Monday, November 23, 2009

Mother Edie

Original here

The latest storyline in 9 Chickweed Lane (aka The Horniest Strip In Print) has to do with Grandma Edie retelling the tale of how she aided the war effort. In today's episode, a mysterious officer recruits Edie to become a singer for the Reich under deep cover.

That story sure does sound familiar. Like maybe Howard W. Campbell Jr. in Mother Night. Methinks somebody owes Kurt Vonnegut some royalties. Or at least a shout-out.

Update: Brooke McEldowney confesses to an inexplicable (at least to me) ignorance of the works of Kurt Vonnegut:
I've never read any of Kurt Vonnegut's novels; and now I know I shouldn't until I've finished this tale. Thanks for warning me off.
Well, if he hasn't read them, he should. Just as soon as he finishes this story line.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Night At The Newseum

This post includes spoilers for tonight's Newseum episode of Dinner Impossible.

About two months ago, as members of the Newseum in Washington, we received notice that there was going to be a Food Network event with a special mystery chef. Other than that, we had no idea what to expect. At 6:30 they let people in to see the giant big screen in the lobby showing a Dinner Impossible logo.


I was unfamiliar with the show's format, but I quickly caught on. Each week they take hunky chef Robert Irvine to a different location and make him cook for a big group of people around some sort of theme.


At just a little past 7, Robert Irvine came out to announce that the mission was accomplished "just barely." He then quickly ducked out to never be seen again, but that meant it was time for the eating.

There were four stations with the two closest to us representing television dinners and Julia Childs respectively. We divided and conquered and we each got one entree from each line. The TV dinner came in a little aluminum tray with a Dinner Impossible logo on the cardboard lid. This was no tinny tasting reheated processed food. Each little item was delicious and the brown betty was best of all.


The Julia Childs food line had all sorts of French food right out of Julie and Julia. As we were eating, a film crew was coming around filming reaction shots to the food. My wife loved it, but they made her do her blurb a couple of times for the right amount of enthusiasm. We had to sign releases, but that is no guarantee or bits will make the final cut.


We went back to the final two stations. One was based on World War One vegetarian dishes and the other was the first Thanksgiving. By the time we made it around, the venison was gone but there plenty of other things left. The vegetarian dishes were interesting, but not as good as the stuff we had already eaten.


As the crowds were dwindling we saw the film units going around and setting up the glamour shots of each of the dishes. A couple of hours after we showed up we left feeling like a part of history. Mission Delicious.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Best Of The Palin Live Blogs

If you were a REAL blogger (unlike one that takes a week or two off at a time **cough**yours truly**cough**), you were live blogging today's interview between Oprah and Palin (which sounds like a failed Letterman bit but isn't). So in atonement, here are some highlights from those that took one for the team and watched the trainwreck in real time.

Andrew Sullivan:
4.18 pm. So far, most of Oprah's questions can be summarized as: "Isn't it weird how great you are?" In the last segment, Palin was actually forced to be more critical of her campaign than Oprah is. One wonders: is Oprah this desperate to boost her ratings? Is anyone on TV actually interested in finding out the truth?

4.21 pm. Oprah gives the game away: "This was in the book so I assume it was fair game." Oprah clearly agreed in advance only to ask questions from the book's own narrative.This is not journalism; it's celebrity puffery. Of course, it's Oprah.
4:24 — Oprah: Obviously you’ve read newspapers and magazines, why didn’t you name any? Sarah: I love all of those things, yes, and I could have named every newspaper and magazine for the last 300 years, but I felt condescended to, so fuck her question right? I don’t like to play the victim card, but I was totally the victim here, and the entire concept of “news media” is flawed because I flubbed this question.
4:25 Oh, good, Oprah is actually playing a clip of the interview. Let's see how Sarah does when challenged with reality! Remember how she couldn't remember a magazine or newspaper? Oprah: "Obviously you've read books and magazines. Why didn't you just name any books and magazines?" SP: "Obviously, I have been a lover of books, all my life." Conspicuously she still has not named a book or magazine that she has read.
The Awl:
4:26 Chris Lehmann: Wasn't SP really just threatened by Couric because she KNEW that she would out-PERK her?

