Rants in Review – November 2015

Hello Asheville!

I get a lot of FaceBook friend requests, and like most people, I don’t accept them all. I usually base my yays-or-nays on the ol’ “mutual friends” factor, not just how many we have in common, but who they are. Where a requestee lives and works might play into my choice to accept or take a pass on their friend request as well, but honestly, I think that most of the people who send me friend requests are actually seeking to follow my Stu Helm: Food Fan page, not my boring old Stu Helm profile.

Just in case you don’t know, a FaceBook page is different from a FaceBook profile. Briefly: One is public, the other is personal.

Left: This is my personal "profile" on FaceBook. Right: This is my public "page." If you wanna see food stuff, like the one on the right.

Left: My personal “profile” on FaceBook. Right: My public “page.” I know it’s a little confusing, but if you wanna see food stuff, Like the one on the right.

As I said, I think the majority of folks who send friend requests to my personal profile these days, are actually more interested in following my wacky food-related antics on my public page, which is much more active, and has all the food pics, and links, and tips, and specials that I think people are looking for when they send me a friend request. In fact, very few of the posts on my personal profile are about food, so if that’s what you wanna see, go HERE, and click “like” and “follow.”

Because of the dreaded FaceBook algorithm, once you follow my public page, you will then need to interact with it a little bit in order to get my posts to show up in your stream. It’s easy! Just “liking,” or making a comment on, or sharing a couple of my page posts every once in a while should suffice to cause them to appear more often when you are looking at your own FaceBook feed.

I do like to rant about stuff besides cheeseburgers, when I’m full of hate, but it’s a hate that is unrelated to food, so there’s usually a good rant or five on my personal profile during the course of any given period of time. Believe it or not, there are things in this world that I dislike even more than over-cooked gnocchi, or an unnecessary garnish… although… I mean… what the fuck is this piece of mint doing on top of an otherwise fabulous slab of buttermilk pie?!? Is it pretty? Yes. Could I eat it? I suppose. Does the flavor of an ass-load of fresh mint enhance the flavor of buttermilk pie or completely clash with it? CLASH!!! But what do I know? I’m not a pastry chef.

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Photo originally posted on Instagram… then shared to to Twitter… and FaceBook ._. You might as well just Feedly me at this point. I’m even thinking about doing Pinterest… and Tumblr… what am I missing? I think I draw the line at SnapChat… but no promises.

Anyhoo… below are some of the random rants from my personal profile page, posted during the month of November. I’ll start with one that I expanded into a whole article, which you can read HERE.

Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 10:07am – Stu Helm – Oh my fucking GAWWWD!!! Every fucking time I try to fucking boost a post on FaceBook, it gets rejected for one stupid fucking reason or another. Once again, this time, I guess because I used the word “SHIT” it’s been deemed too offensive to boost. Are we in fucking kindergarten? I mean, don’t you have to be 18 to be on FaceBook in the first place?!? I guess from now on I’ll use words like “poo-poo” and “pee-pee” and “ka-ka” and “doo-doo.” Holy fuck, I hate shit like this. Swear words are a legitimate part of human expression and have been since the fucking birth of language. Anyone who is truly offended by the word “shit,” please get the fuck off of the internet right now.

Kvetching about FaceBook on FaceBook is always fun, as is one of my other perennial personal gripes: Drunk people. A demographic which seems to be ever-increasing in number, weaving up and down, in and around the streets and sidewalks of Asheville these days. I sometimes think that instead of an Aquarium, Asheville should build and boast about the “World’s Biggest Drunk Tank!” Just imagine all the tasty revenue that The City could generate! People would surely line-up around the block to get a look at the colorful menagerie of besotted freaks that would undoubtedly collect there every night. Not to mention how much the drunks would pay to get out the next day! Seriously, I think The City should regularly scoop-up drunk people, put them in a giant glass box, and make them pay money to get the fuck out. Maybe The City already does something similar to that… I pretty much suck at finding stuff out… but based on the number of stumbling, drunken A-holes in my neighborhood alone, there’s room for improvement. Here’s a little story and a mini-rant from my FaceBook profile…

