Tuesday, October 30, 2007

More Gaines!

Jimmy Gaines, formerly of Pizza Man blog fame, is now doing "Dude Weather" for Steve Perry's new Daily Mole blog. Check it out:


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Smilla's Sense of the Familiar

I just added Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg to my "Books Read in 2007" list. I've always wondered if any Scandanavians suffer from the dark and cold. We're made to feel that they take in their somewhat harsh surroundings with equanimity, or at least stoicism. This book's heroine, however, both suffers from depression and has a passion for snow and ice. Reading about her cheered me considerably.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

And Another!

A Halloween special from Maria:


Sunday, October 21, 2007

And Then Some

I am disturbed by the ubiquity of the word "awesome." On one level, it's use is characterized for me by Ty Pennington, the very embarrassing host of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." He's someone who uses it as his go-to compliment, and his overuse of it tends to makes me suspect his overly sincere sincerity.

But some of my favorite writers use it all the time, and I'm fine with that. It comes out of my own mouth regularly. Sometimes people use it ironically and sometimes it just an approving exclamation. It's just weird that super square button-down types, uber hipsters, and everyone in between have all embraced it to such a degree. The word has the same feeling to me now as "like" or "you know" in some people's conversation -- just a placeholder or a reflex.

How did this happen?

I've been trying to substitute some synonyms, just to mix things up. I like "Righteous!" Hybrid-Fat-n-Sassy had another good suggestion that I can't remember now. Remind me, lady!

P.S. In my fantasy world, all uses of "awesome" would be replaced by "OMG!!! Ponies!1! Who's with me?!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Style vs. Substance

Style is winning by a landslide.

I've been all ambivalent about my job and having a few moments of despair about my role and meaning and what-the-hell-is-the-point-of-it-all. Is it necessary that I just be a tool of the consumerist culture, working to earn so I can buy, working to create product that others can buy, defined by my work and the crap I own?

As usual the ladies at Jezebel have captured my feelings. They were inspired by a career columnist at Yahoo who suggested that if we worked less at, you know, work and more on the way we look, we would create a successful brand for ourselves and be, you know, successful. A Jezebel responds:

Before I took this job I was unemployed and trying to write a book about this phenomenon tentatively titled The Nothing-Based Economy. Because the reason nothing besides image, perception and toned obliques matters anymore is that this country has outsourced and/or automated and/or just totally given up on just about every other skill/function working people are supposed to exhibit beyond the careful cultivation of "brand," which is to say the creation of demand, for oneself and whatever it is one is trying to sell, which is to say nothing. Anyway, I worked pretty hard on it though I spent a fair amount of time moping around and downloading iTunes from the early nineties as well, but it was all pretty much an exercise in futility because, duh, it's not like I had a brand or anything.
Preach it, sister.

Respect the Meat

If you missed it, the Darnell video from last night's My Name is Earl is truly awesome:

Edit: Oops, NBC nixed the YouTube version, prolly. Click here for the non-copyright-violating clip.

Lots of Bits

Maria's kinda R rated this time:

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

He's Mine, I Tell You!

The guy I'm totally cheating on Jon Stewart with guest wrote Maureen Dowd's column:

I’d like to thank Maureen Dowd for permitting/begging me to write her column today. As I type this, she’s watching from an overstuffed divan, petting her prize Abyssinian and sipping a Dirty Cosmotinijito. Which reminds me: Before I get started, I have to take care of one other bit of business:

Bad things are happening in countries you shouldn’t have to think about. It’s all George Bush’s fault, the vice president is Satan, and God is gay.

There. Now I’ve written Frank Rich’s column too.

I lurve him so much!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


What do you post about when your life is boring? Why food, of course! Tonight I made Ratatouille Tian, which is a type of gratin -- a hot dish with a crispy top. (I don't know if that's the official definition, but it's mine.)

Assembly is kinda pretty. Colorful vegetables!

First, there is roasted diced eggplant:

Then a saute of onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and herbs de Provence:

Into a pan with lots of torn, fresh basil and topped with sliced tomatoes and zucchini:

And finally, bread crumbs, Parmesan, and olive oil. And when it's baked, the top, she is crispy:
I'll let you know how it tastes.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Baby Got Bitumen?

