Mr. Charlton Makes Tacos

You might have read my post about tacos the other day. You might have a lot of things to say when I mention that four dollars for a little taco is unreasonable.”Mr. Chartlton is a cheap asshole” or “Mr. Charlton doesn’t respect good cuisine” or “Why the hell is Mr. Charlton making such a big deal about a fucking taco?”

Let’s talk about tacos, shall we? Tacos originally are from Mexico and predate the arrival of Europeans. The local population was stuffing their faces with tacos before the Spanish popped over. They come in a variety of styles, and there hasn’t been a taco I haven’t liked. I’ll admit, the tacos I had last week, although small, were pretty tasty. So what the hell is my problem?

Tacos are really, really easy to make. I’m not talking about the boxed bullshit that comes from the supermarket, where they have a bunch of nasty old hard taco shells with a salty powder you throw in with some ground beef. I’m talking about real homemade tacos, with homemade tortillas and homemade Pico de Gallo and the works. The whole thing is such a straight forward process I’m going to teach you folks how to make it. Can you put a roast into a pot? Can you make pancakes? Can you cut up vegetables and put them into a bowl? Then you have got tasty tacos under your belt already

Tacos de Lengua – Beef Tongue Tacos

The Tongue – Creepy Looking Deliciousness


We’re going to make this tasty

Thigns you’ll need:

  • Beef Tongue (go to a butcher and grab one)
  • Bay leaves (About 6-7 of ’em)
  • Peppercorns (Maybe a teaspoon)
  • One Onion, cut into large chunks
  • Five Garlic cloves, smashed
  • Kosher Salt (or regular salt, I mean, fuck it, it’s not that important the salt’s kosher)

Alright, throw all of this shit into a pot or a slow cooker and cover with water, making sure the tongue is submerged. If it’s in a pot, put in the over and set at 225° F. Leave it in for 6 to 8 hours. You have a slow cooker? Throw it in the slow cooker and forget about it for 8 hours or however long one of those things take. In the mean time, while this tastiness is cooking, you can get started on the other stuff. But the other stuff is really quick and easy to make, so you might want to queue up a movie or go run some errands or have a nap.


All cooked up real good

Once it’s done, take it out of the pot or slow cooker. You see all that liquid left over? Keep it! Or don’t. It’s basically soup. Anyways, there’s a membrane on the outside of the tongue. Cut it down the middle, peel it off and throw it away. It’s tough and nasty, and you’re going to want to get at the tasty stuff inside.


The tongue, with the membrane off.

Cut it up into chunks and set aside. We’ll come back to it later.

Pico de Gallo – Basically Fresh Salsa

Things you’ll need:

  • Tomatoes (Five medium sized ones)
  • Half an Onion
  • Maybe half a Jalapeno
  • Garlic cloves
  • Cilantro
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lime Juice



You noticed how I didn’t put down an amount for a lot of that stuff? Because it’s up to you. You like garlic? Throw a bunch of it in there. You like heat? Throw in more Jalapeno. I’m leaving this up to you. So people like a bunch of lime juice in there, so they add a bunch. I think cilantro is overrated, but hey, that’s me.

Cut all of that into small pieces and put into a bowl. Oh my God, look at you! You just made Pico de Gallo like a champ!


You cut up the vegetables!

Tortillas – Small Salty Mexican Pancakes

Things you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons of oil (anything works, but lard is best. I used bacon fat)
  • 1 cup of water

Mix all the dry stuff in a bowl. Then add the wet stuff. mixed with anything, like a spoon or a stand mixer or your hands. If it’s sticky, add some more flour. If it’s not smooth and holding together, add some water. You’ll notice I’m using both corn and wheat flour. It’s because I want the best of both worlds. And I get what I want (in regards to flour).

Dry stuff, then wet stuff

Once you have a smooth ball of dough, cover the bowl and let it sit for half an hour or more. Then roll that bad boy out, cut out circles (I used a small bowl) and throw on a hot pan, I had my electric range set at medium. You don’t need any oil or butter or anything, there’s oil in the dough and that will be enough. Once it starts bubbling, flip it over and cook the other side.


Action Shot!


Cooking it up!

Boom! You have just successfully made homemade tortillas. They will be the best tortillas you’ve ever had, I promise.


