Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Giving thankth

Doktorin Erdnüsse und Schokolade would like to say take this blog space, especially as Silvester is rolling around again-- NO NOT THAT SYLVESTER -- HI SYLVESTER! -- although I do love him and how lovely to have an excuse to roll him out, he is my favorite lil character--to give thanks for Freundin Spektakular Hanne Blank. She is the shizzle. The "internet" is scientific and demands proof, so here are just two tips of the iceberg of luvly things HB has brought into me life:
* She makes Buckeyes (see left [eye]). And sends them to me. God bless you, HB.
* I found out about Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology though her. If you've never indulged, I highly recommend. Good stuff. Especially--again--at this time of the year.
Something about reading the oral history of the Bush White House in the new Vanity Fair gave me the total heebie-jeebies. Could feel myself getting worried about things that had already happened...chest tightening. Dumb, but there's just something about reliving all that--no, reading about it with alarming newly revealed behind-the-scenes info attached--that made my anxiety level zoom up. It's a good piece, but jebus.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Things that are tacky: plastic hangers, mimosas and limousines.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt - I Want To Be Evil (Live Kaskad 1962)

merry happy!

If you click on this detail shot it takes you to this year's (wholly electronic, only-pennies-to-make/send) Christmas card. All my best holiday wishes and a big squoze to anyone passing by!

Monday, December 22, 2008

lady mix-a-lot

1. Last night Bobby Flay was on Throw-Down competing with the Lou Malnati's guy. And yea, verily, there was much poo-flinging about the thin/deep-dish thing that I don't care much about (although I love that the Malnati's guy called New Yorkers "infidels"), but what was funny is that before I turned on this show I had just ordered a Malnati's...thin crust pizza. (Had a free coupon.) And Malnati's thin crust (see left) is really thin...smashed, thinner than the usual thin crust. Like...ironed flat. (You want thin crust? Okay, we're gonna give you thin crust.) Corn-mealy, with that nice raw tomato-y sauce. Not a beautiful New Haven or brick oven pizza, but...good. They didn't mention it on the show though, far as I know. Moral of the story: superficial culinary rivalries are never as simple as they seem OOOO DEEP.

2. The Obama Inaugural Comm is designating Martin Luther King Day--the day before the inauguration--as a day of community service, or re-designating, I should say: "launching a national organizing effort," asking for ongoing commitment of service to our communities. I couldn't find a post/public press release specific to this issue alone, but it is in amongst press about the inauguration. I really like this idea. More on the inauguration website: http://www.pic2009.org/.

(To prove that I am still a prospect researcher at heart, I couldn't help avidly scanning the names of the inauguration committee, clicking them off in my head...P*trick Ryan! Total Republican. J*hn Rogers! Interesting to see that connection continue to flourish. Obama's smart.)

3. This extreme weather is harsh! Frowny face! If it's not epicly cold, it's epicly snowy. Very wearing to the skin and to those who want to turn over like a bear in their cave and snooze moistly.

4. PBS roundup:

* Totally fanpandalous show last night. Just...epic. Proving my motto correct that as long as there are baby pandas rolling in the trees, things are okay with the world.

* Hilarious to watch the Keno brothers (Antiques Road Show) pounce on a guy in Milwaukee who had brought in an exemplary example of something or other...a NY desk. I love their use of very specific furniture terminology and babbling twinny counterpoint, but the old dude was literally walkin off the screen by the end before they finished, saying "Are you done?"

* Tonight on our local PBS station are two Christmas musical specials all from the area of the country in which I attended college, programs from both St. Olaf and Luther Colleges. Garrison Keillor land. Cold, beautiful, snowy, spare, Lutheran, blue-white. A lot of fresh young faces. The music from both is usually quite good, and, since these are both schools with great undergraduate music programs, not all sappy and mormontabernacle; sometimes you hear some interesting modern stuff. Note: Because I went to Carleton, I was fairly ignorant of these long-standing musical traditions while I was there...now I watch them and feel connected.

5. In somewhat the same spirit as the last notice: FYI Carols and Lessons from King's College is on this year Dec. 24 at 9:00 a.m. CST on our local radio station. I often end up missing it and chasing it down on BBC.co.uk somewhere, but it's really fun to hear live. Especially if you are a sucker, as I and I know some family members are, for "Once in Royal David's City."

6. Call me kooky (also behind the curve of the GG renaissance), but I'm in love with The Golden Girls these days. Not only that, one line of dialogue leapt out at me recently like a moment of sheer genius that I cant even repeat cause it'll make me sound silly, indeed. But it was beautiful! Sacred profane sacred profane sacred profane. Beauty everywhere, man.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

From the hitting-replay-over-and-over category: some really beautiful and....er--I don't know how to not talk about this part of it--unofficial footage of a production of Turandot at the Bolshoi. Ping Pang and Pong's big moments, parts I & II. The unofficial nature of it, for once, being part of the appeal, since the sound is good, and the shaky camerawork even contributes to the atmosphere. It's astonishing, actually, the blown-out glare of the footlights that works so well with the reds and oranges and golds and the drape of the costumes and the glowing colors everywhere. Everything is so...beautiful. Grand. Saturated. Every shot's an oil painting. Kinda what you always imagine the Bolshoi might be like, full of red-golds and huge singers... I love the big Ping Pang and Pong "statues" that Ping Pang and Pong get in and out of...I think they work really well as a conceit (despite, it must be said, superficial resemblance to the pods during "Rock n' Roll Creation" in Spinal Tap). Partly because it adds to the meaning in their first big aria as they long for their old homes, other versions of who they are, but also because....opera stages are big. Sometimes you need big old shit filling it up, big symbols or beasts or characters or whatever. One reason I loved the version of the Ring at the Lyric...Conklin managed the symbolism with a great mix there of lil singers and bigger representations. Anyhow, one of my all-time top three pieces of opera is at about 2:25 in Part I ("Ho una casa nell'Honan"). Not sure this version is quite clear enough, despite better quality, to let you really hear it, but it's basically homesickness in a bottle. Simple and gorgeous. And great singing...sometimes these three parts are kinda dumped on random singers, in my experience. P P & P are roles kind of like the Commendatore or something; hard to sing in their simplicity and very lynchpin despite their small size...

Friday, December 19, 2008

On bad days it's even more important than good to give thanks for the people and things you value and I'd like to show a little pre-Christmas love to me BFF Skip--Kirsten. She happened to help me through a doozy today, but she is somebody I'm just as grateful for on the great days. Or the differently shitty ones. Or the boring. Or the mediocre, or the inspired, or the way-back, or the slogging, or the celebratory, or the neck-deep in People mag. She's loyal in the best ways, remembers what's important, to me and for me, is laudably punctilious with thank-you notes...I'll stop. She's also an incredibly talented writer and person, so please check into her blog. In addition to writing a musical about Martin Luther (she actually follows through on great ideas), she writes short stories, novels, essays and is currently working on a fictional short she wrote and is acting in through an excess of creative energy. Look for that to debut in February, although a teaser bit just went up today. I don't want to get too horribly This Is Your Life or orchid lapel corsage about it all, but she's the best.
Cat #2 has a very unfortunately small repertoire of meows. Call me unsubtle, but I can discern only one, really, in timbre, tone and pitch, and it's quite...annoying. Demanding. Whiny. High-pitched. Petulant. Downright unsatisfied-sounding.

