Category Archives: Popular Culture


Lileks’ Newhouse column is a partial replay of his earlier screed, but still entertaining. I thought this line encapsulated the nuttiness of the people who worry about theocrats in the White House, but seem indifferent to the ones who actually havea theocracy, and would impose it on us if they could:

…one could make the case that the greatest threats to the freedoms of the West are posed by the head-choppers, plane-exploders, their many merry supporters, and the nuke-seeking state that supports them.

But don’t expect the artists to make the case. They saw what happened to that Theo Van Gogh fellow. Pay no attention to that imam behind the curtain. Here’s the ghost of Eisenhower. Booga-booga!

The artists seem more concerned with a culture that won’t let gays marry than one that won’t let them live.

And I got a dark chuckle over this:

They take the easy way out, these brave souls; they’ll perform “The Diary of Anne Frank,” but only because now some people think it has a happy ending.

For Those Interested

Some people, unaccountably, are curious as to how my rib barbecue turned out last night.

Pretty good, though not as tender (read, falling off the bone) as the Fourth of July version, because I was attempting to avoid that, so the meat wouldn’t fall off the bone while grilling it and be wasted in the nether regions of the grill.

I made up a marinade of apple vinegar, lemon juice, a bottle of Shiner Bock (just to piss off the Texas haters in the crowd), garlic, hot sauce and other chile derivatives, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, salt, fresh-ground pepper, and whatnot (sorry, I’d provide quantities, but I didn’t pay much attention–you’ll have to do it to taste, and I know that novice cooks hate those words…). I put it in the bottom of the pan and slow cooked the ribs, rib side down, in the oven at 250 F for about three or four hours. Then I put the ribs on the grill (indirect heat) and continued to baste with the marinade, turning occasionally, for another hour and a half or so. I took about half the marinade, added honey and tomato sauce and paste for a sauce, and heated it on the stove. I basted this on for the last few minutes (so as not to allow the sugar to burn), then saved the rest for adding at the table.

They came out pretty good, definitely cooked, and little left but bone after eating, but they held together throughout until time to actually pull the meat off with teeth.

So I’d say it was a success.

Oh, and I should add, not to name drop or anything, that the guests were fellow and recent (though he was born and raised here) south Floridians Bob Poole and his wife Lou Villadsen, of the Reason Foundation. I may have an interview with him on the current airline security fiasco shortly, in conjunction with the fifth anniversary of 9/11. Which makes it all the better that the ribs came out well…

Decisions, Decisions

I’m having guests over for baby back ribs tonight, and am looking at recipes on line. I hadn’t really perused them before, but there seem to be as many ways to do it as there are recipes. Some say cook on the grill, a few minutes on a side, some say on the grill for an hour and a half, some say braise in the oven first, some say dry rub, some say marinate, for a few hours or overnight.

It’s almost like it’s hard to do it wrong, but I’m going crazy trying to figure out which way to do it. On the Fourth, I slow cooked some in the oven for hours in a marinade, then grilled them, but the meat was falling off the bone, so while they tasted great, they were hard to handle on the grill. And those were back ribs, but not baby back. Any suggestions?


It’s the bottom of the eighth, and the Tigers are about to get swept by the White Sox unless they can pick up at least three runs in the ninth. That would put Chicago only five and a half games back, with plenty of time to keep moving up. I hope this isn’t the beginning of a collapse.

[A couple minutes later]

Dang, Chicago picked up another run before the end of the inning. Now Detroit needs four in the ninth to just stay alive. The way they’ve been batting lately, it doesn’t look good.

[A few minutes later]

Whoa! One out and two men on from consecutive singles, with the tying run on deck. Can they pull it out? Probably not, but it’s frustrating when they get your hopes up like this.


Dang, two outs now, with two on first and second.

And there’s the third out.

They’re going to have to play better ball than that if they want to hang on to the division (and major league) lead.

Tell Me

I hate that stupid commercial for the oil and natural gas industry, in which a bunch of people say “Tell me about this, tell me about that, tell me the truth.” It makes them sound like idiots. It also makes whoever came up with the ad sound like idiots. I don’t expect an industry to tell me things–I expect an industry to provide me with what I need at an affordable price.

What is the point?

Death Of A Burger Matriarch

I’ve never been a big fan of In’n’Out Burgers, but perhaps some of my readers are. And more importantly, Patricia is. She makes a point to go there whenever we go “home” to LA.

My major memory of them is all the corporate bumper stickers I used to see when I first move to LA, when many had removed the “B” and the “rs” from the name.

Anyway, one of the co-founders of the chain has died.