Plate of tortillas!

The Finish Line – Putting it all together.

We’re going to fry up that meat. Yes, we’re taking that sweet tasty meat we cooked for 8 hours and we’re cooking it again. Heat up a skillet, on my electric range I had it at a 6 out of 10 for heat. Put some of that meat in the pan and fry it up. You save any of that liquid soup you made earlier? You’re going to use a little bit of that to deglaze the pan, I used a couple of tablespoons of the leftover liquid. Once all the liquid has evaporated, get that meat to the table. Set out a spread and there you are; homemade tacos.


Fry up that meat


Set up a spread!


These tacos are bigger than the ones I had last week. No joke.

The Final Word

Were they any good? You bet. Was it worth the hassle of getting a beef tongue? Not really. If you got a cheap roast instead you would be just as well off. There’s this weird hipster idea that an establishment has to have beef tongue tacos in order to be a legitimate taqueria. It used to be a really cheap cut of meat, but the weird body parts of animals that used to get tossed are becoming somewhat gentrified.

The amount of actual cooking time is less than an hour. You are going to spend a lot of it sitting around. If you want to cheat and grab some store bought tortillas and salsa, I ain’t going to judge. The point I’m trying to make is tacos are so stupidly simple that selling them is almost a crime.

I think I made my point. Tacos are easy. If you folks like this I’ll put up other recipes or write a cookbook or some shit. Let me know.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Yes, my beef tongue tacos are better than the ones you get at Native Tongues, but only because the tortillas are crazy fresh.

How the Kat Saved Festivus

You’re going to have to excuse me on my birthday. It’s going to get a little heavy in here.

Back when I was 23 (I think it was 23), I thought I had the worst birthday ever. I spent most of it by myself, my friends were all busy, my girlfriend wasn’t around, and there was no cake to be had. It wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own, and from then on, I decided that I would take complete control of my birthday. I was taking the reigns of the day I was born in my hands, and through that promise to myself, Festivus was born.

Every year since then, I would take the week off surrounding my birthday and celebrate however I wanted. I saw something I wanted? I’d buy it. A restaurant I want to eat at? Goddamn it I would eat there. The wine, beer, and scotch would flow. Some years I’d throw a party, where I’d have a bunch of people over and make food for everyone. One year I threw the famous ‘Reverse Surprise Party’, where I invited a bunch of friends out to a bar for unknown reasons, then told them it was my birthday, brought out hats for everyone and opened a bunch of gifts that I purchased for myself. All the gifts were labeled ‘To Me, From Me’. For years, my birthday was something I looked forward to more than any other holiday, simply because it meant I could be absolutely selfish for a week. I was certain that my birthday would always be an awesome one because I was in control and nothing could change that. Life occasionally has a wonderful way of throwing a wrench in your plans.

The worst birthday I ever had was my 30th birthday. I was surround by family and friends, and I was in Vancouver over at my uncle’s place. Unfortunately, my father’s funeral was the next day. On August 11th, 2013, my father passed away in Victoria. A couple hours later, I opened the gifts that he got me for my birthday. It was a surreal experience, one I’ll never forget.

Needless to say, since then my birthday has had my father’s death shadowing it. I have not really celebrated my birthday since. What used to be a week-long festival of selfishness turned into me wanting to hide away under my bed for a month. And, until very recently, I was about to write the whole birthday thing off completely.

Enter my girlfriend Kat. I was telling her about Festivus and how I used to celebrate my birthday before meeting her. She knew why I didn’t celebrate my birthday anymore, but because she’s awesome she decided to do something about it.

There’s only one gift I demand for my birthday from people if they’re so inclined to get me something. And that’s a macaroni card. A card decorated with macaroni. Or basically anything that you have to sit down and make. Write a poem, sing a song, or paint a picture. Something I can’t buy for myself. I have a box full of the cards I’ve gotten for my birthday over the years, and every once and a while I open that box and reminisce about birthdays past and the friends who’ve made me something.

Kat, knowing I’ve been kinda down in the dumps the last couple of days, went ahead and painted me a picture every day for the last five days. My dull office now has a wall full of art. Considering she’s finishing her degree in Fine Arts, they also happen to be great paintings! Here, I will show you some of the art I’ve gotten this week.


