Thursday, July 28, 2011

A highly rated critique of the MPAA system

The following entry is rated PG-13 for scenes of intense partying, depictions of nun chucks to the head, the inapropriatest use of modifiers, sacrilegious use of ear wax and a couple fucking bits of profanity.

Oh wait, that introduction only makes sense if we still used the old MPAA movie rating system (and this were a movie). But we don't. It's been replaced with a new and great movie rating system. The Kevin Nelson totally subjective but lawmaking ratings system.

But first, a little history on where I'm coming from and why the old system didn't work.
Under the old MPAA system, I could
not call "Toy Story 3" a "Fucking
good flick."

Under the old system, ratings were seemingly arbitrarily assigned ratings. They might earn a G, PG, PG-13, Sex with Animals, R or NC-17. In theory, this worked, but in practice, many people could work around the system.

For example, it always helps to have your last name be “Spielberg.” While his version of “Debbie Does Dallas” did appeal to families slightly more than the 1978 original (although its introduction of aliens into the third act orgy was... unsettling), the name alone lifted it above other films and received an accessible family-friendly PG rating (for scene of intense alien-on-man intercourse).

Now I know This Film is Not Yet Rated proved the MPAA consists of numerous fuddy duddies who value violence over sexual depictions or language. Heck, they'd probably be pretty chafed by my “fuddy” descriptor in the last sentence, not to mention the verb chafe in this one (twice!). So they can't really be trusted to anything with regards to taste.

Which is why I'm the only person smart enough, capable enough and sexy enough to enact “Kevin Nelson's Scale O' Movie Awesomeness As Ascribed by Kevin Nelson.” That's right, I'm Kevin Nelson.

As I said, the MPAA system arbitrarily moved movies amongst very defined ratings. If a movie exceeded the amount of curse words prescribed by a rating, it automatically gets bumped up. Even largely family fare like “The King's Speech” felt the wrath of this system.

I'll change things up by not caring about language or violence or even content for that matter. If I like a movie, it means everyone should see it,

I thoroughly enjoyed Fight Club, so that movie would earn a 3W rating. That means anyone older than the age of three weeks should go see that movie, it's just that good.
Better get used to this rating.
Conversely, if I hate a movie, it will get the dreaded skull and crossbones rating. While our pirate-obsessed society might view that as a good thing, it's actually bad. Think Mr. Yuk, not Mr. Sparrow. If anyone does end up seeing movies with this rating, it's an automatic death sentence. I agree, this sounds harsh, but keep in mind it will cleanse the world of countless movies like “Whip It” or “Knight and Day.”

And don't worry, I only actively despise about one in three movies.

Some movies will definitely fall into the middle of the road. Those ones will get a Taco Bell Double Decker Taco rating. This means the movie might have good parts and bad parts, but as long as you have a delicious and heart healthy Taco Bell Double Decker Taco at your side, the movie is totally bearable. At this point, I should mention my rating system will also force theaters to allow patrons to bring in delicious Taco Bell Double Decker Tacos, or be forced to watch “Whip It” (which I've established is a literal death sentence).

And that's it. We only need those three ratings, and suddenly the system works again. We'll cut down on crap, pre-teens will see the requisite amount of bloodily sexual decapitations, and we will all rejoice along with delicious Taco Bell Double Decker Tacos.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pick your poison, Bobby Flay, I'm the Next Food Network Star

Anyone who watched this week's “Food Network Star” knows that Jyll will not be the next “Food Network Star.” Some might say it's a spoiler to reveal the demise of Ms. Jyllicious, but not me. I realized a couple things about her. First, she was incredibly dull, and secondly, she can't win, because I am the next “Food Network Star.”

That's right, take that Jeff, take that Whitney, take that Susie and Vic Vegas. You will not be the next “Food Network Star.” You will be watching my show, which I've cleverly titled “Pop-Tarts.” You can imagine my POV on that one (hint, breakfast).

Most people just take Pop-Tarts and eat them straight out of the package. Sometimes they alter things by eating two of them together as some sort of rich man's sandwich. I highly support that, but my POV will allow so much more opportunity. Have you ever tried toasting them? Flavor nirvana right there.
I'll dispense wonderful pro-tips like how to
remove the tart from its wrapper prison.

But I realized why should I set my sights so low? A show that will be canceled after one season on a network located squarely outside of the top 33 networks? Sure, I'll take it, but I want more, more, oh so much more. Winning one cooking competition is somewhat notable. But becoming “America's Next Top Food Network Hell Chopped The Voice” could really elevate my status above a mere Richard Blais. I could even surpass any of the nameless non-Guy Fieri Food Network “Stars” (seriously, was one of them named Chippy?).

