Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Scrapbook of Random Christmas Memories

Having spent the majority of my formative years in the southern* U.S., to me the phrase “white Christmas” meant we were spending it at the beach.
Additionally, I had the vague notion that a Yule Log was something one would find at a Stuckey's, near the pecan logs.

When I lived in Plantation, Florida, Santa Claus would ride through my neighborhood on top of a flashing, honking fire truck, throwing candy canes. It was loud and stupid and awesome.

Though the weather was often in the 70s, every Christmas Eve I insisted on wearing footed blanket pajamas to bed – for about 10 minutes, until heatstroke started to set in.

Grade school holiday pageants** are a gateway drug, tempting children to experiment with community theater... or worse.

I never got to play the Virgin Mary in the school Christmas pageant because of my red hair.*** However, I did get to play a business woman one year. I'm still not really sure what that was about.

When setting out Santa's plate of milk and cookies before going to bed on Christmas Eve, I often wondered if he might not prefer a cold beer and some pretzels to cut the sweetness and add a little variety to the evening. Knowing what I know now, he probably would have.

Upon moving to a home with a fireplace, I realized that the chief obstacle to Santa getting down the chimney was not the diameter, but the vast number of dead squirrels collected inside.

Every year as a kid, I could look forward to receiving socks from my grandmother. They were generally knee length, had some ridiculous pattern, and were always outrageously red. She'd also send my father a liter of whiskey. Grandma had her moments.

Growing up, my family always had an artificial tree. As a newlywed in Oklahoma, I bought my first real tree – a potted miniature pine. It was hit by lightning – while sitting on the mantlepiece over my fireplace, inside of our apartment. I have not had a Christmas tree since.
  

Today's lesson: I'm really, really, super self-absorbed.

Next: Something that ultimately serves my ego, no doubt.

______________________________________________________
*Georgia, Florida, and Alabama, if you're curious.

**No one can rock a pair of glitter-and-poster-board wings like me. 
 
***Because everyone knows Mary was a blond, right? 
 

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Twelve Days of Yumness

On the Twelve Days of Yumness, my true love gave to me -
  • Twelve drums of gummies
  • Eleven pies of pumpkin 
  • Ten loaves of sweet things
  • Nine ladyfingers 
  • Eight mugs of milk tea  
  • Seven prawns a sizzling  
  • Six pizzas baking  
  • Number Five of the Red Wings 
  • Four lollipops  
  • Three french breads  
  • Some turtle fudge 
  • And a pear in a puff pastry
Today's lesson: There is probably something very, very wrong with me.

Next: Further evidence supporting the hypothesis above. 
 

Santa Claus vs. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Below is a chart comparing and contrasting two of the world's most beloved/tweeted about folk heroes: Father Christmas and Lisbeth Salander, of the Millennium Series


 

Note: This post was written after consuming two glasses of Shiraz... which may also benefit the reading thereof.

Spoiler Alert: If you haven't yet read the books* or seen the (excellent) original films,**  none of this is going to make a damn bit of sense. My apologies.

Santa Claus
Lisbeth Salander
Jolly old elf Elfish avenging riot grrrl
Lives at the North Pole Lives in Sweden, which most Americans think is pretty much the same thing
Fictional character based on an historical personage Fictional character – and internet rumors abound
The subject of multiple “family friendly” movies The subject of multiple “friendly family” movies
Knows when you're sleeping/awake Knows when you're online
Wears black leather boots Wears black leather boots
Most PETA-offending accessory: Fur Most PETA-offending accessory: Leather
Punishes the naughty with a stocking full of coal Punishes the naughty with a Molotov cocktail
Ropes and ties reindeer to his sled Roped and tied a rapist to his bed
Christmas Day arrival eagerly anticipated by good little children around the world Christmas Day arrival eagerly anticipated by generally disaffected, alternachicks around the world***


Today's lesson: Seriously? You're looking for a take-away from this?

Next: The Twelve Days of Yumness


*If you haven't yet had the chance, I assume it's because you've been too busy reading Homecoming – and, really, who could blame you?

