Seinfeld Conspiracy Theories

What? Did you think this new blog was going to be nothing but recipes for stuff that no one in their right mind would eat?

Like most people my age, I loved Seinfeld. My dad claims it was the best show ever on television, rivaled only by MASH. His words, not mine. I think its only rival may be Looney Tunes.

Over the years, a lot has been said about the social impact and cultural significance of the show. Mostly about the type of humor on display.

It ushered in the current favorite brand of humor: awkwardness. Paving the way for the Office and culminating in the nigh unwatchable “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret”.

It also made it ok to use “mean” humor. In fact, the show’s final episode makes light of just that. I feel like you would be hard pressed to find a show that made a joke out of pushing down an old lady during a fire before Seinfeld. Without Seinfeld, there would be no “Louis” or “Legit” or other shows that are clearly heavily influenced by the Seinfeld formula.

But one of the more interesting theories about Seinfeld is its, perhaps, more subliminal influence.

Namely, that the film “Robocop” (1987) was made by the Illuminati (or a bunch of city planners and real estate moguls) to plant the idea in people’s minds that the city was a dangerous place to live, and that they should move out into the suburbs.

Similarly, the television show “Seinfeld”(1989) was made by these same people to bring people back into the city and make it seem hip to live in the city again.

Whether that is true or not, I found something in an episode of Seinfeld the other day that got me thinking (if you follow me on the twits, you already know what I’m about to say)…

Seinfeld 1Right there. Season 6, Episode 6, about 1:40 into it.

Jerry Seinfeld owns a copy of “Child’s Play 3” on VHS.

To quote Pee Wee Herman, “What’s the significance????”

For starters, I’ve always described Jerry’s character on the show as the normal, average guy that all these weird characters revolve around. The rock that Kramer, George, Elaine, and all the other peripheral characters break themselves upon. There’s even an episode that focuses on how he is “Even Steven” and everything balances out to average for him.

Granted, there’s no denying that Jerry is the focus of the show. It is named after him, after all. But, in a nutshell, here’s what I’m proposing:

#1. That Jerry is more of a weirdo than I’ve ever really given him credit for.

#2. That Jerry, like Robocop, was the first character to make it ok to be a “geek”.

#1. Jerry is more of a weirdo than I’ve given him credit for.

The horror genre has been in a renaissance for quite some time now. Although it’s debatable when it started (or if we experienced a brief lull in the action between what is actually two different high points), or which film began it, I am fairly certain that on November 3, 1994, horror was not a hot commodity. According to the internet, the biggest horror films of 1994 were “In the Mouth of Madness”, “Wolf” (debatable), and “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare”. Big movies, to be sure, but nowhere near the level we see these days with stuff like “The Conjuring”.

Now, I know what you may be thinking. “Surely there’s a logical explanation for all this. Perhaps ‘Child’s Play 3’ and ‘Seinfeld’ are owned by the same people.”

Wrong. Seinfeld was produced by Castle Rock. Child’s Play 3 was produced by Universal.

The only explanation is that the character of Jerry Seinfeld actually likes Child’s Play 3. And I mean, he must really like it because if you examine the screenshot above, he only owns about 10 movies, one of which looks to be some sort of golf instructional video.

Sure, Jerry is allowed to watch whatever he wants, but I’ve seen every episode of Seinfeld multiple times, and I hafta say that I just can’t picture Jerry cozying up to a bowl of popcorn and a film about a murderous “My Buddy“.

That said, Brandmed pointed out that Jerry tried to see “Plan 9 from Outer Space” several times (Season 2, Episode 6 “The Chinese Restaurant” and Season 7, Episode 2 “The Postponement”). “The Chinese Restaurant” aired on May 23, 1991. The Tim Burton film “Ed Wood”, which stirred up a lot of mainstream attention for Ed Wood’s little opus, was released on September 28, 1994.

Not only did Jerry know about “Plan 9” when most people probably thought it was a made-up title used as a plot device (and before the internet), but he was actively interested in going to the cinema to see it! This may have been before the internet, but I have to think that in New York Jerry could have found a copy at his local video rental shop.

While “Plan 9” may not be scary, it is definitely in the sci-fi horror genre, along with perennial favorites “Alien” and “the Thing”. Aliens resurrecting the dead to stop humankind from figuring out how to explode sun particles. Definitely horror.

