Monthly Archives: July 2010

Somewhere Over the Double Rainbow

I feel a bit behind the curve on today’s great thing.  (In fairness, being behind the curve in the age of the Internet means being about a second behind everyone else.)  My brother-in-law just forwarded this YouTube delight to me.  I knew NOTHING of it and since he emailed it to me, I’ve watched it countless times.  So, apologies if today’s great thing is old news to you (I believe the video made its net debut in January of this year).  But, hopefully, I’m acting as the herald of web-excellence here for at least a few of you.

141.  Double Rainbow Video

In this cynical age (of which I’m usually proud to be a part of), it’s good to know that all it takes for some people to have their heads exploded is two big gay old rainbows.  This video was filmed by a gent who goes by the handle “Hungry Bear”.  (His real name is Paul Vasquez).  What’s excellent about this is not necessarily the natural phenomenon of two rainbows, but the narrator’s breathless reaction.  He cries, he laughs, he has an absolute joy overload and, from the sounds of it, an existential crisis at the same time.  I love his unbridled enthusiasm.

Here’s the official clip:

But, as our video’s narrator questions, “What does it mean?”  I imagine it has something to do with moisture/light/and refracting or something.  Also, here are some definitions that Google came up with:

  • Double Rainbow is a brand of premium ice cream based in San Francisco, California. The company has franchises across the United States and also sells quart and half-gallon products through chains such as Trader Joe’s.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Rainbow_(ice_cream)
  • Double Rainbow is Aya Matsuura’s sixth album (her fifth studio album), containing two of her previously released singles. It was released on October 10, 2007.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Rainbow_(album)

For deeper sociological insight, here’s a rather excellent cultural reading/analysis of what the clip’s viral success means:  What does it mean?

And a CBS news report–cashing in on this meme.

I kinda don’t like the interviewer’s tone.  Come on, lady.  Don’t yuck Hungry Bear’s yum.  I rather like to think we’re laughing with him and not so much at him.  It sounds like he legitimately just wants to share cool nature videos.  Plus, then I don’t have to feel like a jaded douchebag.  Reportedly, he’s a cagefighter…so this is his way of trying to mellow this crazy world out.  You know, for every bone broken or face gouged, share a rainbow or a fawn grazing or something with the world.  She’s right about one thing though…there are already plenty of tee-shirt designs out there.  Here’s one of my faves:  Threadless

I’ve decided that anytime I use the word awesome, I’m going to replace it with ‘double rainbow’.  You may use it too if you want.

I wonder if this guy likes Skittles.  I would sort of like to send him two packs.  I think the opportunity to taste the double rainbows would flip his shit right out.

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Filed under Nature, website

Fine Artichoke

Pizza must be the most perfect food ever devised.  It can satisfy vegans, omnivores, and big fat slobs alike.   It has the potential to capture as many or as few of the food groups as you wish…depending on the toppings you order.  It combines multiple textures in each bite.  It can be enjoyed hot or cold and I could eat it at any point in the day.  It’s even OK when it’s not great.  But, when it’s good it is divine.  It is truly the ambrosia of street-food.  100% of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can’t be wrong.

Splinter better get in there if he wants a piece.

That is why pizza is today’s great thing:

140.  Pizza

Though I’m writing in a sort of general sense about the theme of pizza, a very deep well indeed, the reason that I feel so sparked to do this today specifically is because I just uploaded some pictures from my recent trip to NYC onto my Facebook page.  In that collection was a pic of a slice I had from a hole in the wall called Artichoke on 14th Street between 1st and 2nd Ave.  It was the best piece of pizza I’ve ever had in my life, I believe, and even thinking about it now floods my mouth with saliva.  Disgusting, digestion-prepping saliva.  Before I go into mouth-drenching depth about what this slice was like, let’s discuss OTHER types of pizza that are out there.

