A Trip to the Tomes

Salutations, humans!  It’s been some time since I addressed the less interactive forms of art and culture that I so enjoy, so let’s take a break from all these newfangled computery games and see what ol’ EWE has been reading lately, shall we?  Well, not everything – after all, if I’m ever NOT reading something, I start to get the shakes – and not just my normal, quaking-with-seething-rage-and-malice shakes.  And speaking of things that enrage me…

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You know, it’s kind of a shame that I read this one several months ago and am only now reflecting on it here.  I have tremendous respect for Bob Woodward as a journalist and author, and from a technical and critical standpoint he is strong again here.  The book is thoroughly researched and documented, and Woodward demonstrates as he has since Watergate why he is possibly the seminal presidential historian of the modern age.  So what, you may ask, is my problem?  Simple – none of this makes a difference.  There isn’t a whole lot in this book that wasn’t already known or suspected about the tangerine ball of yak shit occupying the White House – Woodward just backstops and adds even more authenticity to what we already realized.  And yet…nothing came of any of it.  It was in the news cycle for a hot minute, and then it was gone.  In any other era of American history, a quarter of what is in this book would have all of Washington falling over themselves to be the first to the White House with torches and pitchforks, but the con artist in chief has made the surreal into the same-old, same-old.  If you are a fan of Woodward or just feel like being even more angry at and ashamed of your country, it is a well-written book.  Just don’t hope for anything to ever change.

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As someone who has worked on both sides of a criminal courtroom, I have a complicated view of the role that law enforcement plays in the criminal justice system.  I grew up wanting to be a cop – specifically, in the FBI.  Winding up as an attorney, I first worked in a prosecutor’s office, and since have worked as a public defender.  I have absolutely nothing but respect for the job that police do – but that respect is distinct from the reverence that some blindly have for them.  Cops are first and foremost human beings – just as flawed and varying and multifaceted as all other human beings.  And just like all groups of human beings, some are subject to racist and biased tendencies – both towards the people they are supposed to be policing, as well as toward one another.  Author Matthew Horace – as a 30-year veteran of policing and as a person of color – has experienced this first-hand on both fronts.  His clear and concise assessment of the problems involving race that have plagued policing for generations is equally mixed with a strong vision for how they can do better, and why they have to do better.  It is a very enjoyable read – even for those that aren’t involved in the criminal justice system – but should be required reading for anyone that is, especially current or aspiring police officers.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates takes a wider look at race in America than merely from the perspective of policing in his collection of essays looking at the years of the Obama presidency, at first with the sense of hope and inspiration that led him to believe that perhaps a new generation in America had turned a page, if not outright closed the book on the incredibly ugly history of how black Americans have been treated since the first slave ships arrived in the 1600s.  What Horace’s experience as a police officer lent to his direct, blunt message about law enforcement, Coates’ incredible talent as a writer infuses his work with poetry and lyricism – it makes you feel intensely.  And feel you will – as the sense of hope that was the initial reaction to Obama’s election gives way to the visceral and ugly backlash of racism and white supremacy that ultimately led to the election of Donald Trump in 2016.  Still, while it truly is the titular American tragedy that it claims, some of the best works in history have been tragedies, and Coates is one of the most gifted writers I have read in some time.  Read this, and wonder at what we had, and lost, and hopefully will find again.

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So this one can’t really be called a review because I am still working on it – but it’s a seminal work on the nature and structure of evil written by a clinical and forensic psychiatrist; is there really a doubt about whether I’ll like it?  Dr. Stone first published his original scale of “categories of evil” to sort forms and types of murder in 1993 and has since updated it to include 22 categories, based on his hundreds of case studies.  My favorite part so far?  He acknowledges that this wasn’t the first attempt to create a categorization of evil – he credits that to Dante’s “Circles of Hell” in the Inferno portion of his Divine Comedy.  Now THAT is sourcing your reference material!

That’s it for tonight, fleshbags!  Now go read something! I mean, besides this. – EWE

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High Crimes & Misdemeanors

Good evening, humans!  How fare you this night?  What’s that – me, you ask?

Hiss
That about sums it up.

