Archive for January, 2010

With apologies…

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Sorry about the whole election-of-Scott-Brown thing, America.  Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos!  Actually, I think Kodos might’ve  been able to win, unlike Martha Coakley (who I did vote for — though not in the primary).  Mike Capuano is much more in line with my politics and a more passionate guy than Martha Coakley, which is why I chose him in the primary.

Anyway, Scott Brown is taking his horribly “old” 2005 GMC pickup truck to Washington, thanks in no small part to the voters of my town on the South Shore, where he won by a 2:1 margin.  My perspective on this, living in Massachusetts, is that this reflects mostly on the crappiness of Martha Coakley as a candidate and very little on the overall rejection of Democratic policies by Bay Staters.  Scott Brown ran a fraudulent campaign.  None of his ads mention that he is, in fact, a Republican.  Why?  Republicans and Republican policies are overwhelmingly unpopular in Massachusetts.  (Yes, they are popular with some people here — but not enough to win state-wide election).  He claimed that he supports health-care reform, but not the Democratic bill, which he vows to block.  That apparently resonated with many Obama voters.  (Despite the loss for Coakley, polls here show Obama is very popular among registered voters — it’s just that many Obama voters didn’t show up for Coakley).  Half of the Obama voters who switched to Brown said that the health-care bill doesn’t go far enough.  Inexplicably, though, they voted for a guy who says he supports health-care reform… but will now proceed to block any and all health-care reform bills.  Also, local talk radio basically went silent with the usual loony bullshit.  There was about a 2-week window prior to the election during which the hosts suddenly pretended to respect the ideas and wishes of left-leaning independent and moderate Democratic voters in Massachusetts, instead of calling them commie traitor moonbats.  Suddenly all the people in my neighborhood believe that this is a guy they can vote for — he’s not like the other Republicans!  Why did they believe that?  Because Martha Coakley didn’t press him — she went on vacation instead.  Scott Brown, who supports water-boarding as a means for interrogation, should’ve been made to answer if he thought it was torture if it was done to his daughters, who he paraded around throughout the campaign.  Scott Brown, who voted to allow hospitals the ability to deny emergency contraception to patients after they’d been raped, should have been made to answer how he would’ve responded if a hospital followed his own proposed legislation had one of his own daughters been raped and gone to such a hospital.  Martha Coakley did not hold his feet to the fire, and instead a content-free personality contest decided who would win.  Yes, she put out “attack ads” (which he whined about and said he would “consider suing over” — and didn’t, because they’re entirely true), but that is not the same as personally confronting him and making the point to him in a personal way that voters relate to.

Oh, and Brown voters, let me just remind you — the sun rises in the East, water is wet, and you should brush your teeth twice a day.  I mention this only because you people seem to have the fucking shortest goddamn memory of anyone on the planet! I’m sure that a Republican will do an awesome job representing the economic interests of Massachusetts.  After all, their track record is great.  😐

Burger Bar (Las Vegas) Review

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

I went to Las Vegas last week.  For the most part, I don’t really eat much when I’m there — it’s generally incompatible with the large volume of free adult beverages that I’m consuming.  (It’s not uncommon for me to have a single meal — the $5.99 steak-and-eggs special at the Victorian Room inside Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon — per day).  But with many talented chefs (Joël Robuchon, Hubert Keller, Tom Colicchio, and Todd English to name just a few) establishing high-end restaurants in Las Vegas, I was determined this time to try to partake of at least one meal at one of these places.

Unfortunately, I’d be going alone — my buddies who go to Las Vegas with me tend not to want to spend $100+ on a meal, regardless of how awesome it is.  Hell, they (like me, most of the time) prefer to stick with the $5.99 fare, or to just substitute a bloody mary for a meal (hey, it’s got vitamins — and you can even get it with celery!)  And these places tend to have a dress code that is incompatible with the one-carry-on-and-no-checked-bag, rushed itinerary of my trip, so I looked elsewhere.  The perfect place?  Hubert Keller’s casual-burgers-meet-high-end-food Burger Bar between Mandalay Bay and Luxor.

