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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yarrr, 'tis an especially hearty crockpot me hearties!

Yo ho ho to all the wayfareres whose drunken or otherwise disastrous perusals of the internets may have left them washed ashore in the salty brine of the crockpot today! 'Tis talk like a pirate day, and my affinity for both pirates and theme days led me to change the tone of the crockpot accordingly. 'Tis also the anniversary of the birth of one of the sauciest wenches on the seven seas, the dastardly Doc Robins, a loyal crockpot follower, and the originator of the only crockpot merchandise in existence! Twas the dread Doc Robins herself who sent me a crocker stalker tshirt, complete with celery stalks, so well does that scallywag know my love of hardtack is only surpassed by my love of puns, and so efficient is her memory of things like birthdays, anniversaries, and rap lyrics. Ah and as true as the beard of Poseidon, may it be said there is no wench more worthy of being birthed on this day, as she was born with the spirit of piracy in her bones and took to impaling others on the sword of her sharp wit as easy as a dolphin to a tuna net. ARRRRrrrr indeed, her eye patch is nearly as famous as her booty. Many are the days I walk the weathered, structurally unsound boards of the high decks of the shopping center that used to house Doc Robins and me in one office, watching the horizon for any hint of her flags flying in the crafts in the sea of cars in the parking lot. Her colors now feature a devil, teeth bared and fork readied. Tis true, Doc Robins has land-locked herself in the desert of academia found in Arizona. While the won't give a degree to Obama, they will to her, and I can personally say her competence would lend well to fixing the economy. A wiz with spreadsheets like the hand of Old Ruddy Randy with the twine for macrame. From all of yer mates in the crockpot, happy birrrrrrrthday matey!!!

Tis true, crocker faithful, that a football team of mine that I may spend hours rowdily cheering forward in their pillaging of the end zones of opponents was felled today, by a pack of scurvy dogs. Like an outcropping of rocks below the surface, our bow was busted by the huskies! Arrrrr-ghhh. I kept some hope alive that we might find safe harbor with the friendly assault of the Red Raiders of Texas Tech, but arrrrrr twas also not to be. Hooked by horns, it is possible, in Texas, to be land Lubbocked. But tonight it was once again Austin City that provided the limits to pirate ambition. YARR! Twere that it were possible to not give a crap about college football, but nay, this would be as idle a way to pass the fall as the leaves on the palm trees changing not a hint of a hue. All that's left to do, next week hope for positive yarrrrdage. Yar!!!

Now I find myself watching the movie Sweet Home Alabama, the commercial air time for which has been nearrrrrly exclusively purchased by companies selling dog food and cat food to lonely pet owners home on Saturday night! Yar, tis heartening to me that me stuffed pup Marrrrrty is by my side, loyal ole' sea salt that he is, and he only asks for occasional lodging and endless nips of the ship's rum. Yarrr the delights of piracy! Watching this movie again (tis true, I'm a sap of a scallywag apparently for Skynard-titled cinema) I find it remarrrrkable that this movie's Southern town is very close to the fairytale Southern town in the movie Big Fish. YARrrrrr twas a fish tale I followed then too! Oh the mystic South versus the actual South, and the amazement I find that despite knowing the exaggeration, I still am taken in by Hollywood Southern accents. Let's say it's Ethan Embry and call it a draaaaaaw....l.

Well mateys, let me pass along humble wishes for a wonderful talk like a pirate day from my crockpot to yarrrrrrrrs.




Friday, September 18, 2009

Block Party: What Cheese Means to Me


Hi everyone! Today I am cross-posting an essay devoted to cheese that was commissioned by my best bud and fellow cheese nut, Erin (pictured left. We made some arts and crafts hats for New Year's Eve - and as an aside, a happy Jewish New Year to everyone too!).



Also, in working on this project, I realized that being commissioned to write about cheese was really a good thing. If you have any crockpot suggestions, please let me know! I am nothing if not extremely suceptible to peer pressure. But don't take my word for it, just read it in the Chinese character tattoo I got while on Spring Break with friends! We each picked one of the signs of the Planeteers from Captain Planet. Love it! Because there is no other choice as it is permanently affixed to my flesh.

Aside over - on to the cheese! Erin, thanks for letting me cheese up your blog!

What cheese means to me.