Day one: Unicorn and Narwhale


Day Two: Lonely Bird


Day Three: Scaredy Owl


Day Four: Chilling Crows


Day Five: Odin’s Raven

I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the past relationships I’ve had and the gifts I’ve received. But never has anyone taken as much time to pull me out a depressive funk as Kat has. If she hadn’t done this, there’s a good chance I would never have celebrated Festivus ever again. This week, it feels like my birthday again. So thank you very much Kathryn, I owe you dearly and I love you very much.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I still have to work today, which is the first time I’ve worked on my birthday in years. And I think it will also be the last time I work on my birthday.

p.s.s. Yes, there is clearly a theme going on in the paintings.

p.s.s.s. I’ll be taking Sunday off, because it’s going to be a taco fest here in the apartment! Beef tongue is ready to go!

Mr. Charlton Electrocutes His Dog

You may have heard that Mr. Charlton is a proud dog owner. I wrote about it here. You have to understand, though, I’m a new dog owner, and with that comes unfamiliar territory. I ain’t used to owning a dog. I’ve had a cat, sure, but cats are a goddamn breeze to take care of. You have a cat? Here are some tips.

1) Make a spot in the house for the cat to eat, and make sure the cat gets fed.

2) Make a spot in the house for the cat to poop, and clean up its shit every now and again.

3) Occasionally the cat will want to be pet. Pet the cat in the appropriate areas.

And that’s about it. A cat pretty much takes care of itself after that. A dog, on the other hand, needs a little bit more from its owner.

1) You’ll have to feed the dog. The dog thinks it gets the same privileges as you do, so when you’re eating, the dog will want some too. You’ll have to train it not to beg.

2) You can’t really have a spot in the house for it to poop, so the mutt will have to go outside every once and a while. Rain, Sun, Sleet or Snow, the dog is going to have to poop at least once a day.

3) Now that your dog is no longer in the house, it might find things that are outside, like dead animals. Dogs have terrible fashion sense, and will try to accessorize it’s fluffy coat by rolling on top of squirrel corpses.

4) You now have a filthy dog on your hands, covered in squirrel bits. Best case scenario, you just have to bathe the dog. Worst case scenario means either a trip to the groomers, or you get out the shears yourself and give the furry idiot a hair cut.

5) Dogs need a lot of attention. You will have to play with your dog.

Through all the new learning I’ve had to do, I’ve come to discover something about dogs. Their lives exist in a hierarchy. They will challenge you every now and again, to make sure you’re not going to fuck up and get the entire pack killed. And our dickhead of a dog, Pookie, likes to challenge you during meal time.


This little fluffy asshole likes picking fights over drumsticks

There was a reason I put the ‘food thing’ first when taking care of a dog. Pookie will go back and forth between me and Kat when we’re eating dinner. Most of the time she’ll bugger off if we tell her enough times to beat it, or apparently in dog’s language “Git!”. For some bizarre reason, and I’m chalking this one up to Kat training her when she was a young teenager, is that Pooks will respond to the word “Get” better if you sound like an 19th century gold prospector.

Occasionally, on that very rare instance where Pooks is sizing you up and trying to make sure you’re not a chump, she’ll piss right in front of you when you’re not sharing. If you’re mowing down on something she finds tasty, like either tuna fish or chicken, and she’s not getting anything, she’ll look you right in the eyes, squat down and front of you and take a piss. Part of me is angry, sure, but when a dog, the size of a loaf of bread, defies you in such a punk rock fashion that GG Allin gets a smile in hell, you can’t help but feel a little pride. I mean, I could totally kick this dogs ass, it’s not very big and I can pick it up, but it’ll still try to pick a fight and pissing in defiance. That’s pretty hardcore.

The other day, me and Kat are kicking it on the couch eating dinner. We’re having some tasty leftovers, which consisted of some quinoa, both broccoli and cauliflower, and chicken. Pookie, getting a nose full of chicken, darts over and starts trying to act cute. Dogs do this as a strategy in order to get food. Scientific fact right here. We tell her to take a hike. No go, the dog isn’t going everywhere. We tell her to ‘Git’. Still, the dog is making noise and being a general pain in the ass. Finally I look her right in the eyes, point my finger at the poofy dipshit and firmly say “Pookie, I’m not giving you any chicken. Bad Dog.”

