Monday, December 5, 2011

It's ok to eat Fritos

Fritos have three ingredients: whole corn, corn oil, and salt.

Football game watchers who reach for a bag of Fritos counting on an artery clogging, food coma inducing snack have been deceived.  In reality Fritos are full of heart-healthy unsaturated fats and contain only a reasonable amount of sodium.

In one of the more shocking food-related revelations of 2011, Fritos have been declared a 'health food', but don't worry about finding them on the shelves of a local food co-op for $10.  While their comprehensible ingredient list has garnered a few health nut fans, they are clearly not marketed toward the granola crowd.  If they were, they would not be called Fritos.  They would be called Wholemeal Corn Crisps, or Crunchy Corn Squares (despite not being squares), or perhaps Wholegrain Chips with Real Chunks of Corn.


'Fritos are health food' has been a public service announcement and was intended to dispel reservations about purchasing a bag because Fritos seem like trashy food Joe Dirt would eat - as well as preemptively assure consumers that purchasing a bag one won't result in a food snob label.  Fritos are an equal opportunity health food.  Fritos are for everyone.

The next public service announcement will address Corn Nuts.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I am so old.

An old saying dating back to the founding fathers says, 'Everything you need to know about a person can be determined by their mail.'

'No, idiot. I just made that up what are you, 5?'

I'm rude and crotchety because my mail is telling me it's all over.  I'm old and boring. 

As a young child I remember visiting both my grandmother and great aunt and being very impressed by their mail.  Organizations were continually sending them 'free' stuff in exchange for a suggested donation. My love for office supplies, stationary products and address labels was tortuously whetted by the envelopes they received containing monogrammed tablets with puppies on them, or return labels covered with roses.  Getting letters was a childhood highlight and I really wanted the Red Cross, Veterans Foundation and Humane Society to send me their nice things via post.

Now I know more about these mailings.  Only senior citizens get them.
So you can imagine my concern upon receiving one. 

It was from a native american reservation school in North Dakota and they sent an unacceptable amount of junk.  There were at least 10 things in this envelope, the crown jewel of which was a 'handmade' dream catcher which I immediately hung in my room. 

Second piece of evidence. 

Despite several efforts to the reverse, I am somehow on an e-blast list for Country Life.  Below is a revolting photo from one of their e-mails. 

Do they think they're hitting their demographic by sending this to me? If so, why?
I don't understand.  Although I do look nice in baby blue.

Third incident is unrelated to mail.

The other day at work I told someone to, 'Holler if you need help.'  

Ummmm what? Really. Holler? Who says holler.  Old people.  That's who says holler.      

At around the age of 13 one of my friends told me I'll make a very nice old lady.  She's probably clearly right, but based on the above evidence I'll be turning into a 'my sore ankle predicts the weather' type rather than the 'I'm an 80 year old iron man competitor' type. 

Oh what to do???  So far I've just bought some motorcycle boots.  They went a long way towards solving the problem.  In fact, they solved two problems: 1- being old and boring and 2- not having motorcycle boots. 

Here is a picture of them:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Death to maternity wear for the masses!

Finally!!! The tides have been shifting for awhile now, and for SS12 Valentino beautifully informs us that waists are back!  No more shapeless baby doll dresses which, while perhaps comfortable, were flattering for absolutely no one aside from those carrying babies.  Inside themselves. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Life is short, eat dessert first

I would like to take a moment to urge everyone to visit their local bakery.  My favorite is Jerabek's of St. Paul.  I've made their success a personal mission. 

True to the American way of excess many food establishments feel one good flavor is inferior to 37 mediocre ones and a single serving size means you're not trying hard enough. Please don't attempt to deny the lack of satisfaction felt when one would love a simple cupcake but the only thing to be found is a cream filled, cinnamon caramel, carrot cake pumpkin spice latte cupcake that weighs 2 pounds and costs eight dollars. 

Jerabek's doesn't have this problem. Their display cases are filled with the results of perfect recipes fully mastering one concept in reasonably sized portions.  The stacks of chocolate chip cookies, rows of petit fours and buttery croissants are almost too wonderfully old fashioned to be true, were not made for Paul Bunyan and cost less than three dollars. Seriously.  They have cookies for 33 cents.

