Monday, September 24, 2007

When you make Latin food, which type of pan(dering) should you use?

When you’re in the food-service industry like I am (see: Beefy Yakov’s Slaughterhouse and Used Plastic Tarp Emporium) there are a lot of government-mandated safety and sanitation regulations you must follow. This requires taking classes on proper food handling, followed by tests to prove you’re competent enough to provide the public with edibles that won’t leave them shitbarfing for a month. This training process tends to be a little on the lengthy side, but, thankfully, Yakov isn’t one to jeopardize profit-earning potential to satisfy another paranoid government regulatory department.

Instead of making his employees take all the normal food-safety courses, Yakov requires all new employees to watch a bunch of Food Network shows he recorded on his nephew’s Tivo. The list of shows looks quite daunting at first, but Yakov says it’s ok to fast forward through all of Rachel Ray’s excessive gesturing—that alone knocks a couple of hours off the overall time it takes to finish.

After you watch all the Food Network shows on the Tivo, Yakov comes in and says something like, “Right. So, you promise not to stick pecker in cow parts, right? Of course you won’t. Yakov doesn’t hire goddamned perverts. That’s why his brother still unemployed.” Yes, sometimes Yakov speaks in the third person.

Anyway, while I was completing Yakov’s training course, I caught up with all the controversy surrounding the most recent season of The Next Food Network Star. This shit all went down a while ago when the show first aired (you probably didn’t hear about it because the show is retard-pissing-his-pants dumb, and the only people that watch it are the people that have to watch it as part of their food-handler’s training) and revolved around a precocious and doughy contestant named Joshua Adam Garcia, or JAG, as he called himself.

Eventually, he was dismissed from the show—or quit the show, depending on who you ask—even though he was one of the finalists. The reason: he was a dirty fuckin’ liar. He said he was a marine, and he actually was, but he exaggerated the hell out of his rank and claimed he served in Afghanistan, which he didn’t. In fact, he was discharged for what the press has called a “hazing incident.” I don’t know what that means, but, based on JAG’s behavior on the show, I’m just going to assume it involved a rectum full of military-issue soap bars and a barrack full of marines pissed off that they had to watch JAG cram them up himself with a sheathed bayonet. Another one of JAG’s lies was that he finished culinary school. He never did—some bullshit like that, anyway, I’m not going to research this inane folderol.

So, with his head drooped in epicene disgrace, JAG walked out of the Food Network studio, losing the reality show contest to a curly haired broad hopelessly and irritatingly obsessed with Paris and all things French. Meh [Editor’s Note: “meh” is a word used to represent the sound one makes when he doesn’t care enough to use words to form complete sentences]. Life goes on, and nobody except bored trophy wives likely to buy Rachel Ray’s cookbooks and fantasize about Tyler Florence even knows anything so scandalous took place.

However, while watching the drama unfold like an origami swan made by an arthritic factory worker with a total of seven fingers, I noticed another controversy. (To be fair, it’s hardly a controversy, but if I said it was as boring as the rest of this crap, would you even continue reading?)

In one of the episodes near the finale, the three remaining contestants—JAG, the curly haired Francophile, and a blonde Yakov refers to as horseface—went on some radio show to see how well they would maintain composure under the pressure of being grilled [Editor’s Note: this terrible food joke was completely unintentional] by two zany DJs on live radio.

During JAG’s interview, the following exchange took place:

JAG: “I’m the one that’s going to bring out Latino Caribe cuisine to the world. It’s not really, uh, represented, you know, as much as I would like it to be, so … it’s either for two reasons: You can’t do it, or, you know, you’re not interested.”

Radio Show Host: “So you think that’s misrepresented on the Food Network?”

JAG: “Uh, you know, I don’t think it’s represented as much as it could be. Uh, you know, and I’m here to try and bring that out.”

Sweet disappointed Jewish mother of Judas! If there’s one thing network executives don’t want to be accused of it’s racial insensitivity/exclusion/misrepresentation/stereotyping/exploiting. Needless to say, the show’s judges—Food Network executives—were none to pleased with JAG’s comments and spent a good amount of time explaining how wrong he was and just how ethnically diverse the Food Network on-air personalities are.