**Noomi Rapace forever!

***Or whatever... Too lazy to look up the release information on IMDb... (If you should feel so industrious, give my blank-head profile a look/like while you're there.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Yummish Holiday Letter


Dear Yummish Family and/or Friends,

Once again, the holiday season is upon us and I take pen in hand to write to you.

In the finest Yummish tradition, the past year has been marked by expanding minds and waistlines. It has also been a rather busy one for the Yummish Council.

In addition to finding various amusing ways to combine flour, sugar, and butter and as well as continuing my efforts to train the cats to jump through my shiny pink hula hoop, I also failed to publish a book this year. My second novel, which may or may not be titled “Hometown,” may or may not come out this spring. I invite you to savor the anticipation, but warn against holding your breath.

Senior Council Member Jim Strider has had a far more productive year, releasing three albums: a digital treatment of J.S. Bach's “The Well-Tempered Clavier” under the stage name “Sylahnse del 086,” followed by an electroclassical re-imagining thereof with the two “The Ill-Tempered Synclavier” albums. Jim anticipates releasing an album of “chill” music in the upcoming year, provided he ever finishes playing “Elder Scrolls.”

The aforementioned cats, Sushi and Sashimi (aka Sasha) have also had a very busy year working toward complete global devastation, as is evident from the state of the leather sofa. We have elected to find their behavior adorable, as it is certainly undefeatable. 

Earlier in the year, Jim and I traveled to Las Vegas, NV for the annual Yummish Retreat, where we enjoyed such topical seminars as “Drink Away Your Hangover,” “The Buffet: Playing To Win,” and “Desert Sushi: The Do's and Don'ts of Dining in Vegas.”

On the subjects of deserts, this fall I took a brief Yummish pilgrimage to New Mexico, where, thanks to the help of my Brother/Spirit Guide and his sacred potion/absinthe, I was able to obliterate my ego and briefly become one with, if not the universe, at least the sofa.

This past year brought us the opportunity to eat and drink many tasty things, look at new and/or beautiful sights, meet and talk to interesting people, and generally enjoy the experience of “being.” We hope it has been the same for you and that the new year brings you many more opportunities to increase your Yum.

Wishing you and yours a Yummy holiday season,

The Yummish Council

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Letter to Santa

Dear Mr. Claus:

In exchange for my (semi)strict adherence to all state and federal laws over the past year as well as to (most of) the social strictures of my dominant culture, I request the following items:
  • A pair of pants that flatters my hindquarters
  • 50 additional IQ points
  • A framed and signed copy of the November 18, 2011 edition of Cafe magazine (Frankly, with that cover, I really don't even care who signs it... Go Red Wings!)
  • A new tiara (Perhaps a selection thereof?)
  • A BeDazzler (To bring my wardrobe up to speed to match all of the tiaras)
  • A pink, 100% cashmere snuggie (To wear while I'm BeDazzling the rest of my wardrobe)
  • A single ripe orange picked from the tree outside of the house in Plantation, FL where I lived 25 ago (If it's no trouble...)
  • A pony... keg... of Anchor Steam
  • A skirt that flatters my hindquarters
  • Bacon
Upon delivery of the above, it will be my pleasure to remit to you (1) a plate of festively decorated cookies, (2) a glass of cold milk.


Please be advised that our current facility has no fireplace, as that may impact your delivery method. If I can be of assistance with this or any other concerns that may arise, please don't hesitate to contact me. I thank you in advance for your time and consideration in this matter and look forward to working with you again in the coming  year.

Sincerely yours,
Michele Feltman Strider

Next: The Yummish Holiday Letter

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cinnamon Chubbies: A Tasty Holiday Treat

2 cups flour (plus extra for rolling dough)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups sugar, split
2 eggs, well beaten
4 Tablespoons of ground cinnamon

Combine and set aside flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg

Cream together butter and vanilla
Gradually add 1 cup sugar and beat well
Add eggs in thirds and mix until fluffy
Gradually add dry ingredients and mix until smooth

Cover dough and chill for at least an hour

Combine remaining sugar and cinnamon in a flat, shallow baking dish

Dust a clean, flat surface with flour
Remove 1/3 of the chilled dough from the refrigerator
Using a rolling pin, roll into a flat, even circle
Sprinkle a light coating of the cinnamon sugar mix over the dough
Fold the dough inward from the edges until you end up with a lump
Repeat rolling, adding the cinnamon sugar mix, and folding 2 more times, ending with a lump of dough
Using your hands, roll dough into 1 1/2” balls
Toss lightly in the cinnamon sugar mix and place on a cookie sheet, 2” apart
Sprinkle tops with more cinnamon sugar mix
Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes

Repeat twice with remaining chilled dough

Yield: approximately 24

Monday, November 21, 2011

What I Learned From The Muppets

In honor of newly canonized Yummish Saint, Jim Henson:
Kermit the Frog: Sufficient imagination can transform an old coat and a ping-pong ball into one of the most beloved children's characters in history.

Gonzo: You don't need talent or good looks to succeed in show business... if you are willing to be continually humiliated and subject to injury. (The patron saint of reality TV?)

Miss Piggy: a) Sex appeal excuses even the worst behavior. b) Girls should learn to love their curves... and to throw a mean "karate-chop."
Don't hate moi because I'm beautiful.


Fozzie Bear: Oft-repeated catch-phrases are an acceptable substitute for wit

Dr. Teeth: Musicians are the coolest, even if they are made out of foam and felt.

The Electric Mayhem: a) Best band name ever. b) Best backing band ever. (Kris Kristofferson, Joan Baez, Rita Moreno, Paul Simon, Harry Belafonte, Jean-Pierre Rampal... They played with them all!)

Sam the Eagle: Ultra-conservative blowhards are funny. (I keep expecting him to show up as a commentator for Fox News.)

The Swedish Chef: a) It is perfectly acceptable to break dishes and throw utensils hither, thither, and yon while preparing a meal. b) Cröonchy Stars was an awesome breakfast cereal, but if you ask for it at your local IKEA, they will give you a dirty look.  

The original inspiration for “Mythbusters"?
Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker: It's funny when things go horribly awry and the skinny red-haired guy gets hurt.

Pigs in Space: Pigs are surprisingly well adapted to space travel. (Still my favorite sci-fi show.)

Statler and Waldorf: It's really, really fun to be really, really mean.

...But the muppet who has had, hands-down, the greatest influence over my daily behavior and way of thinking: Animal
The resemblance is uncanny, no?



Today's lesson: Appreciate those odd things from your childhood that helped shaped you into the awesome person you are now.

Next: Cinnamon Chubbies!

25 Things For Which I Am Grateful (In No Particular Order)

  1. Bacon
  2. Buttermilk pancakes with real maple syrup
  3. That there are so many different types of cheese
  4. My mother's homemade jam
  5. Ritter Sport with cornflakes
  6. My bathrobe
  7. Spell check
  8. Hockey in HD
  9. Electric heated motorcycle vests
  10. Warm showers
  11. The view from the top of Albany Hill
  12. That the 49ers don't suck this year
  13. Peet's coffee with Irish cream
  14. Hand sanitizer gel
  15. Control top pantyhose
  16. My hula hoop
  17. That Nicklas Lidstrom took off his shirt for the cover of Café 
  18. The taco truck near my apartment
  19. That someone once answered the question “What should we do with all of these pumpkins?” with “Make pie.”
  20. That my cats like me
  21. That my husband puts up with my crap
  22. Cupcakes
Today's lesson: Count your blessings
  
Next: What the Muppets taught me 


Dysfunctional Families, National Novel Writing Month, & Shameless Self-Promotion

In recognition of National Novel Writing Month and in honor of dysfunctional families everywhere as we begin the holiday season (and, because frankly, it would be cool to sell some copies of my book), I present to you:


Thanksgiving Day with the Pearsons
An excerpt from “Homecoming: A Novella”
by Yours Truly


My mother was just at the apex of her sugar/alcohol buzz when my aunt and uncle arrived, so they were treated to the most gracious of her host personae. Uncle Cliff had a cold bottle of beer in his hand and was stretched out in my father's recliner chair in front of the TV before he knew what was happening. Aimee was tasked with carrying the bags to the last empty bedroom so her mother and mine could finish off the pitcher of mimosas.

