Monday, November 30, 2009

If Ya CAN Walk, Ya OUGHTTA walk

The blog I really wanted to write after Thanksgiving was about my cousin... we'll call her Ruthie....

It's going to be hard to disguise her, because I don't have very many cousins in wheelchairs... and that's the problem.

What? I have a problem with wheelchairs? Is this the part where I'm about to deride the disabled?

Of course not. Because she is not disabled. Sure, she's old. And she probably doesn't feel that great. But there is nothing medically wrong with her, beyond the garden-variety stuff that goes with getting older than you probably meant to. It is unfortunate, but it happens.

I am not usually so vicious, but the woman is exhausting my poor Mother (calling her every hour of the day and night "can you run here?" "can you run there?" "get me this," yammer yammer yammer). I'm sorry, but I just can't have that. My hands are full with four parents, we can NOT take in another stray to raise.

But Mom moved heaven and earth to make sure Ruthie got to Thanksgiving Dinner -- several trips and changing into a car that would accommodate the wheelchair, and so on.

After we'd all eaten, Mom disappeared with her oxygen trolley and her minions to her little Santa Shed so she could get all the stuff unloaded for her Santa Brunch-Bazaar while she had the benefit of free manpower. Everybody grumbled -- some good-naturedly, and some not-so-much (and I took notes as to which were which), but they all helped out.

No sooner had Mom disappeared than Ruthie immediately started whining that she wanted to go home. And I would've been glad to take her. But I don't know how to break down the wheelchair and open it back up. In a real emergency, I could maybe figure that sort of thing out. But this wasn't an emergency, especially since she doesn't even need a wheelchair. She can walk. She just refuses to. She is not paralyzed. Nothing is broken. She just got old and she got tired, so she sat down in that damned chair and refused to get back out of it.

And that pisses me off.

But my head didn't actually start to spin around on my neck until she asked, "do you think your stepdad would care to run me home?"

Let's see. He's in his eighth week of chemo and radiation. Most of the time he's too weak to stand, but he won't even use a cane in front of anybody. (He lost it a couple weeks ago, and I suspect it was on purpose.) He dragged himself off the sofa just long enough to sit up for Thanksgiving Dinner, and I didn't really think he was able to "run" anywhere. But this was one of those rare, rare moments when he actually heard what was being said, and before I knew it, or could stop them, they were gone.

When he got back a half hour later, Mom asked what had taken him so long. It turned out there's a little doorjam outside her building that he couldn't push the wheelchair over. He said he asked her, "could you stand up for a second so I can push this over the sill..." and she said... "Nope."

And I think that is the moment where my head exploded. I told him he shoulda left her there; tossed her a blanket; and said "Ya might need this. S'posed to snow!"

Everyone looked at me absolutely aghast. But I don't care. I meant it. And frankly, I'm already underwhelmed with the whole LOT of 'em as far as how they've stepped up when it comes to my folks (who always seem to be the ones practicing all the Christian charity, but never ending up on the receiving end of any). Yeah, yeah. I know they're all real busy praying bout The Cancer and all -- how bout ya bring my parents a bucket o' chicken once in awhile, while you're doing all that prayin'.

As for how Ruthie spends Christmas. I am more than willing to go visit her in The Home, if she will finally move into one. I am sorry, but it's what we call triage Bitch.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mah Gays

" ...It's in a substore around the corner like the gays during the Reagan era."

--the answer I got from one of my FoodGays, when I asked how he was able to buy wine at Kroger Reserve (his name for the Woodford County Kroger; unlike Atlanta's MurderKroger, we can't buy wine at our Krogers yet, until the petition passes that says we can)

You won't typically see me referring to Mah Gays by name here on the blog, or in the column, or on facebook -- unless it's with their express permission (and that's actually true of most folks I know socially -- straight, gay, or indifferent -- unless I'm linking to their blogs or something, where they've probably ID'd themselves. I have plenty cousins who don't speak to me from things I wrote in the 80s, so I try to be respectful of anonymity.)

As far as I know, every one of my Gays is out, out, out.... but not everybody's gays are. Some of my girlfriends have Gays who are conditionally out... but just not at work... or out...but only at work... or out, to everybody but their family members, or out, to everybody but their office. In every case, I call them the Lance-Bass-kidding-themselves-Gays if they think anybody has ever believed they were In, but that is most assuredly not my call. I don't want to inadvertently blow somebody's cover to their boss or their granny or their congregation on my facebook wall.

(Some people find Facebook overbearing in specifying marital status and whether or not you're interested in men or women -- I think it doesn't go far enough. I want to know: gay? straight? married? rich? poor-but-genteel? white trash? married-but-separated? married-but-slippin-it-to-the-secretary? married-to-a-woman, but-interested-in-men-under-30-with-6paks. Get it all out there and save everybody some time.)

Mah Gays loosely fall into three categories: Power Gays (my longtime gay husband is a Power Gay, but he wasn't openly one in college, so I'm definitely not the one in charge of which frat brothers know what); Food Gays (who may also be cross-classified as Power Gays); and Junior Gays (20-something gays who are working their way up). My Fashion Gay, for example, is a Junior Gay, but his destiny is as a Power Gay.

At a wonderfully elaborate dinner a few weeks ago, I sat across the table from my gay husband and hishusband (my husband-in-law), next to my new friend Amy, and she gasped audibly when I said something about only wishing the FoodGays could be there. We looked around to see if something had perhaps stung her, and she explained, "I didn't know you could say that." Our collective answer was, "didn't know you could say what...Food...?" She explained she'd been told that sort of reference was pejorative and homophobic. That was met with a collective Siiiiiigh... cause it made us all... saaaaaaad. There are no homophobes in our social circle that we know of (if there were, we probably would out them... and force them to watch Tim Gunn on a loop.)

Her reaction gave me a moment's pause though, as one of my Food Gays, ChefT, had just said something on facebook recently about his leg injury and whether or not he'd make it to Church the next day on crutches or a cane. I immediately smarted off on his wall something to the effect of... Oh relax... that nobody was expecting him to kneel on that injury ...except maybe  [insert name of his life partner here].

I had already taken "my Ambien" for the night (that's what my Mom started calling it and now it's never "an Ambien" or just "Ambien," it's My Ambien, or Mah Ambien, to more accurately reflect my accent).

But I did worry -- even through the pharmaceutical haze -- that maybe I'd said something... inappropriate, at best, or at least not for public consumption. Then the Life Partner posted a very jovial comment right underneath mine, along the lines of "...and that Ladies and Gentleman, is why ace has 5000 facebook friends."

Then I told them both they had to learn to Play Hurt. (They're FoodGays-who-also-watch-Football, so I knew that reference was appropriate.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

NaBloPoMo: Defying Categorization, or "I think I'm doing it wrong."

So, NaBlows is winding down in the next couple days, and I've kept up with the task pretty well -- which is to post daily -- but I can't help but think I'm doing it wrong.

Visit NaBloPoMo

I guess I thought it would be more like "Facebook for Bloggers." Like there would be this highly-searchable "community" where I could find all these great new blogs to follow -- maybe see who else was doing it from my city? Or state? So far, I only know about my friend Ali and my friend Mick, but that doesn't count. I already know them in-real-life, and I was already following both their blogs. Though I am glad they're posting every day.

I clicked on Groups, and I literally could not find ONE that fit, at all. I do see a lot of blog-advice, most of which tells you to find a niche of expertise and then be useful in that niche. But I don't have a niche. I love food; I write about it; I talk about it; I garden and cook; I'm pretty damn devoted -- but I'm not a food blogger. I know a lot about big dogs, but I'm not a dog blogger. I work in Media, old and new, but I'm not a Media Blogger.

