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A little Wednesday miscellany

Here’s some graffiti from Greece.

graffiti showing statue of liberty as the grim reaper

*Okay, the quasi, pseudo, vaguely approximated meat substitute which is worth eating only when it’s fried to cardboard texture and drenched in ketchup. But the story’s good.


  1. Joel
    Joel May 23, 2012 7:28 am

    Hey! I like the eaty kind of spam. The boys think it’s heaven in a can.

    I might just feel that way about it because I haven’t had a steak in years’n’years, but it remains true. Fry it up with eggs, eat it on toast … I gotta go now.

  2. Claire
    Claire May 23, 2012 7:38 am

    Joel — Let me make sure I understand. You think “DOGS LIKE IT” is an endorsement?

  3. Matt, another
    Matt, another May 23, 2012 7:52 am

    Easy on the SPAM. I have literally eaten SPAM all over the world. I have eaten quite a few imitations of SPAM as well and will attest that the made in the U.S.A. SPAM is the best. It is salty, fatty, relatively expensive, and mighty fine eats. My dogs won’t eat it unless fried. There might even be a can or two or 30 in my pantry.

  4. Ken K
    Ken K May 23, 2012 7:56 am

    Naw. You can trust any food product sold in a store. Cuz if it were bad for you the government wouldn’t let them sell it, right?

  5. Scott
    Scott May 23, 2012 9:08 am

    Spam is OK if you’re hungry and there’s nothing else in the house. In afterschool days(the dim past of the 1970s), I used to slice the stuff thin, bake it in a toaster oven,and make a burger out of it. Not too bad, really. Like so many mystery-meat products, just don’t read the ingredients..I think the stuff has the shelf life of granite.

  6. Grenadier1
    Grenadier1 May 23, 2012 9:31 am

    I was always more partial to Treet myself.
    May be a southern thing I dont know.

  7. Claire
    Claire May 23, 2012 10:27 am

    I had no idea this blog was so heavily populated by connoisseurs of … well, whatever it is they actually put into Spam and Treet cans.

    What exactly does that say about life, the universe, and the sort of people I attract?

  8. EN
    EN May 23, 2012 10:58 am

    A little OT, but not really. I’ve been fired twice for telling the truth to my betters. I once told a boss that if he took a certain job he’d go out of business… and when the job (which of course he took because he’d been so successful in life that failure was only for other people) started going badly I was fired because he felt he needed someone with a more positive attitude in my spot. Maybe… but he went broke anyways. I’ve come to see this as part of the human condition, like love, death, taxes and conflict. Successful people begin to keep their own council based on past successes. They see all through that prism. They figure they can overcome anything. Just an observation, but a lot of this has to do with energy. Even in the strongest person there’s a limit. Telling the truth to a young boss might be the correct thing to do. Telling the truth to an older person, or someone who’s really tired, is just going to get you demoted at best, but probably fired. A wise person (no claims to that on my part) does not tell POTUS that his war or economic policies are failing in the third year of his second term. If you’re working for a woman who’s in her early 40s (relatively young but just getting to that point life where it’s not so easy any longer), who just got caught cheating on her husband… who left her, taking her three kids with him, then stick with lollipops, rainbows and unicorns. It’s the only way to survive. Surely there’s exceptions, but I would never bet on a truth teller surviving and for all the wonderful advice in that article the author is asking humans not to breath. Killing the messenger is a fable of myth and legend for a reason. Screw the boss, he works on self interest and so should we.

  9. Ellendra
    Ellendra May 23, 2012 11:06 am

    I think spam is an acquired taste. My mom loves it, I can’t even stand the smell.

    I’ll have to study that brain-training article when I have time. I’m trying to write a story again. I have started hundreds of stories or articles over the years, and I don’t think I’ve ever finished a single one. My main issues with writing are that 1) I don’t think in words, so I’m essentially trying to translate, and it doesn’t always work. And 2) I get too many ideas for dirctions I could go in, and can’t choose between them.
    This one I really want to finish, but the plot bunnies keep threatening to eat it. Evil, evil plot bunnies.

  10. Ellendra
    Ellendra May 23, 2012 11:12 am

    @EN Also known as Cassandra’s Curse. If you’re observent enough to see what’s coming, people will either think you’re insane or will blame you for it. Often both.

  11. clark
    clark May 23, 2012 11:26 am

    That Greek graffiti was something else now. Wow.

    Also, I’m at a loss to understand why someone would eat Spam, but not grass fed beef.

