Tag: Food

Great Pea Soup, the Toothpick Dispensers, Not So Much, a Decades Delayed Restaurant Review

Last night, I made some pea soup for the Shabbos mean, and it brought back some memories.

In 1977, my family went down to Los Angeles to visit with my grandparents, and to pick up grandma’s old car for my older brother, Stephen (The Bear Who Swims).

It was a 1963 Chevy nova.

Given that Stephen, who was relatively new to driving, was going to do some of the driving, and the fact that the Nova had never really done highway driving, we went north along the Pacific Coast Highway

Just off of the PCH, in Buellton, California, is a restaurant which is renowned for its pea soup, Pea Soup Andersen’s.

We were in the area around dinner time, and my dad decided that we would eat dinner there.

I don’t remember what I had, except for the soup, which was truly first rate.

What sticks in my memory was what happened after dinner.

I tried to get some toothpicks out of the toothpick machine, but it was jammed.

I tried to unjam it, and when I turned it upside down, because it appears that a toothpick was stuck underneath the roller, the top came off, spilling toothpicks all over the floors.

While the tres of the family remained in the booth, staring at me in poorly disguised amusement, I had to flag down the waitress and apologize.  (I did unjam the machine)

I’m still getting razzed by my brothers over this, after almost 44 years.

Family, nu?

You Know How Indian Workers Sometimes Beat Their Bosses to Death?

If the American workforce were less compliant, this would be happening at the Tyson pig processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, where managers had a betting pool as to how many employees would get Covid-19.

Honestly, it probably SHOULD be happening:

A wrongful death lawsuit tied to COVID-19 infections in a Waterloo pork processing plant alleges that during the initial stages of the pandemic, Tyson Foods ordered employees to report for work while supervisors privately wagered money on the number of workers who would be sickened by the deadly virus.

Earlier this year, the family of the late Isidro Fernandez sued the meatpacking company, alleging Fernandez was exposed to the coronavirus at the Waterloo plant where he worked. The lawsuit alleges Tyson Foods is guilty of a “willful and wanton disregard for workplace safety.”


Fernandez, who died on April 20, was one of at least five Waterloo plant employees who died of the virus. According to the Black Hawk County Health Department, more than 1,000 workers at the plant — over a third of the facility’s workforce — contracted the virus.

The lawsuit alleges that despite the uncontrolled spread of the virus at the plant, Tyson required its employees to work long hours in cramped conditions without providing the appropriate personal protective equipment and without ensuring workplace-safety measures were followed.

The lawsuit was recently amended and includes a number of new allegations against the company and plant officials. Among them:

  • In mid-April, around the time Black Hawk County Sherriff Tony Thompson visited the plant and reported the working conditions there “shook [him] to the core,” plant manager Tom Hart organized a cash-buy-in, winner-take-all, betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many plant employees would test positive for COVID-19.
  • John Casey, an upper-level manager at the plant, is alleged to have explicitly directed supervisors to ignore symptoms of COVID-19, telling them to show up to work even if they were exhibiting symptoms of the virus. Casey reportedly referred to COVID-19 as the “glorified flu” and told workers not to worry about it because “it’s not a big deal” and “everyone is going to get it.” On one occasion, Casey intercepted a sick supervisor who was on his way to be tested and ordered him to get back to work, saying, “We all have symptoms — you have a job to do.” After one employee vomited on the production line, managers reportedly allowed the man to continue working and then return to work the next day.
  • In late March or early April, as the pandemic spread across Iowa, managers at the Waterloo plant reportedly began avoiding the plant floor for fear of contracting the virus. As a result, they increasingly delegated managerial authority and responsibilities to low-level supervisors who had no management training or experience. The supervisors did not require truck drivers and subcontractors to have their temperatures checked before entering the plant.
  • In March and April, plant supervisors falsely denied the existence of any confirmed cases or positive tests for COVID-19 within the plant, and allegedly told workers they had a responsibility to keep working to ensure Americans didn’t go hungry as the result of a shutdown.
  • Tyson paid out $500 “thank you bonuses” to employees who turned up for every scheduled shift for three months — a policy decision that allegedly incentivized sick workers to continue reporting for work.
  • Tyson executives allegedly lobbied Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds for COVID-19 liability protections that would shield the company from lawsuits, and successfully lobbied the governor to declare that only the state government, not local governments, had the authority to close businesses in response to the pandemic.