This is a sampling of the Groups I found, just to further reinforce how badly I didn't fit, in a Universe where there is clearly something for everyone (and I do mean, everyone):
  •  video bloggers
  •  library bloggers
  • Indiana bloggers
  • diabetic bloggers
  • self-portrait bloggers
  • Scottish bloggers
  • artist mamas
  • parenting
  • on a diet
  • string players
  • bloggers in Los Angeles (same number as string players in group: 14)
  • music bloggers
  • getting boys to read books (two members)
  • breastfeeding and mothering (81 members)
  • Florida/NewEngland/Northern California/Georgia/Pennsylvania bloggers
  • EpiscopoBloggers (for Episcopal/Anglican bloggers)
  • Christian moms
  • work at home moms
  • Bloggers who love stale peeps (17 members -- so they outnumber the string players)
  • Queer Canada Blogs! (that's their exclamation point)
  • the Dead Dads Club (presumably misspelled as Dead Dad's Club; assume it doesn't belong to one dead dad)
  • scrapbooking
  • friendly and fun Christian bloggers 
  • Suzuki Moms Unite! (again: their exclamation point; again, I don't know what a Suzuki mom is) 
  • quilting bloggers
  • Beagles Rule! (again: their exclamation point; I had a Beagle as a child, and she was pretty great; she was afraid of rabbits. OK. That's all I have on Beagles.)
  • horse lovers
  • bloggers with ADD/ADHD (can't just have it; you gotta blog it...only two members...which begs the question...)
  • Lady Gay
  • A Fine Wine (not for wine bloggers; it's for "moms of tweens and teens"... who probably... need wine?)
  • que sara sarah ("join only if your name is Sara or Sarah" -- 27 members)
  • the Circle of Jens (if you're named Jen, Jennie, get the idea)
  • fat bloggers (their word, not mine; I don't believe in that word)
  • babywearing bloggers (there's a photo that's pretty self-explanatory)
  • Bloggers with pet rats

I even looked to see if there was anything on funnelcakes (that list is pretty damn specific) but there wasn't. There was one on corn dogs... but my heart just wouldn't be in it.

I Skyped (um, excuse me)

Bob Stone once told bunch of us grad students how he loved to watch badly-dubbed/subtitled movies in hotel rooms, because it always seemed like the person doing the translating had no idea what the movie was about. His favorite was some movie that depicted this scene of absolute debauchery and bacchanalia -- half-naked women; men gnawing on giant shanks of mutton and drinking tankards of ale -- while the subtitle underneath read: "I can't recall when I've passed a more pleasant evening."

Whenever I see people Skype on Tha T.V., I think of that story.

I hate to be one of those people who's irritated by stuff I don't understand -- all I know is that Oprah does it all the time, and it always looks cheap and annoying (kinda like a lot of her guests). Everyone stares off into space so it makes them look slow-witted (at best), and the connection is always disastrous -- like the very early days of cellphones where everyone sounded like they were in a tunnel (a tunnel that was under an armed invasion). And the voice synching is so far off it's worse than a dubbed martial arts movie crossed with a Beyonce "live" track.

Oprah also brands it so damn heavily you'd think she has stock in it or something ("Skyping in from the set of Grumpy Old Coots is JOHN TRAAAAA.VOOOOOOO.L.TAAAA.") That's just cheap. Geez, spring for airfare already Oprah. Somebody on a computer screen or tv is not your "guest" -- if that was the case, Sam Shepard would be my frequent "guest."

I finally Skyped yesterday. I'd been resisting it. My webcam in fact has a pink post-it note pasted over it, just in case I manage to skype accidentally. But, mah BFF is spending the week in Siberia (she really is, literally, in Siberia -- that isn't an expression -- which is what we all initially thought when she told us she was going there to deliver a new media talk on Thanksgiving). The trip is the coolest thing ever, but you know, I worry and Skype, as it turns out, is a great check-in.

As with most things in real life, it's NOTHING like it is on Oprah. Sure, the connections are off, and the video's kinda grainy, but overall, it's all kinda Jetsonian. I always figured we'd be zipping around in hovercrafts by now, so if we're not gonna get that, the least we should be able to do is talk to someone in Siberia onscreen -- which is technically, THE FUTURE, cause it's like 14 hours ahead of us.

I'm hoping she'll go there again for SuperBowl and we can make a fortune when she tells me how it all turns out....From the Future.

Sister Catherine Regina Cut the Bells Off My Go-Go Boots

It's hard to imagine that I ever got an entire column outta Sister Catherine Regina cutting the bells off my go-go boots, because really: the whole story is right there in the headline. Everyone wonders why I hate the holidays? My grandmother threaded jingle bells through the toes of those go-go boots, and when Sister cut them off, I had to try to re-lace the boots at Recess, from toe to knee. Aaaaaaand I didn't know how to tie my own shoes. I also didn't yet know how to tell time, so I can't even tell you how long it took.

Everyone I know seems to recall their early childhood years as Prodigies -- let me tell you right now, I wasn't one. I couldn't even tell my right from left till... well, fairly recently. I only know of three exceptions: I was potty-trained at one -- about 5 seconds after I took my first step, according to my mother.  I also spoke verrrrry early (surprising precisely no one), and my first word was: Book. My grandmother handed me one, and then I reportedly shut up for awhile. Til I learned how to read, a short time after, and then I suppose I figured I had something to contribute to the discourse.)

In addition to the unfortunate go-go boot episode, Sister also taped Kathy With a K's mouth shut (cause she talked too much), and in a fairly prescient move, tied Cathy with a C's knees together with a jump rope (it was cause she wouldn't sit like a lady, but, in retrospect....) As you can see from my Basic Instinct moment in this photo -- I'm the backlit blonde -- that punishment might've better benefited me. (I wasn't allowed to wear dresses or skirts on picture day after that.)

Still, the next pic is Sister Catherine Regina reading the Little House series to us -- a good jump on Book Club. Again, I'm the blonde in the middle -- and that ethereal glow isn't my Holy Light from within, it's just the flash. As I flip through the rest of that yearbook, I notice things like "Class hosts an Indian meal" (tandoori, not maize) and "Latin students build model of Rome" and "Ana and Isabel re-join their old schoolmate Carmen from Spain." I can see that every page is filled with a mix of unpronouncable names and kids of every color from every country (a remarkable thing in 60s era Appalachia). I remember my Dad taking one of my classes on a hay ride and commenting on how excited he was for those hills to hear so many different languages for the first time in their history.

Bake sales were always my favorite day (not surprisingly) and the inscription on that photo from Sister Agnes Marian says, "I wish I could serve you Cake everyday." That's my blonde head on the left, leaning over the pastries. (The more things change...)

Our parish and our school was largely populated by a big group of smart and progressive thinkers. Evolution was taught in every science class (no one ever mentioned "creationism" -- if a kid happened to ask about the 7 days, a nun would usually ask them to "define metaphor"). The Old Testament literalism was respectfully explained in terms of Levitican and Kashrud law, and new testament charity was practiced every day -- feeding the hungry, visiting the sick -- they hauled us out on the street and put our asses to work.

Those nuns are the reason you will never hear me say, "oh, I consider myself Spiritual, not Religious," (that and the fact that it's the easiest way you'll ever find to rule out a prospective date based on how pretentious he is). Yeah, yeah, terrible things are done in the name of religion. Terrible things are done in the name of Pie too, grow up.

It was 12 good years -- no scandals, and no tragedies, beyond the occasional unexpected car wreck fatality. The very worst thing that happened to me was Sister Catherine Regina cutting the bells off my go-go boots.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Michael Chabon writes last column for Details Magazine

Michael Chabon has written his last column for Details Magazine.

