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The Richest Food & Drink

Salvatore’s Legacy (picture by AFP)

At the Playboy Club in London yesterday, famed bartender Salvatore Calabrese managed to create the world’s most expensive cocktail, surpassing the previous record holder in the Guinness Book of World Records. “Salvatore’s Legacy,” as it is known, consists of ingredients that together date back more than 700 years: cognac and liqueur from the 18th century; Curacao from the 19th century; and bitters from the turn of the 20th century. All in all, one glass of this delicious libation carries a price tag of $8,824.

In all likelihood, I will never have the means to drop nearly ten grand on a beverage. But if I did—if money wasn’t a concern—I wonder what other expensive foods I could buy?

If I could have only one dish for the rest of my life, it would undoubtedly be that all-American favorite, the cheeseburger. Nothing makes my mouth water more than a juicy, cheese-covered hamburger patty topped with crispy bacon, fresh lettuce, mustard and ketchup, and sandwiched between a delicious, buttery roll. And there are enough variations in toppings and ingredients to keep things interesting—from crumbled blue cheese and slivered onion rings to salsa and guacamole. To me, it is the perfect food.

In terms of sheer expense, however, nothing tops the $666 Douche Burger created by Franz Aliquo of New York City. First created in a food truck, the Douche Burger features a gold leaf-wrapped patty of Kobe beef, finished with caviar, foie gras, truffles, lobster, Gruyere cheese, kopi luwak barbecue sauce and rock salt from the Himalayas. Even the cheese is melted with champagne steam. Granted, it sounds kind of nasty—even to a burger lover like me—but I’m sure there are rich folks out there who love it.

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The infamous Lincoln Fry (courtesy of McDonald’s)

Cheeseburgers are great on their own, but nothing enhances them better than some hot, crispy French fries. Unfortunately, the most expensive French fry was neither hot nor crispy; it was plastic. In 2005, McDonald’s created the “Lincoln Fry,” which slightly resembled the profile of Abraham Lincoln, as part of a marketing campaign that eventually went viral. Despite being a fake, the Lincoln Fry sold for over $75,000 at auction to the online casino GoldenPalace.com. That is one expensive French fry, especially since you can’t even eat it!

Of course, there are days when cheeseburgers and fries just won’t do, days when I want something a little different. Steak is always a suitable alternative, but mine always come from the grocery store or Outback Steak House. For the insanely wealthy, however, there is nothing better than the Wagyu Steak, a varietal of Kobe beef from the Hyogo region of Japan. Rumor has it that beef comes from beer-drinking cows that are frequently massaged to ensure tenderness and exquisite marbling. Whether or not this is true, I have no idea. What I do know is that a Wagyu steak can run as high as $2800, so those cows can eat or drink anything they like. Lord knows I will never taste them.

Want some marinated mushrooms for your steak? Why not try Matsutake mushrooms, another Japanese delight? This rare fungus grows in the autumn, but has been threatened in recent years because of insects that destroy the trees under which it grows. At $1000 or more per pound, however, I say let the insects eat. However, even Matsutake mushrooms would be preferable to Italy’s White Alba Truffle, the so-called king of all fungi. A large one sold to a Hong Kong couple in 2009 for a whopping $160,000!

Personally, I see nothing wrong with Shiitake mushrooms, especially since they can be found at my local grocer for a much better price.

Pizza normally wouldn’t be an expensive food to enjoy, but even it has been transformed into a meal for the rich and famous. Domenico Crolla created the “Pizza Royale 007” in much the same way that Franz Aliquo created the Douche Burger: by adding as much “rich people” stuff as possible. Crolla’s 12-inch pizza pie incorporates caviar, champagne, lobster, cognac, vintage balsamic vinegar and a host of other ingredients imported from all over the world. Forget about pepperoni because this pizza has venison, smoked salmon and prosciutto. And as if all this weren’t enough, Crolla even sprinkles the pizza with edible flakes of 24-carat gold!

English: Half_cut_of_Yubari_melon 日本語: 夕張メロンのハ...

