Category Archives: Evangelical Christianity

The Clothes Really DO Make the Man…

First of all, go and buy a goddamn truckerfish t-shirt…..the link is over on the right. It’s a good friend of mine, and he was cool enough to make a shirt of the symbol that has made this website so damn famous……

Okay, so the election is over and the holidays are upon us. Well praise the lord.  I have a love-hate relationship with this time of year…I love the fall weather and that chill in the air, the sun going down earlier and earlier, BUT I also hate the damn mad rush of crowds, driving in the snow, the holiday shopping happening earlier and earlier every year, and the knowledge that this time of year comes around much faster because I’m getting much older.  The sense of history and nostalgia that has been bugging me was driven home over the weekend when I attended my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary party.  That’s a big one, AND my parent’s 40th is next week too.  With the number of divorces today and the attitude most people have about recyclable marriages, I count myself as very lucky to have grandparents and parents that are still together after all these years.  I don’t have any living siblings, my only brother died at 15 in 1989, but I do have a huge family.  And for the most part they are pretty normal, and nice, and family gatherings are something I look forward to when they are on the calendar.  Our yearly family Bingo get-together is something of legend, I can’t think of anything more enjoyable than watching my grandfather getting frustrated trying to talk over people as he calls out the numbers….because we’re all wondering if he’s going to take the game all the way to blackout……we’ve had our eye on whatever piece of Big Lots goodness that is over on one of the prize tables for the past couple of hours.  I get to bring my girlfriend into that arena for the first time next week when she is in town for Thanksgiving, and I introduce people to my family with the full confidence that we can pretty much take the Pepsi challenge against any other family of this size.  Nobody can handle our Bingo game while meeting everyone for the first time, I’ll probably have them delay it until next February.  Anyhoo, last weekend did a lot to bring me back to my center, and to reinforce the fact that no matter what is going on in the world politically, family really is the only thing that matters.  I love to rant and talk shit, throw my liberal leanings out there with pride, make fun of my religious past and those who still cling to bad theology, etc., etc., but I do mean it when I say that at my core I am pretty conservative as far as my basic appreciation for a family, a job and a nice home.  Now that I don’t have to filter every damn thing I say or do through the fact that I can break furniture when I sit on it, I’m able to take comfort in the simple things and realize the futility of getting hung up on the minutea of life.

I was wondering what to title this post, but then I remembered a great line from one of my favorite movies, Mystery Train, when Screamin’ Jay Hawkins says…”and it’s like they say, the clothes really do make the man”.  And I have an absolutely logical connection between the last paragraph and this one, I promise.  In my entire history with my family, the photos, the terrible home movies on 8mm in my youth….I can’t remember the last time I ever shopped at a “normal” clothing store.  I remember like it was yesterday being in about the 6th grade and having to shop at Jerry Leonard (anybody remember THAT store?), having to wear men’s sized shirts for cub scouts and boy scouts…..the list is endless, and it felt like a fucking death sentence every…single…time.  I’ve only ever know Big n’ Tall shopping since way back when my parents were still buying my clothes for me.  I can’t remember the last time I actually tried on clothing while still in the store.  If it didn’t fit when I got home, I’d just go and buy the next size.  This cycle went on for decades, and even when I was thin enough to wear any of the old clothing, it had been out of fashion for so long or was so embarassingly ugly because it was some of my old preacher pants that I felt bad even giving it to Goodwill.  I’ve either thrown away, given away, or in some cases sold, trashbags full of clothing since I had surgery.  I’d say at least 30% of it was never even worn once, still had the tags.  And I don’t mean kitchen trash bags, I’m talking about the gigantic yellow Boy Scout sale trash bags…….conservatively, and this is just the stuff I wasn’t too ashamed to let someone else wear…..I’d estimate a total of at LEAST six or seven of those trashbags filled to the point where the sides almost rip when you pick them up have left this house since surgery.  That’s a LOT of fat clothes.  And I’ve never been rich, I just didn’t want to deal with the reality of trying on clothing because it SUCKED.  Being fat and shopping for clothing is more painful than an army of liniment-soaked colonoscopies.  And no, I’m not being dramatic.

So I literally cannot remember the last time I shopped at a normal store for clothing, or at least the big and tall section of Dillards, Penney’s or Jones…..and today was the day that changed.  I’ve been prompted by my girlfriend and both male and female friends to give this a shot before now, but you know your body well enough to know exactly how big you are, not the way THEY see you.  So I was hesitant, because at some level being that big is kind of what makes you special….you need the “special” clothing….it makes no sense, but psychologically it is true. Being fat is a bizarre crutch that I won’t get into right now.  I’ve had this one pair of black Dockers jeans that are probably at least fifteen years old at a minimum, because I remember them being old when I was able to fit into them again after losing some weight in 1995.  I’m wearing them right now as I type this.  They are a 44 waist, and people have been giving me shit about them being way too big.  “Go buy some fucking pants” I think were their exact words.  And hey, it’s not like I haven’t wanted to, but I have literally never known what it is like to do that.  If all you’ve ever known is “normal sized” clothes shopping, think about that for a minute…….I’ve never done that, and next year I’ll be 40.  I’ve got a good friend who has been on deck for a while now to come out shopping with me, and as fucked up as it may sound, the first trip into that arena just had to be on my own. 

So I started this journey in the place that made the most sense at the time…..Old Navy.  First of all, Old Navy has a TON of shit for sale. So much more than a Big and Tall store that it freaked me out.  They have bigger sizes on their website than they have on the shelves in the store, so that threw me off for a little bit.  In short, I found out that I can fit into the biggest sizes they stock on the Old Navy brick and mortar shelves….. 42 waist pants and XXL shirts/sweaters.  In some cases it’s a tight fit, not freakishly so, but you have to realize that an Old Navy/department store 42 waist/XXL is very, very different and smaller than a Big and Tall brand of the same size.  Big and Tall store XL’s are too big for me at this point, so there is some kind of sinister marketing at play.  I did feel kind of like an alien at first, thinking that everyone in the store would be going “oh, we don’t have anything to fit HIM”, but that’s just a holdover from the pre-surgery days.  My biggest asset is that I’m just cool as shit and low-maintenance, so I found out pretty quickly that the staff was willing to field questions when I told them “hey man, I haven’t been in a normal store since before sixth grade”.  I have no shame or embarassment about that fact, it was like visiting a foreign country for me.  Just tell the natives “hi, I’m retarded”, and chances are good you will get a positive reception.  So I actually tried on clothes and asked some questions…..both things that I considered verboten a couple of years ago.  And overall the trip went very well…I got two pairs of pants, two sweaters and a dress shirt for 87 bucks (after the twenty percent discount because I got a new Old Navy charge card).  You have any idea how much the same shit would cost at even the cheapest Big and Tall store?  I’ll tell you…..and this is no bullshit… LEAST 250 to 300 bucks unless they were running some crazy sale.  So I can buy clothing like a maniac now, for little to no money worries. 

Granted, this was just a preliminary visit, and my paranoia had me in a big hurry to get in and get out.  I’ve got a thousand levels of shit to work through before I get my game down.  I have zero clue about color coordination or anything like that.  Plus, to me I look fat in anything I put on so I have to get reliable feedback on what looks okay and what doesn’t.  I know there is a world out there beyond Old Navy, no matter what the girl at the checkout register tells you…….and do they train them ALL to be so whorishly flirtatious with customers, or did this chick have some extra hootch in ‘er?  So I’ll rally the troops and we’ll go clothes shopping.  There is some crazy sale going on right now at Old Navy, so I’m sure my girlfriend and I will end up there when she gets in town next Tuesday.   Anyway, there is just no way to do a story like this justice unless I rambled on pointlessly for another 2000 words.  Today I went out and experienced something most people probably take for granted, and it was weird, but still cool and nostalgic and historical and all that…’s a huge milestone, I don’t mean to sound flippant about it.  It’s just nice to be in good health when you’re doing things like celebrating anniversaries with your entire family, and to look at the holiday season as something other than a death sentence as you pack on ANOTHER 20 pounds in a month.  I’m at the fatter end of “normal” and I’m okay with that.

CLOTHING UPDATE!….. SonofaBITCH it is weird to see how the rest of the world has been living all this time!  I went to Kohl’s today to take advantage of a big sale and this handy extra 15% off coupon that I found online.  From looking at their site I knew that they should have stuff that fit me, but after shopping in big and tall stores my whole life I had no idea what kind of selection a department-style store could have.  Old Navy has a ton of shit, but there’s something about the way it is displayed I don’t like.  Kohl’s packs stuff in there like it’s a army surplus store, and it was very difficult to wade through the pant selections because there are just so damn many different kinds.  PLUS they have some clearance racks with shirts that I knew would fit, and the prices were just unbelievable.  Nice shirts for six or eight bucks.  So all tallied I got: 2 pairs of Dockers, 2 polo shirts, six long sleeve dress shirts and some socks for a grand total, with tax, of 116 bucks.  Between Old Navy and Kohl’s I am literally stocked up until spring for right around 200 dollars. That is some crazy shit.


Filed under Bariatric Surgery, culture, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, Tent Revival, Weight Loss

Yes, I AM voting for Obama….

 First of all, my sincerest apologies for not posting at all lately.  I just spent some time approving some comments, which prompted me to read some old posts, and will say this….. I am damn proud of this blog.  I am at the very least a mediocre writer, and I am honored to have anyone take some time out of their day to read my ramblings.  So for anyone who stops by regularly, I do apologize for not providing more material lately.  I’ve just been very busy with work and a personal project that will never be spoken of here because there are pieces of my life that require zero controversy.  Anyway, here I am and I just want to get something off of my chest…….. Obama is my main most man next week.

First of all, let me put this into context…… I was born on the Fourth of July in Kansas, and I was raised in a church that puts the “F” in Fundamentalist.  I have created the most insanely racist imagery on the planet, just to be edgy at times.  When I was first able to vote in 1988, my vote went to Bush senior.  Then it went to Bush Senior again, then to Bob Dole, then to Dubya, then to Michael Badnarik (Libertarian candidate)…..which brings us to this election.  Up to this point in my life you can plainly see that I have never voted one time for a Democratic nominee.  I’m not proud about this, or sad about this, it just is what it is.  If you think less of me or more of me based on my voting history, then fuck you and your knee-jerk lifestyle.  I’ve come a long way in my life…..personally, professionally, spiritually….I have gone full circle and am someone who my closest friends say “reinvents himself” every few years.  So here is the new reinvention….. I’m voting for a damn colored.

So let’s back up just a bit.  I cannot overstate the impact that fundamentalist Christianity has had on my life.  I was a pastor.  A for-real staff member of an Assemblies of God church.  In 1988 I remember a couple of things that stick out…..that was the year when the booklet “88 Reasons Why Jesus is Coming Back in ’88” came out, and I think that was the year where the mythical Russian scientists drilled a hole so deep in the earth that hey could hear hell.  Seriously, that dipshit Art Bell had it on his radio show and everything…..defying all physical ability to drill a straight hole to the center of the earth, some Russians noone has ever actually identified, drilled a hole so deep into the earth that they got audio of screams emitting from the depths of hell.  And you know what?  That shit made TOTAL sense at the time.  Jesus was coming back, I can hear hell….logic reigns supreme.  So I’ve done my time.  If I am what is referred to as a “reprobate mind”, and I’m a turncoat, I have motherfucking earned the right.  I talk to Jesus daily, he has no problem with it.  The problem that Jesus has is with his self-appointed representatives who pervert the gospel in the name of progress… the name of fixing this country…….in the name of “the children”.  I heard from him just this morning, and he really does have a problem with it.  Which brings me to my first real point…… Sarah Palin.

I am NOT what someone would refer to as a “single issue voter”.  But if I were to make an exception, this election would qualify as a diamond of a reason.  That reason?  Sarah Palin believes that the earth, this rock on which we live, is only 6000 years old.  Yes, you heard that correctly, the fucking PLANET EARTH is only 6000 years old (or possibly 10,000, depending on how you translate the Old Testament generational scriptures).  I’m not going to get into it to the level it deserves, but Young Earth Theory is one of the most ignorant and most dangerous pseudo-sciences of our time.  And I can sum it up like this…..ignorant fucking redneck fundamentalist assholes want children to be able to pray in schools.  Despite the fact that the inbreeding of politics and religion is the EXACT thing that put Christ on the cross, they believe the founding fathers wanted us to let our rugrats pray in school, so they recreate science with enough fancy terminology to allow idiots to create political platforms based on things like “intelligent design”.  There is no science to that shit, it’s pure reactionary politics.  Period.  And please understand, I am someone who truly, in his heart, DOES believe that the Biblical God created the heavens and the earth…..but I’m also someone who realizes that creation and evolution are not mutually exclusive.  So getting back to my point….fuck you Sarah Palin.  Fuck you for pushing your garbage version of faith on the public.  Fuck you for making women in your state pay for their own rape kits.  Fuck you for banning books.  Fuck you for opposing sex education while at the same time opposing funding for unmarried pregnant women.  And most of all, fuck you for being the ultimate poster child for ignorant politicians who represent the most heinous of all HR assholes who can smile in your face as they explain why your downsized/outsourced position is good for you and good for the country.  You are a lapdog, nothing more.  You have been groomed to be the next big Republican thing who is above the law and will not allow real questions to be asked of you by the media, much less provide real answers.  You are the ultimate answer for people whose attention span does not go beyond email chain letters.  Sorry sugar, Noah didn’t have dinosaurs on the ark, and no matter how fuckable you might be in our bizarre librarian fantasies, you need to realize your limits.  You are out of your element.  And the sad thing is even when you lose the election next week we will continue to hear from you…….you aren’t going away.  But that’s okay, neither am I. 

