Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I am ashamed.

My fellow Americans -

What in the fuck were you thinking?  Are we really going back to the days when it's okay to grope women?  To mock minorities?  To claim that someone isn't American because of where their parents or grandparents were born - no matter where they were born themselves?

Do we not care about civil rights?

Do we not care about standing by our promises?

Say goodbye to The Voter Rights Act of 1965, what provisions remain, let alone any chance of replacing the ones the Supreme Court struck down.  Say goodbye to the ACA.  Say goodbye to the Federal Minimum Wage.  Say goodbye to any attempt for a national policy for carbon emissions.  Say goodbye to Net Neutrality.  Say goodbye to Dodd-Frank, any of its provisions.  Say goodbye to civil rights for all.  Say goodbye to Abortion Rights.  Say goodbye to the VA.  Say Hello to more for-profit prisons.  Say Hello to an expanded School to Prison Pipeline.

Say Hello to newer and more prevalent STDs as more and more clinics get shut down.   Say Hello to a new Jim Crow era.  Say Hello to more for-profit prisons.  Say Hello to an expanded School to Prison Pipeline.  Say Hello to faith tests for citizenship.  Say Hello to even more insane ID requirements that still won't let people of color vote.

And especially to those nominally Christian assholes who voted for The Hairpiece:  You have just made a deal with the devil.  You have made it clear that theocracy is all that matters to you, not mercy, not justice, not liberty, nor any other virtue.  I no longer am going to pretend you're not a font of never-ending hate, out to destroy everything and everyone I care about.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Hipsters can ruin anything

I hate ranch dressing.

I think it is vile.

I would just as soon it dropped off the face of the earth - and never use it at home nor when I'm out in restaurants.

So, when I saw that the Washington Post had published an editorial piece claiming that "Ranch dressing is what's wrong with America," I was all over that!  Not only would it be a welcome anodyne to the various feelings generated by this unending electoral season, but a chance to metaphorically join a pitch-fork carrying crowd marching on The Hidden Valley, planning to burn it down?  I'm all over that.

Then I read the article.

And now I'm wanting to go out and buy some ranch dressing just to delivery an appropriately milk-fat battered invitation for that piece's author to go to Hell.  

I'm going to begin by pointing out the correction note at the bottom of the article.  Once you read that you suddenly understand why the article admits that ranch dressing was invented in California at a humbug dude style restaurant, and then blames it for being too mid-Western to be good food.  That's because the writer managed to fuck up his research because he was sure that the imagined mid-Western link had to be there - and that should have been sufficient to damn the Satan's smegma that is Ranch Dressing in the eyes of any right-thinking person, anywhere.

Yanno what else comes out of the mid-West?  Corn, wheat, and hushpuppies.  So do the Cubs!  Just because something hails from the mid-West is only a damning criticism if you happen to be a NY or Californian hipster.  Or a member of said coastal elites.  (Hmm.... I wonder if there's an a correlation there?)

Then let's consider what ranch dressing really is:  Our friend the hipster idiot thinks that ranch dressing is primarily made from buttermilk, and that is the source of it's astonishingly high fat content.  Hidden Valley's own labels places a single 30 g serving as having 15 g of fat.  (Which if you're wondering really is an astonishingly high fat content for anything.)  But buttermilk has a fat content of about 2 g per cup - or 246 g serving.  There is no way you're getting that fat content from buttermilk - of course since I'm not a hipster idiot, I can do some basic research.

Here's a secret for everyone following at home:   Ranch dressing is flavored or seasoned with buttermilk, but the majority component for the used semen that Americans seem dedicated to putting on everything is actually a fat emulsion, like mayonnaise.  (Or as the Military's commissary chain called it while I was active duty:  Salad Dressing, Type II)  Since we're going to try to stick to at least some facts in this piece let's consider what mayonnaise is:  usually it's some oil (vegetable, or olive) mixed with raw egg, and some lemon juice, and salt to taste.  No kidding it's a high in fat food, but the milk products in ranch dressing are not the problem with ranch dressing.

Then our beloved idiot feels the need to castigate ranch dressing for tasting like half-rotted milk.

Buttermilk is a fermented food.  Get it right, bozo!  It's a fully rotted product!   It's just that sometimes when things are rotted, they taste awesome.   (Other fermented foods that are awesome include sauerkraut, cheese, garum, and thousand year eggs.*)

Complaining about something tasting like what it's been flavored with is fucking bizarre.  And if you don't like cheese, I don't care what else you might want to say about food - we're not even int he same galaxy.  There may be some Venn Diagram overlap in our food preferences, but there's no real alignment in our tastes of views.   It's just a coincidence.

Then he gets onto this utterly contra-factual complaint about ranch dressing being primarily a means of getting milkfat into people's gobs.  Which if you'll remember the little lesson I offered earlier, is a bit of a stretch.  I figure what animal product is in ranch dressing is most likely to be overwhelmingly chicken, from the eggs used in the mayonnaise base, than any milkfat from the buttermilk added for flavoring.   Certainly there's going to be more egg fat than milk fat in any given sampling of ranch dressing.