The lawsuit claims that while Tyson has repeatedly claimed that its operations needed to remain open to feed America, the company increased its exports to China by 600% during the first quarter of 2020.

They didn’t care, because it wasn’t Wypipo at risk, it was “Mexicans”, and who cares if they die.

These people need to go to jail for a long, long time.

I Haz Invented a New Drink

You’ve heard of a Rum and Coke? 

It’s commonly called a Cuba Libre, though some argue that this also requires lime juice.

The other day, I picked up a pizza when I picked up my son from work at Mod Pizza, and decided to get some Birch Beer, which is somewhat hard to find, but always stocked there.

When I got home, I poured the birch beer in a glass, and mixed it with some (a lot, actually) dark rum. (No citrus added)

The wintergreen overtones (The oil in wintergreen and birch are almost identical) works very well with dark rum.

My only question now is what to call it.

“Rum and Birch” sounds like some sort of S&M thing.

Reading the Tea Leaves

In Space!!!!

It appears that there has been a tiny air leak in the International Space Station for months that they have been unable to identify, and they finally found it using loose tea leaves:

The International Space Station has been leaking an unusual amount of air since September 2019.

At first crew members held off on troubleshooting the issue, since the leak wasn’t major. But in August the leak rate increased, prompting astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the orbiting laboratory to try to locate its source in earnest.

Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, announced on Thursday that crew members had finally pinpointed the leak after devising an unusual test: They let tea leaves guide their search.

The cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin released a few leaves from a tea bag in the transfer chamber of the Zvezda Service Module, the section of the station’s Russian segment that houses a kitchen, sleeping quarters, and bathroom. Then the crew members sealed the chamber by closing its hatches and monitored the tea leaves on cameras as they floated in microgravity.

The leaves slowly floated toward a scratch in the wall near the module’s communication equipment — evidence that it was a crack through which air was escaping.

The crew has since patched the leak using Kapton tape, Roscosmos said on Monday.

Behold the power of tea.

Remember that Strike Busting Vegan Meat Company?

Well, the NLRB has filed a complaint against them for firing union organizers.

Considering the fact that this is the Trump National Labor Relations Board, the ironically named No Evil Foods (I wrote about them previously here) had to be pretty egregiously over the line:

Earlier this year, the vegan meat company No Evil Foods—which sells socialist-branded products at 5,500 grocery stores nationwide, including Whole Foods—fired two production workers at its Weaverville, North Carolina production plant who led a union drive at the company and circulated a petition asking for hazard pay during the COVID-19 pandemic.


This week, the National Labor Review Board (NLRB) found merit that the company illegally terminated the two workers, an NLRB spokesperson confirmed to Motherboard. According to a federal complaint issued Wednesday and obtained by Motherboard, the company violated the law by firing workers because they “assisted a union” and “circulat[ed] a petition seeking hazard pay…for the purposes of mutual aid and protection.”

Under the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, it is illegal for employers to discriminate or retaliate against workers for organizing coworkers to improve their working conditions or for attempting to form unions.


On Wednesday, the NLRB issued a federal complaint against No Evil Foods, alleging the company violated the NLRA by “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed.” According to the complaint, on April 1, 2020, a No Evil Foods HR manager interrogated employees about their union organizing and the petition for hazard pay, creating the impression management was “surveilling employees” by telling them they knew who had circulated the petition in the parking lot outside the production plant.


The firing of the two union organizers fits within an ongoing trend of ostensibly progressive companies like Kickstarter and Whole Foods taking anti-union stances when employees seek to improve their working conditions.

Jon Reynolds, the other fired No Evil Foods production worker, told Motherboard, “part of what helped us is that we kept notes, and documented and recorded everything. Throughout the unionization process, we amassed as much evidence as possible [that No Evil Foods was against our union].”

Note to would be labor organizers: DOCUMENT EVERYTHING.


Following a series of compulsory anti-union meetings led by management, workers voted against joining the United Food and Commercial Workers union in a landslide 43-15 vote in February.


A spokesperson for the National Labor Review Board says that a trial for No Evil Foods has been scheduled for December 7.

“The finding that our case had merit is a cause for any worker anywhere to see that there is an actual law that allows people to organize without fear of retaliation,” said Roche, the fired No Evil Foods worker. “Companies that fire people who organize aren’t on the right side of history. “

I really hope that the hypocrites at No Evil Foods get what’s coming to them.