At the end of a long day, when it's clear that by her reckoning I may or not not have spent enough time with her, she will hop near where I'm sitting and start to climb Mt. Liz, putting her paws tentatively but repeatedly On My Person as if she's going to climb, but also as if she might be reaching for my shoulder in a Vulcan mind meld. She's looking right in my eyes while she does it, with that disconcerting half human-looking cat gaze. The quavery, upset meows start, she looks more and more crazy, I start imitating them, and I'll usually end up grabbing her in a rough hug or comfy snuggle, clearly as much as a form of self-protection as anything else, that makes her purr happily and head-bonk. I always want to say to her: you realize that if you manage to morph us into one in some kind of unholy cat/human meld, I won't be able to pet you, right?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I try not to (TOO LATE TONIGHT, YO) write the anguished, rash, apopleptic, repetitive and generally not quite well-enough informed rants about the (death-of-)journalism that inform an unfortunately large part of my feelings about that institution these days, and in particular about the cruelly slow death going on at my old paper, but my heart has been breaking in that area for a couple years now. Awful. This kinda shit--courtesy of the Reader's great Whet Moser--is one version of what I'm talkin about.

I do not understand now and have in fact never understood why: the endless back and forth. The positioning, the discussion, the idiotic masturbatory discussions about online presence and however it is that we are explaining whatever we need to explain about the nexus of newspapers and money these days. Surely we either need newspapers in this country or not, on whatever surface you read them, pixellated or printed.

Surely, we either make them or not. Support them or not. We tear them down because they don't have the profit margin of a can of soup or a kilo of ball bearings, but has that ever been what the fourth estate is for? Why...can't people who want to run newspapers run newspapers? Isn't a modest profit possible in this post-Craig'sList age? Laudable, even? Just fine? What am I missing?

Why, when everything needs an imprimatur, a source, the cachet of a Name behind it, the weight and assurance of a long publication history, or the experience to actually confirm or write or find or understand or navigate stories, are we getting rid of the institutions that can do it? I just don't get it. We may not need dead re-pulped trees you can hold in your hands to get all inky, but we need journalism more than ever. Actual, ruthlessly fact-checked reportage to navigate both the lack of information in some areas and the cancerous excess of speculative gossip in others.

Why when we need them more than ever are they being hunted into extinction? I never got it, on some level, never will. Some days it feels like we're standing in a muddy field in Roanoke starting all over again.


...to me pal Ali, who has won the Real S*mple essay contest! Ali, who would occasionally hiss at me like a badger when I told her what a good writer she was (aren't I sweet to remember that?). Hee hee. But people, she really is. SO TOTALLY THWILLED PROUD EXCITED FOR HER!!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

From HanneBananne: Eheheheheh. It pleases me.

Addendum: It must be partly the satisfaction of isolating those bits you wail along with, that are already separate in your head (WAY-TEENG AT HOH-HOME!).

because we roll piecemeal at the Cahiers

* I have stopped thinking of Blago as Cody Jarrett. Over the weekend he morphed into Rasputin, panting down the hallways of the palace with bullet holes in his rusty black tunic, eluding his captors, being thrown into the icy river waters. Probably still, er, more bang than the whimper we're gonna get, but it's getting a little hard to say. I don't want an impeachment, I'll say that. Don't want the drama and the tax base can't afford it. Feels like gawking at an accident. Why give him the attention?

"...a spiteful or mentally deficient servant its a misfortune that might occur [to any institution]." (Gaudy Night)

* Yesterday the snow rolled in hard all day hard on an eastward wind from the lake. Unusual, that. It was really beautiful, especially as it floated on by nowhere near my warm dry feet.


From the annals of more fussy housekeeping: I had a bunch of unavoidably expensive grocery-type things to buy I couldn't put off (tp, paper towels, Lactaid), and managed, even so, to buy 3/4 of my order on sale. 3/4!!! But even with that....TOTALLY SPENDY! Took my breath away. Hopelessly fucking spendy. So Kreative Kookin continues apace:

PUDDING. You can easily make pudding from scratch! Milk is the spendy ingredient here...the other stuff is almost always around, and not expensive (cornstarch, sugar....cocoa if it's chocklit). I did this last week, and found myself to my dismay falling right into the Pudding Trap of which I'm well aware but as usual with life, made no nevermind. Which is to say, pudding-making is a very old-fashioned activity in that you are directly rewarded for patience and sheer arm-power and punished pretty directly for the lack of it. You can never stop stirring, and, if you're making it with evaporated milk, not reg'lar, can't let it boil. It's really hard to just sit and stir for almost 10 minutes. Even with a risotto you get to put the spoon down.

So it was tasty pudding for a short while, until it firmed up into a one-pound jiggly cornstarch/papier-mache mold of the bowl it was in (I overcooked it, is the point). I will prevail though. Next up - SOY pudding? We Will See.

This week I also "invented" chipped beef on toast, kinda. A Welsh rarebit/chipped beef thing with a stock-based cheese sauce and lots of good lean leftover protein in it, including chili-rubbed pork tenderloin and some thin-cut ham that made it chippedbeefy. It was good though! Lasted four meals on barley, wheat toast, brown rice. I mean, shit on a shingle, as they'd say in the navy, yes? But still--good.

Stay tuned for many many recipes involving on-sale chicken stock. And barley. Barley-n-stock! Stock-n-barley! Barley-barley-barley-n-stock!

* A good diner: Nookies. As someone who is ever-grieving for my old local diner (it's still there! I just moved away), it has been soothing to slowly let some others in that have proved their worth. Nookies...it's good. And consistent. I think the name put me off for a long time. I got my itch for biscuits and gravy scratched this week after way too many months of longin', as part of a multi-course breakfast lunch...really fantastic on a cold day. (Yay diners.)

* Poor old Van Johnson died. I always had a fondness for him, despite his sweaty hopelessly hokey middle-brow country club humor haw haw haw mien...in some films. It's weird...there are some closeted actors you are all exasperated with about their closetedness, and I don't know why.

It's the Ellen DeGen*res phenom. I just couldn't get all worked up about her coming out of the closet, ever. Ooohhhh woo, please, scootch a few inches to the right and come out from behind that transparent curtain there that everyone can see you behind. It's almost like with some folks you have a sense they put themselves there, not the System. Except that could hardly be less true of old Van, who even married somebody (I think) that the studio found for him. Maybe it's because they're not as good actors? So you think they're not hiding as well?

