Friday, July 30, 2010
As you all know a fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner does not make itself. I need to ask each of you to help by bringing something to complete the meal. I truly appreciate your offers to assist with the meal preparation.
Now, while I do have quite a sense of humor and joke around all the time, I COULD NOT BE MORE SERIOUS when I am providing you with your Thanksgiving instructions and orders. I am very particular, so please perform your task EXACTLY as I have requested and read your portion very carefully. If I ask you to bring your offering in a container that has a lid, bring your offering in a container WITH A LID, NOT ALUMINUM FOIL! If I ask you to bring a serving spoon for your dish, BRING A SERVING SPOON, NOT A SOUP SPOON! And please do not forget anything.
All food that is to be cooked should already be prepared, bring it hot and ready to serve, warm or room temp. These are your ONLY THREE options. Anything meant to be served cold should, of course, already be cold.
The Mike Byron Family
1. Turnips in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. Please do not fill the casserole all the way up to the top, it gets too messy. I know this may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but most of us hate turnips so don’t feel like you a have to feed an army.
2. Two half gallons of ice cream, one must be VANILLA, I don’t care what the other one is. No store brands please. I did see an ad this morning for Hagan Daz Peppermint Bark Ice Cream, yum!! (no pressure here, though).
3. Toppings for the ice cream.
4. A case of bottled water, NOT gallons, any brand is ok.
The Bob Byron Family
1. Green beans or asparagus (not both) in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. If you are making the green beans, please prepare FOUR pounds, if you are making asparagus please prepare FIVE pounds. It is up to you how you wish to prepare them, no soupy sauces, no cheese (you know how Mike is), a light sprinkling of toasted nuts, or pancetta, or some EVOO would be a nice way to jazz them up.
2. A case of beer of your choice (I have Coors Light and Corona) or a bottle of clos du bois chardonnay (you will have to let me know which you will bring prior to 11/22).
The Lisa Byron Chesterford Family
1. Lisa as a married woman you are now required to contribute at the adult level. You can bring an hors d’ouvres. A few helpful hints/suggestions. Keep it very light, and non-filling, NO COCKTAIL SAUCE, no beans of any kind. I think your best bet would be a platter of fresh veggies and dip. Not a huge platter mind you (i.e., not the plastic platter from the supermarket).
The Michelle Bobble Family
1. Stuffing in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please make the stuffing sans meat.
2. 2.5-3 qts. of mashed squash in a casserole with a lid and serving spoon
3. Proscuitto pin wheel – please stick to the recipe, no need to bring a plate.
4. A pie knife
The June Davis Family
1. 15 LBS of mashed potatoes in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please do not use the over-size blue serving dish you used last year. Because you are making such a large batch you can do one of two things: put half the mash in a regulation size casserole with lid and put the other half in a plastic container and we can just replenish with that or use two regulation size casserole dishes with lids. Only one serving spoon is needed.
2. A bottle of clos du bois chardonnay
The Amy Misto Family (why do I even bother she will never read this)
1. A pumpkin pie in a pie dish (please use my silver palate recipe) no knife needed.
2. An apple pie in a pie dish, you can use your own recipe, no knife needed.
Looking forward to the 28th!!
2. What's EVOO?
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
OK THEN. It has taken me perhaps twelve years to figure out how to post a video to a blog. It might just be here, and be playable! But I think somehow the two videos I'm comparing ended up in two separate posts. Well, go blow it out your ass, all you perfectionistas!!!
Who knows what brought me back to memories of Diggah (i.e. Digger the Dog, dragged along by an adenoidal little kid with a thick Brooklyn accent). Maybe it was seeing a much more sophisticated ad for an almost identical product called Gaylord ("looks kinda crazy, moves kinda lazy"). In both cases, you just pull his leash and he'll walkety-walkety-walk with you (arf, arf!).
I'm going to do a whole post or series of posts on Mad Men soon, as soon as I can write about it without having an orgasm at my desk. I LOVE OLD ADS. I love them so much that I've somehow transferred that love to my six-year-old granddaughter. On the weekend, during our sleepover, we did a Chatty Cathy commercial (this time called Chatty Caitlin - you can imagine).