Some Uncompensated Endorsements

After picking up Nat from a hangout with a friend, and on the way home, I picked up a snack from Habib Mediterranean Market and Cafe, a nice spinach and cheese pie. 

The kids got some very nice stuffed grape leaves and some za’atar spiced fries. Additionally, I got a bottle of a very nice non-alcoholic malt beverage made in Dubai, UAE, Barbican

Unlike many near-beers, it is not too sweet, and not too malty, and lightly hopped, which makes for an easy drink when one wants to cool down a hot day.

Justice for Me, but Not for Thee, Vegan Meat Edition

The rather ironically named No Evil Foods has embarked on a policy of targeting and firing pro-union employees:

No Evil Foods describes its mission as to “put more good into the world.” The North Carolina company started in 2014 when its owners and founders Mike Woliansky and Sadrah Schadel sold plant-based meat products out of a cooler at Asheville farmers markets. Since then, the company sells products with left-wing names like Comrade Cluck (a mock chicken product), the Pardon (a Thanksgiving-season turkey substitute), and El Zapatista, a vegan chorizo whose name is a nod to the revolutionary indigenous movement in southern Mexico.


But earlier this year, the company fought back a drive by employees to unionize its production facility in Weaverville under the United Food and Commercial Workers International union (UFCW).

The union lost handily in a February vote. Over a half dozen current and former employees who spoke with The Appeal described a hostile union-busting campaign, complete with frequent “captive audience” meetings—required meetings billed as “educational” sessions in which management effectively tries to kill organizing drives. Workers who spoke with The Appeal requested anonymity out of fear of retaliation from their bosses.


But a month after production worker Cortne Roche posted the petition online, several pro-union workers and others who had signed it were fired in rapid succession, workers say. Roche, who had been pro-union and helped organize the petition, was fired on April 30, the day after she was suspended for a dress code violation.

Roche and two other workers who’ve been fired in recent weeks told the Appeal that they believe their terminations were retaliatory. “I was told I was terminated immediately and there was no conversation about that,” Roche said. “I’m not stupid.” Roche said she’s filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board; the company currently has two open charges against it for alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act, both of which were filed earlier this month.

No Evil refused to answer specific questions about the firings, including the alleged use of “shadow write-ups”—writing employees up for violations without telling them, and then citing the violations in their firings.


But although No Evil Foods is a much smaller company than some of the meat-producing behemoths it hopes to turn people away from, workers and former workers whom The Appeal spoke with say it has betrayed its progressive branding in the times where it mattered most.

“It’s not in the interest of a company that exploits workers to give those workers any say in the company,” Roche said. “Even a vegan company called No Evil.”

What’s more, when the mandatory anti-union talks were leaked online, the company used bogus copyright challenges to suppress news reporting:

Earlier this year, the vegan-meat company No Evil Foods, which sells socialist-themed products at 5,500 grocery stores across the United States, including Whole Foods, fought a union drive at its Weaverville, North Carolina-plant.

The anti-union campaign led by No Evil Foods management featured a series of compulsory meetings, some of which were recorded by workers on their personal phones, portions of which were published in May by Motherboard and several other outlets, including In These Times, Industrial Worker, and the podcast Dixieland of the Proletariat.

Someone claiming to represent the company now appears to be trying to scrub the internet of these recordings by filing takedown requests on copyright and privacy grounds with the sites on which they’re hosted. Audio of the meeting has been deleted from YouTube, SoundCloud, and the podcast hosting platform LibSyn in recent days. A freelance journalist, Andrew Miller, who published the audio, had his personal website shut down by his web host HostGator on August 27. The takedown requests, several of which were viewed by Motherboard, claim that the speeches the company wrote are copyrighted. One video and four audio recordings—including two full-length podcast episodes that incorporate recordings of the meeting—have been flagged and removed from the internet.

No Evil Foods did not respond to Motherboard’s request for comment, and the company blocked me on their official Twitter account. Emailed requests for comment sent to “rachel@noevilfoods.com,” the address that filed the complaints, were not returned. On Friday, LibSyn determined that one of the takedown requests was “fraudulent,” meaning that the person who filed it did not have a legitimate copyright claim, according to an email obtained by Motherboard. The episode of Dixieland of the Proletariat was restored because No Evil Foods did not respond to an inquiry about fraud from the podcast platform.