This makes me sound like such a bitch. It's not the attitude I'd take knowing anybody one-on-one, it has to do with the relationships you're feel like you're roped into as a media consumer. I can't figure out why it's okay sometimes, and not others...and it doesn't have to do with "passing." I mean, I love Paul Lynde, I can buy Clifton Webb's obsession in Laura, I'm not exasperated at Rock Hudson, even in the most gay pantomime-y parts of his Doris films. I am content to be complicit, even without Hudson winking at the camera or without the movie making prescient nudges toward the topic. But with Van...I was like gah!! Come out, baby! Looks uncomfortable in there. Anyhow.

* Forget financial inflation, Hanukkah inflation continues apace...it was alarmingly front and center in the Holiday Issue of Marfa Stooart Living, par example. Soon we won't feel guilty about having a dominant Christian holiday at all! If we can just ratchet up those around it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

FREAKITY FREAK FARK FREAK. I just lost a 3K blog entry. Days in the making, even. I grieve, I pine...denialangerbargainingdepressionacceptance, okay I'm over it, ARGGGGGGH! Will be right back with Try #2 in a bit.

Friday, December 12, 2008

more austerity cookin'

Put Your Paw in the Back of the Freezer, Out Comes Fud!

This time I had a kid-like desire for Stouffer's beefy mac--beefaroni--whatever they call it. Noodley tomatoey beef thing. Not sure where the urge came from, but there it was. And not bad it was! Not sexy, not (er, remotely) foodie, but great this whole wintery week. I have been eating it for five days straight--grabbing bowlfuls out of the fridge, heating them up, lunch and dinner some days.

I browned some really nice organic beef, and then added handfuls of chopped organic Canadian bacon and some lunch meat corned beef, the last because it needed to be used up (the organic meats are the "freezer" part here; they are spendy, so I buy them only on sale). I browned all that nicely (can't 1/2-way the browning/cooking process if you are going to add a lot of liquid), then started flinging in any vaguely savory pizza herb--tons of oregano, basil, thyme, lil paprika, splashes of classic "meaty" condiments like Worchestershire, balsamic, soy. Pepper. The garlic I had smelled bitter, otherwise in it would have gone. Because I was the cook here I did not add onion, because I just don't like it in this sort of tomato situation. Then I added a jar of Barilla tomato/basil pasta sauce that I had purreed in the blender, a cup of chicken stock and a biggish can of tomato puree, the kind that is just tomatoes. Then I way undercooked a pound of mezze penne in very salty water, threw it in and..that was it. It was tomatoey beefy soupy delicious--different from how I like my pasta normally, which is barely sauced--but then again beefaroni is a very different animal.

It lasted through today, about a week, with one dip into restaurant food--last night. I ordered in Japanese, one of the true perks of living where I do (Kamehachi delivery in 20 min). Gyoza, kappa maki, kyori su...all me favs. Steamy hot miso on a freezing cold night. I felt like a new person. Snapped to like a rubber plant, as MFK Fisher puts it.

All this talk of austerity cooking--and it really really isn't yet, not with this much protein, only compared to my traditional Employed™ Cooking--is making me think a lot about Fisher's How to Cook a Wolf. I don't think is one of her better books, primarily because of its unbelievably annoying "revised" state, which means she went back less than ten years later and commented on her own prose in a constant bracketed descant... I don't know that a writer should ever be allowed to do that, unless they come back from the dead and want to explain what some 17th century slang meant or something.

Looking at the book, though, I think I have gotten more from it than I realized; nor had I read that book until now with a sense that things might be as bad as they were when this was written (1942) in my lifetime. Was all a little more theoretical.

In some ways the best parts, due to Fisher's storytelling abilities, are still those in which she talks about what happens when you cast off austerity regimes, stop living your necessarily pinched life for one blessed moment, and end up moving things forward in unexpected ways. Also handicapping its goal for inspiring keeping the wolf at the door is the fact I find her sort of a mercurial cook herself, and HtCaW is a lot recipes. She's not at her best writing 1, 2, 3s.

But there's some good stuff in it, good principles. Such as balancing your day, not every single meal, which was fairly revolutionary at the time. Cooking with an eye toward leftovers, toward saving fuel, toward managing which things you can scrimp on/fake, which things you can't. Her recipe for Sludge is good (and frees you up for other--ugly--sludge-like variations, which are endless).

Fisher is so perverse, though, so contrary. So all over the place. A straightforward how-to book is just not her metier. You see sass peeking through all the time, in things like her fantasy dip into luxury cooking. The book has bones, though, clearer the older I get and the more the Dow drops.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

For about five minutes, Harriet was the prey of that kind of speechless rage which is beyond expression or control. . . If she could have beaten or strangled anybody, she would have done it, and felt the better for it. Happily, after the first devastating fury, she found the relief of bad language. (Gaudy Night)

It's probably the Blago Effect™ that's pushing me to comment on this (just when is that fucking reprobate gonna flip?), but as a card-carrying johnny-come-lately sanitized A&E Sopranos watcher, I have to tell you that far worse than the edited violence (which doesn't matter to me, anyhow; I still can't stand it), has become the lack of cussing. I'm getting sick of it.

The show is dubbed (not shortened up hilariously, as in the Mad TV sketch). So...there is a lot of "freakin" (endless freakins), "blood suckers," "shoot," whatever. Cussing is such a big part of the Sopranos that dubbing it out flattens out and in some cases cuts out completely huge swathes of interaction. It's weird how you can feel it, too, never really having seen the unsanitised version. I mean, it's the moving lips that don't match the words (although broadcasters have raised matching the dubs to an art form), but also it's just a general disatisfied hum that builds in the back of your brain. Something is missing. Something is really missing.

Without cussing you miss crucial things like character deliniation: i.e., the character who would use a cuss word when another wouldn't. Basic things too, like what exactly people mean--facts, mood, plot points. I never knew that Paulie Walnuts repeated all his dumb raunchy jokes twice because they're cut out, both times.

But also you just miss the visceral satisfaction of listening to people "weave a tapestry of cuss words that hangs in space," to paraphrase Jean Shepherd. There is something unbelievably satisfying about listenin to actors hit certain words in round, plummy tones, hit "fuck" really hard in a sentence. Christopher's intervention isn't nearly as funny or shocking without the cussing.

Although....yeah. When you line all the episodes up, I know the endless cussing in turn devalues, becoming meaningless itself again. Cock-sucker might as well be blood-sucker. Although...not quite, I guess. And honestly it's not that I'm such a wholesale, anywhere/anytime fan of cussing, but still. It's a weird kind of Sopranos no-man land, is the point. So I go to YooToob for my occasional fix of the fuckings.