Wow, that was cathartic.  Seriously.  You may not hear from me that often anymore, but when you do I have some shit to SAY.  And don’t peg me as some run of the mill liberal…I would literally recreate that scene in Schindler’s List where they kill those 2 Jews with one bullet, but those Jews would be substituted with Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh.  Seriously, Republicans don’t own the rights to being completely insane fundamentalist assholes who cater to the absolute dumbest common denominator.  Give me a blue eyed Republican on the turn and I will give you a typical member on the river (yep, been playing too much online poker lately). 

So anyway, maybe all this weight loss has ruined my brain….all I’m doing here is hammering the Republican nominees while saying nothing about MY candidate.  And you know what?  Fuckin’ A, I don’t make my living off of this shit, so you get what you get.  I’m not smart enough to get into the boring minutea of every poll and political jot and tittle, but at the same time my opinions do go beyond your run of the mill “The Lone Marine” email chain.  I think about this stuff.  A lot. Probably more than is healthy.  And I do know people who won’t vote for Obama just because he is black…..even though he makes Tiger Woods look like Tupac.  And honestly, I own my racist tendencies.  I’m not proud of them, but I acknowledge that they exist.  I purposely moved to what is arguably the absolute whitest part of Kansas City…….the cops up here have “I Heart Racial Profiling” on their uniforms, and I feel safe.  I just don’t have enough money to live in a gated community and be one of those white people who can distance themselves from the ‘hood, yet be liberal enough to pretend to care.  I’m white trash, so I do what I can to not get robbed.  I come from the ‘hood, did my time there.  Now I live among my own……and I have no clue what that has to do with this post other than the fact that race is an issue in this election.   If you don’t vote for Obama just because he’s black, you are truly insane. 

Wow, I really have jumped all over the place here.  And it has been more for me than for you, so I apologize if it does not live up to the bard-level writing to which you have become accustomed.  I just knew I needed to get on here and say something before next week.  From the gut, I will just say…..for those of you who hated Hillary so badly, what makes you love Palin?  And for those of you who jumped on the swiftboat bandwagon against Kerry, what makes you more comfortable with a guy who graduated in the bottom one percent of his class in naval academy, yet was able to fly planes because of who his dad and grandfather were, and crashed four of those planes before crashing the one that got him captured?  Don’t get me wrong, if you’re a veteran from ANY war, as far as I’m concerned you can walk down the street pissing on parked cars with no comeuppance whatsoever, you get an unlimited pass to saying or doing whatever you want…..I just may not think you should be my next president. 

Sure, this year the presidency will be won due to retard-level politics and I am chief retard.  I just know in my heart how to discern between good and evil.  I am NOT saying that Obama is purely good and the answer we have been waiting for, I am just saying that Palin is absolutely evil and McCain has the stink of “special needs child” on him.  I don’t go into this election lightly, especially considering my voting record, which I have displayed for you unrepentently.  I was born on the 4th of July in the midwest, a son of fundamentalist religion who has given the Republican party chance after chance after chance.  I don’t hate conservatives, I don’t have some huge axe to grind, and I haven’t suddenly lost my damn mind.  This year I just want to see something different, I want to see something other than the past eight years of American ethical and financial bankruptcy.  If I’m standing in a cold war era breadline next year, I’ll get back to you on how I think it all turned out, but seriously, vote for Barack Obama next week.  Considering the opposition, it is just the right thing to do.  If you are a friend of mine and you vote for McCain, hey I still love you and I always will, don’t think that this is some manifesto where I’m drawing the line on who is important in my life.  I’m not that shallow.  I’m just saying we are on the brink of what could be something wonderful at most, and the same as the past eight years at the least.  When you get into that booth next week and anything I have had to say sways you, that is what privacy is all about… can still love Jesus and America and vote for Obama, you don’t have to tell me or anyone else about it.

ELECTION UPDATE! —-  I just got back from voting, it was a pretty calm and orderly environment, no lines to speak of.  Weird though, this was the first time I’ve basically sat at folding tables out in the open filling out my ballot.  Only thing worth mentioning is that I vote at a church, and when I drove up there were campaign signs for every single Republican candidate all over the lawn.  Funny, I didn’t think churches were supposed to DO that, with the whole separation of church and state/tax exempt status thing…..  Anyway, it’s going to be a long day and night.  And for the record, yes I DID vote for Obama…..

ELECTION UPDATE #2! —- Well, this is one hell of an historic day.  I couldn’t be happier, yet also relieved that all of the campaign hoopla is DONE.  Although the C.H.U.D. is already celebrating Virginia going blue this year, I’m waiting until the last nine percent of the votes are reported here in Missouri in the hopes that Obama can close McCain’s one percent lead.  Even if I don’t get THAT little victory, I just have to say……HOLY SHIT! WAS THAT A LANDSLIDE OR WAS THAT A LANDSLIDE!  Thank you John McCain for adding such an insane and evil fundamentalist to your ticket…..she guaranteed our win!  So go and cry your tears folks…I know when we wake up tomorrow it will be to a tsunami of socialism heading our way…that damn liberal media went and capsized McCain….it had absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact that America knew the right thing to do and we Americans acted on that absolute correct and accurate instinct.  God Bless America, and God Bless President Obama!


Filed under Bariatric Surgery, culture, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, Tent Revival, Weight Loss

The One Year Checkup….

Last week I visited my surgeon for the highly anticipated one year checkup.  It’s hard to believe that it has already been a year because there have been so many dramatic changes in such a short period of time.  My blood work came back fantastic, and the only real issue is my blood pressure….which is just a family curse.  Overall I have dropped 150lbs in the past year, and when the doctor walked in he immediately started laughing in my face, then apologizing because “I just looked so much different than the last time he saw me”.  So that felt pretty good.  I was really nervous about the appointment because I had no concept of whether or not the 150lb loss was good, average or just okay for a guy that was my size prior to the gastric bypass.  You kind of lose any concept of normalcy after a while.   Even though I’m still a big guy, I haven’t been down in the 270’s since back in 1990 when I was doing the Physician’s Weight Loss program, so this is some new territory for me.  What is REALLY sweet is the fact that I am now only “obese”…..I’m under the cut-off for “morbidly obese” by a couple of pounds.  And in fifty or sixty more pounds I’ll only be “overweight”… yay for me.

I don’t do too many “normal” posts anymore, especially ones dedicated strictly to the WLS experience, so I’m not sure how to approach it….I guess I’ll do what I do best and go at it stream of consciousness style……

Lots of big changes……this blog for one.  I don’t post as much as I used to, but I look at that as a sign of progress because I’m generally spending less time in front of a television or computer.  When I go back and read some of my earliest posts it cracks me up to think of egg day and all of the pain with the initial recovery.  The fear that I didn’t feel “stuffed” after eating one egg like so many people talk about, and how worried I was that they took the drains out too early. Oh the drains.  The drains are the absolute fucking worst.  Well, those and the catheter.  I’m glad my skin is holding up, because apparently there are plenty of drains involved with skin removal surgery.  Tet hose, having to pscyh myself up for a half hour before trying to hoist myself out of the chair……and then the landslide of weight falling off for the first few months.  The weight loss has slowed down significantly, part of that is my fault, but I’ll take the 150 in a year.  Looking back on the evolution of this blog has been a trip….some ranting, some raving, a few moments of brief enlightenment, but mostly it has been a much needed sounding board in the middle of all of this dramatic lifestyle shift. 

Without this blog I wouldn’t have found an avenue to let my friends and family know what is really on my mind, and thankfully it keeps me from having to repeat the same WLS information over and over as people want updates.  I’ve also met some new cyberfriends, found helpful weight loss surgery online communities, and made use of invaluable tools like “The Five Day Pouch Test”.  Most importantly, I wouldn’t have met my current girlfriend without this blog with such classics as “On Dating”.  Now we criss-cross between Kansas City and Richmond, and I can fit into the coach class airline seats as easily as I’ll (or any human) probably ever be able to.  Speaking of the physical changes, I can mow my front and backyards one after the other in record time and I don’t have to plan my walking ahead of time to figure out the least strenuous path.  I’ve given away huge trash bags full of big boy clothing, and am wearing fifteen year old clothes until I go from the smallest size in the big and tall stores to the large sizes in normal retail stores. 

Since surgery I’ve finished my Masters in Organizational Psych with a 3.95 GPA, I performed one of my best friend’s weddings, hosted various parties at my house, visited different parts of the country….meeting up with the C.H.U.D. for the first time in DC and then rubbing elbows with Nashville’s ruling elite and drinking their wine.  It has been one hell of a year.

Of course, it hasn’t been 100% dreamy…..anyone who has had this much change in such a short amount of time can attest to that.  They had to take my stomach away from me because if left to my own devices I wouldn’t have lived until the age of fifty….so there are underlying issues at play.  An addictive personality is an addictive personality…if it’s not food it’s something else.  So once they took the food away and my favorite fatty foods started making me sick (I literally thank God for dumping syndrome), I found out the hard way that my love for alcohol was something I’d have to come to terms with.  A few bites of General Tso’s chicken will have me sweating and vomiting like I just ran a marathon, but sweet sweet booze was just as wonderful as always.  I’m on the wagon for the timebeing, but I’m not someone who will pretend that I’ll NEVER drink.  My alcohol and food issues are intertwined, and I keep seeing my therapist pretty regularly to talk about all of this, but booze is awesome and it makes you very cool.  I’ll drink some during the holidays, I’m planning a huge party for my 40th bday next year, and also there is no way in hell I’m missing the next Nashville Wine Auction extravaganza next summer.  So there you go. 

There has been a lot to think about in regard to the food addiction in the past year, but the positives outweigh the negatives by about 99 percent.  You hear a lot about people having complications after WLS, so maybe I’m one of the lucky ones so far.  Then again, I did a hell of a lot of research and found the best possible surgeon.  The procedure is no joke, and judging by the sheer number of tv and radio ads for WLS I think too many doctors and patients look at this like it’s Lasik.  The biggest thing I have to remind myself is that this is just a tool. No more, no less.  It’s no magic bullet, it takes constant thought and planning to stay healthy and keep losing weight.  But all of those things aside I’m just a lot happier with who I am, and my appearance isn’t the first thing on my mind when I leave the house.  

Now hopefully none of you will have to read anything like that again until NEXT year’s checkup.  While I’m yammering away, last weekend was the ultimate event of the year……Paws in the Park.  Anyone who knows me well realizes I take things pretty casually and I don’t get too excited about much.  However, the promise of a few hundred dogs down in our local park has me giddy months ahead of time.  Not only does the event benefit our local shelter, it’s basically the coolest thing in town all year.  Just a few pics of the start of the fun walk, the beautiful banks of the Missouri river, vendors and tents galore, and finally me and the gang. I hope to get even more people involved next year.  Notice MY dog is the one who isn’t smart enough to turn around for the camera…..



And last but not least, since I’ve written the most typical of all mundane types of blog posts, I will leave you with one of my favorite jokes….

An old man goes to the doctor.  After his exam, the doctor says “I’m sorry, I’ve got some bad news…’ve got alzheimer’s AND you’ve got cancer”.  So the old man says, “Well, thank God I don’t have cancer”. 

And that’s about it. Time for my tiny dinner.


Filed under Bariatric Surgery, culture, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, Tent Revival, Weight Loss

All this Palin madness has me thinking…

Pretty straightforward unfunny religious rambling, so bail now, nothing to see here….

I don’t really care how “pentecostal” Palin is…in my opinion, politicians go to church for the votes and by the time they have to employ lawyers, advisors and PR people, they have pretty much sold out any spirituality they had left.  They are no longer relevant to Christianity or Christians, even though they use enough of the language and a couple of hot button issues to pretend they are.  I’ve probably rambled time and time again how strongly I support the complete and total separation of church and state.  And although evangelicals annoy the living shit out of me, my feeling about the subject really does have more to do with the longevity of Christianity as a religion in America.  Evangelical Christianity is nothing more than big business, another facet of corporate America that lives and breathes based on the number of customers it can retain.  Much like WalMart has to infringe on the rights of its workers and use slave labor overseas in order to keep costs down and retain customers, the Evangelical mega-churches of today have to whittle away at the basics of the Christian belief in order to make things more “entertaining” and get more customers in the door.  They have to diversify….get active in politics, in the schools, in the media, in entertainment….and basically become just another secular entity with a “Jesus” brand name.  Millionaire entrepreneurs like Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar and Kenneth Copeland are the trademarked heads of corporations.  They are just a crappy version of what the secular business and entertainment worlds have perfected.  Nothing more than that.  If you disagree, I offer you the spiteful and selfish and capitalistic doctrine of PROSPERITY as an example.  Who does that work for besides the guys getting rich off of selling it?  Sure, there is more to the whole movement than prosperity doctrine, but it’s a good example of a catchy jingle or advertisement to get people in the door.  Rope them in with THAT and THEN maybe someday share the real point of the New Testament… know, grace, compassion, forgiveness, kindness, patience…the icky green leafy vegetables on the abundant Biblical buffet. 