In fact, while this may not seem like a big deal, “Plan 9” is one of the only “real” films that the gang ever goes to see in the theater. This puts it alongside “Schindler’s List” and, of course, the “fake” films like “Rochelle, Rochelle”.

#2. Seinfeld Paved the Way for Nouveau Geekery

It’s been said that there is a Superman reference, or sighting, in every episode of Seinfeld.

seinfeld 2There he is, the Man of Steel. Guarding Jerry’s precious copy of “Child’s Play 3”. If you can see or hear about Superman in every episode of Seinfeld, this little action figure must account for over half of them. I also know that he sometimes has a Superman magnet on his refrigerator.

While Superman is definitely Jerry’s favorite (he mentions him constantly), Jerry also makes references to Aquaman, Spiderman, Batman, and Plasticman.

Jerry likes baseball, which is the geekiest of the major sports.

He’s also neat and doesn’t drink alcohol much.

He seems to have very little practical knowledge.

He is moderately obsessed with breakfast cereal.

Besides “Plan 9”, the show references tons of films that were definitely not a part of the current pop culture, but that geeks would recognize immediately:
“The Wolf Man”
“Apocalypse Now”
“Friday the 13th”
“Star Trek 2 & 3”
Most of these references aren’t even named outright, they are merely alluded to, or imitated in some way. They’re more like Easter Eggs in the show, before “Easter Eggs” meant something besides colorful chicken fetuses.

In fact, if he wasn’t a successful comedian, I can definitely see him living in his parents’ basement. He is a classical geek! 18 years before “Big Bang Theory” (not that I’m comparing the two, which would be like comparing Beethoven to Katy Perry).

But Jerry is also seen as a role model in the show. He’s always got his shit together. He’s successful. He’s single. He lives in Manhattan.

Jerry is both a cool guy and a geek, thus making it ok to talk about Superman in public without having your masculinity questioned.

Let’s take a look at some of the other sitcoms of the early 1990’s, which was Seinfeld’s heyday:

Evening Shade
Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Dinosaurs
Herman’s Head

You get the idea. None of them are Seinfeld. None of them feature characters that, sans the baby mullet, could fit in on any television program made today.

 

 

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Junk Pot

Ok. First post in a long time. Don’t screw it up. Gotta be good.

Deep breath….

If you’re from the Gulf Coast, you’ve probably had a shrimp boil or a crawfish boil. If you’re from the East Coast, where people like to work more than they like to eat, you’ve probably had a crab boil.

Like a lot of good foods (barbecue, casseroles, soul food, etc.), the Junk Pot was born out of necessity. A need to cook cheap things in a way that makes them taste good. A Junk Pot is the same thing as Low Country (a seafood boil), except you just throw in a bunch of whatever and boil the shit out of it in a bunch of spices.

Junk Pot is what you make when you want a crawfish boil, but they’re out of season or too expensive.

Here’s what’s going in my Junk Pot today:

20140709_125816The main ingredient in a Junk Pot, besides water, is crab boil. I normally prefer the “bag” kind, which is just a bunch of spices that come in a little sachet that you just throw in the pot, but this stuff seems to work out better for big pots. There’s plenty of brands of this stuff too, so it shouldn’t be hard to find in your local market. I’m more familiar with using Zatarain’s, but Cajun Land is good, too.

20140709_125834Putting lemon juice in the boil is a trick I learned from my friend Roy, who makes, in my opinion, the best crawfish in town. I went with the generic brand, because lemon juice is lemon juice, right? “ALWAYS SAVE”. I’ll try to do that, lemon juice.

20140709_125801This is some cut up pineapple, which is a trick I learned from the crawfish boils that they have at the Sea Lab where my wife works. The lemon is sour and the pineapple adds some sweet. The spices are savory, so this all makes for a more complex flavor from your junk pot or crawfish boil. Skip James used to talk about how playing the blues was like doing tricks, and would stab a man if he stole any of his tricks. Well, hopefully I won’t get stabbed for using these tricks.

Those are the ingredients for making the real ingredients taste good.Bring all this stuff to a boil. And don’t worry about having too much crab boil, you can’t add too much. So pour it on in there!

Now. What do we put in our pot of junk?

The first thing I will be putting into my junk pot today is peanuts. Raw ones.