Yeah, so how about that Blago!? I have never lived through quite a news week like this--here--anywhere, maybe--in my fucking life! Honest to God, I cannot shake the image of him ending it all like Cody Jarrett on the top of a gas storage tank, spraying bullets everywhere. The crazed hubris of the person on the tapes makes you think we're heading for that kind of a psycho standoff to end this, although 10 to 1 says we get a whimper not a bang. Who knows, though. Esp. now that we've heard the unedited Him.
The Reader's Mike Miner on Air America about Blago. Good job--the ur-job, really--as expected at the big R about this crazy week, from Whet, Mick, Ben, Mike, tout.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dear Oprah --

Dear Oprah,



There seems an inclination to laud your public apologies for your size as "honest," in the sense that you are being more straightforward than public figures usually are about the difference between what they say and what they do or just about what you do, period, to maintain TV-ready body image.

I don't find it honest, I find it alternatingly heart-breaking and infuriating. Demeaning, obfuscating, angering. You don't owe anybody an apology for what your body size is. And that means no matter why it is the size it is, a process of which I think you should stop assuming you have complete understanding.

You are the richest, most powerful woman--person--in media, which doesn't mean you aren't a real woman with feelings who has a life outside that label, but you are telling the whole world, over and over--and yourself--that no matter what you do, nothing is more important than what you look like, and that at that you've failed. You say you no longer care about being thin, just healthy, but would you have laid yourself out like this if you were unhealthy and thin? Would you even care?

You have had EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO KNOW BETTER AND CHOOSE NOT TO. You have had all the advice of the world parade by on your stage and you are choosing to ignore it to keep hating yourself. You are not hanging onto "the fat," you are hanging on to your right to dislike yourself.

You are telling all those girls at your school in Africa and all the people who watch your show and all the people who hate you but catch the headlines about you that the most important thing about you is your body size, your weight. That the agonies and self-consciousness of puberty and young adulthood never end, in fact that they trump whatever comes after.

It is a lot to expect any one person to rise above social pressures to be thin, but you know what, that is an expectation I do hold you to. The Oprah Edict you are violating most significantly is the idea of loving yourself. Putting yourself first. Being on your own side. This is a yes/no situation...no mealy-mouthed middle ground. Either you are on your own side or you are laying yourself out ("apologizing") for public ridicule.

You seem to be pretty good at telling the world to back off when you need to (making employees sign silence agreements, for instance). It's very painful to be made complicit in your inability to do it here, where you need to most. I DON'T WANT YOUR APOLOGIES. They offend me. Nor do I want anything else of it. Your body is your business. Your body, in fact, is your body's business, maybe not even your own, quite.

The cynic in me knows that you might have--theoretically--less to talk about if you just made your body off-limits as a motivating factor for story ideas and for getting people to watch your show and identify with you. The hopelessly idealistic part of me catches my breath at just what you could do to actually improve this world if you laid down this issue, once and for all. If you told all the people out there that you are fine the way you are and, frankly, fuck anybody who needs to butt in.

Women need to say fuck you more often. Also who cares, and says who? You can't rationalize your way out of the beauty myth jungle, where the rules aren't fair anyhow. You have to bushwack your way out with sheer faith and a sense that you are loveable and worthy of attention, sex, approbation, approval and the right to exist--even in public--no matter your size.

And remember that taking care of your own health is difficult and an effort worthy of support. And that you should help yourself in its difficulty, not castigate yourself for occasional dips in the radar, as seems to have recently happened.

You gotta wonder when this is going to end, on top of everything else. If this version of 54 is the new 44, I don't want any part of it. Surely one of the virtues of age is just the right to know better.

Shut up please! Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Liz T.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

twitterin' idiocy

...but I gotta mention it anyhow.

One of my favorite movies is Reversal of Fortune, and for a really long time I've been looking for an image/screen grab of the shot of Sunny von Bülow eatin a sundae, smoking a cigarette and wearing sunglasses at the dinner table. I don't know why, but I have just always liked the relentless hedonism in that image, happy or not. If I remember correctly, she's wearing an extremely correct twin-set and pearls in the shot, too. I've always thought it would make a great avatar.

I've yet to find it, though, so I finally broke down and bought the DVD recently (way cheep! never fear) so, well, I could watch the movie again, but also so I could get a screen grab. The movie came in the mail TODAY. And guess who died after 28 years in a coma, it was just announced today? How weird is that? Now I'm loathe to use the image...it will seem too ghoulish and pouncy. Too much more ghoulish, I mean--it already was, I guess. Weird. Sad.

UPDATE: Here tis! Love.

sentimental fool

I keep getting very close to throwing these away, but I still can't quite. The bit of striped bag in back is Marshall Field's too, one of their last seasonal designs. I haven't even been in it--I mean the State Street store--since. Still. In fact, I've noticed that I look the other direction when I go by and sometimes skirt around so I don't have to see it at all.

This is like the world's longest consumer grieving process, I know--ridiculous--and small beer in the face of a lot worse news since, but basically I just don't know that I'll ever crack on this one. Even M*cy's TV ads make my lip curl (I don't like their current ones at all...their use of movie sentiment makes me snarlier).

I'm gonna be like one of those Civil War vets using worthless secessionist dollars or the crank who refuses to go daylight savings time, to her own detriment, arriving an hour late for everything. What can I say. It is still a very bad thing, and this is a sad time of year to remember it!
Don't forget, today's Live From the Met broadcast is Tristan und Isolde, conducted by the set-free Daniel Barenboim as part of his Met conducting de-boo (really rather exciting, that). The ballgame starts early (11:00 ET/10:00 CST) so you can be bawling through the Liesbestod in time for dinner.
* I've been trying for a while to get a screen grab of the commercial for new One a Day Teen Advantage Complete Multivitamins for Boys and Girls, but am going to have to explain it without one. Have you seen it? I never pay attention to the beginning of the ad, but toward the end there's suddenly a split-screen of a teenage boy holding a big sign that says "HEALTHY MUSCLES" and a teenage girl holding a sign that says "HEALTHY SKIN." Makes yer mouth drop. Suddenly it's like the last fifty years didn't happen.

When you go to the product's website, the vitamins' description says that "products contain key ingredients to help address the top health concerns of moms and teens." Which at first pass "explained" it a little--okay, this is nakedly commercial; it's not about what they think kids need, it's just about what kids want and marketing to that--but then that just seems worse (top health concerns of moms?). The whole thing is gnarly. There's just no way around the perception from all of this that it doesn't matter if girls are strong, but they should have good skin. Also, that our concerns for boys and girls as young adults are TOTALLY DIFFERENT. Which is different from having different physiologies and vitamin needs, to note the obvious, yes, but that sure isn't what that commercial's saying.

* My vote for the evillest Sopranos character? Richie Aprile! Cor...so sawful. Genius. I want to hiss when I see him.

* Nerdful stat-polishing: The second to last chapter of The Worshipful Lucia by E.F. Benson, in which Georgie and Lucia get married, is just brilliant. Takes your breath away, even if you (say) have read it 9,000 times. "I am not comparing myself to Charlotte [Bronte]--don't think that--but I have got a touch of her exquisite delicacy in shunning publicity."

* Okay. This is a major hobby horse of mine, and I don't assume it interests others, but I can't stop being obsessed with cooking show patter. Still. Especially as it seems our standards for what is blah-blah-ed at us declines and the patter becomes more and more like what you might say if you had a dream in which you suddenly had to cook onscreen for half an hour and you're just making stuff up.