First, let’s talk about chain restaurant pizza.  You’ve got Domino’s, Little Caesar’s, Papa John’s, California Pizza Kitchen, and Pizza Hut to name a few.  Now, I’m not one of those haters that’s gonna  proclaim all of these joints as awful.  They serve a need, I suppose.  Their efforts may not be the result of a loving hand, but as I mentioned earlier, even pizza that’s just OK is a treat.  Out of all these national and international pizza-shillers, I’d actually say that I’m most a fan of the HUT!  This is, of course, because it is probably one of the worst of the chain pizzas, fat and calorie-wise.  The magic is in their pan pizza formula– which essentially creates a deep fat fried pizza, since it’s being cooked not simply on an oven tray but in a pan with larded sides.  Superb and deadly.

One thing that used to annoy me about the Personal Pan Pizza, however, is that they would tuck the pepperoni under the cheese.  It is my opinion, that the pepperoni should be on TOP of the cheese, allowing the heat to curl the sulfite-riddled pork disc up to a crispy, penny-sized topping.  If it’s left to its own devices UNDER the cheese, it will never achieve this beautiful second life.

Pizza Hut leaves its mark wherever it lives.  Not just because it increases the average local person’s BMI, but because if a branch should ever go out of business and become say–a used book store…or a burrito joint–it will NEVER stop looking like a Pizza Hut.  Its unique structure–its husk– is the shell husk for hermit-crab business to crawl into.

It's an H & R Block now!

On the other hand, they can’t really compete with the unique deliciousness on offer from locally owned pizzerias.  By ordering from the local joints, you’re also supporting family businesses…I’d like a large pizza with green peppers, jalapenos, and self-righteousness.

Most of the local places near where I grew up in Erie offered a sort of puffy-crusted, stodgy great-lakes style pie.  I imagine that this is what MOST pizzas are like across America, allowing for some taste-variations with types of topping, differences in ingredients used, sauce-to-cheese ratio, how local water supply can taint the flavour of the crust, etc…  Personal favourites of mine in Erie included Barbados, who also made top quality subs, and Mr. Pizza—purveyer of square pizzas with pepperoni so perfectly crisped that you couldn’t help but pick them off to eat first.

Then, there are the famous regional styles of pizza.

Chicago has the scrumptious deep-dish style to its name.   It is so artery-clogging that, delicious as it is, I think I could only eat it if I planned on making that my SOLE meal of the day.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s tasty, but…like KFC’s double down, there’s never any good excuse to eat it.  The guilt would far outweigh the pleasure.  And very few food items could make me feel that way.

The best city for pizza, according to me and my highly informed mozzarella-bloated gut, is New York.  Now, you could pretty much walk into any old hole-in-the-wall and walk out with a satisfying slice of thin, al-dente crusted, grease-pool-laden pizza.  Pizza has never been so easy.  I soooo wish the UK had a NYC-style ‘by the slice’ place.  Alas, it’s all kebabs when you’re drunk and hungry.

Whilst there’s not much chance of you getting a bad slice in NY, there are a few categorizeable varieties:

A.)  Rays–This is your bog-standard slice.  I don’t mean that in a pejorative way, of course.  I mean that it’s this:  The norm…

B.)  Pastsy’s style–Anything that’s sold as coal/brick/or wood-burning oven.  Typically, these places are less ‘by the slice’ establishments and more ‘order a whole pizza with your family’ places.  The notable difference is in the change to the crust.  The ‘burning’ method…whichever it is that they use…typically adds a smokey flavor to the dough and crisps it up a bit more.  Usually, the finished product is a bit thinner too…

C.)  Novelty slices–I can think of a couple of establishments in the city that dare to be different.  Two Boots cooks up pizzas influenced by ‘two boot’ destinations–boot-shaped Louisiana and boot-shaped Italy.  It’s hits the Cajun angle fairly well and has fun specialty pies that are all named after films/movie characters.  (The Mr. Pink has chicken on it, I believe).  Two Boots.  Another angle that seems to be cropping up a bit more is the ‘Pizza Truck’.  NYC has some of the best mobile food vendors in the world.  It’s not all just stale pretzels and lukewarm hot dogs.  If you ever walk by a food cart in the city and notice a long line, it’s worth hopping into the queue.  I grabbed a slice of pizza from this particular vehicle when I was visiting my friend Nikki down by Wall Street.  It was surprisingly awesome.  It was saucey, with a sharp parmesan finish.  Delish:  Grandma\’s Pizza Truck

Well, imagine if all three of those varieties came together in one glorious slice.  What’s that?  You can’t because you don’t want to be disappointed by yet another unachievable dream?  Well, you’re wrong.  It CAN be done.  It HAS been done.  Here’s where we circle back to talking about Artichoke on 14th Street:

Like a kid in some kind of store...

