Quick Takes.

These Keep Coming Up.

mangeFrom Great Moments in Culinary History:

Paris, 1923: Chef Marmot de Mange created a tremendous sensation with the introduction of zucchini bread (pain de courgette). A simple recipe it was nevertheless praised by gourmands and the general public. Prior to its debut the humble zucchini had merely been a primary ingredient in ratatouille and a common filler for smoothies. De Mange had, less than two years earlier, been almost as successful with his invention of banana bread, helping to extend the popularity and shelf life of the already popular new fruit, also a primary ingredient in ratatouille.

Sadly the chef’s fortunes would take a turn when the public, expecting newer and greater things from him, rejected his subsequent offerings of aubergine and asparagus breads, his experiments with cabbage bread, and his efforts to get people to at least try kohlrabi.

Banana bread and zucchini bread continued to be served in passe patisseries throughout World War II. American GIs brought home the recipes and in 1949 zucchini bread appeared in Annie Potter’s Cook Happy, alongside her hot dog and pineapple gelatin salad.

Today both breads are more popular than ever. It’s estimated that either a whole or partial loaf of banana or zucchini bread is placed in an office breakroom every 44.1 seconds.

Password Isn’t Just A ’70’s Game Show Anymore.

Enter password


Password incorrect. Re-enter password


Still incorrect. Try again.


Now I’m getting suspicious, but give it another shot.


Okay, buddy, you’ve got one more chance.


Close, but no cigar. I’m about to release the hounds.


You forgot your password didn’t you? Click the link to reset your password.

[Check inbox.]

[Refresh inbox.]

[Wait twenty minutes and refresh inbox again.]

[Click link.]

Please type your new password.


Your new password matches your old one. Try again.


Let Sleeping Faces Lie.

rbfEven though Susan Harlan’s Alternatives to Resting Bitch Face made me laugh something about it still bothered me. And then I realized it’s that term and I remembered that one of my favorite things about going to dog shows is hearing little old ladies say, “Look at that bitch go” and “Who does that bitch think she is?” but that’s another story.

And I felt like the list was still putting the responsibility in the wrong place. Maybe that was the point and I not only missed the joke and am unnecessarily white knighting here–it wouldn’t be the first time. I’m still trying to figure out why guys think it’s appropriate to ask women to smile and I’m amazed by the catalog of creepiness at Endearingly Wacko (part 1 and part 2)  I’d like to offer up some alternatives to the alternatives.

I’m Projecting My Feelings Onto You Brain

You’re Out Of My League So I’m Going To Insult You Brain

I Have No Self-Awareness Brain

I Expect Something In Return For Behaving Like A Decent Human Being Brain

I’m Unaware Of This Male Privilege You Speak Of Brain

I Really Believe Women’s Experiences Are Just Like Men’s Brain

I Don’t Get Why You Aren’t Flattered By Attention From Strangers Brain

I’ll Decide Whether I’m Your Type Brain

I Was Raised By Coyotes Brain

I’ve Mistaken You For Someone Who Gives A Shit Brain



It’s All About Convenience.

automatedInstructions for using the library’s automated self-checkout system

  1. Swipe card through the scanner on the right.
  2. Now turn your card around and swipe it the right way.
  3. No, like it shows you on the screen, with the magnetic strip going through the slot.
  4. Type in your library PIN.
  5. That’s not it.
  6. You wrote it down and keep it on a little slip of paper in your purse or wallet? What’s wrong with you? Has it occurred to you that if somebody gets it they could check out books in your name?
  7. Type your real library PIN. And try to remember it this time.
  8. Confirm your identity, unless you’re checking out books using someone else’s card in which case shame on you.
  9. Hold book, barcode up, under the laser scanner. Don’t worry. The laser scanner only burns if you keep your hand under it for more than four and a half minutes.
  10. I said barcode up.
  11. Keep the book under the scanner for five minutes.
  12. When the machine makes a fart sound press “REDO”.
  13. Your book is now checked out. Slide it spine down through the demagnetizer to avoid setting off the alarm when you leave.
  14. Proceed to exit.
  15. Turn around and go to the circulation desk because you’ve set off the alarm.
  16. Sheepishly hand the copy of What To Expect From Your Colonoscopy to the oldest person at the circulation desk. You know the one–that gray-haired woman in the pink sweater with her glasses on a chain around her neck.
  17. Look up at the ceiling when she has to call over four other people because she doesn’t know how to use the new system.
  18. Wonder why you didn’t just buy the book. It wasn’t that expensive and you could have had it delivered right to your house. But then you remember the “Customers who bought this also bought…” and it was bad enough just having that in your search history. And what would you do with it once the procedure is over? You don’t want to leave it lying around the house where one of your friends or, worse, your mother is bound to find it. But you can’t bring yourself to throw a book away either.
  19. Take your checked-out book and exit the library.
  20. On the drive home remember that you left the printed receipt with your name and the title of your book at the automated checkout station.

We hope you enjoy the ease and convenience of the library’s automated self-checkout system.


The other night I was watching the weather and the reporter said we would be experiencing “seasonably cold” weather. It has been unseasonably warm and “unseasonably” is a term I hear people use, but “seasonably”…well, you know how you sometimes hear a person described as “ruthless” but you never hear about anyone having “a lot of ruth”?