Motherboard spoke to copyright experts who said that under fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law, news outlets likely did not violate No Evil Foods’ copyright by publishing the audio recordings. In the United States, fair use allows the limited use of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright holder specifically for the uses of news reporting and criticism.


In meetings recorded by workers and published by Motherboard and other outlets, which have since been taken off the internet, the company’s founders Mike Woliansky and Sadrah Schadel utilize standard anti-union talking points, warning their employees that a union would scare away investors, take away their rights, and drain their wages like a “sh%$ty gym membership that you just want to get out of.”


In early August, Motherboard received a notification from YouTube that a video of one of the speeches had received a privacy complaint. The video was subsequently removed; YouTube denied an appeal to leave it up. In recent weeks, SoundCloud has also removed audio of the speeches published by Motherboard and Industrial Worker, citing supposed copyright violations.

Each of the recordings was taken on workers’ personal devices in North Carolina, which requires the consent of only one present person in order to record audio.

In an email complaint to the podcast platform Libsyn about a version of the audio that appeared on In These Times’s Working People podcast on August 24, someone using the email address “rachel@noevilfoods.com” claimed that the recording was “Unauthorized” because it included contents “authored” by the two No Evil Foods founders and a hired consultant. The name on the email account is “Rachel Woliansky,” and Soundcloud told Industrial Worker that the inquiry came from “Rachel Woliansky.” (No Evil Foods’ CEO Mike Woliansky has a relative with the same name, according to a public database.) The email address Rachel@noevilfoods.com did not respond to Motherboard’s request for comment.

“Each clip was authored by Mark McPeak, Sadrah Schadel, & Michael Woliansky of No Evil Foods, respectively,” the person in control of rachel@noevilfoods.com wrote. “I hereby state that I have a good faith belief that the disputed use of the copyrighted material is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.”


Cory Doctorow, a prominent internet rights expert, activist, and science fiction author, said that companies and other actors have a strong interest in presenting unfavorable coverage as a copyright infringement.

“What if Harvey Weinstein had taken copious notes on his crimes, and then said he had a copyright right on them, and that you couldn’t publish them? This is news reportage and it’s in the public interest to know about it,” Doctorow said. “But there’s a strong interest in presenting this as copyright infringement.”


If you fancy yourself progressive, but that only applies when it does not cost you anything, you are not a progressive.  You are a hypocrite.

Rule 1 of Mistreatment of Cop Stories: Cops Lie

Rule 2 is see rule 1.

Case in point is a police officer producing a false report of a tampon being put in his Starbucks Frappuccino.

It is, of course, false.  What is in the picture (you can click through, but it’s kind of gross) is NOT a tampon, as evidenced by the intrepid reporter who tested a tampon in a Frappuccino.

How the f%$# to you list that on your resume?

Update: This story has been updated with comment from Target, which said it has “reviewed video footage and have not found any suspicious behavior.”

Last night, America was seized with horror when Bill Melugin, a reporter for the local Fox affiliate in Los Angeles, tweeted an image of a tampon being pulled from a cup with the tip of a distinctive green straw.

An off-duty LAPD officer, according to Melugin, found the tampon in a blended coffee drink he’d purchased at a Starbucks inside a Target in Diamond Bar, and later filed a report with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

“This disgusting assault on a police officer was carried out by someone with hatred in their heart and who lacks human decency,” the LAPD’s union told Melugin.


The story, though, raised questions, and not just because of the long history of cops claiming to have been assaulted by fast-food workers, only for those claims to turn out to be nonsense. According to Melugin’s reporting, the officer could only have been identified by their police credit union debit card. As anyone who’s been in a Starbucks since the coronavirus pandemic began knows, though, cashiers don’t handle debit cards. As the story goes, then, the cashier would have had to closely scrutinize the officer’s card as they ran it through the machine and alert a barista to their identity; the barista, making the drink in plain sight, would have then have had to acquire a tampon and put it into the drink after it had been through a blender.


In order to see if the cop’s story was even remotely plausible, Motherboard performed a science experiment. Aric Toler, a researcher at Bellingcat—an organization which analyzes open source media and has, for example, exposed the use of chemical weapons use in Syria by studying video and photographic evidence—suggested, in the interests of rigor, that we buy 10 Frappuccinos and 10 different types of tampons. Given the fact that we were biking and did not want to spend a fortune, we decided instead to try one Frappuccino and one tampon and see how that went.

You can click through for the details, but once again, we are seeing cops “Testilie.”

Slaughterhouses, AGAIN!

