En Defense of Pineapple Pizza (¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

Happy Monday!

Gordon Ramsay Ends the Debate on Whether Pineapple Belongs on Pizza

Normally I try to ignore these sort of things but I do have an opinion on the issue and I think that it’s worth talking about because I believe it talks to a deeper systematic issue of rising intolerance.

Now I can guess anyone reading this might think “But Fin, what do you know about cooking? You’re a self-described microwave chef!”(1)

I deny nothing.  However I am a guy who knows how to eat and I’ve watched a lot of Good Eats over the years and I’ve learned a thing or two.

Image result for good eats

I hope AB brings Good Eat’s back with his new “internet venture”.

“Sweet and Salty” is a very legitimate flavour combination.  Think chocolate covered pretzels, or maple candied bacon, or a personal favourite: salted caramel(2).  Fruit jam and cheese parings are a well established thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If my opinion isn’t enough, Alton Brown (host of Good Eats) has my back:

“I don’t want people saying what should or should not be on a pizza,” Brown told People. “You put anything on a pizza you damn well feel like.”

“Alton Brown Has Some Feelings About Gordon Ramsay’s Pineapple Pizza Statement”

Now that we have that obnoxious business out of the way, I want to discuss (briefly) about what this sort of “debate” and the attention it’s garnered is telling me about the current state of affairs.  

In today’s climate binary social/cultural systems of classification are being legitimately deconstructed. With deconstruction comes confusion and from confusion comes a need for understanding and what helps with understanding? Labels and categories.  

However as much as a label can help classify a person’s identity, political/social stance, or a relationship status, it has the equal power to inhibit truly deep understanding of what is being labeled by simplifying the subject in question into a word with it’s own denotation(s) and connotation(s) that may or may not at all aid in deep understanding of the subject.  

In an effort to help “resolve” mis-labeling, an expert might be consulted or have their words used as a source of authority such as Gordon Ramsay’s or Alton Brown and as definitive as  their opinion may seem on a subject what is best to be kept in mind is: these are opinions about preferences.  

As I’ve outlined above there is scientific evidence for pineapple being a legitimate choice for a pizza just as there is scientific evidence for gender being a spectrum rather than a binary classification.  Just as I’ve outlined above some people prefer to have pineapple on their pizza and some people don’t just like some people prefer to use labels as some people don’t.  At the end of the day, it is not up to us to decided on who gets to do what with their pizza just as it is not up to us to decide how people identify.  

Here’s my take away from this whole “pineapple pizza” debacle: Pizza is like love.   You can put what you like on your pie and I can put what I like on mine.  If you don’t like what I have on my pizza, good.  More for me.  Don’t worry, I won’t force you to eat my pie.  Besides I’m pretty sure that’s illegal in most places.  You do you mate and I’ll do me.

What I like on my pizza-pie? Pineapples and Anchovies.  Do I have a label for it? Naw, I don’t feel like it needs one.  I like it just as it is.

 

Footnotes:

  1. See “My first English Xmas Dinner”
  2. If you’re interested in knowing more about why “sweet and salty” works from a scientific perspective, check out the How Stuff Works article “Why do Sweet and Salty Taste so Good Together?”

 

100 posts and going!

Happy Monday!

This here post, is my 100th post for Offbeat On-point and it has been a ride.  I have to be honest, I have not spent much (any) time thinking about doing anything particularly special for this post.

I feel like maybe this would be a good time to let y’all in on my some details of my master plan(1).

Image result for evil master plan

“”Master Plan””

Steps towards “The Vision 1.0”:

Merch:

I plan to start making stickers of my comics.  I’ll start a test run this summer trading stickers in person for schwag (things we all get) and rides, however due to my living situation(2) I won’t be able to mail stickers until October.  Eventually I’d like to make t-shirts and a line of emoji and other stuff.

Volunteers:

I am semi-actively looking for freelance or reoccurring or even better a recurring  writer.  I have plenty of stock ideas and am open to pitches for Mystery Monday and Rewind Wednesday, and I’m not sold yet but I’d be willing to open up Funny Fridays to pitches.  I cannot offer you pay however I can write you one hell of a recommendation letter(3) and some free stickers (when available).  If you are good at doing social networks (really could use a hand with twitter in specific) or feel like there is some other skill you could offer me, feel free to contact me.