There are far sexier pictures of him at Esquire, and at (not making this up) Jew of the Day and  (where I got very distracted by the kosher goodies they're reviewing for the holidays, especially these Bequet Caramels with sea salt), but I have no idea how liberally they do or don't share photos. So, what was I saying?

He also writes about pie (not for a living, just incidental to whatever else he happens to be writing). He talks about pie. At readings, he'll tell the audience "Put me in a building with pie, and I will find it." The New York Times also has a sexy Chabon pic and equally sexy pie narrative.  (As much as I would like to pass off pie-for-breakfast as a once-a-year post Thanksgiving treat, c'mon, who're we kidding?)

I only explain his bona fides in such detail because even though I think of him (and other Pulitzer-Prize winners) as household names, sometimes his name still gets a blank stare when I bring it up — which is pretty often. In fact, the best conversation I ever had about Michael Chabon was over a game of pool with Chris Offutt's (then-) 12-year-old son, Sam — who was fully versed in his work, though I don't remember how it came up. I think I'd mentioned Wonder Boys. (And I wasn't really shooting pool; I was just watching Sam while we waited for his Dad to finish a reading.)

It was only because of the holiday at all that I had enough time to catch up on some pie and the October issue of Details (which I always steal at my hair appointments, with the specific goal of reading Michael Chabon — though it isn't really stealing; I always say I'm taking it). The title "Curtain Call," clued me in that he was finishing up.

I didn't even realize til today that The New York Times had posted an excerpt of his latest non-fiction last summer, Manhood for Amateurs, which is about as close as you'll get to the real thing online. Details has no search engine to speak of. Chabon took down his own site awhile back, and he most definitely doesn't blog and tweet. (Though his wife does, and I follow her, but that's really an entirely separate blog.) He asks a beautiful question at the end of the excerpt that I find myself wanting to share with all the helicopter hyper-parenters I know (and I know a lot of them):
"Art is a form of exploration, of sailing off into the unknown alone, heading for those unmarked places on the map. If children are not permitted—not taught—to be adventurers and explorers as children, what will become of the world of adventure, of stories, of literature itself?"

In the Details finale, he writes about the fact that his column, which he intended to focus on pop-culture failures, ended up instead ended up wrapped around his own own. He reflects on his first piece (which I remember well), describing his columnist-self as the "adult incarnation" of the 10-year old kid he'd been — trying and failing to start a comic-book club "sitting in a big, empty room behind a stack of newsletters" he had "painstakingly typed and photocopied, hoping," as he had "hoped in embarking on this monthly column, that somebody would show up." When he was 10, no one did. After 48 months at Details, with his "little newsletter of the Failure Club," he said "the results have at times seemed hauntingly and reassuringly familiar."

Not that the column wasn't successful (though it probably would've been moreso at say, Esquire... where they have searchable archives for Chrissake, and a slightly richer literary tradition) — just that over the course of four years, he said he listened "faithfully, for an echo that, in spite of Details' millions of readers, only rarely came."

Presumptuously, I just think he actually didn't listen that intently. Once something of an online pioneer, he took down his website when it got beyond the point where he had the time or interest to maintain it himself. His wife seems to embrace new media, but he doesn't. And that's fine (of course it's fine — he has the Pulitzer to prove it). It's just that that is where most of the listening happens these days. A ten-year old kid starting a comic-book club in Columbia, Maryland today would probably just (for better or worse) do it via facebook, or twitter, or a blog. And for better or worse, people would show up.

I'm glad now that I saved his August 2008 column "Teacher's Pet." Old-school. Ripped out of the magazine and tucked into my nightstand. It's more or less the obituary he wrote for Oakley Hall, the founding director of UC Irvine's MFA program in creative writing. Hall was the precursor of forefathers like Wallace Stegner and you can't get through the line at Starbucks in this town without tripping over a Stegner fellow.

Hall was the personification of the old Flannery O'Connor saying about young writers (asked if the Universities were stifling too many of them, O'Connor's response was that they weren't stifling enough).

Hall's response to a young-Chabon's draft of what would later become The Mysteries of Pittsburgh was "I just stopped giving a damn, Michael, because there is no story."

Chabon had a lot of understandable reactions, but his gut went with the correct one: "How could I have forgotten to tell a goddam story?"

What Hall taught him is something everyone who "fancies themselves a writer" has to learn, whether it's from a real professor in a real classroom, or through a more contemporary forum:
"I had come up against the hazard that awaits all writers — and at one time or another this includes most of us — who attempt to draw on their own experience as the basis for a work of fiction: Life is not a story, or at any rate, not a very good story. It has a beginning and an end, but they're always exactly the same. Mostly lives are just a whole bunch of middle, and really boring middle at that. You need to edit your life."

That process doesn't always happen enough in the great equalizing landscape of new media, where everybody suddenly has a microphone (and a blog, and a twitter, and fans on facebook) -- though a Pulitzer is still a pretty decent empirical yardstick. Still, and again: it is where the listening happens.

So I was sad when I got to that last line of Chabon's October column: "If you have been there, on the other end of the chasm, reading these words, hello. And good-bye."

I'm admittedly not the Details magazine demographic, but I have a feeling that chasm might've gotten uncomfortably narrow if they'd had the sense to actually run a photo of Michael Chabon alongside that Michael Chabon column for the past four years.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Coming Soon Museum

At the end of a long holiday, I always find myself remembering that exact moment in the movie Parenthood where Steve Martin is headed off to coach a game after he's found out an unexpected baby's on the way and Mary Steenburgen says: "oh Gil, do you have to?" And his response is, "My. Whole. Life. Is. Have. To."

It's a ridiculous comparison of course. In that movie, everyone is juggling raising kids, and elderly parents, and grandparents, and multiple unintended pregnancies, and Keanu Reeves as a baby daddy. I only have parents -- whom I love dearly -- all four of em. They're not a burden, they're a pleasure to spend time with. It's just the Holidays I hate. Detest, in fact. The way I see it is this: I had a rare day off work; and there was a Closer marathon on TNT; and, because of Thanksgiving, I didn't get to watch it. I work hard. I'm tired. Sometimes, I just want to lie down. Also, because I'm the best equipped hostess in the family -- by a long shot -- I wish they'd all come HERE. (And then I could watch The Closer, AND cook a four-star dinner...AND play music IIIII like, and not stooooopid Christmas tunes.)

The first glitch of the day was on arrival at the buffet table: WHAT? No fuckin' deviled eggs?! That is an implicit contract in all holiday meals centered in a clerical setting of any kind: there must be deviled eggs. As I told the priest when he asked what was wrong, "think the wheels are comin' off the cart here, Padre."

The second glitch is my own fault. I forgot my hometown is a Pepsi town. They probably have Coke products somewhere, but nobody serves them. I usually think ahead and sherpa my own preferred beverages in, I just forgot this time.

The upside is, this being an Episcopalian extended-family, they do make alternative libations available.

The downside of Episcopalians: they don't seem to calculate for volume the same way the Baptists do --- every year, they run out of turkey. (If it's Christmas or Easter, they run out of ham.) Someone assigned to bring "sweet potatoes for 20" might bring...A Sweet Potato.

And they've fallen prey to the same fate that has befallen most organized religion: the new conviction that it is ok to bring store-bought food to community dinners. It isn't. It never will be. Growing up, every grandmother and mother had a signature dish, and was expected to bring it. My grandmother, Nell, and my Aunt Helen's mother, Lucy, had decades of dueling dumplings. This was only resolved -- to some degree -- when my Aunt Helen married my Uncle Don, thereby uniting the two clans....and more importantly, the dumplings. By then, Lucy had died, but her legacy is preserved in the title, used by both sides of the family: Lucy-Dumplins.