Biggest offender: Giada de Laurentiis. Not the world's worst cook, even, but during the, say, four minutes that she melts butter with lemon to baste onto lobster tails we get this:

"I'm going to get my lemons, three lemons, and we're going to zest three lemons because we're really going to infuse the lemon in the butter . . . we have got lots and lots of lemon zest here . . . we pour the butter on top of the lemon zest . . . and the heat from the butter brings out the flavor in the lemon zest and makes it nice and lemony . . . I pour some of the warm lemon butter over the top . . . brush lemon butter right inside . . . it's going to have that lemony butter kind flavor to it." Okey-doke. Lemon. Butter. Got it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Pantone 14-0848 expected to rule in 2009.

This is one of those pieces of zeitgseisty 'news' that is half idiotic but seems half true as well (I feel like I have been seeing a lot of yellow design choices).

It also makes me think -- plus ça change -- about the essay by Fran Liebowitz in Metropolitan Life about primary colors, written at a time (70s) when there were a lot of heavy-handed design decisions about colors in public spaces (remember?), and a lot of bold primary colors identifying everything for us. (Her thoughts about yellow: "People who favor yellow with inordinate gusto are attempting to create an air of childlike innocence and sunny optimism. As these particular properties cannot possibly be the reason for the color of warning signals and legal pads, one would be well advised to look both ways before crossing.")

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Martha Broadus, Jr.
Whinge Notice: Today is last day of my big Toof Overhaul '08, also known as the great Cash Overhaul '08, depending on how you're looking at it. I'm basically as nervous as the first time...how tedious is that? Sigh. After today I get fitted for a mouthguard so I don't grind all this to bits in my sleep. By the way, none of this tooth work represents anything you could ever see; it's all in the back of my mouth/molars. There's no new shiny row of Chiclets for me to luxuriate in the glow of, nor would you notice any difference. I still have a gap in the front I can fit a chopstick in. So...there you go. Infrastructure maintenance: keywords of the 21st century.

Monday, December 01, 2008

It says a lot about the Fud Netttwerk GmbH that I noticed this, but I recently actually...learned something. For the first time in recent memory I saw something on one of their shows and said hey! Hunh. I didn't know that! Anyhow, on Anne B*rrell's show she both blanched her vegetables in salted water and salted the iced water in which she shocked them afterward as well. Interesting! Hunh! Very interesting.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dear Hollywood,

I understand, if nothing else, that you are a land of complicated accountancy. Rolling points, breaking points, percentages, creative budgeting that lets a $400 million movie fail, succeed or just break even. The people with the spread sheets seem to be the hands that rock the cradle.

In that spirit, would you please let your accountants find for you a small--I think it could even be very small--and regular piece of your budgets for the music to be used in movie trailers? I know it could be found somewhere, maybe in line items for hookers or trailers or re-insurance premiums.

As it is, we have only three movie trailer Moods:

  • Indicated by five seconds of The Commitments' cover of "Treat Her Right" (as far as I can tell--certainly not Otis Redding's)--also known as the "HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY!" song. Hey. Oh hey hey hey hey.

  • "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)" by Natalie Cole.

  • Usually Carmina Burana. Sometimes Ennio Morricone's score from The Mission. Maybe Samuel Barber. Usually Carmina Burana.

There are other regular offenders, but these are the ones I hear most often. Surely you can find a little money to shovel out for rights to music besides these? Y'all are looking way stingy. And tired.

In fact, the music choices back up on themselves. I hear "hey-hey-hey-hey," and I immediately assume the movie in question is one the studio knows is sucky but needs to sell as subversive fun anyhow. Hence cheap pavlovian music cues. Hey hey hey hey. Wacky fun. Better than Porky's. Come see it this weekend. Bleah. And Natalie Cole sounds so perky and repetitive you are already rooting against KateHudsonJenniferGarnerwhoever finding Luv. And the Carmina Burana thing...that deserves a separate essay, the way its turgid overuse creates the opposite effect from what you'd like.

Anyhow, it seems an odd place to be cheap to me, unless there's something I'm missing. Can't we cut the vegetarian options in the set catering budget or something?

Yours sincerely,
Movie fan who's actually a big sucker for a well-placed music choice
A noted phenom around here at the Cahiers (search 'Hugh Laurie', 'Rufus Sewell') are the increasing numbers of slumming English actors who show up in the American TV show lottery, looking for a popular one-hour show to take home the bags full of cash--raise their profile--just find work--whatever. You do, more often than not, get the sense they are hoping for the cheddar that comes from being on a show that meets the 100-ep syndication minimum and/or from American TV's inability to put a TV show out of its misery at the spot when its natural life span is coming to an end, as compared to the UK's humane TV show euthanasia standards. Anyhow, two more random names to add to the pot: yummy Linus Roache, now on one of tha L&Os, and Gina Bellman from "Coupling" on Leverage. Just notin.

There's room here for a gripe about the ridiculousness of House, of which I finally have seen a few episodes, but the idea makes my head hurt + increases my Monty Woolley misanthropy quotient a little too high for this topic at the mo.
A decent, occasionally advanced level movie parlor game: Look at the evening schedule for Turner Classic Movies and see if you can guess their programming theme from the movie titles. Sometimes it's obvious (films with Joan Crawford; films directed by Orson Welles), sometimes not so much (Haskell Wexler as cinematographer).

Tonight, for instance, their evening's line-up starts with: The Postman Always Rings Twice, Hannah and Her Sisters and Mogambo. I couldn't think what the theme was until I looked it up: Cheaters! Duh. Mighta guessed it if I looked at the others (Madame Bovary and The End of the Affair). Or not.

I do love TCM. Yesterday their schedule included both a Joan Crawford set and the 1984 breakddance classic Beat Street. Go Ted.

hurry up, don't wait

Today's fud homily: Pancakes teach you no conventional lessons about life. That is, they are best made in a thrashing hurry and taste best with no time to savor either with others or by yourself.

It does make them pretty decent trying not to spend money eating out but oh I'd like some yummy breakast fud fare. Today's were maybe my most successful yet (the recipe? why, Joy of Cooking's basic pancakes, of course, and none of those silly add-ins, although I use soy milk not cow's), and I made them from start to finish in the time after I'd turned the burner on to heat. In my hurry I whisked the dry ingredients together well, which really helps later when you will be barely incorporating the wet into the dry and there are gonna be some lumps but this way not as many. I threw the butter to melt in a metal measuring cup on the heating burner for a few seconds and it melted fast and cooled down fast as long as I took it on/off in the right time. Everything was flung together and cooked in a hurry and I honestly think you really shouldn't ever wait (for another person or another pancake) to eat a pancake, that they're best just one at a time off the griddle with any crispness they have intact. I cooked three in this case, and they did fine waiting for 5 minutes, but still. Incredibly good & fluffy, the most seriously ephemeral things. For as stodgy filling food as they can be/their rep is, they are actually very fleeting and transitory. Hence their native habitat of the diner, where they can make more people happy/cranked out in more sensibly large batches.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

1. I luv watching Turk do the BBD dance. Happy happy. I always loved that song (the actual "Poison" video is a little too...D*ck in a Box, even for somebody who loves sometimes embarrassing old hip-hop). It's the bass! Not to get too far into why, but it's always the bass, esp. with that snare/high-hat/ring-ting overlay. I'm such a suckah.