Not good

In Germany there has been a major Covid-19 outbreak at an abattoir, (I love the word, “Abattoir.” I need to use it more often) with over a thousand cases linked to the meat processing plant.

This has taken the R-Number,  the infection rate of an epidemic, from about .75 to 2.88, meaning that infections are growing again, not shrinking: (Any number over 1 indicates an increase in the number of cases)

The owners of Europe’s largest meat-processing plant must be held to account for a mass coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 1,500 of its workers, Germany’s labour minister has said.

Hubertus Heil said an entire region had been “taken hostage” by the factory’s failure to protect its employees, most of whom come from Romania and Bulgaria.

Germany’s coronavirus reproduction or R rate leapt to 2.88 over the weekend largely as a result of the outbreak at the plant at Gütersloh in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). About 7,000 people have been sent into quarantine as a result of the outbreak, and schools and kindergartens in the region that had been gradually reopened have been forced to close until at least after the summer holidays.

Health authorities have accused Tönnies, the family-run business that owns the plant, of breaking regulations around physical distancing that were introduced to dampen the spread of coronavirus. Authorities say Tönnies has also been reluctant to give them access to workers’ contact details, allegedly hampering the tracking and tracing of the workers and their contacts. Tönnies said delays in handing over personnel data had been due to Germany’s strict data protection laws.

Clemens Tönnies, the company’s billionaire CEO, held a press briefing at the weekend at which he apologised for his company’s management of the crisis, and said it would take “full responsibility” for what had to be done to combat it. Within his own family there have also reportedly been attempts to oust him from his role. He has ruled out resigning.

Of course he has ruled out resigning.

This is exactly the same sort of apology as was given by Volkswagen executives.

The Most Karen Thing Ever

Have you heard about “No Evil Foods”? They are a vegan meat company that claims to be socialists, and they are waging a scorched earth campaign against its workers joining a union.

This so typical of the faux socialist bougie types.

Socialism for thee, not not for me:

Earlier this year, the company No Evil Foods, which sells a variety of socialist-themed vegan meats, fought a union drive at its Weaverville, North Carolina plant that included numerous “captive audience” meetings where management told workers to vote against a union.

Motherboard obtained a 23-minute video of No Evil Food’s CEO and co-founder Mike Woliansky repeatedly imploring workers to vote “no” in the union election, and telling workers that a union could hamper the company’s ability to “save lives” and “change the world.”

In his speech, Woliansky compared joining the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, which represents tens of thousands of meatpacking workers in the US, to “hitching your wagon to a huge organization with high paid executives and a history of scandal and supporting slaughterhouses,” he said. “I don’t think that’s an organization you want to support with your dues money.”

No Evil Foods brands itself with a socialist messaging and sells $8 packages of vegan products with leftist names like “Comrade Cluck” (a chicken substitute seasoned with garlic and onion), and “El Zapatista” (a mock chorizo), a reference to Mexico’s anti-capitalist indigenous movement. It sells its product at 5,500 stores nationwide, and, in online listings for jobs in its Weaverville production facility, the company says, “we do good no evil. We care about doing good through the products we make.”

In recent weeks, the company fired several workers who led the union drive at its manufacturing plant (known as “the Axis”), according to a report in the Appeal. Four employees told Motherboard that the company has fired five workers active in labor organizing since April.


“Just when we filed for our election, they ramped up their [anti-union] meetings,” a former No Evil Foods worker who quit in March told Motherboard. “They told us we’d have to negotiate with shareholders instead of them and made emotional appeals to us like ‘we have our house in this.’ Hey, I would love to be able to afford a house that I’d be able to risk to start a business.”


The hypocrisy of capitalizing on socialist messaging while using anti-union speeches to defeat a union drive was not lost on workers.

“We are not a bunch of whiny kids who would complain at any job,” a former no No Evil Foods worker who was fired in May, told Motherboard. “Personally I wouldn’t be speaking out to the media if this was a company that didn’t use socialism for its marketing. It’s the fact these people are liars.”

“In my first few months, I thought this company was great. The $13.65 I made was the highest I’d ever been paid in my life,” a former No Evil Foods worker who was involved in the union drive and quit in March, told Motherboard. “But then they started making changes that impacted people with second jobs, and their response was just so starkly like ‘we don’t give a shit.’ I realized that their socialist messaging is all branding and tricking the consumer into making them feel like they have a consciousness.”