Don't mind my grease-blotting napkin...

On my recent visit, I was lucky enough to be asked to read at a supercool event, Sideshow:  The Queer Literary Carnival Sideshow .  I really have to thank the amazingly talented Cheryl B. and Sinclair Sexmith.  First of all, they put me on the show:  It was super fun, I met some excellent people, and it made me feel smart.  Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, they invited me to take part in their post-show ritual of a visit to Artichoke.  Without them, I may have ended my summer sojourn to NYC without going or even knowing about its existence.  I don’t want to live in the alternate reality where that might have happened.

Artichoke is the best of all three varieties because:

A.  It has a by-the-slice mentality like Rays…complete with orange grease pools on each slice.  But, it uses sauce a bit more liberally than most Rays-style joints.  I like that.  I’m a fan of the sauce.

B.  It’s smoky-crusted like Patsy’s.  It had a delightfully singed but still somewhat chewy consistency.  Plus, just look at that beautiful basil, will ya?

C. It has its own novelty slice (the Artichoke-style looks like it uses artichoke dip INSTEAD of tomato sauce…it’s very popular).  But, it doesn’t spend all of it’s energy trying to be weird or different.  It’s confident and brassy like Debbie Harry.  Not trying too hard, like Ke$ha.

Artichoke's Sicilian style...

Artichoke is slightly more expensive by the slice (by about a buck), but you get what you pay for.  Anyway, as you’ve probably guessed, it’s highly recommended.  Probably the best thing to come out of Staten Island (where it originated), in a long time.  Artichoke

Finally, and back to the general theme of pizza, it’s what I miss most (foodily-speaking) about The States.  When people ask, “Gee, Kate, you’ve been over in England a long-ass time, what do you miss most about home?”,  I normally shout desperately ‘pizza’ before I can even say ‘family and friends’ (even though I  miss them most).  At least they can get on a plane and come over though.  Pizza would never get through security.

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Filed under Vittles

The Girl With The Amazing Casting Abilities

I’ve just finished reading The Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson.  You know that book that everyone’s going bonkers about right now?  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?  Well, that book is the first novel of The Millenium Trilogy.  It’s a page burning read, whip-smart, with cracking characters and even a strong feminist outlook thrown in.  I really enjoyed it.  Sweden has already adapted TGWTDT and the second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire and are almost finished filming the final installment, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest, I do believe.

The Swedish films are well-reviewed (the first a bit more so than the second) and I’m excited to watch them now that I’ve finally finished the series.  Never one to ignore potential profit, Hollywood is, of course, adapting the trilogy for the big screen as well.  Purists and foreign cinema snobs lovers everywhere are going apeshit.  Why can’t everyone just watch the Swedish ones this and Hollywood’s gonna mess it up that.  Well, I can’t say that having two film versions of an awesome book upsets me in the least.  I’ll be just as excited to watch the Yankee version as I am to watch the Swede ones.  I mean, have a little faith, folks…at least David Fincher is directing them and not Joel Schumacher.

Anyway, one area that the new US versions have to tread carefully upon is the casting.  People are precious with these characters, especially that of the fascinating and Aspergic heroine Lisbeth Salander.  I LOVE playing casting director and have decided to use today’s great thing space to do so.  I think my choices are solid and I’ve explained why as/when necessary.  For the ones that I don’t provide rationale for, know this:  I picked them because it’s who I visualized playing the part in my head as I read it.  Still, even without explanation, I think my instincts are good.  Nay…not good…Great!

