Friday, December 31, 2010

Fun Fact Friday - Shoot That Poison Arrow

First, some business.  

First, I've been unfollowed.  Perhaps it was the blatant sexism sexiness of my holiday blogs.  Perhaps whomever unfollowed is offended by the thought of Free Bacon.  Obviously they weren't of the open-minded, intelligent ilk represented by you, dear readers.


Second, on the topic of Free Bacon, Movies and Artwork (not necessarily in that order), there's still a contest to be won.  You've got until tomorrow, and right now I only have one entry with a single question answered, so there's hope for you yet.


We now return you to your regularly scheduled Fun Fact.  Note the artful use of parentheses throughout.  And not just so I could prove I can spell 'parentheses'.

Growing up in Milwaukee, with a neighbor who worked for Miller Brewing back in the day when the employees were paid in beer, I was exposed to alcohol at a young age.  (Not surprisingly, when I Google 'Lots of Beer', the first photo of someone actually drinking was proudly taken at Milwaukee's lakefront.)

Now that it's New Year's Eve, and I'm an adult, I will have a tipple or two before I toddle off to bed around 9:15.  (Hey, I'm a party animal!)  I certainly won't be driving, since yesterday's freezing rain had me sliding from the top of the lot to the bottom at the office, and I don't need a repeat of that.  Thankfully, the OfficeMax driver asked me to move my icebound car before, and not after, he slammed into the side of it with his truck.  (Not so thankfully, I'm still not sure of the damage I may have done to the car myself when I was stopped by the snowbank.) 

speaking of party animals, how about that guy with the candle in his skull?
As a child I also had a ratty, worn copy of 'Ripley's Believe it or Not!', a double-sided paperback edition, that taught me what it meant to be intoxicated: 

intoxicate - early 15c., "full of poison" (pp. adj.), from M.L. intoxicatus , pp. of intoxicare  "to poison," from L. in-  "in" + toxicare  "to poison," from toxicum  "poison" (see toxic). The verb meaning "to poison" is first attested 1520s; meaning "make drunk" first recorded 1570s (implied in intoxicated)

Specifically, Ripley stated that to be intoxicated was to be shot with a poison arrow. 

To that point, I found a shot called The Poison Arrow, and it's a perfect dare shot for your New Year's festivities:
Poison Arrow Ingredients:
1 part Lime Cordial (Rose's Lime Juice)
1 dash Grenadine
1 part Bailey’s Irish Creme

Directions: Fill up a shot glass with lime cordial and add a dash of Grenadine to the top. Now very slowly pour Baileys into the center of the shot glass until the liqueur hits the bottom of the shot. Take a straw and slowly twirl it round so the Baileys twists around the tube. Retract the straw and serve.  (Recipe and photo courtesy of OXM-UK - and yes, there are all sorts of video-game-themed alcoholic beverages out there.  Not that anyone asked.)

Don't that sound tasty?  What this fails to mention is that the lime juice will curdle the Bailey's.  Mmmm, mmm.  Chunky.

Happy New Year, kids.  Don't go messing with any arrows while you're drunk, poisoned or not.  (You'll shoot your eye out...)

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Fun Fact Fat Guy Film Finds Foodipalooza - Expurgated Version

(The one without the gannet...) 

Now I understand from some of you that last Thursday's post might not be (ahem) work-appropriate.  As such, here's an image-free version so you may still win prizes without offending the Political Correctness crowd.


Should you not give a crap, click here.  Either way, since nobody's offered any answers yet, there's still plenty of time to win.

Merry Christmas, kids!  Happy holidays, as well, should you not be of the Christmas ilk.  Winter is upon us and it's time once again for our annual trivial trivia giveaway!  We're currently driving to Wisconsin to be among family and friends for the holiday weekend.

Last year, Nej took top honors and in return, wrote a stellar review of her prize.  You could be next!  Just be the winner of the following scavenger hunt of facts and you could soon be the proud owner of greatness.

This year, first prize is one of a selection of fine art photographs, matted and framed, by Lori Mason Photography.  These works have a retail value of $75, but a current overstock due to our recent relocation means we can offer one of these to you to display proudly in your home or office.  There are a lot of different images, and if you win we'll send you a preview gallery to choose from.    

Second prize is your choice of classic films, all discussed at some point here at Ye Olde CDSe.  First, Leone's classic 'A Fistful of Dollars', a remake of 'Yojimbo!'.  Second, one of Hitchcock's pre-Hollywood films, 'The 39 Steps'.  Or, you can choose 'The Station Agent', one of my modern favorites.


Finally, third prize is that ever popular meat candy, BACON.  Just because it's third doesn't make it less important.  This year, it's Hungarian smoked bacon, enough for two beautiful BLT's or a hell of a lot of bean soup.  You could also opt for Wisconsin-made Nueske's if you'd like your bacon pre-sliced.  This stuff is great under the broiler, and has the true bacon flavor that seems to be missing from many of the store brands.  I fried some of this up to add to a cremini-cheddar risotto last weekend, good stuff.

Now, on to the quiz.  We grade on a curve here at CDS Enterprises, and some of these questions will take some work and creative thinking.  Since many of the questions relate to the previous answer, working in order might be better for all involved.

1) Name two films that featured two future state governors.

2) Name another that featured one future governor and a chimp.

3) Hal Holbrook has never been a governor.  Hal Holbrook has never been president either, but he's played two on TV as well as helping to topple a third in film.  Name two films where his good-guy role turns out to be a front, and he's exposed as the villain (Scooby-Doo style, if you will.)

4) Speaking of Scooby Doo (in an offhand sort of way), explain the significance of September 14, 1985 in music history.  (It has to do, marginally, with the Pointer Sisters and one of their 'upbeat' songs, if that helps.  It went to eleven.)