Well, it seemed the words “Bad Dog” set the bitch off, because very calmly, and with stern conviction, Pookie stared right into my soul, squat and took a piss. As I’m standing to pick her up and yell at her, Pooks eyes pop out of her head, jumps a foot in the air while yelping out loud and then bolts out of the room. It took me a second to figure out what happened.

Pookie picked probably the worst spot to take a leak, because she was squatting directly over the spot where the extension cord meets the Xbox. Unfortunately for Pooks, she zapped her junk when she decided to pee in anger.


A bad spot to take a piss

Now, I’m not a cruel man. I don’t find pleasure in the misery of others, but when a dog gets buzzed in the genitals by a hundred and twenty volts of alternating current, I mean, you’re going to laugh. For at least ten minutes as you unplug the cord and clean up a bunch of dog piss, while your girlfriend tries to reassure a scared puppy to come back in the living room.

Pookie’s okay. The little turd is 13, which is almost a centennial in dog years, so I’m glad she didn’t have a heart attack. But if you want to train your dog not to beg for food, electrocuting her bathing suit area is definitely a quick way of going about it.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I wanted to use ‘Hot Dog’ somewhere in there, but Pookie’s a girl dog, so it didn’t really apply.

p.s.s. Fried Taco? Buzzed Clam? Alright, I’ll see myself out the door.


Mr. Charlton Goes for Tacos

I was in Calgary for a wedding this weekend, and although it was a whirlwind trip, I had a great time. The wedding was fun and it was great to see a lot of faces I haven’t seen in a while. I didn’t get to see everyone I would have liked to, but a couple of days in my old stomping grounds is never enough time to get in and see all the sites.

Now, I love two things. Going out for food and Mexican cuisine , so one of the joints I was told to check out was a taco bar called ‘Native Tongues’. I had a couple of friends hype this restaurant up to no end, saying it was the one place I needed to hit up while in Calgary. So, me and my partner in crime Kat decided that after a long car ride, we would crush our hunger pains with some delicious tacos. I was really excited to make this taco thing a reality, so parked the car and sat down for some tasty Mexican food.

It was okay.

Here’s the deal. They were pretty good tacos. I wasn’t completely blown away, but they were tasty authentic tacos. The problem I had with them is that they were small. Adorably small, actually. Which would have been okay, except they were four bucks a pop. We both had four tacos apiece,  which is what the server recommended. We could have easily eaten ten. It’s not like me and the girlfriend are huge eaters, either. We don’t get excited for all you can eat buffets. We don’t get giddy over the prospect of massive portions. On the flip side, it kind of sucks to go out for lunch, drop $40 and walk away hungry, getting what amounts to basically a snack.

I mention this to my buddy, one of the guys who recommended the place to me. When I mentioned the price and how it wasn’t really worth it, he put up his hand, stopped me right there, and said, “Don’t talk to me about price point”.

Hell yes, we are going to talk about price point.

It reminded me of the time I went to a Tapas place in Edmonton called Three Boars. Now, I’m going to start off be saying Tapas are bullshit. Not my thing. But Three Boars is a good place, has a nice tap selection and I was usually pretty impressed with the restaurant. The guys running it are creative and I usually walked away happy with the food. Except for once.

Me and my lady friend at the time, the good doctor, went to Three Boars and got a new item. The kimchi salad topped with foie gras. I thought, sounds good! I like some spicy kimchi, I love me some foie gras, how could you go wrong?

We get this dinky little bowl of kimchi, and there was foie gras shaving on top, layered so thin it might as well have been canola oil. To top it off, this little bowl of salad (I mean it was tiny) was set at $16. It wasn’t very good. I earned the title of honorary French man that night, as for the next forty-five minutes I raged about the salad being overpriced hipster garbage.

Before I went to Native Tongues, I was told it was a little hipster-ish. Now, I listen to eclectic music you probably haven’t heard of, shop at thrift stores, and think that punk rock was at its peak in the 1980’s. If I’m not a hipster, then I’m pretty damn close. One thing I don’t get pretentious over anymore is food. I don’t have a problem with paying four simoleons for a little taco, but that taco better be worth four goddamn dollars. The tacos at Native Tongues were good, absolutely, but they weren’t four dollar tacos. It was the kind of taco platter I’d expect at Hudson’s, not at a place of this hype.

