I am Jack's Smirking Revenge

little, yappy dogs

Monday, December 18, 2006

Corporations should die, too

It dawned on me the other day that if corporations have the same rights as real humans, then they should be forced to 'die', too.

At a few years below the average life expectancy- say, 54 years - corporations would be liquidated, the estate/inheritance tax that all the rest of us pay would apply, and then all those associated with that corporation would get to squabble over who got the CEO's big plush chair.

This would only be useful for big ugly corporations existing now, as certainly within a few years/months/minutes the powers that be would have paid their lacking-in-moral-fiber hellspawn corporate lawyers to find a way around the laws.

I've been reading Barbara Ehrenreich's "Bait and Switch", a wonderful editorial on the lie being sold to middle class white collar workers. Not that I wasn't aware of this behavior, but it's so much more inspiring to have a focused outsider's view of something to make you think.

Death to corporations is my idea of the week.

Monday, December 11, 2006

New York Discount Camera Companies

Internet lesson # 137

Just in case you hadn't figured it out yet, New York seems to be the gateway for gray market, refurbished and other assorted electronics which otherwise would not make it into the country and into the hands of consumers.

I deduce this by the correlation between [cheapest prices for any particular electronic item you might want to look up online, on a site like Yahoo! Shopping], and [that company's geographical location- which nine times out of ten is somewhere in New York City or Manhattan.] You can tell you're dealing with 'pro' scam artists, their website lists no physical address, or lists a PO box or apartment.

I suppose the other possibility the stores are all there is that nowhere else in the country is there such a font of pushy, aggressive assholes to use up and throw away.

Here's how it works. You order something from their website. They either call you, or make you call them, and once on the phone, they hard-sell you extras for your camera. And many times they don't ship the item you asked for, they ship something which is broken, they ship it missing parts, they don't ship it at all...

I dealt with these bozos about 3 years ago and got by ok. They managed to upsell me on a case, memory card and card reader, but all in all I was going to buy those anyway, and the price was reasonable. My camera arrived intact and still works (knocking on desk).

I think that's called luck.

But just you try to order something from them without playing along with their upsell.

Here's a link that illustrates pretty well one particular establishment's practices:

Broad way Cam er a

(I broke up their name so as to not give them any more credit as a web presence than they already have)

Age old wisdom always seems to bite you on the ass when you think you're going to be clever and get away with something... and now the internet is here for us all to cry to, and record our whining for all eternity.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Buta Kimchee / Buta Kimuchi

Very nearly the perfect bachelor food.

Allow me to describe.

Kimchee, a Korean food, to an American looks mostly like cooked cabbage with that red pepper stuff they give you to sprinkle on pizza in it. What is it actually? Fermeted (pickled) cabbage with pepper and other spices in it rendering it somewhere in the tangy-to-inedibly hot range.

So, what is buta-kimchi? Long ago, one of my housemates was a guy named Yutaka Ushio. I believe it was 1994, I was 25 and going to college at the time. One evening he showed me how to make one of his favorite dishes, "Kimchi-chahan", or kimchee fried rice. Upon investigation of this 'kimchi' stuff as he was cooking, I discovered it smelled a lot like stinky feet with red pepper. He assured me it was good, but I was not sure he wasn't huffing glue or something.

In any case, the end result was so delicious I was instantly converted. I almost had a kimchee (the silly-looking English spelling) obsession.

Any time someone had kimchi, or knew of a dish with kimchi, naturally, I wanted to know about it or try it.

And one day, I forget when, the perfect dish was presented to me.

I'm pretty sure it was in the izakaya 'A' in Kyoto, but I am not really sure.

The dish is extremely simple: thinly sliced pork cooked up (probably in a frying pan), with kimchi. Add a beer and you are set for the evening- just as I am at this very moment.

In any case, I've loved my stinky kimchi and try to wrangle it out of any Japanese restaurant I go into as it's always nice to see how they perpare it.

I have noticed in a lot of cases that many Japanese restaurants in the USA are run
by Korean people who typically do a very good job of rendering a decent Japanese menu. However, what I have found is that while most Japanese places are Korean owned and run, none of their menus include kimchi, because, always insisted in a serious tone, "Kimchi is Korean, not Japanese."


Never mind the fact that I have never had kimchi in Korea, nor have I had it served by a Korean or American person. Hell-oooo?

Ah, yes, back to the story.

So, if you are not very good at cooking (you bachelor types) and want to try this fantastic almost impossible to mess up dish, here are my instructions. Granted, you do need a few cooking utensils...


teflon frying pan
chopsticks or a fork for turning over the meat
meat (pork or chicken is fine)
jar of kimchi
cooking oil- olive or vegetable
knife to cut meat
place to cut meat

To prepare- open the kimchi, best to do it in the sink as when you open it it will fizz like a shaken-up pop. Once open, just set it in the sink.

Slice the meat: whatever meat it is, cut off anything that looks funny (fat, bones, etc- I'd recommend half to 3/4 pound of boneless chicken breast or boneless pork chop), and slice the meat so the pieces are a little under half an inch thick. You should end up with pieces that aren't very wide or thick- nice little strips.

Frying pan: set it on the stove, turn the stove on, get the pan hot. On a gas stove, just set it to high and leave the pan there 30-45 seconds- for electric, high but maybe a minute to a minute 30.

Once the pan is hot, dump some oil in it (a 2" diameter circle or less should be plenty) and drop the stove to 70% heat. Dump all the meat into the little circle of oil- we just want some of it to get on there so it doesn't adhere to the pan. Make sure it lays down flat in the pan- this is where the chopsticks or fork come in handy- a spatula will not get the job done unless you are some kind of spatula-ninja.

as soon as you have all the pieces laying flat, get your jar of kimchi and dump some of the juice out of it into the pan- just enough to splash around and get on the chicken- not enough to make a big puddle in the pan.

the pieces will cook pretty quickly- with chicken, you'll see the edges start to turn white- when you do, turn the pieces over. This will take a minute or two.

Once the pieces are all turned over, grab your kimchi jar again and scoop out at least half of the contents onto the meat in the pan. If you really love kimchi, just dump the whole jar out. there should be a considerable amount of juice in the jar, if not, just dump a little water into the pan- a few tablespoons- not enough to make a big lake in the pan.

Do not stir the meat around, but move the kimchi so it sort of covers all of the meat in a nice even layer.

Leave the pan alone for a minute or two, and then, to check the meat, find a piece along the edge and pull it apart with your chopsticks or fork. If it is cooked all the way through it will be white and not pink anywhere.

Turn the stove off. Move the pan off the burner. Open a beer, or another beer, and go to town.

MMM! Perfect! and it reheats well, too.