4:26 Chris Lehmann: Wow. The pot just called the kettle perky
The Washington Post's Lisa des Moraes:
4:28:The Baby

Oprah and Palin talk at length about Trig, Palin's youngest child, who has Down Syndrome. Weirdly, neither of them ever calls Trig by name.
And who are the livebloggers thinking of?

4:56 Now Palin is sucking up to Oprah, who she used to watch, back when she was a stay-at-home mom (Sullivan you should probably fact-check this).
The Awl:
4:14 I DON'T LIKE TO SHOP. Add to Andrew Sullivan's lie list!!!
4:08 BARACK OBAMA’S CHILDREN GOT LEFT ALONE! WHY WEREN’T MINE. WHY WEREN’T MY MALIAS AND SASHA’S LEFT ALONE. Probably because he didn’t wear them as a cape every time he appeared in public? Or maybe because he said other things besides “MY KIDS MY KIDS MY KIDS” when explaining his qualifications for president? Meh, let’s just blame Andrew Sullivan.
And some final words:

4:57 — One last question: are you going to have a talk show?
4:57 — Sarah: HAHAHAHAHA THAT IS THE FUNNIEST COMMENT I HAVE EVER HEARD OPRAH AHAHHAHA, but maybe. I love what you do for women, Oprah!
Lisa des Moraes:
It's official. They are in love.
Andrew Sullivan:
4.57 pm. Now it's a love-fest between two celebrities with talk-shows.
The only thing I can imagine worse than sitting through an interview with Sarah Palin would be to have to actually read her book. I doubt even she has bothered doing that.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tennis Night

I don't watch pro football, but this sure looks like a dead-on parody.

Compare it to the real thing:

I think I like Jenna Maroney's version better.

Monday, November 02, 2009

BooksFirst - October 2009

Books Bought

Books Read
Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon


Thomas Pynchon is one of the great enigmatic writers of the modern era. While I made it through V many years ago, Gravity's Rainbow has always been too much to complete. His more recent work like Mason and Dixon have been even less accessible. When I heard that his latest novel, Inherent Vice (some sort of legal pun) was a straight forward mystery, I was all for it.

It's a mystery, but not a straight forward one. Set in 1970, it reads like The Big Sleep meets The Big Lebowski. Doc Sportello is a stoner private eye used to small fry domestic investigations who gets caught up in something bigger than him. Exactly what, I'm not sure. I've never been very good at following normal mysteries let alone ones involving vigilante cops, hallucinogenic dentists, and zombie surf rockers.

Nothing in a Pynchon book is exactly what it appears to be and there are multiple layers of symbols, motifs, and themes. Some of them include the Manson murders, a omnipresently named smuggling ring, and Nixonian currency. And then there is the dope. The entire book is shrouded in a hashish haze, taking the concept of unreliable narrator to new highs, so to speak. If you turned the book into a drinking game by taking a shot whenever somebody lights a doobie, you'd be on your third liver by the end of the book.

It's not many books that merit their own concordance or are promoted by a YouTube promotional video. But it is a deceptively breezy read that will leave you pondering long after you close the covers.

In the pantheon of Pynchon novels, Inherent Vice is not going to be judged a masterwork, but it is definitely intriguing. Scenes and incidents recur and echo. Characters turn out to be not what they seem to be. And somehow it all wraps together to be something more than a mystery. And that is part of the mystery.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Join The Parade

On of the cool features of the Georgia Tech Homecoming is that they encourage alumni band members to come and play. They are the motley crew behind the main band.

Georgia Tech Marching Band Homecoming 2009 from yellojkt on Vimeo.

Look for my son. Hint: He's in the saxaphone section.