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Pittsburgh, PA, United States
Hi I'm Mike Barchetti. I love the unique and the strange. I am opinionated, and love to discuss things. Humor is the spice of life, because nothing is ever off limits. With that being said, I am a very sarcastic and vulgar person. Besides my love of discourse, storytelling is something that I live for, and whenever the two meet, I am in my element. I'm very outgoing, and like to meet new people, so give me a shout!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meet the Amish (2012)

It is inevitable. The lavish way of life that we take for granted will end. Whether it be by nuclear holocaust, disease, economic collapse, alien invasion, or zombie apocalypse, our stock exchanging, Big Mac consuming, Call of Duty playing, Honey Boo Boo watching days will come to a close. In the post-apocalyptic world, a self-sufficient civilization is crucial. It would need to be a civilization that produces its own sustenance, its own clothes, and its own shelter. It would need to be a civilization that could thrive with the lack of electricity and technology. With all the death and chaos that would surely be ravaging the world, it would need to be a civilization with a strong moral and religious structure. And sure, those magical fireplaces that these people make would be nice too. Meet the Amish, champions of the future of mankind.

The Amish, Mennonites, Pennsylvania Dutch, crazy horse buggy hobos, or whatever name you give them are a peaceful God-fearing people. They reside in very small and isolated villages in the vast rural areas of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and Indiana. Their way of life is simple, meager, and mostly technology free. The Amish have an unemployment rate of zero, because everybody has a job and everyone works. They seem to find solace in manual labor. The culture of the Amish is one that places a heavy emphasis on family and religious values, as each member of the community is required to attend the weekly service, for fear of banishment (Like survivor, only real). Like living breathing time capsules, these villages often resemble colonial America more than modern times.

After the fall of man, it will undoubtedly be proven that slow and steady wins the race. A culture that has changed little in 300 years, of existence, may one day be the only and/or the most advanced culture around. They will already have farm with crops and livestock, not to mention that they would have access to water and the tools to cultivate and work those farms. With the inherit knowledge of manual labor that each Amish individual possesses, building new homes, and making clothes would be simple. Voila, a self-sufficient village where the only problem would be the closed gene pool.

We have all seen film set in post-apocalyptic times, and you know it's never about just obtaining the resources for survival, but it's also about protecting those resources for survival. In any post-apocalyptic situation there will always be bandits, raiders, marauders, diseased mutants, Mongolians, parasitic aliens, or zombies, and to survive you will need to be able to protect yourself. The Amish have that mastered, for underneath the simple, peaceful, and religious appearance lives a skilled and ruthless warrior. Each Amish individual is taken from birth and is trained in hand-to-hand combat with countless weapons. Their bodies are taken from the womb as soft clay, and are forged in the fires of Jakob Ammann (17th century Anabaptist leader and namesake of the Amish religion) into solid steel. The Amish are also masters of illusion and of sorcery (How else do you think they get those fireplaces to work?), and it is because of their cunning guile that they are able to conceal their true warrior identity underneath their innocent appearance.

Though the Amish have quietly mastered the art of war, it is their sorcery that they value the most, for until now they have successfully masked their true identity to the world. On the surface the Amish men and women are simple, peaceful, and innocent looking individuals. However it is this quality alone that always masks nature's most dangerous predators (i.e. poison dart frogs, dingoes, chimpanzees, polar bears, gas station burritos, etc.). Each Amish person is a master of illusion, and is able to conceal just about anything with a plain and meager appearance. They are also able to summon the spirit of Jakob Ammann in the form of a cleansing holy fire that will vanquish any enemy that may arrive at their doorstep.