#finandlouie4president2020:

This is not a joke.  I am determined to get “Fin and Louie” on the ballot for the American Presidential Election in 2020.  I must clarify, I (as in the writer/artist) am not running for the presidency but my creations, Fin and Louie, are.  There is historical precedence for this in the United States(4) and after the 2016 election results I’ve been inspired to start the “We Could Do Worse” Party(5).  However we need YOUR help.  If you Believe in the Fin or want to Follow Louie, whenever you see a political post somewhere on the internet post in the comments #finandlouie4president2020 #ibelieveinthefin #followmelouie #wecoulddoworse use all of them or one but the most important one to get traction is #finandlouie4president2020 and feel free to link to the comic too.  That will help understanding I am sure.

Overall I’m interested in building more of a relationship between us here at OBOP and you, the reader.  If you have ideas, suggestions, or anything please feel free to leave comments below.

Thanks for sticking with us for 100 posts and we hope to see you here in 100 more posts!

Also, don’t forget to check back in this Wednesday for the Press Release of Lady J and Paleface new music Video Link’s Arousing!

 

Footnotes:

  1. I read somewhere that a successful business is not grown on potential but vision.  If you exhibit a vision and give people, consumers and employees, a reason to believe in what you’re doing you’re more likely to build the kind of loyalty that nurtures relationships versus royalty-loyalty.  Though I guess that’s easy to say at this point when this a one-man show running on stolen time.
  2. I’ve been accepted into Lancaster University as a degree seeking student however in order to renew my visa, I must return to the United States.  For normal people this wouldn’t be much of a problem however as I am a hobo (DO NOT mistake my kind for bums, being a hobo means that one works to travel and travels to live; we earn our living and our way along the road we walk) I don’t have a home to go back to in St Louis.  So I plan to fly to San Francisco and walk the beach, looking for stories, adventure, and work while killing time until October.  This as you can imagine, does not afford the luxury of a set mailing point or address which would facilitate my sending stickers to you but when I get back to uni, I’ll have three hots and a cot again (probably, honestly haven’t looked into housing for next year but I’m not worried).
  3. I’m very excited at the prospect of getting to use the word “mogigraphia” in a recommendation letter.
  4. See Mickey Mouse Party and the Cthulhu Party, in fact I supported Cthulhu in 2016.
  5. Name isn’t set in stone, we could also name it the “Fin or Louie? Why Not Both?” party or “The Re-Tweeters” or “Team Not-Trump” or “It’s Just Politics, How Hard Could It Be?”, honestly were open to suggestion.

Zheng Shangyou (Card Game)

Happy Monday!

A few months back my friend taught me this game he picked up called Zhen Shangyou which is a Chinese card game.  He translates it as “Swim to be the First”. It also appears to readily be known as “Winner”.  Either way, it’s a fun and simple game for two players with variations for more players.

Number of players: 2

Goal: Be first to get rid of all their cards.

Hierarchy of cards and combinations:

Highest  -> Lowest:

Spades -> Hearts -> Diamonds -> Clubs

3 -> 4 -> 5 -> 6 -> 7 -> 8 -> 9 -> 10 -> Jack -> Queen -> King -> Ace -> Joker

Red Joker -> Black Joker

 

