Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another Post For The Cupcake Lovers

If you Googled cupcakes, and like so many before you, ended up here by mistake, here's a little treat. A video of late night comedy king David Letterman taking a reckless spin in a giant motorized cupcake. Complete cupcake madness. Enjoy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

With GoGirl, The World Is Your Toilet

Thank God, someone finally invented "a female urination device that lets you go anywhere." Because when you've had a tough day, and you find yourself sharing a warm 40-Ounce with some new hobo friends in an alley behind Starbucks, why shouldn't you be able to pee on the side of a dumpster like the guys?

"With a little practice, you can simply unzip your fly and go to the bathroom without having to remove your pants," says the copy on the artfully designed website. Isn't that what every modern woman dreams of?

It won't be long till every woman is carrying a reusable FUD in her purse and leaving her colleagues to wonder why does it smell vaguely like a parking garage stairwell every time Jane's around?

I can't take credit for the headline of this post, though it's something I'd love to have written. It's an actual line of copy from the GoGirl website, which encourages adventurous women to enjoy the convenience of peeing virtually anywhere, especially when visiting foreign countries whose bathroom facilities may not be up to your high standards. You've come a long way, baby.

Meet the GoGirls. They refuse to let the lack of a penis slow them down.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ask Why, Tell All

In 1993, I wrote this ad on behalf of the David Geffen Foundation and the ACLU. At the time, the debate was raging over the military's policy of barring homosexuals from serving. The compromise finally agreed to was "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," a policy that essentially promoted lying and offered gays and lesbians no real protection from expulsion, just the opportunity to serve as long as their secret remained safe. It kept commanders from asking, but it put the onus on the soldiers to lie. And, ultimately, under either policy, a soldier could be dismissed simply on the basis of sexual orientation, despite their record of service, despite the military's investment in their training, and despite the specialized skills they might be able to contribute to their unit.

It's hard to believe that more than fifteen years later, we are still dealing with this same issue, and that more than 12,000 soldiers have lost their jobs on the basis of their sexual orientation during that time. Tomorrow, yet another capable, highly trained and skilled soldier faces the same fate because he refuses to lie about who he is.

Lt. Dan Choi is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, an Iraq War veteran, and a fluent speaker of Arabic. The charges against him are "moral and professional dereliction of duty," or more simply put, being gay and refusing to lie about it. The California Courage Campaign is collecting signatures on a petition that will be presented at Lt. Choi's hearing tomorrow. If you support equal rights for all and believe that the promotion of lying and deception is a greater dereliction of morality and professionalism than the choice of whom to love, add your name to the petition in support of Lt. Dan Choi.

Sixteen years is too long to avoid asking or telling. And expelling highly skilled soldiers for no good reason, especially at a time when the need is so great that the military is calling on National Guard members and sending soldiers back for three and four tours of duty, just doesn't make sense.

Don't accept discrimination, don't be quiet.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Update: Tina Fey Still Not My BFF

Dear Tina, it’s been a year since I invited you to be my BFF. Aside from the handful of secret messages I picked up in a few episodes of “30 Rock,” you haven’t responded.

Maybe you’re wondering what life as BFFs would be like. What sorts of activities might we enjoy together? Maybe you need some specifics. Sure, there’s the usual BFF stuff, shopping, mani-pedis, cheese sculpting. But what’s left when people are already bored by a near life-size cheddar of the signing of the Declaration of Independence? We need to go large.

So I’m just going to put this out there. International Beard and Moustache Championship in Amberg, Germany, Sept. 23. Hosted by the East Bavarian Beard Club. Meet you there?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Test Can Tell If Your Kid's Going To Be A Loser

In just fifteen minutes, you can find out whether eighteen years of saving for your kid’s college education will be worth years of forgoing vacations, ordering well instead of top shelf, and shopping at Kohl’s.

Researchers at Stanford University have been able to isolate the success gene. Turns out, your child’s future rests in his ability to resist the temptation of a simple marshmallow. Motivational speaker Joachim de Posada explains the theory in this video from the recent TED Conference held in Long Beach, CA.

Watch it and get ready to find out if your kid is going to Dartmouth, or if you’re going on a shopping spree and the vacation of a lifetime.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Tribute To Beer’s Best Friend, The Barbecue

You’ve been around since our first apartment, outside on the balcony, forlorn all winter long, but ready to go come May. You were there when we threw our first party. You were there when we graduated from college. When we got our first promotion. You were always there. With a warm glow and that certain sizzle. You even stuck by us when we went vegetarian and grilled nothing but peppers and zucchini. You never judge.

We’re talking about you, hard-working barbecue grill, waiting patiently for months in a dark corner of the garage, or under a dusty plastic tarp around the side of the house as far from view as possible. You, Trusty Triton of the Tri-Tip, who ask nothing more than to be brought out into the light when the chill is off the air.