The only person I’ve ever heard say “seasonably” is me, and I only used it as a joke in this short video I made years ago. I’m pleased it’s made its way into the lexicon. I’m not going to start aggressively demanding credit for it, though. I have too much ruth for that.

A Fool And His Money.

This year I’m asking Santa for a job writing copy for the Hammacher Schlemmer catalogue. Too many entries begin with “This is the…” Come on, writers, you can be more creative than that. Then again items like the submarine sports car, a bargain at $2,000,000, sell themselves. You don’t need a lot of description beyond that to know you want it.

Other items do require a little more creative finesse. Take, for example, the Urban Poultry Palace. From Hammacher Schlemmer I’d expect something a little more creative than a few stacked boxes, but I guess for $399.95 you get what you pay for. What it needs is more of a personal touch: “As I looked at my homemade chicken coop I realized my feathered family needed more…”

And speaking of needing more, “My den had everything I could want, but there was something missing–an empty space I realized could only be filled by the Handcrafted Hippopotamine Sofa (just $95,000!)”

I'm not ashamed to admit I really love this. Source: Hammacher Schlemmer

Can I get that in midnight blue?
Source: Hammacher Schlemmer

“My children were fascinated by dinosaurs, so what better way to spend $100,000 than a life-size Tyrannosaurus Skeleton?”

Some things are a harder sell. For instance there’s the Prestidigitator’s Wallet, but the only trick it performs is making $39.95 disappear or the Kangaroo Money Clip that will hold tightly to whatever money you have left over after spending $49.95 on a piece of folded leather. And for $35,500 I would expect the 24th Century Time Machine to be, you know, an actual time machine and not a clock that looks like a ripoff of Deep Space Nine.

Cardassian design, Ferengi price.

Cardassian design, Ferengi price.

It especially pales in comparison to this year’s hottest item: a life size model of the solar system. May cause localized gravitational distortion.

Price available on request.


Halloween Watching

THROWINGEGGSThe World’s Ten Worst Horror Films—as compiled by the critics at the film review site Throwing Eggs.

Arbor Day

Unrated. Brief violence and a mild sequence involving a diaper.

A babysitter is terrified by an axe-wielding stranger in a hockey mask arriving at the back door of a house where she’s taking care of small children. Over the course of seventy somewhat harrowing minutes she finds the stranger at every window and every door as she waits for the police to respond.

The figure finally enters the basement and is revealed to be the homeowner, a local professional hockey player taking part in a promotional tree-cutting competition. He left the house without his keys.

A Tisket, A Tasket

Rated PG. Alcohol use, language, evil twin.

A man carries his hideously deformed twin brother in a basket through the seedy streets of New York. Together they write a bestselling series of romance novels.

Sleepaway Camp

Rated R. Disturbingly realistic adult awkwardness.

Two teenage camp counselors lose their virginity to each other. Ten years later the counselors return to the camp for its grand reopening. They reminisce about the tragic drowning of one of the young campers rather than talk about how uncomfortable and awkward their first sexual encounter was.

Caller ID

Unrated. Mildly disturbing popcorn consumption, binge watching of prime time TV dramas.

In this example of the found-footage genre a woman decides to test her new video camera by filming herself home alone. Over the course of the evening she receives a series of mysterious phone calls. Growing increasingly concerned, especially as the phone calls grow more frequent. She finally checks the caller ID and discovers she’s been butt-dialing herself the entire time.

DVD Bonus features include low audio of the three hours of “Scandal” she binge watches and twenty minutes of handheld video of a fourth-grade Thanksgiving pageant.


Unrated. Heightened expectations, failure to make use of premise.

Five young people are driving through a remote part of Nebraska when their van runs out of gas near what they believe is an abandoned slaughterhouse. They decide to investigate and meet a mysterious one-eyed man who lives there. He siphons gas from an old generator and warns them “Don’t take any wooden nickels” before they resume their drive.


Rated PG-13. Contains sequences of interest only to pre-teens.

Three people are abducted by a mask-wearing figure who only appears to them on a television screen and speaks in a computer synthesized voice. He keeps them prisoner until they can successfully do that trick where you stick needles in your fingers without actually breaking the skin.


Unrated. Ratings board didn’t want to bother.

A couple spending a weekend in a cabin in the woods are abducted by strange alien creatures. The creatures keep the couple in cages, strap them to tables, and perform a series of experiments with strange devices before returning the couple to the cabin with profuse apologies and the explanation that the aliens could have sworn this was Neptune.

Pizza Face

Rated PG. Contains graphic scenes of acne medication failing to work.

A teenage boy with a horrible case of acne is dubbed “Pizza Face” and ostracized by his classmates. Forced to spend all his time alone he stays in the back of an old gas station doing odd jobs and quietly plotting. Years later he extracts his revenge on the children of his former classmates by opening the first ever fast food place to offer free drink refills.

Board Game

Unrated. Ratings board unwilling to finish watching.

Four teenage boys–Allen, Jeff, Michael, and Fred—use a Ouija board to summon the spirit of their friend David who was tragically killed a year earlier in a joyriding accident. Wracked with guilt and horrified when the ghostly form of David materializes before them everyone is made incredibly uncomfortable when Fred asks if ghosts can go in the girls’ locker room.

Previously: This movie has everything!

%d bloggers like this: