What do you enjoy reading the most here on my blog?

Search My Blog

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Farewell 2009

And thank you, JibJab, for finding such a succinct way of saying it...

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Here's to 2010!

(Not going to be any Facts of the Day for a while - unless somehow I get the scanner up and running again here at home. Highly unlikely.) Read more!

Fact of the Day - December 31, 2009

091231, originally uploaded by AaronBSam.

Last FotD for the year, and I'm actually posting it early! In fact, I'm testing out a way to schedule this to post so I can start making these and setting them up in advance!

Wave of the future!

Read more!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fact of the Day - December 30, 2009

091230, originally uploaded by AaronBSam.

I guess it's in case they split their pants or something.

I also don't know why the briefs turned out looking like either panties or a jock strap. Oh well.

Read more!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fact of the Day - December 29, 2009

091229, originally uploaded by AaronBSam.

I contemplated giving him an Olde Timey English Moustache to go with the poorly-drawn cane, top hat and monocle - but then decided against it.

I am happiest with the way the knife turned out. I am still horrible at drawing cartoonish characters (or anything with a face, really).


Read more!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Fact of the Day - December 28, 2009

091228, originally uploaded by AaronBSam.

Sorry for my absence over the Christmas break - was planning on trying to get in some Festivus facts, but c'est la vie!

Anyway, here's today's fact.

Are these a good idea? I know I got the idea from another website, and most of these facts are going to be "I've seen that somewhere else you copycat" kind of facts - but does that matter to you?

I want to know what my readers think. Let me know if this is a bad idea or if you'd like me to keep doing these.


Read more!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Fact of the Day - December 23, 2009

091223, originally uploaded by AaronBSam.

Trying out a new angle - maybe it'll get me to post more. And draw more.

And maybe I'll create a separate blog just for these - if I can keep them up.

Read more!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Deep-Fried Butter!

Wouldn't you know it - right after I post a lovely article mentioning the State Fairs and all of the wonderful foods that they manage to deep-fry (and sometimes place on a stick), along comes this news article with the entrants in this year's upcoming Texas State Fair.

And topping the list, Deep Fried Butter.

It starts off by recognizing the top honors from the 2008 Texas State Fair: Chicken Fried Bacon and the Fried Banana Split.

And then comes the parade of new entrants.

My favorite item, and the namesake of this post:

Deep Fried Butter

According to the article, "100 percent pure butter is whipped 'til light and fluffy, then specially sweetened with a choice of several flavors." It is then surrounded by a "special dough" and quick-fried.

Is there anything more delicious-sounding than this? I mean cooking shows have already taught me that fat = flavor, so taking a mass of solid flavor, then cooking it in a flavor-based medium should equal doubly-flavorful flavor. If only there were a way to get rid of that pesky dough!!

Sweet Jalapeno Corn Dog Shrimp comes in as my #2 choice because it's so simple as a basic remake of another traditional fairground treat.

"Shrimp on a stick is coated with a sweet and spicy corn meal batter, then deep-fried to a golden brown and served with a spicy glaze."

It's got everything I love about corndogs (the corn batter and deep-frying) and then they replace those nasty hot dogs with something wonderful like shrimp! My only worry is that the shrimp being used is not of a high-enough size rating, which would yield tiny treats more resembling fried shrimp gone wrong than corn dogs gone horrifically wonderful.

While I'm not much a fan of pork, my next choice has to be Country Fried Pork Chips because it's about damned time that we spread the tradition of "country-fried" to other meats (though I love steak nonetheless).

...seasoned, thin-sliced pork loin "surrounded by a tasty corn meal batter and deep-fried."

All I know is that it had better come with country gravy.

Back into the dessert region for Fried Peanut Butter Cup Macaroon - which seems to be more intriguing regarding the peanut butter cup being crossed with a macaroon than it is about being deep-fried.

It is, of course, "dusted with powdered sugar" after the oil drains. And you probably wouldn't want to get it without the available scoop of Blue Bell ice cream, would you?

