Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Deerly unbeloved

A couple of hours ago, this headline graced the front page of the Yahoo portal:
Exploding deer population causing billions in damage

Yes, you would expect exploding deer to cause damage, but still.

Now, this just went up:
Menacing deer invasions push homeowners to the limit

I'm predicting that the headline Bambi's mom deserved it will be there by day's end.

Google search that recently stranded a visitor on The Velvet Blog, with commentary

ben stiller satan worshiper

Well, that explains The Cable Guy. And Envy. And Meet the Fockers. And Duplex. And Along Came Polly. And the remake of The Heartbreak Kid. And School for Scoundrels. And Dodgeball. And ...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Random 10--now with actual audio!

SeeqPod - Playable Search

OK, not 100% random. I set my iPod on shuffle, and those songs I could find via SeeqPod are here. But some I hoped to find were not posted anywhere, and I have no way to host music on my own. Still, SeeqPod is awfully nifty.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Quotation of the Day

"He's got a great sense of humor, he really does. You can say 'enema' to him a million times, and he'll laugh every time." --Teri Garr

For the record, Teri Garr is completely adorable.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Outrage fatigue

So there's an article that went up on Salon today, "Exposing Bush's historic abuse of power," that sounds as if it might be important. The description: "Salon has uncovered new evidence of post-9/11 spying on Americans. Obtained documents point to a potential investigation of the White House that could rival Watergate."

But I just can't read it. I can't. I'm tired of being outraged all the time at this administration. It's exhausting. I start to read this and my eyes glaze over.

Maybe someone could just summarize it for me, and give me bullet points on the most egregious acts? That way, I can save time in working up to a high dudgeon.


IMMEDIATE UPDATE: The Onion weighs in on this phenomenon.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Beet it

Although I'm the son of a (former) farmer, I pretty much refused to eat vegetables until I was well into my twenties. Somehow, I managed to survive on meat, potatoes, canned Campbell's beans, and the occasional Flintstones vitamin.

In retrospect ... well, God love her, but my mother overcooks most food. (It's not till I was around 10 that I realized hamburgers weren't supposed to be crunchy on the outside. This was a revelation.) I think it's mainly a generational thing; people in her age group seem to like to cook vegetables till they're pale and limp. (The vegetables, not the people.)

Although I've grown in my appreciation of veggies since childhood, I sometimes have to remind myself to eat them. It's easy for me to fall into a meat-and-potatoes rut. And some vegetables have continued to pretty much spook me. Like beets.

Until I found the following recipe for gingered beet slaw. It comes from the newsletter of a CSA to which we belonged for a time; it originally appeared in the Terrific Pacific Cookbook, by Anya Van Bremzen.

Even inveterate beet haters (and new beet lovers, like Bix) will like this.

Gingered Beet Slaw

2 lbs. beets, trimmed, leaving 2 inches of stem attached
1/2 cup minced shallots
1-1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup slivered fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
2-1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup canola or peanut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine beets with cold water to cover in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered until beets are tender, 30-45 minutes. Drain beets and place in a bowl of cold water until cool. Slip off the skins, and pat dry with paper towels.

Grate or shred the beets, and toss with the shallots, ginger, basil, and orange zest.

In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, and sugar. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified. Add the dressing to the beets and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and chill.

(Oh, and yellow beets are milder than the red ones. And a less scary looking.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"In dreams/I walk with you/In dreams/I beat you off with a stick"

As mentioned before, I often dream of celebrities. Frequently, down-market, B-, C-, and D-list celebrities.

Last night, however, I dreamed I was being attacked by an angry, possibly rabid raccoon.

Still, that's better than, say, a dream about D-list comedian/actor Andy Dick. (WARNING: SCARY PHOTO OF D-LIST COMEDIAN/ACTOR ANDY DICK.)

Now, in order to wash that image out of your head, enjoy this video of the late, great Roy Orbison singing "In Dreams."

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Garnish with Fluffernutter."

If you've been reading The Velvet Blog for a while (and really--if not, why not?), you know that we have an occasional series in which we improve depressing (or odd) descriptions of vanity press books by adding the phrase "wacky high jinks ensue."

Today, at the suggestion of concerned reader God Is My Codependent, we begin a new series, in which we lighten the blow of negative film reviews by the addition of the phrase "Garnish with Fluffernutter." Let's see how this works.

We set out on this brave experiment by using today's review in The New York Times of Mamma Mia! It's not exactly the worst review in the world, but, rather, the very definition of the "mixed review":
If you insist on folding your arms, looking at your watch and defending yourself against this mindless, hedonistic assault on coherence, you are unlikely to survive until the end credits (which may, by themselves, kill you all over again). Surrender, on the other hand, is easy and painless. It’s Greece! It’s bellybuttons! It’s Meryl Streep! It’s Abba! Garnish with Fluffernutter.


(Oh, and in case you're unfamiliar with the Fluffernutter, you obviously weren't a part of The Velvet Blog's childhood.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Bugle

I was poking around iTunes last night and discovered that The Daily Show's John Oliver does a podcast for a British newspaper, with Andy Zaltzman. It's very funny (Zaltzman's comment about the "real" plasma TV cracked me up). You can stream or download here.

Kinda busy at work, so you're probably on your own the rest of the week.

Monday, July 14, 2008

There may also be formaldehyde, sawdust, and the tears of small children involved

Breaking news:
Doctors reported Saturday that Vice President Dick Cheney’s heartbeat was normal for ...

For someone who had his heart replaced with a device that pumps venom, paranoia, and bile?
... a 67-year-old man who has a history of heart problems. --The Associated Press


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Don't move--I'm about to take your picture

Some photos I took at the Metropolitan Museum of Art the other day.

Wish I could arrange these better, but uploading via Blogger always results in a bit of a mess.

Click to embiggen.

Monday, July 07, 2008

The new-fangled potato chip

This Associated Press story made me laugh out loud:
Britain's High Court has ruled that Pringles are not a potato snack, and thus are not subject to value-added tax.

Friday's ruling by Justice Nicholas Warren is expected to save millions for the manufacturer, Procter & Gamble Co.

Warren overruled a VAT Tribunal decision that Pringles should be subject to the 17.5-percent tax because it met the definition of "potato crisps, potato sticks, potato puffs and similar products made from the potato, or from potato flour, or from potato starch."

The judge found that Pringles were only 42 percent potato, and thus exempt.

P&G spokeswoman Marina Barker says the company is pleased with the ruling.

Yes, the company escaped the dread VAT tarriff, and everyone knows the chip is only loosely potato-ish. Potato-esque, if you will. Potato-reminiscent. How very pleasing!

One does wonder what the other 58% consists of, no?

Oh, and reduced blog posting for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Because nothing says "bon appetit" like clones. And war.

For the first time in the history of the “Star Wars” franchise, McDonald’s is coming along for the ride. Starting Aug. 15, the fast food chain will be offering Clone Wars Happy Meals. Each will come with a specially designed box and one of 18 exclusive toys. --The New York Times

I still treasure my Schindler's List Happy Meal toy.