Once they'd had a chance to relax, my mother informed everyone we'd meet Jimmy at the club for a special holiday brunch. I curled myself into the far corner of the couch and started flipping through a magazine. Aimee sat at the other end, picking the chipped nail polish off of her toes. It was my mother's show now and there was nothing to do but sit back and watch the circus.

My aunt oozed sugar as she admired the house and the decor, which my mother greedily lapped up. The sisters went on an inch by inch inspection of the lower level of the house as they sipped their cocktails, my mother nonchalantly pointing out what was new since her sister's last visit and her sister praising her sister's exquisite taste, while letting it slip that she had recently acquired something similar and more expensive. Uncle Cliff had fallen asleep before finishing even half of his beer, the warm house and the white noise of female chatter and football being too much for him. Everyone was settling nicely into his or her rut.

"Cliff! Are you asleep?" chided my Aunt when the Grand Tour returned to the living room.

"Uhn," replied Uncle Cliff, who shifted in his chair, threatening to spill the half-full beer resting limply in his hand.

"Clifford!" she said sharply and there went the beer, all over his pants, the chair and the carpet.

"Dammit, Cherilynn, look what you made me do!" He struggled to haul his notable girth out of the chair.

"Well, who told you to go to sleep with a beer in your hand?"

"OBVIOUSLY, I didn't intend to fall asleep with a beer in my hand..."

"He falls asleep everywhere were go," Cherilynn confided to her sister. "He doesn't sleep right though the night. I think he has that sleep apaplia thing..."

"Sleep apneepa," 'corrected' my mother, knowingly.

"That's it. Anyway, I told him to go see Dr. Mills about it, but..."

"Cheryl!" Uncle Cliff stood dripping, helpless. "I'm soaked here. Quit going on about sleep apnea and get me a towel."

The two sisters made a great flurry of getting towels to dry and soothe Cliff. Soon his ego was assuaged and he was comfortably reseated with a fresh beer.

"You know, I think you're gonna just have to change those pants." Cherilynn hovered over her husband. "Look where it's starting to dry. You can see a line. It's going to stain."

"Hell, honey, I didn't bring any other pants but these. We're only going overnight and I figured I could get two days out of these." My aunt's face burned with embarrassment. A man with a single pair of pants was not a husband to be envied, even if the situation was temporary.

"Then there is nothing to be done about it. We're going to have to wash those. Go upstairs and take those off."

"And what do I wear in the mean time?"

"You can wear your pajama bottoms."

Uncle Cliff considered this and decided it sounded fine to him as his pajamas were more comfortable than the wet dress slacks.

"Wait. What about brunch? He can't wear pajamas to the club!" My mother's eyes were wide.

"Of course not, but he can't go like this." My aunt had a good point.

"Just send them girls out for some donuts. They aren't doing anything," my Uncle offered generously and in a moment my mother's fine plans vanished and were replaced with an overweight brother-in-law sitting around her magnificently appointed living room in his pajamas gorging on donuts and beer. "Get some of them Krispy Kremes. On the way in I saw some kids selling 'em in the parking lot of the Baptist church. Raising money for their Youth Group, I think is what the sign said."

By this point, my mother's buzz was on the decline, as was her blood sugar. The fruit salad and yogurt as well as the club's champagne service would have been the boost she needed to keep her in the Happy Hostess Zone. A box of cold, stale donuts baked who knows how many days ago as part of a fundraiser and purchased in a parking lot was not a satisfactory substitute. I could see the storm clouds forming.