5) Also on that day, one of the greatest premieres in all of television occurred.  The theme song was originally released by Andrew Gold in 1978.  Name two films to feature Gold's previous hit, 'Lonely Boy'

6) Now that you're all sexed up thinking about the television show mentioned above, maybe thinking about baseball would help.  Who followed Jimmy Blake to the plate, possibly in Massachusetts but just as possibly in California, depending upon who you believe?

7) Speaking of geography, how far is Winnipeg from Montreal? 

8) Who told you that distance?

9) Why is that distance in miles instead of kilometers?  Burma!

(Sorry, I panicked.  I'm not Doctor bloody Bernofsky, you know.)

10) What do they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in France?

11) Finally, which actress was born on the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, and became a global sensation after starring in one of the great films written and directed by the late Blake Edwards?

Ten questions would have been enough, but this quiz goes to eleven (like the Pointer Sisters).  Eleven answers would be impressive, eleven correct would be even better! 

To keep things fair and above-board, please email your answers here to avoid anyone using your answers to better their cause. 

Winners will be announced January 1st, so get cracking!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Random Acts of Thursday - The Fun Fact Fat Guy Film Finds Foodipalooza

Merry Christmas, kids!  Happy holidays, as well, should you not be of the Christmas ilk.  Winter is upon us and it's time once again for our annual trivial trivia giveaway!  We're currently driving to Wisconsin to be among family and friends for the holiday weekend.

Last year, Nej took top honors and in return, wrote a stellar review of her prize.  You could be next!  Just be the winner of the following scavenger hunt of facts and you could soon be the proud owner of greatness.

This year, first prize is one of a selection of fine art photographs, matted and framed, by Lori Mason Photography.  These works have a retail value of $75, but a current overstock due to our recent relocation means we can offer one of these to you to display proudly in your home or office.  There are a lot of different images, and if you win we'll send you a preview gallery to choose from.    

Second prize is your choice of classic films, all discussed at some point here at Ye Olde CDSe.




First, Leone's classic 'A Fistful of Dollars', a remake of 'Yojimbo!'.





 










Second, one of Hitchcock's pre-Hollywood films, 'The 39 Steps'.












Or, you can choose 'The Station Agent', one of my modern favorites.













Finally, third prize is that ever popular meat candy, BACON.  Just because it's third doesn't make it less important.  This year, it's Hungarian smoked bacon, enough for two beautiful BLT's or a hell of a lot of bean soup.  You could also opt for Wisconsin-made Nueske's if you'd like your bacon pre-sliced.  This stuff is great under the broiler, and has the true bacon flavor that seems to be missing from many of the store brands.  I fried some of this up to add to a cremini-cheddar risotto last weekend, good stuff.

Now, on to the quiz.  We grade on a curve here at CDS Enterprises, and some of these questions will take some work and creative thinking.  Since many of the questions relate to the previous answer, working in order might be better for all involved.

1) Name two films that featured two future state governors.

2) Name another that featured one future governor and a chimp.

3) Hal Holbrook has never been a governor.  Hal Holbrook has never been president either, but he's played two on TV as well as helping to topple a third in film.  Name two films where his good-guy role turns out to be a front, and he's exposed as the villain (Scooby-Doo style, if you will.)

4) Speaking of Scooby Doo (in an offhand sort of way), explain the significance of September 14, 1985 in music history.  (It has to do, marginally, with the Pointer Sisters and one of their 'upbeat' songs, if that helps.  It went to eleven.)

5) Also on that day, one of the greatest premieres in all of television occurred.  The theme song was originally released by Andrew Gold in 1978.  Name two films to feature Gold's previous hit, 'Lonely Boy'

6) Now that you're all sexed up thinking about the television show mentioned above, maybe thinking about baseball would help.  Who followed Jimmy Blake to the plate, possibly in Massachusetts but just as possibly in California, depending upon who you believe?

7) Speaking of geography, how far is Winnipeg from Montreal? 

8) Who told you that distance?

9) Why is that distance in miles instead of kilometers?  Burma!

(Sorry, I panicked.  I'm not Doctor bloody Bernofsky, you know.)

10) What do they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in France?

11) Finally, which actress was born on the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, and became a global sensation after starring in one of the great films written and directed by the late Blake Edwards?

Ten questions would have been enough, but this quiz goes to eleven (like the Pointer Sisters).  Eleven answers would be impressive, eleven correct would be even better! 

To keep things fair and above-board, please email your answers here to avoid anyone using your answers to better their cause.

Winners will be announced January 1st, so get cracking!  (No pun intended, I just liked the picture...)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Movie Mania Monday - Two turtlenecks and a beer

Hey, kids!  It's been another cold week here in the O-hi-o, but it hasn't been without warm holiday tidings.  I even enjoyed some noodle kugel courtesy of the deli up the street from home.  We braved the holiday traffic over the weekend, which explains why I do most of my Christmas shopping online, and right now I feel like I could go for a cup of hot cocoa just in hopes that I could feel my fingers again.

Keep watching this space for further events, kiddoes, the Fun Fact Fat Guy Film Finds Foodipalooza is celebrating it's second year, with lots of goodies in our sleigh.

However, right now, it's time for this week's movie quote.  No Googling or using any other search engines (as if anyone uses anything but Google...).  Identify the original source of the quote, no movies within movies or characters quoting past films.  Should you guess the quote correctly, you'll win the peoples' fame and ovation forever, along with the title of 'Iron Quote Guesser'.

"Hey, we're flexible. Pearl Harbor didn't work out so we got you with tape decks."