I'm not sure how well peanut butter and coconut go together. But I'm sure a few quarts of liquid fat will help them get along better than if they were left to their own non-fried devices.

Getting back to simpler dessert fair options, we have Texas Fried Pecan Pie, which I'm sure delivers exactly what it promises - pecan pie and deep-frying.

It is served with caramel sauce "then topped with whipping cream and chopped, candied pecans."

Me, I'm not so much a fan of pecans, let alone a pie consisting primarily of them - but when at a Texas State Fair, do as the Texans do (and deep-fry it), right?

Ahh, and now we venture into the "healthy" side of deep-frying with Fernie's Deep Fried Peaches & Cream.

...ingredients include "a delicious batter of cinnamon, ginger, coconut, graham cracker crumbs, eggs and milk." It is then (natch) deep-fried and served on a plate, drizzled with raspberry sauce, sprinkled with streusel and topped with whipped cream. Wait — there is vanilla buttercream icing provided on the side.

Fruit? But where's the chocolate and sugar and candy bars and such? Oh - it's been deep fried? Then I think we'll manage. At least it's got buttercream icing to flavor it up a few extra points, right?

Lastly, we come to Twisted Yam on a Stick - offering nothing but nutrition, which must be taught a lesson with some deep-frying justice!

"a delicious, towering, spiral-cut sweet potato on a 13-inch skewer." After being plunked in the fryer, it is then "gently rolled in butter" and dusted with sugar and cinnamon.

You can add all the sugar and cinnamon you want, it's not going to hide a big giant skewer full of yam.

So that's what will be going down at the Texas State Fair this year - at least all of the deep-fried awesomeness I've been able to find so far. I really need to buy tickets and take a vacation out there or something!

Or at least locate a recipe for that deep-fried butter!

What do you think? Are you disgusted by the amounts of calories and saturated fats being discussed in this article - or are you drooling with anticipation as you imagine all of these greasy delights? Leave a comment and let me know!

And then Digg this article!

Read more!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Top 5 New Food Tricks

I love food.

Not only do I love food, but I love unique combinations of food and new ways to prepare food. I'm the kind of guy who was intrigued enough by the thought of bacon-infused vodka to pick up the ingredients and trying the process out. (I'm too scared to taste the results, though, but the trip itself was quite amazing.) If there's a new way to enjoy some of my favorite foods, I want to know about it and be on the cutting edge of the technology.

I even managed to score tickets to the ALL CANDY EXPO the past two years and got to find out about all the new products and flavors before they hit the market.

So I've done a little rummaging around the 'net and here are the Top 5 new food tricks that have really got me interested and I either loved or would love to try:

Honorable Mention: 50 New Things + Deep-Fried + A Stick = State Fair Deliciousness

I'm always hearing about the new food that is now available (mostly at state fairs) that is being deep-fried and often put on a stick for easy eating. In recent times, this has included Oreos, Twinkees, Snickers bars, Coca-Cola (an intriguing one) and cheesecake. I believe there's even a deep-fried ice cream that someone made available.

We've certainly come a long way from the corndog, haven't we?

5. Donuts + Bacon Cheeseburger = Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger

I have to admit, this isn't exactly a new trend. In fact, I believe I read about it back in 2006 when a minor league baseball team's stadium just outside St. Louis (the Gateway Grizzlies) decided to slice up some Krispy Kreme donuts and slap a burger, bacon and cheese in-between and the Krispy Kreme Cheeseburger was officially born. And yes, that link has photos and video of the 1,000-calorie delight.

But donut burgers have spread, and as recently as last year they are still being created, even turning up at a Google cafeteria. That Slashfood article even has a gallery of pictures of the Krispy Kreme Burger from around the world. Disgustingly enough, picture #3 is a "Veggie Krispy Kreme Burger" - for the "health-conscious" donut-burger lover?

What I'm noticing in the pictures is that there's a clear line on the donut-burger battlefield:

Glazed side up or glazed side down?