20140709_125853If you’ve never had boiled peanuts, you are missing out on a true Southern delicacy. I got these from a fruit stand near our house, but peanuts are really “in season” in the Fall. That’s when you can find the “Super Jumbo” ones that are the size of a stapler.

Boiled peanuts, being legumes, taste like peas. But field peas that are the most perfect peas you’ve ever had.

The only problem with boiled peanuts is that they take ALL GODDAMN DAY. So I put these on this morning when I got home from work and, by the time I need to put the rest of the stuff in, these will be good to go. And by that time, all that good peanut oil will have leeched out and, in the end, will make a better boil.

In fact, it is now 1:28pm and this is how the peanuts look:
20140710_130249

The next ingredients I will be adding are these:

20140709_12594420140709_130021

 

That’s right. Cauliflower and broccoli.
Normally, these two items would be red potatoes and corn, but I’ve been trying to eat a little bit healthier these days, being as I’m a fat piece of shit. “Excess and decadence in the Deepest South” may sound like a good idea for a twitter tagline, but in reality it leads to heartbreak and despair.

Anyway. I will be adding these things in a little while because they are tough, and need to be cooked a long time, which makes me think that shrimp are a weird thing to put in a shrimp boil, because they cook so fast. A proper boil should take all day, as you tend it and fuss over it while drinking your ass off, which is what I’ve been doing today.

This also adds meaning to the term “Junk Pot”, because you can just throw any ol’ thing in there.

After these veggies, I’ll be adding:

20140709_130210Turkey Necks.
Any junk pot worth its weight in cayenne pepper includes turkey necks at some point. This is also where the original purpose of junk pots (to cook whatever you had around your house) diverges from modern junk pots. Turkey necks are not expensive, but neither are they cheap. A turkey neck is just as pricey as it needs to be.
But seriously, junk pots were not designed for you to go to the grocery store and spend a hundred bucks on the ingredients.
And if you’ve never had a turkey neck, you are definitely not from the South. But that’s ok, because wherever you are, there’s probably some swanky butcher who underestimates the value of the tasty neck d’turkey and will sell you a sack full of them for next to nothing.

20140709_130306

This is some local yokel sausage that I will be putting in later today. I know I said I was trying to eat healthier, but you can’t boil shit around here without throwing in some spicy sausage. Not only is it delicious, but it’ll kill you deader’n shit if you eat too much of it! Now that’s a sales pitch a guy can get behind!

Let’s review: spices. sweet & sour, veggies, meat, peanuts, water.

I’LL BE BACK IN A FEW HOURS TO LET YOU KNOW HOW IT TURNED OUT. COMPLETE WITH PICTURES.

Or maybe I won’t, considering these guys have been my best friends forevers today:
20140710_05264520140710_052707See you then, maybe. Signing off, 1405 10.7.2014

UPDATE. 1511. 10.7.2014
I finally got around to adding the broccoli and cauliflower. I tasted the peanuts, and they’re getting closer to the softness I like. In about 2 hours, I’ll add the meat. Until then, it’s all rum, all the time.
20140710_150938

UPDATE: 1644 10.7.2014

I have just added the turkey necks and sausage. 20140710_163841Should all be ready to eat in about an hour. I know it looks like a toilet, but it’s gonna taste like… whatever is the opposite of a toilet. A coat room for angel wings.

I’ll update this entry one last time when I pull everything and it’s time to eat!

FINAL UPDATE. 0115 11.7.2014
Apparently all the food I ate, and all the booze I drank put me in a mild coma, from which I have just now awakened.
Here is the final product:
20140710_183328Everything turned out ok, if a little too salty. Now the only problem is to find a place to store all the leftovers. And I’m super thirsty, but too full to drink anything, which is a bad spot to be in.

To be honest, the peanuts are the best part of the whole thing.

Until next time, which may be next year if I continue at this pace….

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Let’s Make: French Fry Po’Boys

I have seen po’boy spelled all sorts of ways. “Poor boy”. “Po’ Boy”. “Poboy”. And the obligatory “cajun” spelling of “Peaux Boy”. Regardless of how you choose to spell it, the end result is the same: a big ass sandwich.

Not too long ago I was chatting with an acquaintance who just moved to the area from somewhere in the North. We were discussing some of the good places to eat around here.