"I think bringing something in is a great idea," I volunteered. "Mama, Aimee and I'd be glad to go pick up something." My mother smiled. She felt safe that, whatever I managed to put together, it would not be Baptist fundraiser donuts.

"OK, honey. You girls probably want to get out of the house for a bit, anyway. Take my car and there's some money in my purse." We all waited a moment for Uncle Cliff to offer some funds. He nearly missed his cue, absorbed as he was in the football game. A gentle smack from his wife's hand to the back of his ear brought his attention around.

"Huh?"

"Cliff, give the girls some money." He reached for his wallet and proffered a $5 bill, for which he received another swat.

"What?"

"Cliff, they need more than that."

"It's $5 a dozen. How many damn donuts are they planning to buy?"

"They aren't getting those nasty donuts. Stop being so awful." Cherilynn relieved him of his wallet, counted out several bills and handed them to me. "Now, go upstairs and get changed so we can get those in the wash." We made for the door as Uncle Cliff dutifully climbed the stairs.


Shameless Self-promotion: “Homecoming: A Novella” is available from Amazon.com, B&N.com, The Sony Reader Store, iTunes, Pegasus Books, Diesel, a bookstore, and Page and Palette.

Today's lesson: If I can write a book, anyone can. National Novel Writing Month isn't over yet. Give it a try. You might find you enjoy playing with words on paper.

Next: 25 Things for Which I Am Grateful

Monday, November 14, 2011

Acequias, Holy Dirt, and Green Chile: A Yummish Pilgrimage to New Mexico

Next time you're driving from Albuquerque to Taos, New Mexico and you see a couple of gabachos standing in the snow on the side of the road, excitedly photographing an ancient irrigation canal, know that John Nichols is to blame.


Though I am a newcomer to the work of this recently canonized Yummish Saint, his 1978 novel The Magic Journey is currently tied with Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow for "Most Mind-blowing Book I've Read." It is the second novel in the New Mexico Trilogy, which also includes The Milagro Beanfield War (on which the Robert Redford film is based) and The Nirvana Blues.” The Berkeley-born* writer has also written about a blue-zillion other books, which I am extremely eager to read. (Great stocking stuffers! Hint, hint... )

“The New Mexico” trilogy is remarkable in many ways, not the least of which are the author's brilliantly complex stories and his extraordinary gift for languages and dialects. Even more impressive is Mr. Nichols' approach to writing about poverty and the impoverished. The characters he has created are both admirable and idiotic, virtuous and flawed, extremely clever and utterly clueless – often simultaneously. To read these stories is to understand that there are no “simple” people living “simple” lives, only people struggling to live, and that the struggle can be as ridiculous and hilarious as it is inspiring. 

Based on my extreme enjoyment of these three books (along with the fact that my brother has recently established a very cozy Yummish Mission in Albuquerque), I decided to take a short trip to New Mexico to sample the culture I'd read about, like dipping a tortilla chip in so much spicy salsa.

Except it wasn't salsa.

It was chile. Green chile. And like so much of New Mexico, it was both different and more compelling than I'd imagined.

I will not even try to sum up the climate, culture, or cuisine of New Mexico. For that, I will direct you to the works of St. John. Instead, I have included some photos from my Pilgrimage to honor this new Yummish Saint.


Fino Chevere, on top of Sandia Peak, Albuquerque, NM.
Factoring in the wind chill, it was about 8 degrees F.
I don't like heights.
I don't like cold.
Yet, I do like this.
 