While others upgrade to propane and stainless steel, creating outdoor grilling palaces, monuments to meat, cathedrals of carnivorous delight, you, my humble hunk of Weber, are content with a simple patch of concrete under a weathered pergola.

If only early man had had a friend like you. Back when he had to drape his insect infested meat over a smoky fire to keep it from twisting his guts into a Picasso-esque mess. How much quicker might civilization have advanced had you been around to guide and educate on the important things like getting the burgers done in time for kick-off?

Today, we honor you, Sultan of Sear. For all you’ve given us. For putting the sizzle in Saturday afternoon. For giving Dad something to focus on at the pool party other than Mrs. Schmidt in a bikini. For keeping the hot dogs coming at the Boy Scout picnic, cause god knows what kind of trouble thirty hungry fourth grade boys hopped up on Capri Sun can get into. For helping to raise the making of the backyard burger to an art. For acting like a professional and doing your job even when some guy in a Tommy Bahama shirt refers to you as a barbie while cracking open a Zima. For making it possible to cook, swim, drink beer and play volleyball all at once.

For the last few months, your closest confidants have been a withered, English Ivy and the dog’s missing chew toys. Good news. Warm weather has arrived. The tarp comes off now. All your friends are here. Yes, of course, Beer is here. Are you kidding?

It’s time, greasy old friend. It’s time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Blissful Bounty

Photo: Andrea Wyner

It's the first day of spring with all its bloom and burble. The sky is clear and full of more hope than the world has a right to these days. But why not? If watching a grey skeleton of a tree transform into a cotton candy mass of delicate white blossoms isn't a miracle, I don't know what is.

In honor of the new season, the team responsible for one of the most intriguing dining experiences out there is announcing its 2009 schedule. Outstanding In The Field is an al fresco, farm to table, traveling culinary adventure that involves sitting down elbow to elbow with a hundred or so other spirited diners at one extremely long table in some fantastic, natural setting and enjoying a meal prepared by a top local chef. It couldn't be fresher with produce traveling generally not much farther than the field you're sitting in. It's like a five-star picnic where you don't have to sit on the ground or lug a brimming basket into the wild.

The outdoor, roving restaurant was begun by Santa Cruz, CA chef and artist Jim Denevan, who has cooked in some of Santa Cruz's finest restaurants, and whose large-scale, art pieces have been installed at farms and on beaches throughout California. He is joined by food artisans, local farmers, chefs and winemakers as they take their culinary show on the road to natural venues across the country.

I have not attended one of these events, but am hoping to do so this season. They apparently book up quickly, and it's not cheap. The dinner runs from $180 to $200 a person. Think of it as a complete experience, not just a meal. It's about the people, the setting, the food, the philosophy.

Their website states their mission as re-connecting diners to the land and the origins of their food, and honoring the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it. That seems like a worthy endeavor and a highly enjoyable one at that.

The opportunity is brief, coinciding with the peak of the growing season and the weather, mid-May to mid-October (with one additional event in December that will be held inside a barn in Pescadero, CA).

You only get eighty or so summers on the planet and, if you're like me, half of those are already behind you. Make your plans now to get out there and celebrate the season.

Greig Farm, Red Hook, NY - Sept 2008

Jolie Vue Farm, Brenham, TX - Oct 2008

George Washington Birthplace Memorial on the Potomac River, VA - Sept 2008

EECO Farm, Easthampton, NY - Sept 2008

City Farm, Chicago, IL - August 2008

Photos from the Outstanding In The Field website.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Viva La Vintage

It’s not fat. It’s husky. It’s not midget. It’s little person. It’s not old. It’s vintage. It’s not a big warehouse full of stuff that belonged to somebody’s dead grandma. It’s a Fashion Expo.

And you’re not cheap if you shop there. You’re cutting edge.

If you’re in the San Francisco bay area Saturday or Sunday, head up to the Concourse Exposition Center (8th at Brannon) and spend the day sifting through the fabulousness that is the Original Vintage Fashion Expo. Eighty-five dealers of vintage clothing, textiles and accessories from the 1850s to the 1980s will have their wares on display. Whether you’re a Hollywood stylist, fashionista, or just a fierce individual, this is the hot shopping ticket this weekend.

Saturday and Sunday, March 21-22
10:30 to 6:00 Sat. & 11:00 to 5:00 Sun.
Tickets $10
Early Buying Saturday 9:00 to 10:30, tickets $20
Students with ID are free on Sunday
Concourse Exhibition Center
635 8th St., San Francisco

Friday, March 13, 2009

Yes We LepreCAN

The great potato famine, the IRA, Catholic guilt. The Irish know suffering. They also know celebrating. No need for a holiday, but they’ve thrown a few extra ones on the calendar just to be sure there’s sufficient time for all the pint raising.

