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Archive for the ‘Humble Pie’ Category

I have to admit I wasn’t fully onboard with the concept of “Ron de Jeremy Rum” (see previous post). I assumed the marketing was a gimmick, and it was hard to have expectations for the product. Plus which, I really didn’t want to taste anything named after Ron Jeremy.

I smirked as much on this blog, and was contacted by a distributor for Ron de Jeremy rum, offering to “make sure [I] get a sample”. I thought that was cool, and generous, and took him up on it. It’s only fair to report my impressions, and to admit where I was wrong.

My first mistake was underestimating Ron and his company. When I was offered a “sample,” I expected a little airline bottle or something. Two days later, I checked my mail to find a full 750ml bottle of Ron de Jeremy Spiced Rum as a gift from the “Ron de Jeremy rum crew”! Yep – they sent me a full fifth of rum for free, just to let me make up my mind about a product I had already joked about! Class move, guys.

It showed a lot of confidence, too, and I soon realized they had earned it. As Robert German, of the “crew,” pointed out, the rum has done better than well in competitive tastings against other quality rums, and has won good reviews and a number of awards. It’s a serious product. And apparently Ron Jeremy is serious about marketing it. They don’t downplay that his name brings it a kind of titillating brand recognition, but at bottom it’s a good product and he can be proud of being associated with it.

Another thing I misunderstood is the name. Ron Jeremy (the man, not the rum) proudly proclaims that “Ron means rum!,” which at first I thought was a schlocky advertising slogan. Not only was I being ungenerous, I was being ignorant, too. “Ron” is in fact the Spanish word for “rum,” which I did not know. “Ron de Jeremy” not only incorporates Ron’s name, but it literally means “rum of Jeremy” – which it is! That’s clever, and I was an idiot.

So I owe Ron and the crew an apology for being snobby. They’re serious about their rum and they have a real rum to be serious about. How could I have ever doubted them (other than the fact that it has a porn star’s face on the bottle – which, in Ron’s world, is not a drawback)? I’m sorry to have talked down your product, and thanks to you all for being cool about it.

But how good is the rum? That’s the real question. And when Ron and the crew find out that they express-shipped an expensive bottle of quality rum for evaluation by a non-drinker, they’re going to be pissed. But I felt I owed it to them – and to you, our loyal readers – to get around enough of the bottle to be able to offer an informed opinion. Conscious of my duty, I bit the bullet and have been drinking as much award-winning rum as I could, for free, for you. You’re welcome.

And the bottom line is – it’s good! I’m no expert on this, but real experts have given it awards, which is a good clue. As to my own impression, I liked it more than I expected, and more in fact than I normally like flavored drinks.

Ron de Jeremy Spiced Rum is smooth and tasty. It has a pronounced vanilla odor and flavor, with a spicy aftertaste. At 94 Proof, it’s got enough of a bite to make itself known, but it’s a mild sipping rum, not in the least harsh, complex enough to be interesting. Other than the vanilla, the spices are clearly evident but not aggressive; I don’t know enough to identify them by name. Let’s say a sharp cinnamony taste and a tiny kick that stays on the tongue but no real fire. It goes down very smoothly when drunk neat, and is pleasant and tasty with mixers.

Oh, hell, if you like spiced rum, or mixed drinks of whatever kind, just wrap your lips around The Hedgehog’s best and settle in for a good time. I can guarantee satisfaction!

(By the way, they’re also marketing an aged “Ron de Jeremy Adult Rum” – not spiced. I’m sure it’s just as high quality, but I can’t really know without having tasted it . . .)

Special Note: Just today news came through that Ron Jeremy was hospitalized with a serious aneurysm. Reportedly he came through surgery and was in an ICU. Best wishes to him and those close to him.

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Margaret Thatcher, the posturing far-right ideologue provocateur who was Prime Minister of the UK at the same time Ronald Reagan, posturing far-right ideologue dumbass was President of the United States, conducted a life-long political love affair with Reagan and shared his delight in empty rhetorical blustering, coddling of fascists, and aimless anti-communism. For the rest of her life she basked in the same mindless right-wing praise that Reagan lapped up for “winning the cold war” after delivering his trademark slogan at the Berlin Wall: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Turns out, now, that, two years after that event, during East German unrest just before the Wall actually did come down, Thatcher met with Gorbachev and personally begged him to do whatever he could to prevent East Germany from merging with West Germany, guaranteed protection for Communist rule in Soviet-bloc nations, and offered a unilateral non-aggression pledge to the Soviet Union itself. George Bush and Francois Mitterand, right-wingers who also presided over noisy anti-communist parties in their countries, backed her assurances to the Communist leader and pledged themselves to prevent German re-unification in any way they could, including with military alliances with the USSR against their official ally West Germany.