The Thanksgiving meal was about 50/50, which is a fairly good average --- several store-bought desserts, various breads from various bakeries (this is acceptable); and the rest was mostly the standard fare of broccoli casserole, green bean casserole, creamed corn, etc. Once I realized there were no fuckin' deviled eggs, I went foraging and was somewhat mollified to find: chicken 'n dumplins and cheese grits, and I quickly sat down with the tranny who brought them and made fast friends -- s/he sent me home with leftovers -- God love 'im/or/'er.

These are a couple pics I snapped across from the Church. I can't wait to see what's up at The Coming Soon Museum .

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Martha Stewart says: Dispatch the Cock.

"...Seconds later, Martha Stewart regains her composure, flashing the subtly supercilious grin that has helped her conquer the American bourgeoisie...To anyone that knows her work, the news that Martha Stewart is a domineering control freak will hardly come as a surprise -- control, after all, is what Stewart sells."
--Spy Magazine, July/August 1996

I am an out-of-the-closet Martha Stewart viewer for too many reasons to count (a long way from the days of my "Is Martha Stewart Living?" column). I love her cooking segments (of course they're derivative, as Spy Magazine charged in 1996; that's kinda the point); I love her imperiousness; I love her for returning from prison to grind her enemies' noses into the dirt. I love it when she gets all visibly uncomfortable with the huddled KMart Masses who built her empire and seeks refuge at Macy's. I love her inability to conceal her contempt of has-been food "personalities" like Emeril, which she barely bothers to disguise, because he is (at the moment) making her money. (I still think buying him was a bad business decision shoved down her throat by her irritating Chairman Charles Koppelman).

That being said,  I've gotten behind this season since she switched stations in this market and they exiled her over to a cable number, and I keep forgetting she's on. I usually don't watch the holiday shows anyway (I hate crafting), but I TiVo'd yesterday's episode because TooMuchSexy Thomas Keller was on. I had just read the new Esquire feature from Ryan D'Agostino who cooked from Ad Hoc the night Thomas Keller came to dinner and it's added considerably to my already-rich library of fantasies, culinary and ...otherwise. Keller told Martha he's never spatchcocked. He made leek bread pudding instead. But here is a very old Esquire link to a Thomas Keller Thanksgiving. It involves mayonnaise [my personal kryptonite], but Keller would never steer you wrong. He also showed Martha some of his "lightbulb moments," like how to spank a pomegranate (thank you, Chef...speaking of fantasy: otherwise).

But she kicked off the first segment by showing Meet the Press's David Gregory how to spatchcock a turkey:
"Now, you know what it is to spatchcock a piece of information, right? To interpose something unexpected? That's called spatchcocking...It's an 18th century term. It's said to be Irish in origin. The theory is that the word is an abbreviation of 'dispatch the cock... a Bird. You can say's a word. [Not one giggle or titter. The audience has clearly been briefed.] It's a way of grilling a bird after you split it open, down the back, spread the wings, spread the legs, and put it in a rather compromising position."

The butchered product almost puts one in mind of her spineless husband Andy who left her for her 20-years-younger assistant. (Or, as Spy Magazine put it: "not to be confused with the famously well-hung Police guitarist of the same name.")

I love Spy almost as much as I love Martha, but their big 1996 beef with her seemed to be that she didn't actually do all the legwork she chronicled in her magazine and on her show:
"Without her downtrodden legion of assistants, people are beginning to realize, Martha Stewart would probably be as helpless around the home as the rest of us -- just a lot less fun to be with... 'She goes on TV and says, 'I found this,' when actually someone on her staff of 50 found it,' says a former Living employee."  [emphasis added]
Seriously? I don't think we're supposed to take "hands-on television" quite so literally. If Martha isn't out personally plowing the back-forty before breakfast, it's ok by me. Oprah hired a dog nanny to raise her puppies and nobody bitched (pardon the pun). Does anybody think she's hanging out in the greenroom backstage passing out the Gatorade? Oprah ended up in a lawsuit over her stupid "aHa moment" catchphrase. My Wildest Dream? Here's a hint: it is NOT a Pontiac. (You get a car! You get a car! Oh Please. You get a Commercial! YOU get a commercial! How's GM doing now, by the way?) I can't stand Oprah. I find her smug -- the very personification of Condescension masquerading as Warmth. Martha doesn't bother to fake it. I can get behind that. As Spy put it, "If you respect Martha Stewart, respect her because she knows there's a sucker born every minute. Don't respect her because you're one of them." That's A Good Thing. If Control is what she's selling, I'm buying, and it's a bull market.

I'm not cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year, but I don't want any readers to feel suckered out of a Thanksgiving column. The guys over at The Bitten Word have posted their rendition of Martha's spatchcocking, along with this helpful video:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

TooMuchSexy SamShepard will be on The TV!

Variety reported last week that TooMuchSexy Sam Shepard is coming to The Television!

"Playwright-thesp Sam Shepard has been tapped to star in "Tough Trade," the first original drama pilot set for the fledgling Epix feevee channel. Production on the pilot is set to begin in Nashville on Dec. 3. Show revolves around a sprawling family in the country music biz. Shepard will play the patriarch of the Tucker clan. Pilot was penned for Lionsgate TV by Chris Offutt..."
I got the news from Chris Offutt on Facebook. I watched a whole season of True Blood just because he was working on it (I want no part of the vampire trend). I was thrilled when he moved to Weeds this past season. But this is the BEST NEWS YET.

I don't know what a "feevee" is, and I'm pretty sure I don't even get "Epix" (unless it's part of that ESPN package that I signed up for only because they're bundled with all the FineLiving channels, which I only got to be able to see Dwell Magazine on tv). If it requires a port to be installed in my forehead for viewing, fine by me.

If Epix is going to make shows with Sam Shepard and Chris Offutt, I'll spearhead a campaign that'll have "SaveChuck" blushing with schoolgirl envy. (I've never even seen "Chuck," but I pitched in to help save it, so I figure those folks owe me.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Blog-a-Versary

I missed my Blog-A-Versary by one day because I couldn't log on with anything except the BlackBerry and I couldn't be sure of the date.

It was a year ago yesterday that I posted my very first blog --- roughly 10 years after the trend had already come and gone.

I was late to the party (much like with email, which I promptly proclaimed "a fad"), but I've tried to make up for it this month with NaBlows ( which requires you to post every day (though I don't think it's enforced or anything).

My first post was just a quote from 30 Rock. My second post was about my Thanksgiving stuffing (which turned out to be a failure, by the way, in the spirit of full disclosure).

For the first six months or so, I didn't know how to load a photo. Somebody did that for me.

For the first ten months or so, I couldn't make the links light up as clickable when I posted those.

And I only found a template that's relatively usable about a month ago --- though Intern is supposed to customize it and change the banner at the top to get rid of that wretched green. He is also supposed to take PDFs of the print column and make those linkable to the blog versions (which are often rough drafts of what ends up in print).

It's a process. I've still got the training wheels on, but I sure do appreciate everyone who reads -- and helps out -- along the way.

The Pank is Back

Two housecalls later, the Pank is back up and running. It wasn't the machine (as I cleverly deduced by taking it to the office with me and seeing if it worked there -- and it did). It was, I think what you kids today, call "The Wi Fi."

I was only able to talk myself into the netbook at all after the best computer store in the world opened up in my neighborhood -- instilling confidence that I could keep the thing up and running. (Everyone who has a computer is basically like everyone who has a Jag -- they spend all their time in the shop.) They set the thing up, and the Owner  has now ridden to the rescue twice when I flashed the pink Barbie head distress signal into the sky over the DiscoKroger. Luckily, the solution involved some really high-tech shit.