I said, “Oh! Ya know who has a good roast beef po’boy??? So-and-so place!” (Name changed to protect me from having to wait for my next roast beef po’boy)

To which he replied, “You mean, they put shrimp right there on top of the roast beef?”

Rather than smack this person, I understood that he was not from the area and was clearly misinformed about po’boys.

“No, man! You can put anything on a po’boy! It’s just a sandwich!”

While many times a po’boy may consist of some sort of seafood (shrimp being the most popular), it is certainly not a necessity. I blew this chap’s mind when I told him of a local joint that had a killer cheeseburger po’boy.

Like a gumbo, a po’boy is almost foolproof. Meaning you can put whatever you want in it and not fuck it up. Sure, there are people out there who believe every po’boy should have “this” or should never have “that”, but I would argue that some of the best ones I’ve ever had stretched beyond the boundaries of what a traditional poboy is considered to be.

With that said, some people may not like meat of any sort. This year during Lent I am abstaining from meat. And by meat, I mean the Catholic definition. I call it the “every day Friday” Lent. So, basically, I’m a pescetarian until Easter, which is weird, because I’m not really religious at all. I just feel like the act of denying oneself is good occasionally, and the period after the decadence of Mardi Gras is as good a time as any.

Yesterday I made one of my best friend’s favorite dishes: a french fry po’boy. In case you’re feeling extra dense, this is a po’boy with french fries instead of meat. The reason I did this, and am posting about it here, is because he was the first person to comment on the new Bayou Babylon facebook page, and also because I just enjoy making him happy.

I also should point out that I am lazy. I did everything in this po’boy as easily and quickly as possible, including buying all the ingredients at my local supermarket, rather than different places for fresher and better items.

You will need:

#1. A baguette or something similar. I like a french bread that is as chewy and hard as possible. This is different than stale.

20140319_113652

#2. French Fries. as you can see in this photo, I went all out and got the fancy “crinkle cut” fries. I went with frozen over cutting up a bunch of potatoes myself. I’m sure that would be better, but like I said, I am lazy and I was hungry.

20140319_113711

#3. Lettuce & Tomato. L&T are two of those things that some people don’t think should be on a po’boy, but I like it. Once again, I got lazy on it and bought the pre-prepared lettuce.
20140319_113720

#4. Condiments. Another thing some may say is a no-no. In this case, I bought some tartar sauce and some cocktail sauce. Some areas of the world (like Willieland) may not stock these items. Cocktail sauce is just ketchup and horseradish, so make some yourself if you can’t find any. Tartar sauce is just mayonnaise, dill relish, and a little lemon juice. You would think the esoteric “Cream of Tartar” might be in there somewhere, but it isn’t. I guess you could throw some in there, if you want. Let me know how it turns out.

20140319_113733#5. Cheese (not pictured). Once again, this is yet another thing that some purists may not want on their po’boy. Obviously if you are vegan, you can skip this step. And the tartar sauce. Cheese makes almost anything better, and po’boys are no exception.

Take your ingredients and pile them up:

20140319_120133In this photo, I have lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce already on the bread.

20140319_120215Put your cheese on next. This will act as a barrier between the hot french fries and your lettuce, so the lettuce doesn’t get all soft and slimy and gross. I like the cold crisp lettuce, mixed with the scorching hot french fries, right out of the oven or fryer.

20140319_120511Pile your french fries high! Dust them with some Tony’s if you want. I like to do that, but it’s not necessary, of course.

20140319_120551I went extra crazy-go-nuts with this one and put cocktail sauce on top of all of it! Tartar sauce and Cocktail sauce?!?!?!?! I have lost my daggum mind!!!

How did it turn out?

Well, this is not my first rodeo. Nor is it my first french fry po’boy. But this one turned out ok. As a carnivore by nature, I would’ve rather had a roast beef po’boy with shrimp on top of it, but for vegetarians or others who don’t want to eat meat, this is something different that is good and, more or less, authentic (with my sack of frozen fries, ha!).

And really, if you put enough cocktail sauce on it, I might could be convinced that there was a shrimp in there somewhere.

So that’s it, the first post on Bayou Babylon and it’s about something as ridiculous as french fry poboys. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you’ll make your own at home and enjoy that too. If you followed me here from fitfordragoncon, I appreciate your continued support, and if you’re new here, welcome.

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