Allez guessing and joyeux noel, mes amis!

Monday, December 13, 2010

If it's Monday it must be snowing...

Alright, kids, we've got white-out conditions here in Cleveland, and somehow when The Boss compared his pink Cadillac favorably to a Subaru, I'm sure he wasn't referring to this kind of weather. All-wheel drive might be nice about now.

(And yes, I know people have said, I'm sure rightfully so, that the song has nothing to do with an actual Cadillac.  But you take my point, I hope.)


We're going remedial today, because there are still unsolved quotes in our past.  Go back and take a look, test your luck and venture a guess!  It's almost a Christmas season tribute, since two of the films feature little people, and two of them involve actors who've been in holiday movies in recent years.

Meantime, I'm going to hunker down and imagine I'm curled up with Lori on the sofa, watching the snow from beside a crackling fire. 

Stay warm, kids, and allez guessing!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I know a great After Hours joint

(or...Wherein we re-enter the Valley)
Last Monday, I posted, in the midst of Movie Mania, a discussion on mannequins.  Apparently I was so scarred as a child that I never even finished my horrible remeniscense in that post, just trailed off mid-sentence-fragment. 

I don't care for mannequins.  At all.  On a scale of 1 to 10 they're just creepy and undeserving of a number less than a kerjillion. 
When I was a kid, my own vivid imagination was my worst enemy.  Watching the 'After Hours' episode of The Twilight Zone was enough to creep me out.  Add 'Westworld' to that, where Yul Brynner's face explodes.  Going to Gimbel's with my mother afterward was even worse.  I was convinced all the mannequins were just waiting to come to life and eat me if I got locked in the store overnight. 

Worse was when I worked up the courage to touch one, and her hand fell off.  Off.  In my hand.

Because several large retailers left Milwaukee during my childhood, there was also no end of dismembered mannequin bits lying around abandoned storefront displays. 
How you doin'?
Yes, I know they look little or nothing like real people.  Tell that to seven-year-old Me.  Add to that also my shyness about nudity, and not knowing where to look when the mannequin was naked, and there was no way I could have a mature, reasoned approach to the existence of mannequins. 

Damn, now that I re-read this, it's amazing I made it to adulthood as sanely as I did.  That said, I'll save the discussion of how I couldn't touch the pages in my National Geographic 'How Animals Hide' book because of the insects on them.

It might just be amazing that I made it to adulthood, period.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Movie Mania Monday - Now with a title! I'm sure that helps a bit.

Oh, what a wintry day we've had.   And really, it is beautiful.


Nobody managed to identify last week's film.  Ms. Lee knows it, but she's not sharing.  (Does that mean she's getting coal for Christmas?)  Also, nobody managed to comment on my sentence fragment last week, but I'll take care of that in a post later this week.

Now onto the contest!  As always, rules.  No Google or other web searches, you should know the quote by yourself. This should be the original source of the quote as well, no characters quoting other movies, and certainly no movies within movies. Should you guess the quote correctly, you'll win the people's fame and ovation forever, along with the title of 'Iron Quote Guesser', along with all associated accolades. Now, onto the quote of the week:

Oh god. I just screamed in his face.

Allez Guessing! Meanwhile, I'll be outside shoveling.

Movie Mania Monday - Delays, delays.

So Cleveland has been hit with the first significant snowfall of the season.  It's been snowing more often than not since Friday, I think. 

As such, Movie Mania Monday is closed for the safety of our readers.  In the meantime, click here for some helpful advice, in the event you've never seen snow before or have lived in sub-tropical climates for the last three winters.  For true-to-life advice, I prefer this one.


Cheers.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fun Fact Friday - Bluffin' with my MacGuffin

I figured we could start off the return of Fun Fact Friday with a little story from one of the great film directors of all time, Alfred Hitchcock:

Two men are riding in a train compartment together.  One man says, “What’s that package up there in the baggage rack?”  And the other answers, “Oh, that’s the MacGuffin.”  The first one asks, “What’s a MacGuffin?”  ”Well,” the other man says, “it’s an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands.”  The first man says, “But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands,” and the other one answers, “Well then, that’s no MacGuffin!”

In short, the MacGuffin is a literary device.  Unlike a red herring (like Communism, for example), the MacGuffin does not aim to mislead but instead it serves to drive the plot of a story while being unimportant of itself.  The MacGuffin puts a story into action, like Janet Leigh stealing forty grand, then leaves the story faster than you can say "Oh God, Mother!"

Hitchcock was a master of the MacGuffin, like Harry in 'The Trouble with Harry', or the original theatre scene in 'The 39 Steps', and the unnamed government secrets in 'North by Northwest'.  Also widely regarded as MacGuffins are the briefcase in 'Pulp Fiction', the Maltese Falcon in 'The Maltese Falcon', the egg salad recipe in 'What's Up, Tiger Lily?', and my favorite, the gold in 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly'.
someone has too much time on their hands...
So remember kids, go out and drive a plot line.  Even if it turns out, in the end, you're really not important at all.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Movie Mania Monday - First floor, Dungeon, assorted simple tortures.

Here's hoping you had a wonderful holiday weekend full of turkey-laden goodness.  Here's hoping you stuffed yourself silly on pie.  Odds are pretty strong that I did, and this was written before we even left for the holiday!

Last week's movie quote, identified by none other than the Mysterious Ms, was 'The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T', a rare live-action Dr. Seuss story.  (Jim Carrey is NOT live-action.  Ever.)  This one creeped me out as a kid, almost as bad as the Kid Catcher and mannequins.  (Really.  See 'The After Hours' episode of Twilight Zone and tell me that wouldn't have wigged you out as an imaginative seven-year-old.  Especially if the next time you)

As always, rules.  No Google or other web searches, you should know the quote by yourself. This should be the original source of the quote as well, no characters quoting other movies, and certainly no movies within movies. Should you guess the quote correctly, you'll win the people's fame and ovation forever, along with the title of 'Iron Quote Guesser', along with all associated accolades. Now, onto the quote of the week:


Have you been sexually molested yet?  Because I can circle the block.   


