Fresh Cracked Pepper Vs. Pre Ground Pepper

Posted in Nonsensical Ravings with tags on January 13, 2016 by learntoenjoylosing

After 31 years of consuming ground, dried, grocery store bought pepper and being told it was “real” pepper, I started to wonder what else I was being lied to about.  Fresh cracked pepper seemed like a fad that was propagated by urban elitists in an effort to accentuate their hipness, so I remained skeptical.  Nevertheless, as my curiosity rendered me helpless, I purchased a grinder full of Tellicherry Black Peppercorns and soon discovered I was wrong.  I immediately became fascinated with fresh cracked pepper. To me it was amazingly better than the regular pre-ground pepper that I grew up with.  Some, however, still lay claim that there is no difference between the two.

The World’s most traded spice, native to Southeast Asia, pepper has been cultivated and used in culinary arts for thousands of years; in Greece since at least the 4th Century BCE.  A highly prized trade good during the middle ages, enjoyed primarily by aristocracy, it was once known as ‘black gold’ and was often used as a commodity currency.  It’s legacy to the term ‘Peppercorn Rent‘.  The Dutch coined the term ‘peperduur’, which described anything that was particularly expensive, and literally translates as ‘Pepper Expensive’.

It was part of the ransom paid during Alaric I’s sack of the Roman Empire in 410 AD.  Portugal’s monopoly over the exceedingly expensive spice in the 15th Century prompted voyagers such as Christopher Columbus to seek new trade routes to the East Indies (asserting the idea that America would not be what it is today without pepper.) In Folk Medicine, 5th Century and onward, it was used to treat a number of ailments, including eye issues that involved applying poultices made with pepper directly into the eye.  It was also found stuffed in the nostrils of Pharaoh Ramses II, who died in 1213 BCE,  during the age where mummification was still practiced.

Interesting history right?  Of course it is.  Let’s get back to the battle between fresh cracked and pre-ground pepper.  Is there a difference and why?  There is. The chemical found in peppercorn that is responsible for its spiciness and pungency is known as ‘Piperine.’ Black pepper contains between 4.6% and 9.7% piperine by mass. Along with other essential oils and terpenes (such as pinene, sabinene, limonene, caryophyllene, and linalool.) piperine will decrease once the peppercorn is cracked and exposed to air and light. In fact, once cracked, it immediately starts to lose its flavor.

There is definitely a difference between fresh cracked pepper and pre-ground store bought pepper in a can or shaker– there is ‘chemistry evidence’ to prove this.  If you grind pepper at a mill and it sits in a can, on a grocery store shelf, it loses its potency; it’s not the same as cracking it fresh.  Some might not be able to detect much or any difference, but the difference is there.  In conclusion, I would simply like to say, “fresh cracked pepper for the win!”

Oh, and just for fun, watch this, it’s funny. :)

American Psycho Ending Explained

Posted in Arts and Theater on January 13, 2016 by learntoenjoylosing

The obscure, ambiguous ending of the 2000 movie version of American Psycho has left many viewers perplexed and unsatisfied. Some people even believe that Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) was merely suffering from delusions, and didn’t actually kill anybody. While this may not be the official conclusion, it is clear that Bateman was indeed a serial killer. While he suffered from mild delusions, he was responsible for killing nearly 40 people, including Paul Allen (Jared Leto).

It was not a dream. He really did kill them all.

A lot of psychodramas have these plot endings where all of the protagonists’ narrations and tribulations simply end up being an extension of their psychosis. *yawns* While some movies can get away with it, it’s completely hackneyed and beneath the writers of American Psycho. To insist that “all of it was just a dream” is to blatantly ignore the deep rooted political and social satire that the movie conveyed.

Bateman isn’t just a successful wall street banker who suffered from homicidal hallucinations, he is the poster boy of Corporate America and how the “rest of us” view these fat cat investors who work for or own fancy firms like fictitious Pierce & Pierce. Subsumed in a culture of competing for who has the most while completely disregarding the rest of the world, Bateman is the epitome of soulless, evil, inhuman corporate lunatics. They care more about their haircuts and the fonts on their business cards than they do about the homeless or human rights. They are smugly above all that stifles and erodes the rest of humanity. Their struggles outside of getting accepted into the most highly sought after restaurant are very few – unless you count trying to suppress the urge to commit cannibalism, rape, dismemberment, decapitation, and mass murder. But ultimately you won’t ever pay for your crimes…

Bateman and his ilk are the iconic image of society’s ills in America. In short, they are the reason the “rest of us” can’t have nice things. In reality, Bateman wouldn’t have gotten away with murder (at least not THAT many), but he would have gotten away with a slew of other morally reprehensible crimes that social activists deem nearly as heinous. Corporate greed, selfishness, contempt for the poor, willing ignorance to mass genocide, disease, and starvation in the world, mocking the underclass, sexism, racism, and of course, deception, fraud, embezzlement, and insider trading.