Yubari melon half (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having some fruit after a good meal is a healthy thing we should all probably do: a banana, an apple or another tasty treat from Mother Nature. The wealthy again have an option not available to most commoners: the Yubari Melon. A pair of these cantaloupes sold for more than $22,000 at auction in 2008. And I’m sure they were delicious. Of course, a nice alternative might be Ruby Roman grapes—also from Japan—which sell for as much as $6,500!

Strange how a lot of this stuff comes from Japan, isn’t it?

Thankfully, I never have to worry about buying, eating or drinking these obscenely priced items. Even if I had money to burn, I’m afraid that my tastes are much less refined. It would be nice to try a Yubari melon just once to see if it truly is worth the price. But I suspect the one element that makes all these foods and drinks taste better is simply the financial investment required to enjoy them. And I can find better ways to spend my money.

No Eagle Scout for you!

Ryan Andresen still takes pride in his achievements (courtesy of the Andresen family)

To me, Ryan has all the qualities expected of a Boy Scout with one very important exception: he is also gay. And because he just came out to his family and friends, news which obviously got back to his scoutmaster, Ryan will not receive his Eagle Scout award. His family is protesting this decision, of course, but it doesn’t look good.

Last month, the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed their policy of excluding gays from joining or providing leadership in their organization. This exclusion policy was challenged in 2000, but the U.S. Supreme court ruled 5-4 that it in no way violated anti-gay discrimination laws.

Of course, this is the same organization that kept detailed “perversion files” about suspected pedophiles and sex offenders for decades without sharing them with law enforcement. Thanks to a recent court order, though, they now have to release twenty years of files to the proper authorities.

Although I disagree with the BSA’s anti-gay policy, I can understand why they cling to it so. There are a lot of people who demonize gays and even some who equate homosexuality with things like child molestation and pedophilia. To my knowledge, there is no clear evidence to support these fears, aside from the actions of a few bad apples, which you will find in almost any organization.

Is it fair to judge all gays based on the actions of a few misguided or unstable people? I certainly don’t think so. That would be no different from saying that all African-Americans are criminals simply because most newscasts focus unfairly on crimes committed by blacks. It just isn’t right.

I certainly feel terrible for Ryan Andresen. Here he is on the cusp of receiving the Boy Scouts’ highest honor, Eagle Scout, only to have his hopes, dreams and hard work negated for nothing more than his sexual orientation. It truly is a shame and I hope future leaders of this important organization someday find a way to include everyone.

Lord knows that all our boys and young men could benefit from the life lessons and positive experiences the Boy Scouts provide.

Is Big Brother watching you?

Tom Cruise window shops in “Minority Report”

In the 2002 Steven Spielberg film “Minority Report,” Tom Cruise‘s character, John Anderton, enters a shopping mall of the future as he evades his former Pre-Crime partners. As Anderton moves through the crowd, holographic advertising billboards use facial recognition software to convey messages specific to him.

Actually, this takes place after Anderton has his eyes replaced with those of an Asian man, so the advertisements are a little skewed.

“It’s nice to see you again, Mr. Yakamura. I hope you enjoyed those black dress socks, size small, from your last visit.”

People are bombarded by advertising at every turn now. Can you imagine if this included advertising specific to you? Not only that, but annoying advertisements that followed you around every store?

It may sound like science fiction, but take it from me: it is only a matter of time.

A mobile ad on Facebook (courtesy of C/Net)

Personalized advertising is nothing new. Facebook is notorious for “selling out” its users and offering their preferences and other information to advertisers.  The Zuckerberg monster then allows these same companies to post ads on your pages that are more likely to appeal to you. Even worse, a product or site you “like”  could lead to your name being attached to an ad targeting your friends and family!

“Jim and Susan like Preparation-H hemorrhoidal cream. Don’t you?”

Email spammers can also drop “cookies” into people’s systems that essentially transmit information about their shopping habits to marketing agencies, who then inundate these people with even more email advertisements. Of course, this is no secret and has been happening for years.

But things are going to get worse. I saw another sign of impending doom today.

