About me

Monday, March 30, 2009

Newt eats fish on Friday

Newt eats fish on Friday
Copyright 2009, Jim Penny
Word count: 425

I was having a perfectly calm morning. Coffee done. Breakfast done. Bath done. Dressing for work done. I check the computer one last time for any late breaking news, and there before my unsuspecting eyes, it is. Newt Gingrich is now a Catholic, and all his sins have been forgiven. As you might expect, I needed to sit down, and here, now twelve hours later, I can express my satisfaction with this turn of events. The world can only be better with one more closet-catholic finding the courage to come out.

Imagine, if you will, the strength Newt will find as he no longer has to hide his need to eat fish on Friday behind tales of high cholesterol. He can just eat the fish. Mind you, we're not talking about shellfish, and we're certainly not talking about catfish, as both are unclean. We're talking about fish with scales, fried, broiled, or stewed, all served with impunity at Friday's business lunch.

Imagine, if you can, the strength he'll find when he's able to worship Mother without using code and double speak. Of course, we should not confuse anything here with the uncountable Hail Marys that were surely necessary to deliver him from the sins he accumulated while he was in the closet. By the way, we should all study this one closely. The Baptists would have us believe that they have that sin-thing in control, and obviously we are being feed the party line here.

Imagine, if you might, the strength he'll find in the presence of a strong father, one who will speak with Divine Authority and do so without hesitation. No longer will there be any doubt as to who wears the pants in the house,, assuming there are pants under the robes, and Newt will benefit from knowing the paternal strength and loving goodness of Pope Bene (and the Jets). Moreover, the infallible-thing Papa Ratzi has going can only make it that much better for Newt. Oh the glory of doubtless faith!

The rebirth of Newt surely borders on unfettered transubstantiation. What else could it be? We have this unrepentant cracker, adopted son of Georgia, friend and teacher of exiled debtors, now able to follow his true religion, no longer pretending to be what he is not. I see big things from Newt in our future, now that the energy he used to hold tight the closet doors is unleashed in unfettered glory to find a rightful destiny.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hoe cakes, pancakes, and fritters

Hoe cakes, pancakes, and fritters
Copyright: 2009, Jim Penny
Word count: 2901

Substantial confusion

I don't know how we managed to get into this mess, but we're going to fix it right now. There is an astounding confusion out there regarding hoe cakes, pancakes, and fritters, which leaves us in culinary peril. Apparently, the schools no longer teach the differences among the three, much less how to make them, and daily I hear you saying the one and meaning the other. Why your parents didn't take care of this unfortunate omission remains a mystery to me, though I intend to discuss it with them. This nonsense has to stop, and it's going to stop right now with some much needed education.

Also, if you're one of the very few reared in a right-thinking home and you already know about hoe cakes, pancakes, and fritters, let me encourage you to take this opportunity to refresh yourself.


Going to Food Lion

Brace yourself for a trip to Food Lion. There's nothing you can do about it. The doom is yours to have and to hold. Enjoy your moment of despair. Not to worry, there'll be more.

Now, why are you going to Food Lion? You are going because the ingredients for what we're cooking today are far too exotic to be found in the typical pantry. Besides, you need some beer, preferably the cheap kind that you get in the 24-pack suitcase. Remember: This is why we shop at the Food Lion on Western Boulevard. They cater to the college population, especially the men, which means that not only is the scenery superb but also that the beer is cheaper than it is in most other places.

Let's work under the assumption that you're sober enough to drive. Yes, I know that's a stretch, but we have to start somewhere. Besides, if you're sober enough to be reading these instructions, you're sober enough to drive. If you can't read this page, call Bubba for a ride, or sit on the porch a while longer and shoot BBs at the squirrels and the neighbor's ugly dog until you're in a condition to drive. Which dog, you ask? The one with the pedigree, papers, curls, and bow between his ears. What an abomination unto the hound, he is. Maybe you should bring out the pellet gun.

You're gonna get in the truck regardless of your condition, aren't you? I knew it, so go ahead, and don't forget the BB gun. You'll need it for the yapping dogs along the way and those gnarly, whining, ill-disciplined children at the store. Somebody should slap their mamas for raising them with no manners. Now, make special note of the “should” in that last sentence. That words means you should think about it. You may even think about how you would do it and how good it would feel. However, you may not do it.