November 14 at 7:21pm – Stu Helm – So, the other day I was doing some yard work. My shovel was laying on the lawn near the sidewalk. As I was picking up other motherfuckers’ trash from my yard, a REALLY drunk guy staggered past me. After a half a minute, I turned around to look at him, just in time to see him fall over. He rolled on the ground a bit, and his hat came off and blew into the street. He CRAWLED on his hands and knees into traffic. Fortunately the oncoming cars saw him, and he survived to crawl back to the sidewalk, where he stood up, and then attempted to steal my shovel. “Oi!” I said. “OI!!!” He turned around and I said “Drop it! Right now!” He mugged a mean face at me and threw my shovel to the sidewalk. Totally annoyed, I told him to “Get the fuck out of here before I pick that thing up and use on you!” He got the fuck out of there. Hey Hey Drunky Town. ._. I sometimes wonder if we’re not tryin’ to stuff 50lbs of shit into a 30lb bag with the continuing non-stop growth of alcohol consumption as an economic model for this relatively small town of Asheville. Booze breath is the new Axe Body Spray, as in: every other douchebag downtown reeks of it, and the puddles of vomit seem at times to be more numerous and colorful than Jonas Gerard paintings. Asheville makes a lot of lists. Let’s not be on “America’s Most Shit-faced Cities.”

For every situation, there exists a gif.

For every situation, there exists a gif.

Another one of my frequent complaints on FaceBook is about deadly Car Culture. I sometimes worry that my friends get tired of hearing it, and think I’m over reacting to the fact that cars are, y’know, kinda sorta, fer real, no joke DESTROYING THE FUCKING PLANET, but since I do base my opinions on, y’know, SCIENCE, whatever, FRIENDS.

I don’t drive a car and I never have, for a lot of reasons, that include the stink, the traffic, the global climate change, and a little ol’ thing that most people acknowledge but choose to ignore, called Oil Wars. Whether they are liberal or conservative, most Americans now admit that the United States goes to war for oil… aaand then they fill up their giant motherfucking SUVs, or pick-up trucks, or whatever as if there’s not a direct connection from their gas tanks to the people who died for the product that goes into it. Whatever. I’m as guilty as anyone, because I certainly benefit from those oil wars, and I don’t live “off the grid” by any stretch. I have consciously tried, at least, to construct my life so that I don’t need a car, and I don’t understand why a larger portion of the rest of society doesn’t strive to do that as well. I ride a bike, which I admit is difficult in Asheville, so I also — get ready for this — walk places. Gasp! And you know what? I enjoy it! The City doesn’t always make it easy, and seems to hate pedestrians for some fucked-up reason, as broken sidewalks, sidewalk encroachment, or simply no sidewalks at all seems to be the norm in a town that should pride itself on making things easy for the residents and visitors who choose to get around on foot. It’s the Happy, Healthy, Hippie way, right? Wrong. Here’s a brief rant that I posted on my FaceBook profile in response to an article on Ashvegas about RAD TIP and the decision NOT to include a pedestrian bridge across the French Broad River to West Asheville from the River Arts District (where I live):

November 16 at 7:41am – Stu Helm – No pedestrian bridge. Because… walking is for assholes. Drive drive drive from downtown to West Asheville everybody! More cars, more trucks, more fumes, more poison, more death, YAY, more oil wars! A pedestrian bridge would ruin all of that! I mean, what kind of fucking shithead wants to walk from one side of the river to the other? The worst kind, that’s who. It fucking annoys me that ALL of the “solutions” to traffic issues are to make it easier for more and more cars to squeeze through our town, and NONE of them involve actually reducing traffic with things like light rail, bike paths, stairways, or something as simple and potentially beautiful as a pedestrian bridge. Welcome to the River Car Farts District. http://ashvegas.com/ashevilles-river-arts-district-is-about-to-change-dramatically-4-things-to-know-about-it

Screenshot from Ashvegas.com

Screenshot from Ashvegas.com

My friends are actually pretty awesome (despite their incessant driving of motorized vehicles) and often respond to my rants with useful information. Here’s what my buddy Craiger, who is from Detroit and also rides a bike, had to offer:

C.B.S. – The Motor City has taken the opportunity to make the city more bicycle / pedestrian friendly. Many roads going from 4 lane to two car two bike, and left turn lane or parking. and we have a new light rail system started. http://www.hourdetroit.com/Hour-Detroit/April-2015/The-Rapid-Rise-of-Slow-Roll/

How awesome are my friends? Well, one of them is Ben Grimm, who just happens to be the ever-lovin’ blue eyed Thing, from Fantastic Four fame!