Yeah…the mind and body weren’t very cooperative today.  Since my normal response to lack of cooperation (Editor’s Note: …i.e., setting the offending party on fire…) yes, that, didn’t seem appropriate seeing as how it was MY mind and body, I just had to grin and bear it.  Well, bear it – grinning being decidedly not my thing and, frankly, very disturbing the few times I’ve attempted it.  I’m fairly sure it has something to do with the horrific, Lovecraftian monstrosity that I call my face.  Regardless, despite the mental and physical fog, a particular piece of lunacy leaped out to pierce the shroud and assault my mind, common sense, and sense of basic decency (Editor’s Note: and you know that’s really a low bar coming from EWE!) exactl- hey, watch it!

Upon seeing this, my immediate, gut reaction was something like:

Goddammit

Upon further time to process the Senator’s comments and stance, however, my calmer, more nuanced response was:

Goddammit

You know, this is going to sound selfish and petty, but…why do I have to do this?  Why?  For fuck’s sake, it is 2018 – why in the hell do I need to waste a single iota of my time and energy explaining why it would NOT, in fact, “be hard for senators not to consider who he is today” if Kavanaugh, a nominee for the Supreme Court of the United States, sexually assaulted a woman in high school.  And is lying about to this very day, displaying no remorse or recognition that his conduct was improper.  Why do we even have to fucking HAVE this discussion?  What in the actual FUCK is wrong with you miserable sacks of watered-down carbon that this is something that even needs to be addressed whatsoever?  (Editor’s Note: Sorry – he’s a little cranky tonight.)

Listen, what a lot of people may not know (although you’d sure think a goddamn sitting Senator would know it) is that Supreme Court Justices are open to impeachment and removal for “high crimes and misdemeanors” much the same way as a President.  And that, short of the Justice retiring voluntarily or dying, is the only way they come off the bench.   With that kind of job security comes a high standard of behavior that we hold our Justices to.  This means that if Bill Clinton can be impeached over a white stain on his intern’s dress, while Kavanaugh is alleged to have teamed up with a fellow classmate to sexually assault and attempt to rape a young woman, then that should damn well disqualify him from even being considered for placement on the Court in the first place.

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Which brings me to Orrin Hatch.  You pathetic, sniveling, arrogant, senile son-of-a-bitch.  You actually said, to national media, with a straight face, that even if Kavanaugh’s accuser is telling the truth, he should still be given serious consideration for the Supreme Court based upon “who he is now?”  Well, Orrin, let me give you a little insight into that point of view.  If you assume that his accuser is telling the truth, then Kavanaugh is someone who committed sexual assault, and possibly rape, in his late teens.  When confronted with this fact, his response has not been to acknowledge his wrongdoings, admit them, illustrate how he has changed and grown, express remorse, or otherwise demonstrate anything in the way of character development.  His response has been to deny any wrongdoing on his part, deny even being present, and call his accuser a liar.  So, Orrin, if under your scenario his accuser is telling the truth, and Kavanaugh continues to deny any responsibility, that not only makes him a sex offender but a liar.  And that doesn’t sound even remotely like someone that should be placed on the highest court in the country, even to a feeble-minded simpleton like you, does it, Orrin?  Because if it does, then not only should Kavanaugh be swept out of Washington and back under whatever dark hole he crawled out from under, but maybe you and your fellow slime that place party line over good of the nation should join him there. – EWE

Vacation’s Over, Humans!

That’s right, mortals!  Your vacation, my vacation, EVERYONE’S vacation is done!  For the first time in CENTURIES (Editor’s Note: well, years, but still…a long time) yes, A LONG TIME, I decided it was time to give myself a break.  An actual, honest-to-evilness break – from work, from writing, from everything but relaxing.  And you know what?  IT…WAS…GLORIOUS!!!

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I spent an entire week waking up when I wanted, hanging out with my sons, reading, gaming, finally playing laser tag for the first time in my life (it is just as fun as I always figured it was), and oh did I mention, NOT WORKING.  It was, quite frankly, the single best week for my mental health that I’ve had in recent memory.  So yes – I’ve been away.  You’ve all been free to rebuild your little villages and prosper and whatnot.  But guess what, kiddos?  DADDY’S HOME!