Now, make special note of the negated “may” in that last sentence. I'm speaking formally here. The use of the negated “may” in that sentence is meant to tell you that you do not have permission to slap the mamas, no matter that you can, no matter that you might, no matter how much they need it, and no matter how much you want to slap them. If you slap the mamas, no matter how deserving they are, you are now guilty of assault and battery. Assault and battery is a serious charge in this corner of the world, I am afraid to report. You will be found guilty of the heinous act by most juries, unless you are so lucky as to receive a jury of my peers, and given that I have few, if any, peers, you could be easily doomed for slapping the mamas.


Parking at and entering the Food Lion

When you reach Food Lion, park as far from the door as possible. If you park close, you'll be surrounded by lazy people who also want your parking space. They are not worth the trouble. However, do not park too close to the edge. At the very edge, someone who hates you has buried a magnetic something in the ground that locks the wheels of the carts. Now just who in the wide world of grocery shopping wants to steal a Food Lion grocery cart is beyond my mortal comprehension, but apparently, such strangeness exists in this world. If you park there, you'll lock the wheels of your buggy, and you'll need Bessie the mule to drag the danged thing back to the cart parking spot.

Let's assume now that you've parked the truck, secured the BB gun, survived the gauntlet of winos who want your pocket change, and you're safely inside the Food Lion. You need a cart. Try to get one with round wheels that all turn together and in the same direction. This is important, more important than you perhaps know because if you violate the rule and select a cart with square wheels, wobbly wheels, wheels that aren't, or are the type of wheel that precludes your travel in a somewhat straight line, then you're going to be in trouble. Doom and damnation will be your friends.

Now what kind of trouble follows the selection of a cart with odd wheels? The kind of trouble that gets you bounced from the store if you're lucky, and given that you are not lucky this way, you'll probably want to slap one of the mamas just to distract the local constabulary as you crash through one kiosk after the next, all the while scattering cans of spaghetti with meatballs all over creation.


The shopping in the Food Lion

You need stuff for making hoecakes, pancakes, and fritters, which would present generally straight-forward shopping except for that beer-thing you have going on. That's gonna be distracting and perhaps even challenging. Do your best here. People will starve for want of a hoe cake if you don't, and that's an ugly sight.

You need to pick up some self-rising flour and cornmeal. It doesn't matter that the corn meal is white or yellow, but the self-rising part if critical, and yes, you also want the flour to be self-rising. I suggest buying the Food Lion brand of both these products to be consistent and to avoid product confusion later on today. By the way, the flour and corn meal are on the same aisle, which is about the second or third from the right side of the store as you enter. They will not be on the same shelf unless some unescorted child has rearranged the shelves for us. They can be so helpful that way.

However, you need to be careful of one very deadly thing in this aisle, that being corn muffin mix. The inedible mess is a mixture of flour and corn meal. Do not be fooled by the seductive print that suggests perfect baking. If you use corn muffin mix, you will be danged for the rest of time. The problem is that you cannot control the amount of corn meal and flour in the mix, and we do not need some homesick Yankee working on our allocation of corn meal and flour.

Now that you have the flour and corn meal, you need some corn. I prefer to get frozen yellow corn, though the last time I was shopping for corn, I bought frozen white corn because it was on sale, and we all know that cheaper is better, even when it's something you really don't want. You can also buy canned corn if you want. Canned corn will be heavier, giving you something to whine about as you carry the groceries up the steps. Later on, the empty cans will give you something to shoot at, and that's important because at some point, the squirrels and dogs will stop coming around. Those heavy cans are also good for propping doors open, and they're even better for accidentally dropping on Bubba's toes.

Now that you have the corn, you can noodle over to the milk area, and if you insist you can buy some sweet milk, but you're really there to get some buttermilk. Pick up at least a half gallon of buttermilk, which means you'll get two quarts, and complain to the store manager that the store does not have buttermilk in gallon jugs. If enough of us complain, maybe they'll do something about it.

Bear in mind during these times of trials and tribulation that you are not going to purchase real buttermilk in a Food Lion. No young man sat by the churn on a summer's day under the spreading pecan tree working the churn up and then down until the whole milk from the morning's milking separated into butter and buttermilk. What you have to buy is cultured buttermilk. I know. Cultured buttermilk is an abomination unto the udder, but there is nothing better that we can do in this disturbed and tribulated time. Besides, we can only fight one battle at the time, and the battle before us this day is the detestable confusion and misidentification regarding hoecake, pancakes, and fritters.

