Archive for the ‘Foodie foolery’ Category

God bless you, Mr. Welchos

March 1, 2010

Tonight I’m meeting up to set off soosh bombasticos for probably the last time in a bad long while with Jonohs Welchos, Esq., aka the MWP, aka Junior Quizboy. (He didn’t know about that last one.) I’m also returning the last of the books he loaned to me over the course of our friendship, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and Mother Night.

Click to enlarge.

I’m inexpressibly sad that he’s moving away and I didn’t make better use of my time with him, but I’m glad to have got to benefit from his centered-yet-unpredictable company and sound advice even for a short time. My brief association with Jonohs has taught me many valuable things.

  • Two heads are better than one when it comes to cryptic crosswords.
  • I am not alone on Spaceship Earth in thinking Achewood is worth buying shirts over. (Mine is from my husband and features Roast Beef Kazenzakis saying “what we need more of is science”; Jonohs’ is even older school and has the “equation of the day.” We knew one another for several months before it even came up.)
  • There is such a thing as acai berry beer.

  • From a BevMo visit with Jonohs in September. Left: Acai berry beer. Right: The hard shit, only recommended for true HST gonzos who are ready for some serious bat country driving.

  • Don’t discount anyone based on age or the suspicion you yourself will be discounted based on age.
  • Not every coffee shop in Motown is full of hipster douchenozzles, and, even if it were, I still have the right to sit there and read about opera with my friend.
  • Wonderful new people can pop up into my life in the least likely places, even places I’ve searched a thousand times (aka the pub).

  • Some lost summer night of trivia and shenanigans.

  • There is a secret menu at Miki from which only Jonohs, like a g, can order and convince the waitress to convince the chef to make food that technically no longer exists at their restaurant. It is a powerful display of confidence. Peanut sauce, ahoy.
  • I apologize too much.

  • Graciously serving as my candy corn vampire date at Paolo and Miss D’s wedding.

  • Candy corn vampires suck much less than the trite usual kind, and are ultimately far superior to sparkly vegetarian douchebags.
  • Kurt Vonnegut wrote novels that were as good as his short stories and are well worth my time.
  • I deserve and should expect fidelity in all my relationships. I have to stop assuming I am not worthy of good things.

  • Jonohs as That Guy at chili cookoff.

  • Even my best drawings of the flux capacitor look more like a crude sketch of a uterus and fallopian tubes.
  • No matter how complete you think your circle of friends is, there is always room to make it even better-rounded.
  • The Gentlemen and I first met Jonohs when he stepped in for Ronald as the quizmaster one trivia night at the pub — calendar check — last April, specifically April 27, 2009. Man. So much in my life has changed since then, but I definitely would not change having gotten to know Jon and become friends. I’m really going to miss the prospect of seeing him weekly. I guess the final lesson I’ve learned from getting close to a new friend as a fully-formed adult is not to take people’s presence in my life for granted. Even though I had a great time with him and he constantly surprised me by showing me new things I didn’t already know about the area, or had never tried, I still wish I’d made more use of our time together.

    Just all by myself exactly and with kind of a science type question…

    On that note, I’m going to go make something out of this cloud of frizz I call hair, and scootch by the bank to deposit a check from subbing — I’m treating the Man With the Plan, if he will allow it (we’ll see), to some serious soosh bombasticos. Have to make the best of the last time I will be able to get the secret menu stuff!, and I plan to guzzle “crispy” beers the size of his new-job-seeking head. Catch you on the flip side!

    Valentine Vixen: Amber Campisi, Miss February 2005

    February 8, 2010

    I think the lovely and talented Amber Campisi, Miss February 2005, is a really special woman from an amazing family, so it was a pleasure putting together this post, although there was sadness in it, too.

    Photographed by Arny Freytag and Stephen Wayda.

    As one of the managers of Campisi’s Restaurant, a family-run business that has been a Dallas favorite since 1946, Amber Campisi can be chauvinistic about her family’s cooking. “I’ll eat anything,” she says, “but I don’t usually like Italian anywhere else. The way we do it is just better.”

    When the 23-year-old restaurateur visited our office, she hauled in enough oval Campisi’s pizzas to feed the staff. “My family can’t travel without them,” she says. “When we go to the Cayman Islands every year, we bring lasagna and pizzas in a cooler. It’s ridiculous.”

    “There are pictures of me wearing an apron and a name tag when I was five years old,” she says. “I would go to work with my dad when I was little and stay until closing time. They’d cover me with napkins, and I’d sleep in a booth.”

    Jack Ruby, a friend of Amber’s grandfather Joe, dined there the night before he shot Lee Harvey Oswald. This led the Warren Commission to interview the elder Campisi. “One of the stories is that Ruby came in and told my grandfather he was going to do it to spare the Kennedys the pain of a trial,” she says. Whatever was said that night, Dallas now has seven Campisi’s restaurants that are better known for their squisito Italian cuisine. (“Specialty of the House,” Playboy, February 2005.)