The satirical point of American Psycho is to illustrate how far wall street bankers can go before they are called out for their crimes. Murder, rape, etc are paralleled with social woes like avarice and self-absorption. But what shields them from accountability?  You will notice in the movie that the first few scenes into the story, you are not entirely familiar with who is who. Yuppie bankers are all the same. They don’t care who you are, there is no connectivity between them, no personal relationships, no emotion or sense of community – just cookie cut rich boys with their hollow business dinners and luxuries who live in elaborate overpriced apartments and casually fuck prostitutes almost nightly. A ritual most of us would find to be deplorable, but somehow is idolized by so many.

The entire movie they confused each other for other people, including Bateman’s lawyer who confused Paul Allen completely for somebody else when Bateman confessed to the murders. Paul Allen could not even correctly identify his own executioner. When Bateman was escaping from the police, he took cover in a building that looked identical to Pierce & Pierce. It’s all rendered down to the point to show you, the viewer, how easily it is for white collar criminals to go undetected by the law or society’s moral scrutiny, because their high status and indistinguishable characteristics provide them with a sanctuary far away from responsibility.

The entire ending was to take the white collar crimes overlooked by society and to show that they would have been condoned if they were actual crimes. After all was said and done, Bateman’s destruction was ignored and swept under the rug as if nobody had even noticed. Outside of one real-estate agent, nobody cared. This is life in these corporate circles – you can commit any atrocity you want.

So, yes, Bateman was actually a serial killer. I hope this puts to rest the “it was all a dream” theory.

The Symphony Must Go On!

Posted in Arts and Theater with tags , on January 13, 2016 by learntoenjoylosing

As someone with an extensive and diverse taste in music, I somtimes like to compare two seemingly diametrically opposite genres.  My nearly lifelong love for classical music had perturbed some of my fellow punk rock friends back in the day.  Classical music is often associated with aristocracy and elitists (which is why it isn’t typically received well in the hard rock subculture), but if you strip away that assumption, remove that archetypal image and really listen, you’ll see that it bares many similarities with punk rock music.

Classical music, while not necessarily vocally political or anti-establishment, it often times exhibits the essence of rebellion through its intricacy & complexity that seems to invoke in us the same feelings of passion, wild freedom and transcendence above social ills that is simultaneously demonstrated by punk rock.

Composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Berlioz, Corelli, Liszt, and Wagner, (who themselves were ‘rock stars’ of their time) have captured the intangible spirit of revolution, hope, unity, beauty and atrocity, inspiration and emotion that resembles the foundation of punk rock, through their timeless masterpieces.

Recently I was spectator to Berlioz’s ‘Symphonie Fantastique‘, a symphony about a gifted artist who had poisoned himself with opium in the depths of despair wrought by hopeless love, exquisitely performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.  Furious violins and haunting percussion set my soul on fire; I could feel the tragedy, the torment and agony even though not one single word was spoken.

Classical music has this uncanny, bizarre ability to inspire within us the urging to champion inhibition and liberate ourselves from the confines of even our own oppression.  It allows us to explore our deep consciousness and surpass the limits of our imagination. Classical is freedom, it is beauty, it is anarchy, it is raw, divine and human, it is boundless and powerful music that is no less shocking, absurd or radical to me than punk rock music is.

As the revolution, so must the symphony go on!

Magic Mushrooms are Not Poisonous

Posted in Physics & Philosophy with tags on January 13, 2016 by learntoenjoylosing

Among college students, through the hallways of High Schools, and even in social groups comprised of educated adults, there is a widely believed misconception that the psychoactive compounds in the “street variety” of psychedelic mushrooms are poisonous.  This article will specifically cover the fungi named psilocybe cubensis, which is commonly referred to as ‘magic mushrooms’, and its chemical compounds.

Poison is defined as ‘a substance with an inherent property that tends to destroy life or impair health.’  Arguably magic mushrooms can impair health, (specifically mental health) but it depends how you look at it. Often times the negative stories you hear about somebody being harmed, after consuming mushrooms, the user was under the influence of various other chemicals.

Let’s get into the science of what is actually in magic mushrooms and what it does to the physical body.