First, this place is always busy.  Despite Las Vegas being far slower than I’ve ever seen it before, this place was full every time I walked by.  I wound up eating there at 2pm on a Friday.  I decided to eat at the bar so that I could chat up neighbors and generally avoid the loserdom associated with solo dining.  They have an impressive selection of draft and bottled beers.  I decided to go with the Hubert Keller burger (hey, it’s his joint, how could I go wrong?) and a Duvel (bottled) beer.  The burger features buffalo meat, sautéed onions, and bleu cheese on a ciabatta bun.  Normally I order my burgers medium or medium well, because incompetent cooks seem to know how to make that and I don’t risk getting a burger that’s raw in the middle (which is quite unappetizing to me).  However, I ordered mine medium-rare here, confident that if anybody was going to get this right, it’d be this place.  I was quite pleased with the results — my burger was pink, but never bloody, throughout, except for the gray exterior.  The onions were soft and flavorful, but not greasy or slimy.  The cheese was melted evenly and did not overpower the burger, as might be possible with some choices for bleu cheese.  (That said, if you don’t like bleu cheese, do not order this burger — though the cheese doesn’t overpower the burger in the least, the flavor is still there, which is what I wanted).

It comes with a side of vegetables (lettuce, tomato, raw onions), which I appreciated — this place, despite charging $20 for a (unmatchably delicious) burger and fries, is not pretentious enough to force you to eat your burger “their way”.  However, I tried the burger as-is without the additional vegetables to taste it as intended by the chef, and I quickly decided to stick with having it that way rather than supplementing it with the additional vegetables.  The service was what you’d expect at a bar or diner, which was fine with me.

My neighbors at the bar shared a traditional burger with cheddar, sautéed onions, and a red-wine sauce that they said was delicious.  It certainly looked good.  This was a decent place to strike up a conversation, as it was not overly loud, but it was not so quiet that one would feel uncomfortable.  Hey, it’s Las Vegas — everyone’s a tourist, so it’s no big deal to talk to chat people up.  It was a pleasant meal, and I would definitely go back there again.  Burger Bar delivers on the concept of a high-end burger in a relatively casual dining experience, which is perfect for Las Vegas.  Now, if I can only convince my gambling buddies to go there next time…



Saturday, January 9th, 2010

My reaction to Pete Carroll leaving for the Seahawks

God.  Dammit. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted.

McCoy goes down, so does UT

Friday, January 8th, 2010

So, Alabama won, but they did not look as prepared as I’d expected them to – plenty of mistakes, including standing around on a pooch kickoff & letting UT recover.  The fake punt early on was dumb, and even if they’d have connected on that pass, it wasn’t past the first-down marker — UT would’ve taken over on downs, as their defender was right there (who ultimately broke up the play).  Now, that said, people claiming that UT “almost pulled it off” with their backup quarterback, and “imagine what would’ve happened with McCoy in the game!” are missing an obvious point:  Alabama’s strategy in the 2nd half, including settling for consistent 2 and 3 yard rushing losses time after time in the 3rd quarter, was dictated by Alabama’s lead and McCoy riding the pine w/ a dead arm.  Alabama didn’t throw the ball until they had to because Texas had managed to get back in the game with almost all of the time of possession.  And, when they did, Alabama slammed the door shut.  I’m still trying to figure out how winning 37-21 is “almost losing”, but such is the delusion among a disappointed Horn Nation.

UT-fan delusions

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

I hear that the UT fans in Austin are all a-flutter about not getting “respect” from the media.  The ABC/ESPN crew just picked, by majority, UT to win.  If they manage to win, you can be sure that they’ll still claim that “nobody gave them a chance”.  The pre-whining has begun.

UT / Alabama predictions

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Alabama is going to win this game, because:

1) Texas can’t stop anybody with a non-crappy offense.  This isn’t Nebraska we’re talking about.  See:  Texas’s performance against hapless A&M.

2) Nick Saban is a better coach than Mack Brown.  Alabama will be better prepared for this game.

3) Texas’s offense is one-dimensional to begin with, and if they get down by 10, that will severely limit what they can do.  Granted, McCoy can make you pay, but I’d rather be in Alabama’s position if that happens.  Alabama, conversely, can make it happen on offense in other ways when they’ve needed to.

4) I cannot stand UT sports, and God isn’t cruel enough to bestow upon me another round of insufferable Texas fans, especially after they beat my alma mater (USC).