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.