  12. Claire
    Claire May 23, 2012 11:26 am

    Not off-topic at all, EN (unless the topic is Spam, which thank heaven it doesn’t have to be). Your comment reminded me of this article I read this morning re the function of the mysterious Valerie Jarrett in the Obamas’ lives:

    Here’s a woman who’s wrong about nearly everything and who has spent her entire career “failing upward.” But she remains the most trusted advisor for both Obamas because she shields them so well from reality.

  13. Claire
    Claire May 23, 2012 11:31 am

    Speaking of Spam, though … I just remembered that I have two cans of Treet in my very own actual pantry. I didn’t buy them or anything, please understand. I found them in a cranny in the Xterra when I unpacked it after moving from the high desert to the northwest. (“Ah,” sez Joel, “I wondered where those got to.”)

    I didn’t even know that Treet was an actual name-brand product. I thought it was some dollar-store knockoff of Spam. Which, you know, is a horrifying thing to contemplate. Between it being a mystery version of something that’s already mystery meat and it having spent some unknown time in the back of my car in the desert heat, I’d be terrified even to open the stuff. I’ve kept it just in case TSHTF and I’ve scraped the last pinto bean and grain of rice out of the six-gallon superpails and I’m that desperate …

  14. Claire
    Claire May 23, 2012 11:34 am

    Ellendra — Good luck on that story! I know. They’re easy to start and a bitch to finish.

    Not thinking in words … Hm. Maybe you could “write” your first draft graphically. Even if you don’t think you have art talent (and I can’t recall whether you’ve ever talked about art) and could only do blots and dots, maybe that could help you think out your plot turns? Just a thought.

    Those evil, evil plot bunnies. Indeed. They’re more like Herbertian sandworms. Or a whole ocean full of krakens.

  15. Claire
    Claire May 23, 2012 11:40 am

    clark — yeah, eye-catchingly ominous, isn’t it? And I wonder about its history. Since the current big villain in Greece is supposed to be Germany, I wonder what the context is for U.S.-focused graffiti?

    As to why eating Spam rather than grass-fed beef … what you learned at Mother’s knee; also what you can get and can afford. Where I live (and where Joel bought those mysterious cans of Treet), you couldn’t get grass-fed beef unless you bought a side or a quarter of a steer, paid for the butchering, then drove to a ranch that might be 100 miles distant to get it. How many folks are going to do that — even if they had the money?

    I’m still thanking my friend in Montana whose grass-fed beef I’m enjoying right now as I munch on some homemade teriyaki-pineapple pepper jerky.

  16. Pat
    Pat May 23, 2012 11:58 am

    Speaking of Spam – there was also a product called Mor way back when. I think it had a slogan something like “Always ask for Mor”.

  17. EN
    EN May 23, 2012 12:07 pm

    There’s a huge anti-US/EU feeling in Greece. The feeling is we and the Germans are trying to control everything… and of course the case can be made. Obama’s support of the EU, but particularly the dreaded IMF, hasn’t gone over well in Greece. Greeks constantly tell me, “They won’t let us out of the EU”. And again, there’s a lot of truth in that. Greeks love their conspiracies and the idea of the US as some kind of ominous evil has always been a part of post war Greek culture.

    As for the Jarett article; she’s the one who fired me. LOL If not her specifically then figuratively. Guys like Obama know they’re not qualified for anything but have somehow “failed upwards” themselves so often that they have come to believe they are golden. I’m sure Obama sees Jarrett as a fellow traveler.

  18. Scott
    Scott May 23, 2012 12:19 pm

    Spam-like brand”luncheon meat” or the white-can-with-black-lettering generic “meat product”. My theory is vienna sausages(Vieenies), baloney, potted meat, pickle loaf,summer sausage,ham spread, and similar roadkill in a can products are essentially the same type of glop pressed, sliced and diced into different shapes. What I call Desperation Food or Hungry Food.
    The two grossest mystery-meat products I’ve seen are pizza flavored potted meat and brains and eggs(a breakfast food-with 1050% of your daily cholesterol needs. Look it up. I’m not kidding).
    Weirdest canned mystery meat. Redbird Brand Imitation Vienna Sausage. What the frack is a imitation vienna sausage? What’s a real one, for that matter…Maybe it is a Southern Thing.

  19. Claire
    Claire May 23, 2012 12:46 pm

    “Naw. You can trust any food product sold in a store. Cuz if it were bad for you the government wouldn’t let them sell it, right?”

    Ken K — I sense you have a brilliant future ahead of you. And so many fields you could choose from! Spokesperson for Obamacare! Head of the USDA! Senator from New York or California! Wow, your options are just endless. 🙂

  20. Claire
    Claire May 23, 2012 12:48 pm

    EN — Interesting and utterly, righteously cynical observations, thank you.