2. I actually met somebody last week whose father is a blacksmith. An actual iron-smashing, sweating, horseshoe-banging blacksmith. Really, how neato is that, is all that I have to say. How cool.

3. Super delish: the house smoked salmon with mustard creme fraiche potato salad appetizer at Bin 36. In a moment of ¡WinePanic! I ordered oaked Chardonnay with it, but I woulda liked it better un-oaked mit.

4. Can't currently get over, among others: Slick Rick or The Steve Miller Band. Yootoob yootoob. I amuse myself sometimes imagining navigating my everyday life (or anybody's) talking like Slick Rick: making gyn appointments, chit-chatting with cashiers, taking communion at church. Hee HEE. So much sass.

5. I can no longer masquerade as Donnie Van Zant. I thwacked 5-6" off my hair in a fit of exhilarated exasperation at the sheer...impenetrability of the mess, even after pouring in a whole bottle of conditioner. Was growing dreads no matter what I did. It *looked* fine when up--I could take a tiny rubber band and secure just the very outside of it all in a tiny lil knot uptop and look like a Victorian housekeeper, with a big pouffy skein on my head, *without* any ratting necessary, but I'd take it down and....Medea. So it's gone, and hair is much chastened. Makes sense in the new economy, eh. I sometimes have fantasies about living on a Greek island and cuttin all my hair off, letting this scalp see sun for once in its Midwestern life, rubbing olive oil into it. I'm definitely one of those people with bleached-white-houses-on-Greek-island-hillside escape fantasies. All very abstract and full of blocks of color (blue, white, maybe some others.). Why am I talking about this? oh yeah, WINTER'S HERE. Feels like it, at least.

6. It goes against everything learned and unlearned about fashion, but I am flirting naughtily with the idea of a...muu muu! Authentic Hawaiian type, but a you-kids-get-off-my-lawn garment, nonetheless. Some aspect of this gesture falls under the idea of reclamation, since it's the garment fat girls cast off in order to wear our cute tight Torrid tops and all that. I dunno, they seem dang handy to me. Kinda pretty/fun. I'm tempted.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Minnie the Minutiae (amended)

[It's my Blog and I'll Obsess If I Want To.]

So, WHY....I wondered yesterday, watching a repeat of the pilot episode of the Gilmore Girls, did the very recognizable title credit sequence/type choice undergo a subtle but strange change?

The title page of the credit sequence has always bothered me for one (seemingly) unrelated reason, the incorrect capitalization. Here is the first image of the pilot; it opens with (what you might call in book design) a half-title or bastard title, just black background and white type:

...in which, strangely, they don't capitalize "girls." The show never capitalized Girls, anywhere. It never looks anything but sloppy to me! Maybe they're trying to emphasize the proper noun-ness of the word "Gilmore" in contrast, but I ain't buyin it. Especially in contrast with the very formal type (more on that in a sec) it doesn't work.

[Another thing to note about that half-title page is how reminiscent it is of a Woody Allen title page, especially as both the capital and small-case G are very similar to the Gs in his famous Windsor Elongated that he uses in almost all his films. Notice the small G in this title, although this also allows you to see how different the other lowercase letters are:

Allen, btw, apparently chose Windsor at the casual suggestion of typographer Ed Benguiat, at least according to this blog entry. I always wondered!]

So there's that problem, but I noticed something odd in the actual opening credit title sequence in the pilot, which is that the lettering is really tracked out. Here is the normal--later--opening title page:

And here's the pilot page:

Look at how much more loosey-goosey it is. Very odd. Totally tracked out (not kerned, I don't think). I can't quite figure out what the point of it is. Or was, since they fixed it. It's just not the usual kind of thing that gets fixed after the fact. Usually things are overhauled wholesale, not....tweaked. Here it looks like somebody took a second look and hit command-shift-[ a few times (as it were).

The only reason I can see that they did this is to use the ligature of the "gi" in girls in the tightened up version. Maybe that was it. But that just emphasizes the incorrect capitalization! Gah. Not to mention the tightening up wasn't very well done, period.

It is a fairly effective type choice, regardless. I sometimes think of it as a Metropolitan font, since a slightly more shaded version was used so effectively for the Whit Stillman movie (here's the title page from that trailer):

Since the font -- type -- has its origins in engraved type, especially those used on invitations (I guess Mrs. John L. Strong or Crane probably'd call it shaded Roman), it makes a huge amount of sense for that movie's titles. It suggests the round of invitations and social events the characters are all living in, the cage of adult formality they are playing with/growing into, the film's wordy, literary qualities, the pretty but old-fashioned and conformist world it depicts, the sort of bleak--b&w--sad, wintry undertones, everything. They even switch types to emphasize it in the promo for Barcelona, Stillman's next film:

And the Criterion release takes it even farther, using hand-drawn lettering and engraved-looking illustrative style:

(If you look at the IMDB photo page for the movie, which shows a series of VHS/DVD covers, you'll see a little lesson in what people have found "classy" in the last 28 years....the range of typefaces is interesting. Much bigger, horsier 90s choices at the beginning.)

Anyhow, ponder, ponder.

Reference source: I've recommended this site before, but I'm going to again because I love it so: this site has title pages from over five thousand movies to look at, all lined up next to each other. Hands down one of my favorite sites, ever. If you love letters/lettering/design/layout/text/type/fonts, it's endlessly entertaining. Here's a snapshot of their recent additions page...delish.

The black and white pages are always, always the most delicious...all the creamy grays and shadows. Another random fact that emerges: how tiny titles are now becoming. (Maybe that's another reason why the GG title got tracked in.) Look at how absurdly sub-fusc the title page for Michael Clayton is:

The only way you could read that title page is on a big screen... ADDENDUM: Just look at this not-quite accurate (it's from the trailer; I think the title sequence one is slightly diff, but I changed my mind and couldn't resist adding this) but fairly representative shot of the title from Wall Street! Beyond horsy.

OKAY, enough wambling around letters for now. Fonty fun.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Queen of England is the most widely-traveled head of state in history. She was also the first monarch to write email (1976). I dunno, she--herself--not the institution (can one make this distinction?)--is startin to grow on me more and more, and it's not just the Corgis™. I like what she's done with the choices life handed her. And that she didn't get along with Thatcher. And her hats. I really like her clothing choices, which are way more daring and brightly-colored than are credited with.