I woulda been so embarrassed if he had taken one look at the thing and said, "the ON button is right HERE." Instead, it basically involved repairing wireless access for the entire neighborhood. (You're welcome, Neighborhood.) And also: I think we launched a space shuttle -- just for fun. One thing I know for sure: if you are lucky enough to know people in life like PowerGeeks and FoodGays, you had BETTER do whatever it takes to stay on their good side.

Timed Out

This is what I hate about allowing a computer into the house: maintenance.

The Pank is fine -- the connections are just off. It is hard to imagine that my MOM lives in a town that has citywide free wi-fi, and here in The Big City, a block from the University, you might as well stand outside with tinfoil on your head to try to get signal.

It does what BlackBerry used to do back in the dark ages (the Pearl was practically the death of me) -- spin, spin, spin -- timed out. It'll connect to the basics, but no Porn.

It's practically Amish.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Behind on NaBlows

I have been pretty religious about the Daily Posting per NaBlows rules, but the Pank's wi-fi access went out yesterday -- when we got it back (thru some seriously hi-tech machinations by JDC), it now just won't load some sites, like blogger -- it times out.

I am crudely fashioning today's post outta some twigs and a margarita-soaked BlackBerry.

It is too bad, because I have some TooMuchSexy SamShepard news to report -- but it'll have to wait til I can post with real links, pics, etc.

I think I am observing the Letter of the NaBlows Law as long as I get a post up.

Friday, November 20, 2009

BlackBerry Margarita

I hate to see the death of a neighborhood/bar restaurant. And I hate it more when it's my neighborhood.

I'm pretty sure we had graveside seats tonight.

Since it changed hands a month or two ago, we've seen it head downhill. Brunch a few weeks ago took 40 minutes to arrive --- and the portions were so skimpy, even I was still hungry and gnawing on garnish at the end of the meal. I'm not a volume eater, and there's no reason for a two-egg omelet to take an hour, even if they were waiting out back for the hens to lay them.

Tonight, the waiter kicked off service by spilling a margarita on my phone. Which, in and of itself, would be ok -- in that accidents happen, of course. But he did not apologize. What he said was, "man, my phone's been through way worse than that and it's fine." Really. I'm sure whatever he bought at the Cricket store for $12.99 . probably could be easily replaced. But mine can't be. And water damage is the one thing they will NOT warranty out. (Although, as one fellow patron observed: "it's not water damage; it's margarita damage.")

I found out later that they had also given away the table our hostess had requested in the bar and stuck us in the more family-friendly dining room which was filled with kids and old people. 

The waiter was rude, clumsy, and incompetent the rest of the evening. He was chewing what might've been a burger when he brought Jason his drink --- and whatever my minimum standards of service might be, if I were working for tips, I would make a point not to arrive at the table with a half-masticated cow in my mouth.

I realize morale is down at this place, but the theoretical pending indictment of their new boss should really not be the problem of the customers unless the feds stage a raid on the place and everyone is somehow inconvenienced by crossfire.

That boss just better hope nobody on the Jury has had this waiter because anyone who has would send the whole lot of 'em to the Chair.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Reviews Are In: Thumbs Down

I had a good time on the Radio this morning. I got to touch some vinyl. I got to listen to everything from Grandpa Jones ("8 more miles to Louisville") to Pavement to Mexican electronica (which I did not even know was a genre, but liked very much). I heard Jenny Toomey's "Unionbusting," which Mick characterized as a breakup song "told in the language of collective bargaining." (If you google Jenny Toomey, my 20-second twitvid of Mick talking about her will probably pop up. Which is kind of a miracle.)

We played "Blank Generation" and told Richard Hell stories (I only had one and it was pretty short). I think he emceed the "5 under 35" National Book Award celebration Monday night -- but the pics haven't turned up online yet. Even with 437 channels, nobody covers the National Book Awards festivities, and for people who are so into words, they sure do suck at Twitter. (Elitists will argue that verbal purists steer clear of Twitter -- to which I say "bullshit." A 140 character limit is a ruthless editor.) Mick and I both wore our pajamas (and I know the origin of that word is hindi, only because Richard Hell says it is). While we were on-air, between us, we had an iPhone, a BlackBerry, a netbook, and two Macs going through the entire show -- yet we both kinda lamented the fact that our plugged-in generation has resulted in a growing lack of appreciation for the truly arcane. There was a time when knowing something about Richard Hell or Jenny Toomey woulda meant something...but with Google, suddenly everybody's a genius, a Renaissance man.

Because we all have equal access to the democracy of blogs, facebook, twitter, etc. we sometimes lose track of each other in real life. For example, I realized today that what I know of Mick's Burning Man trip in an Airstream this summer, I know almost entirely from Mick's blog -- which is marvelous, but there was a day when we all woulda sat down over some cold beverages in somebody's yard and heard all about it. (Or tequila -- which, it turns out, we both have a new fascination with -- and again, I only know about his new fascination with it, cause I read it on his blog. The only way he would know about mine would be if he read this blog.) I didn't even get around to mentioning this all today in real life...but I'll send out a tweet later, and maybe everybody can facebook it. Then hopefully we can all share a glass of Mick's famous Vampire Santa homemade eggnog -- the exclusive swag I got for being on the show during holiday season -- in person. A friend texted in around 8 and said "my only regret is that this is happening too early for me to have a drink while I'm listening." I immediately texted back a pic of this eggnog I was sipping -- with sprinkles of real-hand grated nutmeg (so technology does have its advantages -- mainly to make him green with envy).

We both complained about how the time change doesn't seem to be giving us an extra hour of morning daylight since it was STILL dark when the show started at 7 am which is just ridiculous. (I think it should be daylight savings time all year. We're not an agrarian society anymore. We don't get up and go to bed with the chickens. We need the extra hour AFTER work. AND now that kids don't have to get home early to get the crops in anymore: send em to school 9 to 5. Why do parents have to make themselves crazy figuring out latchkey childcare issues?)

And for better or for worse, I knew I was having a bad day on the radio mostly because my instantaneous reviews at the Montessori were terrible -- just terrible -- this morning. I believe the exact words from my 11-year-old niece were: "not funny at ALL. She was just TALKING." And I know that, cause her Mom texted them to me from the carpool lane. 

Next time, I'll need better material. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Face for Radio

Tomorrow morning, I get to be on the radio with my pal  Mick.

The hardest part of that will be Parking (in the city's ongoing quest to make the Campus entirely and completely inaccessible to the outside world) -- but I have that lined up. I know people. People who know people. People who know people who don't need their parking spaces at 7 a.m.

The second hardest part is refraining from using the Seven Words You Can't Say on the Radio.

Other than that, I LIKE radio. It means I can wear my pajamas. I probably won't though. Cause my parking space is two streets over, and they get funny looks in the crosswalk.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This Ain't No Saveech, Beech!

I couldn't help but think of Top Chef's Saveech-Beech (Jenn) on this season's Top Chef as I sat down to a four star tasting menu featuring  SaltRox. (The gal who's incapable of pronouncing anything she cooks.)

The first course was rock shrimp ceviche and English Cucumber Capellini tossed with fresh mint vinaigrette served on chilled pink salt: paired with muddled cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno, and tequila shot.

Turns out, I am quite a fan of muddling. Who knew?

Our second course was sugar and salt cured salmon with orange reduction with wilted spinach and fresh mango. paired with fresh muddled limes and oranges served on the rocks with Guava Run and topped with soda. After that, the guy to my right observed jovially, "I think I might have to go to the hospital. I have high blood pressure." When we reassured him this is the LOW sodium Himalayan salt, he asked "am I bleeding from my ears yet?" (He was fine.)

By the third course, we had gotten the hang of the salt blox and the salt shotz which is basically: lick it; and/or Rub It.