  • Single cards: Any card from the deck, ordered by rank with suit being the tie-breaker. (For instance, Ace of Spades will beat the Ace of Diamonds, which will beat the King of Spades.) The red Joker is the highest single.
  • Pairs: Any two cards of matching rank, ordered as with singular cards by the card of the higher suit. (A pair consisting of the King of Spades and the King of Clubs will beat a pair consisting of the King of Hearts and the King of Diamonds.)
  • Two [or more] pairs. Any number of pairs of cards with consecutive rank, e.g. 5-5-6-6-7-7
  • Three of a kind: Any three cards of matching rank.
  • Full House: A composite of a three-of-a-kind combination and a pair. Ordered by the rank of the triple, regardless of the pair.
  • Straight: Any five or more cards in a row. Twos are low in a straight (so K-A-2-3-4 is not valid, but 2-3-4-5-6 is), and Aces can be played high or low. A-2-3-4-5 is the lowest straight. If a [x] card straight is the current play type, it is only possible to beat it with another [x] card straight with a higher lowest card.
  • Bomb: Any four cards of matching rank. Can be played on all tricks excepts higher bombs (i.e. the four same cards having a higher value) or straight flushes.
  • Straight Flush: Any five or more cards in a row of the same suit. Same rules apply as a straight. A straight flush can be played on any tricks except for a higher straight flush [see straight].

 

 

Rules for Play:

  1. Once the cards have been shuffled, deal out the entire deck including jokers.
  2. Who ever has the 3 of diamonds goes first, however the 3 of diamonds does not need to be played.
  3. The player who goes first lays down the lowest card they have as a single, double, or triple (as if player one has two 3’s they could play one 3 or both).
  4. The next player plays the cards that are of the next highest available combination or if they cannot or choose to they can pass.  The first player to run out of cards wins.

Stream of Consciousness Theatre presents: First Try

Happy Monday!

life

I’m often plagued with the phrase “If you can’t find the time to do it right the first time, when will you find the time to do it a second time?” reinforced by Jack Kerouac’s philosophy of “first thought, best thought”

“By not revising what you’ve already written you simply give the reader the actual workings of your mind during the writing itself: you confess your thoughts about events in your own unchangeable way. Well, look, did you ever hear a guy telling a long wild tale to a bunch of men in a bar and all are listening and smiling, did you ever hear that guy stop to revise himself, go back to a previous sentence to improve it, to defray its rhythmic thought impact? If he pauses to blow his nose, isn’t he planning his next sentence? And when he lets that next sentence loose, isn’t it once and for all the way he wanted to say it? Doesn’t he depart from the thought of that sentence and, as Shakespeare says, ‘forever holds his tongue’ on the subject, since he’s passed over it like a part of a river that flows over a rock once and for all and never returns and can never flow any other way in time? Incidentally, as for my bug against periods, that was for the prose in October in the Railroad Earth – very experimental, intended to clack along all the way like a steam engine pulling a one-hundred-car freight with a talky caboose at the end. That was my way at the time and it still can be done if the thinking during the swift writing is confessional and pure and all excited with the life of it. And be sure of this, I spent my entire youth writing slowly with revisions and endless rehashing speculation and deleting and it got so I was writing one sentence a day and the sentence had no feeling. Goddamn it, feeling is what I like in art; not craftiness and the hiding of feelings.”

-Kerouac on “first though, best though” Source: I Fear Brooklyn

and legendary achievements such as the SF short story “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” which was not only written in one sitting/one draft but also went on to win a Hugo Award.  My experience as a cook hasn’t taught me any different, “You have to be perfect the first time, every time because we don’t have time for a second chance” as many of my chefs have told me over the years which became something I came to resent about the industry but made an imprint on how I shape my self as a creator.

I frequently feel like a man running out of time, being out of step with people of my generation and off the beaten path for what constitutes a reasonable existence, approaching thirty with next to nothing to show for myself other than a collection of scar tissue and a creative interpretation on the conventions of grammar and syntax.

I think frequently though about Kerouac’s process, regardless of his claim to write On the Road in one draft, more specifically one 120 foot long scroll he constructed to feed into his typewriter so he could write continuously, but his process was longer than that.  Longer than 120 feet and longer than the three weeks it took him to cover that roll in ink.

His idea was to capture the improvisation of the jazz musician, to create something so raw but right that the first time it comes into being it’s presentable. As Wachowaik criticizes in her dissertation Speed Limits: The Formation, Dissemination, and Dissolution of the Counterculture in American Literature 1951-1972.”