Allez guessing!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Random Acts of Thursday - Over the River and Through the Woods

We were never big on the extended-family holiday when I was a kid.  However, my most memorable Thanksgiving is, in fact, one where we went to my grandmother's house.  That was a tough trek, probably 10 or 12 stairs up to her apartment from ours.  Phew! 

Despite her sweet tooth, my sister was not fond of candied yams.  She jokingly shoved the lock closed on the oven while they were baking, and because of the heat, the oven elected to stay locked for about four hours.  Sarah was quite pleased with herself that evening, to be sure.  Me, not so much.

As you're reading this, we have hopefully completed the 500-mile journey back to Wisconsin to be with family and gorge ourselves on turkey and pie.  I realize that some of you have arduous commutes to your family homes for the holiday as well, and as such thought we'd celebrate Grandma, Nana, Oma, Granny, Gramma or whatever you happened to call your female ancestors.  The actresses listed below have all portrayed a grandmother on the big screen, some more than once.  Identify the films in which each of these women played a grandmotherly role.

  • Katherine Hepburn
  • Sandy Martin
  • Cloris Leachman
  • Anne Bancroft
  • Sylvia Sidney
  • Carol Kane
  • Billie Bird
  • Diane Ladd
  • Holland Taylor
  • Maureen Stapleton
  • Eileen Ryan

Show your work, kids!  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. 

Extra credit?  Name two other songs besides the one hinted at in the title that also talk about Grandma.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Movie Mania Monday - Don't call me Shirley

It's been quite the journey this past week, kids.  Who knew car batteries could be so expensive, or so heavy?  I could make some vague dark matter jokes that only the sci-fi geeks among us would understand, but I won't bother.

As a result of my dead car in the driveway on a day I was scheduled to drive to West Virginia, I had to rent a car.  That's right kids, not only do you get a movie quote to guess upon, but you get a coveted Rental Car Review!

I have mixed feelings about Ford products.  You may have realized that here or here or here.  You may also have heard me refer to Ford Explorers as 'Exploders' more than once.  But since beggars shouldn't be choosers, and the local agency only had one car available, Exploder it was.  Charcoal gray with a black interior, very few options and quite plain looking.  Inconspicuous is probably good, though, and somehow driving my large car with Florida plates through rural West Virginia didn't feel like a good idea, anyway.  


The Explorer had a very non-ergonomic seat, and my butt was sore.  The headrest pitched forward at a 45-degree angle, and since I don't have scoliosis (I was tested when I was nine) that doesn't complement the natural angle of my neck.  However, for a truck equipped with four-wheel-drive, I thought it pulled in some reasonable mileage.  It was quick, confident on the winding mountain roads, and the headlamps gave me enough light to see where I was going, not something all cars can say.  Truly, if I could have fitted a GM seat and steering column to this, it would get an A+.  However, as it stands, we only get a B-.  


Staying at a historic rural inn, one that's been in operation since 1839, one would expect the food to be exceptional and authentic.  Biscuits and gravy?  Yes, please.  However, when home-made is made by someone who doesn't normally make gravy, the results are quite sad.  It was simply undercooked, runny and smelled and tasted of raw flour.  Not the thick, beautiful gravy that even I, an unabashed northern boy, can make with ease.  The only thing that rivaled my disappointment over that was the hard, pre-made biscuit. Pilsbury tube biscuits are better.  Sad, sad, sad.

Now, onto our raison d'etre.  As always, rules.  No Google or other web searches, you should know the quote by yourself. This should be the original source of the quote as well, no characters quoting other movies, and certainly no movies within movies. Should you guess the quote correctly, you'll win the people's fame and ovation forever, along with the title of 'Iron Quote Guesser', along with all associated accolades. Now, onto the quote of the week:

We should always believe children. We should even believe their lies.  


Allez guessing!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Movie Mania Mercredi - knock a self a pro, Slick!

Okay, so this is a cop-out.  I apparently picked the wrong week to quit drinking, because I couldn't do something as simple as post Monday's post on Monday.  But that's okay, my eight years of French class have come in handy to bail me out here.  Oh, how I love technicalities.

Oh, I love trick questions, too.  Last week's quote, though used in the classic Airplane!, was actually a quote from Zero Hour!, the 1957 suspense film used as the basis for much of Airplane!'s storyline and dialogue.  

So there you have it, kids.  I'm hoping to return to regularly scheduled programming next week, stay tuned!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Night at the Movies - Couldn't care less about the five nine I'm blowin'

As many films as I've seen through the years, it has become increasingly rare for me to see them in an actual movie theater.  Now with the DVR, I'm even less inclined to go pay $9 to sit in an uncomfortable chair while wearing pants and abstaining from alcohol.  However, my local theater is actually local now, just a few minutes up the road instead of half an hour or 28 stop lights away, and apparently Mondays offer matinee pricing all day.  I might be able to sit through a few more films if they only cost me $5.

We saw RED on Saturday, and while I hoped for more, it was still enjoyable.  And I suppose, what kind of depth of character should I expect from a comic book?  I'll take character development if they want to give it to me, but I certainly don't expect it.