I am sure that the Wolianskys think that they are actually progressive in some meaningful way, it’s just that they rationalize that anything that might inconvenience them is a bridge too far.


What, Another Silicon Valley Sharing Economy Scheme Revealed to be a Fraud?

Inspector Renault Says………

Round up the usual suspects, it turns out that food delivery companies are using their piles of venture capital money to dominate the market, and then they will be able to extract monopoly rents:

Ranjan Roy has a great article on Substack about DoorDash and “pizza arbitrage”: Roy’s friend was first annoyed to discover that DoorDash was providing delivery services for his nondelivery pizzeria: taking web orders without his knowledge, phoning in for takeout and sending a DoorDash delivery worker to pay and pick up the food, and often delivering to a customer who would be annoyed that the pizza arrived cold. And then he was surprised to see DoorDash was selling his $24 pizzas for only $16. This meant he had an arbitrage opportunity: Order his own pizzas at $16, sell them to DoorDash for $24 each, and pocket the difference. This worked even better if he didn’t put real pizzas in the delivery boxes. But how on earth was DoorDash ever supposed to make money selling his pizzas at a loss?

Delivery via smartphone is one of those venture-funded sectors where business executives appear to have taken seriously the old joke about “losing money on every transaction but making it up on volume.” Normal rules of capitalism about maximizing profits do not apply. This has led to a strange situation where restaurants feel squeezed by the fees charged by delivery services (when, unlike Roy’s friend, they participate voluntarily on a delivery platform) and yet the delivery services themselves manage to keep losing money. Why is this even happening?


I think the missing element for profitability is different: productivity. The hope with a lot of business models that bring app intermediation to a preexisting element of the economy like ride services or food delivery is that technology will make workers more productive. You can see instances where this is obviously true: a Peloton instructor who teaches a class to tens of thousands of people is more productive than a SoulCycle instructor who can only teach about 60 people at a time. But with a lot of apps, the promised boost to productivity never materializes. The worker still has to render personal service to one customer at a time, and the app doesn’t do much to reduce the worker’s downtime or help him or her complete the task faster. As such, the productivity boost that is needed to make the financial model pencil — paying the worker a high enough hourly rate while charging a fee the customer is willing to pay and still having a positive profit margin — does not materialize.

Consider a few examples. In the traditional model, restaurants use their own employees to deliver food. DoorDash and its competitors offer a different approach: DoorDash contracts with the delivery person, sending him or her to whatever restaurant has orders at any moment. In theory, this should lead to better matching of labor to work: Restaurants don’t get backed up with too many orders, because DoorDash can send over extra staff as necessary; the restaurant also never has to pay a worker to sit around and not deliver food. But there are offsetting disadvantages to this outsourced model. A restaurant-employed delivery person knows the menu and can tell quickly whether a bag appears to contain what is listed on a receipt. He has a rhythm with the staff he’s picking up from. He knows the neighborhood and knows the addresses of frequent customers. He has the right equipment — if he’s delivering pizza, he has an insulated bag so the pizza is hot when it gets to the customer. A third-party delivery person is more likely to screw these things up: slower, less accurate, lower-quality delivery. At the very least, this mutes the productivity gains from better staff matching; it could offset them entirely.


But what if the main reason the value proposition for these services has changed is that a third party is weirdly willing to lose money on the transactions? That doesn’t seem like a sustainable situation — and yet it has been sustained for years at this point. If it ends, if investors in app-based service companies start demanding profits, then we should expect the size of the personal-service part of the economy to contract. Some restaurants that came to rely on app-based delivery may find it makes sense to take delivery in-house. But others may find delivery isn’t worth it if they actually have to employ the delivery person. And then customers, revealed to be unwilling to pay the true economic cost of having their food delivered, may have to go pick it up.

What is going on here is that eventually, one of these companies will be the last one standing, and then they hope to extract even more from fees, with the threat that if your restaurant isn’t a customer, then they will deliver cold pizzas stuck to the top of the boxes and ruin your reputation, because they will hijack your Google and Yelp listing anyway.

This is not innovation, this is a f%$#ing Ponzi scheme.

When Your Drive through Resembles a Lab from the Andromeda Strain

Definitely an “A” for Effort

When I dropped off Charlie at work this evening, I picked up some egg rolls and won ton soup at Seafood Wok.  (Nat got spring rolls and hot and sour soup)

This is actually the one of the first restaurants that I ate at once I moved up to the Baltimore and was living in a hotel before we got an apartment.