    AMBITIONS: To help run the family restaurant and one day pass it on to my children.

    TURN-ONS: Athletic men, someone who is confident but not cocky, and redheads.

    FAVORITE COLLEGE COURSES: Nonprofit Communication, Communication Research and Argumentation

    Heck yeah, charity and hot gingers — you see what I mean? This girl is super awesome. And you know she eats spaghetti. Strong family bonds, love of cooking, she’s got some great and special qualities, in my opinion. This is not some airbrushed airhead looking to launch a D-list career with her rack. Ms. Campisi seems fun-loving and genuine.

    Her father, was on an E! special called Wildest Party Parents, which focused on his restaurant Campisi’s Egyptian Room.

    The handlers at the E! cable network have been very soothing to Dallas restaurateur Corky Campisi, who will be featured in Friday night’s Wildest Party Parents.

    “They said, ‘Don’t worry, you won’t be embarrassed,’ ” says Corky. “The previews show me with a girl’s high heel in my mouth.”

    Regardless, Corky is anything but embarrassed. “As long as it’s good for business,” he says, referring to his family’s Mockingbird Lane eatery, Campisi’s Egyptian.

    An E! camera crew was in Dallas in December and filmed Corky out on the town with his three daughters, former Playboy centerfold Amber Campisi and twin sisters Tara and Gina Campisi. (“Campisi puts the E! in party.” Peppard, Alan. The Dallas Morning News, May 30, 2007.)

    You may hit Ms. Campisi up on the myspace, or follow her on the twitter. Sadly, Amber’s younger sister Gina just passed away last Wednesday, February 3. She was only 26. Amber got this tattoo as a memorial.

    I’m sure their large family is beside themselves over losing her sister so young, especially Gina’s twin Tara. So maybe, please, don’t send Amber a bunch of pervy or weird stuff right now?

    The Morning News is reporting that Gina Campisi’s death is an apparent suicide, which understandably makes the loss that much more tragic and difficult for her family to process. It’s especially tragic because she had only recently begun to build on her family’s food history and make a name for herself.

    With business partner Brittany O’Daniel, Gina had opened her own restaurant, Fedora Restaurant & Lounge at One Arts Plaza, just last year. When you go to the website for Fedora, it is not only gorgeous and well-designed, but, on a fun note, it plays the “Parla più piano” (“Speak softly, love”) theme made famous in the Godfather films. It seems that, like Amber, Gina was sensitive to family traditions, stylish history, and culinary flair.

    Interior shot during a party.

    Fine Italian dining demands a swanky, romantic setting –– like that of Fedora Restaurant & Lounge, owned by Dallas’ Gina Campisi and Brittney O’Daniel and designed by Tyler Duncan of Duncan Design Group. Reminiscent of a scene from The Godfather or an Al Pacino mobster movie, large plush red couches, black, white and cream interiors and dramatic chandeliers give the restaurant a 1940s feel. Flat screen televisions play classic Hollywood flicks as the sensational smells of Chef Jordan’s creations waft from the kitchen. (“About Fedora,” official site)

    Gina in 2008 at a DIFFA Dining by Design event in North Dallas; photograph by Christopher Wynn of Eats Blog,

    Enter Gina Campisi. The 25-year-old granddaughter of the legendary Joe Campisi is no stranger to the local scene. Her family’s Campisi’s Egyptian has been dishing out pizza and pasta for more than 60 years, though her new restaurant is far removed from the old-school appeal of the family business. …

    Campisi says her aim was to create a place that was hip and modern while appealing to a broad cross section of Dallas diners. “And really, I just wanted to stay as true to my roots and upbringing as possible,” she says.

    For delivering credible, updated Italian food with flair* – and an approachably modest price point – I’ll give Fedora a tip of the hat.

    (“Restaurant Review: Fedora.” Harwell, Kim. The Dallas Morning News, March 13, 2009.)

    *Please note that the chef at the time of Ms. Harwell’s review, Christopher Patrick, is no longer with Fedora. Beginning in December 2009, the kitchen has been headed by Chef Jordan Rogers.

    All of my condolences to the Campisi family, and R.I.P. to Gina Campisi. Male a che muori; s’acconza la menestra (“Pity he who dies; those who live, continue to prepare the supper.”).

    Souperbowl Sunday and shunning the frumious bandersnatch

    February 7, 2010

    Basking in the success and pre-indigestive warmth of the Chili Cook-off back in November, the friendohs unanimously agreed to have a Souperbowl Superbowl Sunday, wherein we would each bring signature soup dishes for everyone to try, smorgasboard style. Fast-forward to this weekend, and we’ve all been working on our recipes! I made my hearty roast red pepper and tomato soup with toasted bread crumbs, basil, oregano, carmelized pine nuts, cheddar cheese, and bacon on top. (My recipe is decidely not “heart”-healthy or low-carb.)