Now, the environmental impact of dairy and meat farming is something I can't argue with - from a simple energy efficiency perspective that should be obvious:  a biological system is doing very well to be able to harness 20-30% of the available chemical energy in the food it consumes.  And when we eat meat, in particular, because we're not hyenas and only care about some parts of the carcass, that efficiency gets even worse.  I've seen some figures that say for every pound of beef consumed something like the equivalent of ten pounds of grain was fed to the cow to produce it.  That 10% figure may be off, but I'm sure it's good within +5%/-2%.  So in a food scarce world that explains why a number of sane and sensible people think that we do eat too much meat, and meat byproducts.
(There are some other things to consider besides that bare bones analysis, but that's beyond the scope of this rant.)

To make the claim that ranch dressing's need for buttermilk is going to affect the scope of dairy or meat farming taking place is blatantly absurd.  It's probably got a bigger effect on poultry production, but I'd think even there that less than 1% of the eggs produced in our nation are destined to be ruined by conversion to that curdles serum that is ranch dressing.  

Let's go back to the only point that should matter:  If you think ranch dressing tastes good you're wrong and bad and evil, and you need to try other things.

But not because of milkfat or anti-flyover state snobbery.  Just remember: it's Satan's smegma and it doesn't taste good.   If you must have a creamy dressing on your salad greens go with Caesar dressing - it's got fermented fish in it!   Yum!  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Delivery Driver Gets Robbed - Then Gets Shafted

Let's take a moment from our current unending electoral fears and pomp to consider this story out of Michigan where a pizza delivery driver is informed, after being robbed at gun point, he has to repay some of the money he lost to the store.  If you think that sounds fucked up, don't worry the store and the company has a policy that makes it all make sense:  The driver's not supposed to leave the store, ever, with more than $20 in cash on his person.  So anything more than that the driver might have is supposed to be locked into the driver's personal locker at the store.

If you're not rolling your eyes, yet, you're suffering from a case of privilege and ignorance.  You also probably believe that the laws forbidden contact between strippers and customers are obeyed; that HazMat workers always wear proper protective gear; and that people turn off their cell phones at the gas pump, too.

Here's a clue for all you find people swimming in ignorance:  The majority of strip clubs work very hard to make sure that their dancers know they're expected to be available to their customers, without letting them get caught violating the law; Hazmat workers can get very blase about what they consider to be low-level risks; most people with a modicum of knowledge recognize that the spark hazard from a cell phone is so far below reasonable probability that obeying those stupid signs and laws to turn off the cell phone is a waste of time for no material improvement in safety.  (Now, making sure to take steps to avoid static discharge - those make a good deal of sense.)  And pizza delivery drivers are screwed so many ways by their management it's not funny.

First off, most places only offer drivers minimum wage - or less.  Because you can argue that the driver is in a tipped position, the management can shuck off their labor costs onto the consumer.  Of course to be a delivery driver - you need access to a car - which is gas and mileage for wear and tear on the vehicle.  The pizza shop ain't paying for that shit - that's the driver's problem.  So, that's coming out of the minimum wage the driver is supposedly making.   And remember - the driver isn't even likely to be getting minimum wage in the first place.  Tips are where the delivery driver makes or breaks it on these nights.

The more deliveries a driver can make per trip, the better it is for him.  He doesn't give a shit about how cold your pizza gets (to be fair, why should he?  The store sure as hell doesn't care, either.) nor how many more pies are waiting to go out.  The less back and forth driving he can do, the more real money he'll make over his necessary overhead.  And going out with more than one order and only $20 means that if both parties need to make change from $20 bills, the driver is stuck come the second stop.  In practice most drivers I've known want to have $20 in smaller bills per delivery on their route, when they leave the store.  Just so they don't get caught in a position of being unable to make change for their customers.

Also going to the more deliveries thing - no matter how little time it takes to drop cash into that locker, it's going to be a time suck.  It might be only a minute, but I suspect there's going to be logging involved, and other paperwork crap, too - all of which deducts from the time the driver can actually be doing something that makes them enough money for this evening at the store to be anything more than wasted time.

Let's not forget that drivers are going to be fired for taking too long on their rounds, for letting pies sit too long before taken out on delivery, or if the customer has any complaint about the experience.  The driver has zero incentive, to spend time on anything but deliveries as long as there's something close to ready to go out.

Then there's the effect of the ubiquitous delivery fee:  consumers see that, and assume it's going to the driver, so they don't need to tip.  Which is so many kinds of fucked up I don't care to get into it.  Look up, online, some of the complaints pizza drivers have about delivery fees if you want to see how it works out in practice.  The effect that matters here is that the chain is perfectly willing to impose a fee on the consumer knowing it will harm their tipped employee, with no benefit accruing to said employee.

Finally pizza drivers get targeted for robberies all the fucking time.

As long as the injuries aren't too horrific, they rarely make the news.  But this story's blase, if a driver feels a delivery to be unsafe they can tell the manager is just so much unadulterated bullshit.  The company in this case is washing its hands of any obligation to the driver, and then getting shocked when the drivers try to maximize their own efficiency for their personal benefit.

I am not moved by this story's reporting, nor do I find the store's position very sympathetic.

And please remember to tip your drivers when you order delivery.