Chiles. Not chili. Old Town Albuquerque
Note: I seem to be wearing the same outfit as in the Las Vegas Post.
Note to self: Hie thee hence to H&M. Your wardrobe has gone stale.
High desert, on the road to Taos, looking back toward Santa Fe.
A church in Truchas, NM
Note the icicles. High desert does not equal warm desert.
Wondering if this is what Joe Mondragon's field was like. 
Also wondering if I will ever feel my toes again. 
The only inhabitants of Truchas that we saw.
I saw some of the prettiest, most well-cared-for horses in NM.
The inspiration for Tribby Gordon's Castle of Golden Fools?
I have no idea who lives here, but I am sure that I adore them.
Floodgate of an in-service acequia.
Why do I feel compelled to bust it open with a shovel and plant beans?
Picture it. Two gringos, freezing our white tails off, standing by
the side of the road, taking pictures a wooden aqueduct.
Every time we did something hyper-touristy like this,
we imagined locals driving by, shaking their fists
at the sky and yelling "Damn you, John Nichols."
Outside El Santuario de Chimayo, where we touched holy dirt.
El Santuario y mi hermano, Fino Chevere
Outside Rancho de Chimayo
One bag of green chile. One bag of red. Very Christmas-y.


Inside Rancho de Chimayo.
OK, sometimes there *is* salsa...
and guacamole,
and a roaring wood fire,
and pinon coffee... 


Rio Grande Gorge Bridge with the Taos Ski Valley in the far background.
This is as close as I ever got to the rail.
Me + heights = :-( 
There and back again.
Albuquerque at night from the rooftop bar of the Hotel Parq Central
(Pisco Sour, Sazerac, Caipirinha, and something else I can't recall...
and then we were off to the Two Fools Tavern.)

 

Today's exercise: Read a John Nichols book... or at least click on the link to his website (http://www.johnnicholsbooks.com) to see if we can drive enough web traffic there for him to notice us.

Next: Something to help you feel better about your family this holiday season... and a little shameless self-promotion.


John Nichols' white rabbit = muse
My white rabbit = Mose


*If anyone happens to know John Nichols personally, would you be so kind as to mention to him that “Beanfield” is misspelled on his website? Gracias.










Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Utterly Irresponsible Chocolate & Peanut Butter Brownies


WARNING: These are so fattening that you are likely to gain weight from the aroma alone.

1 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted & split
2 Tbsp water
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4cup baking cocoa (recommended: Peets Dutch Cocoa)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
18 oz natural peanut butter, split

Mix together sugar, 3/4 cup butter, and water in a large bowl
Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well between each

In a separate dish, combine flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt
Add to wet ingredients, stirring well

Mix the peanut butter and remaining 1/4 cup of melted butter

Spread half of the chocolate mixture over the bottom of a greased 13” x 9” baking pan

Spread half of peanut butter mixture on top of the chocolate layer.

Top with remaining chocolate mixture

Add remaining peanut butter mixture, in rows
Drag a knife lightly through the peanut butter rows to make cute swirls and swishes

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. (A wooden toothpick inserted in the center should come out still a little sticky)

Yield: 30 mega-ultra fattening, super-dense brownies.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hooray For Boobies!: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month


pinkribbon.com
They were your first desire, the first thought after your first breath. Growing up in this new and confusing world, they were your favorite pillow. Later, they became the objects of extraordinary fascination and desire.* Sexual, maternal, a source of nourishment, comfort, pleasure and pride, breasts are the best.

In fact, the only people likely to be adversely affected by breasts are their owners.

As you are probably aware from the myriad pink ribbon logos everywhere, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the United States. According to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure website, except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the US, with over 200,000 new cases diagnosed each year and nearly 40,000 deaths.

Just as we all have reason to celebrate breasts, we all have a reason to be concerned about breast cancer. This month, honor the breasts in your life by encouraging the women to whom they are attached to talk to their doctors and get the facts about the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.  

Together we can Save the TaTas.


Today's lesson: Give 'em a grope, ladies. It's for your health!  

Next: October 12 is Freethought Day... Maybe a piece on that, if I can get my thoughts organized... Also, October is National Pork Month...  and LGBT History Month... and German American Heritage Month... and Fair Trade Month and Dwarfism Awareness Month... Too many choices... Maybe I'll just open a bottle of wine and watch The Hunt for Red October for the 11 millionth time. (The entire cast of that movie = my first crush)


*Unless, well, they didn't... Did I mention it's LGBT History Month, too?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wine, Cheese & Me – Getting Better With Age

Sixteen maybe be sweet, but it turns out that twenty years older is just twenty years hotter. Below are ten of the many ways in which I am sexier now than when I was a teenager:

Grey hair = naturally occurring highlights

My ever growing need for “mole checks” makes it easy to get my clothes off. (Does this thing look weird to you?)