In all seriousness, how different are the evangelical heroes than the moneychangers Jesus threw out of the temple?  Do you really, REALLY think that ANY of them are going to have a “vision” for their ministry that involves them making $50,000 this year instead of the five million they made last year? Onward and upward, bigger and richer is the only direction they are going. Is it too much to question the logic behind “the more people I have come to church ALWAYS has to do with GOD moving among us, and has nothing to do with me selling my personality”?  How dependent on the corporate and beaurocratic infrastructure that propels them (oh, I know…it’s the hand of GOD bringing in all that money, right?) have they become?  How dirty of a politician will they back as long as they say they are against abortion and for intelligent design being taught in schools?  The lines are too blurred. They are big business now.  Absolutely nothing more.  Why does it take a millionaire CEO of a church to create the statistics I’m constantly quoted when bringing this up to people?  “Well, x-number of people got SAVED because of that so-called millionaire CEO!”.  Uh-huh.  What does “saved” even mean anymore, besides something to put on a t-shirt (which you can buy from any one of a hundred of these guys for the low low price, er I mean LOVE OFFERING of….)?  You wouldn’t have to quote statistics if what you are defending was really bearing fruit.  Why can’t people see that the louder and more popular you get by using re-branded secular methodologies actually moves you farther and farther away from the real reason you are here…….I guess that would mean consuming too many of those boring, green leafy vegetables………arguing about all of the reasons a hottie like Palin should be veep is just way more fun, and takes virtually no individual thought or self-awareness.  As we all know, it takes an extremely rich, powerful and popular white person to bring us all back to good old fashioned family values in America.

Now I know I just love rambling about all of that crap, the evangelical Jesus-fish-on-the-bumper dittoheads are easy targets.  And I also know that I am putting a laser focus on a very small minority of what comprises the entire Christian population in America.  They just happen to be the ones who get all of the press and make the rest of us look like total assholes.  Anyway, there are a lot of really great Christians out there who live their life and faith based on personal experience, personal growth and personal contact with others.  The Christian faith can be a formidable grassroots movement…..someone just really screwed it up somewhere after about the first century A.D.  While there has to be SOME organization to religion in order to sustain groups of believers, it’s my opinion that the church became a business very early on, and in order to TRULY get back to what the pentecostals and evangelicals SAY they are after (that 2nd Chapter of Acts revolution)…….I propose the following:


Okay, take a second to catch up with me here….I’m dead serious, no money for being a pastor….ever.  I know that sounds crazy and is a huge leap to make, but think about it….if you took money out of the equation it would go a long way in making sure people are in it for the right reasons.  Ministry shouldn’t be that kind of career move.  I am in no way saying that there aren’t earnest ministers out there getting paid who ARE in it for the right reasons….I’m just saying church shouldn’t be a business.  And I’m also saying that this “not for profit” charade isn’t a justification to allow paid positions, in fact, it makes the churches even more accountable, and more closely tied to, the government.  Don’t go pointing at other non-profit organizations who pay people as an excuse either….their motivation for existing isn’t the same as yours, you need to be as separate from the world as possible to prove that you do possess a viable message and way of life.  And speaking of other non-profit organizations, why is it that so many of them are able to be totally successful using only volunteer labor?  Nobody gets paid in many of them, yet somehow they are able to recruit people, manage the finances, coordinate events and basically do all of the tasks that are expected of church staff. 

I know most people’s reaction to this is that too many churches would fold if nobody was getting paid…..and that’s kind of my point.  You think guys like Osteen and the people running his circus are even going to TRY and build that kind of empire without the monetary gain?  Oh, I forgot, we have to invoke the “laborer is worthy of his hire” scriptural abortion at this point.  I think in most cases, the role of pastor is more of a “job” than a calling.  It’s a career move, and is the antithesis of anything suggested by the New Testament.  Seriously, I’ve done the ministry thing. It ain’t rocket science. I’m not saying anyone can do it, but honestly, if you get someone who is passionate about one facet of ministry and match them with other likeminded people, they will flourish.  You can still have boards for oversight reasons, hammer on people to still pay their tithes and all that…just don’t buy into the myth that ANY part of being a pastor has to be treated and compensated as a full time job.  There is absolutely no reason that one person has to take on all of the leadership duties, in fact, it’s probably better for humility and accountability if they don’t possess all of that by themselves.  There are countless men who are pastors because they either don’t know how to do, or can’t do, anything else.  They could never, ever, make the same amount of money outside of ministry, so you better believe they are going to rationalize whatever they have to in order to hang onto their job.  Churches are business, that’s the bottom line. There’s no reason not to expect someone to have a real job and still dedicate time to the church…..if you’ve ever attended one you have witnessed laypeople who put in more hours working on church related tasks than most ministers.  Face it, even Jesus was a carpenter prior to his career as a prophet. 

Of course there are the shakeups it would cause in the rest of the church industry…..for example, what would happen to Bible Colleges?  I’ve attended one, and it was basically just another business too….except it’s a losing proposition for the consumer because you get about half of the education at twice the cost.  You have to dumb down the curriculum considerably when so many of the products of home schooling are walking through your doors.  Bible colleges are a racket just like any other college….they are factories that pump out kids who have chosen the career of ministry.  Honestly, if I just had money to spend I’d totally go back to a (real) seminary just because I genuinely love studying church history and the finer points of exegesis.  I do see the value in higher education if you are going to be a pastor, but (at least in the case of the Bible college I attended) you’ll get far more theological training from a run of the mill state college…..for about 1/4 the price.  All I am saying is that, at least in the Pentecostal/Evangelical world where I come from, the colleges are nothing more than places for parents to feel safe about sending their kids.  “Oh, it’s a Christian school, so it doesn’t have all of the same temptations as a secular school…..nobody could possibly be having sex or doing drugs there.”   Yes, the most wholesome of all environments is a building packed with a bunch of preacher’s kids………I’m not lying when I tell you they are the most evil people you will ever meet, but that is a different subject for a different day. 

Before I continue my nonsensical rambling, I’ll try bringing this home……my point in all of this is that something has to give when it comes to the incestuous relationship between the church and the state.  Palin is just another Huckabee; someone who will sell out their belief system little by little in order to pretend they are making progress for their evangelical fan base.  There is no way to enter the arena of politics and NOT do that.  My biggest hope for the church, and the reason why I’m so hardcore about the separation of church and state, is that people will totally step back and retool everything.  Start from scratch, think outside of the box, whatever you want to call it.  I’m far from being a Bible thumper, but I really do believe that the most simple version of the faith has the greatest appeal from the ground floor; a grass roots kind of thing.  I will always say that in order for ANY religion to be viable, it must be communicated in such a way that it appeals to the smartest, dumbest, poorest and richest person alike.  The dependence on media and the political infrastructure have made Christianity indiscernible from anything else out there……the idiocy known as the Moral Majority comes to mind here.  To be real it should be based on something honest and simple, without all of the rules, regulations and coalitions.  If you stop squeezing it so tightly and warping it into something it wasn’t meant to be, it’s not going to suddenly burst into Universalist Unitarianism before your very eyes.  You’re just going to have to give up some of the social control you keep fighting for and whining about and have faith that the message is enough.  Getting one of your folks into a position of political power isn’t suddenly going to turn everything around, it’s just going to feed your martyr complex when you realize that fact.  I said it about Huckabee and I’ll say it about Palin….they are a sign of failure, not progress.

Anyway, I’m done here.  And if you don’t agree with me, well…..then I hope you get the damn gay cancer.


Filed under Bariatric Surgery, culture, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, Tent Revival, Weight Loss

LIVE! From Richmond, Virginia…


So I got back a few days ago from Richmond, and normally I’d have a lot of interesting and charming things to say about my trip…..especially since my reason for coming down was to enjoy a C.H.U.D country safari!  Don’t get me wrong, I cherish my quality time with my girl, she is the greatest, but you bastards in Richmond have really gone “full retard” in my opinion.  And as everyone knows, you just don’t ever go full retard.  Forrest Gump……possibly retarded but he charmed the pants off of Nixon and could beat the Chinese at ping pong.  Rainman….definitely acted and looked like a retard, but could count the shit out of some toothpicks.  What the people in Richmond have done is go the way of I Am Sam and Radio…….you went full retard.  I know I normally have some nice things to say about just about everyone and everything, and sorry to rip-off the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time to make my point (Tropic Thunder, of course), but I have a very specific problem with you guys and your blatant racism.  And not just the racism, but the cultural insensitivity in general. 

Okay, I know this is all coming out of left field, but you all are insane, and that may not be apparent to the casual visitor.  It took me a few days to piece it all together, but the first clue was found as we strolled along the so called “America’s Most Beautiful Boulevard”.  At first, Monument Avenue looked just like Ward Parkway here in Kansas City……beautiful older homes where wealthy people spend a lot of money on making their front yards look perfect.  And Richmond being in the south, I can look past the fascination with giant monuments dedicated to confederate generals.  Sure, you all took quite a tanning during the Civil War…, sorry, I mean “the war of northern aggression”….but that’s no reason not to recognize military leaders.  I guess you could follow my logic out to the point where you defend goddamn HITLER and his military prowess, but that is neither here nor there.  You want to honor your military leaders who lost the war for you, that is your business.  When in Rome…..

So we’re going along just fine……..old dead white guy…..old dead white guy…….yuppies walking their dogs…….old dead white guy……..

Then we happen upon THIS profoundly offensive spectacle, that could only have been erected to mock the anguish of people who aren’t even FROM Richmond….


 Way to go, assholes…….seriously, what in the name of all that is holy and decent in this world would even make you THINK of erecting a statue that honors the notorious Atlanta child murderer, Wayne Williams?  You got the hair and the glasses down cold, I’ll give you that, but is there some kind of Atlanta/Richmond rivalry based on your child death rates that I’m not aware of?  I’m going to be honest with you…I don’t care for it.  And seriously, if you can’t get someone like ME onboard with a sick-ass joke like yours, then I can tell you with a high degree of confidence that the general public is not going to be wild about it.  And what is with the tennis racket, and the inclusion of little children literally screaming out in terror……”OH NO!  What kind of defensive wounds will get get from that tennis racket?  Oh please! Don’t kill us, sir!”.   I guess it could be a badminton racket or something, I don’t know how Williams lured his victims, so there is obviously some tie-in I’m not aware of.  And what about the books?  Are those supposed to be the Bible?  Is he screaming scripture at them as he pummels them with a sporting good?  And was Williams really that short-waisted?  Whoever you had do the statue didn’t even do that good of a job, so not only is the thing insanely offensive and hurtful, someone did a shitty job of it.  What the fuck? 

So obviously, I was shocked.  And a little saddened.  And puzzled…….so we continued to walk along and I was asking the C.H.U.D., “did you plan shocking me like that?”.  As we went further down the road, things started making a LITTLE more sense when we saw THIS….

Y’all Richmond crackers got you some MINSTREL FEVER!  YOWZA!  Really, on one hand you’re so macabre, and on the other just blatantly disrespectful in that Amos and Andy kind of way.  You’ve got a goddamn statue dedicated to MR. BOJANGLES!  What do you all do, stop by the Wayne Williams tribute to get yourselves all tickled and then saunter on down and do you some dancin’ in front of Bojangles?  Oh no, that’s not insensitive at ALL.  “LAWDY LAWDY! I gots ‘ta see me some funny statues on my way home to ham-off to some underground Hattie McDaniel stag films!”.  What in the HELL?  Was that black lady who was always screaming at “Jasper” in the early Tom and Jerry cartoons too busy for a sitting?  I just shook my head……and as much as I dearly love the C.H.U.D., I feel bad for how desensitized she has had to become living in such a backwards culture of spiteful racism and gleeful……gleeful….is “caricaturization” a real word? 

So I’m thinking……today couldn’t go any further south (no pun intended).  WRONG!  WRONG!  We head over to Carytown to walk amongst the cultured whites who live close enough to the edge of a full-blown Bohemian enclave without actually living amongst the unshowered…..

Let me set the scene….this is about twenty minutes after the whole segregationist/child murderer/Bojangles debacle, and while I heal quickly I’m still reeling a bit from the shock.  We finally find a place to park, because Saturday is “the” day in Carytown, and I swear to God I’m not even out of the car for five minutes before I see…in EVERY window and on EVERY lampost……



REEAAALLL fucking subtle.  I was shocked I didn’t see a “BOJANGLES ATE HERE” sign in the Double T BBQ or whatever in the hell it’s called restaurant.  OH LAWDY LAWDY!  You people crystallize insensitivity to the point of being a hardened diamond…..a blood diamond, of course.  But hey, that’s okay, at least you’re not in the closet about it.  I’m not saying wearing it like a badge of pride is GOOD, I’m just saying at least we know how things REALLY are the next time we go to one of your information centers or chambers of commerce.

The hell with it, I’m a trooper, it was an absolutely beautiful day outside, spending quality time with the C.H.U.D., so I soldiered on.  The funny thing is, I LITERALLY thought of the term “soldier on” as we walked up the street, right before I ran into THESE guys…..