The pork and chicken tacos were a little dry, the flavor on the pork was a little weird. To be honest, the best part of the taco was the tortilla, and it wasn’t the best tortilla I’ve had (that would be Jalapenos, which unfortunately shut down recently). They were dinky, slightly boring little tacos. The first bite at a restaurant should be “Wow, that is amazing” not “Man, I can do this at home with minimal effort”.

If some clown tells you that price doesn’t matter, tell ’em to stuff it. Price matters when you’re going out for food, and if the money your spending outweighs your enjoyment of the meal, then take your money elsewhere. Life is too short to be eating over-price hipster bullshit.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Native Tongues did give me a bunch of great ideas for making my own tacos, though. The meal wasn’t a complete wash.

p.s.s. I’ll try anything twice, so maybe I need to hit up Native Tongues again at a different time. Maybe the cooks at night bring their A game.

p.s.s.s. The secret to becoming an honorary French man is to use the word ‘abomination’ to describe a salad.


Mr. Charlton Goes Camping

Some of the people reading this know Mr. Charlton. They’ve got a pretty good idea of what I’m about. If you’re not in the know, then I’ll lay out a few things about me, things that everyone should know.

  1. I have an affinity for good food and drink. I’ve got no qualms waxing poetic when it comes to what I’m stuffing into my face hole.
  2. I come across as classy. I tend to dress well when I need to dress well, I can speak effortlessly in the company of strangers, and I tend to send handwritten thank you cards after an enjoyable engagement. Classy stuff. And I don’t use words like face hole in public.
  3. I know enough about computers that people who don’t think I’m a wizard. On the flip side, I know enough about computers to be a complete hassle to the people who actually do know a lot about computers.
  4. I hate camping.

Now, when I say I hate camping, I mean I hate it down to my very core. It’s usually the last way I’d want spend vacation time. To give you an idea about how much I detested camping,  I’ll give you a breakdown how many times I went camping in my twenties.

  1. There was the one time I went camping with two buddies at the tail end of April when I was about 27 (I think).

That’s the only time I can remember going camping. Put it this way. It’s safe to say that the number of days I went camping for a decade and a half was probably less than seven.

There are a couple of reasons I’m not a big fan of camping. Probably the biggest reason is I’m from a small town in BC, where the community is nestled in the Rocky Mountains. It’s a beautiful place to grow up. I also hated it as a kid. I was fascinated by the city. The skyscrapers, the millions of people, the hustle, and the bustle. That’s where I wanted to be when I grew up, so the second I had the chance to move to the big city, I did. A fresh faced eighteen year old me went straight to Calgary when I had the chance. And I loved living there.

I could also mention the bugs, the smoke, the dirt, the not being able to shower every day. I hate plastic plates and cutlery. Can’t stand outhouses. People tell me “It’s not like camping when you’re a kid. You can drink now.” So what? I can drink at a bar in the city, surrounded by people instead of animals that want to eat me. Which makes it really weird that I’ve planned camping trips this summer.

You see, my girlfriend Kat loves camping. She has a camping box, with a camp stove, and a bunch of camping gear. One of her favorite stores is MEC. When we first started dating, it was one of the questions she fired in my direction right off the bat. I can actually still remember it, we were talking about the hobbies that consumed us, and she snapped her head in my direction, eyes bright and full, and she joyously asked “Do you like camping”? I remember staring off into the distance for a moment, trying the best way to phrase my displeasure in a manner that wouldn’t break her heart.

“No, I fucking hate camping”.

My response lacked tact, certainly. But when I saw her eyes droop and she quietly muttered “Ok”, I knew that if I were to spend any time with this girl, I’d have to occasionally go camping. I’d have to sit out in the cold, in rain , with mosquitos, with no showers and no martinis and no grocery stores within a walking distance. It would have to be done.