People who've read some of my recent posts may already realize I'm a food genius. Whether it's my righteous popcorn recipe, my awesome take down of foodies or my creation of one of the finest search engines ever, they know I deserve to win any food related reality show.

I'm not going to coast by on these past accomplishments. I've watched just about every cooking reality show ever (even that one where gastric bypass patients must create a gourmet meal out of their own stomach band), so I know a thing or two about how to win these competitions.

I've got a thoroughly planned out and annotated map to the victory. I will never pack my knives. I will never go.

My first step involves winning immunity, and winning immunity always. I think I can accomplish this by threatening to poison the judges. If Padma Lakshmi thinks my sous vide Whoppers might have a smidge of arsenic in it, I'm absolutely guaranteed immunity, since she thoroughly hates being poisoned. Boom, mission accomplished.

Little does Bobby Flay realize, my "Five Alarm Burger" has
five types of poison (including truffles).
Then, when the elimination challenge comes, I actually poison the judges. You see, it's a little known fact, but immunity actually translates to all aspects of life. Top Chef season 4 contestant Marshal Johnson was wanted in four states for aggravated manslaughter, but his butternut squash risotto earned him immunity and therefore clemency for his crimes. It also earned him the right to murder up to seven more people in the proceeding year, because of its sheer butternutty goodness. Once I win the coveted immunity, BAM, a judge drops out (due to “death”), and then Bobby Colicchio would know to not mess with me.

When all is said and done with, I'll have the write up in Food and Wine magazine, the head chef position (that's a glorified sous chef) at BLT Steak, some nachos, and a five million dollar recording contract. All of these things are neat, I guess. What I'm most looking forward to is the clout from these endeavors. Because then, and only then, I'll finally be able to create my food item that's cookie dough covered with frosting. Cookie Frosting, I'll call it.

Already, this food product sounds amazing. But from my cooking show notoriety (read murderness) garnered from all my wins will give me the ability to have “Cookie Frosting” be listed as the newest “basic taste” alongside sweet, sour, bitter and saltiness. Oh, and we'll do finally do away with “umami,” because it's a foodie word, and we don't need it.

My reign as Food Network Star will certainly be sweet. Some might even say Cookie Frosting sweet.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

To the Extreme I Rock the Window


Whoa, I'm sorry about that, but I was just competing in the latest and greatest form of extreme sport, driving with the window down.

You'll note Vin Diesel has the window rolled down.
This qualifies as extreme.
I realize the extremeness of this endeavor ranks right up there with basejumping and walking on the surface of Mars (minus the cartoonish bug-eyed effect). It's something few people do, but it's also something I absolutely love an extreme amount.

In this day and age of air conditioning and windows that actually close, this act is truly something extreme. But it's not extreme if you merely open up the window and let the air flow in, that's only partial extreme—akin to letting a cool breeze hit you. To amp it up, the entire head should jut out the window. Not only the entire head, but the neck and several of your extremities (hence the name0. You should irreparably alter the aerodynamics of your car. Only then have you embraced the extreme nature of this sport.

There are the naysayers out there, the ones who say as long as you're not MMA fighting with a shark, you're not extreme. Well, let me just point out that the MMA Octogon exists outside of a body of water, the shark's place of life, so really all that would accomplish is beating up a hunk of dead fish meat. That ain't extreme. But window opening sure is. Did I mention bugs can fly up your nose?

Really this whole thing is like skydiving, but you're going horizontal, and you're just as likely to black out, and you're not strapped to a burly man, and you can bring one of your cats along. Aside from those slight differences, driving with the window down is a totally accessible thrill sport. Take that Three-Legged Race!

Just think of the life-threatening obstacles you encounter. Anyone who has spent any amount of time with their head out the window knows that a 20-minute rush will eventually cause a weird facial throb in forehead veins. There's also, of course, the problem of getting your head sliced off by a “No Txt N Drv LOL >:-|” warning sign. However, the latter problem usually solves the former.
There is a reason they say
rolling down windows is
like nature's Windex.

To participate in this sport, you can't just hop in a car all willy nilly and lower the window and suddenly claim extremity. Any seasoned Window-er knows it just does not work like that. The vehicle needs to be in motion! Although once fully engaged with engine turning goodness, you're pretty much set (you already rolled down the window).