I am aware this makes me seem like another dumb-ass royalist, but sometimes I get exhausted having every side of an argument. Plus, what can I say, most of the time I think I am comfortable with humankind's need for q/Queens, especially when we have the same name. Hee. I don't know that you can grow up high-church Episco + gayboy in your sensibilities and not be reconciled to our need for ceremony. All you have to do is go to one funeral to realize that. Anyhow, I think it is cool how much E II has traveled, even if it had its roots in nasty English colonialism. Our world would be much different now if Bushie II had done that. Had just been forced to sit through endless dinners with so many people so different from you.

I'm out of the habit of blogging. I have had incredibly crucial news to report (such as the rediscovery of an extinct pengie) but I'm out of the rhythm of getting the news to the People.

Nellie Bly

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Je suis retourné. I haf my noo keyboard from The Apple That Cares™, and now I type carefree, bang my thumbs on the space bar--and hit that apostrophe key--with wild-eyed abandon. Kinda had to re-learn how to type. The only difference? This keyboard is currently still wrapped up in plastic like a couch in a Queens living room. I don't want anything to get on this one. I'm not sure the Mac open design does much good in keeping keyboards alive. Despite lots of air, canned and otherwise, judicious blowings and proddings and pokings, they always Die. So for now...prophylactic measures persist.

Idiotic media crushes: Michael Symon (it's the voice) and Huge Ackman (it's the Huge). Those are some beautiful dudes.

Another current pash: Erik Satie. I'm in love with his world of goofy music neologisms. Which is very fun combined with music you actually like, rather than just find interesting. Neither can I still shake the Southern Rock obsession nor the big moments in opera obsession, nor the 80s b-boy/new jack thing, making for weird ear worms at any given time. I do love YouTube. Reminds me of playing in the radio station library in college. I am starting my day today with Full Force, Lucia Popp and 38 Special.

To wit: my hair is very shaggy and Medea-esque at the mo. I keep thinking with some peroxide, an old morning jacket and a snakeskin Hi-Roller, I could turn myself into Donnie Van Zant. God knows my arms are short enough.

It's funny the things you remember. For some reason right now I can't stop remembering driving around in a VW in the dark with Lynyrd Skynyrd on the tape deck, looking for a drive-in near Atlanta, a night so hot we had to keep the car on for the A/C but hot-wire the lights to turn them off once we got there.

I don't know that I really want to bail out the auto industry. Thank you.

I have my last visit for major dental work this week--that makes 8 or 9 visits now, all-told, I forget. I am frankly astonished and crazily proud of myself for getting through this, dental phobias, tiny mouth, no money, novocaine resistance, fitful ability to breathe through my nose, tearful insurance woes and all. I have threatened to throw an incredibly boring party to celebrate. I was picturing people sitting around on chairs saying nothing to each other, but perhaps I'll up the boring by providing dental health pamphlets and unsalted potato chips. Par-tay.

Many many congratulations to my good pal D and his new wife who tied the knot recently. Much love and many happy returns. Mahal kita.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Temporary toof is now very temporary. Came off eating Dots! (how cliche) Feels fweird. Toof goes on, toof goes off. Soon to have real one please.

Also to arrive soon: keyboard mit space key. Then typing two short paras will no longer take 10 minutes and xtra carpal tunnel. GOOD TO HAVE. Space and teef.

You dont miss what your two banging thumbs can do until they...cant.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

RainbowsunriseinYuppieville/overthelakeinChicago,takenday afterelection.

(From Obama's campaign photographer, David Katz//Barack Obama photostream on Flickr. )

Blah blah blah blah...First Doggie. What about a kittycat? Your pro-dog, anti-cat agenda has been clear for some time, America. I bet Willie the Cat voted Dem.

From Jerry Orbachs first film (Cop Hater). He was a revelation as the teenage badass rebel!, and identifiable only (fascinatingly) by his characteristic headdip and beginnings of the Hooded Gaze. Voice not really the same, nor face.

Have you ever seen such a beautiful escritoire? Like a rococo indoor swimming pool.

Really into right now:

* Tasha Tudor/19th century portraiture that predates
* Reports from the DL Sayers society and her poem 'War Cat'
* Todd Rundgren's great pop tunes
* Macha/o opera feats: High Cs, Fs, Bflats. Fille de Regiment, I Puritani, Il Trovatore, Lakme. MONSTER TRUCK RALLEY SHIT.

Via cuteoverload via Flickr:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Still no space bar. This prevents great art, I am willing to hazard, yes it does, and encourages much frustration, thatmuchIknow.

I bawled for hours last night, occasionally throwing my shirt over my head like an overwhelmed maid in a drawing room play, and my heart continues to burst from pride and excitement. I was thrilled at how wonderful McCains speech was, even--humble, direct, setting very good tone for future. (Where did that guy come from.) And Michelles Rothko-ish dress. Overall I am still basically...overwhelmed. Happy, proud, verklempt, ready to get to work, amazed. So proud. When have we ever been on a ride that was like that--ended like that--in US? Everything has (blessedly) changed to keep up with the Change that was happening anyhow.

Nah, no words for this one. Not yet.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Hello, man, you got Cookypuss's number?

Ehhhh…are you, how you say Mizzzz Lap--Lapi--Pal--Pallin? Yoo are une Milfuese Americain?
That was a really weird All Hallow’s Eve. Today is weird too. This week is weird, and unique, esp. here, in Chicago. I cannot really explain the confluence of energy that you feel, just sticking your finger out the window. Hope, yearning and realized, and real time, real life wishing and loss and cynicism and youth and age and politics and just everyday life…

Last night--humor me--I felt the ghosts of so many swirling around. It was chaotic and sad and I couldn’t stop thinking about Studs. Today the lock on the door twixt the beyond and here is in place again sorta and there is more peace, and it is starting to make a little more sense. But what a wild time to be alive and broke and hopeful and young enough to have some future left but old enough to be way out to sea already.

Note: TCM is showing the ultimate tale of demagogueric caution tonight (A Face in the Crowd). Its part of a fame-themed evening, though, not politics. Way interestin.


"At a time when pimpery, lick-spittlery, and picking the public’s pocket are the order of the day—indeed, officially proclaimed as virtue—the poet must play the madcap to keep his balance. And ours."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Evidence (left), BTW, of my concentrated effort at weekend fun!

It was, rather, barring very cold pool water, a handsy dude in a suit, no pancakes and the sheer distance of Chicago distances. Hollyfo (left) is definitely fun!

I guess I am a wimpy city girl, but I cannot believe how far OUT some burbs are! Literally (only).

So, some efforts at fun being made. More to follow, of a rather more economical variety, probably.

To wit (not really; nerdiest news ever): I think I have found a very cheap second-hand sewing basket. Plan to engage in needlework this winter (not knitting). Feelin crafty.