All I wanted to do was go into Penzey’s for some smoked paprika and some fennel seeds, but things apparently just aren’t that easy.  As I started towards the door, one of them screams “WHAT’S THE PASSWORD?”.  I just swoon with shock…..this has to be a dream……..but I really REALLY wanted to buy some overpriced spices, so I thought for a minute and based on a PURE guess, said “Jim Crow”.  Sure enough, they were like “Ye may pass”.  And I was like “YE? What in the fuck is up with YE?”.  Crazy fuckers were like watching Spartacus or Cleopatra with the senseless mish-mash of eras going on. 

So Carytown was a nice enough place.  I love the candy store even though they didn’t have Chuckles in stock.  I was feeling bad for my girlfriend, because I know she wasn’t proud of the way her city was being scarily accurately potrayed, and because I know she’s a good person.  So hey, let’s forget about all of this, have some food at Sticky Rice…..her favorite restaurant, and after eating there, one of mine too……the Sticky Balls are just magical…..but it wasn’t quite five o’clock, so we had some time to kill.  Like I said, it was a beautiful day, Richmond has an ANNOYING amount of trees, so let’s find a park to hang out and watch the fucking crackers play frisbee with their dogs or some such shit.   So we find a park, and I’m wondering why such a small park has SO MANY cars parked on the streets around it.  Oh, I guess it took twenty seconds to realize we made a huge error in judgment because we ran into THESE GUYS….

What the fuck flag is that?  It’s like Australia, but not quite. And then you’ve got the Greek Orthodox cross on one, but again, not quite…….you people have the dumbest goddamn skinheads in all of humanity living in your city. BUT, I guess in the long run that is a good thing, no way those pricks are taking over a gas station for the white cause, much less the country.  I just wanted to watch the yuppies walk their dogs.  I am NOT the worst guy to have visit your city… expectations aren’t that high….give me some decent food, show me some yuppies walking their dogs, let me buy goods in one of your high-rent districts….this is NOT rocket science.

Yes, we are coming to the end of all of this.  Sweet baby Jesus, all I wanted to do at this point was have me a Crazy Calamari roll and some Sticky Balls.  So we did that, and they were delicious, and as is my custom in Richmond, on the way home I wanted a Slurpee from 7-11, and maybe some damn nachos.  Oh, by the way, here is how fucking WHITE your city is……a whopping five Slurpee flavors in any given location, and half of them are in backup mode and don’t work.  RREEAALLL inclusive….pricks.  So I get me a Slurpee from the one working machine (actually, another one was working, but who in the HELL drinks a Crystal Lite Slurpee), make my way over to get some nachos, and spot THESE salt and pepper shakers in the condiment tray….



Well, I guess AT LEAST you are “diverse” enough to make fun of Asians too. 

So that’s about it.  I spent the rest of the time holed up at the C.H.U.D. hostel for fear of the horrors that awaited me in that fucking city. 

Full retard!


Filed under Bariatric Surgery, culture, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, Tent Revival, Weight Loss

Start The Prayer Chains!


Hi everybody!  It’s Annie again, but this time I’m hoping for some help from YOU!  Please get every prayer chain started that you can, because my person is losing his mind and I’m fearful that I may not be around much longer! I am putting myself in grave danger for touching this here computer again…I got such a bad beating the last time he found out I was on here sharing the gospel!  It was so scary…I only weigh about nineteen pounds and my poor puppy body was flung from one side of the room to the other after he snuck up on me as I was typing and screamed something about hitting me until I “look like a wife who doesn’t know how to listen”.  I’m FINALLY healed up enough to get back on this here computator, and brothers and sisters I need some prayer WARRIORS to help me out here!  My person hasn’t been on here for a while, so I figure I’m safe for a little bit. I’m putting myself in danger, but there is just no way I can keep everyone from knowing about THE TRUTH!  I used to be safe when he’d pass out from all that funny smelling water, but he hasn’t had any in a while and I think it is making him even MEANER!  Lucky for me he spends more time at the office and has no idea I know how to get out of my bedroom while he is away. I’m a smart little wiggle-butt! Empowered with the word of the Lord!

So anyway, where do I even begin in sharing my puppy struggles….. 

 I guess it all started the day I was healed up enough for my person to take me to the puppy spa to get my hair cut.  He must have had a guilty conscience, but he was smart enough to let my wounds heal before he took me in there…..

As most of you remember, the last time I wrote to you I shared how difficult it was last year dealing with losing my mommy and my brother.  Yes, I know that my mommy and daddy got what they deserved for not honoring Jesus in their relationship, but no matter how right you are in judging someone it can still hurt.  And I can’t have a family of my own because they went and took out all my lady parts before I was saved from death row!  So anyway, I got home from the spa, all happy to be clean and pretty and able to walk again without the excruciating pain….and my person had snuck in a WHORE OF BABYLON while I was away!  I couldn’t believe it!  The fool returns to his folly!  Apparently he had been planning this for a while too, because the next day was his birthday and everyone was calling him “Firecracker Baby”.  I should have known he would pull some stunt….the house was all clean for once and he even went and got a haircut.  The worst thing about this woman was how nosy she was.  I have this little hammer that I use on myself when I don’t remember how wrong it is to eat poop or get into the trash….my person doesn’t realize how serious I am about being the bestest wigglebutt I can be!  I saw this really pale guy hurting himself in that movie The Davinci Code, and he sure did seem to love the Lord, so I figured I’d give it a try.  And you know what?  It works!  It doesn’t hurt as bad as my person’s cigars, but my poop doesn’t taste NEARLY as good when I know I have to go right inside and hit my spine until all the fecal-demons are beaten out of me! So anyway, this darn harlot was in MY BEDROOM, and as much as I’d pray in the spirit to get her to go away, the nosier she’d get.  She even found my hammer before I could use it on HER! Well, I just gave up.  She spent all weekend being all sweet to me and treating me better than my person ever does, but I was not fooled for a SECOND!  Satan appears as an angel of light, but us true believers know how to avoid the seduction of treats and petting! I’ll be all prayed up before she comes back here, and I am counting on all of you to pray right along with me. 


Here are some WANTED (BY JESUS) posters that I made on my person’s birthday!  He thinks he’s special because he was born on a big holiday, but he’s only fooling himself! As it was in the days of Noah, these people think it’s so fun to drink the funny smelling water and light off big boomers that scare wigglebutts! 




Friends, I won’t bore you with any more of my troubles, but as you can see I need some of you to pray for me so that I can keep putting on the full armor of God every morning and finally Jesus that woman out of my person’s life.  He is so lost, and has no idea how wonderful a proud servant of the lord could be for him, and what a great mommy they would be for ME! Who cares how unattractive they are?  I’m cute enough for all of us!!!


Okay, I feel better sharing those things with you because I know so many of you are on my side and we don’t have time for the lukewarm!  So back to my real calling….sharing the truth according to the King James Bible no matter how bad it hurts!  As a matter of fact,and if it’s just my current woes talking I apologize, I think I was way too easy on you people last time.  I go onto this here dashboard and keep seeing the EXACT SAME QUESTIONS that you all keep typing into Google, even though I shared all of the answers last time. Do you just not listen, or are you just not afraid of either going to hell or watching your unsaved loved ones go to hell?  Time to get off the fence and serve one master, people!   Sorry, my head still hurts from the beatings, but you have to admit you people STILL need spiritual guidance from a sweet little doggie! 




“Fitting in with unsaved friends”


Hey, I’ll betcha you’re one of those white people who talks all “urban” when you are hanging out with your one “best friend who happens to be black”, aren’t you?  Oh no, that isn’t embarrassing or awkward at all!  They LOVE IT!  So with that in mind, all you have to do is smoke you some of that reefer when you’re with your unsaved friends, and watch you some of those dirty picture movies too!  Whatever you do, DON’T WORRY about what JESUS might think about it!  Don’t you EVER think about “fitting in with JESUS”, just worry about fitting in with your unsaved FRIENDS!  You know, sometimes I wish I was a big rottweiler instead of a sweet little wigglebutt, just so I could bite someone like you in the throat and send you to heaven before you are turned over to a reprobate mind!  BACKSLIDER!  Great, now you got me all wound up and I’ve torn some of my stitches……  In case you haven’t caught on yet, for a doggie I have a keen sense of sarcasm, and basically what I am telling you is to shut up and stop worrying about alienating your friends by witnessing to them.  Got it? 




“How to live with unsaved man”


Boy, can I ever relate to THIS one!  I do feel for you, because living under the same roof with an unsaved loved one is the most spiritually taxing thing ever!  This is where I’m glad I can share some ideas that a poor doggie like me can’t manage due to my size.  I have many, MANY ideas like this one, and I’m hoping that if you try this and you’re successful, you’ll email me and share your righteous victory!  The first thing to do is start sneaking Ex-Lax into this unsaved man’s food, and don’t stop until he thinks he’s dying from dissentery,  Seriously, wait until he is so inflamed he’s having to sit on one of those donut things to keep from weeping.  Then and only then do you mention “I’ll pray for you”.  At that point you STOP putting Ex-Lax in his food, so that he starts feeling better. The better he feels, the more you tell him you’re praying.  Even lay hands on him and pray if he’ll let you.  Then when he’s all better he can’t deny it’s a miracle! And he’ll go to church with you and get saved!  Now I’ve given this a LOT of thought, and if this technique doesn’t work, it’s time to get serious…… when he’s at work you go into his bedroom and put up a bunch of posters of those Jonas Brothers, but be sure to cut holes where their eyes are and paint lipstick onto their mouths.  Then plant some letters around the room where he’s talking about stalking and molestering them!  Once that’s all in place, call the police!  When he’s sitting on that same donut in prison due to getting molestered, start visiting him.  A captive audience is very open to the gospel!  No way he can ignore the truth at that point!  Do let me know how this goes…..I sure do wish I could help MY unsaved loved one this way! 




“Is it a sin to like guys?” 


Now this is an example of the self-serving, open-ended questioning that is ruining America!  Don’t come here looking for justification for your sins!  If you are a girl, of course it is okay to like guys as long as you don’t give yourself over to the lusts of the flesh.  If you are a guy it is STILL okay to like guys as long as you just “like” them, or even LOVE them, as long as it is a brotherly thing.  But I don’t think that’s what YOU are asking….I think you are possessed by one of those swishy demons that makes you want to do bad things with them!  Don’t do it!  It’s not only a sin, it’s the WORST sin!  First you start thinking dirty thoughts about them, then you go to those clubs where they take their shirts off and dance and kiss, and the next thing you know your mind is so twisted that you start voting for people who want to let you marry each other!  And then you get all high and mighty and try to keep people from hurting you or mocking you in public!  Well hey buddy, that’s what needs to happen to get you to change your ways!   If precious doggies could vote, I’d try to bring back stoning!  AND I’d make sure that women have to announce “UNCLEAN!” when going into public places during that time of month too!  We need some old time religion, and your sinful ways have no place around here! 




 “Dating unsaved guys”


Hi there!  Are you the same harlot who came over to MY house and slept in MY bed with MY person?  Well you listen to me….the next time I see you, don’t you worry your adulterous little head about that toe hammer I have for you, because I’m going to have a staple gun!  And I’m going to wait until you are asleep and staple a giant red “A” on the front of your cranium!  My person has enough sin in his life without having YOU come over and keep me from getting him to church!  I know I look cute, but trust me sister, in the dead of night I will low-crawl across the bedroom and go Delta Force on you! 




“Percentage of people who die that are unsaved”


Well, well…if it isn’t Satan’s bean counter again!  Didn’t I make it clear last time that you need to get off of the internet and go and witness to people?  Forget everything you learned in your freshman statistics class, because you won’t find any of that stuff in the Bible!  God doesn’t need an accountant, fella.  He needs prayer warriors who aren’t afraid to get in someone’s FACE like my good friend Kirk Cameron, and use circular logic to convince them their way of life is sinful!  Go look up if you’re so bent on wasting your hours researching internet data on how many people are going to hell!  They have many things for sale that will teach you to minister the way Jesus did….except that you pay money to learn it instead of getting it for free.  Wow, Jesus could have been RICH if he knew these guys!  Forget Willie Aames, he’s a backslider.  Stick with Kirk Cameron!   This country could use a president like him! 




“Heathens unsaved Buddhist”


Ah, finally.  This is like a sweet poultice on the spiritual wounds inflicted by all of the previous questions…..I know it seems like I’m angrier than usual, but we all know that the tribulation is right around the corner and there is no time to waste!  Whoever you are, you really have it together because you haven’t been fooled by all of this new age mumbo jumbo that makes people think heathen religions like Buddhism and Jewishness are as good as the one true religion of Evangelical Christianity!  Keep the faith and keep me listed in your prayer chains, saintly warriors!




“Do loved ones visit you after they die?”


Wow.  Just when I think the bean counter is the creepiest guy to stop by here, I run across this fool.  I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that what you mean is “when me and my loved ones are in heaven, will they stop by my mansion to say hi?”, in which case I certainly think that will happen.  What I am HOPING for is that you aren’t referring to people coming back from the grave to visit you, because ghosts don’t exist.  Those are demons.  Those poltergeists you wonder about are demons.  The thing that moves the pointer on the Quija board is a demon, and whatever happens at that séance you went to is, you guessed it, a demon.  You are meddling in the world of pure Satanism, and quite frankly, you are on your own.  I’m not going to risk any of your demon cooties jumping off on me.  Please never come back here. 