Fast forward a year, and we have yet to go camping. I decide to plan a camping trip, to the campground of my childhood, Scotch Creek provincial park on the Shuswap lake in BC. I make it a family affair and invite my brothers, my mom, aunts, uncles, and cousins. That’s camping trip is going to be happening in a couple weeks from now. But we needed to do a dry run, test out the equipment, figure what we can pack in the car. That happened last week, and here is the report.

I had a great time!

The weather was gorgeous, we went for a little hike, had a couple of fires, there weren’t any mosquitos, and our neighbors were quiet. Here’s a whole bunch of pictures I’m going to whore out, so you can live vicariously through me.


This was the second toad Kat caught.


Wild strawberries!


I caught a tiny bear, then decided to humiliate it by putting it on a leash.

Everything went absolutely according to plan for this camping trip. That’s kinda the problem. What happens when it starts to pour? What if the campsite is next to a slough and the mosquitos are out in full force? What happens if we get shitty neighbors that are playing shitty punk music until 5:00 in the morning?

It’s a gamble when it comes to camping. And I’m not a gambling man. Right now, the jury is still out on whether or not I’m a convert. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be a camper. In two weeks we’ll be spending a week outside, so I’ll have more to report when I’m back. Until then, if I had to pick between the outdoors and a nice hotel, I’ll take the king size bed with the air conditioned room. And hopefully, there’s a good bar close by.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. To be fair, camping at Scotch Creek is hardly camping. They have hot showers and paved roads, so it’s not exactly roughing it.

Why the Hell Do We Have the Olympics Anyways?

Mr. Charlton’s been dumping on the Olympic games for the last couple of posts and for good reason. They’re expensive,  and the countries hosting the games can’t always afford the exorbitant cost of hosting the damn things. When the host country runs out of money, you get shoddy facilities, unsafe venues, and not enough doctors to treat people. This last point is especially true if you currently have an outbreak of something like Zika or the T-Virus.


Zombies would be pretty good at the 100m dash if you had brains at the finish line. ¹

I’m not a sports guy. I have no interest in sports, no clue about sport, don’t follow sports, don’t get the whole big hoopla about the drama in professional sports. Truthfully, I’m the last person that should be commenting on sports, and certainly one of the most celebrated sporting events in the world. I shouldn’t be touching this one. But I’m gonna step out of my persona for a second, get real down to earth and share my real opinion of the Olympic games.

They’re important.

Now sports, in general, are important. I don’t agree with exactly HOW important they are in our society, but if I were to choose this world with sports and this world without, then hands down I’d have to go with a sporting world.

They’re important for kids growing up. They’ll get exercise running around, and an active lifestyle is good for developing brains. They’ll learn teamwork. And the most important life lesson they’ll learn, one that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives, is this; You can train every single day, work hard every day to achieve a dream, only to find out that someone from the next town over is better than you’ll ever be. I’m not kidding! That’s a really important lesson kids need to learn. And if they are the best, then this society will shower you with riches and fame, or at least a trip to the Olympics. Most likely  they’ll only be average, and that’s perfectly okay. They’ll still walk away knowing how to work hard to achieve something, even if it’s second place.

They’re important as an entertainment outlet. That’s what professional sports are. They’re meant to entertain people. It doesn’t entertain me, but I can’t argue with the numbers. 90% of Americans watch sports. If you’re reading this and aren’t into sports, you are in the minority. Plain and simple. Even I’ve been sucked in every now and again. Surrounded by people invested in the game at the bar, everyone biting their nails, and then the place  erupts in cheers when a goal is scored. Shucks, Mr. Charlton was cheering too! So I can’t sit here and talk about sports without at least acknowledging that people are invested in sports.

The Olympics aren’t important because it gives kids something to aspire to and then statistically fail at. They’re not important because the world needs more sports entertainment, as most people would much rather watch football then target shooting. I’m going to show you a picture that sums it up. A picture is worth a thousand words, and I need to keep my word count below 1500.


Gymnast Selfie! ²

Mr. Charlton is going to explain to you why this picture is so goddamn important. The gymnast taking the selfie is Lee Eun-Ju of South Korea and the gymnast on the left is Hong Un Jong of North Korea. The two countries have technically been at war for the last six decades. I shouldn’t have to explain what North Korea is all about, but I’ll try to sum it up. It’s a brutal country led by a family of despots who’ve had a stranglehold on the country through a cult of personality. The Kims are thought of more as Gods then they are heads of state. The citizens of North Korea aren’t allowed to leave, except with very few exceptions. The Olympic games are one of them.