Presentation alludes to county fair, chocolate brownies and rhubarb bars are cut and left in the pans, everything is can't-be-faked homemade.  If your practical and talented grandparents opened a bakery it would be Jerabek's. It is a cute place, but they don't waste time dressing up something like a rhubarb bar because 1. that's a waste of time and 2. their rhubarb bar doesn't need any dressing up.

Yes, Caribou and Starbucks are fine, but why settle for fine when you have local bakeries.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dear Chrysler, stop being a knock off

             Ok Chrysler, you were pushing the line between 'inspiration' and 'pretty much just copying' here:

Now you're also 'inspired' by Aston's logo?

Ummm ok.  Sure.

Do you really want to be a sloppy imitation of everyone who's cooler than you? Someone who just reminds their audience their car looks pretty good, but not as good as certain other cars; and it has a pretty cool logo, but not as cool as certain other logos.
'Oooh is that a ______?! Oh. Never mind. It's just a Chrysler. Whatever. Everyone go back to what they were doing.'

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Take me out to the ball game.

Saint Paul Saints Game!!

Delicious brats!
Original Saints shirt specially sharpied for this game

$10 ticket view

Crowd particiption.  Some kind of extra 'game' on the field every 30 seconds.

Hate baseball?  The game wasn't the most interesting thing happening.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

You is smart. Read good stuff.

I would like to take a moment to encourage everyone to start reading The Economist.

It's full of excellent, thorough coverage of world events and presents arguments instead of spouting opinions. Even if readers don't agree with a viewpoint, they are given reasoning behind the author's thoughts instead of being called idiots. (I'm looking at you, various unnamed news outlets and politicians)

This magazine also probably carries the most street-cred of all news sources.  When one mentions reading The Economist, the other party in the conversation invariably reacts with a raise of the eyebrows and an 'Oh' spoken with a slight raise in tone that says 'I'm reflecting on your choice of reading materials and am impressed.  You've shown yourself to be a serious and educated follower of news.'

The Economist is also completely shame free public reading material.  Try as she might, the author cannot overcome feeling silly attempting to read trivial, celebrity oriented magazines in public and always resorts to folding such publications into odd shapes to hide embarrassing article headlines such as 'Lindsey did something dumb again.' or 'Angelina now adopting various African animals, exceeded baby quota'.

The Economist will make you smart inside and out.

Now it is an intense magazine, and there is no 'starter article' providing 101 explanations of various economic or foreign policy terms.  So read carefully. Maybe consider Political Science for Dummies.  Unless The Economist already seems like 101 because you're a genius.  In which case this post probably did absolutely nothing for you.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Tinkers by Paul Harding

I loved this book. It's the kind literature professors live for because the endless conversations it will spawn over literary themes will practically do their jobs for them. 
Normally when reading books one might classify as 'descriptive', it can be hard to avoid a feeling of 'Oh great, here goes the author on a self indulgent adjective fest but this is classic literature so I'll patiently read the whole thing' and it becomes more of a character building experience than pleasure.
Tinkers is the opposite because Harding is a serious master of the English language. I've never read such original, unpretentious descriptions of people or events. 

It can't really be made into a movie, it just has to be read.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Give my regards to Broadway

Watching this year's Tony awards was a revelation.  I can't believe it took me this long to discover such a great event!  Previously the Oscars was the only awards show I liked, and it has been demoted to a solid second place.  The Tony awards is easily number one, a far more entertaining show one might even watch twice.  Well, the highlights anyway.

After a night full top notch performances, lovely acceptance speeches and a witty, entertaining and charming host, I'm in love, and have also concluded Broadway has far more talent than Hollywood.

If there was a smack down between '11 Tony host Neil Patrick Harris and '11 Oscar host James Franco - Harris wouldn't even need a smack.  After seeing Harris close the Tonys with a rap Franco buried his face in his hands and gave up on life*.  Unlike Hollywood, Broadway would never have committed such an inexplicable faux pas as Lindsay Lohan or Kristen Stuart.  Yes, yes many actors cross genres, but actual talent is needed to be really successful on Broadway. 