Now that you have the buttermilk, and perhaps some sweet milk for the children, push the cart over to the butter. You want two pounds of lightly salted Food Lion butter. If some medical personnel is going to be inspecting your pantry, get the butter, and then snook back over to the other aisle and get some olive oil for the cover it'll make during the inspection. Alternatively, you could just get some lard, which will distract your reviewers by sending them into an apoplectic state. You must, however, feign ignorance to this ruse, lest you be held liable for the damage resulting from the apoplexy.

Of course, you already know that whatever we cook with lard is better. We just avoid lard now to preclude the unnecessary conversation with the dullest of the dull people.

Finally, you can pick up some of what you really need, that being the beer. You already know the kind you want, just make sure it's on a special because special is better. You'll need at least one suitcase, but two would be better. Three would be excellent, but you'll probably need a liquor license to get home. That, or stealth mode on the truck, which I know you don't have because that Ancient Technology has not yet been released for civilian use on Earth.

Now, get some chips or something, pay for your mess, and get out of there before the bill looks like your house payment.


Driving home

You mostly know the drill. Load the truck, get in, crank, drive away. We've done it a thousand times already. The only difference this time is the colorful light display coming through the rear window. Isn't it pretty how it flashes like a strobe in a disco? This light show is a special show created just for you by a uniformed representative of the governor of our fine state. You probably want to stop and introduce yourself. This is no time to play hard to get, and we all know you're easy anyway.

I know you want to, but do not offer the officer one of the beers in the seat beside you. For whatever reason, likely the result of letting the Yankees in, the federalies and constabulary do not care for beer, especially beer in trucks. You probably want to make sure the olive oil is clearly visible, and while the officer reviews your out-of-date license, registration, and inspection, you may expound upon the delights of hoe cakes, fritters, and pancakes.

At some point, you'll smile and thank the officer for the warning ticket about your turn signal that you never use. You probably want to work on that part of your driving just a little. Just because you're waving your fist and yelling out the window does not mean you are signaling your intentions. The governor of this states expects you to use those little blinking lights no matter how much you think they should remain as they were when you bought the truck.


Back at the house

You know the drill. Park under the tree, tote the bags in the house, put the stuff away, grab some beer, and hit the porch to recover. Keep the BB gun handy, as it'll help you get over the business with the turn signal. Let me tell you here and now that you're never going to understand it. Just accept it. Shooting a few squirrels with the BB gun will help the healing begin. So will about three beers.

At some point, you're sufficiently calm, if not healed, to start cooking. It's about time. We're getting a little gant.


Hoe cake

Here is the recipe for hoe cake, straight from my mother's kitchen. In a bowl, add a few cups of corn meal, the self-rising kind. Pour in water. Stir until it's a gooey mess. Pour the goo into a greased skillet. Cook on moderate heat, flipping once. My mother made this mess in slabs about one inch think. Not even the dogs would eat it.

Folklore has it that the hoe cake is the same as a johnny cake. That is possible; I wouldn't know. The story behind the hoe cake name is that slaves in the American South cooked this form of bread over small fires on hoe blades for their noon meal in the field. All I know is that the hoe cake is mighty poor eating.


Pancake

The pancake is more worth the trouble. Count the number of people you're feeding, and crack that many eggs in a bowl. Discard the shells. Use a fork or something to mix up the eggs. Add a big slug of butter, and remember to shake the butter milk container before pouring. Stir the eggs and the buttermilk better than you think they need to be stirred. Also, you probably didn't add enough buttermilk. I said a slug, not a dither. Can we get with the program?

Before you put the buttermilk back in the fridge, pour a tall glass for yourself, leaving room for two or three fingers of rum. Add the rum. Stir. Sip as needed. Cooking like this leaves us at risk for many injuries. Besides, the heat from the oven evaporates the alcohol from our systems.

Add self-rising flour to the bowl, stirring as you go. Stop adding when the mixture is thinner than you think it should be. It will thicken all by itself. Add some oil to a moderately heated iron skillet. The oil can be olive if someone is looking. Use butter or lard if you want edible pancakes. Regardless, use more oil than you think is necessary.

You are now faced with a choice. Formal or casual pancakes. Formal pancakes are small, and the thickening batter is placed in the skillet using a small ladle. The casual pancake is large, the size of the pan, where you just pour the batter until the pan is covered.