C/Net just reported that Google’s Motorola Mobility will purchase Viewdle, a facial recognition technology firm whose software is capable of tagging photos automatically. Earlier this year, the illustrious Facebook bought Face.com and its automatic photo-tagging application.

Now when you take a digital picture, you won’t have to worry about identifying the people in it. The software will handle it for you.

Am I the only person who finds this rather frightening? And can “Big Brother” be far behind?

It starts with the people in your Facebook photos being automatically tagged. And before you know it, the advertising billboards from “Minority Report” become reality. Facial recognition will be completely mainstream, and that’s what worries me the most.

The Eye in the Sky is always focused on you!

How will this technology be abused? Better yet, is it being abused now?

I swear that I am not and never have been a conspiracy theorist. That being said, I can’t help but wonder if our government monitors its people without their knowledge, even in the interest of national security. More Patriot Act, anyone?

We all know cell phones can be used as microphones, even when they’re switched off. And movies like “Patriot Games” have shown how effective satellite imaging can be in tracking individuals anywhere in the world. Toss in facial recognition software and the most powerful computing in the free world and voila! Our government could become “Big Brother” overnight!

I wish I could say this would never happen, but I have my doubts.

This kind of technology has probably been used in some capacity for years, perhaps decades, before it went public. And the attacks of September 11th made everyone so paranoid that I can understand Homeland Security or some clandestine government agency using it to bust bad guys.

I just worry they might use it on you and me, too. And personally, I would rather “Big Brother” not watch everything that I do.

Some of it is kind of embarrassing…

Porn now easier to find

Search.xxx

A new approach to sleaze (property of Search.XXX)

Registry Launches Search Engine for Porn | News & Opinion | PCMag.com.

The ICM Registry just unveiled something that internet porn aficionados have likely wanted for years: a porn search engine.

Search.XXX is a new porn tool (no pun intended) that allows perverts from around the globe to scan through millions of pages of adult content bearing the .xxx domain.

This differs from simple porn searches using engines like Google or Yahoo because it doesn’t pander to advertisers. In other words, sites are not ranked lower in web searches simply because they offer less ad revenue.

Everyone with pictures of boobies, butts, hoohas and ding-dongs has an equal shot (not money shot) of being included in search results. Score one for pornographers everywhere!

Another interesting “non-feature” on Search.XXX is advertising. Gone are all the annoying offers and images you find on many porn sites. And there are also no pop-ups or other irritating distractions.

All you have is porn at your fingertips, at least until those fingertips drift off the mouse and start “interfacing” with your naughty bits and pieces.

Sadly, this new search engine won’t help me much because honestly, I’ve probably seen all the 21 million pages of adult content Search.XXX has to offer.

I will wait patiently for the first update, though.

The Sweetest Award

So Sweet Blogger Award

Bloggers are the best kind of people.

Today, I received a wonderful and unexpected honor from the sweet and beautiful Donah at Sweetjellybean.com. She bestowed upon me the coveted So Sweet Blogger Award. And more flattered, I could not be.

I have only been blogging for three months or so, but the experience has been so positive and inspirational that I can’t imagine why I haven’t been doing this all along. Years of work-a-day stress and routine tapped my creativity until I finally visited WordPress, determined to write again and to join the blogging community.

And what a community it is.

Everyone I meet through my own blog or theirs, as well as readers from all over the world, have been awesome. Even the people who disagree with my opinions and leave negative comments have been courteous and polite, for the most part. I interact with loyal followers daily, learn more about them and their lives, and share my own experiences in an encouraging and nurturing environment. WordPress is a great place to be because the people make it great, and that includes the WP staff… not to mention YOU!

Three months of blogging is not a long time, but it is long enough to know who my favorite, kindest and “sweetest” bloggers (and oftentimes readers) are. I wish I could recognize everyone because narrowing the list was not easy. It had to be done, though, so please visit and congratulate these folks for receiving the So Sweet Blogger Award! Woohoo!

The list could go on and on, but I have to save someone for future nominations, right?