I rather like their fried dumplings and soups.

In any case, they had shut down for a while as a result of the pandemic lock-down, but now they have reopened as a pickup only restaurant.

They modified the vestibule of their  restaurant to provide a safe way for people to pick up their orders.

The new normal is profoundly weird.

I Hate Charcoal Briquettes

I like to grill, and I like grilling with charcoal.

I think that gas is a crutch for weak, and when smoking, I throw in some wood for flavoring.

Do to Covid-19, I’m trying to keep my traveling to a minimum, and the nearest store only had Kingsford® briquettes.

Chunk charcoal is made by taking pieces of wood, and heating them in a low oxygen oven to drive off all the non-carbon compounds.

Briquettes, on the other hand, are made from sawdust cooked in low oxygen ovens, and then combined with a binders (Lime and Starch) and a release compound (Borax) and pressed into a pillow shape in a mold.

Since I use a chimney fire starter, (Yes, I know, Amazon is evil, but if you buy from this link, they pay me) where you place paper at the bottom of a tube, and charcoal at the top of the tube, and set the paper alight, which ignites the charcoal with no residue in about 10 minutes.

This compares favorably to lighter fluid, where you need to wait about 20-25 minutes, and produces a lot more air pollution.

Unfortunately, it has been my experience that when I use briquettes, there is about an additional 5-10 minutes of foul smelling smoke as the binders and release compounds burn off.

It does not effect the quality of the food, and when you add a few briquettes to an existing fire, the smoke is minimal, but startup is slower and nastier than chunk charcoal.

As an FYI, I grilled dinner for Sharon* for Mother’s Day.

I grilled steak for Sharon and myself, and burgers for the kids, who do not like steaks and roasts.

I also did up some zucchini with salt, pepper, garlic power, onion powder, and olive oil on the grill in foil pouches, and grilled some pineapple (add a small amount of kosher salt to draw out the liquid so that it can carmelize) for dessert.

And a good nosh was had by all.

*Love of my life, light of the  cosmos, she  who must be obeyed, my wife.

Blaming Poor People, Just Because

Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services, is blaming impoverished meat packing workers for their dying, saying that they are the ones who are causing the Covid-19 spread through the home and social aspects of their home lives.

Basically, he’s saying, “F%$# the poors, because they are evil. If they weren’t evil, they wouldn’t be poors.”

The country’s top health official downplayed concerns over the public health conditions inside meatpacking plants, suggesting on a call with lawmakers that workers were more likely to catch coronavirus based on their social interactions and group living situations, three participants said.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar told a bipartisan group that he believed infected employees were bringing the virus into processing plants where a rash of cases have killed at least 20 workers and forced nearly two-dozen plants to close, according to three people on the April 28 call.

Those infections, he said, were linked more to the “home and social” aspects of workers’ lives rather than the conditions inside the facilities, alarming some on the call who interpreted his remarks as faulting workers for the outbreaks, the people said.

“He was essentially turning it around, blaming the victim and implying that their lifestyle was the problem,” said Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), who told POLITICO that Azar’s comments left her deeply concerned about the administration’s priorities in fighting the pandemic. “Their theory of the case is that they are not becoming infected in the meat processing plant, they’re becoming infected because of the way they live in their home.”

Azar emphasized the need to keep the plants open, according to the three people on the call. He also theorized that workers were largely not becoming infected at the meatpacking plants, and were instead contracting the coronavirus from their communities.

Azar noted in particular that many meatpacking workers live in congregate housing, allowing that more testing at facilities would help but that the bigger issue was employees’ home environments. One possible solution was to send more law enforcement to those communities to better enforce social distancing rules, he added, according to two of the lawmakers on the call.

Basically, he wants to send the Pinkertons into to break the strikes by breaking heads.

“Law enforcement is not going to solve the problem,” Kuster said. “It was so far off base.”

An HHS spokesperson on Wednesday declined to offer any evidence supporting Azar’s assertions and said the department doesn’t comment on specifics of conversations with members of Congress, but contended that “this is an inaccurate representation of Secretary’s Azar’s comments during the discussion.”

What should be noted here is that this attitude is very much mainstream Republican dogma:  Poor people suffer because they deserve to, and they deserve it even more because of their dark complexions.

This has been the case as far back as when Gerald Ford was President, and called for people to be forced to sell their cars before getting unemployment compensation.