Monthly Archives: February 2015

Movie Commentary: The Ancient Greeks Did Not Fight in Speedos

300 makes my all-time fetid-movie list. While it is true that the Spartans heroically delayed the Persian invasion at Thermopylae, it is not true that:

1) All Persians were hideous, hairless, trolls. Most Persians probably looked like people. Well, maybe not the people of Walmart.TM

2) Xerxes, the Persian king, was bearded and did not have earrings all over his face.

3) The Greeks did not fight in Speedos. They usually fought with body armor and leg armor. On occasion they fought naked, but it was to avoid infection from dirty garments, not to strut their stuff.

4) There was not a narrow mountain pass or gate at the battlefield. The mountains however were close to the sea.

5) If there were a narrow mountain pass with the width of three men, then why the heck didn’t they fight there instead of on the beach which had a width of perhaps thirty? Think about it. You’re late to a lecture on neo-post-impressionist geometry. Would you rather fight your way through a narrow hallway packed with students on their way to workshop on beer appreciation or across the sparsely occupied grassy quad? I rest my case.

6) A shepherd did betray the Spartans by telling the Persians of a mountain pass that circled behind the Spartan position. However, he was a local and is quite doubtful that he possessed a two-foot high hump.

7) In fact, it is highly unlikely that all baddies in the fifth-century BC looked like orcs from the Lord of the Rings.

8) The Persian Immortals were not short, probably not beardless, did not wear metallic masks, did not have metallic shields. In fact, they had wicker shields.

9) It is true that most of the Spartan soldiers stayed at home because of a religious holiday. There is no record of it resulting from domestic intrigue.

10) There is no record of the Spartan religious establishment as looking like evil cartoon characters.

11) The Greeks did not build their temples atop mountains with sheer cliffs. They could not have constructed such places of worship without an anti-grav machine, which they didn’t have.

12) And finally, just from looking out my window, I find it quite hard to believe that the Greek world of 480 BC was completely and relentlessly lived every moment in grimy-sepia tone. Perhaps they had a spot of green, red, or blue on some spot of the landscape every third day?

– Paul the peace maker

4novels

Check out my latest novel, the Christmas thriller, Beneficial Murders. My books are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com, 

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: history, humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Modest Proposal for Peace in the Middle East

Shakshuka, a weapon for peace.

shakshu-

Things remain chronically unstable and unpleasant in the Middle East. The Arab nations and Israel just haven’t gotten along as well as one might have hoped. Indeed one cannot look at the following incidents: 1948, the war for statehood, the war in 1967, the war in 1973, more than one intifada, the bombing of Iraqi nuclear facilities, the suspicion of what does facilities were meant to do, the suspicion that Iran’s nuclear program is designed for use against Israel, hundreds and hundreds of rockets fired against Israeli population centers, Israeli incursions in Gaza to fight Hamas, suicide bombers, and more without concluding that ill feelings have persisted over the years.

Meanwhile El Salvador has had its own problems, a really nasty civil war comes to mind. Also, while most people can find Israel on a map, hardly anyone knows the location of El Salvador.

But there is a solution. According the CIA World Factbook, the population of Israel in 2008 was 7,112,000 while the inhabitants in El Salvador numbered 7,066,000. Darn close. The size of Israel is 20,770 square kilometers, while the land area of El Salvador is 21,040. Darn close again.

Why not have Israel and El Salvador switch places? It would be a new beginning for both peoples. We could have a one-to-one swap of homes. What could be simpler? The Israelis would lose hostile neighbors and gain instant access to some of the best coffee in the world. The El Salvadoreans would be surrounded with ample supplies of the best shaksuka and hummus in the world. Who doesn’t doesn’t like good, tasty shakshuka and hummus? Nobody.

So there you go. Peace in our time. And you would be able to find the new El Salvador on a map.

– Paul the peace maker

4novels

Check out my latest novel, the Christmas thriller, Beneficial Murders. My books are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com, 

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

 

Categories: history, humor, international, politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strange Club

About an hour from the Pacific Ocean and in a canyon in the southeast corner of San Diego County there is a sign proclaiming, “Canyon Yacht and Gun Club.” This club intrigues me tremendously. How much yachting can you do in a waterless canyon? Do they use their guns while yachting? On dry land? If somehow they manage a yacht race, does the winner need to be extra gracious to the losers?

More strange clubs as I find them.