Congratulations again, my blogging friends! Keep kicking ass and don’t forget to award some of your sweetest bloggers, too!

Hazing on the upswing

English: , University of Tennessee at Knoxville

University of Tennessee at Knoxville (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was in college, I often heard stories about fraternities hazing their pledges. Most of it involved excessive drinking or completely ridiculous acts, like streaking or doing other embarrassing things in public. And while much of it seemed innocent to me at the time, I was aware that students were being harmed or even killed at other institutions. Fortunately, hazing was soon outlawed and students who engaged in it faced serious consequences. Sure, some of it still happened, but at least all the morbid news stories eased off a bit.

I wish the same were true today. After just a few minutes of surfing the internet, I came across two recent hazing stories that make me wonder if this is going to become a problem again.

The first story comes from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Their chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity was just suspended because of an incident this past weekend that ended with one student being hospitalized. Apparently, they used hoses to give alcohol enemas to students. This produces a stronger and much more dangerous “buzz” since it allows alcohol to enter the bloodstream faster. The hospitalized student was subjected to this and ended up with a blood alcohol level more than five times higher than the legal limit for driving!

A spokesperson for the university denied this was hazing and instead qualified it as an “alcohol incident,” but I have my doubts. If it were this simple, then why suspend the fraternity? In my experience, alcohol and fraternities go hand-in-hand. Am I now supposed to believe that a single incident of alcohol abuse is enough to warrant suspension of the entire chapter? Better yet, would any fraternities exist if this were standard procedure? Aside from honors or academic fraternities, that is.

The second hazing story occurred at La Puente High School in California. And I must warn you that what happened is a little graphic, so please stop reading if you are easily offended.

Several young soccer players ranging in age from 14-15 were the victims of hazing and sexual assault by as many as ten of their teammates. Basically, the gang cornered each of them in a back room, held them down and inserted poles into their rectums. Although this is horrifying enough, I was even more appalled to learn that their coach was aware this abuse and did nothing to stop it. And his office was almost next door to the room where the abuse took place! It’s also worth mentioning that when the coach saw his players luring one of their victims into the room, he winked at the kid. Is there any doubt he knew what was about to happen?

While I find both of these stories disturbing for different reasons, it is obvious that hazing still occurs far more than it should. I can understand why the fraternity incident happened because as I mentioned, I know how some of these organizations operate. And the fraternity guys I knew were always looking for ways to enhance or intensify their “buzz.” They used beer bongs, did keg stands and consumed more Jello shooters than I care to count. I don’t agree with their methods, but I’m also not shocked by them, either.

Soccer Field

Soccer Field (Photo credit: Peter Ankerstål)

However, the incident at La Puente High School has to be one of the most offensive and frightening things I have heard in some time. Now that I’m a father, I find myself inserting my son into stories like these, at least as precautionary tales. He just started kindergarten and I must admit that relinquishing control of him to teachers and school administrators was not easy to do. I trust they will take care of him and make sure he remains safe, but there is always some level of doubt since no one will care for him like I do. The soccer coach in this story should have protected his players and intervened as soon as he learned of this abuse. Instead, he let it happen and even seemed to relish the fact it occurred. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if one of the victim’s parents beat the ever-loving shit out of this guy because personally, I would do it in an instant. Hell, I would probably kick some of the players’ asses, too. And you better believe that a lawsuit against the school, the coach and everyone else involved would be filed immediately. Someone would pay the price.

Hazing may be illegal, but since when has that stopped anyone? Smoking marijuana is illegal and more people are doing it than ever before, so laws aren’t enough to protect us. We must protect each other so incidents like the ones mentioned here will no longer plague our society. Part of our responsibility is to educate everyone, including our children, about the potential dangers in the world, including hazing. The other part is to take action when things like this do occur so others won’t fall victim to them in the future.

So to all you coaches, teachers or other school officials out there who let hazing and even sexual assault happen to your students,  I have one piece of advice for you: watch your back. Because if you allow something like this to happen to my son, I will be visiting you very soon.

