Thanks to Betty Boop, fried clams

The tube on my Betty Boop standup cracked at the base the other day, so I found a neon shop online that’s closer than the last one I used in Maine and got a reasonable quote for repair. There was no address on the web site, just “North Shore”, but I got directions from the guy and it turns out he’s not even five miles away from J.T. Farnham’s in Essex, and I just found that Farnham’s has extended their season through December this year instead of November. So it’s fried clams for lunch on Sunday and prolly a quart of seafood chowder to bring home. Maybe a lobster roll, too, if I’m feeling a bit peckish. Must remember to bring cash. Can’t wait.

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Lobsters in space

Perhaps a visitor can answer this question: Why is it that nearly every time I see whole lobsters awaiting prep on UK cooking shows, they’re uncooked but stone-cold dead? I just saw this again in the ongoing series 10 of MasterChef – The Professionals, screenshot of the daisy-pushing critters above. Because I’m so used to lobsters tootling about in my kitchen and giving me the tail-flapping, two-claw salute when I pick them up, it gives me the willies to see a passel of them lying on the work surface dead as doornails, but perhaps there’s a rational explanation that will calm me.

I could understand par-cooked, but they’re definitely raw – their colour alone tells you that. You couldn’t sell a dead, raw whole lobster here. I’m not sure if it’s against the law – it probably is – but that doesn’t matter: No one would ever buy one. My only thought is that perhaps they dispatch them moments before filming begins in order to spare sensitive viewers. That better be it – I’ve smelled lobsters that have been dead for a little while. Firing them into high Earth orbit or, better yet, the Sun, would be a better option than eating.

On the topic of how to deal with live lobsters on TV, here’s an excerpt from Bob Spitz’s Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child regarding chowder and lobster guru Jasper White’s appearance on In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs in 1994:

Julia insisted that Jasper White make his pan-roasted lobster. It was his signature dish, steeped in cognac and butter, and a perennial favorite of hers, perfect for the home cook, but there were problems before filming even began. Weeks before, during a cooking demonstration on Today, Katie Couric shrieked when a chef killed a lobster. It brought media attention to the process of killing lobsters and PETA jumped on it right away. The organization’s power made [producer] Geof Drummond nervous. “He prefers we don’t kill it on television,” Julia explained to White, sitting in her garden during a break.

“That’s fine,” White said. “We can kill it before we start filming.”

Julia shook her head. “Then we’re not teaching them anything.” She got up and walked around the yard.

“Julia, there are other lobster dishes to be made. I could do lobster quenelles that start with cooked meat.”

A decision had to be made in the next couple of minutes. Finally, she said, “Fuck ’em! We’re going to teach people the right way to do it. Fuck PETA, fuck the animal-rights people!”

Together, they concocted a way to sidestep a possible outcry. As the lesson began, Julia stood gazing at White and his lobster. “So, dearie, how do we start the dish?” she asked.

“First we cut up the lobster,” he said.

Everything had to do with the expression on Julia’s face. She kept it glassy-eyed, completely impassive. For all anyone knew, she might have been watching a mother diapering a newborn, as White dispatched the crustacean. He had a Chinese cleaver the size of a scimitar and he wielded it like a cartoon character. His hands were a blur—swoosh, swoosh, swoosh! Presto: the lobster lay in pieces on the cutting board.

No one uttered so much as a sigh.

“Then we’re not teaching them anything.” My hero.

From that episode:

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One job – they had one job

Here we see the problem inherent in mail-ordering shirts. The collar labels on these three claim they’re all the same size. The middle one fits well while the other two would have me mimic, respectively, a pup tent and a rather tightly-wrapped mummy.

I have sent words – restrained ones, I thought, considering the alternately grumbling and growling noises I seem to be making.

Excuse me while I fetch my eyebrows.

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The mind boggles

Still no hope of ever having a hobby of any sort? Thumb-twiddling too mundane? All dully waking moments must involve a dully glowing screen? Why not try chasing your own tail for a while as we track you, serve up some ads, and gain some micro-revenue? Satisfying? Of course not. But it does occupy time.

Vote early and often! Allow all cookies. Attempt no ad-blockers there.

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“A dead certainty”

December 2017 California wildfires from the ISS

Now is a good time to watch Professor Iain Stewart’s excellent four-part BBC documentary “Journeys into the Ring of Fire” again. Of particular interest this week is part 2, the only one that seems to be on YouTube. The others can be found at MVGroup – you can get there from the page linked above.

While most of the series focuses on the geology, volcanology, and plate tectonics of the Pacific Rim, this California episode includes a discussion of the extreme and inevitable fire risks – some avoidable but not avoided – inherent in parts of Southern California. That segment starts at 42:15, but I think you won’t be disappointed if you watch the whole episode.

Edited to correct the link

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All you really need to know about the term

From Sky & Telescope:

“Astrologer Richard Nolle first coined the term supermoon in a 1979 issue of Dell Horoscope magazine.”

If I recall correctly, Dell Horoscope was found almost exclusively at supermarket checkouts, next to the National Enquirer and Weekly World News, the latter of which featured cover stories such as WORLD WAR 2 BOMBER FOUND ON THE MOON! and MOON TO EXPLODE IN 6 MONTHS! and – possibly a tie-in with Dell Horoscope – MOON DRIFTING TOWARD EARTH!

Today’s headlines are almost as silly:

  1. Keep eyes open
  2. Look up – chances better at night
  3. Will be mysteriously invisible if cloudy
  4. Will appear slightly larger than usual if not

Edited to add: This post is a few years old, but everything still applies. The cut of his jib? Admirable.

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Heckuva profit margin, bub

I have a slow leak in one tire and, when the pressure monitor warning lit up again on Saturday, I stopped at a place near where I was that I’ve had previous good repair experience with. They found the leak is unfortunately on the shoulder and therefore not repairable, so I asked for a quote on a replacement. They said US$195 for the one, with installation, balancing, disposal, &c. included in that price.

That sounded a bit high to me, and it’s time I got a set of four anyway, so I checked Costco’s site when I got home. Their price for the same is $131 apiece, also including everything, but with their recurring $70 off a set of four Michelins deal that ended yesterday, it came down to $113 each. They’ll be at the warehouse tomorrow. My savings is the equivalent of five years of Costco membership fees.

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Zowie!

I can’t recall exclaiming at my telly so much in a short period as just now, when I caught this fantastic UK Channel 4 promo for Rio Paralympics 2016, which I didn’t see at the time, on a Gruen episode from last year (S12E05). Wow!

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