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We’ve got lots and lots to talk about and get caught up on!  The Game Night! streams will of course be coming back – Beefer, Dracollia and Special Buddy in particular are itching to grace your eyes and ears again (Monkey is a little more meh on the whole stream thing).  I’ve watched and read and played so, so many things to share with you all.  In particular – if you have Netflix, consider if any of the following apply to you: Did you grow up during the 80s?  Were you a Voltron fan?  An anime fan?  An action cartoon fan in general?  A mecha fan?  Just a fan of well done animated series?  If any of these apply to you, and you have Netflix, stop what you are doing, and binge every minute of Voltron: Legendary Defender.  If you don’t have Netflix…subscribe to Netflix, and then binge every minute of Voltron: Legendary Defender.

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This is a modern reboot/retelling of the Voltron saga, but for those of us that watched the classic show when we were young (Editor’s Note: well…younger, anyway)…ahem, fear not, because the producers at Dreamworks did as well, and while Legendary Defender serves as an homage to that tale, it is not slavishly beholden to it, and the modern characterizations of the familiar characters both ring true and yet are fresh and avoid being dull retreads of a bygone era.  After a couple of full season releases, the show opted for the growing “half-season” method of release, with each season consisting of a single-digit number of episodes that comprise approximately half of an entire season’s story arc.  Season Six just released on Netflix and having watched the entire series twice now, it stands as a fantastic example of a licensed Netflix Original Series done right.  Even the occasional filler episodes include a bit of plot advancement, as well as lighthearted character moments that don’t feel like a chore to slog through just to get to the next “important” episode.  While some of the plot twists may feel like they are telegraphed at first, in reality the writers, animators and voice actors do an absolutely amazing job breathing such life into the different characters that you truly will be second guessing yourself and your predictions over and over again as the series progresses – and that’s a sign of a job well done.  To say much more would risk giving away twists that you deserve to experience for yourself – now go form Voltron!

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There will be more from here, boys and girls – so many games, good (Dragon’s Crown Pro) and…less my cup of tea (Prey).  There will be books – including my finally, inevitably crumbling to the siren song of the audiobook in the car…which has seen me basically consuming a new non-fiction book every few days, not counting what I read with my eyes, and that’s all just my pleasure reading, not my work-related legal research and writing, to say nothing of black magic, blood magic and curses (Editor’s Note: Uh, just ignore those last few…).  There will be wrestling talk – for what it’s worth, currently NJPW is the best wrestling on the planet and the only thing WWE has coming close as a whole is NXT.  On the main roster, they’ve got Styles, Bryan, and Rollins – and you give Vince and his “creative” time and they will goddamn find a way to fuck those guys up too, no matter how much talent they have.  Don’t believe me?  Go talk to Shinsuke Nakamura…or Asuka…or Sami Zayn…or Finn Balor…or literally any tag team.

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And there will be legal and political talk of course!  Like for example, I hear some citrus-fruit-based life form and his helper monkey/former-NYC-mayor have somehow formed the theory that, in a society that is literally founded on, among other things, the concept of nobody, NOBODY being above the law, the living orange can pardon himself.  That he’s incapable of committing a crime, and that even if he did, he can somehow pardon himself from that crime.  Now, I will engage in a more in-depth look at this at a later date, but for brevity and blood-pressure’s sake, let me just sum up briefly this way: no, no he cannot pardon himself, and anyone that tells him that he can, or that goes on television and advocates that he can, should not only be bounced out of the practice of law immediately, but should – and I honest to cats can’t believe I’m saying this – be liable to the poor orange bastard for damages, because he’s not a lawyer, and if he relies on advice so incredibly, recklessly, shit-stormingly stupid as being possibly true, then they should go down for it every bit as hard as he does for not having the goddamn spine to tell him the fucking truth. – EWE

Defending the Public

I have returned, mortals!  Quake and cower – or at least groan and shake your head, that works, too.  Yes, it has been a while – I have found that my days and nights are becoming more and more often spoken for, even if I’d much rather be sitting here ranting to all of you out there.  And so I fully intend to make more time to do just that – whilst telling the less enjoyable drains on my time exactly which circle of hell they may now go and occupy.  And speaking of eternal torment – it’s been a while since I’ve given any tidbits of legal wisdom to all of you out there, hasn’t it?  Well, never fear – prepare to be educated and amazed!  Today’s secret lesson in navigating the complicated vagaries of the criminal justice system is…

The United States Constitution does not anywhere in it address your rights to poop when needed.