    Stock footage. It just looks exactly like my soup. I’ll explain why I can’t upload a picture of my own in a moment.

    Gorgeous George and the Gentleman are hosting, along with relative newcomer and housemate the Great Dane. The LBC is doing chicken noodle, Geo called clam chowder, and Paolo and Miss D are thinking outside the box and bringing accompanying dishes rather than soup itself. I can only guess Jonohs is bringing cheesecake; I have not had the chance to talk to him between his phone being o.o.c. and my computer in the same state. That frumious bandersnatch about which I’ve been writing from time-to-time in my occasional efforts to remove it has stepped up its game:

    Tenniel cut.

    It is now a straight up jubjub bird, heading swiftly in to Jabberwock territory. Not cool! Especially as I’m in the thick of the Valentine Vixens and I’ve got all kinds of babymama non-drama news to share (nothing but roses on that front, thank God one area of my life is moving along successfully) and yucky love stuff to ruminate on, as it comes up on a full year since my husband and I separated. I’m swamped with ideas and the actual desire to write for once, and the computer is decidely not cooperating.

    “Now, Professor, without knowing the exact problem, would you say it’s time to PANIC, cracking each other’s heads open and feasting upon the goo inside?” “Mmm, yes I would, Kent.”

    I’ve been trying a number of methods for exorcism and I’m hoping at least one pans out, but will keep you posted. I’m writing this from a borrowed computer which I’m about to vacate, so if you don’t hear from me for awhile that is the trouble. Wish me luck. Until then: “Technical difficulties — Please stand by!”

    Calendar Girls Day: Hot Mormon Muffins edition

    December 27, 2009

    I would be remiss to leave religion to the boys. Feast your eyes on baked goods and some Latter-Day Saint ladies, ladies, ladies in the “Hot Mormon Muffins” 2010 calendar!

    A new calendar pokes fun at what its creator [Chad Hardy] calls a stereotype of Mormon mothers as homemakers from another era. “Hot Mormon Muffins: A Taste of Motherhood” features 12 mothers who claim membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and each month has a muffin recipe. (“Hot Mormon Muffin Calendar Debuts.” Dobner, Jennifer. Dec. 21, 2009, news.)

    Leticia, Hot Mormon Muffin of December

    In the words of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, “well-behaved women rarely make history.” Historically, change has come from those who have dared to challenge the status quo. These twelve women are doing just that. The Mormon mothers who “bare their testimony” on the pages of the Hot Mormon Muffins calendar are women who are comfortable enough in their own beliefs, and independent and brave enough to take a stand for what they believe in regardless of what others may think. (“Meet The Muffins,” on the calendar’s official site.)

    It would appear likely that the 12 moms (ranging in age from 26 to 53) appearing in “Hot Mormon Muffins” will have to watch out.

    At least one of the models has already expressed her defiance. Tami Roberts, 35, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, said she did the calendar, in part, because she wants her 3 daughters to “know that everybody is not the same and it’s OK to make your own choices.”

    Roberts read about the “Men on a Mission” calendar last year, and decided that she wanted to be a part of the new project after reading about [calendar creator Chad] Hardy’s punishment [of excommunication from the Mormon church].

    “That made me mad, I did not agree with that,” the cover model said. “The pictures are tasteful, and it’s fun. I don’t see why people can’t have a sense of humor. I just don’t think it’s a big deal!” (“Hot Mormon Muffins Calendar Features Sexy Mormon Moms, Muffin Recipes,” October 26, 2009.

    See? Not all LDS people are crazy-go-nuts. It’s just a few standouts that give the rest a bad name! (I’m looking at you, weirdo Twilight-writing crazy cat-lady, whatever your name is — I’m not taking the time to Google you.)

    Swing by the Mormons Exposed website to pick up your own copy — I may have spilled some of the “hot mormon” half of the beans, but you don’t see a word of the recipes, so hopefully that will entice you. You can also buy the “Men On A Mission” 2010 calendar, a sort of male counterpart to “Hot Mormon Muffins.” Ai!

    Orrrr you can buy this shirt in “Polygamy Pink”:

    Yeah, I guess I can see where Chad Hardy got in some trouble, but a sense of humor never killed anyone (except people who die of overdose on ether … as they say in Radioland Murders, it’s a slow, painful, uuugly way to die (then everyone laughs).)

    I guess the only compunction of guilt I have for putting this post together is that I wonder what Orson Scott Card thinks of all this … I would hate to picture him shaking his head and saying, “I am so disappointed in you, Elizabeth.”

    Oh, man, now I’m super-bummed! You can rock me to sleep tonight.

    Calendar Girls Day: Lavazza edition and short Music Moment

    December 27, 2009

    I realize I am inundating you with these Italian ad calendars, but I don’t know what to tell you — Italians just do it best! These are gorgeous, hi-res pics, so be sure to click to see them full-sized.