– Paul the Wonderer

4novels

Check out my latest novel, the Christmas thriller, Beneficial Murders. My books are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com, 

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

 

Categories: humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pork Colombo

French Guianese Entree

PORK COLOMBO

INGREDIENTSPorkColombo-

1½ pounds pork loins
2 garlic cloves
1 onion
1 tomato
3 tablespoons Colombo powder (See above recipe.)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon Scotch bonnet sauce or habañero sauce (This are spicy!)
1½ tablespoons chives
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon thyme

Makes 6 bowls. Takes 1 hour.

PREPARATION

Cut pork loins into 1″ cubes. Mince garlic. Dice onion and tomato. Add pork cubes and Colombo powder to mixing bowl. Use fork to thoroughly coat pork cubes with Colombo powder.

Add coated pork cubes and vegetable oil to pan. Sauté at medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add garlic, onion, and tomato. Sauté at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add chicken stock, lime juice, Scotch bonnet sauce, chives, peppers, salt, and thyme. Simmer at low-medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

TIDBITS

1) According to culinary historians, Scottish clansmen, from the 12th century on, would rub Scotch bonnet peppers onto their shaved heads before engaging in battle. Naturally, the fiery Scotch bonnet burned their noggins something considerable, so much so the clansmen became the fiercest of warriors. No army could stand up to them in hand-to-hand combat. “Here comes the Scotch bonnet heads” was a byword for terror for the invading English armies over the centuries.

2) Finally, the English hit upon the idea of shooting arrows tipped with lutefisk at the Scottish pikemen. The Scots retreated in terror. England and Scotland would become part of Britain. The English units lobbed lutefisk at the enemy warriors. The Scottish infantry, beserk with pepper heat penetrating their brains would smash through the disorganized infantry. It was an enduring formula for victory on the battlefield. Britain would soon conquer most of the world and there you go.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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Colombo Powder

French Guianese Appetizer

COLOMBO POWDER

INGREDIENTS??????????

¾ teaspoon cloves
3½ tablespoons coriander seeds
3½ tablespoons cumin seeds
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
1½ tablespoons black, brown, or yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon peppercorns
3½ tablespoons turmeric
½ teaspoon ground ginger.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

spice grinder

Makes 1 cup. Takes 15 minutes.

PREPARATION

Add cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, and peppercorns to pan. Cook in pan at medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until seeds turn golden brown or start to crackle. Stir frequently. Put toasted spice mix in spice grinder. Grind spices into powder.

Add turmeric to pan. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes or until turmeric turns golden brown. Add turmeric, ginger, and ground spices to mixing bowl. Mix with whisk until well blended. Store spice mix in air-tight jar.

TIDBITS

1) The above photo is right-side up. The powder would still be just as good upside down. The same can’t be said for Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Just try flipping that dessert over to make Pineapple Right Side Up Cake. If lucky, your host would simply show you the door. If unlucky, the cook would atomize you with her sonic obliterator, an essential utensil for all serious chefs.

2) Don’t open your Colombo powder in a weightless environment such as the space shuttle. The stuff would get everywhere. Contact with the astronauts would make them look jaundiced. They would have to be quarantined and an astronaut never forgets. Or is that an elephant? Certainly, an elephant astronaut would never forget. In any case, keep your Colombo powder sealed.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: cuisine, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ugandan breakfast rolex

Ugandan Breakfast

ROLEX

INGREDIENTSRolex-

1 green bell pepper
½ red onion
2 Roma tomatoes
9 eggs
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
6 chapatis (See CHAPATI recipe) or flour tortillas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (1 teaspoon per egg/veggie mixture)
6 tablespoons shredded cabbage (1 tablespoon per egg/veggie mixture)

PREPARATION

Mince green bell pepper and red onion. Cut each tomato into 6 slices. Add bell pepper, red onion, eggs, pepper, and salt to mixing bowl. Scramble egg/veggie mixture with whisk. Pour 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and 1/6th of egg/veggie mixture into pan. Fry egg/veggie mixture on low-medium for 2 minutes or until top begins to set. Flip over mixture and fry for another 1-to-2 minutes or until eggs are set on the new top.

Cover right third of chapati with fried egg/veggie mixture. Place 2 tomato slices and 1 tablespoon of shredded cabbage on top of egg/veggie mixture.. Roll chapati, as tightly as you can, starting from covered side. It should look somewhat like a burrito.

(Ideally, you have been making your chapati as you have been making the egg/veggie mixture. This is difficult to do. If the chapati has lost its flexibility., place egg/veggie mixture on top of chapati and microwave for 20 seconds before rolling the rolex.)

TIDBITS

1) This rolex is not named after the famed make of watches, Rolex. Nor is the reverse true.

2) In this case, rolex is short for “roll of eggs.”