It was an overwhelmingly fun movie weekend for me, besides our little outing to the theater.  Caught an old Agatha Christie suspense film yesterday morning, and followed it up with the Rodriguez/Tarantino 'Grindhouse' double-feature that I recorded off of IFC past my bedtime Saturday night.  Gory, yet amusing.  And it included a 'trailer' for Machete, with Johnny Trejo.  That trailer was made in '07, and Rodriguez has now actually made the movie.  It's on the must-see list. 


Slightly more depressing is the news that Mad Max 4 has been pushed back indefinitely.  This makes me sad since it was to be shot in the same outback hills as Mad Max 1 and 2, and I was waiting impatiently.  They've modified the Interceptor a little, but that just makes it cooler.

And we really need a new movie quote.  Since we haven't done this in months, it's only fair we review the rules, right, children?  Your goal is to guess the original source of the quote below.  No Google or other web searches, you should know the quote by yourself. This is specifically to identify the original source of the quote as well, no characters quoting other movies, and certainly no movies within movies. Should you guess the quote correctly, you'll win the people's fame and ovation forever, along with the title of 'Iron Quote Guesser', along with all associated accolades. Now, onto the quote of the week:

Our survival hinges on one thing - finding someone who not only can fly this plane, but didn't have fish for dinner.
(Which is technically two things, I think, but that's how the quote reads.  Can't help it if it's wrong.) 

Allez guessing, mes enfants!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Random Acts of Thursday - I had to work a double shift at Cinnabons

Oh, October, how do I love thee?  I love the mist in the mornings, the wind overnight, the smell of fallen leaves, fine seasonal beers and the re-appearance of pumpkin pie in the grocery store.  Given proper funding (see button at right) I also have some wonderfully gruesome, children-wetting-themselves Halloween ideas that need to be played out at some point. 

And this weekend, Lori and I will be attending a masquerade ball themed around Poe's Masque of the Red Death.  Among the tarot readers, headless horsemen and the "Guess who's Death" game, I found a new musical genre that just cries out to be loved:  Goth-a-billy.

I'm already a fan of rock-a-billy and psycho-billy, and despite having never worn black nail polish and a floor-length black coat, I love The Cure.  This just screams to be downloaded for my listening pleasure, I'm sure.
The band playing at this little soiree is named Cult of the Psychic Fetus.  If it wasn't already a band name, Cult of the Psychic Fetus would be a GREAT band name.

Speaking of macabre little pagan holidays, I must say I'm rather disappointed in Food Network even more than normal.  As if it isn't bad enough that Sandra Lee gets a Halloween special, last weekend we watched the Food Network Horror Cakes Challenge.  Judged by Leatherface himself, these were kindly little cakes with little actual horror.  Mock horror, perhaps.  Horrificomical?  Maybe.  But the judges were looking for gumpaste intestines dripping with raspberry blood, the glint of some medieval torture device sawing limbs from exchange students.

And really, who isn't?

And speaking of medieval torture devices, I've noticed an alarming number of dead blogs in my random trolling of the web.  People who clutter the limited disk space of the worldwide web with pages that haven't been updated in three or four years or more.  Sure, pages like MyDeathSpace can tell us when someone's page isn't updated for a reason, but how many people just forget their passwords or lose interest with no sort of sign-off? 

I'll do my best not to do that to my readers.  What I will do is leave you with the award-winning costume Lori made for me a number of years ago.
Now, your turn.  What's your best Halloween/Autumn memory ever?  And for my readers in the southern hemisphere, Spring memories work, too.  Until then, stay out of the daylight.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Random Acts of Thursday - Howard's End

(or, From Mr. C to Mystery)
October 1, 1927 — October 19, 2010


The world lost an icon this week.  Tom Bosley passed away at age 83, an American icon and a better father than Cliff Huxtable could ever hope to be.  I'm at least certain that Howard Cunningham could kick Cliff's ass around the block, given the need.

Certainly he was a better father than Danny Tanner.  And even Joanie Cunningham could kick his ass.

I grew up watching Happy Days, fictionally based in my home town and therefore riveting to an eight-year-old me.  However, my favorite Mr. C memory came later in life, watching the Christmas episode where Howard was going to drive Fonzie to Waukesha to see his family for Christmas, and wouldn't be back for many, many hours.  I lived in Waukesha at the time, and even without the Interstate, there's no reason it should take two hours to drive from ANYWHERE in Milwaukee to Waukesha. 

That Mr. Cunningham, he's good people.

Any other Happy Days memories you'd like to share?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Adjective Noun Day of Week - Interjection! Pronoun verb possessive pronoun adjective verb.


Verb noun conjunction verb.  And you didn't think I could nerd the place up any more.  Interjection, verb pronoun.

I seem to be in a mood lately, moreso than normal.  It means I'm quite sensitive to the verbal and written gaffes of other people.  I did well in English class in school, with the exception of that paper I failed to write on Camus.  That's okay, since Sartre is smartre, anyway.

What I don't seem to recall is diagraming sentences.  I remember seeing sentence diagrams on television and in movies, but, though I'm certain we must have done these in school, the memory of it has escaped me. 
I remember Schoolhouse Rock, with its Conjunction Junction (not as exciting as Petticoat Junction...), Lolly's Adverbs, and that depressing little Mr. Morton wandering about, but I don't remember ever actually applying what I learned on Saturday Morning television to my schooling. 
I suppose between Grammar Rock and The Electric Company, there was a lot of education snuck into my entertainment, like the school lunch programs that added pureed prunes to their hamburger patties.
Because really, would you have watched if you thought it was good for you?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Doob-la-vay Say

We have a Wisconsin Connection, and that's a good thing.  Despite Cleveland feeling much like home, the people and the climate and the environment so similar to Wisconsin it's comforting, we find that the few things we miss outside of family and friends are certain foodstuffs specific to America's Dairyland. 