Let's start with the Tony award acceptors - they were all so well spoken!  The lack of umms, uhhhs, and all other incoherent murmurings was a breath of fresh air; people spoke with vocal inflection and actually thought about what they were saying. 

Perfect example: Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones presenting an award for something.  Their speeches, read from a prompter or not, were so well delivered someone should have immediately given them many Tonys then and there.

Mark Rylance.  If you're so engaging and entertaining people would line up to watch you breathe, why not give a metaphorical(?) acceptance speech about helpful tips for walking through walls.

And can we rave about the musical performances for at least five solid minutes.  If I had known there was a musical version of The Sister Act prior to Sunday night I would have rolled my eyes pretty hard; however, the oh so great performance of 'Raise Your Voice' made me ashamed of such a clearly off base hypothetical reaction.  Also fantastic was Anything Goes which must have inspired everyone watching to learn tap dancing.

Alright enough gushing.  I'm just glad the Tony awards are now a part of my life.  I will feel like a much more well rounded person trying to cram in all the nominations for Best Play rather than Best Picture.  I mean yes, fine, I'll probably keep up with both.  But I will feel better about seeing all of the former. 
*This is solely a criticism of Franco's hosting abilities.  I think he's a pretty good actor.

Monday, May 30, 2011

News Bulletin 12

Iran is going to one up itself in sophisticated censorship by creating its own Internet.  One of the country's major concerns is protection from Western cultural invasion and threats.  For example, sticking ones head in the sand, a popular American expression of embarrassment, is considered a maxim of virtue in Iran.  Abdolmajid Riazi, a former ministry of telecommunications hot shot, has said, 'We want to be more like North Korea.  A real model of intellectual self sufficiency.'

India and Pakistan's latest battle for the border topic is the demilitarization of the Siachen Glacier.  Border talks between the two countries have stalled since the 2008 Mumbai attack because India is still upset many of the people who planned the attack were based in Pakistan.  Troops on the disputed glacier reportedly only care about getting off the freezing hunk of ice, asking 'Who would even want to own this forsaken wasteland in the first place.'

Former International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been house hunting in New York.  He paid millions of dollars in bail money after being arrested for, as the French say, forceful womanizing, and now has to pay for a 24 hour armed guard which requires him to find a place to live.  The down on his luck, out of a job, would be politician is keeping a modest profile with a budgetary cap of 25k per month, but the issue of no one wanting to be his neighbor is complicating the search.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sticky Sushi

One weekend my friend Kathryn and I tried making sushi.  An honest evaluation of the ingredient scavenger hunt, messy rice, and semi-presentable result would probably conclude the endeavor was unwarranted for someone who is satisfied with sushi that comes in a plastic container from a gas station.

Surprising issue: sushi ingredients are impossible to find.  Trader Joe's or the local co-op, one might assume, would have seaweed wraps.  Nothing could be less true.  Not one sushi ingredient was located at Trader Joe's or the local co-op. 

Also, sushi rice is infuriatingly sticky.  I have reservations about eating sushi again due to concerns about its digestibility. 

Best decision: watching a sushi making video which demystified ingredient placement and rolling technique.

Doth my eyes deceive me?  This is almost the type of picture a foodie blog would feature to chronicle steps in the sushi making process.

Lesson learned: did not realize wasabi is included inside the sushi roll and is not just an optional side.

Moderate success!!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

More words

Poetaster \n : An inferior poet

Never has a word brought me so much joy.  Since hanging this calendar page above my desk I've experienced daily amusement by the fact we have such a word. 
No longer needed are phrases such as amateur, not very good, boring, uninteresting. 

He is a poetaster.  Enough said.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A Decidedly Non-expert Car Review

Last weekend I went to the Twin Cities Auto Show.  Below is a review chock full of opinions based solely on appearance.