“So you don’t want to go to church anymore”



 People like you almost cause me to stumble into the sin of hatred.  If I weren’t such a good Christian doggie I’d tell you that I despise you.  And then I’d spit in your face and cast you out like a legion of demons!  Then when you died in your sin I would use your story as a cautionary tale to all believers.  But I won’t do that, because even though I’m not lucky enough to have an eternal soul like YOU….I’m not completely lazy like YOU, and I don’t mock God like YOU, and have reprobate tendencies like YOU DO!  This is you….”oh, well look at me, I’m so good that I don’t even have to go and worship anymore!  Well la-de-dah, I think I’ll sleep in this Sunday even though there are precious wigglebutts out there who would LOVE to go to church….oh boy, maybe if I miss enough church I’ll want to start trying on pretty dresses even though I’m a man, and have tea parties with my stuffed animals because they are clearly more interesting THAN LISTENING TO THE WORD OF THE ALMIGHTY AT CHURCH!”.  Your church is lucky to NOT have you there…it leaves a seat open for someone who ISN’T going to hell!


Wow, sharing the true gospel sure does tucker me out!  It has just been so long since I had a chance to get everyone on the right track, and I hope maybe when I get all healed up I’ll be able to share the truth in a kinder manner, but don’t count on it!  You people know the answers to your questions before you even ask, so cut it out and learn from a sweet doggie!  I’ll count on you to keep those prayer chains going, because I have a feeling that once my person gets wise to my latest message, it’s back to the animal shelter for me!  Oh well, I hape they have WiFi! 


Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far, far, far away from here.




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Filed under Bariatric Surgery, culture, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, Tent Revival, Weight Loss

LIVE! From Nashville, Tennessee…

You caught me…not really “LIVE” from Nashville, I did get home on Sunday but now I’m an OCD slave to my travellin’ post formatting….

I’m not a fancy guy.  I have no status or money, but my good fortune born out of sheer charm and sustained by unflinching determination will occasionally afford me the opportunity to mingle and mooch a la Will Smith in Six Degrees of Separation.  It does not take a lot to make me happy……sitting in a gutter and eating mystery meat tacos from a street vendor in Tepic, Mexico can be just as satisfying as a grand tasting menu at the chef’s table in whatever high end restaurant is currently being touted as “the hardest reservation to get”.  I’d much rather knock back several Old Crow & RC’s while enjoying good conversation with good people than be stuck drinking the finest vintage wines with the socially stunted.  There is no food or wine in this world good enough to make it worth suffering through several hours of bad conversation with the terminally predictable .  So once in a while, the aforementioned good fortune will smile upon me and transport me to a place where I can enjoy the best of both worlds…….wonderful people AND wonderfully “faincy” food and wine.  During my trip to Nashville I met some very gracious and fun folks.  I know that the image that comes to mind when you mention wine auctions and vintner’s tastings is the typical humorless stuffed shirt with so much money that they don’t have to worry about things like grace or charm…..and I am sure those people do exist.  However, it is my belief that “real” wine lovers (and food lovers, and cigar lovers, etc.) are some of the most down to earth and friendly people that exist…no matter where they set up shop on the social ladder.  My weekend in Nashville proved that theory to me once again as I ate, drank and talked with a group of people who combine elements of “the good life” with a heart for philanthropy. 


I was lucky enough to spend three days as a guest of a presenting sponsor for Nashville’s L’ Ete du Vin organization; one of the country’s greatest fundraisers for the American Cancer Society.  Thursday night was a tutored tasting of eleven different wines, presented by a panel of the winemakers themselves.  Friday night was a very intimate black tie dinner with the winemakers at the Shermerhorn Symphony Center.  And last but not least…Saturday night’s event was the “Grand Auction” fundraiser with dinner and even more wine.  Yep, this was a great time.  One of the best times ever.  And here are the details, which are certain to either thrill you or make you jealous………..yeah, sometimes it’s good to be king, or at least sit at the same table with the king and wait for sips of wine like you were Oliver Twist or something…..



THURSDAY NIGHT:  Vintner’s Tasting at the Vanderbilt Marriott


Honored Guests:


Thomas Duroux of Chateau Palmer

Etienne Hugel of Hugel & Fils

Jacques Lardiere of Maison Louis Jadot

Patrice Noyelle of Champagne Pol Roger





Tall Scottish Chef for the Weekend:




Chef Grant MacPherson- former head of culinary operations at the Bellagio and Wynn Hotels in Las Vegas, and currently Culinary Director and Head Chef at Sandy Lane in St. James, Barbados


Moderator and all around fantastic guy:


Robin Kelley O’Connor of the Bordeaux Wine Bureau and President of the Society of Wine Educators


The evening started out with a champagne reception and a viewing of the superb artwork of Mr. Thomas Arvid, whose wine-related paintings will make you thirsty enough to get on the four year waiting list for one of his original works.  Thomas donated a painting for the auction that highlighted the wines of our four featured winemakers, and he worked on it throughout the weekend.



The donated painting before, during and after completion….




More of Mr. Arvid’s work….the one on the right can be yours for a mere $70,000…


Now, before I even begin talking about the wines, I have to admit to anyone who knows me that I am not what you would call an accomplished wine writer.  After this weekend, I think that my problem up to this point is that when left to my own devices and bank account, I drink some pretty mediocre wines. Not that there is anything wrong with that…I love me some Torres Sangre de Toro, House Wine, Big House Red, etc.  However, the right wines paired with the right foods, cheeses, fruits and nuts allow me to FINALLY “get it” when it comes to all of those annoyingly verbose Wine Spectator writeups, so here you go…


The wines:



Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 1999 (100% Chardonnay)


Pale, greenish hue with light yeast on the nose, lightly sweet and fruity with crisp, flinty minerals on the front end.


Pol Roger Brut 1998


Toasty nose, smoother character than the Blanc de Blancs, slightly acidic, a little more alcohol and more berries.


Hugel “Jubilee” Riesling 2004


Green tinged, very rich, honeyed nose with light alcohol on the back end.  It smells SO MUCH sweeter than it tastes….which makes it wonderful to drink with the two distinct characters, it’s like drinking a magic trick.  Light alcohol, unripe apple and citrus flavors.

Forget your grocery store Rieslings and Piesporters…..this is a completely different animal.


Hugel “Jubilee” Riesling 1998


A lighter, broader nose on this one with….and I’m not kidding here, notes of caramel and cotton candy.  More fruit with some steel and mineral notes.  Absolutely EXCELLENT, I loved this wine very very much.


Louis Jadot “Clos St. Jacques” Gevrey Chambertin 1990


Rust and plum colored, VERY heavy anise on the nose with some roses.  Autumn spices, clove, earth and hearth, then WAY on the backend lighter fruits.  A very long finish.  I noted “this one is a thinker… can taste the generations of family in this wine”.  This type of Burgundy that has begun to really open up was a completely new experience for me, I loved it in the same way I love a beautiful woman. And it was excellent paired with the Comte.


Louis Jadot Clos Vougeot 1999 “Authentic Gran Cru”


Heavy rose on the nose, brighter clearer color.  Much tighter in body, more of the flavors I’m used to in this type of wine.  Lots of mulled spice and anise on the BACK end that the 1990 had on the front.  Nice contrast in wines from the same maker. 



Alter Ego 2004


Deep cheese rind and yeast on nose….”a nose you can TASTE” is what I wrote down.  Pretty tight still, raisins and dark fruit, not giving up a ton of flavor yet.


Chateau Palmer 2004


Same nose as Alter Ego, bigger tannin hit, more berry and cheese rind.  I actually like this one less than the Alter Ego from Palmer, and I guess when you consider the price difference, that is a good thing if I were to go and buy more. 


Chateau Palmer 1998


Nose gives off some wood and smoke, flavors of juniper.  It had opened up a lot more than the previous two offerings, but still tight.  I’m not sure how to approach these young wines. They were tasty, but the potential in them was a bit of a heartbreaker……where was my time machine?  I wanted to add another 20 years and see how they fell out.


Hugel “Vendange Tradives” Gewurztraminer 2001


Huge sweet nose and flavor.  I have a hard time discerning separate flavors in sweet wines, but I will say that with zero “cloying” sweetness they are fun to drink.  Very smooth and rich.  Notes from Etienne (12th generation winemaker….if he weren’t so nice and funny I’d have a hard time not hating him)…”romance and love in a glass”…”lots of lychee nut”. 


Hugel “Selection de Grains Nobles” Gewurtztraminer 1998


Only 3000 bottles of this wine were produced, and Etienne mentioned that every sip represented about ten minutes of labor.  Lighter sweetness on the nose, but a heavier and better balanced flavor.  Very voluptuous, like a great icewine in many ways.



Accompanying Cheeses (along with fruits, nuts, breads, etc.)


Agour Ossau-Iraty (France)

Pasteurized sheep’s milk

Very good, flaky and grainy hard cheese


Mimolette (France)

Pasteurized cow’s milk


Gruyere de Comte (France)

Unpasteurized Cow’s Milk

Very good stuff, well aged with grainy smooth texture, helped the wines along a LOT


Brillat Savarin Affine (France)

Pasteurized Cow’s Milk

A triple cream that needs no explanation or introduction……the best.






The winning wines of the evening, at least for me, were the Hugel Jubilee Riesling from 1998 and the Louis Jadot “Clos St. Jacques” Gevrey Chambertin 1990.  Both were wines that I will locate and purchase for special occasions….especially that Louis Jadot. 


I can count on one hand the number of times I have had the opportunity to taste truly “good” wines.  I love wine like I love women, and I drink a lot of it.  My tastes and wallet gravitate towards the “less than $15/bottle” range, and I’ll stand by my opinion that there are some FANTASTIC wines in that price range.  Tons of flavor, tons of variety…..but it’s apples and oranges when comparing my favorite house wines to what I’ve tasted over the weekend.  Verbose tasting notes make so much more sense when you’re savoring a mature burgundy and the complexity of the wine makes you go…….”I need to sit here and think about this one”.  You can taste the earth, the fruit and the history in a good wine, and it becomes so much more than something you drink over dinner with friends.  I would argue that you could learn more about wine by starting off drinking very GOOD ones, and appreciate how they compliment specific foods and cheeses and THEN work your way down to the shallower end of the pool where I live. 


Oh, and you know the “stuffed shirt” image that comes to mind when you think of this type of event?  Well, if you really do imagine it being that way, what can you possibly think of when you picture French winemakers?  Pretty scary, huh?  Well, I’m not joking when I say these were some of the sweetest, funniest and most personable people you can imagine.  Their senses of humor really never gave off a hint of the whole “France loves Jerry Lewis” phenomenon.  The funniest moment was when Etienne Hugel mentioned Alsace not being as prominent as his peer’s regions, and the three other men from Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne played their own rendition of “the world’s smallest violin” for him.  Then on Saturday night there was a funny moment with Jacques Lardiere of Maison Louis Jadot that I will remember forever…..I was standing at the bar during the silent auction getting a glass of one of his wines (I know, the proper thing at this time would have been to start with the champagnes, but when given the choice I’m goin’ for the reds every single time), and he walked up behind me and said something like “Oh, nice choice”, at which time the bartender asked him “Sir, are you familiar with this wine?  Can I offer you a glass?”.  Not missing a beat, Jacques pretended not to recognize his own wine and said “Not sure what to try, I’ve only been in town a day or so”, took a glass, took a sip and kind of went “eh”.  It was pretty funny, and afterwards I had a good laugh with the bartender when I let him in on the joke. 


After the tasting on Thursday night we went to dinner at The Sunset Grill.  Unfortunately for me as an obsessed food-monger, this was the only restaurant I had the chance to visit during my stay, but it was quite good.  The best part is that apparently they have the greatest late happy hour deals in the world, and on Thursday night their entire wine list was half-off. We enjoyed a Pinot Noir with dinner that will make it into my regular “not for everyday consumption” rotation….Martin Ray “Angeline” Russian River from 2005. Big flavors in this baby, even after all of the grape consumption throughout the evening it still jumped up and said howdy.  It was the perfect partner for my dinner of “Smokey Bacon Ravioli” – Benton‘s hickory smoked bacon and Sweet Water Valley cheddar raviolis with sweet pea puree, carrot relish and creme fraiche. 


FRIDAY AFTERNOON:  A visit to the offices and cellar of L’ Ete du Vin


Prior to arriving in Nashville, I was told that all I had to do was mention any places I wanted to visit while I was in town…..Country Music Hall of Fame, Grand Ole Opry, etc.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’d love to do those things during a normal visit, but this was NO normal visit……so given the choice I said “I just want to spend some time with the wine!”.  We stopped by the offices and generally just tried to stay out of the way since things were in full swing to prepare for the auction the next evening.  We did manage to put in some labor while there……we got the placecards ready for dinner that night!  Oh, and then there was the cellar……where all of my hopes and dreams sat on the shelves, beckoning me…..but I went back upstairs before they had to call in a S.W.A.T team on me…..





Various goodies from the L’ Ete du Vin cellars…..