I'm on the fence, frankly. It just makes more sense to do it glazed side down if you're trying to get some nice grill marks on the dough side, and it makes for a less-messy burger as you don't have to get glazed sugar all over your fingers. But on the other hand, that layer of sugar is separating donut from meat - by doing it glazed side up, the juices from your bacon and meat patty can meld with the sweet donut dough and while it's a messier endeavor, I suspect there's oodles more flavor if you venture down that path.

Where do you stand?

4. Bacon + Chocolate = Mo's Bacon Bar

I've never been a huge fan of the salty+sweet combination attack. Kettle corn's flavor actually confuses my taste buds sometimes. Chocolate-covered pretzels, I devour them by licking off all the chocolate and then having my way with the salty piece all on its own. Yea, that's even how I tackle the Peanut M&M. But when it comes to bacon, I had to give it a try and I did actually purchase and consume the Mo's Bacon Bar made by Vosges Chocolate a few months ago. I'll let Vosges try to explain itself first:

Breathe…engage your five senses, close your eyes and inhale deeply. Be in the present moment, notice the color of the chocolate, the glossy shine. Rub your thumb over the chocolate bar to release the aromas of smoked applewood bacon flirting with deep milk chocolate. Snap off just a tiny piece and place it in your mouth, let the lust of salt and sweet coat your tongue.

So I tried it (the bar, not the touchy-feely instructions that told me to close my eyes but also to notice the color of the chocolate) and despite a semi-loathing of salty-sweet treats, I enjoyed it. I was a little disappointed to find that the bar was something like 85% chocolate and maybe 15% bacon at best - and that they used tiny bacon bits, which seemed to be getting confused in my mouth with the added Alder wood smoked salt that was supposed to compliment the applewood smoked bacon. I found it to almost overpower the bacon, of which I could find very little taste without only tasting salt. (It could have been the salty bacon, could have been the pure salt.)

I was hoping for something more like this chocolate-covered strip of bacon on a stick, which I'm certain would taste more of bacon while still not overpowering its chocolate coating in the flavor department.

(Luckily, there's several recipes online, which do actually consist of more than "dip bacon in chocolate, ya big dummy!")

3. Booze + Potatoes = Beer Chips and Intoxi-Tators

This is a discovery I got to make at the 2008 All Candy Expo here in Chicago with my girlfriend, as we found ourselves at a booth marked "Beer Chips" with several bowls of potato-y treats for us to sample. Sure, there was the original Beer Chip, made with beer (and maybe what seems to be a malt powder to give it that extra beer taste, though BEER is listed in the ingredients). It's not going to get you drunk or anything, though. But it also comes in additional flavors, like Chip Shots (margarita with salt flavor) and Hot Potatoes (spicy bloody mary flavor) and all three were delicious. I spread the word to my friends and they were very much shocked when a few months later the amber-colored bags were available in our local grocery stores.

And then a year went by, and 2009 All Candy Expo was here. We went searching frantically to find the Beer Chip booth to thank them for an awesome product, but instead we found a different alcohol/potato pairing booth: Intoxi-Tators. They were also sporting a beer-flavored chip as well as the margarita and bloody mary flavors. (Aren't there any other salty alcoholic beverages that would mesh well with potato chips?) Anyway, they also had a fourth offering in the form of Designated Driver, in case you wanted the thrill of the Intoxi-Tator brand without the thrill of chips tasting of alcoholic drink flavorants.

It seems that the Intoxi-Tators website lists some future flavors in development: Mimosa, Pomegranate Mojito and Ale.

2. Bacon + Chicken Sandwich + Chicken Sandwich - Buns = KFC's Double Down

So this one's really on the cutting edge of food technology. Well, food technology that's actually endorsed by the food providers themselves. (While we've all been tempted to make our own Big MacChicken with chicken patties for buns on a Big Mac, McDonald's isn't endorsing it on their menu or advertising it or likely condoning it in any way.) KFC, on the other hand, has selected test markets to try out possibly the first chain-approved burger that uses meat patties instead of buns.