    Luigi Lavazza S.p.A. is a 115-year-old, Turin-based coffee company. Since the early 90’s, Lavazza has put out a yearly artistic promotional calendar somewhat akin to Pirelli and Campari, full of beautiful women, although usually with less trumpet-blasting and more clothes on. This year’s campaign appears to be centered around music, chiefly opera. It was shot by no less than Miles Aldridge (past photographic artists have been Annie Leibovitz, Helmut Newton, and patron saint David LaChapelle) and features models Georgia Frost, Bianca Balti, Lydia Hearst, Daisy Lowe, Alek Alexeyeva, and Alexandra Tomlinson. (To the opera end, click below to hear while you’re browsing the pics, which will open in their own windows, my favorite recording of “Nessun Dorma (None shall sleep)” from Puccini’s Turandot, performed by Katherine Jenkins, who I normally don’t tremedously like, but this is a great arrangement, almost as good as Pavarotti’s, without treading on it. It really takes off at the :43 mark for me.)

    Katherine Jenkins – Nessun Dorma

    Alek Alexeyeva: “Va’ Pensiero (“Thought Goes,” aka “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves,” Verdi, Nabucco).”

    On various occasions, it has been suggested that “Va’ pensiero” replace the Inno di Mameli as the Italian National Anthem, and more recently has been appropriated by the Italian Northern Separatist movement, the Lega Nord, as the National Anthem of the unrecognized state of Padania. (the wiki)

    Cool, huh? But the rest is going to focus on “Nessun Dorma.”

    Georgia Frost: “Nessun Dorma (“None Shall Sleep,” Turandot, Puccini).”

    It is sung by Calaf, il principe ignoto (the unknown prince), who falls in love at first sight with the beautiful but cold Princess Turandot. However, any man who wishes to wed Turandot must first answer her three riddles; if he fails, he will be beheaded.

    In the act before this aria, Calaf has correctly answered the three riddles put to all of Princess Turandot’s prospective suitors.

    Daisy Lowe: “Con Te Partirò (With You I Will Leave/Time To Say Goodbye).”

    Nevertheless, she recoils at the thought of marriage to him. Calaf offers her another chance by challenging her to guess his name by dawn. (As he kneels before her, the Nessun dorma theme makes a first appearance, to his words, “Il mio nome non sai!”) If she does so, she can execute him; but if she does not, she must marry him. The cruel and emotionally cold princess then decrees that none of her subjects are to sleep that night until his name is discovered. If they fail, all will be killed.

    Alexandra Tomlinson: “Guarda Che Luna (Look, What a Beautiful Moon).”

    In 2009, singer Antony Hegarty, lead singer of Antony and the Johnsons recorded the aria with the Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra, which was released for free by the Italian coffee company, Lavazza. While the orchestration of the recording is Puccini’s original, Hegarty performs the song with his famous, quavering delivery. (the wiki)

    Bianca Balti: “‘O Sole Mio (Oh, My Sun).” (my favorite version is Elvis Presley’s.)

    Oh, my sun, like, did you want to hear that version of “Nessun Dorma” where hipster darling Antony Hegarty jacks Pavarotti’s signature piece for profit and makes it all about himself? Go find it yourself; until he proves to me he has a shred of redeeming value as a person that isn’t dripping with deliberate ironic self-references, art school bullshit, and materialistic perpetual adolescence, I do not care for that pretentious twat and I won’t be part of his making money.

    Lydia Hearst: “Baciami piccina (Kiss me, little one).” (I had a dream a while back that had Lydia Hearst in it, but she was still a redhead in my dream.)

    Don’t get me wrong, here. I don’t mind a dork even at all but I prefer if they are not hipstery, cynical, judgmentally snobby deliberate nerds. I like that kind of un-self-aware, loveably sweet, dorky-in-spite-of-themselves type of dork and I always go much more for a geek of any stripe (computer, academic, video game, sci-fi television, music, biting-the-heads-off-chickens, etc) that has got a little bit of heart and soul. ie: Kindness, faith, charity, optimism, forgiveness, non-materialism, and no jeans in the closet that could be mistaken for mine. Super-sorry!

    Happy Christmas

    December 25, 2009

    It’s Christmas: do what feels right!

    Have a holly jolly one, party people.

    Joanie Dearest would want it that way.

    Care for me, I am not as prickly as I seem.

    December 24, 2009

    Need to paste this to my face for the holidays.

    To: my wonderful family of loving, noisy, boisterous, pushy, adoring extroverts.

    From: the one in the kitchen making fifty cheese trays so as to avoid the heart-to-heart chats you desperately want to corner me for.