You can even do some extreme mods to totally amp up the extremity. Obviously Windowing gets its notoriety from the lack of stuff between you and air. Feel free to open up that sunroof, remove the windshield, add those wind tunnel turbines on the front, or push that one footy thing closer to the floor. When you combine all of these elements, you just might surpass hunting man for sport on the level extreme.

Just don't wear a helmet, you'll just look goofy. And, by definition, goofy is not extreme. But I am extreme, my driving style proves it.

So keep on rocking that car ride, but make sure you do it with that window locked down! Now pardon me while I VROOOOM VROOOOOOOOOOOOOM away.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Pretention is the Foodie's Bread and Butter

So wait, you're a “Foodie?” As in a person who likes to eat things? Well, shockingly enough, I'm an “Airie”—someone who likes to breathe oxygen. We should really get together and allow the survival of the human race.

I do strongly support his
culinary contributions.
My condescension probably masks it a little, but I thoroughly dislike the term “foodie.” I realize they consider themselves elevated, a step up from the populace that made Fried Lard Food Products LLC one of the largest food product chain in the world (yes, even larger than Wendy's). But that doesn't make foodies better than anyone else, it's just a new and fun way to act stuck up.

Shouldn't we call them pretenties if foodies like pretentiousness so much?

I'll allow people to like cooking, I'll allow people to go to super chef's restaurants. I'll even allow people to think “Hell's Kitchen” is somehow a cooking “competition. But I just can't accept it as a hobby. Sure, eating causes pleasure and can be fun, but to even consider a “foodie lifestyle” makes me gag on my candied hedgehog Popsicle with a poison ivy foam.

Wait, what's the you say? Oh wow, you've eaten Sasquatch? Well first off, we should really dissect your liver and sell it to whichever cryptozoologist will pay the most money for it. I realize no food actually passes through the liver, but I also know you didn't eat the accursed “Big Foot Big Steak,” so we're really on a pretty even playing field.

Even if Sasquatch did exist, it wouldn't be enough for a foodie to merely eat a sasquatch steak. It would need to be something like “The Eyeballs of a Sasquatch Beast Poached in Loch Ness Monster Blood that's Been Marinated in Cuba Gooding Jr.'s Career with a Side of Good Tasting Mushrooms.” The sheer implausibility of any of these occurring suddenly make it into a very attractive notch on a foodie's fork. Who cares if it tastes bad, it tastes rare! And cruel!

Just stop drooling. It makes him self-conscious.
I realize much of what I cook comes from a vegetarian or toast background. This puts much of the foodie fair outside of my wheelhouse. But I'm not vegetarian, and I'm open to various non-toasted items. Yet I don't seek them out, I'm find having fast food, I'm fine having gourmet food. I realize what each accomplishes, but I don't seek them out for those purposes, I seek them out because I'm hungry.

Many of the TV shows I watch are competitive cooking shows. From Top Chef to Food Network Star to MasterChef, they all populate my DVR. Yes, some of the food showcased on these shows sound really good, but I can hop back to eating hunks of cheese off a baby loaf. My interest is passing, I might support it, but I don't pursue it. Basically, I don't “foodie it.”

Sure, I might never dine on a fried iceberg or enjoy a flambeed tonsil muffin, but I'm okay with that. I can eat what I want to, and most importantly, I do not look down upon those who exercise their free will. Sure, I've spent several hundred words ranting my dislike of foodies, but that's mainly a rally against the attitude they exude. They look down on me for my love of Frosty. So I look down on them for their love of stuck upped-ness. An even trade off.

With that said, Foodie, it looks like you and I will repopulate the Earth with our devotions to common things that keep humans living. Hopefully one of us knows a “Waterie.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

It Might Sound Corny, but Save Money by Popping Your Own Popcorn -- Take that Orville!

Pay no attention to that man putting the small yellow pellets into the bag. Especially do not take notice of him as he folds up the bag, sets it in the microwave and walks away. Ignore the sudden popping noise, this is all perfectly normal.

You've assembled a recipe for awesome.
To the average person the preceding scenario might seem a tad alarming. After all, they've had to have seen Steven Seagal fashion a bomb in this fashion, and they might suddenly fear a bad actor will soon ambush them.

But the reality is, I'm just making popcorn. You don't need to indulge Mr. Redenbacher and buy his microwave-ready corn. There's no need to purchase one of those ridiculously overpriced popcorn poppers. All that's needed to make grade A-quality corn is a brown paper bag, popcorn kernels and a determination to not eat copious amounts of chemicals and preservatives.