Becoming an Amish warrior and/or sorcerer takes not only a rigorous training regiment put together by the Four Elders (Amish Elder Counsel probably located somewhere in Lancaster County, PA or something), but they also need a strict diet with only the finest organic foods. The actual farming techniques are held in very high regard, and to even learn their ways a person needs to be an established member of the village, for an extended period of time. The manuscript that contains the farming techniques that the Amish employ has been passed down for centuries, and was written by the founder of the Garden of Eden. The Amish grow nothing but the finest crops and raise nothing but the fattest cows. Like hair was to Sampson, the food of the Amish-men is the source of their mental and physical strength.

At the end of the civilized world, the Amish nation will look a lot like it does today. It is possible that they would remain untouched by the chaos of an ending era. It is possible that the Amish would be none the wiser that the civilized world even ended. With this in mind, I hope that they are accepting applications to become a member, because with the thought of having to survive the never-ending wastelands of a post-apocalyptic world haunts me, as it should you. Have you ever seen The Road with Viggo Mortensen or Book of Eli with Denzel Washington? I'll take some hard manual labor, and a baptism into the Anabaptist Church (The official religion of the Amish) over that any day of the week.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Theory of Cloning (2012)

The easiest and most realistic way to clone oneself is through reproduction. George Foreman is the perfect example. Mr. Foreman has 10 children, and 7 of them are named George or has George in the name:
  1. George Jr.
  2. George II
  3. George III
  4. George IV
  5. George V
  6. George VI
  7. Georgetta (Daughter)
  8. Freeda George (Daughter)
Let's say that at least one of the sons inherits the family business of Foreman Grills, after George Sr. retires. Holding true the common practice of passing down from father to son. None of which is too out of the ordinary or far-fetched. After a son takes over the business, he will feel obligated to name at least one of his sons George. This exact scenario could seemingly replicate itself for generations. Generations, of George Foremans, keeping the name and the legacy alive. Can you imagine the chaos that could ensue? Forget about the rest of the world for a second. Can you even imagine a family reunion, in the Foreman household? After generations, the army of George Foremans would stop calling each other George Foreman. Why would they? They would simply refer to each other as numbers.
"Hey 67, how's your day going?"
Now consider this. Say a few generations from now George Foreman's ethnicity starts to transcend national and social borders from around the world. It would be the melding of the bourgeois and the proletariat. George Foreman's agents would be around the world, and in all social classes. Thus, creating a truly formidable army of Foremans. There would be so many of them at this point that they could theoretically from their own ideology, their own doctrine, their own political party, their own revolution, and would have the ability to plant a Foreman into a position of absolute power and authority. All they would need to do is band together, as families certainly are able to do, and rally for a single Foreman. The Foreman Klan would be unstoppable.
Once this happens, the free world would cease to exist. The President Foreman and his Gestapo of Foremans would rule with an iron fist. They would control us like remote control cars, or cogs in a machine, by using their latest George Foreman Grills, as transmitters for the distribution of their "mind controlling" propaganda, their undeniable doctrine. By this time there would be a grill in every house. No one would be safe from the FOREMANS.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sandwichology-ism (2011)

There is nothing quite like the crackling sound of lunch meat frying in a pan. I find it absolutely heart-warming. The popping sound of fat heated to extremes, and the smell of grease and meat in the air is hypnotizing. It is safe to assume that frying any food will instantly make it better (period). One of my favorite processed lunch-meats to fry is bologna. The somewhat suspicious make-up of bologna allows for the best results. This pork and chicken creation is very fatty and, when it is heated, bologna will produce quite a bit of grease in the pan (Success). It mirrors its distant cousin, bacon, effortlessly. Ham is another one of my favorites. Though not as fatty and mysterious as bologna, ham seems to double in flavor when cooked. It's safe to say that I love pork. Good thing I'm not Jewish, because nothing but the most unclean cloven-hooved animals find their way into my diet.