Grandpa filmed it, or tried to, saying things like, "The battery is wearing out," and, "OK, wind this up now. . . ten. . . nine. . ." Needless to say it was high hilarity. Grandma dressed up in a frilly nightie with a bow and Mary Janes to play an obnoxious little girl getting a doll for her seventh birthday. All the doll could say was "I HATE YOU!" At one point the hard plastic ring at the end of Chatty Caitlin's string bopped her on the head and she started to cry, and I yelled "CUT!!" into the camera and sent everyone into convulsions.
I can't exactly go back to the '60s, and when I really think about it I wonder why I would want to. I wasn't a happy child, and I'm only a semi-happy adult. But these things are time machines! The first Tiny Tears doll (can't find a video, but watched it on my 1001 Vintage Commercials DVD set) looked Satanic: her eyes were so close together she was practically a cyclops.
I wonder if anyone found her freaky then, or if anyone knew how bizarre Diggah the Dahhg or his chief rival Gaylord were: two plastic canine replicas, legs rotating rapidly (or at least in Diggah's case: Gaylord moved kinda lazy). I picture them now being turned out in the same factory, last-minute changes added to make them look at least a little bit different. Then jacking up the price tag on one of them, probably Gaylord, the more sophisticated faux hound, to start a plastic dog price war. Hey, Gaylord has special features and a pedigree (but Digger is cheaper, not to mention faster).
Which one was I, then, a Gaylord or a Digger? I have to confess, it was Gaylord who stole my heart. He had that magnetic bone and all, and could walkety-walkety-walk upstairs.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I was never hypnotized or coerced, as some women were (some of whom sued their therapists after the fact). But like most writers, I have exceptionally long emotional antennae, and I will pick up whatever vibe is dominant at the time. This will inevitably set me vibrating like a tuning fork.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
My mother had a funny way of saying things
she'd pronounce them a little off,
and when she'd start talking about "going up north"
we knew she meant "up at Bondy"
her name for our paradise.
I don't know if the perceptions of children are
compressed because of their short time on earth,
or infinitely vast, as yet unimpeded by "you can't" and "don't".
"Up at Bondy" meant Nancy and Brian
and a couple of weeks of unlimited freedom
and running around in our bathing suits
jumping off the dock
the magic of July nights
of bullfrogs booming like bassoons
of lying face-up on the swell of the hill
and staring at stars ripped free of all veils,
with the eerie music of loon-flutes quivering.
I can't tell you about the smell of small-mouth bass
in a pail, fishy and sandy
and fried up in butter
and heady smells of bacon
and burnt coffee
and the perpetual barbecue.
Great slabs of meat, porterhouse steaks
and kippers for breakfast
I don't remember eating anything else
but potato chips and brandy snaps.
Bondi was playing horses with Nancy
(we wanted a horse so bad we could die)
we knew it would never happen
so we would BE horses
prance like wild things on the ridge,
not knowing we'd never
be this carefree again
I can't express a summer in my mind,
the smell of lakewater, Noxzema cream
on burnt skin,
and a Camelot built from wet sand.
I can't express a memory
of a red bathing suit
and a baby kingbird
somehow, impossibly sitting
on my outstretched hand
like some Bondi falcon.
I learned lore from Nancy
whose grandfather was an opera singer
and when it rained, we'd
climb up the shelves of the linen closet
into a hole, an attic trove
of old things, dusty costumes
and dried-out makeup kits
from Gilbert and Sullivan productions
a gramophone you had to crank
and impossibly old records:
Keep the Home Fires Burning
My Little Grey Home in the West
(and our favorite)
A Cornfield Medley
which was shockingly racist:
"Some folks say dat a nigger don't steal. . . "
We saw that the record
thick like a slab of slate
had grooves on only one side
No one had thought to record on the other side
and I was later to learn it was made
in the 1800s
when sound in a bottle was still a miracle.
The two weeks "up at Bondy" blew by too fast
Nancy and Brian went back to being
the owner's kids,
and even on this day they own it,
still own Bondi:
it exists in an unchanged form
that seems like time suspended.
Humans hang on to Paradise, to a
place or state of mind eternal
as if it represents the ultimate reward,
finally, finally letting down the burden
of constant change.