In addition to the ones we're all familiar with, they take a smattering of bank holidays, six Mondays throughout the year. You can’t have too many three-day weekends. And, of course, there’s St. Patrick’s Day, in honor of Ireland's vanquisher of Pagans and snakes.

There were plenty of Pagans in Ireland pre-Patrick, but there were never any snakes. Nevermind. The Irish use embellishment like Americans use ketchup. Pour it on. Don’t be surprised when you hear that every person of any prominence in all of recorded history has at least some Irish heritage. Obama? Sure, his roots are Kenyan, but go back a little further and you find it’s the Irish that put the O in Obama.

Tuesday is St. Patrick's Day. We can look forward to a day of good beer, good tales, good fortune, good friends, perhaps even some good luck. And just in time because the world is seriously in need of a reason to celebrate. So thank you, Ireland. (Note to China, you are totally bumming our high right now.)

There’s still time to order up some holiday festive wear. Here are a few of my favorite choices available at and Enjoy.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Griddle Crack

I don't usually have such a Pavlovian response to an email solicitation, but the folks at Williams Sonoma reeled me in like a hungry trout with a simple promise of waffles on the stove top and these photos showing just how easy it is, and how delicious the results.

I literally went right over to WS and bought this pan. Actually, no, first I did a bit of research because I am a careful consumer and I have serious trepidation about carcinogens in non-stick surfaces. PFOA's (Perfluorooctanoic Acid), the stuff that makes Teflon Teflon
has been at the center of controversy for years in the non-stick industry. It's either a miracle chemical that makes clean up in the kitchen a breeze, or a contributor to a slow, painful cancer death, depending on whether you believe scientists or Dupont's lobbyists. The EPA seems to take both sides of the issue conceding that PFOA's are likely carcinogens but, in typical government fashion, claiming more research is needed.

Maybe it's just me, but I like to err on the side of caution and avoid cooking products that use the stuff. So imagine how thrilled I was when I went to the Nordic Ware (maker of this fine waffle pan) website and discovered their commitment to green production. Based in Minnesota, the company not only produces non-stick cookware without the use of PFOA's, they have been awarded a Green Recognition Award from both their city and state.

Armed with that knowledge, I went straight to Williams-Sonoma in Los Gatos and bought the pan. Next morning I fired up the stove and made a batch of whole grain panaffles, as I like to call them since they are really a pancake waffle hybrid. I also like to call them griddle crack. They are that addictive.

On the first attempt, I used a whole grain pancake mix. They were great, but didn't have the lightness of a waffle, so I went back to WS and bought their Belgian Waffle mix. These were more like the traditional waffle. Light, fluffy and sweet. A definite improvement. A couple days later I made my own batter and whipped up savory sweet potato waffles that I served with barbecue pulled chicken (like pulled pork, but less artery clogging). Again, they were fantastic and amazingly easy. In all cases, clean up is a joyous, magical experience. The pan looks as though it hasn't even been used when you're finished. I brush the surface with a little melted butter before pouring the batter in, but I'm not sure it's even necessary.

At $39.95, the pan is cheaper than a waffle iron and takes all the guess work out of knowing when they're done. Just a note, when you flip the waffles (and flip you must, but it is remarkably easy and mistake free), you will not get the same waffle wells on the second side. You'll only get the waffle pattern marks. Hence the panaffle name. Technically, they are not waffles, but your tastebuds won't know it. And neither will those you serve them to as long as you serve them waffle side up.

I have definitely cut back on unnecessary purchases in these recessionary times, but on Sunday morning, while enjoying these little beauties with a nice, frothy latte, the definition of necessity becomes a little broader.

(The two photos above come from the Williams Sonoma site. This last one is Sunday brunch at my house. And just for the record, no, I'm not getting paid by WS or Nordic Ware. I'm just waffle lover spreading some joy.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Panty Power: Undies As A Weapon Of Social Change

A group calling themselves The Consortium of Pubgoing, Loose and Forward Women are encouraging young Indian women (and men if they are so inclined) to meet violence and radicalism with the most powerful motivator for change known to mankind: women’s underwear.

The Pink Chaddi Campaign encourages the sending of pink chaddi (Indian slang for underwear) to the ultra conservative Hindu organization Sri Ram Sena, whose members attacked a group of female students in a Mangalore pub in January. They apparently are not fans of the song “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”

Outraged at what they see as the loose morals of today’s young Indian women, Sri Ram Sena are unapologetic and plan further crackdowns on immoral behavior. On Valentine’s Day, they plan to roam India’s streets looking for unmarried couples celebrating the day of love. Such unfortunate couples will be forced to marry or don string bracelets signifying a brother and sister relationship.