FRIDAY NIGHT:  Le Grand Diner at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center


To put this event in perspective, I’ll just say:  It Ruled.  I was a lucky, lucky guy to get in on this event, since there were only about 70 or 80 people total invited to it.  The Schermerhorn is an impressive place, and earlier in the day we got the full tour with some of the folks from L’ Ete du Vin.  Overall impression of the evening:  I sure could get used to wearing a tuxedo. 




Various shots in and around the Schermerhorn during setup earlier in the day…




And what kind of foodie would I be if I didn’t get down into the kitchen and bug the chefs?




All dolled up and ready for some vittles!




Champagne Reception


Demi-Tasse of Crustacean Bisque


Porcini Arancini, White Anchovy Aioli


Bay Scallop Ceviche, Fine Herbs


Pol Roger Champagne, Brut





Me and my new friends Jacques Lardiere, Patrice Noyelle, Etienne Hugel and Thomas Duroux




First Course


Parfait of Columbian River Sturgeon, Celery Leaves, Hazelnut Dressing


Pol Roger “Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill” Champagne, 1996


Small filet of sturgeon over a quenelle of sturgeon mousse, accompanied with small batonettes of celery root, apple and cucumber.  Wonderful texture of the firm sturgeon meat against the smoothness and richness of the mousse, set against the peppery spice of the celery leaves and the earthy, sharp, crispness of the various pieces of fruit and vegetable.  It was all about the acidity of the incredible champagne cutting through the richness and earthiness of the dish.  Other than the foie (obviously), this may very well have been my favorite dish of the evening.  There was a whole lot going on with it.


Second Course


Braised Filet of Black Bass, Heirloom Tomato Fondue, Basil Oil


Louis Jadot “Clos de La Chapelle” Duc De Magenta Chassagne Montrachet, 1998


Like a wonderful caprese salad with bass instead of mozzarella….what a great time of year for tomatoes, absolutely a delicious dish.  The wine made it a perfect summertime course, with anise and grass on the nose of the Montrachet, low acidity and alcohol with the flavors opening up big after a few minutes…tons of apple and fresh cracked white pepper. 


Third Course


Whole Roasted Foie Gras, Rhubarb Relish, Natural Jus


Louis Jadot Bonnes Mares, 1989


Now, the secret to really enjoying good foie gras at an event like this is to sit next to someone who is not a fan of foie….because you get to eat theirs too.  This is one of my favorite foods and up to this point I’d only had it seared or in a torchon.  The roasted lobe gives it an entirely different character, it is very soft with almost no caramelization on the outside, which makes it even richer and more luscious in character with a rosy pink slightly rare center. And the fact that it was probably the largest piece of foie I’ve ever been served did not hurt matters.  I meant to ask the chef how many servings they carved per lobe, but forgot.  In addition, I’m a bigger fan of savory accompaniments with foie, and while the rhubarb relish was still somewhat sweet it was a nice change of pace compared to the usual candy/jelly additions to this type of course. 


As delicious as the foie gras was, it was practically eclipsed by the delicious Bonnes Mares.  Only 5500 bottles of this wine were made, so it was a very rare treat.  The nose on this juice was massive, with lots of leather, heavy, heavy dark fruit flavors and charcoal on the marathon-long finish.  It was right around this time that Tom Black arrived at our table with a big glass of Chateau Latour from 1970 for us to pass around and enjoy.  This would be an ongoing theme from this moment forward…with the “excuse” for the various wines being that they each represented the birth year from one of the guest winemakers.  This wine was beyond me, I was way, way out of my element already, but if this is an indicator of the good life, I could get used to it. 


Fourth Course


Oven-Roasted Prime Beef Tenderloin, Wild Mushroom Ravioli, Drambuie Sauce


Chateau Palmer,1988

Chateau Palmer, 1995


I was really spent at this point.  The piece of perfectly cooked beef was wonderful and almost tender enough to eat with a dessert spoon, with a big slice of black truffle tucked between the meat and the hand made mushroom ravioli.  I had a couple of bites, but had hit the wall with the amount of food I’d had up to this point…..whole proteins will do that to you after bariatric surgery. 


The 1995 Palmer was described as a “warm sun” vintage, and was very floral in flavor but still very tight.  The 1988 was a “cool vintage” with bright acidity, some strawberry, but overall still quite tight in the glass.  I’d love to try some different vintages from Palmer, in order to get a better idea of what this wine is all about. 


And our generous ambassador of the finest vintages came over for a couple more visits……first with a 1950 Latour.  The perfume of it and the way it coated the tongue was dreamy; so smooth you don’t even feel it when it is swallowed.  Next up was a 1960 Latour, which ended up being my favorite because there was a lot more spice and more acid.  It was at this point I began to truly understand what a “mature” wine tastes like, and how the flavors open up over the years.  I knew that as good as the 1960 was right now, that in the coming years the bolder flavors would mellow out the spice and the acid.  In contrast, we then shared a glass of 1965 Latour that was handed to us with the warning that we should “drink it quickly because it’s dying in the glass”.  My first taste of it gave up leather and overripe fruit…..but then a few minutes later the character had changed even more with the finish becoming more like a port and the fruit becoming VERY overripe, flabby and loose.  What a great experience to not only taste such rare and wonderful wines, but to also begin to understand more of the wine “lingo” that has always escaped me up to this point since I basically spend all of my time drinking grocery store wines (not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that)….


Fifth Course


Chilled Coconut Lemon Grass Soup, Pineapple Sago, Mascarpone Ice Cream


Hugel “Selection De Grains Nobles” Gewurtztraminer, 1988


This was a nice, beautiful and light dessert served in half of a coconut, but the star of the show was the Gewurtz…..I am not generally a fan of sweet wines, but this was a lot like drinking a wonderful icewine, with the sweetness never coming off as even slightly cloying.  The nose was so big that even at an arm’s length away the fragrance came to find you.  When describing the wine for us, Etienne Hugel told us that each bottle represents approximately three hours of manual labor out in the vineyard, picking out the good grapes from those that are too rotted to use. 


We had a great, fun group at our table, and I was ecstatic to be sitting near Robin Kelley O’Connor so that we could share tasting notes and I could pick his brain. 





Honoring the guest chefs…




I really am the dandy highwayman…



Deer in the headlights w/ Michael Haney on the left, more refined with Thomas Arvid on the right…



Robin Kelley O’Connor, Chandni Patel, and one of the greatest ladies I have ever met… Torrey Barnhill from L’ Ete du Vin…




I’ve got some important things to say about wine…




Back at the Loew’s Vanderbilt…washing the taste of those roguish wines out of our mouths with Manhattans and Mojitos….






I’m not sure how to communicate the sheer scope of this auction….I believe it raised approximately $600,000.00 for the American Cancer Society, but that number could be low. I’ll have to check for updates and repost at some point.  It is broken into two events….the silent auction and the live auction.  The silent auction, while it has some great lots, is geared more towards us regular humans.  I managed to get a really cool wreath made of wine corks from past events, and my aunt got several lots of great wine, including four bottles of Masi Amarone from 1991.  There are seven or eight tables full of different lots, ending in fifteen minute increments.  Don’t misunderstand me, I didn’t meet one person at any of these events who wasn’t friendly and gracious as could be, but auctions are combat…..nothing short of full combat.  I had my eye on several lots, but they quickly went beyond anything I could justify spending.  It was still an incredible amount of fun. 


Once there were only a few tables left open for the silent auction, the real fun began.  We were all seated in the ballroom of the Loew’s Vanderbilt hotel, and built around us was something that left many major Broadway musicals to shame when compared to the sheer production value.  Light riggings, jumbotron screens, massive speaker systems, wine barrels and vines covering every spare inch….then on the perimeter of the stage were the premier lots.  And by premiere I mean…..premiere. 




The live and silent auction rooms: Before…



The live and silent auction rooms: After…




Lot #1- three double magnums of Veuve Cliquot… the reason you do not see any text on the famed yellow labels is because they are each made of Ostrich, Stingray and Alligator skin.  And the foil adorning the bottles is made of 22.5 carat gold.  I can’t remember what these sold for, but (relatively speaking of course) I think they went for the bargain price of around $2500.00.




If I had the money, this Imperial (6 liters) of Ridge MonteBello would have been my personal pick of the evening….




But that is not to say I would have wept at the thought of owning this gigantic bottle from some up and coming winemaker from France whose name I cannot recall….




Oh one last shot of me and Thomas Arvid… you know how I love taking pictures with people far more attractive than myself….



And the auction….


Once seated for dinner, the auctioneer started the madness…..


Dinner was good, but after the Schermerhorn dinner it was almost an afterthought as we sat there eating, drinking, and drooling over the auction items. 


First Course


Rissole Grits and Crevette with Fromage Blanc- a good shrimp and grit dish


Louis Jadot “Domaine de la Chapelle aux Loups”


Second Course


Roti Lamb Rack with Plum and Poivre Sauce, Corn Souffle, Petite Vegetables with Golden Chanterelles


Chateau Palmer 1996- STOP THE PRESSES!  Outside of the CRAZILY good vintages I was able to sample, this was my favorite wine of the weekend.  When I tasted it I was blown away by how much it had opened up for a ’96, and the bartender let me know that they had begun decanting by about 4pm, so it had a few hours to breathe. That made all of the difference, I’ll be pricing this wine to see about getting some for the holidays.  Excellent stuff. 




Morbier, Chaumes, Brillat Savarin and Bleu D’Auvergne




Petite Chocolate Genoise with Beet Ice Cream


To continue the weekend’s theme of fine and generous people that we met throughout the weekend, one of the folks at our table pulled out the following wine to share with dinner:


Chateau Ausone Saint Emilion, 1967


Garnet-rust colored, wide nose, still plenty of sharpness on the edges and some rounded out acid, tons of rich cheese and toast, some leather…..still lots of character in this baby…maybe good in the cellar for another 10 or 20 years?  “Strong like bull” is one thing I had to say about it. 



 To bid or not to bid………


Okay, okay……I’ll BID!  And wouldn’t you know it, I snatched this gem of a painting of Johnny Cash by the artist Michael Potts.  I was really pleased to learn that Mr. Potts actually resides in the Kansas City area.  I’m going to have to look him up and share the joy of yanking this baby away from the fine folks in Nashville….


So there you have it… of the best weekends I’ve ever had, and without a doubt the fanciest.  I just want to thank my “sponsor” for the weekend, and everyone who shared in this wonderful event.  I have foregone my usual “rustic” blog banter in describing this weekend in order to create something that you can all look back on with fond and hazy wine-soaked memories.

And oh yes, I will be back next year……


Filed under Bariatric Surgery, culture, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, Tent Revival, Weight Loss

Test Results…

As I stated last week, my plan was to begin the “Five Day Pouch Test” a week ago Monday, and that is exactly what I did.  I won’t go into the details of the steps here, but feel free to check it out at, which is  part of Kaye Bailey’s “Living After WLS” website and blog.  I talked about that website a while back, and it really is a great resource for anyone who has gone through weight loss surgery.  I realize I come across as someone with a very low tolerance for normal or “helpful” websites, and 99.999% of the time I am, but deep down I guess I’m just a giant queer.  But you know, sometimes after four to six weeks of living like a damn Viking, you have to cool your jets and just detox for a while.  That really is what I needed to do in order to get back on track.  I honestly hadn’t really GAINED any weight even though between graduation, doing the wedding, finishing school, and all of the shenanigans in between, I definitely SHOULD have.  Somehow I managed to fluctuate within the exact same three pounds for most of that period, which still isn’t a good thing when I obviously need to lose quite a bit more weight.  So I did the pouch test…….well, kind of…..I mean I started out and got through most of the first day doing just my protein shakes, but that night I was like “oh fuck THIS” and had some cannelini beans with a little bit of light Italian dressing.  I repeated pretty much the exact same thing for the next two days, and after that I worked in some eggs, and pretty healthy salads and fruit in smaller than usual quantities.  I didn’t do the pure protein regimen, but I DID get the really bad carbs worked out of my system, which was exactly what I needed. The white carbs and slider foods get ahold of you like crack, so it’s important to work through those withdrawals for the first couple of days and soldier on.  Part of the reason I didn’t follow the pouch test too strictly is because I wanted to begin something that I could sustain for a couple of weeks….sticking to a mostly vegetarian diet, with lots of beans, greens and fruit.  But even with my modified version I did take off nine pounds as of Saturday.  I’ve stuck to it for the most part since then, and I’m finding it’s a  great way to drop some weight and refocus.  If you do start this process, know this…….your sensitivity to fats comes back very quickly.  At least that’s how it worked for me.  Not that I was ever immune to dumping syndrome if I ate too much fat, but I had ramped up the amount I could handle at one time.  The other night I found a can of Spam that I had bought on sale a while back (I know, gross, but I went through a weird canned meat phase after surgery), and I was feeling like having some meat after so many days of veggies.  I cooked a couple of very thin slices and put a scrambled egg on top of them.  I didn’t get sick, but about halfway through a very small portion I started getting the telltale “sweat on the upper lip and forehead” that is the precursor to the crazy train.  Lesson learned….no matter how much you might want to eat something, your built-in behavior modification reminds you that it ain’t worth it. 

The weight loss is a great side effect of this five day “refresher”, but I’m sure many people will agree with me when I say that the REAL point of it is to get you back into that post-surgery mindset.  If you’re anything like me, you take off a bunch of weight, start to feel really confident (which is good) and allow yourself to slip into less physical activity, more wine, more carbs, etc.  Before long, the old “bargaining” mindset pops up from time to time…….”if I eat x-amount of this unhealthy food now, I know I can be strict for x-amount of days to make up for it”…….you know what I’m talking about, it’s the food junkie rationalization that forced you to get the surgery in the first place.  I hate this over-used term almost as much as I hate children, but it truly is a “slippery slope”.  So the pouch test puts you back in touch with what it was like right after surgery.  A couple of days of mostly liquids followed by soft proteins not only “tightens you up” a bit, but it takes you to that magical place where you allow yourself to get hungry enough to think “oh damn, those canned Progresso cannelini beans sound DELICIOUS!”.  I went back to egg day in my mind, where one stupid egg was like a banquet.  Truly monitoring every bite you take, and forcing yourself to keep from grazing during the day, has a very positive result.  Oh, it’s not that much FUN for the first few days when you’re jonesing for some carbs like you were Pookie fiending for some rock in New Jack City.  But once you get past that stage you begin to appreciate the simple proteins and flavors that are inherent to only being able to eat a few bites at every meal.  I’m still on a serious bean kick, so that’s probably what I’ll have for dinner tonight.  Then, as is my custom, I’ll buy a ton of beans and immediately become sick of them, and move on to something else like eggs or tofu. 

Yes, as I ramble on about an actual surgery related topic, I wonder to myself…….what in the fuck has happened to me?  I honestly want to tell people what a great tool the 5 day pouch test is, but sadly, that is about the most exciting event in the past week or so.  I feel like ever since school ended a couple of weeks ago I haven’t been able to figure out what in the hell to do with myself.  No carbs, no liquor, lots of vegetables and tofu, regular sleep, extra hours in the office…….no good can come of this.  It’s like the Merv Griffin episode of Seinfeld……”You know, I’ve been buying the generic wax beans, and if you take off the label you don’t even know the difference”……”Okay, we’ve officially bottomed out”. 

I have to get involved in some kind of crazy activity here pretty quickly before my brain totally turns to shit.  I’m not a nice enough person to volunteer for anything…I don’t have enough money to cover green fees to play as much golf as I’d need to….the next opera I could be in probably isn’t until the fall.  I guess I could shoplift a PS3 and GTA IV, that would kill some time.  Sometimes I just get into these very introspective phases where I just become boring and predictable as hell.  Maybe it’s the old age.  And by introspective, I don’t mean I get all intellectual and ponder the mysteries of life….what I mean is I get fascinated by my own mental regression. 

Basically, when I get this boring I find pretty much everyone else just as boring, but fortunately I have a fucking GIFT for looking right in someone’s face and giving them the false impression that I’m hanging on their every word, when in reality, I’m usually thinking about that scene in Superbad where Jonah Hill goes “oh, and the thing about my back is that it’s located on my COCK!”.  So obviously, I just run down the list of all of the things that could be located on my COCK…..and that is how I get past listening to people.  Very, very few people you will ever meet are worth listening to…..

“Oh, and the thing about my mailbox is that it’s located on my COCK!”

“Oh, and the thing about the Harlem Globetrotters is that it’s located on my COCK!”

“Oh, and the thing about global warming is that it’s located on my COCK!”

“Oh, and the thing about that dangling participle is that it’s located on my COCK!”

And then when that all runs out, because people tend to talk to you for a really, really long time, I just go back into my memory and think of the greatest album names of all time.  For example, Killdozer’s “Intellectuals Are The Shoeshine Boys Of The Ruling Elite” comes to mind………..and then, thank god, they eventually run out of steam because they see something shiny or their cell phone rings.  I just can’t deal with all of those al dente psyches. 

So anyway, did the five day pouch test, lost some weight and gained some momentum, got more boring than I’ve been in a very very long time, the C.H.U.D. comes into town this Thursday, and I turn 39 on the 4th of July.  Seriously, if you can come up with a birthday that is as cool as the 4th of July, be my guest.  Christmas would be a shitty birthday because you get screwed on presents, and I know many would say Halloween is cooler, but people don’t get the whole day off work like July 4th or you’d have a point.

I’ll have something worth posting after the birthday shenanigans that will happen this weekend, and then NEXT weekend I’m off to Nashville for the most insane throw-down, kickass wine event in the United States…..


Filed under Bariatric Surgery, culture, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, Tent Revival, Weight Loss

Last Night of Class…

This is a true milestone……last Tuesday night was my very LAST night of class.  I realize what a slacker I have been getting any new posts up, but I have a very good excuse……I’m lazy.  I am also having a more difficult time than I thought I would adjusting to post-school life.  I’m the kind of person who has to have way too much going on in order to function properly, because when I only really have work and maybe some golf or opera lessons to worry about I tend to be completely lethargic and I procrastinate like a sumbitch.  If I’m not involved with some task that is making me wonder why in the hell I have anything to do with it in the first place, I withdraw from society completely.  So last Tueday was my real last night of class, and the past several weeks have been torture since I already walked last month (this class was a make-up for what I missed for surgery).  When I think about it, I guess I’ve been in school full time for nearly the past five years.  As soon as I found out about the SWEET tuition policy at my company I went straight into finishing my undergrad and went straight from THAT into grad school.  It has been a busy few years, and now there is no school to constantly worry about and dread.  Sure, I could start applying for PhD programs, and I may do that, but that is a pretty big goddamn commitment.  I don’t know if I have it in me right now.

So I guess when I’m not overly busy, I have no angst, and when I have no angst I am one shitty blogger.  Today I’ve started the “5 Day Pouch Test” that I found on Kaye Bailey’s site months ago, as a way to detox and get a fresh start after so much crazy living over the past month.  Thankfully I haven’t gained any weight, but man have I really been shooting for the moon lately with graduation, the wedding and the DC trip.  The pouch test is just way to get back into the mode you were in right after surgery.  Two days of liquid proteins, clear liquids, and then you incorporate different proteins into your diet for the three days after that.  It’s a good way to clean the carbs out of your system and tighten up the new stomach.  For me it will be a nice way to deal with my downtime and not start obsessing over food since I don’t have a whole hell of a lot going on. 

Lastly, my next big trip is going to be Nashville the weekend of July 11th for a pretty over the top wine event and auction.  I could normally never afford to attend an event like this, but I’m lucky enough to have an insider in the family, so that will be one hell of a weekend.  I even have to go and buy a damn tuxedo.  With all of the good wine in mind, last week I spent a Red-X gift card on a few bottles that I drank over a couple of days after I finished my last night of class.  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate an accomplishment like finishing grad school than some good wines.  So here are some notes and thoughts on those  (and no, I am not nearly as good at talking about wine as I am food)…..

Le Volte, 2006, $22

This is a medium bodied Tuscan wine, bottled by Ornellaia (of mega-$$ Super Tuscan fame).  And HERE is why (other than Cellar Rat) Red-X is the ONLY wine store for me in Kansas City.  Last week was the second time in a row I went in there ready to spend x-amount of money, and they talked me into a cheaper option.  I had a very nice gift card and reason to celebrate, so I asked if they could recommend something from Piedmont in the 60ish dollar range that was drinkable now (dumb question, I know).  After perusing the Barolo’s and Amarone’s, the guy said they’d all be a little too tight and would need to be held for a few years yet, BUT here was this really decent Tuscan wine for $22 that I’d really like.  That was the second time in two visits where one of the staff told me about a cheaper option than what I was looking for, and while it was no Piedmontese tannin-bomb I did enjoy it quite a bit.  I actually tried it a little over ten years ago and remember enjoying it back then. Very, very smooth and fruity, slightly acidic. 


Adelsheim Pinot Noir, 2006 Willamette Valley, ~$26.00

Okay, the only reason I got this wine (besides the fact that the guy at Red-X saved me a lot of money on that bottle of Le Volte) is because I loved the Adelsheim Rose at Cafe Atlantico/minibar so much.  So what the hell?  I love a good Pinot, and this may not be at the VERY top of my list but it was still pretty good.  A light amount of spice, a very slight tannic pucker to it, some peppery flavors on the front, and a floral/fruit finish. 


K Vintner’s “The Boy”, Walla Walla Valley 2006, $35

This is a wine from K Vintners that I have not tried yet.  Other than “The Creator” I think I’ve tried them all.  I love these guys, especially their House Wine from the “Magnificent Wine Company”, which is arguably one of the best under-$10 bottles out there.  You have to love the label, and the quote on the back of the bottle from Serge Gainsbourg that says “I’m the boy who can enjoy invisibility”.  It’s a 94% Grenache, 6% Syrah mix, and I just had to try it out.  THIS was a very, very pleasant surprise.  Even though I’m sure it would have benefitted from another year or two on the shelf, it was the best $35 I’ve spent on wine in a very long time.  I highly recommend it if you can find it locally.  Full bodied with that very specific flavor I think of as “swiss cheese” on the front end, then very rich and dark with earth, tobacco and musky almost overripe fruit.  If I had the money to make this an “everyday” wine, I’d buy it by the case.

So that’s about it for now. No big excitement for the past few days, but the C.H.U.D. is coming to town in a couple of weeks and then I’m off to Nashville.  Will post something later this week or this weekend to talk about my progress with the 5 day pouch test……


Filed under Bariatric Surgery, culture, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, Tent Revival, Weight Loss

minibar, Washington DC


First of all, I know there is a real mix of folks that stop by here, so for those of you who are already familiar with minibar, not a ton of new info here since the menu doesn’t change that often.  Also, I’m someone who focuses on remaining immersed in the experience vs. trying to remember to take notes and snap photos with my crappy camera.  So apologies for the missing photos, bad photos, and my less than stellar memory when it comes to the finer points of sauces, accompaniments, etc.  Now, with the disclaimers out of the way……



Jose Andres’ “minibar” is a restaurant within a restaurant, located upstairs in Cafe Atlantico, a stone’s throw from the National Archives in DC.  I did eat at Cafe Atlantico in March when I was in town on business, and the experience prompted me to do all I could to secure seats at minibar once I found out I was going to be in town on vacation last week.  Basically, minibar only has six seats which are filled twice per night, and you have to call right at 10am one month to the day in advance to get a reservation.  I dialed and redialed on two phones on the morning of April 30th, finally getting in at about 10:04, at which time I scored the last 2 seats for the 6pm seating.  After talking to people in DC, I really got lucky since it was my first try and I only had a 2 day window for dinner.  Once you score a reservation, then you work with the coordinator to email personal information back and forth……dietary restrictions, credit card info, etc.  I know to many people this all has to sound pretty pretentious, and I will admit this type of experience is not for everyone.  However, this type of dining is right up my alley…….small bites of exotic and delicious food over the course of 2+ hours.  Don’t get me wrong, I do look at this type of meal as the ULTIMATE special occasion….from both a caloric and monetary standpoint.  This is in no way a normal experience for me.  The last time I did something similar was at Manresa a couple of years ago.  So it was one long month between the time I made the reservations and when we were seated……


My date and I got to the Penn Quarter area pretty early in the evening, arriving at Cafe Atlantico right at 5pm so that we could sit and relax with a drink and chat for a while before being escorted upstairs.  We enjoyed a couple of signature cocktails…..a “Magic Mojito” and a Pineapple Caipharina.  Before long, our server Daniel came down to discuss our drink and wine selections for dinner.  I settled on the same bottle of Adelsheim Rose that I enjoyed in March.  It’s a very tasty wine that is just dry enough….and I thought it would be a safe bet flavorwise with the extreme diversity of flavors ahead of us.  The party of four that would be joining us was running a little late, so we got to our seats at 6:10 and they ran us through all of the “instructions”.  I know, instructions on how to eat dinner…..but in this format it’s necessary.  Basically, the setup is like a sushi bar, so as courses are available you pull them off of the counter, and the servers constantly come up behind you to take away plates, refill glasses and provide you with course-specific flatware. 



PREP WORK (Prior to launch and during service)


I have to say, there is nothing like sitting and watching what goes on in the minibar “kitchen”.  It’s part laboratory, with things like liquid nitrogen and thermal immersion circulators, and part gourmet kitchen, with all manner of containers and ingredients meticulously spread out on the counter.  Our chefs for the evening were Brad and Ryan, and the efficiency with which they worked reminded me of Taylor’s “time and motion studies” in the early 20th century…..there is absolutely no wasted movement from start to finish.  To be honest, at one point I thought the service was going way too fast…but when I looked at the actual time between courses it was just fine…what was throwing me off was watching how quickly Brad and Ryan were working and how they ping-ponged off of one another to get one dish out while the others were being prepped.  The level of detail is excruciatingly amazing…..elements like using a big pair of surgical tweezers to grab single bits of lime zest off of a microplane before gently placing it on top of a dish…and that sort of precision was the theme throughout the evening.  Later on, one of the chefs mentioned that what we don’t get to see is the 8-9 hours of prep time that has to happen before we are seated.  When you have to do things like pick out individual zucchini seeds for an hour for one dish, I’m surprised it doesn’t take even longer. 