  21. Joel
    Joel May 23, 2012 12:51 pm

    Joel — Let me make sure I understand. You think “DOGS LIKE IT” is an endorsement?

    It’s an endorsement I’d approach with caution, but they’re not always wrong.

  22. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit May 23, 2012 1:26 pm

    1. Spam is also edible when you’re in the field and the Army hasn’t brought anything around for awhile.

    2. It’s heartbreaking to choose between friends, but I’m standing with Jim on the celebration, just to keep him from being alone in the Claire Spotlight.

    3. When I was teaching English overseas in Korea (where the language is relatively monotonal) it was a common belief among Koreans who didn’t speak English (much) that native speakers were actually singing to each other, because of the way English uses tones. Also had a great class where we dissected a simple sentence by one of the secretaries (who spoke excellent English) and showed her an easy 6-7 different additional meanings that her sentence could take on based on tone.

  23. Claire
    Claire May 23, 2012 2:12 pm

    “2. It’s heartbreaking to choose between friends, but I’m standing with Jim on the celebration, just to keep him from being alone in the Claire Spotlight.”

    Well, harumph, Hobbit. It’s good to know where your loyalties lie — especially on such a HUGE issue.

  24. Mic
    Mic May 23, 2012 2:25 pm

    If I was the guy with the tomato garden I would hang a couple of swings on my “structure” somewhere and call it a swing set. I wonder if they have zoning laws that say you can’t have a swing set. Now the fact I also use the swing set to hang tomatoes, well, again, I doubt a zoning law stops that. If the city comes back and says swing sets break the zoning law he would have an army of angry parents behind him to march on city hall. Measure. Counter Measure.

  25. Matt, another
    Matt, another May 23, 2012 3:52 pm

    I’ve got to agree with EN on telling the boss the truth. Many in our society honestly believe telling the boss what he/she wants to hear is the same as telling the truth. I just spent a year trying to tell the boss the truth. Everyone else was focused on telling the boss what he wanted to hear. A horrifically bad decison was made which was obvious within days of it being made. Everyone is happy though because they told the boss what he wanted to hear fully enabling him to make a bad decision. I’m looking for an escape hatch.

  26. naturegirl
    naturegirl May 23, 2012 4:12 pm

    Ok, I fail at staying focused on the focus article, but I made it at least half way through it….

    “Which, you know, is a horrifying thing to contemplate.” (Claire-quote) best describes exactly what I think about Spam-the-mystery-meat…

    Altho Scott has taken grossness to a whole new thought process, with his comment…….

    “Falling Upward” seems to be part of the new rules of making it, now a days – – people are being recognized/rewarded less for what they’ve done right and more for what they have gotten away with (not) doing…..

  27. jed
    jed May 23, 2012 5:38 pm

    Once the top-down focus is broken it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to a project. Each time it’s broken, you restart the process and use up your brain’s resources. Essentially you’re slowly growing exhausted by distractions.

    To say nothing of what happens when your interruptions are interrupted, and the process repeats. I suppose I might be glad when the interruptions come at shorter intervals, because less time is wasted getting back to what I was doing before I’m iterrupted again.

    Alas, there is no fix for this at my job.

    I have Spam in my cupboard. Yeah, it’s a last-resort consumable. I also have Marmite in the refrigerator.

  28. Hanza
    Hanza May 23, 2012 10:50 pm

    I have 4 or 5 cans of SPAM in my pantry. I try to keep at least that amount on hand at all times.

    Periodically I will open up a can and use it for sandwich meat topped with mayo and mustard.

    I always eat it cold. However when I was a kid my mom used to fry it up for breakfast along with eggs.

  29. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit May 24, 2012 9:36 am

    Claire, I just didn’t want Jim to feel all lost and lonely there* – and I didn’t want YOU to feel bad about a friend being all lost and lonely. My post there thus managed to put two friends back on track.

    *”there” being defined as an obscure and unsung Lincoln’s War battle that likely nobody besides Jim gives a much of a darn about….

  30. JS
    JS May 24, 2012 11:41 am

    I was “laid off” for telling my superior the truth about:

    1. I truthfully didn’t feel comfortable sharing a hotel room with my coworker at a three day conference due to medical condition. Result= Red-faced and pissed off. Accusations of breaking the company on my first company-paid trip.

    2. I truthfully told him he wasn’t doing any true, online marketing other than social media, and that he should also focus on SEO, inbound marketing and measurable and testable online campaigns. Result=”Laid off” for not immediately having the new skills.

    In tougher times, it was Spam and fried potatoes. Love it.

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