139.  The Millenium Trilogy (a ‘Kate Casts The Film’ Blog Entry) I warn you now:  some minor spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the books but intend to do so, you may just want to give this one a pass…

some minor spoilers ahead

some minor spoilers ahead

some minor spoilers ahead

some minor spoilers ahead

some minor spoilers ahead

some minor spoilers ahead

some minor spoilers ahead

some minor spoilers ahead

I’m casting all of the books, not just the first one.  Let’s start with some of the supporting characters, shall we?

Henrik Vanger:  Christopher Plummer…I dunno.  He looks vaguely Swedish and also like a billionaire industrialist.

Retired industrialist...looking for answers to long-time unsolved murder

Holger Palmgren: Armin Mueller-Stahl.  I even knew how to spell his name without looking it up.  Check me.

Kindly Guardian

Nils Bjurman-:  Geoffery Rush

Sadistic Pig, Pervert, and The Rest

Jan Bublanski: Richard Jenkins

Good cop.

Evert Gullberg:  Robert Duvall

Retired Sectionist

Peter Teleborian:  David Tennant.  He’s played charming lots.  I think he could also do smarmy academic if he wanted.

Highly Respected Weasel

Detective Modig:  Sonja Sohn.  The book never describes her as black, but why not cast an actress of color?  Sohn has played police well before and she also comes across as someone who wants to do the right thing in any given situation.

Reliably Moral

Detective Faste: Jack O’Halloran…yeah that’s right.  The guy who played Non in Superman 2 and Emil Muzz in Dragnet. Awesome.  Somebody give this legend a job!

Bad Cop

Ronald Niedermann: Peter Hermann.  This man isn’t really a recognizable name yet, but he’s a big fella (six-foot five) who could easily step into the shoes of the merciless German giant.  He’s been on television loads and he’s also Mariska Hargitay’s husband.

Brute

Monica Figuerola: Franka Potente–the former Run Lola Run and Bourne films star is almost five foot nine and looks like she could add muscle to her frame easily if she picked up a dumbbell and added magical powdered nonsense weight-gain shakes to her diet.

Sapo Superhero

Zalachenko: Zeljko Ivanek–And not just because he has an already Eastern Bloc sounding name.  He’s wiry, small, and can be quite a vicious actor when it calls for him to be.

Baddie Daddie

Miriam Wu: Kelly Hu…because she was smokin’ hot as Lady Deathstrike in X2.  She’s proven that she can throw some highkicks.  Also, I’d like to see her in a more dramatic role.

Part-time Lover

Annika Giannini: Lorraine Bracco

Advocate

Erika Berger: Marion Cotillard.  The character is  supposed to be blonde but that’s what hair dye is for.  Plus, along with the other Brit-actors I’ve cast, she helps to make my picks a bit more Euro-classy, diverting criticism that the production is too American. (As if anything could ever be TOO American…please.)

Blomkvist Bestie

Mikael Blomkvist: Now, rumor has it that Daniel Craig has already been cast in the role of the intrepid journalist.  I’d like to call ‘take-backsies’.  Re-cast it to Aaron Eckhart, please.  I’m tired of Daniel Craig and I think this guy is a better actor.  And more middle-aged handsome!

Lisbeth Salander: I was thinking Kelly MacDonald…or maybe Elaine Cassidy…people are speculating that it may go to Carey Mulligan, but I think this prize of a role has to go to none other than star of How to Lose a Guy in Just Ten Days, Kate Hudson!!!!!  Just kidding, I think Sally Hawkins should get it.  First of all, she’s a fantastic actress.  She’s been amazing in everything I’ve seen her in from Happy Go Lucky to Fingersmith.  Secondly, although she’s actually my age, she can get away with early twenties.  Thirdly, she’s tiny with fine bone structure (Salander is repeatedly described as waif-like).  Hawkins also has the slightly crooked smile that the book describes.  Finally, she’s also played queer before.

https://i2.wp.com/theenvelope.latimes.com/media/photo/2008-11/43453451.jpg

Pick Me!