Besides breaking just about every law in the Kashrut (The dietary laws of Judaism), every good sandwich needs an "X-factor". Consider Primanti Bros, the quintessential staple in Pittsburgh fine dining. Their sandwiches would not be nearly the same without the addition of coleslaw and french-fries, right between the bread and the meat. After I spend a sizable amount of time frying processed pork products, I usually spend even more time scouring my refrigerator and my pantry to find the perfect "X-factor" element. Building a sandwich is both a science and an art. The egg, whether scrambled, fried, or hard-boiled is a solid hamburger or sandwich topper. It is also no surprise that one of the best combinations with the egg are pork products (ham, bacon, etc.). If there are no eggs to be cooked, I usually try to find something that will contrast the salty taste of the pan-fried meat. Ripping off the sweet flavor of coleslaw from Primantis is always a safe option. However if neither of those can be found, adding another meat to the sandwich equation can be beneficial. Some viable options as add-ons would be: pepperoni, salami, corned-beef, roast-beef, turkey, etc.

As far as cheese goes, I'm no expert. Though I'm not much of a cheese guy, I will try anything at least once (maybe twice). The list of cheeses that I like to eat is expanding with each passing day, as my palate seems to be acquiring the taste. In the realm of sandwiches, a sharp cheddar is always a safe selection, especially if toasters or panini presses are involved. An excellent sharp cheddar cheese not only brings a rich flavor, but also a nice stringy consistency and texture. Provolone is another safe bet, when trying to make the decision between cheeses. A good provolone brings a subtle flavor that only adds to the sandwich equation. The consistency of provolone is solid to say the least, and will tend to hold its shape even when toasted. Then there are the processed cheeses like American cheese and some pepper jack, which can be added to just about any sandwich. I consider these kinds of cheeses primary cheeses, because they can usually stand alone within a sandwich. Some of my favorite secondary cheeses are Jarlsberg and Munster to name a few. These kinds of cheeses can be a great addition to a sandwich with any of the primary cheeses to give a boost in flavor.

Vegetables are an important element to any structurally sound sandwich. Vegetables add color, texture, nutrients and vitamins, and can be a great contrast to the flavor of any protein packed sandwich. Though not everyone's favorite food group, not having any vegetables can utterly break a sandwiches' chances at success. Even the simplest sandwiches need to have at least lettuce and tomatoes (the basics). Vegetables can give a sandwich a much needed crunch that you can get from green peppers or lettuce, or the sweetness from tomatoes or Vidalia onions, which can contrast the tender and salty fried meats. Adding a nice selection of vegetables, like roasted red peppers or pickles, can give a sandwich some aesthetic beauty as well, by adding more color. Not to mention that vegetables will help the nutritional value of some of the more unhealthy sandwiches. Yeah, sure it takes a little extra time to cut and slice these elements, but putting in that extra effort can help a sandwich reach its potential.

Last but certainly not least is the sauce or condiment that gets placed on the bread. Sauce is to sandwich, like cherry is to sundae, or like meatball is to spaghetti (cliché). It is a must. I love a good mustard, and there is really one for any occasion. Deli or brown mustard is good on just about any cold cuts sandwich, but I like it especially with ham based sandwiches. Yellow mustard is the good 'ole stand-by choice, the All-American choice, and is compatible with any sandwich creation. Then there is the magnificent Dijon mustard, my favorite being Grey Poupon. Grey Poupon is the ultimate mustard, because it has a peculiar sweet and spicy kind of flavor that can literally make any sandwich seem like it is the god of the sandwiches (Love). My heart skips a beat every time I open a jar. Then there is mayonnaise, not to be confused with Miracle Whip. Damn Miracle Whip to the fiery depths and the high horse it rode in on. Mayonnaise adds just enough flavor and texture to make any good sandwich, a great one. Next is horseradish sauce. I hold horseradish sauce in the same regard as Grey Poupon. It is god like, and is immaculate on any beef based sandwich, and can add a nice nose clearing kick to any sandwich that comes out a bit bland.

Building a great sandwich is both a science and an art. Trial and error is part of the game when creating something spectacular. Don't be afraid to get creative and experiment with new sandwich blueprints. Open your refrigerator and pantry and get to work!