Executive 1: “Goddamnit, JAG! We do so represent Latinos with our programs!”
Executive 2: “Yeah, we’re totally into all that racial stuff.”
JAG: “Come on, vatos. You know that no es verdad. Show me La Raza, or you can kiss my culo!”
Executive 1: “Look here, JAG, there’s enough ethnic diversity here to choke a goddamned Rainbow Coalition.”
Executive 2: “Goddamned right.”
JAG: “Que pasa?”
Executive 1: “Well, shit, Giada’s a hook-nosed Roman, Emeril’s half Bridge Troll, Paula Dean is inbred …”
Executive 2: “She’s right out of The Hills Have Eyes, really.
JAG: “Ay caramba!”
Executive 1: “Robert Irvine is a Brit, Sandra Lee is a WASP …”
JAG: “How is that ethnic in any way, cabron?”
Evecutive 2: “She’s a WASP robot built as an inside joke between a few African-American scientists.”
Executive 1: “Tyler Florence—or TyFlo, as the cool kids refer to him—is a Nephilim …”
JAG: “A what?”
Executive 2: “A hybrid being created during the sticky, unholy pelvic union of a fallen angel and a human woman, JAG.”
Executive 1: “Hell, I myself am a gay Jew, Mario Batali is a fat nerd, Cat Cora’s a hermaphrodite, Guy Fieri’s a time-traveling alien, Morimoto is some kind of Asian, Duff Goldman has been a chipmunk man since he got bitten by that radioactive chipmunk that escaped from Alton Brown’s dressing room, and Rachael Ray is, well, it’s better that you didn’t know the truth about her terrifying origins.”
Executive 2: “I wish I didn’t know. Yeesh!”
JAG: “But where (pauses to salsa dance) are all the Latinos?”
Exexutive 1: “Well, Bobby Flay is a Latino. I mean, technically he’s Irish or something, but he uses blue corn like a Mexican.”
Executive 2: “He loooooves blue corn, JAG.”
JAG: “That is not bueno enough. Bobby Flay may be my hero and the object of my secret homosexual fantasies, but he is not a Latino.”
Executive 2: “We stand by our previous claim that Latinos are well represented on our fine network. We appreciate your concerns, though.”
Executive 1: “Yeah, and you’re not getting eliminated from the show this round, so just keep your mouth shut, capice?”
JAG: “Arrrrriba!”

Several months later:

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Settling In

I haven’t posted anything for a while. That’s really not uncommon for me, but this time I have a legitimate reason—a legitimate reason other than a diabetic coma, I should say.

As my last post explained, I got a new job in a new city and had to relocate. Part of this relocation involved me staying in a motel for several weeks. The only computer I had access to was an old laptop I found in a dumpster behind a suspicious-looking pet shop (any pet shop located next door to a restaurant reeking of wok-fried hamster meat is suspicious). This particular laptop was powered by static electricity. I had to rub stray cats wrapped in tinfoil on the motel shower curtain in order to keep the computer charged, and nothing I had to say was worth all that trouble. I should also mention that, for some of this time, apparently, I was off on a fantastic and violent adventure with Captain Smack.

Anyway, I’m finally moved into my apartment and have my trusty computer back. Since it runs on the tears and humiliation of people I berate for my own amusement, I no longer have to worry about running out of juice. (Hey! You over there: Your mother’s a faggot and you smell like a hamper full of syphilitic skunk diapers.) Here’s what I’ve been up to in my absence from the blogosphere.

New Job
The new job is the only reason I moved. It was a lot of trouble, but you can’t put a price on job satisfaction. I am now the number-three sledgehammer operator/viscera scooper at Beefy Yakov’s Slaughterhouse and Used Plastic Tarp Emporium. It’s one of the few slaughterhouses left in the country that dispatches the livestock with actual human-operated hammers; although, some of us just use big rocks or backpacks full of auto parts to kill the cows because it’s less trite than using a big hammer (it’s a decision we stand by as artists). The pay is excellent, and every second Friday, I get to take home all the jowl meat, tarp scrapings, and udder tips I can carry, no questions asked. Every now and then, Yakov, the owner, gets wasted and tells us jokes from the old country. Most of them involve Catherine the Great blowing a horse, but his delivery is spectacular. Plus, if you mention communism, he spits on the floor and punches his wife, who then gets up and counts the toilet paper rolls in the office bathroom.

New Apartment
I concede that the new apartment isn’t as nice as the cave I used to live in, but it’s close to work and not without its charms. The building rests on the banks of an old creek where Californian Stink Ape (Bigfoot’s less civilized cousin) sightings are common and covens often gather to perform inverted bunny crucifixions. Technically the neighborhood could be called a ghetto, but I feel pretty safe because I’m heavily armed and the police usually show up three or four times a day to clean up after the gang-related massacres.