I would go back to Bondi,
I will go back to Bondi,
and I know I will find it pristine,
with a few things added, a horse arena here,
an indoor swimming pool there,
so people don't need to rely on the weather;
Nancy and Brian still live there, but they
aren't the Nancy and Brian of old,
nor can they be,
any more than I am that child who dreamed
she was a ridge runner
and held a bird in her hand.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Rocky had somehow broken free, and was high-tailing it back to the barn. Literally! His tail was held as high as an Arabian's, his head thrown back
Friday, July 9, 2010
I couldn't see them at first, and to be aware of them at all, I had to go off-road, so to speak, on to a trail that wasn't very well-developed. Hell, not developed at all. After a few hundred yards of firm-packed gravel, the ground began to give way under my feet.
It was spongy, and every so often a tiny trickle crossed the path, an actual stream making its way from who-knows-where to who-knows-where.
As the forest grew more dense, it gradually got darker: Bob Dylan's "darkness at the break of noon". There were strange sounds, ominous. Creeeeeeeak, creeeeeeeak.
Creeeeeeeeak, creeeeeeeak. It took me a while to realize that some of these old trees seemed as if they were about to give way.
I felt disoriented, not sure how I had got here. I expected to see a giant bear rearing up at me, something out of an ancient fairy tale. (Since then, bears have become much more aggressive, and confronting one in the woods is common.) I realized how Hansel and Gretel must have felt, or Little Red Riding Hood, ancient stories based on one of humanity`s worst fears: getting lost in the wild.
Then I heard it, or it came to my senses: Awwwwwk. Awwwwwwk. Awwwwwwk. Awwwwwk.
I saw something flash overhead, something dark, a shiny black, almost iridescent, but couldn't tell what it was. A bat? I hate bats, fear and loathe them almost more than anything. I'd rather encounter a scorpion.
Then a conversation. Aukkkk! Aukaukaukaukauk. AUWWKKH! Aw. Aw. Aw. Aw. Awwwwwwk.
These were not crows, or if they were, they were Supercrows. Finally I got a good look at one when it perched on a high branch for a second. I thought to myself: it's Poe's nightmare, his embodiment of evil and dread. Once upon a midnight dreary, as I pondered weak and weary. . .
This creature was nearly as big as a chicken, with a spiky-looking ruff around its neck. Its bill was very long and pointed. It had an air of owning the place, of owning the whole forest. It was almost supernaturally shiny, so black it was blue, making me think of "raven-haired beauties" with dead-white skin, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty brought back to life.
My feet were sinking,and suddenly I was surrounded by evil-looking skunk cabbage that might have hosted trolls. I backed away slowly, step by frightened step, then turned and ran, every hair on my entire body standing on end.
Since then I have come to worship the auk-aukh as a kind of holy visitation. I even bought a stuffed animal of a raven made by the Audubon Society, which when gently squeezed emits the call of a live raven. I don't squeeze it when the grandkids are around.
But soft: what's this on the news? A white raven: how can it be? I`ve heard of Spirit Bears, of weird albino speciments popping up randomly, strangely, genetic mutations that never reproduce themselves. But the white ravens spotted on Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, seem to be forming a sort of coven.
Like the Hapsburgs I wrote about a few posts ago, it doesn`t seem possible they could mate, could actually produce issue. Their genes would be all scrambled, and they would somehow end up genetically backwards, married to themselves. But a raven, once it gets an idea into its sly avian head, can do just about anything it wants.
I own a bird, Jasper the lovebird, sweet and dependent, but once in a while he turns feisty and furious, throws a birdie tantrum, tears his cage apart. There is a theory that the dinosaurs didn`t disappear, but instead gradually evolved into birds. In case that seems far-fetched, just look at their scaly little feet, stare into that round black reptilian eye, and the theory begins to make sense.
A black harbinger of death, an aukkh aukkh in the woods, can suddenly turn even more eerie, can scare the living shit out of us by turning pure white. Some believe this is an omen for the end of the world. Others think it will magically bring humanity together.
When I go into the woods today, I'd better not go alone. I don't want to see one of these things, their feather shafts pink, their wings transparent, their eyes an eerie shade of blue. It`s just not natural.
It makes me wonder what Poe would think of the whole thing.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Like a lot of writers, I believe I have lots of good material that needs to be published. I have just completed a novel about the life and hot-blooded loves of silent screen legend Harold Lloyd (the "man on the clock" hanging 20 stories above the Model Ts swarming below). This novel has legs, and I know it. It has the potential to go all the way.
They don't even have to say what they want.
"But how will I get it published?"