Friday, April 27, 2012

Loafing Around: A Recipe

In the past, we've discussed the strange ubiquity of bananas. Due to the extraordinary availability of this wondrous fruit, it is easy to find yourself with an overabundance of them from time to time.

As we all know, "When they are fleck'd with brown and have a golden hue, bananas taste the best and are best for you." But when the reverse is true, there's really just one thing to do --    

Banana Bread

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/3 cup butter, softened (plus extra to grease pans)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 – 4 large, ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat over to 350
Grease 2 small loaf pans (6” x 3.5”) with butter

Mix all together, then, using a pastry blender, blend in the bananas.
Fold into loaf pans.
(Optional -- sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top)
Bake for about 1 hour.


Note: Both the batter and the baked loaves freeze well.

Today's lesson: Someone bought too many bananas...

Next: Three days left in National Poetry Month... I think I can, I think I can...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Weeds vs. Hot House Flowers

In my continual attempt to reduce the entirety of the human experience into one-page blog posts, today I compare and contrast “Hot House Flowers” and “Flowering Weeds,” which you're probably clever enough to figure out are intended as metaphors for different types of human personalities.

So... Here we go...

Hot House Flowers Flowering Weeds
Fragile and costly and rare Hearty and cheap and abundant
Highly valued for their uncommon beauty Reviled for their commonness
Can really brighten up a room Can really brighten up a vacant lot
Can bring tears to your sweetheart's eyes when given as a bouquet Can bring tears to the eyes of a significant portion of the earth's mammalian population every spring.
Require many resources and much external care in order to flourish Make efficient use of whatever resources are available in order to survive in inhospitable environments
Are separate, cut off from the greater biological sphere. They produce nothing, only consume. Are a vital part of the natural system, providing pollen for bees, food for birds and insects, and fertilizer when they die – just to name a few contributions
Likely to be found in beautiful cut glass vases on marble topped tables in the finest establishments in the world Likely to be found woven into fairy princess crowns on the heads of little girls around the world
Will decorate your funeral momentarily Will decorate your grave eternally

Today's lesson: A weed sprouting through a crack in a Manhattan sidewalk is actually pushing all of New York City out of its way. Wherever you find yourself, seek the sunlight. 

Next: Still trying to put something together for National Poetry Month... 

Friday, April 13, 2012

13 Embarrassing Things About Me

In honor of Friday the 13th, here is a list of 13 completely stupid and embarrassing things about me. I...
  1. Have distractedly walked into a light post while Tweeting... and then Tweeted about it.
  2. Trip over my own feet anytime I even suspect someone might be watching me as I walk down the sidewalk.
  3. Cannot peel potatoes without also peeling my thumb. (Strangely, though, not when peeling carrots.)
  4. Am completely inept at making pie crust.
  5. Cannot say “Mrs. Buttersworth” properly. (Butterworth's... Butterworth's... Butterworth's...)
  6. Ruined all four tires on my first car in four completely different ways within the first year of ownership.
  7. Cannot drive a car with a manual transmission... in spite of having once owned one.
  8. Get lost coming back from every single audition/shoot I go on, even if I've been to that location multiple times. (I don't get lost going there, just getting back home again. Every single time...)
  9. Often forget to raise the windscreen of my motorcycle helmet before sneezing.
  10. Cause the cat to yowl as though in pain whenever I sing out loud to myself... which is more or less constantly.
  11. Sleepwalked into a brightly lit hotel hallway... naked. (It's really hot in Cancun...)
  12. Introduced my then boyfriend/now husband as “Mike.” His name is Jim.
  13. Have misspelled my own first name.
Today's lesson: I'm a total goober.

Next: Still trying to work up something for National Poetry Month... 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bunny Cake

Using your favorite cake recipe or mix, make an 8" or 9" round layer cake.

Actually, make 2.
After the cakes have cooled, cut one of the round cakes as indicated.

Arrange cut cake into the shape of a bunny. A cute bunny. Cuter than this. Decorate like crazy with frosting, jelly beans, colored sugar, etc.

 P.S. If you're in a pinch and it's the late 90s, the above can be repurposed into a Pikachu cake. 

P.P.S. I have shamelessly borrowed this idea from my mom, who made us a bunny cake every Easter. 


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Unsatisfying Nature of the Happy Finish

"And they all lived happily ever after.”

There is a reason bedtime stories often end this way. They're intended to put you to sleep.

It's not that a rewarding and satisfying conclusion can't also be positive, but too often “happy endings” are too pat, summing things up too neatly and too well. By tying up all of the loose ends into a cheerful pink bow, we're left with nothing to hold on to. It's like watching gift being wrapped neatly in pretty paper and ribbon. Ultimately, you're left with an appealing but closed box.

Sometimes a more challenging ending can be more rewarding. We connect with the story on an emotional level, truly sharing the experience of the fictional characters. Even when you know the story isn't “real,” the emotion it evokes is. By the end, you haven't just watched/read the story – you've lived it.

Below is a list of (some) books and (mostly) films that are beloved because they are total bummers.

Title Why It Is Better Because Of It's Unhappy Ending
Lolita Without seeing the sad consequences, the moral of the novel/film would be lost and it would be reduced to shallow pornography.
A Clockwork Orange Without seeing the sad consequences, the moral of the novel/film would be lost and it would be reduced to shallow pain pornography.
Citizen Kane We leave the theater happier knowing that fat bastard wasn't.
Charlotte's Web The barn is no longer infested with a zillion baby spiders.
Old Yeller None, actually... I'm still pretty much an emotional wreck over this one...
Titanic Because the boat sank in real life. (Better yet, imagine if it had never been made at all! The movie or the ship!)
The Scarlet Letter Because otherwise it becomes just another crappy Demi Moore costume romance.
Steel Magnolias Julia Roberts' character is tolerable only because we know that she is ultimately doomed. (Ditto whatsherface in “Love Story.”)
Sophie's Choice Gave us a wonderful new parental threat – “Behave or you'll be the one Mommy sends to the gas chamber.”
The Planet of the Apes Otherwise you might miss that this is a biting social commentary and think it was just a funny movie about guys running around in cheesy ape suits.
Breaking the Waves Imagine the years of dreary, expensive couple's therapy if Bess had lived.
Grave of the Fireflies In case “Slaughterhouse 5” didn't quite bring it home for you, makes it clear that fire bombing inhabited cities is a bad thing.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Could otherwise be marketed as a companion piece for Animal House.
Apocalypse Now What's in a name? In this case, pretty much the implied guarantee of an unhappy ending.
Easy Rider Safeguarded against the inevitable studio-backed sequel starring Burt Reynolds and Ned Beatty
Casablanca Saves Ilsa from having to wake up to Humphrey Bogart's potato-face every morning for the next 20 years.
Cool Hand Luke Because really, no kidding and no joke, nobody can eat fifty eggs. (That's over 9000 mg of cholesterol!)

Today's lesson: Sad is the new Happy. 

Next: Hopefully something for National Poetry Month