Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"I thought Europe was a country."

Stupid is as stupid does, and here, stupid don't do much but just look stupid (and a bit purty) and provide unintentional humor for everyone around her. Frightening, this video. Makes me laugh a bit, but mostly cringe.

Paging all unemployed geography and social studies teachers have just been rehired effective immediately. (If only.) At least if I were benevolent dictator of this here land, this would be the clarion call.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lime Starbursts (and Conejos Cabins)

It pains me that 1) I can't find a single picture of the glorious candy that was once lime Starbursts, and 2) that so many people nowadays have no inkling that there was such a creation. But yes, way back during the disco era, when Starbursts first happened on the scene, they included lime, and cherry was nowhere to be found. I was sore, SORE disappointed one day in the early '80s to find that lime had disappeared forever. Have to admit that cherry was a pretty grand substitute...for about six months. Then the suckitude took over the novelty, and cherry has sat at the bottom of the pile for me ever since. Strawberry has always reigned supreme, with orange, lemon, and lime (back in the day) jockeying for second. Really, they all were good.

Just like food can transport you if you let it, I can imagine the taste, smell, and texture of lime Starbursts, and immediately I'm taken back to summer trips down to southern Colorado, in the middle of nowhere a stone's throw from New Mexico. Conejos Cabins was the place to be, and you got there via a LOOONG drive south from Denver through South Park (yes, there really is such a place, and it's truly gorgeous) and along the Arkansas river, past the Great Sand Dunes, and even still a few hours further south. (Obligatory soundtrack: The Carpenters' Horizon. Oh, and probably some John Denver and Mac Davis thrown in there, too.) Then you took a dirt road for 20 miles(!) or so until you hit the Conejos River, in the middle of a beautiful valley. Heaven. The rustic cabins all smelled a bit like natural gas, and Mom always served slightly crunchy and perfect Krusteaz pancakes with bacon for breakfast, alongside Tang (and coffee for the grown-ups). The skies were seldom flawed with clouds, and if rain fell, it was usually a quiet, comforting rain. Board games like Sorry! and Parcheesi came along for the ride, as did my Speak & Spell. (Fast forward 10 years or so to see the end result of my obsession with said gadget.) Dad went fishing virtually every day with our golden retriever Duchess, and our sandy Jeep Wagoneer perpetually smelled like wet dog and freshly-caught trout. My brother and I, the best of friends at this point, would wander the side of the frigid Conejos and throw seaweed-covered rocks into the river, scaring away fish and inevitably angering our dad, trying to catch dinner for us all. And the air was as clean as you could ever hope for, aside from the road dust which coated your mouth as you drove off with the windows open. But those luscious lime Starbursts took care of that.

I will admit that the lime Tootsie Rolls do offer a very good approximation of what I've missed for years and years, both in flavor and texture. But I just plain miss opening up the square candies with the wax paper folded just so, seeing the light green jewel in my hands and biting it in two to see how white the center got. (I was always convinced that Starbursts were white in the center. Such a silly kid.) Until Mars/Starburst decides to bring back lime (and not in a limited-time, retro sort of way, but for good), I'll always feel like my life is somehow incomplete.

Thus ends the solipsistic trip down memory lane. I now return you to your regularly scheduled life.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pet Shop Boys - Love Etc.

Simply because I'm a Pet Shop Boys queen. They really do provide the soundtrack for guppies. My full verdict for Yes is still out, but so far, it seems quite good. I think PSB is pretty much stuck in a holding pattern of producing better-than-average pop music, but it seems they've been getting steadily better with each album since Nightlife, which, I guess, would make this the best since Bilingual. Which is no mean feat.

As good and over-the-top as this song is, I'm waiting for a video for "All Over The World" or "Pandemonium." Or especially "Beautiful People," which starts vaguely like a menacing rockabilly tune, then morphs effortlessly into the lushest mod fashionista Statement Of Purpose ever.

And seriously? Super Mario Bros. meets Soviet propaganda-style art fabulous ornate art movement I'm not privy to? Whoever thought this one up is beyond creative. Droll, wry, brilliant. Perfect PSB, in other words.

But enough commentary. Here ya go. (With apologies for the video running off the side.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Freedom fries

Exhibit A in mockery of stupid, ugly, mindlessly patriotic Americans, or what Kathy Griffin calls people who are "proud of their aggressive ignorance": Freedom fries. The Francophobia in this country seemed to hit historic highs in 2003, when France stridently opposed the invasion of Iraq. And this was our childish way of protesting their opposition?

First off, French fries didn't originate in France. Belgians seem to take pride in being the originators. So there's that. But also? French fries get that name from the way they are cut: they are "frenched." In other words, they are sliced into long, thin strips. (But not that thin, lest they be julienned.)

So the whole "freedom fries" thang began as a result of a few Republican senators from Ohio and North Carolina who just had their panties in a snit over these damned French who opposed a multinational invasion of Iraq. (Um, if memory serves, so did that sniveling wimpy country full of quislings, Germany. Or something. Just sayin', if a country with a war-strewn past like Germany says ixnay on the arway, I'm listening. Anyhow...) The use of the word "French" in one of our country's most cherished foods was so offensive that they mandated that henceforth, the House of Representatives' cafeteria would only serve "freedom fries." Oh yeah, and "freedom toast." Heh.

Can't you just picture it? Nathalie Loisau, who spoke on behalf of the French embassy, was probably trying her best not to laugh her sweet little freedom heinie off as she made an official statement. "We are at a very serious moment dealing with very serious issues and we are not focusing on the name you give to potatoes." You know the whole embassy was collapsing in laughter. Probably all of France was, too. Or at least the part of France that focused on the name we give to potatoes.