Mother’s Day in September

I’m not sure if the planets aligned, hell froze over or Mother’s Day moved to September, but Mom was all over the news today. Dare I say she held her own with the Presidential election coverage, providing a much-needed break from all the empty promises and political double-speak. Sadly, not all the news was good, but what can you do? It’s Mom!

Marie Jost of Amherst, Wisconsin, has been receiving Social Security checks since she suffered a stroke in 1980. Today, these payments total $175,000. This may not seem like an exorbitant sum of money—especially spread across more than thirty years—but there’s more to the story: Jost has been dead since 1982.

Most of us put family first and live by the adage that “blood is thicker than water,” but the same can’t be said for Marie Jost’s son, daughter and son-in-law. After Jost disappeared without a trace three decades ago—she is of course presumed dead—her family continued to cash her Social Security checks. They would have raked in even more if the Social Security Administration hadn’t sent a deputy to Jost’s property to confirm that she was still alive. The ensuing investigation led authorities to Ronald Disher, Jost’s son-in-law, who confessed that she had “been gone about 25-30 years.”

Needless to say, all three of these losers face felony charges, prison time and fines heftier than the cash they stole from this poor woman.

Anna Gristina of Monroe, New York, is a mother of four and legal U.S. resident originally from Scotland. In town, she is known for rescuing animals and finding them homes. But in the big city, Gristina has a different image.

She is the madam of a multimillion-dollar prostitution… dating… service. And sadly, the party’s over.

The lovely and enterprising Gristina spent fifteen years giving wealthy clients “the business.” But her run came to an abrupt end when she sent two “escorts” to service what turned out to be an undercover cop. Now Gristina has been indicted by a grand jury and is fighting for her life in court.

Personally, I have no problem with prostitution for the same reason I’m pro-life on abortion: women have the right to choose what they do with their bodies. If this includes humping the life out of rich and sexually deprived clients, so be it.  No offense to any “Johns” out there. And good luck to you, Anna. You’re going to need it.

Julie Myfors of Sedro-Woolley, Washington, discovered that her 17-year-old daughter was dating a registered sex offender, 19-year-old William Elms—his prior conviction was third-degree child molestation. When her daughter refused to break up with Elms, Myfors took action.

She immediately found a young girl who was friends with Elms on Facebook, set up a fake profile and email account, and started communicating with this pervert. Predictably, the conversation turned nasty—even violent—and led to Elms’ sending a picture of his “hangdown” to Myfors, who was posing as 15-year-old Ashley Lynn Brooks. A short visit with the police later and Elms found himself behind bars.

You know what happens to child molesters in jail, don’t you? Let’s just say that regardless of his sentence, Elms will undoubtedly get what’s coming to him… in the end. I can’t make it much clearer than that.

These aren’t the same kids

Anna Boyle of Woodinville, Washington, was cruising down a state highway, stoned out of her mind on weed, heroin, methamphetamines and God knows what else, when she was pulled over by “the fuzz.” Officers smelled pot and confronted Boyle and her passenger/fiancé about it. That’s when they heard a thumping sound coming from the trunk.

There they found Boyle’s three hungry children—their last meal was the previous day—as well as the family dog. Boyle and her partner-in-crime, Aaron Johnson, were immediately arrested on the drug charges. Additional charges related to the kids should be coming soon to a court near these two morons. I swear, some crackheads never learn.

Zewoinesh Badasso of San Diego, California, faces first-degree murder charges for strangling her 7-month-old son and tossing him out of a third-story window. A passerby found his tiny body on the street below and phoned police, who apprehended Badasso and took note of her “calm and unconcerned” behavior. Badasso’s attorney claims she was opening a window and accidentally dropped the baby out of it, but will focus her defense on “post-partum psychosis”—the equivalent of the temporary insanity plea, only for mothers who snap on their newborns.

Wow. I think I just depressed myself with that story. Murder aside, it’s also a shame to think that somewhere in San Diego could be a couple who would have loved to adopt this child. Instead, another young life has been snuffed. And there are no silver linings where dead babies are concerned.