Dessert was chocolate peanut butter pie with chocolate ganache and salt rox roasted peanut brittle. Paired with a chocolate covered pretzel shot.

The only flaw any of us could find with the three course meal was that it wasn't a five-course meal. You can now follow @SaltRoxLex on Twitter. (Also available on Facebook.) It's one of my official Ace Favorite Things for the Holiday.

Now, tomorrow, we reconvene and play: guess what's in my stomach?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Unfriend is "word of the year" - Seriously?

Facebook and Twitter just exploded with the "news" that the The New Oxford American Dictionary just named "unfriend" its new word of the year.

Which is funny.

Because more people use the word defriend than unfriend.

I remember when "locavore" made the list, because I was tired of explaining the definition to people. But I also remember when "Woot" made the list (?) and I didn't know what it meant. I still wouldn't really be comfortable using it in a sentence.

I still use "defriend," as opposed to "unfriend," and I definitely don't consult Mashable for their version of their idea of the 10 wackiest defriending stories (somebody leaves a workplace for a new job and all their coworkers defriend them on facebook? Really?! Scandal!)

I saw a husband defriend his wife when his wife left him for another woman. And then, she "became a fan" of "Rain," so clearly, he was better off without her.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

First Sunday Without Mad Men

Edward Boches asked today what everyone is doing on Sundays now that Mad Men is over for the season.

I think Sunday Suppers should make a comeback -- dinner with the family, or friends, or both.

I took the opportunity to get in one last grill of the season on the deck of depravity (different from the Front Porch of Freedom) and some frosty margaritas in honor of a 70 degree day in November (or as one guest put it: if this is global warming -- bring it).  It didn't really occur to me until the guests began to arrive that: A. I absolutely do not know how to use the grill, and B. I had never actually made a margarita. I hate to be sexist, but I have always left the menfolk in charge of the barbecue (and actually, in charge of the drinks too, now that I think about it). The first guests were fellow womenfolk and/or vegetarians and/or alcohol-abstainers who were in the same boat.

So I soldiered on. And managed to get the gorgonzola burgers done (without charring them), along with a perfectly acceptable pitcher of margaritas.

I suppose I needed to strike a blow for feminism after posting pictures of Mark Wahlberg's prosthetic penis last night.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Boogie Nights" and "Pirate Radio"

I said I could review Pirate Radio in 140 characters or less and I can: "It Was Long." The movie, that is.

And that got me thinking of another Philip Seymour Hoffman period piece: Boogie Nights. It was also long...both the Movie, and Marky Mark's one Special (prosthetic) thing.

So, both movies are very long; they both involve terrible 60s/70s clothes and haircuts; they both portray an industry under siege from outside forces, including the government; and sex, drugs, rock 'n roll are palpable characters. Both had music supervisors who were able to bring in absolutely unthinkable "gets" from the Rolling Stones on down.

In each movie, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a kind of anchoring role in these two disparate, cobbled-together "families" that these misfits have created for themselves.

In the absence of real hands-on parents, various characters take on those surrogacies. In Boogie Nights it's Julianne Moore and Burt Reynolds. In Pirate Radio, it's Bill Nighy.

So why does Boogie Nights succeed where Pirate Radio fails?

Both are ensembles, but there's no doubt that Mark Wahlberg is driving the Boogie Nights bus. Hoffman is not as strongly crafted a lead in Pirate Radio. The young man who comes aboard the boat is just too slight (and unknown) to be a protagonist.

Boogie Nights makes you care about the peripheral characters beyond just whether or not (or in spite of) them getting laid. Remember Don Cheadle?

Pirate Radio is more like a long episode of say, WKRP in Cincinnati. (Excellent show in its heyday, by the way). Without a wildly successful human drama to hang our hats on, we're just left with the boats. And Rock n Roll. And a little twist of Titanic.

In the end, my review for Pirate Radio is the same as my review for Boogie Nights.

It. Was. Long.

Albeit for different reasons.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Come to Some Bad End

No sooner had I written about my attempts to pare my facebook "friends" down to people I really, actually know (I've been busily de-friending the ones I don't on their birthdays so I can disappear into the crowd unnoticed) -- than I got this alarming status update.

"I've been stood up for the wedding."
 I don't know this girl, but I worried about her all through dinner --- trying to figure out: was she just stood up for a date for a wedding (which is admittedly a bad day), or did she get stood up for her own wedding (as "the" wedding would seem to imply) -- which might (or might not, depending on your point of view) be a real tragedy. (I don't know the guy, but find myself thinking she is probably better off.)

And now if she disappears from my feed, I will assume (like everyone in Nacadoches, if you listen to too much Steve Earle) that she "has come to some bad end."

I once watched a whole marriage dissolve on Facebook -- I didn't know either of the parties. I still had hope that it would all work out, even after I got the news that said "Tom is now listed as Single." I still maintained a shred of optimism when it said "Marie went from Single to 'it's complicated.'" But even I had to give up when Facebook informed me "Marie is now 'in a relationship with Holly.'"

I read somewhere the other day (probably on facebook) that "Social Media is like daytime television for people who went to college."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Towelhead" versus "Taken"

I just watched Towelhead -- because I love Allan Ball, and I usually have a strong stomach for "indie" fare. I think I hated it more than MovieSmackdown did, although his caption conveys the gist.

I try not to over-react to movies -- I just read a DVD review of Taken that went on at some length about how misogynistic it was because (TooMuchSexy) Liam Neeson didn't pause to rescue all the other girls who'd been captured as sex slaves, in his quest to rescue his daughter before she got auctioned off to the highest bidder. Please. Everybody knows he only had something like 92 hours (an increment of time that would only exist in a movie). Plus, his daughter's friend was very irritating, and the whole reason they got abducted in the first place. Clearly, she deserved to die. AND he got in one of the best action-movie lines of last year with "Apologize to your wife for me." (You just have to see it in context.) Taken is by no means Oscar material, but it was obviously not supposed to be. It was, instead, that much rarer phenomenon: a wildly watchable movie released in January.

Towelhead, on the other hand, seemed entirely geared toward, if not an Oscar bid, at the very least, a few Sundances and maybe an Independent Spirit -- the kind of Award you could go pick up without dressing up, or even necessarily bothering to apply deodorant.

Now, I know that the girl who played a 13-year-old wasn't really 13 years old, but she was a kid.  I am over forty, and even I had no business watching this. (You don't either.) It includes teen-on-teen sex; grown-up on teen sex; a dead cat in a freezer; and an unfortunate fascination with adolescent bikini deforestation. Creepy doesn't begin to cover it.

Clearly, it's supposed to be "provocative" and "disturbing," but in reality, it's just "uncomfortable," "painfully awkward" and "vaguely distressing" --much like a tampon commercial in the middle of a ballgame. The one thing it is NOT is "Art."

Now I need a Brill-O pad to scrub it  from my brain... or maybe just some quality time with TooMuchSexy Liam Neeson.

Force of Will

I know that people (who don't know me) assume I'm a confrontational kinda gal who never takes any shit off of anybody.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I'll walk miles outta my way to avoid a fight. In fact, I hate confrontation.

I am well-mannered to a fault. I was raised right: I much prefer to talk about people behind their backs.

But in the interest of fairness, I won't say anything ABOUT anybody that I wouldn't say TO them, and sometimes that doesn't go smoothly. I have to be asked though. I usually won't volunteer a nasty opinion. At least not to your face.

Like when my old slumlord neighbor kept trying and trying and trying to buy my last house. I hated her. Everybody in the neighborhood hated her. I remember her name was Alma (cause that's my aunt's name, and I'm not too crazy about her either). She was destroying the street and my house was becoming the maginot line that divided the would-be-gentrifiers from the white-trash-cattle. But for about nine years, I was tight-lipped polite when I saw her. I wasn't nice. I wasn't friendly. I didn't fake anything. But I was civil. Barely. (And believe me, that was only achieved by sheer force of will.)