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Cute, vaguely disturbing, and totally not protected under the Constitution.

Let me explain.  You see, I recently dealt with a case in which a person became too intoxicated (which just ALWAYS leads to great decision making).  Upon becoming too intoxicated, this individual attempted to argue with their significant other.  I say “attempted” because their level of intoxication was so great that, in fact, they were not particularly coherent, which makes any kind of communication somewhat difficult.  Nonetheless, this person was able to string together enough words to make threats against their partner, which resulted in a visit from the police.  Upon determining that this person was the aggressor in the situation, the police informed them that they were being arrested.  And that is when the wheels REALLY come off.

 

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Kids, let me make this perfectly clear – once you’ve been told you are under arrest, DO NOT RESIST ARREST.  Even if you think it’s wrong and bullshit and the cops are way out of line, that is all shit that you need to sort out in court AT A LATER DATE.  Because in that moment, if you suddenly decide that no, goddammit, you are NOT under arrest, what do you think is going to happen?  The police will say “fuck, this isn’t worth it…let’s just go?”  No, you’re going to be placed under arrest one way or another.  Now, if you are relatively sane about the whole thing, generally the police will be respectful of you to a certain point.  So if you’ve given them no problems and then you suddenly state that you need to use the bathroom, NOW, RIGHT NOW, and can’t wait until you arrive at the jail…well, they may be willing to accommodate you.  However…if you’ve been an asshole, well, they are going to tell you to hold it.  Like our friend from the paragraph above.  Who was told to wait until they got to the jail, and promptly dropped their pants and crapped all over their own living room floor.  Now, one might think that this story was already at it’s lowest point…but one would be wrong.  Because when the police said ok now it is time to go, this person decided to invoke the rarely used and little known “right to wipe” and insisted that the officers had to go get them some paper towels to clean themselves with, per the Constitution.

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Spoiler: Does not contain a “right to wipe.”

Now, perhaps I was sick or just in a drunken stupor that particular day of Constitutional Law class…but I do not recall the “right to wipe” ever being included in any of my extensive legal training.  Nonetheless, in an effort to distract myself from wanting to strangle the moronic motherfucker who did this, I did some research and came to the following conclusion:

Drunk people are really fucking stupid and most Americans don’t know a goddamn thing about the Constitution other than that it starts with “We the People.”

Oh, and if you’re curious about the ultimate fate of our stinky friend…the matter is currently set for a jury trial.  That’s right, I get to spend a day taking testimony, under oath, about literal shit.  Do any of you still wonder why I am the way that I am?

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And that’s all for today, kiddos.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to pondering how I am alone when someone who literally shits themselves can have at least one, if not multiple, significant others.  But at least I have all of you!

Next up: Buffy night with Malevolent Moogle tomorrow, and some Nintendo Switch thoughts are in the works.  See you soon! – EWE

#FrozenFoodFridays – Somewhat Less Crippled Edition

Salutations once again, my merry minions!  I’m once again here to entertain and inspire you – and this time, I’m not on the verge of literally falling to pieces!  Yes, it seems that my spine has thought it over and decided it isn’t yet time for it to completely destroy itself, and so I find myself able to, well, move without being in the mind-searing levels of pain that I was a week ago.  Not that it is completely fixed, mind you – but the difference is substantial and certainly tolerable to live with at this point.

And to celebrate my newfound good health…let’s completely fuck it all to hell with some tasty #FrozenFoodFridays fried food!

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Yes, I realize only one of these is frozen – your mistake is in thinking I give a fuck.

