno to spice it up.  

It doesn't make as much as I would like- next time, we are going for a bigger batch.  This started as a huge mound of stuff and really cooked down.  It really made me appreciate the jars our friend gave us, as it is a shit-load of work for the payout.  I would recommend doubling the recipe. 

Now on to the good part- this stuff makes the best breakfast sandwich ever.  We did "breakfast for dinner" two nights in a row.  There is nothing wrong with fresh sourdough, fresh eggs, cheese, good bacon, and tomato jam.  I also love it on crackers with cheese.  You really do need to try this; it is an easy two hour project, and is really, really good.

Mr. French

Friday, March 11, 2011

The First Annual Pop Culture Ass Clown Awards

Hello-- this post owes it creation to the fact that my wife casually mentioned today that the douchenozzle of a lead singer for the crappy adult contemporary band Maroon Five is "good looking."  I am not one to be jealous of a good looking man, but I really hate that guy.  So, without further delay, here is my list of the top pop culture "personalities" that should go choke themselves.  The criteria for making the list are not as simple as you might imagine- obvious A-Holes like Spencer Pratt are not included. 

Our first member:

In my opinion, these could very well be called the "Fred Durst Ass Clown Awards."  He set the bar impossibly high for all others to attempt to follow.  He outlasted his alotted 15 minutes of fame by a long shot, and has apparently resigned himself to a life of producing bad records, date rape, and getting rashes.

Oh, this is a good one.  Everyone, myself included, cheered when he got the piss taken out of him in "Fight Club."  For some reason, he just seems to make everyone except 12 year old girls hate him.  Maybe it is his incredible self-righteousness and general wankerosity.  He needs a punch in the liver.

I hate this guy mainly because I hate his music.  I hate his music because I hate the fact that all their videos are about how much ass he gets, which is probably true.  This is a sign that the Mayan Apocalypse may be true.

I don't know why he bugs me.  I liked him as the fat kid in "Stand By Me."  Bad, bad, actor though.

Huge AssHat.  Loses major points for having relations with Jessica Simpson, who looks like a smelly little troll.  Talks too much, and is making up for all the time he spent shoved inside a locker in high school.  There is nothing worse than a nerd that gets cool and still has a huge chip on his shoulder.  Bill Gates is a nerd, and he doesn't hold a grudge.  Lighten up, John.

No list is complete without a group Ass Clown Award.  This year, it goes to Korn, for making shitty music for over a decade and being all around ass monkeys.  I can't believe they sold even one album.  If you have or had a Korn CD, go stare at the sun.

Explain- you were in a band (a bad one)- then you decided to host game shows and some entertainment show?  I'm confused.  Frosted tips call for a sweet little kick to the liver.

Joel Madden was the inspiration behind the term "giant sack of wuss."  I stand by that.  Bad musician, bad choice in love, and just a general ass hat.

First off, I don't actually hate any of these people.  Nor do I know them.  But I bet if I did know them, I would be underwhelmed.  OK, maybe I do hate Leto and that guy from Maroon Five.  This list is nowhere near complete, so feel free to make suggestions.  Keep in mind- everyone knows Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson are steaming hot messes, so don't be too obvious.  No Tom Cruise either- too on the nose.

Mr. F

P.S. I forgot a few.  Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, and even Chuck Norris.  Stallone has made exactly one good movie ("Rocky").  He now thinks he really was a pro boxer.  He wasn't.  JCVD and Chuck have made zero.  Chuck is incredibly self-righteous to be such a shitty actor.  And his face looks like a fright mask now.  Van Damme is Van Damme.  Enough said. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I am the Real Frugal Gourmet

I like good food as much as anyone, but I have several hard and fast rules I believe everyone should follow.  And, by the way, don't let your five year old watch "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy; they will be fascinated but incredibly terror stricken. 

OK, back to food.  My simple rule is this: a meal that costs $100 for two that consists of two salads, two entrees, one dessert and two drinks (total) had better be six times better than a carnitas burrito (no rice) from Chipotle and the weird salad/bowl thing the bride eats.  Usually it isn't.  The same applies for food eaten at home.  My bride (who is looking quite foxy of late) and I went to Whole Foods today, and spent $78 for three things of oatmeal and a bag of arugala.  Whole Foods is a fucking ripoff. 

Later in the day, I took my darling Lui to Trader Joe's and Safeway, and much value shopping was done.  She did kick off one of her shoes, which required a good bit of backtracking to locate. Oh well. 

Here is what I saw at Trader Joe's and Safeway that kick royal ass on anything at Whole Foods:

1. Honey crisp corn dogs.  Corn dogs are maybe the world's most perfect food.  Slathered in mustard and perfect in my book.

2. Little Smokies- covered in BBQ sauce, they were first eaten by Adam and Eve.  The real dispute started in the Garden of Eden when Eve chose the apple over a delicious Lil Smoky.  Fool.

3. Snickers.  They really do satisfy.  One of the houses in our hood gives out full size versions on Halloween.  We have that house targeted on our trick or treat map, and we may even go by twice this year.

4. Tostitos Touch of Lime chips.  Honestly, I would kill a man for these.  A stranger though, not someone I know.

5. Good old Coca Cola.  In the red can.  The plastic bottle Coke doesn't taste as good, and who needs 20-24 ounces of soda?  I know the Coke in the glass bottle (so-called "Mexican Coke" as that is where it is bottled) is great, but it costs 2.5 times a much as good ol' red can Coke.  By the way, Diet Coke tastes like ass.  And all Pepsi products are for the weak and feeble.

6.  Any form of nacho.  Even the ones at the convenience store with fake cheese aren't too bad. 

7.  French's yellow mustard in the glass jar.  Tastes better than the squeeze bottle.  I don't know why, but it does.  My all-time favorite is Gulden'sSpicy Brown.  I love all mustards.

8.  Ketchup (Heinz only) is to be consumed on french fries and onion rings ONLY.  A small bit is acceptable on a burger if it is in a ratio of 1:4 with mustard.  And never, ever, on a hot dog.  My son and I have a serious disagreement on this one. 

9. I like to squirt chocolate syrup straight into my mouth.

10.  Jif creamy is the best peanut butter on the planet.  Adam's No Stir?  Please.  Only Jif is packed with all the tooth rotting sugar a fella needs.

11. Trader Joe's chocolate truffle brownies are 90% brownie, 10% crack.  Awesome.

12.  German Chocolate cake is the best cake out there.

13.  I don't like cheese cake.

14. I have no problem going back to get several samples from the same person, but enjoy telling them it is my wife's second trip back immensely. 

15.  All stores should have several types of pickle relish.  And tomato relish, which is delicious.

16.  Bread and Butter pickles are fantastic.

17.  The best scone in the world still tastes like sawdust and baby diapers.  Have a little self respect and get yourself a donut, cookie, or even a croissant.

Surely that is enough to make you head out and eat some garbage.

Mr. F