Dark under-eye circles = that sexy, smokey-eye look without effort   

My inability to stay awake past 10 PM makes it easy to get me into the sack.

Nothing says “Giddy-up, cowboy” like saddle bags. Also, love handles can be handy.

Spider veins = like those saucy fishnet stockings, only without the stockings

Cellulite provides textural interest, sort of like a Bob Ross painting

The effects of gravity over the years adds variety, keeping things interesting.  (Hey, were those always there?)

The worse my eyesight gets, the better you look.

I know things. I've seen things. I've done things... and I even remember some of them.


Today's exercise: Embrace your age... or embrace the aged. Something like that.

Next: Hooray for Boobies!

Friday, September 23, 2011

St. George and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Meditations on the Stars Wars Saga on Blu-ray (Part 2)


Continuing my stunningly superficial analysis of the Star Wars films on Blu-ray... (St. George in heavenly Marin preserve us.)


A New Hope

Princess Leia looks like my great-grandmother. This is in no way intended as an insult. She really does. See?



Generally speaking, I have a bad motivator.

“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” Mos Eisley spaceport = Las Vegas

A step-by-step hi-def, big-screen, slow-mo analysis definitively proves it. Greedo shot first.

“She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid.” The Millennium Falcon and I have that in common.

“The Force” would be a much cooler sci-fi basis for a hipster celebrity pseudo-religion than Dianetics.” Someone should look into that...

Nostalgia for my misspent youth aside, still one of the best films I've ever seen.


The Empire Strikes Back

Claymation! Muppets! I <3 the 80s!

Han Solo is a total nerf-herder. I could not agree more.

Boba Fett = Best action figure ever.

How come Billy Dee Williams and William Shatner never did a buddy movie together? Seems like someone missed an opportunity there...


Return of the Jedi

There should be a support group for the many women who still have body image issues because of early exposure to Princess Leia and her metal bikini. (Not a single freckle. I could just smack her...)

Ole Miss came so very close to being the coolest University ever. Long live Admiral Ackbar!

Flying motorcycles! Living teddy bears! Redwoods! Can I live on Endore? (I dream of one day moving to Humboldt County, going all Col. Kurtz, and leading my own Ewok Army of Darkness.)

I love a happy ending... especially if there were a whole bunch of really cool explosions preceding it.


Today's lesson: I am not nearly as deep or intellectually-minded as I once thought I was.

Next: Let's see what's next on the Netflix queue: Thor, X-Men First Class, Pirates of the Caribbean 3...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

St. George and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Meditations on the Stars Wars Saga on Blu-ray (Part 1)

Recently, the Yummish Council revisited the Joseph Campbell "Mythos" series, in preparation for the September release of St. George of Lucas' Star Wars films on Blu-ray. I'd hoped that it would help me better analyze one of our culture's most influential myths.

Below are the sad, sad results of my efforts. (or, as the man says, “I have a bad feeling about this.”)

The Phantom Menace

Every time someone says “Naboo,” I mentally substitute “Naboombu.”

One must be quite tall to successfully pull off the Jedi holocaust cloak look. The boots are cool, though.

Long-limbed, clumsy, mumble-mouthed... Do I hate Jar-Jar because he actually reminds me of myself?

...No. He just sucks. Renaming him “Jughead.”

I wonder if Kaiser offers Midi-chlorian tests?

A sci-fi universal truth: blue-skinned woman are always hot.

Skywalker is almost as cool a last name as Strider.

Qui-Gon Jinn  = Kwai Chang Caine  I have seen every episode of the 1970s TV show Kung Fu. Yet another example of the many ways in which I am awesome. 