When our friends Bob and the lovely Mrs. Bob made the trek across timezones last weekend, they offered to supplement our food supply with fine Wisconsin comestibles.  It seemed unfair to send them all the way to Oconomowoc for Hungarian bratwurst from the Sausage Haus, so I'll get those at Thanksgiving.  However, Lori is hooked on Widmer's brick cheese, and no other brick cheese will do.  In addition to that, Bob took it upon himself to bring us Usinger's summer sausage and Nueske's thick-cut bacon.  Mmmm, bacon.

In return, we headed off to the Westside Market after lunch at Melt Bar and Grilled, and took a brief tour of the city, both the hifalutin' and downtrodden areas.  For the record, I have yet to find a sandwich that hasn't been improved by the addition of fried eggs when the option is available.

Sunday, we hit Bob Evans, since it's Ohio-based and therefore relevant.  And because I'm an adult, I had pie before my breakfast.  Then Diane and I toured waterfalls and Amish country while Bob and Lori waited in line for roller coasters.  We were denied Amish baked goods, since the Amish don't work on Sundays, but I did get a 45-pound pumpkin (and a few others) at the roadside market, and we saw snakes and vintage cycles in Chagrin Falls.

And last night I watched Alton Brown make pralined bacon, so I think we know what's going to happen with the Nueske's. 

Remember, it's not what you know, it's who you know.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Random Acts of Thursday - Will the real Act of Thursday please stand up?

So yesterday, in my infinite absent-mindedness, I posted, thinking it was Thursday.  That was because I was so convinced that Tuesday was actually Wednesday, I left work having prepared for Wednesday to be Thursday.  Even my not getting up at 5:30 so I can drive to Columbus (like I'm doing today, maybe even as you read this) didn't trigger that it was still Wednesday.

Quick trivia for you kids today.  As you've figured out already, I love film.  Don't have much respect for awards shows or, for that matter, the awards themselves.  However, film and trivia?  Sign me up. 
All of the following actors have won academy awards portraying real people.  The added bonus?  Each of them portrayed a person who was still alive at the time these films were released.

  • Spencer Tracy - Father Edward Flanagan in Boys Town (1938)
  • Gary Cooper - Alvin C. York in Sergeant York (1941)
  • Patty Duke - Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker (1962)
  • Jason Robards - Benjamin Bradlee in All the President's Men (1976)
  • Robert De Niro - Jake La Motta in Raging Bull (1980)
  • Sissy Spacek - Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter (1980)
  • Jeremy Irons - Claus von B├╝low in Reversal of Fortune (1990)
  • Susan Sarandon - Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking (1995)
  • Geoffrey Rush - David Helfgott in Shine (1996)
  • Julia Roberts - Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich (2000)
  • Jim Broadbent - John Bayley in Iris (2001/I)
  • Jennifer Connelly - Alicia Nash in A Beautiful Mind (2001)
  • Helen Mirren - Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006)
Now, the quiz.  You didn't think I'd let you off that easily, did you?

1)  Two of the actresses listed above have released albums - one a compilation from one of her films, the other a novelty album released under a fake name.  Identify the actresses and albums.

2)  Which two of the actors listed above actually died before the characters they portrayed?

See?  Two questions.  Easy-peasy.  Show your work, kids, and spelling counts.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Random Acts of Thursday - He's Alive!

Not gone, just busy.  Not to worry, quizlings, there will be more to tax your life-wearied brains.

Just in case you were worried.  And if you really, really need something to do, go ahead and click here.  There's unfinished business to attend to.

Oh, and if you're interested (pretend, will you?), there's a wonderful scathing review of my other blog here.  Read it and enjoy.

(And yes, it just dawned on me hours later that today is Wednesday, not Thursday.  Whoops.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Random Acts of Thursday - What Knockers!

There is a time in every boy's life when he encounters his first Playboy.  Heck, his first National Geographic, for that matter.  And there are the formative films of one's youth. 

Since I refuse to grow up, any film that brings on the sexytime is a formative film of my youth.  (Though truth be told, I can't even say 'titmouse' without giggling like a schoolgirl.)

At the same time, I can remember the skies opening up for me when I got my first boombox (it was, after all, 1984) and discovered that there were other channels on the dial besides my parents' country station. 

As such, I give you this week's quiz!  I'll tell you the song, you identify the sexy and the film.  Keep in mind sexy doesn't have to be naked (though it doesn't hurt).

1) Moving in Stereo - The Cars

2) Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd

3) LaGrange - ZZ Top

4) Bolero - Ravel

5) Brand New Key - Melanie

6) Slaughter House - Powermad

7) Atomic - Sleeper

8) Sussudio - Phil Collins

I'm sure I'm missing others, feel free to add them in the comments. 

Speaking of sexy, it seems my readership has dropped off considerably.  Some might logically conclude this is because my writership has also dropped off considerably.  However, I figured it might be easier if I just posted gratuitous pictures of boobies.

Enjoy!
And my favorite...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fun Fact Friday - NFG's In Cleveland Without the Vitamin D

I have a couple of couches, and as a matter of fact, have been known to fall asleep on the loveseat on more than one occasion.

It turns out I have a vitamin D deficiency.  One would find that hard to believe, me, not getting enough dairy?  However, it would seem that adult vitamin D deficiency is relatively common in shut-ins and the institutionalized.  And if you don't think working in an office all day is the same as being institutionalized, you need to wake up and smell the soothing green walls. 

I'm not getting enough sun, eating enough fish or liver, and I apparently need to up my dairy intake.  And apparently as we age, and because the American Cancer Society along with the National Sunscreen Coalition have been harping at us about UV rays, wearing sunscreen actually inhibits the body's natural ability to synthesize Vitamin D.