Let the pancake or pancakes sit and simmer in the pan. At some point, you'll see bubbles forming in the batter. When you do, just wait. The batter is still too thin. Wait a bit more until the bubbles pock the surface. Now you can flip the pancake or pancakes. Bear in mind that you'll probably make a mess flipping the large pancake. Just do the best you can.

You'll know the pancakes are done on the flipped side when the fire alarm goes off.


Fritters

The canned or frozen corn changes a pancake into fritter. Add the corn to the eggs before adding the buttermilk, not that the order really matters. I just felt like you'd do better with some unnecessary rule in the process. I use about an espresso cup of corn for each egg, but sometimes it's more like a cup. The rest is the same, right down to the formal and casual fritter.


Notes:

1.The rare fritter is best. The same is true for the pancake. However, if you serve rare fritters or pancakes, someone is gonna whine about salmonella from the uncooked eggs. When this happens, add more rum to the buttermilk.
2.I do not care for jelly and such on the rare fritter or pancake. If necessary to get a well done fritter down, I'll use jelly or something. You can use what you want.
3.Drink with the fritter what you will. I'm pretty sure we know preferences by now.
4.You can add corn meal to both fritters and pancakes. Doing so changes nothing. You may not add flour to the hoe cake.
5.Cold fritters make good snacks.
6.Cold pancakes make good dog food.
7.Cold hoe cakes make good weapons.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My Ribald Saturday Night

My Ribald Saturday Night
Copyright 2009, Jim Penny
Word count: 1528

So many of my friends, especially the straight ones, ask about what they see as the fanciful life of the footloose and free bitter old queen. Well, folks, here ya go!

4:00 Gathered the trash, grabbed the umbrella, and headed downstairs. Opened the lobby door. The bottom is falling out. I stand there several minutes. Where does all that water cone from, and why must it fall here and now, when all I ask is one minute to scoot the trash out to the dumpster?

4:10 Return upstairs with the trash in hand. It can wait until tomorrow. Of course if the lottery ticket is a hit, the staff will deal with the bag.

4:11 Loose the outdoor clothes in favor of indoor clothes. That's draws and a t-shirt if you must know. And bare feet. Think about doing a little laundry. Decide a screwdriver is more appealing.

4:15 OJ, rum, and computer in hand, I click on News 14. We'll have continual weather coverage shortly as the storms arrive. For now, it's Weather-on-the-Ones. Let me tell you, we hardly have enough news and weather, for a 15 minute broadcast at supper time. I do not know how these guys can keep it going.

4:29 Maybe I should give this up and go out tonight. The bar downtown has an interesting thing planned. Boxers, boots, and beer? Drag Bingo is happening over in Durham. A raft of rain clears my mind as it slams against the window.

4:31 Sever thunderstorm warning for Wayne and Johnston counties through 5:15. That'll be extended soon enough. Gary is the broadcaster on duty. He's from Dunn. Gotta love that part, even if he doesn't tweet. I wonder if we're related. McKinney just tweeted the warning.

4:33 News repetitions and reports of storm damage from yesterday. No mention of my aborted trip to the dumpster. Pam Spaulding tweets about space aliens in congress and their amendments to a domestic partnership bill. I'm not sure there's any surprise there, but I do like what she had to say. I did not appreciate snorting my screwdriver through my nose.

4:40 Insipid advertisements. Firing up Facebook.

4:41 Denise updated her status to say she's headed to Drag Bingo. She's gonna get there early. We have a severe storm passing between Goldsboro and Princeton. Highway 70 should be more fubar than usual. Fundermontz will likely suspend flights in and out of Goldsboro Regional.

4:46 Why would my FaceBook ad screen include a link for Scout Troop management?

4:48 News clip of building implosion in Charleston, West Virginia. I feel whole again.

4:50 Facebook says that Cathy finished her ab workout 35 minutes ago, and shortly thereafter, one of the Lauras finished her nap.

4:53 The next wave of storms is pulling towards Charlotte now. I make a Cuba Libre for the doom that is coming. Mind you, I live on the 11th floor of high rise. If it gets windy, I'll be roping my self to the couch.

4:57 Defensive Cuba Libre at the ready. Yeah, it's a double. Pausing briefly to post my whining about TSA on my blog.

5:01 McKinney tweets to warns us about possible warnings. I am warned.