I was recently introduced to the Donald Hall poem “O Cheese” and instantly wondered why Donald Hall hadn’t been named poet laureate much sooner. I was unable to find the text of this poem reproduced in its entirety on the interwebs, but here’s a very special hunk of his cheese.

O cheeses that dance in the moonlight, cheeses
that mingle with sausages, cheeses of Stonehenge.
O cheeses that are shy, that linger in the doorway,
eyes looking down, cheeses spectacular as fireworks.
I read this poem as part of the required reading of a poetry class, and was instantly judgmental when several of my classmates suggested this poem was silly, saying things like, “Cheese can’t be wistful!” and “There are no shy cheeses.”

To me these comments made it clear both that their speakers had no taste when it came to what seemed to be Hall’s obviously staggering gifts of language, and that they had never tasted mild cheddar, a distinctly shy cheese.

When looking for this poem by internet search, I was not surprised to find a multitude of cheese devotionals – some as songs, some as poems, some as bad poems, others as recipes. All were sharing a sentiment that I certainly share with all of my being – cheese is awesome.

Cheese is so good that even imitation cheese is often good. Cheez-its. Nacho cheese. American cheese. Velveeta, certainly. And then there’s the pantheon of cheese flavorings and dusts added to crackers and chips and snack foods that turn our fingertips orange and encrust themselves in our bicuspids with regularity. When one reflects on the sheer genius of Doritos and Cheetos, it is humbling to realize those products are but mere imitations of a food so delicious, so varied, so beloved, that its ad slogan “Behold the power of cheese” is an understatement.

Things cheese improves:

Though originally inclined to say “everything,” I hesitated when I considered there might be some smart alecks out there who would say things like, “Oh yeah, does cheese improve murder?,” and I’d be presented with a both a moral quandary, as I might think even horrendous things would be helped by cheese, and the task of coping with the imagined crime scene covered in cheese. What can I say? I watch a lot of Law & Order. Really, I’m sure by now you’ve imagined the same. What cheese did you choose in your imagination? One you dislike? Because I didn’t. And that’s going to take some work to get that cheese out of the mind’s eye and back between some bread, on top of some meat, shredded on a salad, or straight from the fridge making a beeline for my face, where it belongs.
So let’s compromise and say cheese improves almost everything.

Short list of things cheese improves:

Any vegetable, most fruits, pie, cake as a category, bagels, bread in general (in on over under around between), salads, sandwiches, soups, snack foods in general (real or artificial cheeses or both together), meat, burgers, the foodstuffs of all countries whose food groups I’ve consumed (Italy, Spain, I mean, come on, you could be cheese-based economies with a little more effort), leftovers, nuggets of any kind, snack time, lunchtime, dinnertime, drunk snack time, hangovers, heartaches, headaches, horseradish, hors d’oeuvres, fried stuff, Fridays, family functions, family function, friendships, relationships, reputation of the state of Wisconsin, vacations, road trips, hiking, camping, fishing, humans’ love of cows, humans love of each other, humanity, and crackers.

And that’s a short list.

Cheese can be a solid, liquid or eazy-gas. Behold the power!

Cheese is a word every child knows means “smile big!” Coincidence? I think not. Behold the power!

Cheese is so revered that rappers have taken to calling their money “cheddar” or “chedda’” if they prefer not to bother with that final consonant. That’s ok, it’s not Wheel of Fortune. Really, what rappers have done here is ingeniously eliminated the linguistic middleman, as I spend a lot of my chedda’ on cheddar. And lately, Swiss singles from the folks at Sargento. Not bad. Good for snacking. Behold the power!

Really, and I am absolutely sincere in the following: many of my strongest bonds with people are cheese-covered, and stretch from heart to heart like the mozzarella that hangs between two pieces of pizza when you try to put one on your plate and it’s still connected to the pizza pie. For starters, my family certainly shares quality moments together hacking enormously large chunks of cheese off of a single block of cheese to stave off hunger in the ten minutes before dinner is served, effectively ruining our dinners, and allowing us to communally relish the deliciousness of the cheese. This is family custom. Cherished tradition. Always has been. Behold the power!

And I am, after all, only a visiting contributor to Erin’s blog because she too shares the understanding that cheese is such a superior, amazing, powerful food that it almost surpasses description as merely food. Cheese is a pretty integral part of our friendship. And we’re really good friends. Ask someone, it’s true!