Screen shot 2015-11-28 at 7.24.01 PM

Ben Fucking Grimm!!! Well, not really.  This “Ben Grimm” is actually my friend Dave from Boston, who is reeeaaally into comic books, and movies, and pop culture, and is easily the equal in awesomeness to any super hero. Dave is perhaps the most enthusiastic person I know, his enthusiasm was instrumental in prompting me to seek a place to publish my initial FaceBook Food Critic reviews, and he often encourages me to review other things too, like books, movies, and television shows. Sometimes I do it, just for him, on my personal profile…

November 21 at 11:54am – Stu Helm – I just watched most… Half? Of the first episode of the new Netflix / Marvel series Jessica Jones. Marvel has such a knack for making completely boring and cheap-looking live action and animated BS for TV. I can not believe how excruciatingly dull this show is. Marvel. C’mon. Make a show that’s as fucking awesome as your comic books. Yes, the Daredevil show kinda rules, but I wanna see some fucking Skrulls, or Galactus, or… The She-Hulk? Why no She-Hulk series?!? Ugh. It’s like they’re embarrassed or something. In the meantime DC is crushing it with Gotham! Great writing, great acting (for the most part ahemjimgordoncoughcough) and really great production values. This Jessica Jones shit looks like it was shot on iPhone. Booo. Yawn. Snooze.

My negativity prompted a response from the ever-pumped Dave…

Ben Grimm – OK Stu, first of all, I’m loving this show! dark and gritty and ADULT! Wait until you see what the main theme of this show is! Second, Marvel Studios rules! They could have gone the easy route, and given you a show about their most popular characters, like Gotham (The second season is great) but instead, they give us a character that no one but me has heard of and they make it dark! Not an easy watch! Marvel gives us the Guardians of the Galaxy? Remember, before this movie came out? No one had heard or cared about this team! Ant-Man? Really? And it was a lot of fun! And the Daredevil series was amazing! A gutsy call by Marvel to make this noirish show!

I guess I had a leeetle extra time on my hands that day, or something I needed to get off my chest, because, before I knew it, I had written a miniature essay in response to Good Friend Dave…

Stu Helm – Although Marvel has certainly put out some duds in the movie theater (Fantastic Four 1-3, Hulk 1… others) I’m mostly critical of their efforts to bring their characters and stories to the small screen, starting with The Incredible Hulk back in 1978. I mean… c’mon… Lamest version of the Hulk ever. TV Hulk didn’t even talk, or jump through the air for miles and miles, or throw cars and entire buildings around like they are nothing, and he never once battled a real super hero or villain. So far the same is true for Daredevil and this Jessica Jones character. They fight crime, regular crime committed by regular criminals, which is great — hey, Jessica rescued a missing girl, Yay! — but I’d love to see some of Marvel’s unlimited “Universe” of wild and wonderful characters brought to life on TV, rather than these quasi-realistic detective stories they seem intent on pushing on TV audiences. Ant Man was really fun… because he was a frickin’ super hero! He SHRANK, and TALKED TO ANTS. He beat the shit out of bad guys, and even slipped into an alternate reality / sub-atomic universe by shrinking too much! Wahhh! Mind blown, Marvel style! All of that stuff is frickin’ AWESOME, and exactly the kind of comic book material that I love, and which I feel is sorely missing from Marvel’s TV shows. It’s almost as if they fear that TV audiences will reject a show that is too comic-booky, and so they always make these super-lame attempts to reality-it-up. Guardians of The Galaxy is a great movie! I think it’s one of Marvel’s best-ever, and I’ve watched it twice. It is super duper comic booky. There’s a talking tree… thing… Groot! And other amazing comic book characters, and super-fantastic situations. I agree that it was daring to make this lesser-known title into a big budget movie, and I’m really glad they took the chance! Selecting Jessica Jones for TV production seems less daring to me, and the episode I watched was little more than a not-that-great detective show, with some really bad acting, and horrible production values. Like I said, it looks to me like it was shot on iPhone. The bottom line is that I was bored! After the first 1/2, I skipped through the rest looking for action, and finding none, I just watched the final (boring) scenes and then re-watched The Frankenstein Chronicles 2nd episode. (Great show!) Gotham on the hand has me riveted to the screen waiting to see what happens next, and I often watch a new episode twice in a row! I’ve always been a much bigger fan of Marvel comic books over DC, and I collected Marvel exclusively when I was a teenager. I basically couldn’t have given less of a shit about Batman and Robin and Superman, and still pretty much feel that way, but DC does such a great job with TV, that I end up following all of those characters and loving it! I’m always excited, but usually disappointed when Marvel decides to poop-out yet another crappy realistic-ish TV show, rather than introducing their TeeVee audiences to great characters like Ant Man and The Guardians. The Guardians cartoon series, BTW, is absolute crap and I found it to be 100% unwatchable, which is true of nearly every single animated TV series that Marvel has created since 1980. Again, DC crushes it in this department and I can watch a marathon of Justice League, even now as a grown-man in my 40’s. It’s really well drawn and designed, the writing is great, and so is the voice-acting! Justice League is a comic book that I never read as a kid, featuring a bunch of characters I generally couldn’t give less of a shit about, but the cartoon is great! My all time fave comic book title is Fantastic Four. Every single FF cartoon is absolutely terrible in my opinion. So to me, Marvel has, like, a 90% fail rate when bringing their amazing characters and stories to television. Nuff said!