5:24 TSA blog is posted. I expect some very special attention next week when I fly. Meanwhile, the spot regarding a proposed law to ban tying you dog to a tree all day airs again. People who want to decorate their yard with a dog tied to the tree should move to South Carolina.

5:31 Gary shows the rain moving to the north. Maybe I could take out the trash now. That sounds like a plan.

5:44 Trash handled. Found a pair of brown jeans in the dumpster. I'd benefit from having a pair of brown jeans. The tag said 32R. Those would be a little snug on me. Rode the elevator back up with a tired young man whose jeans bagged substantially. The back pockets were just behind his knees. I have no problem with baggy jeans, but it does seem to me that someone wanting to wear baggy jeans would figure a manner of doing so such that walking was possible.

5:51 Down east is wrapped up in tornado warnings. More importantly, a colleague just posted a note on FaceBook about OnStar planning to let us tweet from the car! It just doesn't get any better than that!

6:27 Nothing noteworthy yet on the weather front. I discussed eating mountain oysters on FaceBook. Denise called to ask about Drag Bingo and Legends. I linked with a colleague on Twitter, and then sent her a tweet. Most interesting, another colleague had a hard drive in her freezer, where it had been for the last 24 hours. She put it there on the advice of paid geeks who thought this might help the drive come back to life. I know that freezing your hose overnight before wearing them will make them more run resistant, and don't ask me how I know that, but I fail to see how freezing a hard drive controller could have a beneficial effect. By the way, the drive remains dead.

6:34 I watered my fairy garden on FaceBook.

6:52 Exceedingly humid. Were this summer with some real sun, we'd have some monster storms bearing down on us. Instead, I'm reading about umlauts at Wikipedia. You might wonder just why I'm doing that. The reason is that I was about to respond to a political post on FaceBook regarding our senator, Kay Hagan, and my post was going to be that I just can't get past the desire to add umlauts to her name. Yeah, I'll grow up one day.

7:06 Flying colleagues responded to the blog about the TSA. They agree that I'll meet a body cavity search next week at RDU.

7:51 Twittering all of a sudden. The weather is still calm. Boom! Big poof of wind through the window. Calm again. Got a colleague on Twitter trying to figure TweetBerry for her phone and FB2Twitter for her FaceBook page. Bracing myself for the most dangerous night on TV. We should have sharks on spring break tonight.

8:36 Colleague headed to Canada tomorrow has a sad tummy. She just received a ton of advice on FaceBook. I doubt it helps. I also left information about currency conversions and expense reports. And of course, there's the business of turning on the cell phone while there. Switching over to the Weather Channel for a minute.

8:50 Time for another Cuba Libre. Yes, and just HUSH! I know the rule regarding the lime, but I'm out of lime. Don't make me put celery in yours.

8:55 Two inches of rain per hour in Georgia. Wonder if that rain will get here? Cuba Libre at the ready.

9:01 Switching over to Sci Fi. The weather isn't doing it tonight. The show does not look like sharks on spring break, but the earth did crack and swallow a car and someone's mom.

9:18 So the flick is not about sharks at spring break eating hot chicks in the water. We have something about a comet that breaks apart, and some of those parts hit the earth. Substantially not well done.

9:27 So the earth moved, and the sun is ten degrees off now. I want sharks! Well, I do like watching the earth crack open, usually down the highway.

9:38 Switching back to the weather. Not enough weather to preempt the story on the space shuttle landing while the post office runs out of money. Here's Gary. It's the usual. I sound like I want him to make the weather more exciting. The radar shows all the red and yellow to the east of us. We just have rain. Yummy.

10:01 Dull flick. Dull weather. I should have done laundry. Actually, I should have finished up the last table in the report I'm writing, and then knocked out the humongous spreadsheet to go with it. Maybe tomorrow. I'm not sure working on Saturday night is an improvement over the dull flick and and weather. Besides, there'll be plenty of that all too soon.

10:21 Checking the Weather on the Ones. I see a public service announcement about safety during a tornado. Like the preflight safety announcement, I could recite it myself. Tonight's storm track is about 75 miles to the east. Mount Olive is about to have something to talk about. News 14 is fully staffed for possible weather. I hope they have an espresso machine. McKinney has rolled up his sleeves. Does he know how handsome he is?

10:53 Surf some sites. Week in review from ENC and the hard working people there. Op Ed pieces I should have written. Grateful for degrees of social networking on the net that mean we don't so much live in a vacuum. Oh, but for that human touch, if it is through a keyboard and screen.