(I'm already sick of typing 'Vitamin D' but somehow abbreviating it as 'VD' might give readers the wrong idea...)

Vitamin D deficiency can prevent your body from absorbing calcium (hypocalcemia) and potassium from the foods you eat, meaning your body will start stealing those minerals from itself.  I can end up with osteomalacia, or 'adult rickets'.  With my BMI, I don't think brittle bones are a good thing.  Apparently, it could also be driving my RLS.  See?  I'm not kicking Lori in her sleep due to suppressed rage, after all.  Proper vitamin D levels could also help prevent certain cancers.

So what then, is an appropriate level of solublized Vitamin D?  From the office of 'Well, duuuuuuh!', the Vitamin D Council suggests that the minimum level is 2 1/2 times that which was recommended by the doctor's office.  I don't know what my hypochondria is going to do with this conflicting data.

All I know is that I've had it up to here with these damn rickets.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Random Acts of Thursday - To Be or Not To Be

Wait, what was the question?

Growing up in Milwaukee as I did, there were certain 'regionalisms' that I knew early on would have people looking sideways at me, should I say them outside of the metro area.  'Bubbler', for example, instead of 'drinking fountain'.  I knew that anyone outside of my geographic circle was probably going to use the term 'pop' instead of 'soda', and when I went to school in Texas, the correct term was 'coke' (much like 'kleenex' instead of 'facial tissue', I'm sure.)  My family lived on the city's northwest side, so we didn't pick up any of the Ya dere hey's, y'know's and ain'a's more prevalent in the sout' sider's vocabulary.

When we moved to Florida, I didn't catch too much of this. Since so many of my co-workers were from other places as well (including other countries, not just other states), it was hard to pick up any patterns.

However, now that we're Clevelanders, I've noticed a recurring theme that I can only assume is regional: dropping 'to be' from sentences.  Instead of 'That tree needs to be chopped down', I hear 'That tree needs chopped down.'  I've noticed it very specifically following (or not following) the word 'needs', and don't know if they're actually missing 'to be' or just having tense issues with their subsequent verb. 

This bothers me grammatically more than people who use 'seen' instead of 'saw' (though the day someone says 'I SEED [insert what they saw here]' my head will explode), more than people who say 'fixin ta', and despite my personal mastery of the profane arts in the privacy of my own car, this almost bothers me more than people who work profanity into sentences where it has no right to be.

It even bothers me more than ending a sentence in a preposition.

What colloquialisms, slang terms, or mannerisms are part and parcel of your little slice of geography?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Movie Mania Monday - How Laborious

Well, I suppose I've been a little rough on you kids.  Two weeks ago, I posted a quote that has stuck with me for nearly 25 years since I saw the original film, and yet I'm left feeling I must be more odd than I first surmised.

Here then, is a quiz of movielicious wonderment.  You want easy, here's easy.  Think of it as a movie-quote version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon  (Mmmm...bacon....) without me actually making you figure out how each movie relates to the man in question.  Instead, each film quoted below relates to the film next to it via common actor.  Your only task is to identify the films for each quote.

Remember, as are always the rules for quote contests:  Original speaker, no characters quoting other movies.  No cheating.  This means no Google, Bing, Boggle, Quibble, Jeeves or even Yahoo.  We grade on a curve here at CDS Enterprises, with the victor earning the peoples' fame and ovation forever, along with the title of Iron Quote-Guesser.


1)  You mess with the bull, you get the horns.

2)  That's a major appliance, not a name!

3)  Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

4)  I want a hamburger. No, cheeseburger. I want a hot dog. I want a milkshake. I want potato chips...

5)  You were supposed to fire up! *We* both fired *up*! It's like living with a six-year old.

6)  This is the happiest day of my life! I think my testicles are dropping!

7)  I'm no longer a carnivore. I don't eat anything that's ever had parents.

8)  It's never gonna happen again, Malcolm. I've got it under control. See, I just love naked women. It's a character flaw. And God's testing me now...

9)  Well, I've said it before and I'm going to say it again... There ain't no way, no way, that you could come from my loins.

10)  Do you like to gamble, Eddie? Gamble money on pool games?

11)  What's a six letter word for a condition of the hypothalamus?

12)  Top five musical crimes perpetuated by Stevie Wonder in the '80s and '90s. Go. Sub-question: is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins, is it better to burn out or fade away?

Allez guessing!  And bonus points if you can actually identify the links between each film.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Random Acts of Thursday - I Will Kill Them

I unwittingly initiated the battle Tuesday night, but my opponents certainly drew first blood.  I will have the last.

We haven't had rain lately, so I was out on the front porch watering the plants, trees, shrubbery, and apparently a nest of yellow jackets under said shrubbery, as well.

I turned to spray the pear tree when it happened.  A sharp, stinging pain in my leg.  I brushed at it, saw nothing.  Again, in my side.  And again, in the back of my neck.  Which is when I turned and saw the swarm of hymenoptera between me and my only egress from the porch, aside from opening the door and letting them follow me into the house.

My neighbors, I'm sure, have video proof of my insanity, because that's the nature of modern life.  Eventually I'll be a YouTube sensation, running erratically around my driveway, swinging my arms about, and getting stung mercilessly before running around the back of the house.

And into a locked patio door.

Took off and shook out my shirt on the patio, two or three more wasps fell out.
Got into the house, into the bathroom and shook out my shorts and boxers.  Two more little yellow bastards fell onto the floor, dazed and spinning.