I repeat.  Sally Hawkins should play Lisbeth Salander.

Come on!!!

Now, if someone could just get this list over to the producers, that would be great.  Cheers thanks bye!

https://i2.wp.com/twitchfilm.net/news/Richard%20Jenkins.jpg

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Filed under Literature, Movies

Yay Jude

So, today’s great thing is someone who, it struck me recently, kind of crept into my list of awesome things without me really noticing that it was happening.  It’s weird, when I was young, I didn’t think she was attractive at all.  Maybe it was the uptight character she played…or maybe her look was too interesting/non-traditional  for me.  I mean, when I was ages 8-10, I was more into the Mom from Silver Spoons.  You know…porcelain pretty and rich and fictional.   I also wanted to eat nothing but Pixie Sticks.  I was young.  Whatever, I’m glad that I haven’t lost out completely.  There’s still time for me to appreciate the aquiline nose of today’s great thing:

138.  Judith Light


Like Helen Mirren, she seems to be getting better with age anyway.  Think I’m just making an easy excuse for my lack of sophistication in my youth?  Well think again!  The evidence speaks for itself:

From her soap years...or a maxi-pad commercial...I'm not sure which.

I can smell the hairspray from here.

Modern times.

She’s a fancy lady!  I wish she was my…like…my sexy older comedy benefactor or patroness.  Or something.  Besides being a foxy lady, Judith Light is also a huge supporter of gay rights.  I love a straight ally, I do.  But, what I like most about Judith Light lately, is that even though she gets cast in these high-powered and steely career women roles, she doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously.  On Family Guy, she lent her vocals to an animated version of herself in one of their little cutaway sight gags wherein she has a Tony Danza dummy that she makes out with.  She is disappointed when a cannister of plain old oxygen arrives when she was supposed to get a delivery of Tony Danza breath to hook up to it.

And, even though, she was reportedly top-notch in Broadway’s cancer-drama Wit, she was also pretty damn funny as Claire Meade in Ugly Betty.

She'd make a great Prof. X.

The following video, to be accurate, does not present a terrific interview.  Tony Danza is no Letterman or DeGeneres…he’s not even Leno..But, it does have a few highlights:

1.  Danza, before showing the ‘Tony and Ange-LER!’ kiss, calls it a ‘TV first’.  I’m dying to know what he means by that.  A ‘first’ what?  Intrigue!

2.  A surprise soap opera clip.

3. An exchange of Tiffany’s gifts.

4.  Tony, surprisingly and astutely, observes that it’s hard to make a two-hour movie out of a half hour program.  Ahem, Sex and the City.

Enjoy…or not.

Of course, one of the reasons that I’m currently fascinated by Judith Light is that I’m bingeing on Law and Order:  SVU episodes and she plays the complicated but highly appealing Judge Donnelly.

Sustained!!!

Wouldn’t you love to go for drinks with Judge Donnelly and Dianne Wiest’s District Attorney Nora Lewin?  Plus, you might run into Stabler and Benson.  Then you could grab dinner with Alexandra Cabot!  What fun!  I wish there were a Law and Order action figure set.  I’d so make room for that on my kitchen table.  It’d go right next to my Springfield Elementary playset and my Xena dolls.  (OK…I’m only partially exaggerating about how sad I am…I don’t have those items on my table.  They’re in a box in the closet.  But still, I’d so play with Law and Order dolls whilst I eat my Honey Nut Cheerios at the breakfast table.)

To close out today’s blog entry,  here are some bloopers.  It’s actually a compilation of Who’s The Boss bloopers, but the first ones they show are Judith Light’s.  Yes, I actually typed “Judith Light bloopers” into YouTube to find this.  A bit pathetic as far as entertainment searches go, but I only sink so low so that I can present you, dear reader, with a fuller picture of the greatness that is Judith Light.  Most of these are pretty standard “I forget my line…hahahahah” type mishaps, but I think you can still see the spark from JLi.  That’s what I’m going to call her now.  JLi.

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Filed under People, TV