See, if you’re anything like me (Editor’s Note: SEEK IMMEDIATE HELP!) – cute, very cute – ahem, you’ll probably have fond memories of the Dairy Queen Chicken Strip Basket.  But hey – why get it from Dairy Queen?  You have to do so many aggravating things to do that – put on pants, leave your lair, interact with humans while managing not to kill them – it’s a complete hassle.  So instead, why not make your own!  Minus the fries – DQ’s fries really kind of suck.

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Don’t forget the Texas Toast!

No real trick to preparing this – just follow the instructions on the packaging for each item!  One tip though – when something offers either conventional oven or microwave preparation, the better bet is almost ALWAYS the conventional oven.  Microwave may be quicker, but in my experience the wait for the oven is well worth it.  Have some patience, you damn instant-gratification kids!

And now, kiddos, it’s been a little while, but as you may remember, my occupation allows me a passing knowledge of the law.  In fact, I am privileged enough to be able to practice law, when I’m not busy convincing myself not to destroy your entire miserable species.  And so I feel somewhat compelled to clear up some misconceptions that are currently in the public sphere.  Our current president (Editor’s Note: Fun fact – every time EWE is forced to describe Trump as president, an angel has its wings violently ripped from its back and force-fed to it until it chokes to death) and his pitiful band of cronies seem to be of the opinion that they may limit the freedom of speech of government employees, up to and including FIRING THEM for speaking out against the administration.  This is wrong.

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This is also wrong…on every possible level.

Now, I know that President Tiny Hands Bitch knows what the Constitution is, as well as the Amendments – after all, he LOVES talking about the 2nd Amendment.  But apparently his knowledge is…selective, because as any goddamn preschooler can tell you, in order to get to “2” you must first get to “1” – in this case, the 1st Amendment.  That one guarantees freedom of speech to American citizens without interference by the federal government.  Now, most certainly, as an EMPLOYER, the government can instruct EMPLOYEES in what they may and may not say ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT.  So for example, the switchboard operators at the White House can be instructed that they should refrain from telling callers that it is the official position of the White House that the president is an insufferable, mentally ill shithead who belongs locked in a padded room rather than in office – but they CANNOT restrict or fire said switchboard operators from making such statements in their individual, private citizen capacity.  Making such statements without reprisal from the government IS THE EXACT THING THAT THE ENTIRE AMENDMENT WAS PREDICATED ON.  So, for any that might tell you “well, they can force them to say what they want because they work for the government” now you can calmly and confidently tell that person to go fuck him or her self because they have no goddamn idea what they are talking about.  You’re welcome! – EWE

Kneeling Down for What You Believe In, #FrozenFoodFridays

Greets once again, little ones!  This won’t be an incredibly long post, but I need to do two things.  First, I need to get something off of my chest (because I’m usually SO fucking unwilling to give my opinion, right?)  and second, I will be keeping a promise.  Buckle up for the roller coaster, kids.

So it seems that a few people in the land of the free have gotten thoroughly twisted out of shape by the actions, or rather, inaction, of one man.  Colin Kaepernick, QB for the San Francisco 49ers, African-American professional athlete, has decided to show his concern with race relations and interactions between police and black Americans by…taking a knee during the national anthem.  And judging by the reactions of a vocal minority, the entirety of the goddamn world ended.  Cats sleeping with dogs, blood in the streets, anarchy and the death of the American dream everywhere.  Because a guy knelt in silence during a song before a football game.

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Kneel before Zod!

I’m tired and this entire controversy irritates me, so I’m just going to cover the important points here, people.  There is no law that states you must stand with your hand over your heart during the national anthem.  Hell, prior to WWII, the tradition wasn’t even to put your hand over your heart.  Instead, children were taught to salute the flag with their arm straight out, angled slightly upward, palm down, fingers straight.  Yup, that’s right – the Nazi salute wasn’t started by the Nazis.  Once they picked it up, we decided “oh, fuck, that’s not who we want to be associated with” seeing as how they killed millions of people, so we switched to the hand over heart bit.  But anyway, again, not a law, not a rule, a tradition.  See, it can’t be a law because the choice to stand or not stand in protest is a form of free speech protected under the 1st Amendment.  The government requiring you to stand for the anthem would be a constitutional violation.