After I sold it (to a very nice young professional who's taken lovely care of it), I ran into her out in the yard one day and she asked me if she still had an opportunity to beat his price. So I answered honestly: "I would burn it to the ground and sow the earth with salt first." It was true, but I only said it because I was moving and figured I wouldn't have to see her again. I am rarely that vehement.

There are plenty of people I disagree with politically or socially. And this town is positively full of ex-colleagues...ex-bosses...ex-boyfriends...but as far as I'm concerned, we can mostly all get along like the sheepdog and the wolf in the Warner Bros. cartoon. They may disagree, but they punch the clock ("mornin' Sam" "mornin Ralph") and go about their business. That's the way I prefer it.

There's hardly anybody I actually hate. Hell, I don't even know that many people. I hated that slumlord neighbor though. Luckily, I can really only think of a few people I think of in that way -- folks who've gone outta their way to screw me over and/or cost me money. I socialize carefully, so I don't run across them that often. But when I do, I am not pleasant, and it always seems to shock people who expect that sorta phony faux-"courtesy" that passes for "professionalism"  these days.

Nah. On that, I call bullshit.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Facebook Birthdays

I use birthdays as an occasion to de-friend people I don't know very well on Facebook.

The BlackBerry sends a little reminder that says "Today's Birthdays" (it's probably on the bigscreen version too, but it's not very noticeable) along with a list.

I look at the names and figure: if I don't know this person well enough to wish them a happy birthday (and by that, I mean, celebrate the idea that they were born), then I have no business being "friends" with them.

I also figure that on their birthday, they're getting so many facebook messages from their so-called real friends (most of which just say "happy birthday"), they will never miss me from the lineup if I disappear at that moment.

You can always "hide" the people on facebook that are too chatty, or who try to sell stuff via their status updates (apparently a lot of people use the "hide" feature to ignore relatives they don't want to hear from), but I prefer nice clean breaks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Disco Kroger Buys up the 'Hood

One of my favorite Kroger pics to come along in awhile is this one on the right from Cattleprod in Louisville. Again, it falls into the "oh if I had a nickel for every time...." category.

DiscoKroger has now bought up most of my block so I will be watching them closely in the coming months. (This ice cream wasn't even marked DOWN by the way.)

Atlanta's Disco Kroger completely revitalized a year or so ago.  I'm all for our Disco Kroger evolving and improving, as long as they don't forcibly annex me. I will just be relieved if they don't continue their  long downward slide into  Atlanta's Murder Kroger territory.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Immaculate Lactation

You can't take me anywhere.

I stopped by a lovely art exhibit/cocktail party on the way home from the office tonight and for once I took the advice my Mom gives me every single time she sees me walk out the door, which consists of: "For God's sake, put on some lipstick....and don't you EVER wear a bra?" (That second part sounds like a question, but trust me, it is actually an imperative.)

She's not gettin' any younger, and she doesn't ask for much, so why not humor her? What could go wrong?

Well. I only have two bras. Both Black. One's the everyday variety (and by "everyday," I mean I might wear it half dozen times a year). The other is more a "cocktail" model and has those little gel inserts (or as Chris Rock would call it -- the "your titties ain't that big" model-- I hate that word, but it's funny when he says it).

And just as I was shaking hands with the executive director of something-or-other and the president of something-else, my right boob sprung a leak. And for the record, it's nothing like that episode of Will and Grace where her right breast suddenly starts hosing down a painting by her ex-boyfriend. (Though I think it was the same scenario: someone with a name badge hugged me, and I think their pin pricked the gel insert... Yeah, yeah. If I had a nickel...)

But it wasn't a geyser. It was more like (what I imagine to be) spontaneous (not to mention Immaculate) lactation. 

Luckily, the cocktail hour was hosted by a bunch of guys I knew -- not so luckily, they have a very open/loft-style office space. But I still don't think anybody noticed when I stepped behind a bookshelf, discreetly removed the boobage-sieve, and re-emerged a B-cup. Very Wonder Woman/Superman like. I have a feeling I may have some explaining to do if any of their wives happen to notice the contents of their trashcans tomorrow. (It honestly wasn't the kind of party where people discard their undergarments in the wastepaper baskets -- or at least it wasn't... till I got there.)

More importantly, look what I found when I went looking for an image of a bra. First the bacon model.

Second, the iPod Bra.

Man. Mom may con me into one of these yet.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

NaBloPoMo: I Think I Joined

I think I just joined National Blog Posting Month or NaBloPoMo (?) or NaBlows, for short.

I knew about NaNoWriMo, also going on in November (write a Novel in one month? No. Thanks.) And I knew about NaPoWriMo (write a poem a day I think? -- Again, No Thanks.)

But I didn't know about NaBlows. I'm just now figuring out how to follow other blogs, and I read about it at AliThinks.

She writes:
"It's a great concept. Post a blog entry every day...I'm not sure I'm ready to commit. On the other hand, it's great to complete a project. And my writing muscle could use a little exercise."
Of course, she wrote that on October 26, and NaBlows is the month of November -- but I just now found it, so I am starting a week late. (I looked back, and I posted almost everyday in the last week, so I'm not really too far behind.)

I went to the site she listed and registered, and I don't think I did it right. I can't really tell if you're supposed to post something there every day, on their site (they have a dizzying array of templates etc) ... or just write a post every day on your own blog and somehow, NaBlows will know if you are, or are not keeping up. What I'm doing is the latter.

AliThinks is the guru who taught me Twitter, and I try to never miss an opportunity to learn from her.

Here is a picture of her drink last night, which was the prettiest drink at the table. I don't think she really likes having her picture taken all that much (though you can see the ones on her blog are beauts, and I keep trying to figure out ways to steal her Facebook photo profile and pass it off as my own -- hey, we both wear glasses).


As we left the wine boutique/bistro last night for dinner, a few of us paused to browse the shelves and Jupiter discovered -- and purchased -- this: ChocoVine.
The proprietor, perhaps sensing what was on the agenda (an impromptu Parking Lot Wine tasting for the remaining half dozen Girls and Gays who'd assembled for dinner and gossip) insisted on bagging it (which Jupiter characterized as "classing it up a bit.")

I didn't taste it, but I did check out the "bouquet" -- and it smelled exactly like a box of chocolate-covered-cherries (my favorite Christmas treat as a kid). I suspect if you chilled it and tossed it in a blender with some ice, it would make a great milkshake for grownups. (And a possible Menu Addition for the next Ambien Slumber Party.)

Billed as a French Cabernet with accents of Holland's dark chocolate, it turns out it's made by DeKuyper, and their site has a fabulous flair for hyperbole: "The right chocolate paired with the perfect wine can create a near-orgasmic experience. But the wrong wine opposite a too-sweet chocolate creates nothing but horror." Not only is ChocoVine a "true match made in heaven" that creates "pure bliss," the pairing of chocolate and wine is even rich in anti-oxidants AND gluten-free. 

Friday, November 6, 2009

Robert Earl Keen

The older I get, the tougher I am as a critic.

I enjoyed Robert Earl Keen's show last night (the current BarStool our with Bruce Robison and Todd Snider), but I didn't love it. It wasn't transcendent. (Though it was better than his last show here -- famously ruined by the inexplicable substitution of a banjo for Bryan Duckworth's fiddle. Famous to ME, anyway.)

Part of it is maybe that the older I get, the shorter my attention span is. Singer/Songwriter lineups just don't do it anymore. I need a full band. And they need to be kinda loud. Three guys and three guitars...? I feel like I should be in a coffeehouse.