    I am not a humbug, I’m actually very into the holidays and enjoy seeing everyone open gifts, but I feel awkward receiving them and your attention and that will never change. I am not trying to ruin Christmas by not enjoying being photographed, but I do love taking pictures, so slap my kid on your lap and give me a grin. I am very in to hearing about what you’ve been up to, but yes, I am still getting a divorce, and no I emphatically sure as fuck do not wish to talk about it; that is to do with my feelings and not to do with you and your overtures of discussion. I am sure you are a great listener, I am just not much of a great talker. I have huge piles of love and optimism in my heart but I also have to hide from big displays of emotion. Let’s all focus on understanding each other instead of projecting expectations. I will try not to resent your demands of pictures and prying questions and recognize them for the signs of love that they are, and you let me have a little airpsace.

    Put-together as Hay-ull

    December 6, 2009

    Most of the time, I do not much consider myself very badass or even particularly put-together as an adult, because I am mainly fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants and not terribly interested in grown-up rules, but sometimes that immaturity and disorganization goes so far out there that it comes back around in to Being Awesome. It hit me hard when I was making dinner for me and the kidlet tonight.

    Yep. That’s right. Dinner was cartoon-character-shaped macaroni and cheese, chardonnay for me, milk for her, and a split Snickers. The kidlet had this Madonna-wannabe headband on and she had fluffed out the lace and pulled it around her face like a fascinator and was lecturing me in a very fancy voice with her hand on her hip about opening the packet of powdered cheese, licking my finger, and sucking off the cheese. She was very chic. I was impressed enough to almost consider not eating more of the cheese.

    (Later, instead of digging up a tablespoon, I just eyeballed how much milk and butter I figured I needed. Totally overestimated on the milk. So when it didn’t set up right, I drained and poured some of the runny mix in to a plastic cup from the Olive Garden. I meant to pour it down the sink, probably, but I instinctively drank it instead.)

    We’re eating macaroni and watching the live action Scooby Doo now, because kidlet loves the dog and Mommy loves Matthew Lillard. (Did you know he was The Fat Kid growing up, so everyone made fun of him, and it affected him very deeply? Because I know, because I love him.) Sometimes we play Scooby Dooby Doo in the bathtub — she is Scooby and I am Shaggy. The tub is the Mystery Van and we drive in it to solve crimes and say “like” a lot. Not gonna lie: we’re pretty awesome.

    Daily Batman: PSA redux

    December 4, 2009

    PSA redux: Most cats are lactose intolerant.

    “Milk” by devoteeofart on

    I find that most cats are generally “everything” intolerant. Unless a thing is their idea. Then they are just insistent.

    Super-breaking news: Kate Beckinsale and Zooey Deschanel in Absolut Vodka ads shot by Ellen Von Unwerth

    December 3, 2009

    There is nothing about putting this post together that I don’t like. Ellen Von Unwerth photographed Kate Beckinsale and Zooey Deschanel for the new Absolut Vodka campaign. Pics debuted yesterday. First look at what I can find of the ads so far, three photos of Kate Beckinsale have been released with drink recipes so far and one of Zooey D, will keep you updated if I find more as this story unfolds! Quotes below the ads are overwrought blurbs from the press release.

    Kate Beckinsale photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth for Absolut vodka.

    • Beckinsale channels the 1980s as she is inspired by the lime garnish that can work in many lightly-mixed drinks in the ABSOLUT Tonic Twist ad. A second look at the ad reveals details that the swirls initially hide and the turn table and records give a musical theme to the ambience.

    Kate Beckinsale photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth for Absolut vodka.

    • In the ABSOLUT Crush ad, Beckinsale is larger than life, walking through a Miami-like city, home of sunshine and oranges. “Crush” is another way of saying “squeeze,” for fresh-squeezed juice.

    By the way, once I saved these for myself from various official channels, I edited and scaled them to be extra-large for you, so click through to save the big versions.

    Zooey Deschanel photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth for Absolut vodka.

    • In the ABSOLUT Cosmo ad, Deschanel adds a science-fiction flair to the traditional ABSOLUT® CITRON cocktail in a retro-hip yet modern lounge as she plays the role of a “cosmo”-naut.

    Kate Beckinsale photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth for Absolut vodka.

    • There are many versions of the Bloody Mary legend with all of them involving calling Mary’s ghost while chanting into a mirror. In the ABSOLUT Bloody ad, Beckinsale brings the character to life as a stylish and mischievous temptress – one who won’t be contained.

    Man. Two of my favorite actresses, shot by my favorite photographer, advertising a beverage which gets you one of my favorite things (*whisper*: d-r-u-n-k).

    This is truly a red letter day!

    Model Citizen: Martha Stewart’s Salad Days Edition

    December 3, 2009

    In her day …

    Miss Martha Stewart was quite the beautiful model.

    But you must admit…

    Even today, when she keeps the public focus on her mind and not her body, unlike in her salad days of yore…

    She still gives Good Face!

    Just remember —

    — she is a big adherent of size mattering.

    Advice: Special K on Cannibalism edition

    December 3, 2009

    Katohs shared a nugget she’d come across.