All told, we counted nine welts, including a few multiple stings.  Considering that I had to run through the swarm AFTER my underpowered human brain came to terms with what was happening, I don't think that's all too bad.  I'm also comforted knowing that it would take more than 1000 stings to kill a healthy adult.
But the pain and itching has me out for vengeance.  I will kill them.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I did my first bare-handed strangulation here.

A long, long time ago I can still remember how Rome made me smile. 

We've been twice, including our honeymoon, and while spaghetti alla Carbonara is heaven to me, another of Rome's regional hits resonates as a childhood favorite for its combination of cured pork and spicy tomato sauce.  I also love tomato season, and the stores by us are starting to carry local produce.  To that end, I also also love pasta, but that's hardly breakfast food around our house.

Uova all'Amatriciana

3 Tbsp chopped bacon or pancetta
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh chile paste or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Cups chopped ripe tomato (plum or beefsteak)
dash cider vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

3 eggs, cooked to your taste
toasted ciabatta

In a medium saute pan*, heat olive oil and add bacon.  Fry until crispy, then add pepper flakes or chile**.  Stir in tomato, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Allow the tomato to break down into a liquid state, then reduce by half.  Serve over eggs and enjoy! 

On our first trip to Rome, our favorite restaurant (seen above) offered 'American-style breakfast' one day.  In addition to freshly squeezed orange juice, they brought us scrambled eggs that had been puffed and fried crispy in super-hot olive oil, a flavor and texture I have since replicated and love.  This dish would be a nice combination of the two, but seems it would work with any style of egg.  I'll actually be trying it with over-easy eggs next, as I strongly suspect the egg yolk will be blissful.

Of course, given more time, this could also be nice with the addition of some bell pepper strips, perhaps some grated onion, and some queso anejo, ricotta salata or another dry, crumbly cheese grated over the top.  Throw in some tortillas instead of bruschetta toast, and you've got yourself some huevos rancheros...but that's another post.


(Speaking of another post, I really hope to get back to posting some recipes on a regular basis.  If nothing else, it keeps me creative in the kitchen.)

* I bought myself a $5 wok at Ikea a few weeks ago.  Much like children will spend all of their time with the newest toy in the box, I've spent more time cooking in this pan than any others we own and it rocks, especially for reducing sauces. I have a taco recipe that I'm itching to share once I get the measurements figured out.

** Because it feels like a shortcut, I feel guilty when I get sucked in by the squeeze tubes of prepared herbs at the grocery store.  In particular, I like the hot chiles and the lemongrass, since they're otherwise ingredients I wouldn't have on hand.  (Have you ever tried buying one serrano pepper?  It barely registers on the scale!)  Plus, it means if I accidentally rub my eye after adding chiles to a dish, I won't immediately and for hours on end regret my unconscious decision to do so.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Random Acts of Thursday - Elementary, my dear Watson!

I've been remiss.

Several weeks ago, I waxed (on, wax off) about the chronological advance of my childhood crushes.  Somehow, I neglected to include Jodie Foster on that list.  Also in that episode, despite mentioning Phoebe Cates, I failed to post the quintessence of Phoebiness, her Fast Times bikini shot.

I'm here to rectify that.
I've also been lacking in the movie and music trivia department of late. 

I'm here to rectify that.


Wait, this doesn't cut it?  Fine, then.

Something that bothers me regularly, if you'll forgive the lack of segue, is our nation's need to endlessly remake films.  Sure, there are some original ideas out there, but really, did The Karate Kid cry out for a Jackie Chan remake?  Pat Morita must be rolling over in his grave.  (Wait...is Pat Morita dead?  I should probably check that out...)  And if they're not remakes of old movies, old TV shows, or bad Saturday morning cartoons, they're sequels, which I always assume are bad.  Saves me going to the movies, my couch is far more comfortable.

It's as though we can't come up with original ideas.  I have lots of original ideas, myself, but few of them ever see completion.  I'm recruiting, Crappy Unfinished Novel Time needs more creative input.  I'll keep posting my stuff, but really, anyone is welcome to contribute, free of charge.

I'm also soliciting for reader input here at the CDS.  Email me your questions, however trivial or inane.  It's called filler, people!

Also, while I've not been writing many posts lately, the larger crime is that I haven't been reading many other blogs, either.  And commenting on fewer.  I apologize to the many talented and creative writers who bless the Internet with their work.

But finally, it's quiz time!  I'll bet you thought it would never happen.
Every time it's shown on television, I get sucked into The Fifth Element.  (Happened again last Friday, when I picked up the last ten minutes.)  Besson's editing is quick and I love every minute of it.  Milla Jovovich isn't bad, either.  As far as current science is concerned, there is no 'fifth element'.  However, there are four other elements, earth, water, air and fire, that deserve equal billing. 

Therefore, onto the quiz.

1)  Name three songs (along with the performing artist) that mention earth (or some variation on the theme) in lyrics. 

2)  Ditto for fire.

3)  Ditto for air.

4)  See where we're going with this?  List three songs that mention water in some form.

5)  A question for Bob, name a song that mentions water in addition to my favorite dessert.

6)  Name five bands that reference one of the four elements in their band name.

7)  Name two bands that reference, rather than one of these elements, an element from the periodic table, as their name.

8)  Identify the band whose song about an airborne conveyance, while lyrically not qualified for an answer above, uses two elements to achieve lift.

9)  Name the author and 1962 book whose central premise is the same as the name of that band.

10)  Finally, which band released an album by the same name as the band from question 8 (mysteriously close to the time the band in question 8 took their name)?

As always, we grade on a curve here at the great and powerful CDS.  Show your work, kids!

And with special thanks to Dave Barry (along with Strunk and White) as an early influence on my sensibilities, 'Elements of Style' would be a great name for a band.  Just sayin.

Be nice and share!

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