Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Hospital

As many of you know by now, my dear friends, Iwanski, and his wife, Miss Healthypants, have been going through a very challenging time these past few days. I'll shortcut it: Iwanski had quadruple bypass surgery on Christmas Eve. It was quite a surprise.

Miss Healthypants has been a real trouper through it all. They're both very lucky in that Iwanski has a terrific family nearby (his older sister is an R.N. and can interpret all the medical hoo-ha.)

Iwanski has done great and came through with flying colors. Needless to say, a number of lifestyle changes will need to take place. For one thing, my Julia Child habits will need to be adjusted. I usually make one of her super-rich recipes that feed six, eat one serving and give the rest to Iwanski and Miss Healthypants. 

That'll need to stop. No more Fondue de Poulet à La Crème. (chicken simmered in three cups of cream, thickened with egg yolks.) That'll have to go. However, I am looking forward to coming up with lots of heart-healthy, tasty recipes for them in the meantime. 

On the lighter side, I was watching some recorded episodes of Judge Judy tonight. I'll admit, it's one of my favorite programs -- there's just nothing quite so satisfying as seeing immoral, stupid people being held accountable. (There's so little of that in the world these days.)

Anyway, there was this one defendant on there and he reminded me of someone but, for the life of me, I couldn't think who!

I backed up the Tivo to look at him. 
Who was this???
I snapped a photo of the TV screen so you could see him:

Now, who does he remind you of?

Finally! It hit me!

He looked just like Randy Marshall from Southpark!

It was nice to have such a good laugh after all this hospital environment over the past few days. 
Also, I knew Iwanski would appreciate this.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Festivus!

It's December 23rd! The holiday called Festivus! 
(Festivus -- For the Rest of Us.)

Festivus is the holiday during the holiday season that does away with all the greed and commercialism of the holidays -- and it is one that I celebrate wholeheartedly. 

I've never liked putting up Christmas decorations (and never have) so when I found out that, instead of a tree, a simple aluminum pole is erected for Festivus, I jumped on board and ordered one years ago.

Here it is, gleaming in the soft glow of artificial lighting:

I put it up right after Thanksgiving and it remains there through the holidays.

Now, one would think that there would be special Festivus carols or a Festivus feast to prepare, but no. That would go completely against the spirit of this special holiday. I do have off from work today, though, and am simply eating leftovers and watching reruns on TV.

Here is a great clip from Seinfeld -- the TV series that gave birth to Festivus.

Happy Festivus, everyone!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Pineapple Cometh

Weather forecasters are saying that the nasty "Pineapple Express" might wreak havoc on Chicago. On Christmas Day. Which is the day I plan to fly out of Chicago. Hopefully.

It's drifting east from Los Angeles and if it drifts just a wee bit too far north, Chicago will be inundated with snow all day on Christmas. Eeek.

Normally, I get excited over snow, but I've been snowed in at O'Hare for nine hours at a time. The boredom and frustration is excruciating. I don't want that to happen.

See the big, angry blue blob with talons reaching west? That's the Pineapple Express. 

Of course, even if Chicago isn't snowed in, the airplane that will be scheduled to fly me to Texas will probably be snowed in -- in Omaha or something -- and I'll have to wait nine hours for it to get here. 

Been there.

Done that.

If a Christmas Miracle occurs and I'm able to implane on time, the gate attendants at O'Hare will see me doing the Snoopy Dance.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hooking Up

Back when I was a young pup in Texas during the eighties and wanting to hook up with a Life-Mate or whatever, we penciled-in computer forms and sent in forty dollars like civilized people. We dated, joined each others' churches and raised money for Dallas PBS.
Those were the days.
(Twenty years later, I'm still friends with four of those match-ups.)

It was great. Before we met, we knew what degrees each other held, what we sounded like on the phone, and whether we'd been raised Southern Baptist. By the time we actually met, we could have ordered each others' drinks.

Back then, we had standards:

"Gin and tonic, right?"
"Yes, with a lime, thank you."

Nowadays, being single, I decided to "get with it" and  hopped "on line".
I put a tentative toe into the "cyber single-pond" to see what would nibble.

I decided to "chat". 
Here's my hook:

I'm 6'3"
218 lbs
51 years old (I could pass for 38, okay?)
Clean cut guy

**Entered the Chicago Chat Room:**

squeek-squeek-squeek-squeek. . . .
squeek-squeek-squeek-squeek. . . . 

Are you ready for this?

Here's what I got: It's too funny NOT to share:

(I'm not making this up - - I had to "screen-capture" this for you. . . .

I'm "ME"

So, that's my experience with on-line hook-ups.

I stopped after that.

Being single is really much too fun . . .

To Master The Art . .

I was assisting two friends of mine in hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for about thirty people here in Chicago when I was introduced to David. By the time I was introduced, he already knew that I was a Julia Child cook and blogger, so he asked if I'd been to "the Julia Child play."

"The what?" I queried.

The play about Julia Child. "I think it's called 'Mastering the Art' or something like that". He said it was a play about Julia Child and her husband when they lived in postwar France and her discovery of cooking.  "But it's been sold out for a long time," he said.

