October 15, 2021, was an important date to many Midwesterners. That's because, on Friday, the CurderBurger made its very limited debut at Culver's restaurants.
For those who haven't heard about this yet, Culver's — home to both the widely-celebrated butter burger and some of the best fast-food cheese curds out there — released a limited edition burger that combined the best of both items.
Initially an April Fool's Day prank from earlier this year, the idea was simple: make a patty-shaped cheese curd and put it on top of a butter burger patty . Add bread and other ingredients, and voila! You have a genuine CurderBurger.
The menu item is only being sold for one day, so at 10:00 a.m. on Friday morning, I made my way to the nearest Culver's restaurant (the burger actually sold out by 12:30 p.m. throughout all of Madison!). Arriving five minutes earlier than when the doors were set to open, I found out that others had the same plans as I did — and that the line to get this burger was already extending out into the street.
At least 20 cars were ahead of me in the drive-thru lane. It took approximately 30-40 minutes for me to even reach the speaker to make my order. About 15 minutes later, a Culver's restaurant employee brought me my meal.
I will give credit where it's due: the Culver's I went to was prepared for this day. Although the wait times may seem long, the system was efficient and went faster than I expected. As I exited the parking lot, the line remained 20-30 cars deep, but was still moving at a reasonable speed.
I had seen "previews" of the burger online — news reports showing it being eaten by local journalists. As the main part of the burger IS an oversized cheese curd, the melted cheese inside has the tendency to stretch. Since I just bought a new car, I felt it wiser to wait until I got home to try a bite.
That was probably a smarter decision than I even realized. The curd inside was able to harden a little bit more, and because of this, it wasn't as "sloppy" as I expected it to be.
My first bite into the burger was a rush of endorphins to my brain. I've long believed (and many others agree) that Culver's burgers are the best in the fast-food business. Their cheese curds are also amazing. The two, put together, was a perfect mashup.
Don't get me wrong: the taste itself wasn't *spectacular*. The CurderBurger was exactly what you think it would be: a burger and a cheese curd, together. You could get the same effect by ordering curds and putting them on a regular butter burger.
But this was a burger that got better with each and every bite that I took.
Halfway through my meal — I took my time with this one — I had to finish a project. I set my burger aside, and sadly, it was lukewarm before I could finish it up.
But it turned out, it wasn't a "sad" outcome at all. At lukewarm temperature, the burger is STILL delicious.
I don't know that I would get this burger ever again — it is quite a lot to take in. The cheese curd takes up more space than the buns, and even though I had mine "plain" (no lettuce, tomato, not even ketchup), I was completely filled up after finishing the CurderBurger. Given the choice between the two, I'd stick to the butter burger, and maybe split a side of cheese curds with someone else. Or, put another way: the CurderBurger is a meal that you might want to split with someone else!
That said, if Culver's decides to make this treat a regular item on its menu, it will be hard for many to say no to it. One hour after eating this mouthwatering patty-and-breaded-cheese combination, the CurderBurger is still fresh on my mind, in a good way.
Welcome to the July 4/Independence Day weekend. Let's talk about what freedom and patriotism really mean...
FREEDOM is your right to pursue your life as you want to live it. Your freedoms have limits, of course, but only inasmuch as how they relate to others. Your freedoms end if they trample on another person's freedoms.
We must also be wary of some people's ideas of freedom — describing problematic capitalistic aspects of our society, like private health insurance, as inherently "freedom" is wrong because true freedom would allow you to move freely from one place of employment to another, without worry or consequence of losing health care coverage.
(And no, getting banned on Facebook or Twitter isn't a loss of your freedoms.)
PATRIOTISM is the love you have for your country. But sadly, the idea is often mistaken, particularly by those on the right, as the unfettered love of country. However, similar to how a parent who loves their child, a person can be patriotic and still want to improve their country and direct it on a better path than its currently taking.
A parent may be critical of the actions and choices their child makes, as they want them to do good in this world and not turn into a terrible grown-up. A person's patriotism is the same, and is not diminished if they want their country to improve.
Thank you for coming to my TedTalk.
For Democrats to be successful in passing their agenda — much of which has overwhelming support from most American voters — the filibuster has to go. There is no other way it can work, and frankly, it's entirely justified to destroy the relic of the Senate.
Think about it: what was the last GOOD, progressive thing the filibuster has done to move America forward? Now consider all the bad it has done. Consider the way it protected Jim Crow-era laws that violated people's livelihoods and civil rights; consider how it blocked amendments to the Constitution, including the right of women to vote; consider what it's doing now, blocking an important elections bill that would expose "dark" money in politics, make redistricting a nonpartisan affair in every U.S. state, and more.
It's hard to understand why even a few Democrats still want the filibuster around, after all the bad it has done, but I guess that's par for the course when it comes to that party, which is often its own worst enemy.
But beyond the end of the filibuster, the Senate needs more reforms. Intended to be a voice for states within the federal government, the Senate has become TOO UNREPRESENTATIVE, and TOO OBSTRUCTIVE, of the people's wishes, even without the filibuster figured into the equation.
Consider this: the five least populated states in the U.S. represent about 2.7 million people, while the five most populated states have more than 123 million. Yet those five low-populated states AND those five highly-populated states have 10 senators each among them.
The founders were worried about a tyranny of the majority, to be sure, of larger states reigning supreme over smaller ones. But they probably never intended for five states with a population less than 2.2 percent of five other states to have the same political power. They never meant for a tyranny of the minority, which is what we have in the Senate right now.
So what can be done to fix this? Here's what I think: the Senate SHOULD remain primarily a place for states' rights to be protected in the federal government. But we should add 25 extra seats to the "upper chamber" of Congress, elected to four-year terms using proportional representation — a system where people vote for parties based on lists of candidates they put forward, and seats are awarded based on a percentage that each party receives. If Republicans get 50 percent of the vote, Democrats 40 percent, and a third party gets 10 percent, then the 25 seats are divided based on those numbers, with Republicans getting 12 or 13 seats, Democrats 10 seats, and that third party getting the remaining three or four seats.
What would this do? It would solve a lot of issues, or at least diminish a good number of problems. It would allow the Senate to be a bit more responsive to the people's wishes across the country. It would allow residents in D.C. to have Senate representation. And importantly, it would place a "check" in the federal government from multiple voices and views (not just picking a singular president who might not represent the views of half the country), equivalent to one-fourth of the power that state-elected Senators have.
Oh, and one more thing: as shown in the example above, it would allow third party options and candidates into our politics…definitely a positive outcome.