3) Unscrupulous people sometimes trick visitors by offering to sell Rolexes for hundreds of dollars fewer than they go for in legitimate stores. The vendors then take the greedy tourists to an alley and sell them a fake watch or steal the buyer’s money.

4) Scammers can’t knock off hundreds of dollars off the cost of an Ugandan breakfast. So you won’t be tempted to buy an imitation burrito. So you won’t get beaten up in a dark alley. But this rolex is a tasty treat and besides, you can always tell time with your Mickey Mouse watch.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: cuisine, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Sounds of Silence

What if there were a word composed entirely of silent letters? I’ve never heard of such a word, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I didn’t know of the word “qi,” and I still don’t know what it means, but it gets Scrabble players really excited. The second “l” in Maxwell is silent, or is the second? The “h” in rhombus is silent, so why not a word that is totally silent. Indeed, Simon & Garfunkels “Sounds of Silence” is a tribute to silent words. I am not nearly as musically talented as that duo. I will content myself by honoring silent words with the following haiku.

Silent Words*

ss ss ss ss ss

ss ss ss ss ss ss ss

ss ss ss ss ss ss

* Where ss stands for silent syllable.                                      The above picture shows what silence looks like.

 

Note that haikus for silent words really haven’t taken off since they are pretty much identical

– Paul the Wonderer

4novels

Check out my latest novel, the Christmas thriller, Beneficial Murders. My books are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com, 

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nepali Pizza (chatamari)

Nepali Entree

NEPALI PIZZA
(chatamari)

INGREDIENTSchatamari-

1 cup black lentils (matpe beans)
3 cups water

1 cup water (about, check for consistency of batter as you add.)
½ cup ghee or butter (1 additional cup later.)
6 garlic cloves
½ tablespoon ginger
1 large onion
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Roma tomatoes
2 chicken breasts or substitute with 1 egg per chatamari

INGREDIENTS – BASE

3 cups rice flour
1 cup ghee or butter
½ teaspoon salt

makes 12 chatamaris. Soaks overnight, then takes about 1½ hours.

SPECIAL UTENSIL

food processor

Soak black lentils in water overnight or until lentil skins become loose. Rinse lentils with water. Drain. Add lentils, 1 cup water, and ½ cup ghee to food processor. Blend until you get a smooth paste. Dice garlic, ginger, onion, and tomato. Thoroughly mince chicken. Add garlic, ginger, onion, pepper, salt, and oil to pan. Sauté on medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion softens. Add tomato, lower heat to medium and sauté for 1 minute.

Add rice flour, lentil paste, and salt to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until you get a cake-like batter. Gradually add about 1 cup water until you get the right consistency. Add ghee to pan. Melt ghee using medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons ghee to the pan for the first chatamari and then add more later as necessary. Add ⅓ cup batter. Make base by spreading batter evenly and thinly with spatula until it’s 8″ in diameter. Cover base with equal amounts of minced chicken and sautéed garlicc/onion. Cook using medium heat for 3-to-5 minutes or until chicken/garlic/onion.is done. Chicken should be completely white. Cooking times tend to go down for each chatamari.

TIDBITS

1) There is no I in team or Nepal, but there is an I in victory and Nepali.

2) Nepali is an anagram for Alpine, which is cool. The Alps and Nepal are also cool from their tall mountains.

3) There is a lot of Snow, gratuitously capitalized, in the Alps and in Nepal.

4) Snow is an anagram for swon.

5) The plural form of swon is also swon, just like the plural of moose is moose.

6) The swon is the natural enemy of the moose.

7) The exciting swon festival is held every year or so in Crebano, Ruritania. Come early to see to the exploding cabbage competition.

8) If you are having trouble finding Ruritania on your map, may I suggest heading to Nepal for Holi, or the Festival of Colors, to celebrate the end of winter. However, it’s held in March and you’ll be in the Himalayan Mountains. It’s kinda like going to Wisconsin for your spring break. However, you do get paint yourself with various dyes. Again, like going to Madison, Wisconsin to see the Badgers play football. The one true difference between Nepal and Wisconsin is that the Nepali like to eat chatamari while the Wisconsinites prefer to munch on bratwursts. Your call.

9) If you happen to be Asia a month earlier, you might wish to see the Naked Man Festival in Japan. The best one is reportedly held in Okayama, although how they decided this is difficult to measure. The men, clad only in loincloths race toward Saldaji Temple to collect lucky sticks. I can just see a naked man saying, “Honestly officer, I’m not fleeing an enraged husband. I’m participating in the Naked Man Festival.” The officer will roll his eyes. “Like I haven’t heard that one before.”