One thing I’m not used to is having neighbors. I’ve managed to introduce myself to most of them already, though, and they all seem pretty nice. They were mostly rude at first, but I think they warmed up to me when I showed them how to clean a machete blade with the sterile stomach acids of the recently deceased. That’s the kind of helpful information they don’t teach in schools any more, which is just a goddamned shame. The guy who lives in the apartment below me, Fritz, gave me a hard time for making too much noise when I first moved in. The encounter went something like this:

Fritz: “What the hell are you doing up here, asshole? Assembling furniture?”
Me: (Holding a hammer and a mangled bookshelf from IKEA) “Um, yeah.”
Fritz: “Well can’t you do it quietly?”
Me: “You can hear me hammering these tacks into Swedish particle board over that German techno you’re blasting down there?”
Fritz: “That’s not techno, you heathen. It’s my art!”
Me: “It sounds like Hitler taking a screaming shit in a gay discotheque.”
Fritz: “I combine the speeches of the fuhrer with industrial music to convey a message. My art suffers because of all your noise! Now shut up or I’ll tell the landlord.”
Me: “How about you get the fuck out of my apartment and go back to burning books, or whatever it is you’re doing, so I don’t have to kick you in the stomach until your eyeballs pop?”
Fritz: (Screaming in German and flailing around, threatening to take a shit on my floor.)

And that was the second time I jammed a claw hammer in a Nazi’s eye and threw him off a balcony.

Speaking of the landlord, he’s a nice Middle-Eastern fellow. He runs the apartment with the help of his three wives. He has a satisfaction-guaranteed policy when it comes to the apartment.

“If for some reason you unhappy with room, you can camel-whip one of my wives for five minutes. Then you eat goat meat and drink tea with me while she wash your feet.”

There’s also this guy in the building who everyone calls Dr. Jim. He comes by my door every couple of days and trades me free oil change coupons for my old insulin syringes.

“We, uh, can’t let kids step on these things, you know, or, like, let the garbage men poke themselves. I’ll, like, um, take these things to the hospital … where I work … with other rich doctors.”

I don’t know why a rich doctor would live in such a crappy neighborhood. Come to think of it, I don’t know why a rich doctor would wear plastic bags for shoes and drink swimming pool water, but a lot of rich people are rather eccentric.

Someone stole the Toyota emblem off the trunk of my car, which is really the only problem I’ve had so far. Luckily for me, the gang of kids that stole it tried to sell it back to me the next day. Had they known I’m not above beating the shit out of little kids, they probably wouldn’t have taken it in the first place.

The City
The city is not unlike San Diego in many ways. There are stupid people everywhere, for example. The city is smaller than San Diego, however, and it seems like more people here ride bicycles. In fact, so many people ride bikes, they basically control the speed and flow of traffic. They don’t obey traffic laws, either, and they seem to get some kind of perverse joy out of cutting off anyone earth-hostile enough to drive a car (even though the majority of other cars on the road are hybrids with obnoxious yellow stickers making that fact even more apparent). I don’t know whether the locals are just used to it or afraid of the helmet-wearing douchebags on ten-speeds, but they seem to take this abuse like a fatalist takes a twelve-baboon gangrape: with slovenly indifference or mildly disappointed acceptance. It has also occurred to me that these bicyclists have forgotten that no matter how wimpy a car is, it’s still a goddamned wrecking ball on wheels compared to a huffy with “Kucinich ‘08” stickers all over it.

I have been reminding the cycling-hippy population of this simple fact by knocking as many of them off the road as possible. At first I would sort of just nudge the really rude cyclists with my car until they wobbled enough to hit a curb and flip over, but since none of the authorities seem to give a shit about injured hippies, my vehicular assaults have become less inconspicuous. I’ve taken to throwing bricks at them and hitting them with lead pipes as I drive by. Sometimes I’ll even pull over and help them up just to steal their helmets. It’s not like I need any bicycle helmets or anything, but I’ve always wanted to be a poacher and I’m working my way up to elephant feet for trashcans and rhinoceros horns for, well, whatever the fuck people want to use rhinoceros horns for (Hindu monkey god erection idols?).

There’s not all that much to do for fun around here, but thankfully I’ve never done much of anything anyway. Sometimes I’ll go downtown and throw rocks at the Asian transsexuals with the landlord’s uncle, Amir; kick people playing acoustic guitars, pan flutes, and bongo drums at anti-war protests; wear a “God hates queers” shirt to services at the gay Methodist church down the street (What? It’s performance art—like Johnny Knoxville from Jackass taking a fart machine to a yoga studio); and I often hang out at a supposedly haunted Toys ‘R’ Us in a nearby town, hoping to see some ghostly activity. The walls haven’t bled or anything, but I often get reports of the ghost—who was an apple farmer before he died—grabbing ass in the ladies’ room. It’s hardly the Amityville horror, but I take what I can get.

All in all I’m adjusting rather well to my new surroundings. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go bait some stink ape traps with kitten meat. It’s a well-known fact that creek-dwelling Californian Stink Apes can’t resist kitten meat.