Attack of the Clones

Do I see red in Ewan McGregor's beard? If so, that, combined with the BMW motorcycle thing, is almost enough to make me forgive his wang-baring in essentially every indie film of the 1990s.

George Lucas clearly also has a thing for motorcycles. Call us, George. We know all the sweet rides in the Bay Area.

Amidala = Nabooese for “enviable abs.”

Dooku... Dooku... tee-hee... Dooku...

Christopher Lee is a poor trade for Liam Neeson... but Jimmy Smits helps.

Many of the creatures in the Lucasverse look like they'd be tasty over steamed rice with a little soy sauce... or maybe deep fried in cornmeal...

Revenge of the Sith

Dream recast:
Anakin Skywalker – James McAvoy
Emperor Palpatine – John Hurt
Master Jedi Yoda – Kermit the Frog


Today's lesson: If you can find a take-away* from that bunch of nonsense, best of luck to you.

Next: Notes from three original Star Wars films... wherein we try to answer the question that is tearing our nation apart: Who shot first, Han or Greedo?


*Wait... An actual take-way:  From the Senior Member of the Yummish Council, Dr. Jim Strider:

I'm glad my silliness in re-watching the Star Wars movies has provided poodoo for the Yummish Blog.  (Poodoo means "fodder", right?)

Here's a couple of blurbs from wikipedia on the amygdala-

"In complex vertebrates, including humans, the amygdalae perform primary roles in the formation and storage of memories associated with emotional events. Research indicates that, during fear conditioning, sensory stimuli reach the basolateral complexes of the amygdalae, particularly the lateral nuclei, where they form associations with memories of the stimuli."

and

"Memories of emotional experiences imprinted in reactions of synapses in the lateral nuclei elicit fear behavior"

Yes, I think St. George considered that with regard to Amidala's name. Remember, the full story is all about Anakin Skywalker, so every object, event, and character must first be considered in it's relationship to him. And the fortuitous syllables "Ami" and "dala" (sounds like "doll-a").  I'm sure St. George considers himself  very clever for wrapping all that into one name.  ;-)

Master Yoda sez, "The unifying element of the six Star Wars films, Darth Vader is."





Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Neanderthal Woman


Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the gene pool... It turns out that many of your friends and neighbors may actually be the scions of Cavemen.

Cro-Magnon hottie Ayla
According to recent findings, the proto-humans known as Neanderthals didn't actually die off so much as get it on with the newly emergent Cro Mangon hotties. (Thus, making the Clan of the Cave Bear books more scientifically accurate than many high school biology texts in the US...) Humans of non-African origin may have derived between 1% – 4% of their DNA from these husky, prehistoric hunters, with about 100 Neanderthal genes still playing an active role in human evolution. 
 
Far from being disturbed by this discovery, I adore the idea of being descended from Neanderthals. Below is a list of my very intelligent and well-considered reasons why:

I've always thought it would be cool to be bi-racial.

I'd have an unassailable excuse for my desire to hit others over the head with a heavy wooden club...

      ...and for eating with my hands...

           ...or modeling large portions of my wardrobe on Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. (What does one wear with fur-trimmed apres-surf boots? A leather bikini! Duh.)

My occasional loss of verbal ability could be ascribed to something other than half a bottle of Shiraz.

Watching The Flintstones cartoon at my advanced age becomes slightly less pathetic... as does my habit of wearing animal-print scarves.

It would finally explain my fascination with Ugg boots...

      ...and men with prominent browridges...
          
          ...and why there are so many finger/hand prints on the walls of my apartment.

I'd no longer have to be insulted when told I dance like a troglodyte.

Tweezing = optional

CMMC* – Cave Man Motorcycle Club!


Today's exercise: Enjoy the increased “scope for imagination” afforded to us by new scientific discovery.

Next: Me no know... Only simple cave woman...


SAMCRO-Magnon
*Admittedly, that could also stand for Cro-Magnon Motorcycle Club. Though C-MMC would most likely be a Harley Rider's Group, while we Neanderthals tend toward BMWs