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So some of the wingers finally figured out that there was a drawback to calling their weird and incoherent anti-government demonstrations “tea bag parties“. Commentators from across the spectrum have been yucking it up at their expense for weeks, and Rachel Maddow and Anna Marie Cox had an epic piss-take on the whole thing last week on MSNBC. Now Powerline’s not just upset but offended . . . offended, mind you.

An obscene insult

. . . notoriously derided the tea party demonstrations . . . reference to the practice of teabagging (which I had never heard of before they brought it up) . . . “journalists” used the rallies as an occasion for childish sexual innuendoes . . . obscene teabag “joke” was repeated 51 times . . . like a juvenile student . . . he seems to think the phenomenon is a big ball of fun [Well, I'd be tempted to say it's two big balls of fun . . . but that would be juvenile - KTK] . . . Cooper is widely reputed to be homosexual. Maddow and Sullivan are of course public homosexuals. It is funny in an ironic sort of way that these folks choose to disparage the tea party protestors from somewhere inside the homosexual subculture . . . rather seriously insulted the citizens who colorfully took to the streets to air respectable views . . . If they had any decency . . . vile reference to sexual practices . . .

Oh, my. Oh, my.

But really, you can relax. Nobody is insulting you. Certainly nobody is being “obscene”. They’re making fun of you because you’re prissy, oblivious, self-absorbed morons. It’s different.

And please spare the “homosexual subculture” your no doubt sincere concern. It’s not “disparaging” to compare you to teabaggers. It’s just hilarious that you’ve been calling yourselves that without knowing what it means, and you are so obviously the kind of people who would be aghast to realize it. (Um . . . refer back to your own quotes, just above. See? Like that.) It’s not an ironic insult for gays to call you teabaggers; it’s open mockery.

The point is that you’re a joke. That’s why it’s possible to use your own chosen name for your movement as a joke. Nobody needs to insult you. Nobody cares. But you’re good for a laugh!

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So these two unbelievable morons at a Domino’s Pizza franchise in North Carolina did what pretty much every fast-food employee does, or so I’ve heard: dicked around with the food because they hate their jobs. In their case, it wasn’t all that bad – they did it as a joke, and, they now insist, didn’t serve the food to anybody. It was unusually bad in one way, however: they videotaped themselves, using their real names, and posted it on YouTube. So thousands of people got to see “Michael” putting cheese up his nose and blowing his nose on a sandwich before sending it out to a customer, or so “Kristy” jokingly says on the video. Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long for Michael and Kristy to be recognized, identified, fired, and arrested for felonious “delivering prohibited foods”. Domino’s apparently has been fielding thousands of disgusted complaints, and it’s having a noticeable effect on business.

Now, of course these two dipshits are way out of line, in addition to being too stupid to live, and of course they deserve punishment. I’m not impressed with the crime of “defaming a corporation”, that the cattle ranchers of Texas tried to hit Oprah Winfrey with years ago because she said she was a vegetarian – if Domino’s takes its lumps, well, boo fucking hoo. (I just wish right-wing asshole Tom Monaghan still owned the company, so I could take comfort in the fact that it was his money being lost. Too bad.) But still, this sort of thing is bad biznai, and I guess something should be done about it. The “delivering prohibited foods” bit won’t stick – there’s no proof they did deliver it – but I’m sure the authorities will turn themselves into knots trying to find anything to charge them with, for the wounded virtue of a public stock corporation; losing their jobs goes without saying.

But I have just this to point out: This kind of shit happens this often for a reason. (Nobody has posted it on YouTube before, but everyone’s heard the stories.) If working for a living weren’t such a dreary grind, often physically and almost always to the mind and dignity, workers would behave better in their turn. If employers gave the slightest shit about employees’ welfare, employees wouldn’t deliberately undermine, or at least not care about, their employers’ welfare. An industry that pays its employees the lowest legally possible wage and frequently cheats them on that, that actively lobbies to reduce even that wage while claiming it is for the sake of the employees themselves, and that tasks its employees with demeaningly mindless and repetitive tasks while goading them like drill sergeants and watching them like thieves, is an industry that is going to be the target of employee resentment, dissent, and petty vengeance. (And you customers: mistreating or insulting underpaid teenage counterdrones making minimum wage slinging stinky crap for you all day is just asking for something unpleasant to happen. I’m just sayin’.) These companies make a decision to treat their employees the way they do. There is no reason they can, or should, be immune to the inevitable consequences.

