Friday, June 30, 2006

Stomach, Screen, Shopping - can there be anything else?

On the Stomach front (ha, ha, get it?) I don't have any new recipes today. Unless you want to know about the yummy pepperocini* I made for the FD picnic. I found the recipe at epicurious. I love to search for recipes at epicurious. Not only do you come up with unusual combinations, ala my hero, Letitia** from the Vicar of Dibley, but the recipe reviews are a hoot. They run something like this: "I made the potato salad recipe exactly as written only I substituted fat free yogurt for the mayonnaise because we're all dieting. And I was out of potatos so I used bulghur. Since none of us like celery I put in some parsley instead. This is a great recipe and I will definitely make it again."
Nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks a recipe is just a suggestion.
In Screen news I don't have any television reviews either, although with TVgasm on the job I don't even need to watch television anymore. Yep, those TVgasm recaps are all I need to keep me up to date. I can even be an expert on shows I've never seen. And the recaps are far more entertaining, I might add, than the actual shows.
"Guy's Big Bite" premiered Sunday on Food Network. Guy Fieri was the winner of the Next Food Network Star competition. Although I missed last Sunday, I will be watching next week with interest. During the competition his culinary point of view was described as "off the hook". From the first episode he seemed to me like the hands down winner. He has the whole personality+skill package. Other competitors had nice personality but no skill, or great knowledge but poor personality. After all, just making good tasting food doesn't help the home viewer very much.
Hmmm. What else?
From the Shopping list, I finished my summer shoe shopping. To excess. Compensation for not buying any new shoes last summer. Really. Except for two pairs of sandals at the end of the season that were SO CHEAP I couldn't not buy them. But it has worn me out and this month all I could muster was a trip to Borders and an online order from Dogwise.

*Sorry I can't give you the link to the pepperocini recipe because now I can't find it. I made it exactly as written only I used prosciutto instead of smoked salmon and basil in place of dill. But it was great. While searching, I did come across this green chili cheesecake.

**...and Letitia's mind-boggling culinary creations, mixing, for example, anchovies with peanut butter, or ham with lemon curd - all helped bring a greatly pleasing, surreal tone to what was otherwise a relatively straightforward situation. (The Letitia character, portrayed by the great Liz Smith, was killed off in the April 1996 Easter special.) This concludes our programming for the month of June. Have a swell 4th and see you back next month.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

For those of you with time on your hands

Now for a fun time-waster. Make your own license plate. This is my effort.

After you've made your special plate, save the image to your hard drive. Then post it in the comments section so we can all share. Maybe we'll offer a creativity award.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Talking Dogs

This is a brief public service announcement. Recently, many of us have had conversations about various health and behavior based dog issues. The best compendium of information, in my opinion, is the Whole Dog Journal. WDJ does not accept any advertising. This means that everything they write is free of bias. When they do a product review, they don't have to worry about offending any important advertisers. Sort of like the Consumer Reports for dog stuff. As an example, the current issue includes a discussion of behavior-altering drugs for dogs with phobias and anxiety disorders. Several issues back, they discussed experiences with the increasing popular DAP devices - Dog Appeasing Pheromones - in which they acknowledge that the devices don't always work for every dog or dog problem. Their contributing writers are some of the best in the field, like Pat Miller on training and Patricia McConnell on behavior. I could go on but the point of this is to encourage you to check out their website at There you will find an articles archive and can
  1. download articles of interest, or
  2. make a note of the month and year published and I can send you my copy
I have been a subscriber for a few years and keep my back issues for reference. Just so you know.

Monday, June 26, 2006

What School Teachers Do in the Summer

Well, we all know that some family members have taken off for Minnesota-pop. This means that Fifth is home alone. I expect she'll be having all her madcap teacher friends over, doing crazy things.
Drinking beer before 4:00 pm.
On a weekday.
Chewing gum.
Running with scissors.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Music, Music, Music

Maybe Ribfest didn't recognize a good thing when they heard it, but Lisle was on the ball. Ever Since August will be playing at the town's hot air balloon festival next weekend. The Battle of the High School Bands will be held at the Park Bandshell from noon until 5:00 pm on Monday, July 3. The Eyes to the Skies Festival has plenty of other stuff going on, including fireworks each night Saturday through Tuesday.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Summer Project

Here's something useful to occupy idle hands and minds. Over at Lifehacker you can find instructions to make walkie talkies out of old cell phones. I know we all accumulate plenty of those. Every time something more cool comes out (like each month) I WANT IT. Fortunately, the thrifty me reminds myself that the only time I use my current cell phone is to exchange driving directions with Fifth. If you're not quite up for an actual project, but now I've got you thinking about that drawer full of old cell phones, here's something else you can do with them. No pain but lots of gain. Donate them to a shelter. Other charities also have cell phone donation programs, like cell phones for soldiers or the Special Olympics. There are many more choices so I am certain you will find a cause to support. Now don't you feel good?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Wagons North

Another contingent is leaving for Minnesota next week. Call Seventh if you want to trail along.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Dum-diddy Dum-diddy Drum Drum Drum

All the recent commentary on music and marching has put me in mind of one of my favorite movies, Drum Line. Which was actually on television recently. And I watched it. For the sixth time. This year. My short list of all-time favorite movies is notable in that it's predominantly composed of movies no one else has ever seen, or even heard of. How many of you have seen Crazy from the Heart with Christine Lahti, before anyone knew she was Christine Lahti? I bet the most devoted Richard Dreyfuss fan has never seen Once Around. What about the great Big Night? Or the less prestigious Duets? The only commonality among them is that I enjoy watching them repeatedly, even though I'm not one of those Sesame Street kids, taught early on to value the soothing nature of repetition. The linked review calls Drumline a sports movie that substitutes a band competition for the usual athletic competition. Like any worthwhile sports movie, it comes loaded with inspirational slogans:
  • "All musicians and no band" or, there's no i in team
  • “One Band. One Sound” all for one and one for all
  • "You have to care about the sound of the line more than the sound of your own drum" no translation required
Actually, I think playing with a band, any band, is more demanding of unity than any sports team. After all, sports teams still maintain each player's individual stats. But how can you keep stats on a band member? If just one player fails, the entire performance fails. Drumline's story is set at a no-name college in the South and is the tale of a talented young upstart challenging the hard-working drum section leader. To add to the drama our young hero has a fatal flaw. He Can’t Read Music. The conflict between the two band members is echoed by a rivalry between the band directors from two colleges all of which climaxes at the annual band competition, guaranteeing plenty of drumming. Predictably, the two rival bands are tied for first place and the judges decide the only way the tie can be broken is by a drumline face-off. Yaaay! And do they face off! Every single bit of hot dog drumming razzle dazzle you might imagine goes into their performances. I love this movie. Call it smarmy, call it schmaltzy. Just be sure you call me next time it's on.