From the side and back the Buick Regal is a classy car, but the front reminds you it's still your grandparent's slightly boring sedan.  A fact that rubs in the horrifying realization you were just admiring a Buick.

The Nissan electric demonstrates how far the auto world has to go in beautifying the design of electric cars.  The Leaf embodies extremely advanced technology and will compel owners to put paper bags over their heads when driving.

There was once a Honda Civic heyday.  All the 2011 designs draw on how Honda looked before that time when it was only recognized as a reliable import.  If you looked up 'Meh.' in the dictionary you would see this car.   
Were all the designers on some kind of union holiday? Send them to WI where they're putting an end to such nonsense. Oooooh yes, inflammatory political statement in a car review.  I know little about unions, but if they're responsible for the Honda, I'm adamantly against them.

BTW the above also applies to all the VW models I can remember.  

Whoa! Germany, your precious little VW just got compared to a Honda. 

Things I did like:

The KIA hybrid.  Fun!  Never mind it probably has the power of an electric wheelchair. 

Keep in mind I also know little about reading 'specs' so the above assessment of the KIA's capabilities could, for better or worse, be untrue.

The Audi A7

 Making a hatchback look sophisticated is every designer's nemesis, so anyone who achieves the impossible deserves respect.  (props also to Porsche in this department, and yes their hatchback happened awhile ago, but I didn't go to an auto show that year).

The Cooper Countryman. 


This is painful because I was abrasively against it originally, but this is one of the cutest little SUVs ever!  My concern is Mini becoming a whatever brand, like Starbucks - starting off elite but obtainable only to later descend into the reviled abyss of mass production. They should get rid of the goofy extended mini and stop with the regular Cooper and Countryman.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mind cleanse

I have had enough of trashy television.  Specifically, reality television.


Going forward only TV one would watch with a virtuous grandmother is allowed which will mean a radical departure from Housewives, Kardashians, JerseyS and all other ridiculous garbage.  After a shameful diet of far too much of the above, I have had enough and am taking a stand for quality, good etiquette and America before Survivor.


Plus, Fact As Old As Time:

After you watch some shows you feel like this:

And after other shows you feel like this:

I'm not against modern television and seriously enjoy reality TV.  Since its inception, the captivating appeal of watching people yell at each other has been named the first Intangible Wonder of the World.  Spectacularly entertaining examples of human disaster.    However, sometimes it is good to look away from the train wreck. 

I've DVRd about 8 episodes of I Love Lucy and my goal is to last the month of April.  Will all this wholesomeness be too sappy?  Probably.  Little House on the Prairie can be sickeningly sweet.

But not as sickeningly sweet as Shirley Temple.  I absolutely cannot stand Shirley Temple.  She makes me feel like the cat and I'm only watching stuff that makes me feel like the baby.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Good moods

There are several things making me very happy right now.

1.  The girl scout cookies I just bought.

These are probably the best cookies in the world and I resisted buying some twice before giving in today.  I am not planning to share.  Someone else who sits across from me at work bought some and did offer to share with everyone in our row.  I turned up my radio and pretended to be especially busy for several minutes.

2.  La traviata

This is one of my favorite operas.  It's easy to listen to and doesn't make you squirmy or impatient for intermission wine.  It's making me especially happy right now because I'm going to Minnesota Opera's opening night performance tomorrow.

3. Museums
Nerd ALERT.  At this moment the gods of history and art, may they live forever, are smiling upon the Twin Cities with glorious blessings of cool museum exhibits.

George Washington: Was Awesome at the Minnesota History Center
    Yes, fine, the actual title is Discover the Real George Washington: New Views from Mount Vernon.

Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs at the Science Museum of Minnesota.  Who doesn't love mummies?

Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

4. Happy Hour
Meritage is one of my favorite restaurants in St. Paul and they just started hosting a happy hour.  And by 'just' I mean 'several months ago'.  Yes, it's true, sometimes I move slowly, but I'm finally going tonight and am excited about delicious wine and apps. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

An ode to the hat

Before we get to the hats - a follow up on the last post.  The word on my calendar today is hilarious:

grok v: to understand profoundly and intuitively
She chewed her gum with such concentration it appeared she was grokking everything around her. 