And the older I get, the more easily irritated I get. When someone shouted "Go Aggies," I wanted to punch them in the face. Everyone knows it's "Gig 'em, Aggies." Anyone who doesn't know that has no business at the show. Keen's former running mate at Texas A&M, Lyle Lovett, has much less patience for drunken hecklers and shuts them down much quicker.

I'm really ambivalent about theatre venues that serve alcohol, because it seems to give everyone the erroneous idea they're at a Jimmy Buffet concert and the floor is open for requests. It isn't. While I didn't approve (at all) of the set list, I wouldn't attempt to change it by yelling out an alternate suggestion. That's their job. It isn't a referendum.

And while the three are clearly friends in real life -- and their interaction was entertaining -- it's not like they really "go" together, like the Highwaymen, or the Flatlanders. There were people there for Robert Earl Keen, and there were people there for Todd Snider. Mostly separately. (No one was there for poor Bruce Robison -- even I know him mostly as the guy who married Kelly Willis. He's a superb songwriter -- just underrated.)  But the tour isn't exactly the match that say, Lyle Lovett and Willis Allan Ramsey, used to be. Coworkers who simply like to get paid to drink and smoke pot together don't always necessarily make for the most productive workplace.

And speaking of potheads, and work, why didn't Todd Snider bother to learn anyone's songs but his own? That's just rude. If you're going to limit a lineup to three guys and three guitars (a fine concept, just no longer to my taste), all three of them better know how to play guitar. After a couple hundred years kicking around Texas, Bruce Robison and Robert Earl Keen are extremely qualified musicians. Todd Snider might have an amusing drug-addled shtick, but he is not. I believe he characterized himself, accurately, if I'm remembering it correctly, as a "treehuggin, peace lovin', porn watchin' lazy-ass hippie." All good things, but he's like that party guest who starts out funny, and wears thin fast -- about the time somebody has to go fish him outta jail.

And speaking of jail, the disinhibiting effects of alcohol on the crowd can't be underestimated -- as clearly indicated by the floorshow we were treated to by this couple who couldn't stop groping each other during intermission. (That's his hand, not hers, by the way. Pal Bluebelle had to apply bleach directly to her eyeballs once she discerned what was really going on.)

Just before intermission, I had been checking out the box seats up above the stage and my concert buddy was saying how great they'd be -- we could smuggle in boxes of wine, host a party within a party, etc. 

I, on the other hand, had just been thinking that the next time I took a date to a show, those seats represented an awesome opportunity for the old popcorn-box-with-the-phony-bottom trick. He said THAT's how you end up on the Internet, Young Lady (as we looked at the sea of iPhones and BlackBerries surrounding us).

Once I saw this couple in action, I realized the wisdom behind his words. I might even have to retire the Popcorn Box.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cake Balls

I'm always working on the list of "Ace's Favorite Things." It's KINDA like "Oprah's Favorite Things" ... give or take a few million, here or there.

(Oh yeah: per the new FTC rulings -- nobody tells me what my favorite things can and can't be.)

Anyway. Found these today: CAKE BALLS! They sure look like contenders, but haven't eaten them yet to know for sure.

You can buy them (for me) HERE.

Where goes cake, there goest Ace.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Babe (and Maggie)

I'm fifteen minutes into a chat with Max and Lorraine tonight before Mom mentions, "did I tell you about those two dogs we rescued last week?"

No. It must've slipped her mind. And I was immediately wondering -- out loud -- how she managed to get them past my stepdad, who does not possess the same weakness that she and I share for animal rescue.

"Oh I wore him down," she said matter-of-factly. "He had his chemo that day and he was too sick to fight me."

They'd been to the lake to take their dogs for a run when they encountered a couple of six-month-old puppies, clearly abandoned, hungry, and scared. They didn't have their usual extra dog supplies of treats/food, but finally they found a drum of peanut butter in the car (only my parents would have a spare drum of peanut butter in the car) and served it to the dogs on a couple sticks.

The next day they went back with leashes but were having some problems enticing them, til Mom befriended a "couple nice young girls --- I guess they were there to make out or something ---but they helped us out." The lesbians ran off and got the leashed dogs into the car so Mom could take them to the animal shelter.

She hauled Pops out to the car and made it clear that they would each take over one adoption fee -- their local Shelter has a "buddy-system" where you pay for the animal's care at the shelter and that buys them a stay of indefinite execution until they're adopted. You can visit them; walk them; take their pics. Mom named her dog Samantha. Not sure about the other one. They're fine now.

She then told me she needed to hang up so she could go doctor up Babe's leg... with crazy glue -- which is apparently standard treatment for various suppurating wounds. It's time consuming, cause she then has to make sure Babe doesn't try to eat her leg and then get her tongue stuck there. She then said she dreamed the other night that my grandmother woke her up and told her "Hush, you stop worryin' bout that dog. I'm takin her with me." And Babe just walked off with her. To Heav.N.  Never even looked back.

Odd, cause my grandmother didn't even like dogs even when she was alive. But today would be her birthday so I suspect we may see more of her over the next few days.

Mom had to hang up anyway, saying "Oh I see it's time for your Kathy Griffin.... Balls of Steel...? It looks like?"

I always tell my Mom she'd love Kathy's relationship with her Mom because it's so much like ours. "Oh it is not... " she protests. "Oh how? I am nothing like her." Well, the way Maggie always says "KathLEEN you'd just be so funny if you didn't SWEAR so much," or "KathLEEN, there's no need to be so hard on people... You'd be so funny if..... You have such a pretty face.... if only...."

About the only think they don't have in common is Maggie's self-admitted alcoholism and spokesperson status for Franzia and the two-buck Chuck. Mom says, "Oh no, I'm not much of a lush. Just a druggie. Does that count? Could you use that for material?"

I said, "Mom, you're not a druggie if the pills are keeping you alive." Interferon, for example, is not recreational.

Then she had to get back to crazy-gluing the dog's leg.

Hipster Pod

Just got this clip from a bass player. (Not my bass player, just A bass player.) Must put Intern to work at once securing a Hipster Pod. (Entirely possible that Rob is listening to Celine Dion in the office, and is just projecting Children of Bodom outward.)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sam Shepard is TooMuchSexy

People are always sending me photos of Sam Shepard -- partly because they know my ongoing fascination -- partly in an attempt to replace the newspaper clipping I had on my bulletin board for years (and lost somewhere in an office move). It was him and Jessica Lange at Derby. It was an unusually good four-color closeup from the Sunday Herald Leader. They both look impossibly elegant (anyone who's been to Derby understands the meaning of "impossibly" there), gazing out at the track. She's laughing and he's leaning in and saying something to her as he gestures toward something out of the frame -- baring his wrist a little as he reaches; leaving his watch exposed very slightly, and yet, somehow, so explicitly that it's almost, but not quite, vulgar.

So every time someone sends me a picture of him, I hope it'll be that one, and it never is.

But I like this picture too -- though it took me a while to track down the source. It's from a coffee-table book by photographer Sam Taylor-Wood called Men Crying.

Personally, I don't cry...and I don't generally care for people who do...especially men. Sorry if that's sexist. I get that from my Uncles, who tolerate very little behavior they consider stereotypically feminine and who insist to this day "inability to change a tire = homosexuality." But I do like this photo, and a few of the others. (I would never have given it a second glance at the bookstore, cause the cover just looks like some chick crying.)

It took me a while to track down the book because the photo initially just seemed to originate with some blog called "Too Much Sexy," which now appears to be defunct. Now it's going to be the title I use for My List. Sometimes I also call this List The Right Stuff.

It will also be ok by me if Bluebelle wants to use it to refer to Alan Rickman. Or if Jupiter would like to use it to describe Matt Damon.