The KFC Double Down - two KFC fried chicken patties as buns sandwiching in some bacon, two slices of cheese and "Colonel's sauce".

It's gaining notoriety on the interwebs as footage from the commercials and poster advertisements and in-store advertisements are being posted to internet forums and being discussed and debated by both food connoisseurs and the general troll population. Is this going to be a new trend? Will it take off and expand outside the test market areas? Will heart-attack lawsuits be pending?

Only time will tell, but my mouth is salivating and my brain is cursing the fact that I am not located in one of these test market areas.

Am I crazy for thinking this is worth a road trip?

1. Beef Jerky + Energy Drink = Perky Jerky

The story starts out so innocently: two buddies on a ski trip who drunkenly left both a bag of beef jerky and an energy drink open inside their backpack. Lo and behold, the next morning the jerky has retained its flavor, become more tender from the energy drink, and has absorbed some of the energy-laden chemicals providing a boost of energy during their ski trip.

And thus, Perky Jerky was born - a combination of meat and caffeine that can probably only be topped by some coffee-rubbed Kobe beef or something.

Sadly, I have not yet been able to get my hands on some of this seemingly-splendid snack food - but will likely be making a purchase order in the very near future (unless some Perky Jerky sales exec stumbles across this blog and would like to contact me for an address where a sample for product review can be sent).

Doesn't this seem like an excellent pairing? Some claim that some of the scientific elements of meat (beef in particular) can cause one to become logey or drowsy - so combining beef jerky with caffeinated guarana seems like the perfect counterpoint to produce a snack that satisfies your taste buds and keeps you on your toes!

What do you think? Do you have better food combinations that you've discovered recently that top some of these food-based math formulas? Do you think we've gone too far and are officially through the looking glass when it comes to foods? Is there something new you'd like to see deep-fried and put on a stick? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

And then Digg this article!

Read more!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

PETA Wants A Lighthouse

Okay, so if you're an avid reader of my blog, you already know that when PETA is in the title, something stupid is going on and it usually involves a dumb media stunt by PETA or is making fun of a PETA press release. And this post is no different. Today's article is about PETA and their next attempt at obtaining a public landmark to convert into an insipid "activity center" to "raise awareness" of some "travesty" that is befalling the animals.

PETA is applying through a federal program to take over Grand Haven's Lake Michigan lighthouses and turn them into their anti-fishing headquarters where they will set up "education centers" for visitors to learn all about fish.

I'm personally shocked that nowhere in this PETA/fish article was it brought up that PETA prefers to call them "sea kittens".

It's been a while since PETA tried to pull off a "let's take over a building and come up with a crazy way of 'educating' the people about our cause" maneuver. The last was covered in "PETA and Lobsters" - detailing PETA attempting to take over an old prison and educating the masses in Maine (over 50 miles from the coast) about the plight of the lobsters, including putting rubberbands on visitors' fingers. So their latest attempt is to basically, well...

I'll let this quote from the article try and explain the plan:

"We want to renovate the Grand Haven lights as a memorial to the billions of fish killed annually by sport fishermen, as well as for their flesh (commercial fishing industry)," said Lindsey Rajt, manager of PETA's campaigns department. "We also want to make it a fun and educational place."

Tentative PETA plans call for an education center, where visitors would learn about fish. There also would be a cafe, offering vegetarian fare including "faux fish."

Signs would likely announce the lighthouse as home of PETA's Fish Empathy Center.

Okay - right off the bat I'd like to point out that "billions of fish" relates MORE to the commercial fishing industry (AKA: feeding humans) than the sport fishing aspect. And yes, we eat fish. But here's a logic puzzle for PETA:

Humans are animals, and anglers catch fish so they can eat.

Fish are animals, and anglerfish catch fish so they can eat.

Why is one animal angling fish for food acceptable, but not the other? Do we need to set up an undersea education station for anglerfish so they can learn that fish are people too and don't deserve to be eaten?