This sort of thing almost never happens in “real” restaurants, and is unheard of at very good ones – where, not incidentally, the wait staff make pretty decent wages. Deliberate customer mistreatment (not bad service, but deliberately abusive service) is pretty much nonexistent in most other industries, and especially well-paying ones. Even sabotage is rare, and almost always a component of labor disputes. People with decent working conditions don’t try to make them worse. People who actually like and value what they’re doing will go beyond duty voluntarily. You have to try to create conditions in which workers deliberately harm their own company and drive away customers with consciously offensive behavior – conditions that are roughly that offensive to the employees themselves. That can often be a profitable endeavor, and for some employers that is enough to justify it. But like any business decision it is not wholly without cost, and if the employers are going to make working at a company an actually offensive proposition, well, you can hardly blame the employees for keeping their end of the bargain.

You can certainly say these two Domino’s dunderheads should not have done what they did. You probably can’t say Domino’s didn’t deserve to have it happen. I’m absolutely certain that the people who are the most outraged at these employees are also the ones most vehemently opposed to the Employee Free Choice Act. They want employees to always serve their employers’ interests, while also not having the right to act on their own. And for that they deserve a nice big snot sandwich. As for Domino’s, it seems they probably already got what they deserved – but they can easily keep it from happening again, if they want to.

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There’s an unofficial “Conservatives for Palin” Web site that exists to extol all things Sarah. Bizarrely enough, this is not run by people paid by or related to her. That’s not to say they’re not nutty as all get-out, though.

Current “Featured Posts”:

  • Who is Sarah Palin?
  • Despite It All, Palin’s Got “It”
  • Anything They Can Do, She Can Do Better
  • Another Attempt to Marginalize Governor Palin
  • How Is Track Palin Doing?
  • “My Cyber Day” by Gov. Sarah Palin

And, #1 with a bullet . . .

  • Associated Press of Mordor Attacks Palin Once Again

These be some freaky-ass mofos, fo’ real!

Man, nothing says “self-parody” like a Palin supporter!

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Paul Krugman has an interesting speculative comment on today’s WSJ article on the difficulty former Bush henchmen are having in finding work. Putting aside the gleeful chortling (him, I mean – not me), he suggests that this could be one of the signs of cracks in the right-wing bulwark, and the impending breakup of the vast right-wing conspiracy:

As an economist, I’m supposed to believe in incentives; and the remarkable cohesiveness of conservatives has a lot to do with incentives.

Show some independence, and you’ll face a lavishly financed primary challenge from the Club for Growth. Be a loyal soldier, and you will be taken care of — through what’s commonly referred to as “wingnut welfare.”

Thus, lose an election, and a think tank with the usual funding sources will create an America’s Enemies program for you to direct. Mess up the occupation of Iraq, and you’ll be appointed to run the World Bank; mess up there, and there’s still a chair waiting for you at AEI.

But it appears that wingnut welfare is breaking down when it comes to former Bush officials. Is this the beginning of the end for movement conservatism?

We can only hope so. There certainly are hopeful signs of the GOP beginning to fracture, especially of a re-thinking of the relationship between “fiscal conservatives” and the religious ultra-nutters. The fingerpointing has in no way died down after the election debacle, and the Republicans still in elective office are simply acting insane over the stimulus and the economy generally. There’s a lot of hurting still to be done on the right wing, and we can only hope it goes on as long and as deeply as possible.

But all that is too obvious. What interests me about this post by Krugman is that he would go out on that kind of a limb. To be sure, he’s not risking anything, and it’s not an important story by itself, but he’s not someone who makes wild predictions. That someone who generally shows sensible and considered judgment would speculate on consequences as far-ranging as he does above gives pause for thought. (Gleeful, savagely joyful, and much relieved thought!)

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I keep wondering what the deal is with Megan McArdle. A more or less self-taught libertarian economics blogger who turned that into some big-league writing gigs, she shows much more facility with the technical aspects of the issues she discusses than most bloggers, which still leaves a lot of room for improvement. My impression has been that her posts are generally coherent (in the sense of being understandable – the first hurdle for most bloggers and many libertarians), but not especially well thought-out. In particular, I think she pretends to a degree of technical sophistication that she doesn’t fully command.

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