    “Cannibal” by marewabisabi on

    “Some people are spoiled. Don’t eat them.” (slogan by Lawrence Pernika on Threadless).

    So true. Steer clear of the rotting fruits.

    Advice: NSFW Sophia Loren schooling on true sexy glamour edition

    November 20, 2009

    I think the quality of sexiness comes from within. It is something that is in you or it isn’t and it really doesn’t have much to do with breasts or thighs or the pout of your lips.

    A woman’s dress should be like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.

    Hey, models and movie starlets of today! Want to be a timeless, beautiful, glamorous international sex symbol like the world-famously gorgeous Sophia? Ms. Loren sez: eat something. If you are confused about how to eat and need help getting started, she even has cookbooks to help you along.

    Final thoughts on eating and sexiness from Sophia:

    Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.


    Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner.

    Do it for the curves, ladies. Feel free to keep me posted on your progress!

    NSFW November: Lisa Baker, Miss November 1966

    November 14, 2009

    The lovely and talented Lisa Baker, Playboy’s Miss November 1966 enjoys jazz, cheese-tasting, and a refreshingly open-minded take on afternoon snacking attire.

    Photographed by either Bill Figge or Ed DeLong

    Cheese looks like simple red-rind edam, alcohol looks like some kind of dessert wine, I am going to say Sauternes because I could drink that by the bottle and think it pairs well with cheese.

    I like to order a cheese plate, where they give you the whole range from mild to sharp, with a glass of Sauternes at a fancy place when I feel like being hoity-toity and/or want to die from eating cheese, as I am viciously lactose intolerant and never remember to carry any kind of medicine with me. Read: if in some distant future, I am out with you, and I order a cheese plate, sex is not even remotely on my mind. The spirit may be willing thanks to the wine, but the flesh? Weak doesn’t begin to cover it.

    Stomach swelling and projectile vomit notwithstanding, I am not the only girl who gets ga-ga over cute little cheese samples and suchlike. Sauternes and a cheese plate with nuts and triangle slices of that quince stuff have mellowed many a lady’s mind and made her look at her date more charitably. All the elements of a cheese-tasting spread are honestly easy to procure, and look super-posh. Believe me. Take this to the bank. We women go bananas for that kind of shit. Dessert wine, cheese varieties, almonds, and quince: write that down.

    Records visible in the centerfold photo are Trini Lopez’s “Trini Lopez at PJ’s,” a live recording from 1963; the 1960 album “Hello Love” by Ella Fitzgerald; and “Playboy Presents: Once In A Blue Moon” by Johnny Janis (nice plug by the magazine).

    Get it: the skis make her bunny ears. That’s kind of clever, right?

    Anyway, I’ve blathered all this time about cheese and wine and LP’s mainly because I got all these pictures but very little info about Ms. Baker, other than that she was Playmate of the Year in 1967. Outside of that, her credits kind of died down around the late ’70s and they were all Playboy projects. I actually found more about her present doings than I did her past. She is currently still an active spokesmodel for products and print model available for photoshoots, appearing at conventions around the United States.

    l to r: DeDe Lind (Miss August 1967), Helena Antonaccio (Miss June 1969), and Lisa Baker at Glamourcon 2006, from Helena’s official website.

    Interestingly, according to the wiki, Ms. Baker now lives in Florida and rooms with fellow retired Playmate DeDe Lind, who is alleged to be one of the most popular Playmates ever, garnering the most bags of mail ever received in the magazine’s history up until the time of her appearance in August, 1967. The two travel to conventions together and appear at local events.

    You keep on keepin’ on, girls. God bless ’em!

    Photographed by Patrick “Patman” Sun, DragonCon 1998. Judging from her expression and her grip on that alien, I think Ms. Lind may have been over-served at the hotel bar.

    Music Moment: More from Mother Mother

    November 9, 2009

    I realized that the last time I was jawing at you about young, offbeat hipster Canadian cuties Mother Mother, I streamed basically the entirety of their new album (but I wisely did not throw up the mp3s and make them available to download; look who’s NOT getting her narrow ass sued today! me! I am the one!), but, other than “Dirty Town,” I almost totally ignored their first-ish album. It was a retool in cooperation with the label of an earlier, limited self-release. The album is called Touch Up, and while I don’t think it has the same naked genius and confidence of O My Heart, it is still infinity plus one times better than most of the slop the pretty people shove down our throats on the reg.

    Jasmin Parkin, proving me right that the recent absconsion of strawberry blonde Debra-Jean Creelman could be easily combated by one of the tow heads dyeing her hair a little red.

    One of my favorite songs in the world is “Mr. Sandman,” of which I have many covers. This frenetically paced track makes wide reference to it. It’s a crazy song and I do not at all recommend it if you are hung over, but it’s awesome if you’re on the natch and looking for a little ear candy.