Believe me, that last requirement presents quite the obstacle to overcome. That “butter” got me through so many rough times.

Once you've assembled these items and the wherewithal to go through with it, here's the simple process to make homemade microwave popcorn in a brown paper bag.

Step 1:
Place popcorn in the brown paper bag. I generally like to cover the bottom of the bag with kernels.

Step 2:
Fold brown paper bag over three times. Once is far too flimsy and will shoot steam out. Four times doesn't allow the popcorn to expand.

Step 3:
Place Popcorn Kernels in a Sack
When you achieve "prime kernel coverage,"heat things up
Put bag in microwave for two minutes. Most popcorn bags say you're supposed to base it upon the popping time of the kernels. But in this brave new world of brown bag popping, we know all microwaves ever have only taken two minutes to make popcorn.

Step 4:
Realize there's not that many steps to this whole process and your submission would be laughed out of eHow for being too simplistic. But those eHow douches won't get the last laugh in this case. Oh no, if you make an entire step talking about how much you dislike eHow, suddenly everyone will follow that step and then they will dislike eHow. Then when eHow repents and says they need you more than you need them, you realize you're in a position of power and can make eHow give you a purple unicorn, and then make them walk said unicorn and bathe it twice a day.

Step 5:
Realize that last step took a surprisingly vicious turn. Breathe.

Step 6:
Orville Redenbacher
Mr. Nelson, I will gut you from beyond the grave
with my specially designed popcorn shiv.

Now it's time to top it! Feel free to dash on a tablespoon or two of olive oil or butter. Add in some salt, and then toss on something fun like chipotle chili powder, Junior Mints, sriracha, nachos, Rocky Mountain Oysters, or the undying soul of a virgin child. The great part is, without all the chemicals from the normal bags of popcorn, it's virtually a guilt free endeavor. That is, if you're okay with having virgin blood tainting your popcorning experience (but in this day and age, who isn't).

What's great about this six-step process is not only does it take down one of the most stuck up of all how-to websites, but it's a lot cheaper than what Orville himself charges. A standard box of popcorn has six packs and runs roughly $2. A two pound bag of popcorn also runs about $2, but can be used to make roughly 12.96 servings of popcorn.

So, sit back, grab your 6.96 extra servings and just wait for this FAQ to show up on eHow.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Boxcar Children Mystery #139: Why Has Kevin Never Boxcarred?

Henry! Jessie! Benny! Quick, we must go to the old abandoned firehouse. There's an easily solvable mystery that for some reason adults cannot solve, but us plucky children and our readers should solve it, unless they're really stupid and/or were not raised inside of a boxcar. BOXCAR CHILDREN ASSEMBLE!

And that's how I came to be a member of one of the most vaunted and respected groups of mid-20th-century-sibling-crime-solving-do-gooders-raised-in-the-titular-boxcar-that-bears-the-name-of-the-series-which-is-called-“-The-Boxcar-Children-”.

But wait, I must go back so you can fully understand the story. Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny were were abandoned by their parents / their parents died. With the oldest at only 14-years-old they decided to live in a Boxcar, instead of with their bazillionaire uncle. I think they did this, because they realized how catchy the “Boxcar Children” name was and knew there'd be marketing possibilities in the future.

However, on page two of the first book, they change their mind and move in with him, probably because he had sanitation. Since they no longer lived in the boxcar, they solved the mysteries that commonly befell them. From a bus station mystery to the benefits of engaging in a uranium fight (“The Boxcar Children Mystery #4: Mystery Ranch).

Growing up, my life was all about the Boxcar Children. I think that's because for the first eight years of my life, I rode rails. Back and forth on that boxcar I went, uncovering mysteries and, of course, engaging in the vaunted uranium battles with my siblings.

This didn't actually happen. That was a mystery right there, but you didn't solve it. If “boxcar” were a verb, you'd totally be boxcarred from the Boxcar Children right now. But I solved it. That why they're letting me be a Boxcar child. Henceforth, I shall replace Violet. As Benny put it, “No big loss. Tremendous gain though! You'll boxcar right in with us!”

Don't worry, my presence in the book will not wreak havoc upon the Boxcar continuity. Established Boxcarrers know after author Gertrude Chandler Warner died (during the middle of “The Boxcar Children #19: Benny Uncovers a Mystery), a series of hack ghostwriters came in and took the children to weird, wacky and ultimately stupid places. Suddenly college grad Henry reverts to a 14-year-old, the boxcar became an abstract metaphor for the repeal of the theory of conservation of mass and Benny became a sassy black penguin from outer space who would proclaim “That's a penuintastrophe!” as his catchphrase.