While the process of cleaning up areas of life long left unattended is a satisfaction and a pleasure, I would like to note that it is still not very much fun, and that I am still spending far too much time with and writing way way too many checks to doctors, endodontists, dentists, hygienists, GYNs, phlebotomists, nurses, bankers, COBRA administrators, insurance vendors, accountants, the Internal Revenue Service, physical therapists, cleaners, pharmacists, etc. They are all very kindly people, except perhaps for those involved in vagaries of the cable industry, but it does not change the altogether gray profile of this sort of activity. Need more fun. And not just wholesome natural fun.

If you are wondering why this is legible, it is because I went through and pasted a space in between each word. This activity is not contributing to my fun level either, in fact rather the opposite. Try it. You will see.

One bit of good news? I have hagelslag, milk & dark. Lucky little Dutch girl.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008




Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rode in my first hybrid cab yesterday. It rocked. Supercool. If I were a cab driver I'd try to invest in one for sure.

Drooling, stuttering with lust: The Chicagoan. Surf the sample pages at your own peril...the color, the design, the graphic quality. [Ta MA for link.]

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Okay, this is gonna be one idiotic list. Full of bathos. But as usual...semper blogelis. Smyblog.

1. I can never exit the Kennedy at Ohio without thinking about Mal*chi Ritscher. That spot is haunted, as sure as sure. Has a haint.

2. Dick's Last Res*rt is closing. The good times are over? Where will bachelorette parties from Schaumburg go? With paper condoms on their heads?

3. Surprisingly super-good: vegetarian bulgogi from Mana Food Bar on Division. That marinade would be good on a cardboard box, but still, yum.

4. Shiny things I'm enamored with right now: Lustreware, especially Czech/Bavarian and Japanese, only the solid (non-patterned) kind bordered with black; guilloche enamel--big solid colors; antique Georg Jensen and Christofle flatware; hotel silver; railroad and ship china/silver; Aaron Basha shoes; semi-precious cocktail rings; Tiffany Paloma Sugar Stacks; mirrored furniture...anything. Sparkly!!! Je suis en racoon. Also traditional brightly colored stuff like Fiestaware and colored bakelite. Colors, sparkle.

5. From today's Times: 100K people on just a regular campaign stump in St. Louis to see Obama yesterday. Amazing.

6. This is kinda Jerry's Kids, bringing it up here/like this, not to mention burying a lead, not to mention I'm not givin the topic enough room, but I have lipo-lymphedema, and I feel like being halfway public about this, as it is a condition that affects my every day life tremendously, down to the way I never stop getting hippier, to the pain when I walk. More at some point, but, whatever, I'm just throwin it in for the moment.

7. If J*mes Cameron doesn't just give that broke 96yo Titanic survivor a fistful of residuals I will lose all respect for him.

8. One reason I love my Skip: I discovered recently we both had issues with Cook's Illustrated's recommendation involving vanilla extract. Only she actually wrote them a letter, bless her.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

You know, I'm taking my temperature here, but I have absolutely nothing to say about M*dge and Guy breaking up. There was, of course, an initial gasp-with-paw-to-chest that necessitated an email to my friend Fred, but now I feel very meh. What does that mean? Oh wait, it means nothing, doesn't it. Eh, I dunno. All I can say is that this news FITS with this world of chaos we are living in. And it will be interesting to see her enter her Tom Hayden phase--I'm assuming that's where she is on the Jane Fonda timeline.

In the meantime I give you Madeline Kahn choosing participants for the orgy. :45-1:25 shoulda been enough to get that woman an Oscar, yo. Happy happy joy joy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

St. Apollonia is the patron saint of dentistry and dental work. If you have a moment, cast a few sou or some obeisance in her direction today. I myself will be leaving an offering of Glide dental floss (won't get stuck!), Stim-u-dents (mint-flavored!) and some valiums. Oh, and piles and piles of cash.

Monday, October 13, 2008

more receets

Creamed Chicken...Backwards*!
with a bonus sidecar recipe**

I kinda thought this one up--made it--in stages as laziness, defrosting times and annoying kitchen temperatures permitted.

1. Cook an entire bag of Lundberg's Countrywild Brown Rice (about 2-1/2 c. dry) in appropriate amount of chicken stock, thinned with a lil water if necc, plus salt and a little butter. (Lundberg's rices are so delish--this blend is long grain brown, Wehani and Black Japonica). About halfway through the 50 min cooking time add an additional 2-1/4 c. chicken stock. 12 minutes before cooking time is over stir in a cup of uncooked quinoa. Let it stand when finished; fluff.

Now you have rice for days, which is good because sometimes that 50 minutes is a very long time, but still...that's a lot of rice. *Let's think up something to put on it. Many many portions of it. I know, that chicken in the freezer. Here we go.

2. Poach five big chicken breast halves in 1 quart chicken stock, 1/2 a bottle of white wine, some apple cider vinegar if the wine's too sweet, an entire head of garlic (depapered, whole cloves, say 10-12), whole coriander seeds, bay leaves, peppercorns (if you can get them out of the mill). Doesn't take too long. Remove chicken to chill, strain poaching liquid into another container, adding back the garlic cloves. Let everything chill overnight cause yer sick of chicken.

3. Pick over and then shred the chicken breast halves (I find it good to watch TV or listen to the radio during this part...so boring). In a separate cup, make up a quick mini "marinade": a big spoon of grainy mustard, a little maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, soy, a little balsamic, lots of salt and pepper, and I added a squeeze of this funny pomegranate glaze I have. Stir it to mix, then stir it into the plain poached chicken, mixing well, letting it soak up the flavors a lil.

4. Pour the reserved poaching liquid--the wine and stock--into a pan and heat to a boil. Add a cold cornstarch slurry (say 2-3 T.) and let it start thickening up, whisking hard. Then **add all but about one portion of the shredded, marinaded chicken. Stir, and let cook and continue thickening for 10-15 minutes.

Then it's done! When the heat came off I felt the urge to suddenly add sage and oregano, so I did.

5. Oh yeah, there's no cream in this creamed chicken, that's how I roll. I bet it'd rock though. As would (I keep thinking) some easy-melting Italian cheese like fontina or asiago in some fashion, or all kindsa herbs and obviously you could stretch the whole thing much further with some complementary vegetables like asparagus tips, mushrooms, carrots, thin beans...it doesn't seem like it'd much enjoy sharing room with stolid parsnips and things. I like my dish pretty severely plain, though, and my vegetables in a separatist, usually uncooked fashion. So his recipe is kind of a base. And the plan is to have this on my fabulous brown rice for many moons, freezing enough that I don't get horribly sick of it before it's gone.

**So you have this extra, poached, and over-seasoned chicken. That is, in case it wasn't clear, the "marinade" is a little too strong on a bite by bite basis, but in the creamed chicken it becomes diluted in the somewhat bland poaching liquid and everything seasons up right. Using the same principle, add some mayonnaise to the reserved chicken, let the flavors marry for a moment or two, and you have amazing chicken salad--great (as I had it) on Brownberry 7-Grain bread with sprinklings of leftover but good freezer cheese (Havarti, cheddar). Would also rock with apples, almonds, grapes, celery...