Now, could the NFL, as a private business, institute a rule saying that its players are required to stand?  Sure, they could.  But it isn’t a rule.  So Kaepernick isn’t breaking a rule, and the league can’t punish him.  Could they add a rule like that?  Yeah, but they won’t.  Why not, you may ask?  Because the NFL didn’t become the monolithic success that it is by being fucking stupid.  What business wants to be the one to say to a minority employee “you must give up your constitutional rights to work here?”  Are you insane?  Do you understand the PR nightmare, not to mention the potential civil rights lawsuit, that would generate?  They may, MAY, have a chance of prevailing in the inevitable lawsuit that would result from that rule – if they can show that they are applying the rule absolutely, positively uniformly across the board.  But if Kaepernick can show one instance of one player exercising speech in contravention to the League’s rule and not being punished for it, they would be fucked.  And either way, they get to be the League that doesn’t honor American freedoms.  Yeah, that’s a great fucking reputation.  So what possible reason do they have to do it?

Some have tried to tell me “well we will boycott the NFL until they punish him and make him stand!”  Fuck you.  Go ahead.  Boycott.  All of you.  Let’s say 100,00 people give up any and all NFL football (won’t happen, but let’s pretend) – the NFL won’t even fucking notice.  There are waiting lists for tickets.  Those seats will be filled.  That merch will be sold.  Those $10 beers will be drunk.  So by all means, exercise your right to free speech by boycotting the NFL.  Ironically, you’re exercising the same right that you feel Kaepernick shouldn’t be allowed to exercise.  And even more ironically, odds are that neither side will actually effect any real change through this.  But by all means, you petty assholes, don’t come to the stadium.  That’s fewer imbeciles I have to tolerate.  But DO NOT attempt to tell me that you have the right to tell Kaepernick that he can’t exercise his rights.  You have no goddamn idea what you are talking about.

Now, on to something happier – depending on your tastes (ha!).  You see, I mentioned last time that my best friend, Amber, gifted me with an adorable new whiskey holder in an attempt to mock my blogging efforts.  It’s actually holding my whisky now.  Well, was.  It needs a refill.  Anyway, I was so touched that I told her I would add a segment to the blog at her request.  She requested #FrozenFoodFridays (let’s get that trending, people) in which I am to review frozen foods.  She likely thought I would not do this.  She was wrong.

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Frozen Food Fridays (TM)

Welcome to the inaugural edition of #FrozenFoodFridays!  I’m your host, star, reviewer, and living god, Evil Wizard, Esq.!  Tonight – Stouffer’s French Bread pizza!

I’ve loved this shit since I was old enough to operate the oven without burning myself, which has to be at least a couple years now.  Seriously, they’re relatively cheap, well portioned (though in my wild youth I’d just eat both of them in the box at once, fat ass that I was) and surprisingly tasty.  There are, however, a few downsides.  First of all, they take a while to make – roughly 30 minutes in the oven and that’s after it’s preheated.  Depending on your oven this could be minutes or so long you’ve already eaten three ice cream sandwiches and aren’t fucking hungry anymore.  Also, your window of opportunity for optimal enjoyment is approximately 3.2 seconds long, as this is the only time that the pizza has cooled enough that it won’t instantly incinerate the entire roof of your mouth with its molten lava sauce and yet not gotten cold and congealed.  The timing of this window varies with environmental factors and is difficult to predict.  My preferred method – fuck it, just the the thing right out of the oven.  Yeah, it’s gonna hurt, but after the initial excruciating burning, your mouth goes into shock and doesn’t feel pain anymore, and you can then enjoy the rest of the delicious pizza before the throbbing pain sets in.

So that’s it for this edition of #FrozenFoodFridays!  Next week – broccoli!  Or something else.  I don’t know.

For now, kids, remember – Donald Trump’s biggest idol as a leader is Vladimir Putin.  Putin has a hobby of having critics and opponents assassinated.  Trump sees this as “strong leadership.”  Now I can’t be sure, but there may be a case here that by voting for Donald Trump, you’re an accessory to murder.  – EWE