As I said, don't worry, I won't do to you what David Foster Wallace did. I will make a Boxcar Children that's made pure and out of love. I will totally Gertrude Chandler Warner your world!

So I proudly present to you the phenomenal story of “The Boxcar Children #20: The Violent Violet Murder Death Mystery.”

“So, as I, Kevin Nelson, was saying, the old abandoned firehouse. Lots of weird stuff going down there,” Kevin Nelson said.
“Well, let's investigate it,” said 25-year-old Henry, who is actually 25-years-old and not 14, while this seemingly would disqualify him as a “children,” he is.

The Boxcar Children and Kevin Nelson hopped in their fully automatic boxcar and headed to the scene of the crime. Nobody in that fabled car knew the terror they were about to encounter.

Benny hopped out first and found the bloodied body of Violet Alden, his least liked sister. Although she could be kind of bitchy, he was saddened to lose her.

“Why Violet why, who could have done this to you? I'm pretty sure I didn't” he wailed.

Kevin Nelson quickly stepped in and offered a plausible solution. Kevin Nelson incorporated the fact that a traveling circus had set up next to the abandoned firehouse.

“Don't you guys recall how you used to always do battle with evil diabolical clowns?” Kevin Nelson proclaimed. “Remember in the Caboose Mystery, there was that clown who needed help and you all cold-heartedly told him no, and that his juggling skills left much to be desired? I believe it was like your 10th mystery together.”
“I do recall that, although I'm pretty sure that was our 11th adventure together,” said Henry.
“I don't count 'Mystery Ranch' as a 'story,' Kevin Nelson replied.
“Join the club!” exclaimed Henry.

We all had a good laugh as rigor mortis set in on Violet's body.

“Well then, we must kill some clowns!” Kevin Nelson said with authority.
“I agree,” said Jessie.

Many librarians hated The Boxcar Children, because it depicted children out on their own with little parental supervision. At this point I must say that's why I support the 'Children, because I could describe the gristly carnage that occurred at that big top. But who has time for that? Let me just say, the clown entrails dripping from Benny's mouth was simultaneously cute and disturbing.

“Make em squeal!” Benny yelled as he tossed aside a flower that shoots water in people's faces.

With the clown menace decimated, The Boxcar Children freely poured one out for their dearly departed sister. Don't worry, I'm not forcing underage children to drink, that would go against Ms. Warner's wishes. Keep in mind, Henry is like 25!

“Well, the next time one of our siblings unfortunately dies, I hope you can help get us out of that pickle,” Benny said to me, Kevin Nelson.

But will another one of them die? Did the clown menace actually eviscerate Violet? Will the Boxcar Children ever ride another boxcar? Find out all that and in the amazing and awe-inspiring 21st real Boxcar Children adventure.
Well gee, talk about a spoiler alert!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thursday is Dead! Long Live Splortchelsday!

Since it's Splortchelsday, that means another update from BreakMentalDown. That's right, we always update on every Monday and Splortchelsday, because I really feel those are kind of the days that everyone needs a little pick me up. So enjoy this Splortchelsday post!

Oh wait... you probably don't know what Splortchelsday is. Thursday is now Splortchelsday, Splortchelsday is now Thursday. Any questions?

I might need to recruit some omnipotent god like Thor
to frighten people away from using the cursed "Thursday."
I decided society overloaded the word “Thursday” with far too much empty promises and lame puns (“The day after Wednesday is right over theresday”). Obviously we need a change to continue functioning. We need a day with gumption and gusto behind it, not some lame fake day. We need Splortchelsday!

What I really dislike about Thursday is its lack of background, its lack of an X Factor that make people proud to celebrate Thursdays in the same way they treat Tuesdays or Fridays.

Just think about it, all the other days of the week have a name that just make a whole lot of sense. Of course, Friday got its name because that's the day when everyone gathers in the cul-de-sac and makes sweet potato fries. And those words both start with fri.
Saturday came about from that time when Ryan Foley “sat” around all day playing Atari 5200 (keep in mind, they named these days a LONG time ago).
Sunday is well known for having the most sun of any other day.
Monday causes a lot of moans. What they're from, I cannot say, that's just between me and the girlfriend.
Tuesday causes twice as many moans, again, for reasons I cannot divulge.
And Wednesday is of course, the day when the most weddings occur. You might think Saturday would better fit that description, but you're forgetting how many neighborhood marry their cats and dogs and iguanas together. It's a ridiculous amount.

