Calif. man convicted of attacking moviegoer with digital thermometer

In light of breaking news from the L.A. Times, the editors have decided to alter the thermometer use message to ‘Stick it In – Food, not People.’

A Lancaster man was convicted of attempted murder Thursday and faces up to life in prison for attacking a moviegoer with a digital thermometer.

A jury convicted Landry Boullard, 40, of premeditated attempted murder in the February assault, which attracted widespread attention because of the motive and the weapon. The victim had asked Boullard’s female companion to stop talking on a cellphone during the movie.

The digital thermometer punctured the neck of the victim, a 27-year-old man who was accompanied by his fiancee. The victim also sustained blows to the head, causing bleeding in the brain that resulted in a coma. He nearly died and remained hospitalized for five weeks. He continues to suffer from blurred vision in his right eye and other medical problems.

Top-10 gross food scenes from the big screen

Westword, the Denver Foodblog, offers their take on the top-10 movies scenes that may cause the viewer to lose their lunch. Edited below.

10. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1997)
The turkey is nearly carbonized, the chewing noises are atrocious, Uncle Eddie calls dibs on the neck, and Aunt Bethany puts cat food in the green Jell-O

9. Alive (1993)
A plane carrying a Uruguayan soccer team crashes in the Andes, and in an attempt to survive, the players end up eating the corpses of those who have already perished.

8. American Pie (1999)
Who wouldn’t want to do an apple pie?

7. Animal House (1978)
"I’m a zit, get it?"

6. The Great Outdoors (1998)
The Old 96er," a 96-ounce prime beef that guarantees you and yours a free dinner. Canadians John Candy and Dan Aykroyd shine.

5. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
Another Canadian. Mike Myers as Fat Bastard and that stool sample.

4. Waiting (2005)
The restaurant biz viewed from the kitchen. With Canadian Ryan Reynolds. There’s a pattern here.

3. The Exorcist (1973)
Split pea soup was never the same after little Regan MacNeil and her demons.

2. Hannibal (2001)
Hannibal Lecter’s Silence of the Lambs dinner of liver, chianti, and fava beans sounds downright edible after watching this follow-up flick ten years after he first meets Clarice Starling.

1. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983)
It’s just a wafer-thin mint, Mr. Creosote.

Food, Inc. misses the mark: Food is a business

Two weeks ago I went to see Food, Inc. with a couple of food safety colleagues. Reference to the documentary pops up daily on blogs and listservs — most remark on how it will change buying patterns, it’s the modern-day version of The Jungle, and is a wake-up call to consumers about food.

I just don’t see it.

What I got out of the Food, Inc. experience (beyond some pretty decent popcorn) is that the food system is complex and that there are multiple influences — including business.

The documentary jumped around from issue to issue: chicken production is inhumane; food is controlled by corporations, corporations want to hide what they do from you; cheap food is bad for you; cheap food is unsafe; food could be produced more sustainably; corn is bad; corn is controlled by corporations; Monsanto is evil, etc.

It all spun out of control, concepts were oversimplified (like pathogenic E. coli appeared out of nowhere because of corn-fed beef and buying organic food is the way to go — but it also all comes from the big, controlling corporations, so maybe don’t buy it) and it left me empty at the end.

I guess I’m getting tired of the polarized representation of food issues, without the discussion of trade-offs or presentation of data.

The food safety story that was woven throughout the movie was of Kevin Kowalcyk, a 2-year-old boy who tragically died from an E. coli O157 infection linked to recalled ground beef. The horrible story needs to be told but the connection that was made to the other vignettes was tenuous. Kevin’s story deserves a movie all its own.

There were winners (Walmart looked great to me, especially around their frank discussion of organic foods) and losers (big chicken producers Tyson and Perdue who reportedly didn’t participate in the documentary). Being part of the documentary was a great opportunity for the big players to open up their doors and tell their stories.

Flashing text at the end of the movie spelled out the main message for those who weren’t following along: food buyers have choices. This definitely fits in with a lot of what we’ve written about, and isn’t new — encourage individuals to ask questions about where their food comes from (what conditions it is grown under , what the producer/retailer/cook/server knows about food safety). Demanding labels (as was mentioned) isn’t nearly enough — we should be provided with data and a chance to make an informed choice.

Mice Found Twice at the Movies

I’m a self-proclaimed germ-a-phobe not from a previous experience with foodborne illness, but more from reading and writing for Barfblog.  Also, Microbiology lab in undergrad taught me that germs are everywhere.  It’s enough to make someone like me crazy! I’ve become excessively paranoid about how I prepare my own food at home, and how others prepare food for me.

Last weekend I went with a group of friends to see the new Transformers movie. First thing I did once I got my ticket was check out the concessions. I decided I wasn’t interested in popcorn at the time, but then I saw something that caught my eye. There was a quick flash and a squeak as a mouse scurried from one small hole to another within the baseboards of the concession stand. Then I REALLY didn’t want popcorn.

The sad part was, I had visited the same theater two weekends before to see Angels and Demons. While chatting in the lobby after the movie, my friends and I had seen a small mouse scurry across the floor between the two holes in the base of the concession stand. I considered reporting it to the management, but we had seen a 10pm showing, so the lobby was nearly deserted afterwards, with no management in sight. I brushed it off, but the second time I saw the mouse during my Transformers visit, that was the last straw for me. I reported the mouse to a senior manager, who didn’t seem too concerned, but assured me that he would look into the problem.

I guess all I can do is report the problem, but I can’t help but feel like the staff was already aware of the mouse problem and just chose not to worry about it. Surely one of the concession workers had found some mouse droppings somewhere. Two mouse sightings within two visits to the theatre seem a bit extreme. Yet most of the ratings I found for the facility didn’t voice any complaints about cleanliness of the concessions. The only red flags were that the bathrooms were dirty, but fortunately I didn’t visit the bathrooms there.

If the staff has begun steps to rid the building of mice, I wonder how long it will take. If they haven’t done anything yet, I wonder how long it will be before someone finds mouse droppings in their popcorn.

Homemade pancakes, Woody Allen and robots

When Katie Filion lived with us for a few months before setting off for graduate work in New Zealand, Amy and I would tell the 22-year-old, "‘oh, you should see this movie" – insert Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Wonderboys, or even more modern fare like Napoleon Dynamite – at which point she would politely recoil. Maybe she found our movies … old.

However, Katie did confess she now misses my homemade-from-scratch buckwheat pancakes with berries.

Have I got a movie for Katie.

Woody Allen’s 1973 classic, Sleeper, when the director was at a more, uh, slapstick stage of his career, features Allen as Miles Monroe, a jazz musician and health-food store owner living in Manhattan in 1973, who is cryogenically frozen without his consent, and not revived for 200 years. When Miles is arrested as a counterrevolutionary, he escapes by disguising himself as a robot, the kind frequently used in the future for mundane chores like cooking.

Maybe the Japanese like Woody Allen more than the French like Jerry Lewis because various prototype robo-chefs showed off their cooking skills at the International Food Machinery and Technology Expo in Tokyo last week, flipping Japanese pancakes, serving sushi and slicing vegetables.

Narito Hosomi, president of Toyo Riki, manufacturers of the pancake-cooking robot, which was apparently based on me, said,

"We all know that robots can be very useful. We want to take that utility out of the factory so that they can be used elsewhere.”

I have to agree, Katie. While clever, Sleeper is slow.

Best beer movies of all time

Boatloads of beer can mean barf.

And with the opening today of the movie Beer Wars, Digital City decided to produce a best beer movies list. For those playing at home, the criteria for this list is that the movie either features great beer games or that the movie would have no story without beer. The list does not discriminate between good or bad movies.

Strange Brew (right) may be the greatest beer movie of all time. Max Von Sydow plans on taking over the world with a beer additive that allows him to control those who drink it. In one scene, Rick Moranis saves himself from drowning in vat of beer by drinking it. Their how-to on how to get a free beer: putting a mouse inside. It’s timeless because it works.

The rest are irrelevant, but are included for curiosity:

Artie Lange’s Beer League


Revenge of the Nerds (with Booger, left)

The Saddest Music in the World


Top 10 movie poop scenes has posted what it deems to be the Top 10 Poop Movie Scenes.

Below is the list of movies. You can visit for pics and descriptions.

And I’ve seen all the movies except the last one, Friday.

It’s hard to argue with the classic simplicity of Caddyshack — a Baby Ruth chocolate bar in the swimming pool — but I’ll go with Harold and Kumar.

Don’t eat poop.

1. Dumb & Dumber
2. Along Came Polly
3. American Pie
4. Van Wilder
5. Austin Powers – International Man of Mystery
6. Caddyshack
7. Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
8. Not Another Teen Movie
9. KingPin
10. Friday