    Mother Mother – Tic Toc

    I included it first here because I think it’s the best track of the lot for the distinctive harmonics and characteristically shifty orchestration, which is still emerging on this album and reached full fruit on the more recent LP O My Heart. I love that every time you think you have a bead on the different instruments, something gets cut and something crazy and new gets thrown in, although consistent throughout is that great plucky cotton-picking acoustic sound that makes all music good for me; some things just speak to your soul and that is apparently my soul’s style.

    Congruently, it’s almost becoming signature to me in Ryan Guldemond’s compositions to hear that fluid time signature; always jerking the rug out from beneath us, these kids. Also, as usual, some surprisingly good lyrics, I really feel like the songs “Wrecking Ball” and “Burning Pile” on their sophomore release picks this theme back up, enough so that I’m starting to want to sit down and have a couple pints with Ryan G and nail down some solid plans for anarchy (oxymoron intended).

    All this talk, all this ticking, all this shit talk
    I’m staying in bed today
    And it doesn’t matter what they’ll have to say to me
    No I do not care just what they’ll have to say to me
    Cuz I am not listening

    Big hand, little hand, no hand, slow hand
    Sitting in my hand is the sand of a shattered hour glass
    And I throw these grains of sand into the wind and laugh
    And I do not care just what they’ll have to say about that
    Cuz the sand man told me, there’s no use in listening

    I am not listening to you

    Molly Guldemond and Debra-Jean Creelman.

    Another standout track is “Love and Truth.” The ladies take the lead on this song, and it’s a shiny little pretty gem on a decent but occasionally rough and uneven album.

    Mother Mother – Love and Truth

    Is my life not all that I thought it would be?
    Is it simply ordinary?
    Oh, is it far from all my fantasies?

    Love and truth
    Why are they so hard to achieve
    Love and truth
    They’re such hot commodities
    But come in such small quantities
    Love and truth where are you?

    Oh, love and truth
    If everything was up to me
    I’d make sure that there was plenty of love and truth
    Love and truth where are you?

    Molly Guldemond at the Central Jazz Fest in Gastown, photographed by Krystal Shea.

    Hilarious and honest and surprising with vocals that rip through like from underwater to squawk the cocky lyrics at you, with the girls’ harmonic back-ups in styles that vary from the Ronettes to the ladies’ choir vox on Duran-Duran’s “Come Undone,” really funny and unflinching at the same time. I wonder what conversation lead him to write those lyrics. I want to meet that chick.

    Mother Mother – Verbatim

    I wear women’s underwear
    And then I go to strike a pose in my full length mirror
    I cross my legs just like a queer
    But my libido is strong when a lady is near, ya
    What defines a straight man’s straight?
    Is it the boxer in the briefs or a twelve ounce steak?
    I tell you what a women loves most
    It’s a man who can slap but can also stroke

    Goin’ in the wind is an eddy of the truth and it’s naked
    It’s verbatim and it’s shakin’
    backupNo, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no more getting’ elated
    No more listless invitations

    And every day I go out walking past its sickly windows
    I see people dying there
    But my tender age makes it hard to care
    Incinerator and a big smoke stack
    It’s a phallic symbol and it makes me laugh
    All I need is a heart attack
    C’mon, humble my bones with a Cardiac

    For the love of fuck
    For the sake of Pete
    Did you ever really think you’d love a guy like me?
    I am the rooster in the morning
    I’m the cock of the day
    I’m the boxer in the briefs
    I’m a twelve ounce steak

    Ya, it’s verbatim
    And ya, and it’s naked
    And ya, and it’s shakin’
    It shakes, shakes shakes

    That’s it for me, I need to do a little laundry so I have something to wear when Panda and I go out for some soosh bombasticos tonight, as planned. It’s going to be a slaughter! That sushi restaurant will rue the day I heard of it.

    Neverending Quotable NSFW Drew and Chili cook-off, here I come!

    November 7, 2009

    All done with the ambrosia, hair flat-ironed, going to slap on some mascara and slide on down to C-town for that there ol’ chili cook-off. Wish me luck! In the meanwhile, here is some adorable but culinarily challenged Drew Barrymore to brighten your night.

    “I don’t cook, I can’t cook, and it is really abominable to see me in the kitchen. I order in takeaway food or get my friends to cook because a lot of them are very good.” — Drew Barrymore

    “My culinary skills are terrible. I can’t even make toast taste good. I do make scrambled eggs for myself sometimes but I wouldn’t even inflict that on anyone else.” — Drew Barrymore

    “I can cook about two things. I can boil hot water for the only pasta I can make.” — Drew Barrymore

    I’ll let you know how the cookoff goes. Have a great night!

    NSFW November: Super-cute Grace Kim, Miss November 2008!

    November 7, 2009

    Heck yeah, Grace Kim!