The two principal psychoactive compounds found in ‘Psilocybe Cubensis‘ (aka Magic Mushrooms) are Psilocybin and Psilocin.  The toxicity of Psilocybin is rather low.  In laboratory rats, the median lethal dose  (the dose required to kill only half of the test rats) is 280 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg).  Sounds scary right? 280 milligrams of Psilocybin per kilogram is one and a half times more than what it takes to kill a rat with caffeine.  That’s correct, caffeine is more lethal than Psilocybin, so is aspirin and nicotine.

So how many magic mushrooms would you have to eat before they killed you?  For a 130lb human being, it would be required to consume at least 37 lbs of fresh (or 3.7lbs dried) psilocybe cubensis to have the potential to kill you. At a street value between $5,000- $12,000, one would not only have to summon a rather large appetite, but a pretty penny as well.

Since psilocybe cubensis (magic mushrooms) do have a toxicity level, even though it’s extraordinarily low, they are often inaccurately classified as poisonous mushrooms.  There has yet to be definitive reports of anyone fatally overdosing on psilocybe mushrooms alone. (There are two reports in medical journals of overdoses involving psilocybe cubensis, but they were inconclusive and the deaths were not determined to be from psilocybin alone.)

Here is a ‘List of Poisonous Mushrooms‘, you’ll notice that the common street variety of psychedelic mushrooms (psilocybe cubensis) is not on the list.

So if you want to call Magic Mushrooms poisonous, that’s up to you, poison is a pretty subjective term, but the reality is that they’re not going to hurt you unless you do something crazy like eat 37lbs of them.  That would be like the woman who killed herself by drinking too much water at once… yet we don’t classify water as a poison.

In conclusion, while magic mushrooms may have the power to destroy you mentally, there’s no need to call poison control if your friend is having a bad trip. ;)

Legal Disclaimer:  Epicdelusion does not condone the use of illicit drugs, so until the Government pulls its head out of its ass and stops relying on Nixon Scheduling to deem psilocybe cubensis as a dangerous, habit-forming drug with no medicinal potential whatsoever, we recommend that you stick to tea and butter crisps.

Nirvana is Not Classic Rock

Posted in Arts and Theater on January 13, 2016 by learntoenjoylosing

If you ask somebody in their 30’s if they remember the band Nirvana, chances are they’ll say yes; they were a pretty big band back in the day. If you don’t remember Nirvana or have never listened to their music then you were either living under a rock in the 90’s or you’re one of the teenagers today that think Nirvana is “Classic Rock.”

True, Nirvana is an older band, and all the people that listened to them when they were teenagers or in their early 20’s when the band was new are old fucks by now, but that doesn’t automatically make a band ‘Classic Rock’.

First off, people must understand that the term Classic Rock was originally a radio format.  The format was designed to feature rock bands from the late 1960’s to the late 1980’s. It doesn’t necessarily describe a specific genre of rock music, although it does follow some guidelines.  A Classic Rock radio station might play a Led Zeppelin tune, followed by a Billy Joel song, two different styles of rock music, but rarely (if ever) will you hear an underground punk band from the late 70’s or early 80’s being played even though its within the same time parameter. Although Nirvana did start in 1987, they don’t fit the criteria to be labeled as ‘Classic Rock’.

Classic Rock becomes its own genre of music, essentially based on the artists that classic rock stations have played over the years following the guideline of showcasing popular hard rock and rock bands from the late 60’s to the late 80’s. The bands that fall into this category are there to stay; the classic rock genre is not as ever changing as people may think. Classic Rock will always be classic rock and it would be quite difficult for new bands, post 1990’s, to be successfully added to the genre.

Similarly, it would be like calling Nirvana ‘Classical Music’ 100 years from now, it’s not going to happen. Mozart, Boccherini, Beethoven, Vivaldi, these are the composers we think of when we hear ‘classical music’.  Vivaldi may have died in 1741 and Beethoven in 1827 and the span of ‘classical music’ artists may have been a bit more broad than classic rock, but we don’t arbitrarily classify bands as ‘classical’ just because of the age of the music.  The classical music genre is well defined as is the Classic Rock genre.

Explaining to teenagers why Nirvana isn’t classic rock is a difficult task, that’s if you can unglue them from their smart phones long enough to get a sentence in. Perhaps it’s one of those things that doesn’t need to be explained. Perhaps it’s something that only deep, philosophical mother fuckers with a keen and profound awareness of music are going to understand.

Nirvana is a hard band to place into a specific genre; were they grunge? hard rock? punk? alternative rock?  That’s a different debate, but they certainly are not classic rock nor will they ever be.

End of discussion.