Cheese – I’d stop the world and melt with you. I’m only ever as bleu as you. I’ve got to admit it’s getting cheddar, getting cheddar all the time. I love you cheese!

And how much do I want some cheese right now?





Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Whoops! I forgot to write. Ever.

It's quite true. I have neglected the fish crockpot for such a length of time that I worried I did not remember the password to get back into it and jaw at cha for a spell.

My excuses: the usual
movin'
shakin'
mania
sloth
laundry
depression
joy
excess
reality television
stayed home to wash my hair....
et cetera

It's good to be back, though, even if only to babble. The first week of school for some this week, it works for me. Even when you're old enough to know your name on the first day and how to write it on a seating chart when it was passed to you, teachers still took care of clerical business, not calculus, on the first few days - locker assignments, rules, schedules, textbook assignments, so on and so forth. So it's ok if this too is a cataloging, an inventory of loose ends in my head that probably will be rolled into a knotted ball for cats to play with, rather than tied into a hammock capable of holding actual weight and providing leisure and relaxation, or knotted into a sail that will hold a force capable of moving us anywhere new and interesting and exciting, or moving us anywhere at all.

Even in describing the ways in which this writing will be worthless fluff rather than something worthwhile I am writing worthless fluff. I believe there was a toilet paper commercial that featured clouds making fluff for the toilet paper. I have missed my true calling, obviously.
Please don't squeeze the crockpot!

The cats draw near, intrigued, as my thoughts are dragged slowly across the floor, zig-zagging them into a frenzied, silent anticipation.

Things i miss right now:

Pittsburgh - the Steelers return and family and friends are swept into their season and out of life itself.

Fall - even though it is still too early to miss the east coast fall, somehow the dying light of California summer days is less bittersweet. Knowing the transition will be more calendar-imposed than dramatic by nature's own hand somehow dulls the pain of losing summer, but in so doing makes it more painful, as a proper mourning is not done for something that doesn't really seem to be gone, until suddenly, it is. And it's dark at 5 p.m. The smell of dying August humidity is totally absent. The trees are silent, free from locust hum that is the sound of fading honeysuckle. And the telltale crunch of leaves fallen under foot - missing.
What's changing in the forest here is doing so by fire. Cosmetic changes in California are done quickly and dramatically, even in the trees.

Lemonade - i cannot explain why i am in love with lemonade lately, but i am. And I am out.

Things i love right now, inexplicably, indisputably, often inordinately:

In addition to lemonade, pretzels.

But aside from that, soft rock. (More than usual, yes). I have recently become a driver of a car that contains speakers that function on both sides at all times. The salesman, Brian "Big B" Wilson (not the Beach Boy, a different Brian Wilson) laughed that I would now be driving around with the volume way up all the time, and people would know not to mess with me because i'd be too intently focused on my music, that's how in love i would be with the audio capacity of this vehicle.
In reality, nothing has made me happier than blaring soft rock in the dark with the windows cracked and me singing like i might be able to out sing the radio. "Never gonna let you go, I'm gonna hold you in my arms forever, gonna try to make up for the times, i hurt you sooooo--oo-ooo. Gonna hold your body close to mine! From this day on we're going to be together, and I swear this time, I'm never going to let you go!" Yes, I am talking about full refrain. I am talking about singing both the male and the female part of the duet. I do mean both parts equally loud. And I do mean that this time I'm going to "dedicate myself to giving mo-o-o-re."
This time you can be sure.
Shania Twain? Yep. Still the one. Is that Danny's song you want? Well, even though we ain't got money, i'm so in love with you honey, that i'd love to belt it out. I do not know why the soft rock outshines the option of say, playing something with a little more bite, but it sure does. It's hard for me to say i'm sorry. Probably because, unlike Peter Cetera, I'm not. But I will sing like i am.

Very excited kids carrying band instrument cases after practice. It's like they're walking with secret magic tucked away, like they know they've just put a unicorn in an ugly black suitcase, and they could let it out at any time to run wild, but they know decorum does not allow for it. I don't know. There is something about not being able to hide their unadulterated joy at being in the band when they know that for social advantage they might consider doing so that makes me very happy.

Order.
Also not sure why. P's and Q's. i's and t's. I very much fancy things working as they should right now.


Despite knowing I'm ruining my own sense of order by concluding conclusionless, I'm going to do just that.

Tomorrow, I better remember where i sit without needing to see the chart again.
We shall see.