The picture sums up a very important aspect of the Olympics. That even though these two are citizens of countries that see each other as enemies, under the banner of the Olympic flag, they’re united in the spirit of healthy competition. Not with bullets or bombs, but gymnastics.

They’re another magical event happening at the Olympics, and it’s not basketball. This is the first Olympics hosting a team of refugees, athletes that have no country to call home. You know what flag they’re flying?


Here’s a hint. It’s this one.

That flag represents humanity under one banner. It represents the spirit of putting down your guns and picking up volleyballs instead. It represents the best aspects of the human spirit. It represents community, commonality, compassion and competition, all under one goddamn flag. If you’re wondering if this competition is worth the four or five billion dollar price tag, I’ll give you my opinion. You better fucking believe it’s worth the price because that’s less than the cost of a week at war. And thankfully the only thing getting shot at the Olympics is targets.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I’m still not gonna watch, though. Just so we’re clear.

¹ Photo taken from

² Photo taken from

The High Price of the Olympic Games

The tally for the summer Olympics in Rio is going to be over four billion dollars. Four billion! While that might seem like a massive price, it’s actually a modest one. To compare it to the last Olympics held, the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia, it’s a drop in the bucket. The winter games held two years ago cost a staggering 51 billion dollars, so the price tag of the Rio Olympics is humble. Which would be okay if the country wasn’t in a massive recession.

The Olympics cost money. A lot of money. So much money, in fact, many countries have withdrawn their future bids, citing cost as the main reason for turning away the chance to host the games. The games require a massive amount of spending in infrastructure, investments in buildings that have little to no use past the games themselves. I was going to link a bunch of photos with cute little captions, but here’s a whole album of derelict Olympic facilities you can peruse.

That would probably be the biggest problem a lot of people have with the Olympic games; it’s really damn expensive. And the countries hosting the games don’t always have the extra cash to splurge on a three-week party that celebrates amateur sports. The issue with the Olympic games isn’t the doping scandals or the water quality or the possibility of disease breaking out, it’s the Olympic bidding has become an episode of keeping up with the Jones’.

The games, both winter and summer, promise to be the best Olympics ever. Every host city plans to have a better Olympics than the previous Olympics. The opening ceremony is getting more extravagant, the facilities are boasting better additions. How can this be fair to countries without the GDP of places like the United States or Russia or China? How the hell was a country like Brazil supposed to compete with a country like the United Kindom, which was the last place to host the summer games?

It couldn’t. If you’re wondering why you’re hearing stories of polluted water, poor facilities and issues of security, it’s because the Brazilian government bit off more than it could chew. It’s not Brazil’s fault either. The bidding started back in 2007 for these games, and then the world was rocked by the 2008 recession. Even though the country seemingly bounced back in record time, the country has slowly been dipping down again for the last several years. Slow worldwide economic growth has stunted the Brazilian markets.No one could have predicted the state of affairs in Brazil that long ago.

The International Olympic Committee, also known as the IOC, had a number of bids in place from cities all around the world. Madrid was one, Chicago was another, and there was also Tokyo in the mix. Spain hosted the summer games in 1992 in Barcelona, The US had the games recently in Atlanta, and Tokyo Japan was home to the summer games in 1964. Brazil, let alone the entire South Americas had yet to host the games. It was the perfect opportunity for Rio de Janeiro to throw their hat into the mix. Why wouldn’t the IOC have Rio host the games? They bounced back from the 2008 recession like the rubber from a rubber tree, which is indigenous to Brazil. Here, I found a graph and now I’m going to show you that the IOC wasn’t crazy for picking Rio.

Brazil-GDPMassive crash at the tail end of 2008, better than ever in six months. ¹

It’s really unfortunate that Brazil has been suffering economically for the last couple of years, but how could the games be moved? We’re talking about plans that had been laid out for almost a decade. It’s a billion dollar event the entire world has it’s eyes on. It’s a shame some of the facilities aren’t up to snuff and the country is reeling from a massive recession, but the only thing you can really do is shrug your shoulders and hope that the games go well. And so far, the games haven’t broken down into complete chaos. The last thing we need to see is the Olympic Games turning into the Hunger Games.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Man, does the Olympics have anything nice to say about itself? Tune in Wednesday!

p.s.s. I missed a couple posts. I was out camping. Yes, I absolutely hate camping, so you’ll be hearing about that soon enough.