Hands down, the dorkiest business name I've heard all day: Sir Lines-A-Lot. It is a " full service parking lot line striping and pavement marking company." Run by hip-hop fans, apparently.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


... is my mom's birthday. She would have been 81. Sometimes, when I see a white-haired lady with a smiling, gentle face, I'm sad all over again that I didn't get to see her that way.

Here she is on her wedding day, with her lovely smile and skinny groom.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Look Out for the Jackals!

OMG, you guys! Go see Mully's new stuff.

Christmas is com-ing (sing song voice).

Hateful Crap

I knew there was a reason I don't see movies anymore:

Warner Bros president of production Jeff Robinov has made a new decree that "We are no longer doing movies with women in the lead". This Neanderthal thinking comes after both Jodie Foster's The Brave One ... and Nicole Kidman's The Invasion (as if three different directors didn't have something to do with the awfulness of the gross receipts) under-performed at the box office recently.

Meanwhile, they misspelled Foster's name on the movie posters. Hollywood is awesome!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Let's Talk About Me(me)

Meme! Which I stole from Yummy Turtle. These are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing's users. Bold what you have read, italicise what you started but couldn't finish, make it red if you couldn't stand it, and star those you want to read. Make it green if you've never heard of it.

The ones with no special mark I am mostly indifferent to, or perhaps that's implied.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell* (It IS recommended by 50 Books.)
Anna Karenina*
Crime and Punishment*
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick*
Ulysses (Yeah, I don't see myself ever getting through this in any meaningful way. I want story, J.J., not a damn literary mission. God.)
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey (I own a copy but we'll see if it gets read. It's not really calling my name...)
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities*
The Brothers Karamazov*
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (It seems like nonfiction writing takes some serious hubris. I mean what about that subhead? Overambitious much? I prefer to let them sit for a few decades to see how well they age, before I expend any effort on them.)
War and Peace*
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler's Wife* (A present from my sister-in-law. Thanks M.!)
The Iliad (See: The Odyssey)
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner* (At some point, I will pick up one of the frillion copies of this book for $.25 at a garage sale.)
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations (A victim of high-schoool indifference, I will probably revisit. I'm all about the Dickens these days.)
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged (She. Is. DeRANGED.)
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : The Life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead (I read a couple Ayn Rand, and I now actively campaign against her ridiculousness. Come join me!)
Foucault's Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo*
A Clockwork Orange*
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
1984 (I'm pretty sure I've read this, but I may have it mixed up with Brave New World or Farenheit 9whatever. I better revisit.)
Angels & Demons (Wait, is this by the Da Vinci Code guy? If so, I will not be reading it. He made a fool of me once with his shite.)
The Inferno* (Maybe I'll read it. You know what they say about the road to hell. Hey-O!)
The Satanic Verses*
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D'Urbervilles*
Oliver Twist*
Gulliver's Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections (I just finished this today. Seriously. I wouldn't recommend it -- Franzen is a cynical bastard and not in a good way.)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (I tried this a few months ago and it didn't hook me, but I'll probably try again.)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Maybe I'll read this. Any recommendations? Should I bother?)
The Prince*
The Sound and the Fury
Angela's Ashes
The God of Small Things
A People's History of the United States : 1492-present (This is totally the medicine I think I should take but don't. I've even given it as a gift, fer crying out loud!)
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything (I actually listened to this audio book on a road trip. Awesome!)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being (God. It was interminable)
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road (I agree with Capote on this one -- not writing, just typing)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything*
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down (I know this is about rabbits. I'm intrigued and also afraid.)
Gravity's Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood*
White Teeth*
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Do your own list and let's compare. Is there anything here that you're appalled (Appalled!) I haven't read? I'm easily swayed. Seriously.

Friday, October 5, 2007

"A Self-Hurt Book"

Jon Stewart questions Chris Matthews' recipe for success. Awesomely!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Angry Bed Positions

Much crabbiness was dispelled this afternoon by some Mil Millington hilarity.

"The 'X' position is a declaration that both performers are convinced that they have God on their side and is quite often accompanied by abrupt, snatching attempts to achieve duvet hegemony and aggressive, warning displays of pillow straightening."

See also his 2006 Christmas letter. He is SO my Internet boyfriend.