Top 10 Drama Movies of All Time

Posted in Arts and Theater with tags , on December 4, 2015 by learntoenjoylosing

So after much debate for the past few months to write this blog post, we’ve tackled one of the hardest questions that has ever existed on the internet. What were the top 10 Drama movies of all time? Some have written articles on the top 25, 50 and even 100 best drama films of all time, and it’s easy to see why… they didn’t want to be charged with the task of having to decide only the top 10. While there are hundreds of great drama movies out there, we believe it was possible to narrow down the greatest 10 of all time. Now, trying to accomplish the feet of choosing the best drama movie of all time is an exercise of chaos, and it was pretty stormy just going through all the votes for the 10. After hearing everyone’s side of the story and near fisticuffs breaking out, this is the list that I feel most confident in calling the top 10.

I’m sure there are some out there who will disagree, and that’s awesome, please feel free to make your case in the comment sections below. Until you make a compelling argument to the contrary, this is the ultimate list… 

1. THE LOST WEEKEND

The Lost Weekend (1945) –  Come have a drink with Don Birnam as he dupes his girlfriend into taking his brother to a show so he can get a few in drinks in before going away for the weekend. Classic. His brother Wic, pissed off that he has to once again deal with Don’s drunken episodes, takes off to the country without him, leaving his girl Helen in NYC to watch after him. This would have been easier if she didn’t have to work the whole weekend? Don manages to find enough money and avoid Helen long enough to hit Nat’s Bar again where he explains his novel to the barkeep. He regales the time he first met Helen and, of course, the disappointing reality of when she discovered he was a drunkard. I won’t spoil the rest for you. Go see this movie, it is arguably one of the best movies ever written.

2. THE CITY OF GOD

The City of God (2002) – Based on true events, this awesome crime/drama film details the lives of childhood friends growing up in Rio de Janeiro, some become gang members, some become playboys, but they’re all in it together. Drugs, crime, poverty, gang war, and death encompass the parts of Brazil where the tourists dare not tread. Even people who hate subtitles and foreign films will love this drama. Every time I watch it keeps me on the edge of my seat emotionally.

3. SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION 

Shawshank Redemption (1994) – the film tells the story of a banker who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Prison for the murder of his wife and her lover despite his claims of innocence. During his time at the prison, he befriends a fellow inmate, Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, and finds himself protected by the guards after the warden begins using him in his money laundering operation. A classic film starring one of my favorite actors, Morgan Freeman.

4. DOLORES CLAIBORNE

Dolores Claiborne (1995) – “Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has left to hold on to”. Selena, Dolores’s Daughter, travels up from New York to a small town in Maine to help her mother who has been accused of murder. Nobody has any confidence that Dolores was innocent, not even her daughter. She is very hostile in dealing with her mother until events and memories unfold to where Selena eventually realizes that her mother was in fact innocent.

5. GOOD WILL HUNTING

Good Will Hunting (1997) – A badass intellectual kid with dreams of becoming a laborer for the rest of his life is shown the light by his therapist who could only have been played by Robin fucking Williams. If anybody else was staffed to play Sean Maguire, the whole thing would have fallen apart. This movie really touched base with me because I was a fiercely intelligent punk rocker who turned down a college scholarship be a laborer too. Yeah, I learned the hard way Sean was right. Whether you go to school or not, learn everything, do everything you want and are capable of doing!

6. FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) – Some people think that Fear and Loathing is a dark comedy, but in actuality it is a drama. I suspect those who call it a comedy aren’t familiar with the work of Hunter S. Thompson. Hunter Thompson was responsible for some of the greatest literature of the 20th Century. A privileged glimpse into the mind of an authentic poetic soul, Fear and Loathing explores the drug addled reality of Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo while surviving in Las Vegas.

7. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

A Clockwork Orange (1971) – The concepts of good and evil have been the basis for philosophical inquiry since human beings first began the pursuit of knowledge. The story explores the negative utopian side affects of compelling a man to “be good” by removing the choice to commit evil. In Kubrick’s ending (the movie) Alex is restored to his ultra violent ways filled with lust and random acts of carnage, leaving out Burgess’s last chapter in the novella where alex comes to reformation on his own free will. Which ever ending you choose, they both have merits… nevertheless the movie will always be one of my favorite dramas.

8. GOODFELLAS

Goodfellas (1990) – Having endured the lengthy debate between The Godfather and Goodfellas, I made the decision not only that Goodfellas was superior, but The Godfather, while I think deserves to be called a classic, didn’t even make the top 10. I know this decision pissed off some close friends, but I’m doing this with the utmost sincerity. The Godfather wasn’t based on true events and it just didn’t have that same cinematic adrenaline as Goodfellas. Ultimately, the final choice wasn’t hard for me to make despite all of the emotional attachment people have to the Godfather.