But PETA's never really understood the concept of "humans are animals" and refuses to comprehend that the things they say we should not allowed to do are things they say the other animals should remain allowed to do. Let's move on.

So PETA, you'd like the lighthouse to be:
1. A memorial to the billions of deceased fish.
2. A fun place to visit.

Error: does not compute. You wouldn't expect us to be okay with a "Hiroshima Waterpark" or "Auschwitz Activity Center" or "Six Flags over Darfur", right? So why should you be allowed to think for a second that death can also be fun? That would make you no better than the sport fisherman you're rallying against, who have fun thanks to dead fish.

I need to make one more point regarding the conflicting ideals PETA has regarding "fake options".

PETA is against fake fur because it perpetuates fur as a popular STYLE and therefore seems to condone wearing fur in general.

PETA is in favor of fake meat products ("faux fish", tofu, Unturkey, etc.) even though it perpetuates meat as a popular TASTE and therefore condones the eating of meat in general.

PETA - you don't make any goddamned sense in anything you do.

I wish that this article were able to poke as much fun at PETA as I get to do, but I do give them credit for a choice quote and running with it in the article.

Locals are dumbfounded by the proposal.

"It doesn't make any sense to me at all," Capt. Dan Tebo said Tuesday, a mile offshore in his Grand Haven-based fishing charter boat the D'Ann Marie. "We fish here for the fish. That's what God gave them to us for."

What do you think? Are you as dumbfounded as these people? Don't you agree that PETA is a collective of lunatics always trying to one-up itself in the insanity department? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!

And then Digg this article!

Read more!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Tweet to RedEye: Paula and Idol

Okay, just a quick update. It's been a very long time since I've had anything of mine posted in the RedEye - especially since it's been six months since I've done much writing/blogging/anything other than my normal rut. Well, thanks to Twitter (or actually, thanks to the Gmail app that added Twitter to my Gmail inbox) I've at least been able to do some Tweeting in response to the RedEye's Tweets and well...

redeyechicago: Paula Abdul is not coming back to Idol. Wow. Will you miss her? http://su.pr/1cYuHX

@AaronBSam: Not like they're killing her off - the show will manage and if ratings really drop, they'll beg to get her back. No biggie.

And it got printed in today's RedEye!

I'm making my way back, baby! 140 characters at a time!

Read more!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

IDIOTIC PRODUCT: Dissolving Bikini

Stop right there - I know exactly what you're thinking. "But Aaron, how can a bikini that dissolves in water, leaving that gal nekkid and wet and nekkid possibly in any universe be considered an idiotic product??" I initially thought so too, as I saw the headline on Fark.com and instantly clicked to find out what was this awesome thing and is this a joke or a real product - but as I read the article and logic started to sink in, I eventually had to admit that there's no foreseeable way to actually enjoy this product as the creators intended, nor can I think of a logical reason to purchase it at all...

The only thing going for this product is how much it riles up feminists - but if these ladies bothered to go through the same thought processes I did, they'd stop clamoring and recognize the Dissolving Bikini as the idiotic product that it is.

Let's start it off with the intended purpose listed in the article written by Spike.com as the "Ultimate Revenge Gift":

So the article assumes that somehow you actually managed to land yourself a girlfriend (even though you have a brain that would conceive this as being a good idea for "revenge") but now she's your ex-girlfriend (big surprise) and you want to get back at her (so obviously she dumped you). Here's all that the article can manage to suggest:

"A German company has invented a marvelous new bikini that disappears once a girl puts it on and takes a swim. The sexy swimsuit disappears by dissolving in water, leaving a woman completely nude and embarrassed. The sexy black swimsuit looks like a real bikini, feels like a real bikini and fits like a real bikini. The only difference is it’s made from a material that completely melts away after a few seconds in water."