    Super-cute! I love this chick. She promotes video games and has a great sense of humor and is genuinely a geek, not like these phony faux-nerds they sometimes get on G4 and such. She’s rad! She is also, according to the wiki, the first Korean-American playmate, which is pretty cool, too.

    Look at how real and adorable that smile is. I think she is almost always honestly laughing in pictures, not any of that coy b.s. that passes for an alleged giggle in some of these shoots.

    She just always seems to be having fun, every time I see her in print or on television, and I think that reflects a terrific life outlook and suggests humility and the sense to recognize and appreciate good fortune. Those are great traits for anyone to have, but when you combine them with someone willing to take it all off? Winner winner, chicken dinner!! I don’t mean to gush. Grace Kim is just an all-around great girl in my book.

    Dig that giant watch. Love it!!

    Finally, did a spoof of the presidential town hall debates which digitally altered real footage to show Grace and some other playmates asking the candidates questions. Grace’s segment is the best because some of those other bunnies are pretty dumb. (In one of their defense, I admit that “fiduciary” is a hard word to say. You know what else is hard? Math, like, omg!)

    The Playboy Playmates Heat up the Presidential Debate – watch more funny videos

    Go ahead and watch it but Grace’s part is brief and the whole thing is not that funny, although I’m not suggesting anyone die instead.

    Okay, fine, when you put it like that, I guess you can play the drums. Just this once!

    Okay, so I gotta go whip up my ambrosia (one of the things I’m taking to today’s chili cookoff!) and flat-iron this mad rad hair of mine. Hopefully I will have time for a Music Moment before I bounce down to Paolo and Miss D’s!

    Advice: Drew Barrymore NSFW again (what?! I know! crazy!)

    November 6, 2009

    Today some quickies from Drew on humility, being true to oneself, and having a good self-image.

    “I definitely don’t think that I’m hot doo-doo. I don’t.”

    “I used to look in the mirror and feel shame, I look in the mirror now and I absolutely love myself.”

    “There’s something liberating about not pretending. Dare to embarrass yourself. Risk.”

    Today, I am trying to put together something spectacular for the Chili Cookoff that Paolo and Miss D are hosting tomorrow. Everyone is going to be there, and they’ve all snatched up the available sides: Miss D is doing cornbread and I think apple pie; Jonohs is of course on cheesecake duty (“legendary”); the LBC is making one of her amazing dips so she has that and chips nailed down already; Corinnette is bringing beverages; Geo, Paolo, and the Gentleman have all opted to enter top secret chili recipes; Jan-Han grabbed pasta salad right out from under my nose for which I do not begrudge her (like I am going to tell my oldest friend’s recently cancer-surviving mom who I adore that pasta salad is my signature dish, and I dare you to suggest I ought); I feel like all that’s left is brats and fancy sauces and rolls, but that feels super-unoriginal. If you have ideas, please throw them my way!

    Meanwhile, as I get kind of shady and nervous about large social gatherings, I’ll be keeping the lovely and talented DB’s advice in mind today and work on inner peace. Today, inner peace: tomorrow, a chili cookoff. See, when I write it out like that, my goals are not only miniscule but almost embarassingly easy to achieve. Hurray!

    Makery Monday

    October 26, 2009

    Making a bunch of stuff today that has been laying about the house waiting for one of my rare furies of crafty attention, as well as making myself over (already cut hair, kicking color ideas around, maybe do a home-made nose job as well, switch my mouth with one of my ears; anything goes on Makery Monday!). Hoping to take craploads of pictures, maybe even bust out the Lomo. Getting kidlet in on the act, too. I’m having her make herself some jewelry. The idea is she’ll be more careful with something she made herself than she is with my stuff. Then some popcorn garlands that we’ll paint glittery colors for Halloween.

    On my end: Gifts for friends, roast red pepper and tomato soup, some clothing cannibalization and reassembly … I’m taking this day to the moon. The hell with sitting on my hind end wishing I had all my supplies from Portland. I’m surrounded by supplies waiting to realize their true purpose; I’m in a freaking garage, for god’s sake. Let’s use some imagination!

    Superfriendohs and pick-me-ups, or, Cookbooks and pink boobs

    October 19, 2009

    Kidlet and I have been sick all day and I had taken advantage of the down time to start browsing through the cookbook the Gentleman gave me for my birthday, A Platter of Figs and other recipes, by David Tanis, reknowned chef of Chez Panisse, a Gourmet cookbook club selection, with front blurbs from Michael Pollan and Alice freaking Waters, just basically hooty-hoos all around.

    Right about the time that kidlet and I were agreeing that neither of us would ever be able to in good conscience eat rabbit unless it was a survival-type situation (they are cute little bunnies, come on!), the doorbell rang.

    It was Panda Eraser! Stopping by unexpectedly with a present for me, a Superfriends shirt featuring Batgirl, Wonder Woman, and Supergirl! And she had a coordinating one!

    I know I have said it before…

    …but I have really caring friends. I’m really lucky.