Sep 18, 2011


As young Catholic school kids, we were taught that God is everywhere. The nuns would repeatedly tell us to always be kind to even the lowliest of souls as one can never know when Jesus might be "disguised" as a beggar or some other hard-luck character.

Good thing I had this lesson beaten into my consciousness, because it helped me prepare for a "vision" I beheld at the tattoo shop on Friday.

In fact, I snapped a photo of this ink parlor "sculpture" as I thought it was odd -- not because I recognized the plastic artist as anyone in particular. It was only after I photographed the second image during my afternoon walk about town that I made the connection.

I know times are tough all over, but come on. If anyone can "save" the economy...

Sep 14, 2011


I’ve been making a habit of breaking up my workday by ducking into the chapel on my way to lunch. It’s usually a given that I’ll have the place all to myself (surveillance camera notwithstanding) and the dim quiet, cheap religious paraphernalia, and rare chance to experience that floral-musty smell that is too often reserved only for funeral parlors have strangely become a bit of comfort in my over-stimulated world.

Sometimes I do what one is expected to do in such a place, which is to entertain impure thoughts. Other times, I earnestly meditate on aspects of my life and try to summon guidance -- or at least try to summon the courage to consume whatever is being served in the cafeteria. But on days like today, I just stare at the crucified Christ and think of random crap.

Like light bulbs...and the iconic Easy-Bake Oven. Sure they both throw off heat, but that’s not where I’m going with this.

For nearly half-a-century, the most successful toy oven -- launched by Kenner in 1963 -- used the heat of a 100 watt incandescent light bulb to cook miniature sugar cookies. And, by extension, propagated an anti-feminist agenda.

The changing times would appear to have been the death knell of the Easy-Bake Oven. As more women entered the workplace, or were otherwise encouraged to "marry up," home economics-themed toys took a backseat and sales slumped. Our increasingly litigious society even forced a recall of the product when kids began burning their fingers and otherwise setting playrooms ablaze. Furthermore, formerly fun foods like artificially flavored sugar cookies were deemed unsafe at any size. And now, it would seem the final blow has been delivered to the perennial Christmas gift favorite as governments worldwide are outlawing the incandescent bulb.

Thank you, Al Gore.

But things are not always as they seem, as I found out while reading the day’s news.

See, just as my chapel buddy Jesus rose from the dead, so has the Easy-Bake Oven. Hasbro (who bought Kenner, another sign o’ the times) announced today they are releasing a new, bulb-less streamlined version of the oven. Outfitted with a "heating element," as opposed to an old-fashioned light bulb, the new gadget will appeal to "young chefs" and feature "trendier snacks" to reflect the modern culture.

Now, I say this whole redesign is a goddamn sham. If they really wanted to mirror modern culture, they would have included a housekeeper.

Sep 12, 2011

...Of Good and de Ville

I took some video with my iPhone over Labor Day weekend as John drove us around Manhattan in the Cadillac. This is how it began. Hear me sound like a complete bitch at about the 1 minute mark.

I swear there was nothing stronger than coffee involved...this really is proof that I shouldn't leave the house.

Sep 10, 2011

I Think I Can...

I found this in the parking lot outside my gym. I've heard of "Divine Intervention"...but "Divine Motivation"? Eh.

Sep 6, 2011

Portion Control

Every so often I get sucked into the vacuum of what I call NPRworld. A place where people spend a disproportionate amount of time telling people how culturally relevant they are instead of actually doing culturally relevant shit. I'm not gonna lie, it's a place full of people I envy.

Last week, Fresh Air featured a strange(r than usual) interview with Grant Achatz. I had no idea who he was either. He is a Chicago-based chef and restaurateur (I still don’t understand why owners of restaurants get their own word) who is a tongue cancer survivor. He also had two books published, so I assume he is an author too.

But the reason he was on the show was to discuss his approach to food. He does not approach it with a fork and knife, or even chopsticks, the way the rest of us do. No, this is NPRworld. And this cat’s claim to fame is “molecular gastronomy.”

So, to quote Nuke LaLoosh, “What's all this molecule stuff?”

According to Wikipedia, molecular gastronomy is “a modern style of cooking, which takes advantage of innovations from the scientific discipline.” In practical terms – and I use the term “practical” with some hesitation – this means he does things like freeze edibles that usually don’t solidify due to very low freezing points (he specifically mentioned olive oil lollipops). He also accompanies certain dishes with a perforated pillow case designed to release fragrances, such as leather and firewood ashes, while diners eat. It sounds to me like the performance art version of date night – dinner at Pizzeria Yoko Ono. But to those who know a hell of a lot more about these things than I do, it’s some pretty groundbreaking stuff.

Now for the most important question…“why?”

It seems that by rendering (my word, not his) food and enhancing the dining experience in such unusual ways, eating becomes elevated to an intellectual exercise. This may be complicating things a bit much, but then again I read that reservations for one of his restaurants can go for $500 on Craigslist. I’m assuming that’s not prix fixe either.

Food for thought?

Some things I guess I am just not meant to understand.

One matter he did touch upon that I kind of wondered about was why “gourmet” portions are traditionally so miniscule. I’ve always assumed it had something to do with backlash against today’s mega-mart mindset. Rare for the sake of being rare – a sort of market fixing. But what he said on the subject was interesting: it’s not necessarily about the scarcity of ingredients, it’s about their usefulness. And it’s actually a great life lesson.

The reason, he stated, his meat course is only two ounces has nothing to do with nutritional sustainance. It’s because after ten bites, the palate is done experiencing its flavor profile. To take the plate to 15 or 20 bites is simply overkill. There is only so much “sensation” one can take before the experience is ruined by excess.

Kind of like listening to too much NPR.