And now to the FOOD……




1.  “Nitro” Sangria


It’s kind of like a Slurpee.  That is, if your 7-Eleven has delicious sangria that they “slushify” using liquid nitrogen right in front of you.  On the bottom is an extremely well chilled cube of watermelon.  Good start to the evening.


2. Parmesan “Pringles”


Good munche to go along with the sangria. Basically the “Pringles” are made with Parmesan and on the side is a nice yogurt dipping sauce.


3. Beet “Tumbleweed”


You can’t really see it here, but the ball of dehydrated beet resembles the inside of a golf ball…..a single bite that is very reminiscent of what a sweet potato-potato chip would taste like.


4. Olive Oil “Bon-Bon”


This is a shot of very good Spanish olive oil encapsulated in an isomalt shell.  For any Top Chef fans, this is the technique Marcel couldn’t get right in Hawaii because of the humidity.  The shell was thicker than I was expecting, but did not detract from the flavor of the wonderful olive oil, accentuated with a small amount of vinegar and few grains of salt. 



5. “Mojito”


No picture here, but the dish was simply a shot of carbonated mojto inside an algenate sphere, with a few flecks of lime zest on top.  Tasted just like a mojito, very fun presentation on a spoon. 


6. “Bagels & Lox”


I had enjoyed everything up to this point, but this is where the tastebuds started to get fired up.  The crisp little cornet is filled with cream cheese and salmon roe with a little dill……..I’m assuming it’s a friendly nod to Thomas Keller’s famous bite. 



7. Blue Cheese and Almond


This is an almond shell that is formed in a bath of liquid nitrogen and filled with a blue cheese cream sauce and almond pieces on top.  It was a dish that we were instructed to “eat quickly before it melts”, and I wish I’d waited a little longer because I found the shell to be tooth-achingly, brain freezing cold.  Good cheese flavor.  I will mention what a trooper my girl was during dinner.  She hates blue cheese and tried it anyway.  For someone who was brand new to “molecular gastronomy”, she really went with it and we both had a blast.


8. “Dragon’s Breath” Popcorn


Sorry for not having a pic, but it was another one to “eat quickly”…….basically just a curry flavored bite-sized ball of popcorn that has been treated with liquid nitrogen. It’s a tasty bite, but the fun thing is when you eat it and breathe out through your nose like the chefs tell you, huge billows of “smoke” pour out of your nostrils. 


9. Boneless Chicken Wing


I’m actually bummed out that I don’t have a picture of this dish because it was the first one to get a HUGE positive reaction out of me.  LOVED IT.  It’s a single bite of chicken wing that is heavily spiced and a brown sugar mixture is placed on top and torched.  I could eat a lot of these.  One of the tastiest single bites I’ve had.


10. Steamed Brioche Bun with Caviar


This incredibly cute little dish in a one-bite steamer provided a wonderful counterpoint to the previous, spicy course.  It’s a small bun of steamed brioche with some kind of cream/cream cheese in the middle, and osetra caviar and lemon air on the top.  A nice little comforting “bread course”.


11. Cotton Candy Eel



Super duper rock star dish.  I kid you not.  One out of many now that I think about it.  After the chicken wing dish we were on a whole new playing field of flavor.  These two bites are pretty involved, and it was a blast to watch the prep.  The soy cotton candy with a sprinkling of spice sits on top of a piece of lightly sauced grilled eel that is wrapped in a shiso leaf.  We were instructed to eat “one end and then the other”…..first bite was fantastic, and the second bite had a little surprise…..a wee bit of wasabi was tucked in the opposite end.  I loves me some eel, in fact, it was the unagi dish I had at Cafe Atlantico that convinced me I had to come back at some point.  I know eel sounds like too much to some people, but I promise you that when cooked correctly you would never know the difference between it and the tastiest mild and meaty light-fleshed fish.  Delicious dish.





12. Green Almonds and Pedro Ximenez “Raisins”


And the hits just kept on coming.  For the life of me I can’t remember what the creamy sauce was made of, but for such a simple dish we LOVED IT.  Raw almonds have such a different texture…more like a water chestnut.  The two darker almonds have a marcona praline coating, and the lighter one is all natural.  The dark dots are “raisins” made out of Pedro Ximenez that has been treated somehow to maintain a raisinish shape.  And the sea beans…..I love sea beans.  Somehow this whole thing was unctious, clean and full of wonderful textures.  I’d eat it again.



13. Zucchini in Three Textures


You can’t see this very well, but it is a layered dish that has a creamy zucchini puree on the bottom and a single, beautiful layer of zucchini seeds in a gel on top of that.  When I read about this dish I thought “eh”, but it ended up being very impressive.  Besides the obvious work that goes into preparing it, there is way more flavor than one would expect from the humble squash.  Plus it was seasoned perfectly…..juuuuust enough salt to make it an addictive little treat. 



14. “Caesar Salad”


This was a good dish, I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t one of my favorites of the evening.  It’s basically a deconstructed caesar salad, prepared like a maki roll, sitting on top of a caesar dressing with oyster cracker-like “croutons.  The wrapper is made of thinly shaved jicama and it is filled with romaine lettuce (probably something else too, can’t remember). One piece has a quail egg yolk on top of it, and the other is topped with shaved parmesan.  Like I said, I like it but it was more about presentation than flavor for me.


15. Sea Urchin “Ceviche” with Hibiscus


I love sea urchin.  My date got the opportunity to find out she does NOT like sea urchin.  A very simple presentation….a nice piece of fresh urchin topped with hibiscus air.  Two tasty little bites. 



16. Parmesan “Egg” with Migas


This was pretty interesting……a “sphere” of parmesan that resembles a poached egg, filled with parmesan broth and a quail egg yolk.  I enjoyed it.  Not a broad range of flavors, but I do love a lot of parmesan flavor.  The little crisp bits it was served with reminded me of when you dip up your egg yolk with toast. 



17. Corn on the Cob


Just a simple, tasty bite of food.  Sauteed baby corn served over corn puree with a corn shoot on top.  Very cute.


18. Smoked Oyster


This was the point in the meal where the amount of food began catching up with me.  I wasn’t “full” but I was getting pickier and pickier about what was going to turn me on.  I didn’t dislike this dish, but I could have gave it up to leave room in my stomach.  It’s comprised of a small smoked oyster with a bit of juniper and some sliced apple (and I think an apple foam). 



19. “Guacamole”


A prep nightmare and a hell of a dish.  Thinly sliced avocado wrapped around a tomato sorbet and topped with lime, pieces of tomato, crushed fritos and baby cilantro.  It was just very refreshing and delicious….and reminiscent of actual guacamole.



20. Salmon-Pineapple “Ravioli” with Crispy Quinoa


Loved it.  Another super duper hit.  Two perfectly cooked chunks of rich salmon wrapped in the thinnest layer of pineapple, topped with crispy quinoa and sitting alongside a nice avocado puree.  Between the texture of the quinoa and the richness of the salmon and avocado, this was a perfect dish.  We were both surprised at how much we liked it.



21. New England Clam Chowder


No pic and my least favorite dish of the evening.  It just wasn’t for me.  It consisted of two fresh clams, a potato puree I believe and (in my opinion) and overly rich and creamy sauce.  I guess it just didn’t remind me of clam chowder, and the creaminess of the sauce didn’t go well with the clams.  No big deal, this was my only real clunker of the night.


22. Breaded Cigala with Sea Salad


This was a stellar dish, I was just beginning to hit the wall at this point.  The cigala is basically the same as a langoustine, and it was cooked as perfectly as any piece of shellfish I’d ever had.  It’s topped with a piece of fried breading with my favorite new veggie (sea beans) on the side.  I don’t remember what components were in the sauce, but if I had not been as full as I was I would be raving a lot more about this dish.



23. “Philly Cheesesteak”



The death blow.  Plus, they took away all of our silverware so that we were for FORCED to make a mess.  It was so rich, and I was so done with the savory dishes, but it was so damn good.  Thinly sliced wagyu beef is draped over a pastry-like roll that is filled with an aged cheddar (and I’m sure other things) sauce.  The sauce goes everywhere, the thing is just delicious, and by the time you make it here you are DONE.  I loved this thing. 




24. Kumquats & Pumpkin Seed Oil



So at this point I’m done……I can go for some light desserts but I’m not wild about it.  Well, this is just the dish I needed to clean and wake up my palate.  By wake up my palate, I simply mean that this was, bar none, the single most tart thing I’ve ever eaten.  Son-of-a-bitch this was tart.  I had a couple of bites and don’t remember all of the different components, but I believe the kumquat was filled with some kind of fizzy liquid and the whole thing was a needed eye-opener.  Not necessarily that tasty to me, but absolutely functional. 




25. Frozen Yogurt and Honey


I think the only components in this dish were freezed dried yogurt, freeze dried honey, bits of mint and a pool of very good honey.  As simple as it sounds, the “texture” of the freeze dried elements mixed in with the honey was delicious.  I was surprised at how much I liked this.  Gentle, refreshing and merciful after such a rollercoaster of flavors and textures. 


26. Thai Dessert



Now, I’m not the biggest dessert person in the world.  I like it, but I’d just as soon eat more of a savory dish or have some cheese.  So this thing totally took me by surprise.  It was not only one of my favorite overall dishes of the evening, it may literally be the favorite dessert of my entire life.  Flavorwise it reminded me in many ways of a good Thai or Vietnamese spring roll. I don’t remember the composition of the peanut “blanket”, but the flavor was very similar to a rich Asian peanut sauce.  Underneath was a coconut milk (I think) ice cream.  There was also a peanut sauce and some tamarind, and baby cilantro on top.  What absolutely MADE the dish was the red chile powder on the side that we were instructed to include in every bite.  This thing fired on all cylinders, and was probably even better than I remember since I was already so spent.  I don’t throw this word around very often because it is so overused, but it was genius.  True genius. 




27. Fizzy Ball

28. Chocolate Covered Corn Nuts

29. White Chocolate, Black Olive and Mango Box

30. Saffron Gumdrop with Edible Wrapper



A little slate platter filled with tasty mignardises.  No big revelations or notes here, but I will say that the white chocolate, black olive and mango box was one of the most interesting flavor combinations I’ve tasted in a while.  I’d like to try it again sans food coma so that I could think about it further and decide if I loved it or hated it. 




A meal like this requires special utensils.





The bill is playfully presented in an egg shell and smashed on the counter right in front of you.  I’m sure some will think I’m crazy when I say this, but the $120.00 per person price tag on the meal (not including tax, tip or drinks) is one of the biggest culinary bargains in the United States. 



Okay, so this was absolutely in the top two meals I’ve ever had…..I just can’t say it was BETTER than Manresa because it was so different.  From start to finish it was executed perfectly, the service was as good and professional as it gets, and the flavors and textures will stick with me for life.  I’d love to go back sometime.  I will say that dining companions are important during a meal like this one.  When the other two couples arrived I thought we were in trouble.  There was a bit of an air of “DC Douchebag” about them… know, loud yacking about work, arriving LATE FOR F’ING MINIBAR, etc.  But soon we realized what was PROBABLY going on was that the one couple were both for-real food folks, and their male friend, who was pretty cool, was “hooked up” for a first date with the second girl (we could be wrong about this, but the girl and I are very perceptive).  And it was the second girl that was the problem…… prima donna pain in the ass syndrome, and when there are only six seats at the counter it tends to stick out more than it normally would.  Seriously, this was her throughout the entire meal…. “Is this the right end of the utensil to use?  What about last course?  Did I use the right end THEN?  WHEN DO WE USE THE OTHER END? Are we good customers?  How would you rate us?  Would you say we’re the best customers you’ve ever had?”.   I kid you not, that was the entire evening for her, she was a broken record.  Plus, she was the vegetarian of the group.  And I have to hand it to the chefs at minibar, they go out of their way to make the vegetarian experience all that it can be and they time the dishes perfectly to go with the non-veggie options.  I’d say at this point I’m about 80% vegetarian with the meals I eat at home, so I have nothing against the lifestyle, but when you need to remind everyone every fifteen seconds that you don’t eat meat AND THEN you go ahead at the end of the meal and suck down one of the Philly Cheesesteaks…….you suck as a human being.  Everyone but this girl was a trooper and a well spoken food-savvy individual, so it definitely could have been worse.  Plus, you’d have to be dropping mortar fire on me to truly ruin a meal like that or draw my attention from it completely.


Lastly, I’d be crazy not to include the “bariatric” angle here.  The amount of food that I’d be consuming was a concern with my gastric bypass.  Calorie-wise it was not something I can do very often, but surprisingly I made it through all of the dishes just fine due to the timing and the fact that most were only one or two bites.  At one point later in the meal I did get some mild queasiness due to the richness of some courses, but nothing alarming.  I would not recommend it for all post-surgery folks because I do have a freakishly strong constitution, but as far as high end dining after gastric bypass goes, I guarantee the most bang for the buck at a restaurant like minibar.


Honestly, I will remember this meal forever for a number of reasons.  The food, the theatrical preparations and presentations, and the fact that it was the second date with “the C.H.U.D.”, are all elements that made it the most special of all special occasions. 


Now back to my daily intake of tofu, vitamins and protein supplements………….I’m due for the “Five day pouch test” really soon.




Filed under Bariatric Surgery, culture, Evangelical Christianity, Food, General Thoughts, Health, Healthy Eating, Recovery, Tent Revival, Weight Loss