Though Kerouac projected the belief that both great writing and great jazz improvisations should be “simply realized without the thought process of the creator intervening,” he conveniently glossed over the process of the jazz musician, which involves years of study, rehearsal, and revision to produce effective “improvisation” (Elteren 87). In reality, Kerouac spent years perfecting his “spontaneous” tone, often jotting down personality sketches and stock phrases in his notebook that would find their way into his books (87).

Source

She highlights how Kerouac, like the skilled jazz improvisation artist, practiced and conceptualized his art long before ingesting eye ball vibrating amounts of coffee and speed in April 1951.  In this way, it can be said he drafted for seven years while rambling the country the same way a musician can said to be practicing even when they’re just tip-tapping.  A healthy regimen of regular writing and reading keeps the mind sharp so that when the time comes to write, it can be done with clear efficiency.

There is also an ethic to this approach, the school of minimal editing, in that the less drafts a piece takes, just like perfect plating the first time, the more warmth there is left in the final product.  My personal goal, someday, is to write a novel in the first try (in a 5×5 quad composition notebook, black ink, hand written) however I imagine it’ll go something like this:

 

Stream of Consciousness Theatre Presents: Bubbles

Happy Mystery Monday!

NOTE: I’m really sorry, I was trying to get this up while it was still Monday in my timezone (London time) but today has been one long piss take though I guess that’s what I can expect from the first day of the term.  Anyway…

Bubblegum and rice.

Some time in the last month I remember i was having a bout of insomnia and a derby of racing thoughts and in the lower left hand corner of my head-space a small window of bubbles opened up, clear and black lit by a bright reflection and a grey backdrop. Like a scene in the cutting room the bubbles were cut into or rather imposed on the middle of the film. I read a mediation on rocks or pebbles and I thought about bubbles. Empty, temporary, lively.

When I want to clear my mind, the bubbles come bubbling up in my brain like cherry cola into my nose though these bubbles don’t tickle into my scalp up to my hair.  Hair is something that lives on and in my head or rather on my head and mind. I always believed  you could tell more about a person by the hair on their head than the shoes they wear. Hair can be smooth and thick indicating healthy and happy hair. Thin and brittle on the contrast.  Colour from natural redheads to out of the box. Colours, styles, and cuts.  Length, combed, out and down or up and about. Everything says something about the person from plats(1) to pins. Shoes can say how someone walks and where.  It can indicate status or wealth. Hygiene and age.  However what can shoes say about a person that hair can’t equally articulate?

Fizz is something miss(ed) about beer. I like soda and tonic for the same reason. I remembered a lot of things after detoxing in May: I love candy.(2)  Bubble gum and taffy, and the jokes. I have a joke I want to submit to Laffy Taffy: “What did the dog say to the book? Nice Tale.”  😀 <—this is my favourite emoji, it is the ridiculous face that I like to make when I make a funny.

Laughter and anger bubble and boil. The Buddha said “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”

Found a bobble(3) of wood beads in front of the management building. Matches well with my green Pendle jumper(4). Black watch, forest green jumper, brown wood beads(5). I feel reasonably balanced in my ensemble. I wear the same stuff so often it becomes like a brand or a uniform. “Switch up” theme party(6) 2009 C, a previous flame, and I interpreted it as “cross dress night” and i wore one of her dresses and she wore my outfit which at that time was a forest green t-shirt, a loop style buckle brown cloth belt, and faded blue jeans to which G said, while our childhood friend got stoned for the first time “wow…that is the ‘Fin outfit'”.

water-bubbles

 

Footnotes:

  1. Braids.
  2. A common symptom of alcohol detox is sugar cravings, something I learned but sort of remembered via a study I read in a class I took at Mizzou “sociology of deviant behavior” saying that candy is really popular in prison because it’s a natural mood stimulant, likely in demand due to detox and poor situations.
  3. Elastic band, usually used for hair ties.
  4. Hoodie, can also be used in reference to a sweater.
  5. My flatmate said “these are like rosary beads“.
  6. A couple of brothers who used to throw great themed parties used to have themed all the time with themes like “ugly sweater party”, “wine and cheese”, “bring someone famous” (we supposedly had a [former?] cardnals baseball player [no idea who] which give the size and extroverted social scope of the core party hosts and guests, it didn’t surprise me).

