Lordy lordy! Christmas is almost here! It’s my favorite time of year you know…this and Halloween…and summer for, like, a week. Threw a Christmas party at my flat earlier in the month…as is the custom. This year, I decided to treat my Brit-pals to real US-Stylee Christmas cookies. The English are forever stuffing their jolly and rain-drenched Christmas faces with overburdened pie crusts and doorstopper Christmas cakes…jammed full of crap like orange peel, figs, and brandy soaked raisins. We get it…you like to eat bags of potpourri. Your burps must smell like Yankee Candles. Americans, on the other hand, go for the quick-burning simple sugars and e-colored frosting found in/on most cookies. The variety can be staggering, but this year, Karey made Amy Sedaris’ recipe for chocolate chips. (Amy Sedaris–is there anything her influence DOESN’T improve?) I made two types of spritz cookie–chocolate and almond.
The chocolate dough was most agreeable. They happily came out the bottom of the press in the shape they were supposed to maintain.
They were both yummy and pretty. Success! The almond spritz, however, had a much softer dough which I couldn’t tame. As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t get them out of the press in tidy shapes. It all would just…glob out. So, instead of baking pretty, almond flavored trees and wreaths, I just squirted out the mucky clumps and baked those. The dough still TASTED good and it’s a shame to waste all that butter. So, I just repackaged ’em as ‘grinch poop’ instead of spritz. I think Sedaris would have approved.
Mercifully, my corn flake wreaths turned out a bit better. Ah, corn flake wreaths–Americans are experts at re-purposing otherwise healthy foods. Green bean casserole, creamed corn, pumpkin pie, and merry little corn flake wreaths. Start with a healthy low fat and vitamin fortified breakfast cereal, add bags of gooey marshmallow, lashings of food dye, and enough melted butter to stop your heart. Wunderbar!
The only problem is that I couldn’t find any holiday cookie sprinkles (red and green jimmies…or little silver balls…or red hots…or anything). So, I had to purchase Barbie sprinkles (all I could find, OK?) and separate out the white jimmies from the pink ones and just use those on the wreaths. So very dedicated to my junk food, I am.
Christmas cookies on one side, it’s ALSO a byproduct of the holiday season that films like Beetlejuice and Home Alone and The Nightmare Before Christmas are broadcast on television. What do those movies have in common? Why it’s today’s great thing and national treasure (via Canada)
171. Catherine O’Hara
You grow up sort of knowing that she’s good…she pads out the role of ‘Mom’ in a ton of PG films quite nicely and she sings so sweetly as Sally in The Nightmare Before Christmas. But, it was really in my early twenties…with the advent of the Christopher Guest mockumentaries that I noticed how excellent she is. I mean–her version of “Midnight at the Oasis” as performed with Fred Willard in Waiting For Guffman will always overrule how I hear the song. Sorry, Maria Muldaur…but I’m going to need some coffee for that ride.
It goes without saying that she’s a terrific improviser. She understudied for Gilda Radner at Second City (improv mecca). She later went on to write and perform sketches for “SCTV”. But those Christopher Guest films are always a treat. I’m eagerly awaiting the next. What a dream it would be to act with that Christopher Guest lot on one of those impro-films. John Michael Higgins, Jane Lynch, and Michael Hitchcock..they are so good I just know I’d get all sweaty and nervous in their company. I’d big myself up then try to be all self-deprecating…failing at both…try to insert my most interesting stories into conversations where they obviously didn’t fit. Probably block every scene with bad improv. Maybe get tanked and awkwardly perv on Parker Posey. Oh the ways I could embarrass myself on that set. Michael McKean would tweet something funny about it, I bet…(he has funny Tweets).
O’Hara is a notable comedy hero because, like Tina Fey, she’s an all-star. She’s a great actress, improviser, AND writer. And, back in the era when she was on sketch television I reckon it was even harder for women to get their material on air. Here’s a sketch which she wrote where a game show host has to suffer through idiots. I reckon you’ll see where that Will Ferrell/Alex Trebek sketch was born.
Here’s something weirdly personal to know (I always like to include something ‘stalker’ level in my blog posts): O’Hara has a condition called Situs Inversus which is apparently where your major visceral organs are in ‘mirror’ or I guess what you’d call a reverse position to how they are normally. I don’t think it has to be a problem (although there can be issues) …no..no side effects for O’Hara…EXCEPT MAKING HER AWESOME!
Last year, she played Funkhouser’s mentally instable sister on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. I like it when funny people that I admire, find and work with other funny people I admire. Someday, I hope Amy Poehler works with Stephen Colbert. Thanks for making friends, Larry David and Catherine O’Hara. It makes me all happy. In my head, you all had a super-fun after party when the shoot was over with pizza and board games and laser tag. Maybe you still send Christmas cards to each other.
In other holiday-related news, please enjoy this link to some wintery Star Wars Snowflakes. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, readers!