10) After participating in the Naked Man Festival in Japan and having gotten drunk for two months, missed your flight home, and having your wallet and ID stolen, why not take in the Penis Festival held the first Sunday of April? People head to the Kanayama shrine to see giant penises, made, I hope, from paper maché or wood. Appreciate the many penis drawings and costumes.

11) Lovers or bamboo and buns will not want to miss the Cheng Chau Ben Festival held every May in Hong Kong. Contestants climb a giant bamboo covered in Chinese steamed buns. Um, okay, it’s not entirely clear whether the tower is covered in Chinese steamed buns or the climbers are covered in them. Either way, it’s pretty darn exciting. Anway, buns picked from the top of the bamboo tower or taken on the backs of the contestants to the top are consider luckier than ones at the bottom. People there go vegetarian during this festival. It’s not clear why. Maybe I would too if I had to climb a tall tower with steamed buns all over me.

13) Meat lovers will want to savor the Pig Parade held in Malolos, Philippines in mid September. Watch pigs dressed in all sorts of costumes and wearing makeup. See if you agree with the judges’ decision of the best dressed pig. But win or lose, it doesn’t matter in this egalitarian contest as winners and losers alike get roasted for the magnificent feast.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: cuisine, humor, international | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuna Burgers

American Entree

TUNA BURGERS

INGREDIENTSTunaBurger-

2 6-ounce cans white tuna
1 celery stalk
½ small onion
1 Roma tomato
½ cup bread crumbs
1 egg
½ teaspoon dill
½ teaspoon parsley
½ tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon minced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 hamburger buns
4 lettuce leaves
no-stick spray

SPECIAL UTENSIL

no-stick skillet
anti-grav machine

Takes about 20 minutes.

PREPARATION

Drain tuna cans. Mince celery and onion. Cut tomato lenghthwise into 4 equal slices. Add tuna, breadcrumbs, celery, dill, parsley, and egg in large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly with fork. Add lemon juice, mayonnaise, onion, and bell pepper. Mix again with fork. Form 4 tuna patties by hand.

Toast hamburger buns. Spray skillet with no-stick spray. Add olive oil. Heat oil on medium heat. Add tuna patties. Sauté on medium heat for 3-to-5 minutes per side or until cooked through and golden brown. Add tuna patties, lettuce, and tomato to bottom bun then add top bun. (If you have an anti-grav machine you can place the tomato, lettuce, and tuna patty under a hovering top bun, then put the bottom bun under all of that.)

TIDBITS

1) Anti-grav devices have non-culinary uses as well. The one most prized by the military is being able to stop an accidentally dropped bomb from falling. However, dogs generally don’t like the anti-grave machine. It keeps table scraps from falling to the kitchen floor. In fact, their union, Dogs, successfully lobbied to keep the anti-grav thingy from being sold in America. You have to go to Mexico or Mozambique or know a defense contractor to get one.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: cuisine, humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Riz Gras (rice chicken)

Burkina Faso

RIZ GRAS

INGREDIENTSRizGras-

1⅓ cups rice
3 garlic cloves
1 large onion
4 tomatoes
¼ head cabbage
3 carrots
1¼ pound lamb, goat, chicken, or beef
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons tomato puree
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt

SPECIAL UTENSILS

blender
Dutch oven

Makes 8 bowls. Takes 1 hour to prepare.

PREPARATION

Wash rice in colander to remove its starch. Blend garlic, onion, and tomatoes. Mince cabbage and carrots. Chop meat into ½” cubes.

Add vegetable oil, meat to Dutch oven. Sauté at medium-high for 5-to-10 minutes or until meat begins to brown. Stir frequently. Add garlic/onion/tomato blend, cabbage, carrot, chicken stock, tomato puree, pepper, and salt. Bring to boil. Stir frequently. Add rice and reduce to low. Simmer for 15 minutes with the lid off. Simmer for an additional 15 minutes or until meat and rice are tender and most of the chicken stock has been absorbed. Stir occasionally.

TIDBITS

1) Burkina Faso’s capital is Ougadougou. That is hard to remember. It sounds like yabba dabb doo. Fred Flintstone used to say, “Yabba dabba doo.” He has a line of vitamins called The Flintstones. It takes capital to build buildings to make vitamins. The Flinstones show bears a heavy resemblance to an earlier show called the The Honeymooners. My wife and I honeymooned in Fiji where there are no bears. Nobody wants to be eaten by a bear while on a honeymoon.

2) May I suggest instead taking riding a camel and camping in Burkina Faso’s dessert? You may yell, “Yabba dabba do” if you wish.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

Categories: cuisine, humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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