11:13 I don't think my weakened heart can take much more of this. My pillow calls. Y'all have fun. I'm gonna go dream of something.

TSA Protects America...and pigs fly

TSA Protects America...and pigs fly
Copyright 2009, Jim Penny
Word count: 950

I'm sitting in the lobby of the Logan Airport Hilton this morning, waiting for colleagues to arrive for a couple of work days. By the vagaries of independent travel planning, I arrived two hours early, and we agreed to meet here for breakfast before getting started.

On my way into the restaurant, I picked up a copy of USA Today, and I'm greeted by an above the fold front page story about how TSA is going to start doing more gate searches. The idea is to make us safer. The fact is that they will only increase my need to blood pressure medication.

Concurrent with picking up the paper, a colleague flying from Raleigh to DC sent a text message about being selected for the extra pat down. I sent her a picture of the paper and asked if the TSA agent was cute.

Let me give you a brief review of my day so far, and you can decide just how much safer you feel.

I arrived at RDU, the Raleigh airport, at 4:30 AM. The lines were short, as you might expect. I used the new terminal because I'm flying American today. (American has non-stop flights between Raleigh and Boston, as does Delta. I have no idea why.)

The security lanes have three starting places. One is for airport and airline personnel. We only occasionally see flight crews here. I guess they sneak in at odd hours. Nonetheless, the scanner is usually on and waiting for them. The second starting place is for the general traveling public and business travelers like myself who have no status with the airline and who are flying coach. The third starting place is for the pretty people in first class.

The coach line wanders back and forth, making about six switchbacks before finally reaching the end. The first class line skirts around the edge of the room until it joins the coach line. Often there is very little gained from using the first class line, and if your timing is poor, the first class line can be longer and slower.

At the top of the line, someone checks your government issued identification card to determine that you really are you, that your name is on the boarding pass you're holding, and that you really are boarding a plane. This person initials your boarding pass; I do not know why. Sometimes the initials look more like an attempt at gang graffiti.

With your boarding pass initialed, you'll be directed to one of the screening machines. Here, you empty your pockets of all things metal, take off your coat, take off your belt and shoes, remove your computer from the bag, and then put all this mess in little plastic tubs. These tubs go onto the conveyor belt, which will carry them through the x-ray machine.

Special note: If you have liquid, cremes, or gels in your carry-on bags, you must handle these special. First, no individual container of anything may hold more than three ounces. Secondly, all the containers must fit in a 1-quart plastic bag. Third, you may only have one plastic bag. Yes, I have a plastic bag just like this for short trips, and today, just as most days, I forgot to remove it from my carry-on, and no one in security noticed. Well, if anyone noticed, nothing was said.

And that's it. They use an x-ray machine to look for suspicious shapes. Occasionally, an airport will have a sniffer. From the news, it would appear that we're returning to the days if just after 9/11 when people were randomly detained and searched at the gate, after having passed through the initial screening. The biggest effect of the gate search is that you'll be the last one on the plane, and all the overhead bins will be full. If you're flying Southwest, it also means you'll doomed to a middle seat.

The thing is that the TSA agents are doing their job. The problem is that the job was defined by by an idiot, someone who apparently doesn't fly much, doesn't spend much time in airports, but who certainly understands the importance of looking good. Very little of what we see the TSA agents doing contributes to the security of this nation's airports.

Think about it. What happens to those dangerous things they confiscate? What becomes of that bottle of water you forgot about? They throw it in the trash, right there in front of you. Plomp! Now if we really do believe that the bottle of water really is a dangerous substance, shouldn't we treat it with a little respect, lest it go boom in our face? There are procedures for the disposal of dangerous substances. We should see these procedures in the airports if we believe the confiscated items are dangerous.

When lighters were banned on flights, the TSA had barrels filled with the things at every scanner. Now exactly how safe is a large bucket full of disposable butane lighters?

Meanwhile, my 3-1-1 baggie, all full of deadly deodorant and toothpaste, has been overlooked repeatedly through the last two months of flying. What happens? I forget about it, and leave it in my carry-on bag. It's not that I'm being hard to get along with, thumbing my nose at the rules. It's that I'm being tired and forgetful. Maybe that baggie rule is about to go away and we don't know it.

Now, why do I have the feeling that my next encounter with TSA is gonna be something special and just for me?