Those Hovercrafts

Floating with intention

The Food Of The Year

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MorningStar Farms Spicy Black Bean Veggie Burgers

It may have not been the best meal I ate, nor the fanciest, but the meal that affected my life most in 2012 was Morningstar Farms’ spicy black bean veggie burger. I have eaten them at least three times a week every week all year.

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December 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Numbers May Occasionally Align

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Numbers, as increments of time, continue to advance. Sometimes, as today, the 12th day of the 12th month of the 12th year after a new millennium, they form funny, arbitrary combinations. Weird, huh?

Not everyone gets to experience the joy. In North Korea they use a different calendar, one based on the birth of founding leader Kim Il-sung. There, it’s year 101. In the Julian calendar, used commonly throughout Europe until the adoption of the Gregorian one in the 16th Century and still the date counter of choice for some Orthodox Christian churches, the date is 2456273.5

Numbers, however, are still just meaningless symbols attached to count the days in a vain effort to convince humans that our existence is anything but a hapless byproduct of physics on an out-of-the-way rock meandering through an infinite void. The haphazard arrangement of the numbers has no value other than novelty. They have no impact on when the world will end or whether you will win a million dollars in the lottery. Statistically, the world could just as easily end tomorrow and the ticket with 123456789 is as likely to win as anything else.

But live up the occasion. Buy a 12-pack of beer and a dozen eggs. Put ’em together, as the Wall Street Journal advises, and think of it as “a side of toast, in a glass.” Really, that is superb advice. And a good way to go out, just in case the world ends.

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December 12, 2012 at 11:28 am

Aung San Suu Kyi Keeps A Stuffed Animal Of Bo Obama In Her House

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Bo Obama, the United States of America’s first dog, is a central facet of the diplomatic engagement between the US and Burmese democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi. President Barack Obama and Suu Kyi talked about their dogs when they first spoke on the phone last November, and when Suu Kyi visited the White house earlier this year she got a chance to finally meet Bo in person.

Now Obama is in Southeast Asia, a trip that took him to Burma. He is the first American president to visit the country, long ruled by an autocratic regime but slowly opening to democracy and reforming away from authoritarian military rule. Obama went to help cement the reforms, and give a little diplomatic carrot to encourage more openness. He met with Aung San Suu Kyi at her house in Yangon (sometimes known as Rangoon), where she was held in house arrest for multiple years. While there, according to the White House’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes, the president “was very pleased to see that the stuffed Bo that we gave her was displayed in the — where she was, in the room where the meeting was.”

Thus concludes our latest update on the relationship between Bo Obama and Aung San Suu Kyi. Tune in next time.

Your Favorite Politician’s Favorite Rapper

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Florida Senator Marco Rubio likes hip hop. Well, he likes pop music, he says, and hip hop is pop music now. Here’s what he said in an interview recently:

Hip Hop’s 30 years old now and it’s crossed over and sort of become indistinguishable from pop music in general. You know, many people say Nicki Minaj is a rapper, but she’s also a singer. Kanye’s another guy who’s also a rapper, but his songs aren’t pure rap anymore. There’s also all these collaborations going on, which confuses everything. You know you’ve got the guy from Miami, Pitbull, who’s on TV selling a car and then he’s advertising for Dr. Pepper.

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November 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm

A Brief History Of Severe Weather In The 2012 Presidential Election

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August 27
The Republican National Committee effectively cancels the first day of its convention in Tampa, Fla., due to concerns about the impact of Hurricane Isaac and damage it may cause to delegates, attendees and infrastructure in the convention’s host city. The storm eventually heads to the west, coming ashore in southern Louisiana. At least nine are killed.

September 6
The Democratic National Committee changes the venue for the final night of its party convention in Charlotte, N.C., from the outdoor Bank of America Stadium to the indoor Time Warner Cable Arena out of a fear of thunderstorms. The arena was host to the first two nights of the convention, but organizers had planned to move events on the final night, including President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, to a much larger outdoor venue to increase the drama and majesty of the optics. The indoor speech held a smaller crowd. Obama’s speech is largely panned.

October 29
A week before the presidential election a “frankenstorm” of a hurricane meeting a northern front and picks up strength makes landfall on the eastern seaboard, around New Jersey. Power goes out across much of Manhattan and vast stretches of the coast. Cities and towns around the region are flooded. The destruction and panic in New York City is compared to September 11, 2001. Both candidates cancel political events and President Obama returns to Washington to monitor emergency relief efforts. At least 16 people are killed.

Throughout three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate the words “climate change” are not uttered once.

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October 30, 2012 at 11:09 am

Art And International Organizations And The Internet Are Weird Things

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Earlier this summer the Korean pop star Psy released a video for his song “Gangnam Style,” which has since become  a global internet phenomenon and meme. The original video has over 531 million views on YouTube.  It’s a guy doing a funny dance in funny clothes and, except for “Hey sexy lady,” speaking in a foreign language just non-English enough to be fun and charming and bizarre and non-threatening. So it’s not much of a surprise that sports mascots and other musicians soon got in on the joke.

But then so did Ai Weiwei, the renowned Chinese artist previously confined to prison and then house arrest. That’s his video at the top there. His is dubbed the “Grass Mud Horse-style” version, which refers to a pun on the absurdity government censorship that Ai has used before. His video also prominently features handcuffs, though I kind of understand that one without translation. Ai told the AP that he made the video as a reminder that, though everything is awful and the government is repressive, “every morning we have the opportunity to give others something to laugh about. Laughter is important.”

And when Psy made a stop at the United Nations to pose for a photo op with Secretary General (and fellow Korean) Ban Ki-moon this week, he taught his dance to the world’s most famous diplomat. Ban asked the pop star to bring “U.N. style” to help unify the world around global warming, since “you are so cool.”

These are strange times, guys.

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October 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Pumpkin Beers Are The Worst But Oktoberfests Are Alright

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Pumpkin beers are the worst. Every year they are back again, and every year I flirt with desire for a sip. I like the taste at first. Pumpkin! But really more pumpkin pie that straight up pumpkin, which is even better! And beer! What a great combination. Plus, like a Shamrock Shake or Valentine’s Day candy hearts, most of the joy lies in the novelty that this is a limited-time-only beer, a once-a-year-for-three-weeks kind of beer. Act now!

But two sips in and I realize I just paid money for a sweet fake alcoholic cider monstrosity with a poorly drawn Jack-O- Lantern on the label. They don’t even taste like real beer. Pumpkin beers are the pumpkin spice chai latte of the alcohol world. And I just bought six of them.

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October 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm