Now, as all of my phantom readers out there know, I’m a programmer by trade. I use the internet on a daily basis obviously, and I’m pretty much as tech-savvy as a person could possibly be. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m also a libertarian – and what I see from the right on the issue of net neutrality is downright embarassing. The politicians who are against net neutrality in this country appall me, because if you understood the issue as I do, you’d understand that anybody who’s against net neutrality might as well have a tattoo on their forehead that reads ‘I’m owned by a corporation’.
Can you imagine a world where internet providers can bundle different services and charge you differently based on what sites you visit? The Facebook bundle – $5. The Google bundle – $15. You want to access an adult website? That’ll be $50 a month, thank you very much. Without net neutrality, this is exactly what will happen. Net neutrality is the only way to keep the internet the way it is now – a brilliant network where free exchange of information can occur. If the ISPs can start separating traffic and bundling stuff together, then you’ll end up with an internet that is structured the same as cable. Sports package costs X, social media package costs Y, if you want access to ESPN you’ll need to pay a premium fee! It’s ridiculous to think about, and the politicians who’re against net neutrality are either too stupid to understand what they’re supporting, or their too corrupt to care (just look at Ted Cruz’s laughably ignorant take on the subject here).
What angers me even more is that there are so called ‘libertarian’ organizations out there that are opposing net neutrality, but really these organizations like FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity and such are just fronts for big corporate lobbyists and corporatism. Crony capitalism is becoming more and more of an issue in this country – large corporations pay minimal tax, hide their money in other countries and get subsidies from the government in all sorts of industries, whereas small and medium sized businesses struggle to survive because they don’t have the ability to bend the rules in their favor. As a libertarian, one of the things I reckon is most important for the continued success of the nation is to end corporatism. Both the republicans and democrats are guilty of it, and I could probably count on one hand the number of politicians that are in power that don’t have ties/links to one industry or another. Just take a look at this great infographic on the subject – it will make you weep for the future of the nation.
Anyways – that got a bit off topic, but the point is, for anyone who liked the internet in its current form and doesn’t want it to be drastically changed in favor of internet providers and cable companies, net neutrality is an issue that you should be monitoring very carefully. If youve read this and you’re convinced, contact your congressman/senator. Sign a petition. Give money to the organizations that are fighting for your rights to keep the internet the way it is. Don’t be fooled either – these tax-evading, heavily subsidized corporations won’t go away until they get what they want, and their betting that regular Americans will forget the issue – that our attention span will be stolen by some other fight over some other issue and that we won’t notice when they try and sneak some ridiculous new law into place. Be vigilant, keep monitoring the issue, and eventually we’ll get some leaders in place who actually look out for what’s best for us and for the country.
As every American knows (or should know), Texas style barbecue is undoubtedly the best kind of barbecue. Anyone who tells you differently, or extols the virtues of the North Carolina style barbecue (or sour meat, as i like to call it) or the Kansas City ‘super dry’ style over good old fashioned Texas style barbecue is probably a dishonest man who’s looking to trick you into putting some subpar meat into your mouth.
So, why is Texas style the best? Gather round, children – it’s time for a little education.
First things first – Texas barbecue isn’t homogeneous across the state. There are four ‘styles’ that correspond to different regions – Central Texas, East Texas, West Texas, and South Texas. I’m partial to the Central style myself – I like the rub of the Central style better than the sweet/sour tomato sauce they use in East Texas. Central Texan barbecue is characterized by the deep, smoky flavors and the incredibly tender meat – and one of the specialties in Central style is the brisket, which when done correctly is mind numbingly delicious (I’m salivating right now). One of the more famous places that serves this style is Franklin Barbecue in Austin – if you’ve ever been to SXSW or been to Austin for other reasons, it’s likely that you’ve heard of Franklin Barbecue and their ridiculously long lines.
East Texas style barbecue is sauce-based rather than rub based, and that area is more well known for its ribs rather than its brisket, and pork is much more popular, whereas in Central Texas beef is the favored meat. I’m not the biggest fan of the Eastern style – it’s good once in a while, but I much prefer the cleaner and more focused flavors that can be found in Central Texas. For this reason, I’m not super familiar with the best Eastern style BBQ joints.
There is also Western style BBQ – it’s also known as ‘cowboy’ style which uses direct heat rather than the smoking method that is popular in the rest of the state. Cowbow style barbecue is pretty rustic, but the problem is that (as far as I understand), the direct heat is too hot and isn’t really the appropriate temperature, so the meat can sometimes be a bit tougher than one would like. Southern style is very influenced by our Spanish speaking neighbors to the south, and is much more similar to Mexican style ‘barbacoa’ rather than anything you’d fine north of the border.
The main reason why Texan style, and specifically Central Texan style barbecue is the best is because it is undeniably the purest form of barbecue. No other region treats the product with as much respect – we don’t slather sauce on, we don’t cut the meat up and mush it together – if you come to Central Texas, you get meat at its very best – smoky, slightly spicy, full-flavored and tender. My personal belief – and no offense is meant here – is that the other regions use their various concoctions of sauces to hide the fact that they just don’t know how to cook meat like we do. Who am I kidding – offense was very much meant.
For those of you looking for more information about Texas (and other, inferior) styles of barbecue, this article on eater has a lot of great information.
The first thing you may be thinking is – “what a weird name for a website”. Allow me to explain.
I grew up in Texas on 11 Penguin Street (don’t try to check on maps, there are a number of places that have this address), and when I was a kid I basically started using 11penguin as a screen name on AOL and other such ancient websites. I got used to the name, and it basically stuck with me through my teenage years and nowadays I basically use it for everything that I do online. I still live in Texas (although not at 11 Penguin any longer), and I’m a full time programmer and web developer. I called this site 11Penguin because that’s my online identity, and I plan to basically broadcast my thoughts to the world from right here. Things I may talk about include gaming (I spend far too much time gaming), web development and programming (and really anything else technology related that may be linked to my work/of interest to me professionally) and obviously the
great best State of Texas. Also, as a red blooded american male, I am interested in both acquiring and eating meat – by acquiring meat, I of course mean hunting. By eating meat, I mean exactly that – and in particular I like a good old Texas style barbecued brisket – that North Carolina sour vinegar nonsense is not for me.
I occasionally may stray in politics on this blog, and if you don’t like it, well that’s too damned bad for you – ain’t nobody forcing you to read this blog. I’m libertarian leaning on most issues, but more than that, I’m a practical person – and practicality in something sorely lacking in American leadership at this moment. As far as I’m concerned, both congress and the white house are doing an awful job, and I feel like the American people should use the next presidential election in 2016 to vote every single incumbent out of office – maybe then we’d get some competent leadership from one of the parties.
There may be those of you who read this blog who might think that they know my identity in real life. I’d politely ask you to stop thinking about it, and if you can’t help it , then stop reading. The whole point of having this little corner of the internet to myself is so that I can broadcast my unfiltered thoughts and ideas to the world (or to whatever poor soul happens to be reading). It is by definition a narccisitic, vain exercise – I’m writing to nobody for pretty much no reason. If you happen to come across this blog via some absurd internet deep dive, you should know that the intention of the blogger here is not neccesarily for people to read it – that part is incidental. This is just a safe space for me to put my thoughts down on metaphorical paper – a place to rant about what I want, talk about the things I like, and so on. If you’re offended by something here or you think I’m wrong – well, I don’t particularly care. Feel free to contact me through the contact page, but if I were you I wouldn’t expect a response unless you send me something that is actually interesting to me.
Anyways, that’s all for now.
Texas is the best.
Barbecue is delicious.