Mar 242015
 

pain1I picked this up at our local beef jerky/spicy food shop. I’d tried a Most Wanted Pain Is Good sauce or two before, but not the jalapeno. Let’s see what’s going on with it.

The sauce is a pleasant green, tilting toward olive but still in tolerance for a jalapeno sauce, with small pepper and onion bits evident. It’s rather thin. To use it reliably as a dip, look for concavity in the vehicle. (A Tostitos Scoop is good, obviously.) The nose is of mostly peppers and garlic, but vinegar isn’t far behind. What do we have here?

Ingredients: Jalapeno Peppers (Jalapeno Peppers, Water, Vinegar, Salt), Vinegar, Water, Roasted Green Chiles (Green Chiles, Salt, Citric Acid), Onions, Garlic, Lime Juice Concentrate, Natural Thickener (Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Sodium Alginate), Spice, Salt, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Natural Flavor.

Uh-oh. That’s trouble. The first ingredient is clearly canned jalapenos, not fresh. Vinegar and water immediately following aren’t promising developments either.

pain2

And indeed, it’s underwhelming. Straight or on a chip, it starts with a pleasant botanical note, but vinegar quickly overwhelms any subtleties. It doesn’t degrade the snack completely, but the experience is decidedly pedestrian.

It did a little better on a grilled chicken quesadilla. The chicken was marinated in Goya Mojo Criollo, which gave a little sophistication back to the gustatory equation.

pain3

The bottle says it’s medium, at a stated “1,000 to 1,400 Scovilles” [sic]. The heat is right in line with any processed jalapeno product. There’s a little bite that might bug someone who “doesn’t like spicy food.” Chileheads won’t need a drink.

I paid $7.99 for this, which was high. You should be able to find it for $5.50 or so without much problem.

Unfortunately, that’s still too much. This sauce might be marginally defensible priced in line with mass-market offerings. However, it’s a slight but unambiguous failure trying to be a boutique product.

4/10

 Posted by at 10:59 pm
Mar 222015
 

I have a speech impediment. I’ve been a stutterer for at least 35 years. (I say it that way because I don’t remember exactly when it started. However, the earliest memory I have of it is in the fourth grade.)

You may have known me for quite a long time and not known about it. Most of the time—really, nearly always—I have no problem with it. A speech pathologist in Anniston named Elizabeth Yarbrough helped me tremendously. (A casual Binging indicates she’s still around and practicing. Perhaps I’ll look her up. Send a thank-you note, anyway.)

Sometimes my stutter recurs when I’m tired. More reliably, it recurs when I have to say something exactly.

For example, sometimes I stutter saying “Hello?” when I answer the telephone, because you pretty much have to say that. Another time I’ve had a bit of trouble in the past is reading in church, which I’m occasionally asked to do. I read from a paper in my hand, but the congregation reads along on the screen behind me. So my opportunities for improvisation are rather limited.

wickedservant

Parable of the Wicked Servant, ca. 1620, by Domenico Fetti (1588-1623)

I read this morning from Matthew 18—specifically, the parable of the unforgiving servant. I stuttered only once. It was quite brief—well under one second—and I’m certain no one noticed but me.

A few minutes later I went out to refill my coffee and one of the guitar players in the praise band asked if he could talk to me. He said I had blessed him and his son and I never realized it.

When I asked him how, he told me he and his son had been present several years ago when I’d had a lot more trouble reading in church. (When it happens, there’s nothing to do but work through it as best I can. Stressing about it makes it much worse.) I’m sure I smiled through it, offered a brief apology, and continued.

He told me his son has trouble with his speech sometimes, and that I had been really encouraging to him just getting up and speaking like that, knowing what might happen.

Now I’d still rather not have the problem at all. Once in a great while it really bothers me. Last year I was promoting this event in a radio interview and stuttered fairly severely, to the point that the DJ had to cover for me. It was all really quick and a much bigger deal in my head than it was in actuality. Still, you know?

But I felt wonderful this morning learning that I’d helped a young man get a little further in making his peace with such a torment. My friend, you certainly blessed me right back telling me about it. Thank you.

 Posted by at 3:30 pm
Mar 202015
 

uabIn the wake of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB’s) thrilling, bracket-busting victory over Iowa State in the second round of the 2015 tournament, UAB president Ray Watts announced the immediate elimination of the UAB basketball program.

“These young men have delivered an exciting victory for UAB, swelling the entire UAB family with joy. They have also shown a light of prominence on UAB’s excellence for the world to see,” Dr. Watts said in a statement. “This wave of positivity cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Dr. Watts’ statement and action were both met with widespread derision. However, Dr. Watts assured all detractors that he met with a bunch of smart people and consulted some charts, and this was the only decision that made sense.

 Posted by at 7:48 am
Mar 192015
 
  • It’s another perfect square Thursday miscellanea! They get fewer and farther between, of course. That’s their nature. (Actually they increment by odd integers, and I’m embarrassed at how old I was before I noticed that.) If I make it to 80 and never stop doing Thursday miscellanea posts, my final one will be something like #2,055. That would make the highest perfect square Thursday miscellanea #2,025.
  • I’m enjoying that it’s warmer too, but let’s not float away on it, please. It’s still far more likely than not to freeze again.
  • Started watching Luther on Netflix. My friend Nancy is a fan and has been goading me to watch it forever. I’m enjoying it so far. There are only 14 episodes in the whole thing, in case you’d like to explore binge-watching but are afraid of long-term commitment.
  • Scott made what he called his hottest chili yet yesterday for Wicked Wednesday at Anaheim Chili. But, I have more than two weeks to go before I can have red meat. Solution? Buy a quart and freeze it. Looking forward to it on Easter Sunday. Sure wanted to lick the spoon when I was putting it up, but I resisted!
  • Nate’s Lumia 635 is going in for a second time for a non-functional power key. He’s only had it back about two weeks from the first time around. There is no physical damage, no foreign substance, nothing. The button just stops working. I may ask for a replacement if it happens again.
  • Do you know about YouNow? It’s like YouTube, but live. I watched/listened to our church’s music man extraordinaire Brent Morgan do his thing on there earlier this week. Trying to think about what I might do with it.
  • Saintseester has assigned me the category Young Adult for our next Alabamians Can Read selection. Any thoughts?
 Posted by at 12:06 am
Mar 182015
 

Is this finally the effort in which I lose significant weight? Who knows? I have to keep trying, though. I eventually quit smoking on the only-God-knows-how-manyth try, and I’ll eventually do this too. Lessons from the front lines so far:

  • When you decide you’re going to drink diet tonic water as a go-to, then the local Publix runs out of it very quickly.
  • I love Greek yogurt, and it sits in my stomach and keeps me satiated for a long time. I should have been eating it all along. Challenge now is not to get burned out on it.
  • There are 55 calories in a tablespoon of regular ranch dressing, and I’d rather have less of the real thing than more of a reduced-calorie version.
  • Never, ever sit down with the can of almonds. Count them out painstakingly and leave the kitchen knowing how many calories are in your napkin.
  • Ground chicken degrades my chili, but only slightly. It still delivers an 85-90% gustatory experience.
  • I’m not making an explicit effort to limit carbohydrates, but that’s kind of how it’s working out by itself. I can tell the difference in how I feel when I’ve had a lot of carbs. It’s not a good difference.
  • My legs have been thankfully content for the past few days as they’ve gotten accustomed to the increased activity. They started raising hell in earnest last year, and the message from them is “these are really just niggling little hurts, Bo, but if you don’t get this damned weight off we can arrange a major injury. How would that be?” I get it, guys. Working on it!
 Posted by at 10:30 am