As I just listed, every day has its own unique background. But where did Thursday's history or meaning or anything of substance come from? Nowhere! Is it a day when everyone is supposed to experience drought and extreme thirst? Did 96th US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall flex his mighty gavel and make a day named after him?

Nobody truly knows the answers to these questions. Any guess at it would be just that—a guess. So I say we totally proactivate this problem and cut off the Thursday menace before our children or our children's children succumb to its wrath. Stop calling the fifth day of the week Thursday, because Splortchelsday totally Splortchelsdays on it. See, we can even use this terminology as both a noun and verb—can Thursday do that?

With the Splortchelsday wording, everyone knows where the phrase comes from, what it means, what it embodies. “Have a stupendous Splortchelsday” will become the new “aight” in many tweenager's vocabularies.
Yesterday was Splortchelsday, Splortchelsday /
Today is Friday Friday

Further reason to do in Thursday—some calendars have to make special exceptions for Thursdays. As any alphabetically-inclined person knows, both Tuesday and Thursday start with a T. Because just listing a T could result in date confusion, Thursdays get denoted as Th or even worse, R. This just leads to confusion or maybe makes people think all calendars are made in a Scandinavian country. But with the Splortchelsday naming, this never occurs. I believe my proposal will fire up the politically charged calendar making lobby and I'll have a groundswell of support.

So have a great Splortchelsday! I'll be back next week with all sorts of great new Splortchelsday updates, because by mentioning Splortchelsday is the only way we can Splortchelsday it. Happy Splortchelsday!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrate your nation's independence by melting a small chunk of it

Well, it's the Fourth of July, and that can only mean one thing—fireworks. Or at least it used to. I might have grown tired of the litter, pollution and inexplicable playing of “Born in the USA” inherent to fireworks. Those aspects are kind of uncool, but even worse, by watching them, you might be viewed as a Katy Perry “Firework.”

Setting off fireworks this year would seem like you're just jumping on this Katy Perry bandwagon. Sure there's 200 years of firework-lighting history going against her, but she has more top 10 hits than Francis Scott Key could ever dream of having.

Don't do fireworks, no matter how much your boobs want to explode.

But don't you lose heart, there's a much better, much less I Kissed a Girl-intense way to celebrate our nation's independence (although if you're my inexplicable Brazilian reader, you can take this to mean “that” nation's independence). This year, celebrates America's independence not with fireworks, but with melting things. To make it an even better noun, well call it America Meltanza 2011.

Sure, the Star Spangled Banner mentions bombs bursting in air, and that might apply to fireworks, but probably in one of those hidden verses deep down that nobody ever sings—AKA verse 2—there's line about how bitching awesome melting stuff is. The latter verses probably include something akin to the following stanza.

Oh melting stuff is really sweet
Because it turns stuff into puddles
And that stuff then becomes soft
Then hard!
So melt stuff because of freedom!
And George Washington!
And other freedom related things!

Melting things takes all of the good of fireworks and has none of the bad. There's no pollution, no high costs or noise ordinance violations that causes your friend's dad to nearly get arrested. Even without these it still has oodles of flame. All of the good, none of the bad.

My plan for this holiday is to melt some thoroughly British thing. After all, this is our independence day, and we are out of their British rule. So I will melt something like an Agatha Christie play, apple pie or Sting. The only problem is many of these acts would result in charges of manslaughter, which are probably just as illegal in Britain as they are in the land that birthed me. I need some other target that exudes Britishism.

I suppose I could break into a Madame Tussaud wax museum and melt some of the sculptures there. There's probably several thousand depictions of the royal family (“This is Prince William when he was attractive. And this here is Prince William now.”). But doing this just seems too bush league. Melting something that's designed to melt takes absolutely no skill. Yet, melting Michelangelo’s David, which is both made of stone and makes me giggle to look at it would be great, but alas, Michelangelo is not British, and my endeavors would be wasted.

Although Mr. Scott Key was apparently really into the melting of things, you'll note I'm having trouble deciding what to actually go after. Only after much pondering and much thought, did I hit upon the most perfect possible solution for my melting problem. I'm going to melt some tea!

Much like the teapartiers of the 1770s did, and the teapartiers of the 2000s misinterpreted, I will take my magnifying glass of justice and blast forth on a teabag. As it smolders away and melts, I'll see vague traces of the “Manufactured in China” sticker and know I'll have done something to make my country proud.

Sp happy birthday America, you enjoy your melting of stuff. I'm certain it will make a fantastic puddle-like thing.