So, yes, hats.  I love them.  I grok them.  Sometimes when pondering how to use the extra thousands of dollars I have laying around I surf high end fashion sites looking for hats.  Thank heavens Gucci provides a palatable version of this basic necessity, ensuring one can cover one's head properly and add to even the most fabulous of outfits. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Real Big Wordz

For Christmas my parents gave me a word of the day calendar.  I keep it on my desk at work and I love it.  Especially on days when I read the word and think, 'No.  That is absolutely not a word.', and then go to, confirm it is, and listen to the pronunciation. 

I expect to be crowned 'High Queen of Scrabble' in the near future.  As soon as I actually start playing scrabble.  If I don't my title will just be, 'Irritating and Pompous User of Words.'

Some favorites so far:

coeval adj: of the same or equal age, antiquity, or duration
The two friends' coeval head colds lead to an appalling amount of Kleenex consumption.

hermetic adj: difficult or impossible for one of ordinary knowledge to comprehend 2: airtight 3: resistant to outside influence
Betty's hermetic references to relationship etiquette led to many vaguely alarmed looks from Bob.

solipsism n: a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing; also : extreme egocentrism
The baby displayed an alarming tendency towards solipsism, refusing to show any concern for the emotional health of the family cat.

otiose adj:  producing no useful result : futile 2: being at leisure : idle 3: lacking use or effect : functionless
The new Lazy-Boy with a concealed cooler in the armrest rendered Wilmer's beer koozie collection quite otiose.

tutoyer v: to address (someone), using the familiar forms of the pronoun "you"; address familiarly
Apparently this is a French word so I don't understand why it was included in an AMERICAN calendar. I also can't immediately think of of a way to use it in a sentence and am therefore being solipsisticly* American to hide my laziness.

 *cannot guarantee valid variation/use of solipsism

boffin n: chiefly British : a scientific expert; especially : one involved in technological research
Oh you wittle boffin you! Look at all the new wittle technological research you just researched. You did a good job! Oh yes you did!

Friday, January 21, 2011

News bulletin

U.K. chief media advisor Andy Coulson has resigned amid ongoing criticism for less than professional reporting tactics when editor of tabloid, News of the World.  Upon hearing their iconic tabloid was not the highest pinnacle of professional journalism, jaws of U.K. citizens have not stopped dropping and the country has plunged into total confusion.  Mr. Coulson claims he was unaware of shady tactics while at the helm of the paper, but alert individuals pressing the case do not believe him.

Former Hatian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier has gone back to Haiti after living in France for 25 years.  He left Haiti because people objected to his habits of embezzling, money laundering and murder. When asked why he would return to Haiti, officials said, 'We have absolutely no idea and cannot even come up with a reasonable guess'; and now he's charged with all those crimes again.  Close advisors to the former leader insist they did their best to explain: 1) definitions of 'earthquake' and 'amnesia' 2) cute nicknames' lack of legal importance.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book and a movie

I read A Room with a View awhile ago, and then I watched the movie.  Both were hilarious and the movie is as good as the book.  It could even *scandalous statement* be watched before reading.  There's one reason for this: Ivory and Merchant adaptations are flawless.
A review I read said something about 'a critique on Victorian society' which I suppose is true, but who cares.  It's a charming, funny story; stuffy Edwardian manners at their best with plenty of self-righteous indignation over any infraction*.

*Infractions most frequently committed by the more rambunctious younger and/or Renaissance characters**. 

**I'm not being pretentious by mentioning 'Renaissance characters'.  That's what they are.  Sometimes it's good to use specific vocabulary. 

A few favourite* lines from a few favourite* parts (won't be funny until you watch/read, so do one of those):

Charlotte Bartlett: 'I would have given you the larger room Lucy, but I happen to know it belonged to the young man.'

Charlotte Bartlett: *cough* Oh no, don't trouble yourself.  It's not a cold.

Mr Emerson: There, look at that fat one!

*An American using English U.K. spelling is a little pretentious.