However, the theatre might be adding a couple of performances and that I should call the Timeline Theatre the very next day. Maybe I could get a ticket. . . . By that time, I was really excited. . .
I called the theatre the next day, the very minute the box office opened. All performances were sold out, alas. . .But! . . .They had added one more performance on December 15th and had only two tickets left. . . "Did I want them?"

"Yes . . . two tickets . . . I WANTED them."

Implicitly. . . .

My bestie foodie friend, Liane, accompanied me on a blisteringly cold night to a performance of "To Master the Art".  Within the first thirty seconds of this performance, I had tears streaming down my face. The performance was that stunning. Liane was, hopefully, not embarrassed by my reaction; I doubt that she was surprised by it. (After all, that's why I brought my bestie foodie friend to accompany me to the world premier of this performance.)

Needless to say, the performance was brilliant. Whenever there was a scene in a restaurant, a kitchen, or the Cordon Bleu, the audience was permeated with exquisite different aromas: roasted chicken in tarragon, and, (I swear) the smell of beurre blanc blasted the audience.

Please know that "To Master the Art" the stage performance was written BEFORE the movie "Julia and Julia" - - that abominable, trite thing. 

I'm truly sad that I saw the last performance of "To Master the Art."  During the next two-and-a-half hours of the performance, I laughed, was surprised, cried some more and continued to be overwhelmed  - - - at how much joy can be obtained from food. . . . Such joy from food! 

But, you know, . . . . the same thing happens whenever I prepare any one of Julia's recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Whenever I follow Julia's precise instructions, pure unalloyed joy -- and some euphoria - - are always the results. How many endeavors such as that can one claim?

"To Master the Art" conveyed precisely what I've felt about Julia's work all along. That's why I wept within the first thirty seconds.

"To Master the Art" will be a huge hit, mark my words.

My only frustration was this - -

 - - that everyone I truly love didn't get to see it with me.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter in Chicago

The weather forecasters said we should expect 55 mph winds, lots of blowing snow and subzero wind chills. Well, here is evidence of that! (It almost blew my door away while I was filming this.)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Cute Cute Cute!

Thanks to one of my readers for suggesting this video. This little guy is conducting to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony with quite a bit of enthusiasm.  Be sure to watch the last 30 seconds of the video. I promise, it is just about THE cutest thing you will ever see.

(However, I don't think I would have let my little one direct with such abandon with a baton in hand; too easy to poke an eye that way. Maybe that's just me . . . )

Anyway, be sure to watch the ending. If only every musician would have the same reaction whenever they made a mistake during a performance. . .

(Click here if you can't see the whole screen)


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I'm Being Stalked

Lately, I’ve had the feeling that Rick Bayless (celebrity chef, restaurant owner and host of Mexico: One Plate at a Time) has been stalking me. Really. Dude’s been after me.

It began a couple of months ago when I was standing in my underpants. (ha!)

No, seriously, I was actually in my underpants in the dressing room at my health club when I looked up and there was Rick Bayless. He wasn’t looking at me or anything and I simply thought to myself, “Hey. That’s Rick Bayless.” I finished dressing and left.

The next week, I was coming out of the same dressing room and guess who was coming in? We almost bumped into each other.

The next week, guess who I pass on the stairs at the gym?

About a week later, I was walking to a wine shop one Saturday afternoon and passed by one of Rick Bayless’s restaurants, Topolobampo. (It’s really expensive.) Inside were a few people, probably noshing on their thirty-dollar lobster ceviche appetizers. Right next to Topolobampo was a cheap taco stand and it was absolutely packed.

I called my brother in San Antonio because he took me out to eat at one of Rick Bayless’s other restaurants when he was here on business in Chicago. I figured he would get a kick out of the packed taco stand next to Topolobampo.

“Bayless probably owns the taco stand, too,” was his reply. (He’s probably right.)

As I was walking home from the wine shop, I was thinking about how strange it was that I’ve encountered Rick Bayless three times within one month. Right then, I looked up and guess who was walking toward me? Yep. It was him again. It was so weird.

Next time this happens, I’m going to say something to him but he’d probably think I’m a weird stalker or something.

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Friday, December 03, 2010

Best Flash Mob EVER!

I challenge you to watch this without getting teary-eyed.

(Click here if you can't see the whole screen)

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The "Nervous Tic" Song

For about the past fifteen years whenever I’ve sat at the piano and couldn’t readily think of anything to play, I’ve had a habit of playing Bach’s Prelude in C-sharp Major. Miss Healthypants was over last night for dinner and we were singing some Christmas carols together afterward. In between songs, like always, I’d start playing this piece. She pointed out that this piece was like a nervous tic.

And she’s right. So, here’s the Nervous Tic Song.

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More Funny Cats (Sorry)

Ever wonder what cats are thinking? Listen to these clever voice-overs:

I'm sorry, but I think this is just about THE funniest thing I've ever seen.

 (Some browsers cut off the edge of the screen. If you can't see the whole screen, click here for the video.)

(And thanks to Bob who I stole this from)