So, what's the plan here? How is it that you're going to:

1. Get your ex-girlfriend to wear this bikini? I mean let's face it - it's not like you're going to have this product shipped in its original container, bearing the large "GET NAKED BIKINI" label. She might pick up on the fact that it's going to dissolve. Which means you've got to purchase it and remove it from the packaging and possibly repackage it. But is your ex really going to accept a bikini as a present from you? "Hey, I know you dumped me in a horrible fashion that left me bloodthirsty for revenge, but I bought you this skimpy bathing suit to show you there's no hard feelings." Okay, so maybe you can try the "oh, I'm just returning your stuff you left at my place so here's your skimpy bikini back" ploy. Odds are probably 75% that she doesn't actually own a bikini that looks like that one, and 99% that she wouldn't have left it at your place. But, on the off-chance that your ex-girlfriend really did own a black bikini like that AND she left it at your place, does she really think it's clean enough to just put on? Which brings us to the next challenge of how are you going to:

2. Get your ex-girlfriend to not wash it before wearing? Even the moderately unhygienic of females would not trust a pre-worn or pre-owned bikini bottom to be clean enough to just put on. Especially if it was in the hands of an ex-boyfriend. There's always the possibility that someone else was wearing it (your new girlfriend, or even YOU). And of course, once she decides to wash the dissolving bikini, the only satisfaction you'll get out of the equation is knowing that she'll be very confused on laundry day when her new/used bikini has gone missing. Which isn't much of "revenge", is it? Speaking of which:

3. How do you get to enjoy this?? Okay, so let's assume that you've managed to slip this awesome bikini trap past your ex-girlfriend and she's somehow decided to wear it without washing it. Where does that leave you? What kind of break-up did you have that you're pissed off enough to want to exact revenge on her, but still on good enough terms that she accepts the gift and will WEAR IT AROUND YOU?

Is there a pool party that you were both invited to before the breakup? If so, isn't it going to be pretty obvious what's happened when the plan comes to fruition and after the three glorious seconds between the bikini dissolving and her realization that she's now naked - now you're left with a confused woman who won't take long to piece together the fact that YOU gave her that bikini and YOU are the cause of the embarrassment. She may not have any clue how/why the situation occurred, but she knows you're to blame and odds are that violence will ensue shortly.

So your alternative is to make the transaction and then HIDE somewhere, spying on her until that moment when it all comes together and she's wearing it and you're out of sight and you get to watch the embarrassment and confusion! (This is based on the notion that you haven't been arrested in that timeframe for stalking or being a Peeping Tom.) Even so, you're once again counting on the bikini-clad situation involving a setting that would embarrass her upon being naked. Jacuzzi time with her new beau could wind up as a sexy surprise for both of them and backfire on you completely, wouldn't it?

In the end, your only real alternative is to use it with different motives.

I mean, you could use them to have fun with your current girlfriend. She might be trusting enough to accept a bikini as a gift and be convinced to not wash it beforehand. But even then, you have to be at a certain point in the relationship where she's not going to leave you as a result of the nudity-inducing prank. And if that's the case and she's that comfortable being naked around you, then why are you bothering with the bikini at all? That's wasted time, money and effort!

You could be a random jackass and switch real bikinis in stores with the dissolving brand and pray that nobody can tell the difference and you haven't been spotted by security cameras when the lawsuits start coming in - but where's the fun in that?

No, any way you look at it - there's no use for this seemingly-hilarious product without getting sued, arrested, injured or missing out on the fun.

And that proves that the Dissolving Bikini is an IDIOTIC PRODUCT.

What do you think? Have I missed a scenario where this product becomes non-idiotic? Do you agree with the article that this product "demeans women"? Leave a comment and join the debate!!

And then Digg this article!

Read more!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Aaron Samuels, Inc.

Welcome to Aaron Samuels, Inc.!

We specialize in the import of candy, snacks and other confections in general!

We expect to be creating a fully-functional website very soon!

We look forward to your business.

Aaron Samuels
Aaron Samuels, Inc.

Sorry if this post confuses anyone - I posted it just in case there were issues with getting my tickets to the All Candy Expo 2009. Read more!