9. A BEAUTIFUL MIND

A Beautiful Mind (2001) – Most geniuses can be a little arrogant and awkward, but John Nash probably has most beat. The movie delves into the life of the famous mathematician who succumbed to schizophrenia. While leaving out some of the harsh realities Nash faced, the movie captured his career and life quite eloquently and had us questioning the very nature of existence. What is real? What isn’t? How can you really know?

10. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) – One thing I really admired about this movie is that it has such a deep social message while still appearing to be a real movie with entertainment value, not too slanted or political. The meaning is conveyed in such a way as to not arouse contempt in the viewer, but to make us really contemplate, “what is jusice?”. It’s impossible for most of us to truly know what it feels like to have to face down an angry mob who has already committed to a guilty verdict, but it does teach us to think and empathize. Atticus’s character, the voice of reason, is something we’d hope presents itself somewhere in all of the scapegoating and witchhunts. Everybody deserves a fair trial, due process, and not to be sentenced by their appearance but only by facts and logic.

If you agree or disagree with our list, please comment below:

Interview with God

Posted in Physics & Philosophy with tags , on December 4, 2015 by learntoenjoylosing

Epicdelusion was able to get an exclusive interview with God himself.  We thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule of maintaining the universe in order to answer a few questions.

God, why did you create the universe and how?

“I hear this question asked a lot.  It is incomprehensible for the human race to understand this, but i’ll try to explain it anyhow.  I didn’t create the universe in the conventional sense that people think I did.  I was created with the universe, at the same time, through a process that remains unknown even to me. There is no distinguishable difference between the universe and myself, we are one and all encompassing. I am the universe and the universe is me.”

Why did you create human beings then?

“There was no intentional conception for the design of human beings. There was never any grand blue prints.  The conception of human beings, the very existence of consciousness itself, is simply the universe trying to figure itself out, like a child who looks into a mirror and starts to realize he is the reflection he sees.  People wonder why they have a natural sense of exploration.  The reason is that through the eons of evolution, through the countless trial and error of different species, humans came to be the beings that would hold the most promise for the universe understanding itself.  Humans are the universe too, only in fragmented divisions, but nevertheless, they are the universe too.  Think of it like this, God & The Universe is the chessboard, humans are the pieces.”

What is the meaning of human life?

“A human mind in its absolute entirety is only a mere synapses in the universal brain as a whole.  The universe itself is thinking, human minds are just pulses of thought on the grand universal scale.  Humans have never, nor will they ever, accomplished anything on their own.  It is only through a collective process that anything has ever been solved.  The universe is a supra-organism and humans are but mere cells in its composition.  No one person’s life means anything, but life itself does have a purpose.  The purpose of human life is for the universe to understand itself, that is why consciousness exists.  Thereby humans live in a world that would inspire thought and encourage the process of figuring out the universe.  The existence of human beings are just a byproduct of the universe’s attempt at understanding itself.”

Is there life on other planets?

“There is life all over the universe, some similar to what humans consider life and some that are completely different.  There are billions of galaxies in the universe comprised of the same exact material as the milky way galaxy, why would earth be the only planet, among billions of other planets, that has life?”

Should South Carolina take down the confederate flag?

“Human beings have not yet evolved to the point of being able to strip away their petty territorial battles.  If you look at the earth from space there are no lines on the “map”, there is no north or south or east or west.  Human perspective, being as narrow as it is in contrast to the grand scale of the universe, hinders them from being able to clearly see what they really are.   What is South Carolina to the enormity of the universe and its quest to understand itself?”

Is the bible real?

“Sure the bible is real, it was created by humans and has endured for hundreds of years.  Anything will become real if enough thought and energy are put into it.”

Was Jesus Christ your son?

“Men were martyred, tried and executed throughout the ages, for reasons that didn’t merit the sentence.  This is an example of the infancy stage that the human species are just beginning to emerge from.  The Universe, God, doesn’t have children the way humans do.  Even though Jesus was not my “biological son” he has turned into something rather special; an icon. He has become a beacon of hope to humans and I don’t see anything wrong with that.  Why would any evolved person not see him as such?  He was killed thoughtlessly by the same kind of tyrannical oppression that they all disdain so much these days.”

Salutations?

“Human beings should concentrate on scientific advancement and knowledge rather than fighting each other and quibbling over the useless ideas that have already been discarded as ‘antiquated in the pursuit of breakthrough understanding.’  Put aside your petty (and I assure you they are petty) differences and attempt to reestablish a golden age, a renaissance of thought, progress & universal exploration.”

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