Durak (card game)

Happy Monday folks!

As  I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ve decided to make my Monday posts “Mystery Monday” partly because I haven’t read anything I’ve wanted to write about that I haven’t already written extensively about for class(1) and partly because my life is just not exciting enough to write a memoir piece every week.  So I wanted to leave a day where I could surprise you my reader, because who doesn’t love a good surprise?

In line with the spirit of mystery I decided to write about a card game one of my flatmates taught me before leaving for winter holiday called: Durak(2).

Durak(3) is Russian for “idiot” or “fool”.  When I asked my flatmate why it was named this, he told me “It’s because this is a game where there are no winners, only a looser and only a fool would play such a game.” It’s a game of some skill and some luck however of the 5 rounds we played, I was overwhelming the durak.

Objective: Do not have any cards left in your hand at the end of the deck.

regular_durak

1. Deck; 2. first attacker; 3. defender; 4. next attacker (this game has a learning curve)

Number of Players: 2 – 7

 

Rules of Play:

  1. Each player is dealt 7 cards. Each player will keep a minimum of 7 cards in their hand until all cards from the deck and the power card (the face up card under the deck, this is simply the top card of the deck after the deck is shuffled and cards are dealt) are drawn.
  2. The first player initiates an attack to the left (player 2 attacks player 3). To attack player 2 lays down a card from their hand. The defending player (player 3) defends with a card of higher value and same suit or can deflect the attack to their left (player 4) with a card of the same value (obviously this card cannot be of the same suit). Any power suit card can defend against a non-power suit card. (Example: if player 2 attacks player 3 with a 6 of clubs, and the power suit [as determined by the power card] is hearts, player 3 can defend with a 2 of hearts)
  3. If player 3 cannot defend, then em takes the card and puts in their hand. If player 3 can defend then player 2 and/or player 4 can attack with more cards of the same value as any card in battle. If player 3 deflects the attack then the attacking card and the card used to deflect attack to the left, player 4. (Example: if player 2 attacks player 3 with a 6 of clubs and player 3 deflects the attack with a 6 of spades, now player 4 is defending against two 6s).
  4. If player 3 successfully defends, then all cards in battle go to the discard pile (a pile off to the side, these cards are now out of play for the rest of the game). If player 3 cannot defend or deflect, then em takes all cards in battle and puts them in em’s hand.  Everyone draws cards until they have 7 or more cards in hand starting with the attacker then clockwise.
  5. Now player 3 is the attacker and attacks player 4, to the left. Repeat.
  6. Players play and draw until the deck and the power card are drawn.  Once there is only one player left with cards in hand, they are declared the durak.

The game is a lot easier to understand once you play a hand or two and is a lot of fun.  It’s a really interesting game that utilizes game mechanics similar to trading card games except with the dynamic of using a regular 52 card deck, the playing field is relatively even.

I’ve picked up quite a few games and some card tricks but only a few are games are really unusual like this one.  If you have any unusual card games, feel free to leave a comment below.

 

Footnotes:

  1. I just finished a 3000 word literary analysis essay about the critical effectiveness of Darko Suvin‘s definition of Science Fiction (for the specific quote the prompt was taken, see 2.2) as a literary genre in his brilliant essay “Estrangement and Cognition” with regard to Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Wells’s War of the Worlds (which if you haven’t read it and aren’t already familiar with The Gutenberg Project you can read it for free along with literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of other classics; it’s brilliant and you now have no excuse but wait until after reading my post to go drool over the quantity of free reading over there, please) and as much as I enjoyed both texts I just cannot be asked to look at them again much less write about them for a while.
  2. I’m going to show you how the game was taught to me, as there are many variations this is the one I learned and will share with you.
  3. Here’s how I’m going to describe pronouncing it even though I was told many times that I’m saying it wrong but I think I finally got it.  It’s two syllables, the first “dur” sounds like “door” if you replace the two “oo” with a long “u”.  The second syllable borrows the “r” sound but just barely and sounds like “rack”.