What kind of messed up Mother’s Day would this have been? Of course, I suppose it is possible these mothers were trying to tell us all something very, very important. Something none of us should ever, ever forget.

Be good to Mom.

I am the guy who wrote this post and I endorse this message because as I stated before, I wrote this post and thus the message belongs to me. Take that, Mitt and Barack!

Green Day’s real-life “Basket Case”

Billie Joe Armstrong Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day smashes his guitar as he performs onstage during the 2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 21, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It was 1994 when the California punk rock band Green Day released its major label debut album DookieThe third hit single from the album was “Basket Case,” a song written by the band’s lead vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong about his struggles with anxiety and panic disorders.

It now appears the song also foreshadowed things to come.

Today, the Associated Press reported that Billie Joe Armstrong will begin treatment for substance abuse soon.

This comes mere days after his now famous meltdown at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas. When producers told Armstrong he had one more minute to wrap up his set, to accommodate Usher’s performance, the Green Day front man went ballistic.

“You’re gonna give me one minute? I’ve been around since f–ing nineteen eighty f–king eight, and you’re gonna give me one minute? You’ve gotta be f–ing kidding me,” Billie Joe ranted. “I’m not f–ing Justin Bieber, you motherf–ers! Let me show you what one f–ing minute f–ing means!”

He then smashed his guitar on the stage. Granted, this may not seem very strange for Billie Joe, but it did punctuate his tirade in grand fashion.

I don’t know what’s going on with you, Billie Joe, but I commend you on getting help. And I’m sure Justin Bieber will breathe a little easier knowing you are “off the streets” for a little while, too. He doesn’t know how close he came to taking the guitar’s place.

Reefer Medicine

Cannabidiol 3D

Cannabidiol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marijuana And Cancer: Scientists Find Cannabis Compound Stops Metastasis In Aggressive Cancers.

When you hear the word metastasis, it is usually in the same breath as cancer. And it is never a good thing when a deadly disease like this starts to spread.

Fortunately, a couple of scientists in San Francisco have developed a treatment derived from cannabis that looks very promising. Pierre Desprez and Sean McAllister combined Cannabidiol, a chemical compound from the cannabis plant, with cells containing ID-1, the gene that allows cancer to spread. What they discovered was fascinating.

The cells stopped spreading. Not only that, but they returned to normal.

I should also mention that lab and animal trials have already been completed, and the hope is for a human trial sometime soon. There have been no weird side effects, no toxic poisonings and nothing to indicate a danger to human subjects. In fact, Cannabidiol is already used by people for a number of different reasons. It’s perfectly safe.

Cannabis

Cannabis (Photo credit: Duncan Brown (Cradlehall))

This could be huge in terms of cancer treatment, and Desprez and McAllister already have some ideas.

“We started by researching breast cancer,” Desprez said. “But now we’ve found that Cannabidiol works with many kinds of aggressive cancers–brain, prostate–any kind in which these high levels of ID-1 are present.”

If things go according to plan, this treatment could available within a few years. Can you imagine having a medicine that could prevent the spread of cancer? Not only that, but a cannabis-based medicine.

Let’s see Romney and Ryan vote against that!

Anti-American protester pays ultimate price

 

United States flag being burnt in protest, in ...

Stand closer while it burns (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Protester dies after inhaling fumes from burning American flag | Fox News.

Like many Muslims in his part of the world, Abdullah Ismail joined in protest over the poorly made but highly controversial film, “The Innocence of Muslims.”

Ismail is from the Punjab province of Pakistan and joined in a flag burning near the capital city of Lahore. He complained of feeling sick from inhaling the fumes of all the American flags being burned and was taken to a local hospital, where he later died.

I know the concept of karma comes from Hindu and Buddhist traditions. And I prefer to believe in John Lennon’s philosophy of instant karma, which is exactly what poor Mr. Ismail received. Had he not been burning American flags, this never would have happened.

Irony is inescapable. And karma can be a bitch.

I sincerely hope other anti-USA protesters learn a valuable lesson from Ismail: no matter who your God is, he/she/it is not lacking a rather dark sense of humor.

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