¹ Graph taken from




Olympics Making Me Queasy.

Out of all the sporting events in the world, by far the most corrupt have to be the Olympic Summer games. That’s saying a lot, as sports in general are a corrupt institution to begin with. Aside from doping athletes, underground gambling rings, not to mention the outlandish and unethical practices we tolerate from players, sports have always had a dark underside to them. That’s part of the reason for their popularity, it’s the drama and the scandals and the opera of these pastimes that makes them interesting. It’s not just the sports themselves that are entertaining, it’s the struggle and the chaos revolving around the players, managers and owners that make it fun to watch. Which is why the Olympics have always been a paradox. The spirit of the games, which is to highlight amateur sports from around the globe in a friendly contest to unite the world under one banner, is notorious for some of the shadiest dealings and backroom deals on the planet.

If there was a medal for the most corrupt Olympics, Brazil might take the home the gold. In a country already rife with political strife and high rates of poverty, the idea the games should be hosted in Rio de Janeiro is going to go down as one of the largest oversights in the Olympic’s history. Numerous civil servants and workers have gone on strike. Riots and protests are met with fierce crackdowns from security forces. If there was one sentence to sum up Rio hosting the summer Olympics games, it would be this; Rio de Janeiro shouldn’t be hosting the summer Olympic games.

It’s a mess, and when the word mess is mentioned, it’s the literal meaning of the word. The bay that 1,400 will be swimming and rowing in is polluted. Polluted to the point that athletes are taking extreme measures to counter the effects of the water. They are going to be popping antibiotics like Pez, donning full suits to keep the water out of there ears and bleaching the oars. These are some of the things you would have to take precautions against when your swimming or rowing in water full of human waste.

Unfortunately, these measures don’t protect the athletes from viruses, and it’s not Zika we’re talking about. Viral levels in the water are 1.7 million times higher than what we would consider worrisome in the Western world. Put it this way; if the athletes consume a teaspoon of two of water, the likelihood that they’ll contract some sort of virus is over 90%.

That’s just the athletes. What about the massive number of tourists that are going to be descending on Rio to watch the games? What about the nearby beaches that will soon be full of foreign travelers? If you are thinking about going to the games in Rio, stock up on shots and travel insurance.

Then there’s the buzz of the Zika virus. The truth is, the games are technically taking place in Brazil’s winter, so the dangerous carrier of the Zika virus, mosquitoes, are going to be less of threat than they would be at other times. If you’re an athlete or a tourist, then you have a much higher chance of contracting the virus through sex than from mosquitoes. The Zika virus gives off few or no symptoms in most people, the symptoms being rashes, fever, joint pain and red eyes. In pregnant women, it can cause birth defects, and in a few cases it can cause paralysis. This means if you’re a tourist or an athlete that’s going to be getting pregnant in the future, the best bet is to stay away from the games altogether. Numerous athletes are already passing on the games due to the Zika virus.

Viruses are always kind of neat up close

What a cute little flipper-baby making virus!²


The troubling concern over the Zika virus and the other host of pathogens in the water filled with raw sewage leads us to a bigger question. Would the hospitals in Rio be able to handle the surge of patients that will undoubtedly arise from the mass influx of people entering the city? The doctors union in Rio has some choice words for the tourists heading to the games; “Don’t get sick.” Rio has been going through a healthcare crisis due to a funding shortage, and has closed several hospitals recently. Rio simply doesn’t have enough beds to take on new patients.

The games haven’t even begun and already people are avoiding it in droves. So far we’ve only touched on people getting sick, and believe me when I tell you there’s a lot more to worry about than a Bay full of shitty water.


The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. You know how the movies in the 1980’s had fake commercials for 5000 SPF sunscreen and full body suits to go swimming in the water? The future is here folks!

p.s.s. Apparently the junk is so think in some of the water, rats are building nests on them. I call them Ratrinas.

¹ Photo taken from

² Photo taken from

³ Photo taken from