My First English Xmas Dinner.

Happy Monday!

As I mentioned last week, I’ve decide to deem Mondays “Mystery Monday”(1) and way back three days ago on Friday I already had an idea of what I was going to write about(2) but as reliable as clichés are life happened and now have quite a different thing to write about.

Xmas is just another day to me however my flatmates and friends here at uni all love xmas and many were gutted when they found out that I’m not going home or going to spend the holiday with anyone, to the point where a friend gifted me a chicken to roast for xmas dinner.

I’m not much of a cook but I can read directions.  I thought.

Four hours after putting my chicken in the oven, this is what I pull out.

20161225_175604

Xmas Dinner 2016: Briqued(3) Chicken

Looking at my blackened bird, I couldn’t figure whether I wanted more to laugh or cry(4) but either way I do what any sensible person would do: take a picture and send it to all my friends.

Everyone asked basically the same thing but my friend Nat phrased it best: ‘One question: how?’

Good question, because at that point I still didn’t have an answer until my other friend accused “did you read the directions?!” to which I replied “Of course I did, it read cook at 280* for 4 hours”, if you’re English and/or remember that I’m an American in England, you can probably see where this is going.   After a apéritif of ego, I dug out the package out of the trash, to prove to my friend that the directions were misprinted when I saw that it read 280F/137C.

Oh the joys of being a foreigner.

Happy Boxing days, folks.

If you have an embarrassing or funny holiday story, feel free to share in the comments below.

Footnotes:

  1. As a note from behind the scenes, I like alliterations and Friday being comic day lent it self to ‘Funny Friday’ and in the beginning I did memoir bits on Mondays but not exclusively, as it was originally my only day but once I started doing Fridays also it kept oscillating between book review and memoir and then sometimes it was just something else completely so I decided to make Monday more interesting by leaving it to be the wild card day or ‘Mystery Monday’.
  2. Don’t worry, I’m coming back to the Bubbles.
  3. I’m proposing that we make ‘brique’ a verb ‘to make into or like a briquette’ for my fellow Microwave Chef types.
  4. Not because I botched up xmas dinner, whatever, no I feel guilty about throwing out an animal food stuffs.  I’m not a ideological eater but I try to be mindful and I figure that if an animal has gone through the life of being raised to be food that the best way I can respect it’s former existence is to not let it’s nourishment go to waste because just to throw it away at this point seems kind of like insult on top of injury like “your existence was to be raised and killed and made into food but now you’re going to waste because you’re not even being appreciated as food.  I know there’s lots of logical holes and squishy bits in there but it’s why I felt guilty.

The Fork

I’m often fascinated with tiny details.  Today I’m paying homage to the noble origins of the eating fork.

First, a poem:

“Fork” by Charles Simic

This strange thing must have crept
Right out of hell.
It resembles a bird’s foot
Worn around the cannibal’s neck.

As you hold it in your hand,
As you stab with it into a piece of meat,
It is possible to imagine the rest of the bird:
Its head which like your fist
Is large, bald, beakless, and blind.

In language the fork had made a minor impression which has reflected its evolution.

“Fork in the road” ForkinRoad1

Muppet movie aside, this phrase represents a time when the young fork only had 2 prongs, more resembling its older brother the pitch fork.

Later when the fork became more commonly used, at least by nobility, the hand became known as “the poor man’s fork” as the utensil evolved to include more prongs and the resemblance to the hand became more apparent.  This would evolve into the phrase “fork it over”.

More recently the small city Forks, Washington became quite famous being the location of the surprisingly popular sparkling vampire series Twilight.

08aaec2c2977878fe80a861a402393e4

The fork in new, hip, and way in vogue or at least until a new utensil takes rise.

Next week, I will be posting weekly on Mondays and about once or twice a month with a book review (maybe analysis too, interest and time pending). That being said, my first book review/analysis will be the hilarious, disturbing, and generally unnerving  Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.

If you have strong feelings on the fork or are excited for Infinite Jest or just want to express how much time you’ve wasted reading this and want to make me aware of that, please feel free to leave comments below.