Whoa. Nerd much? Not to be out-geeked by the likes of me, Dave responded as only he could…

Ben Grimm – I’ve got a lot of thoughts about that post Stu, but I’ve gotta go to work now! Sooo…To be Hulkinued!

Adding a little later…

Ben Grimm – Arrow is great! Flash is the most basic superhero show! It’s good too! And Jessica Jones is hot, Stu!!!

And there you have it, Ladies and Gents: She’s hot. Dave! You’re the greatest!

Screen shot 2015-11-28 at 7.31.41 PM

She’s hot. Two words that could sustain almost any TV series geared towards comic book fans.

You know what’s not hot in my opinion? The ART… as in the Asheville Rapid Transit. Don’t even get me started on the fact that not one square inch of the downtown bus depot has anything anywhere that resembles actual Art, and is in fact one of the ugliest and most depressing spots in all of downtown… don’t even…

I’ve written many a rant about how real cities treat their public transit like it’s something that everyone should use, whereas Asheville seems to treat ours like it’s only for poor people, and fuck those people. This whole subject dovetails nicely with my deadly Car Culture meme, and I like it when I can betch about both at the same time. Here’s a recent rant that I posted right before I took the bus to the airport, which is a great way to get there, despite The City’s best efforts to make it inconvenient…

November 22 at 5:08pm – Stu Helm – This is what you see when you click on the bus schedule for the Asheville Rapid Transit. It looks to me like they simply posted a pdf of their printed C-fold schedule on line. Hey, person who did this: It’s on its fucking side you fucking moron!!! Should I tip my computer its side to read this fucking thing? Also, please note that the bus leaves for the airport every hour and a half. WTF?!? I thought we were a tourist town? Flocks of people flying in at all times, no? I guess we’d better make these roads wider for all those rental cars, but god for-fucking-bid that a bus should run to the airport with any reasonable frequency. I absolutely hate the way this town runs it’s pubic transit system. A taxi to the airport will cost you around $50 from downtown. The bus is a dollar. One dollar. That’s, um, terrific, I guess, but the only problem is… the bus only runs every hour and a fucking half!!! Hey, City of Asheville, here’s an idea for you: Dedicate a bus — a nice bus that people will actually want to ride — just for the airport, run it every half hour, and charge suckers like me $10 to take it. I’d pay it every single time. I promise. One dollar?!? That’s ridiculously cheap. Like, stupidly cheap. As in this city is fucking stupid for not charging more like $6 – $10 per head to run 10,000 tourists a day from the airport to downtown and back. But nope. Why do all that when we can all just suck up more car fumes and complain about parking all day instead? Yay! More cars!!! Yay! More pollution! Yay! Let’s have another oil war real soon! ._. Anyhoo, I’ll be at the airport two and a half hours early for my flight tomorrow… if anyone wants to come play a game of monopoly with me… or just sit and grow old together.

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Seriously, Man… it’s on its SIIIIIIDE!!! I can not fathom the mindset that thinks this is okay.

Well, that’s about it for November’s ration of Rants in Review. I hope you were at least a little bit entertained by my foaming, frothing, stark-raving mad ramblings. Oh! There was one other little rant, if you even want to count it, just a wee comment I made in a thread about the horrors of the world at large…

Stu Helm – Ugh. Soooo many people to worry about. At the root of most of these stories, there are guns. From Syrian terrorists, to the massacre in France, to the recent shooting of Black Lives Matter protesters, to yesterday’s Planned Parenthood attack. Guns, guns, guns, guns guns.

One day, I’ll share a bunch of my gun rants with you. Yay! Sneak peek: My basic premise when it comes to guns — a premise which seems to drive some people nuts, and has cost me a friend or two — is that fewer guns would equal less gun violence. For me, it begins and ends right there. Fewer guns would equal less gun violence. That is a statement which seems so pure and real to me, that I honestly don’t see how anyone could argue against it. Any rational person has to accept it as a purely realistic statement, and then — if they are opposed to the number of guns in the world being reduced — they would have to add, “but I don’t care.”

More on that later.

– END –

IMG_0273Stu Helm is an artist, writer, and podcaster living in Asheville, NC, and a frequent diner at local restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and the like. His tastes run from hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese, to haute cuisine, and his opinions are based on a lifetime of eating out. He began writing about food strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook.

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External links:

avlfoodfans.com

ashvegas.com

stuhelmfoodfan.wordpress.com

facebook.com/stuhelmfoodfan

instagram.com/stuhelm33

twitter.com/stuhelmfoodfan

wpvmfm.org/show/asheville-food-fan

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