The CPLFW aims to use the hoo-ha housings to send a powerful message to the self-proclaimed “custodians of Indian Culture” that the people will not stand for a “Tale-banisation” of India. They are also calling on women to go to pubs on Valentine’s Day and raise a glass to social freedoms for all women, wanton or not.

So far, more than 37,000 people have joined the CPLFW’s Facebook group. If each one sends a pair of pink chaddi, the Sri Ram Sena will be overwhelmed with lady junk wrappers and a strange urge to wrestle.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine's Day: I'm Just Not That Into It

Unless you are dating the Unabomber, living in a monastery, or have, like Joaquin Pheonix, given up on personal hygiene and sentences containing more than two words, you know that Valentine’s Day is this Saturday.

My inbox was overloaded this morning with ideas for celebrating that most ephemeral, ecstatic, and agonizing of human emotions: Love. offers tips for writing the perfect love letter. recommends O-Plump and Facial In A Bottle (not as dirty as they sound) to make yourself more beautiful for your lover. World Market helps make sure the economy doesn’t get in the way of a night of sloppy, drunken sex and a follow-up hangover by offering two ugly-ass, red heart champagne flutes for only $5.98. Ticketmaster reminds you that you can surprise your love with tickets for an evening with the Simon Cowell-created, uber-romantic manband Il Divo to be suffered through at a later date.

Before you accuse me of being unromantic, let me tell you I’ve seen every Nora Ephron movie multiple times and I always cry. I have Jason Mraz’s song “Lucky I’m In Love” on loop on my iPod. And there’s nothing I enjoy more than a candlelight soak in a hot bath with a glass of champagne and a hot guy, or my husband. I love chocolate, flowers, fine dining, all that romantic crap, but I am just not that into Valentine’s Day. So much pressure to prove our love with syrupy cards, gifts, and over-priced dining experiences on this arbitrary day when I’m trying to get the taxes done and pick up dry cleaning.

I don’t need an iCal reminder to tell me to say those three little words. It’s quickie time.

Dinner out on Valentine’s Day is always disappointing. The restaurant is overbooked. There’s a special menu that’s never as good as the regular fare. The waiter is always harried and surly. The entrĂ©e is out before the salad. They’re out of the chocolate soufflĂ©. We have to shout to hear each other above the din of love and a house band cover of “Lady In Red” that makes us want to get a double order of cynanide brownies a la mode. To top it off, the bill is outrageous because of the surcharge for the privilege of being “indulged” on this most romantic of days. And you absolutely cannot complain. A love like yours is priceless.

Yes, guys, I know. I’m a catch. Imagine being able to spend Valentine’s Day watching “Pineapple Express” and eating pizza. Then getting to have wild sex with a beautiful woman. My husband thinks it’s great too. This year I might even join him. If he brings me flowers.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Shoppin' In The Free World

Get out there and stimulate the economy, but do so responsibly. Avoid purchasing future landfill. Cut down on waste. Don't support companies that exploit workers. And remember, dogs don't need sweaters. Give to your local toy drive instead. Happy shopping.

The song in this video is by The Mantooths: Chris Townsend, Guitars; Steve Siacotos, Vocals. (Original version obviously by Neil Young.) Video by yours truly.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Blackest Friday Of All

In Mumbai, India, terrorists armed with grenades and automatic weapons ruthlessly and systematically carry out the slaughter of nearly 200 innocent people in luxury hotels, hospitals and train stations.

In Jos, Nigeria, an election dispute sparks ethnic and religious violence that will leave nearly 400 dead before the weekend is through.

In Al Musaieb, Iraq, a town south of Baghdad, a man wearing a vest packed with explosives walks into a mosque and blows himself and twelve worshippers into oblivion. Nineteen more are injured.

In a Walmart parking lot in Valley Stream, Long Island, 2000 shoppers wait in the dark, shivering in early morning cold. It is 4:55 a.m. and they are tense, wondering if they will be able to elbow their way past the pregnant women and grandmothers to snag a 50-inch Plasma HDTV on sale for $798. There is shoving. Shouting.

On the other side of the glass doors, a thirty-four year old temporary maintenance worker named Jdimytai Damour is among a handful of underpaid employees who vainly attempt to hold the doors closed against the bargain-hungry crowd. The glass shatters. The doors crumple like an Oktoberfest accordion. Damour is knocked to the floor and trampled. Shoppers bent on scooping up “Incredible Hulk” DVDs for nine bucks step over the dying man. The holiday season in America has begun.

What sets America’s senseless violence apart from the savagery in the rest of the world is the speed and ease with which it is dismissed. Walmart shoppers who, when told the man’s death would force the store to close, complained that they’d “been on line since yesterday morning” were only briefly inconvenienced. A little yellow caution tape and a hastily repaired window were the only signs of anything amiss when shopping resumed just a few hours after the body was removed. A visit to Walmart’s website in the days following was equally reassuring. All is once again sunshine and super deals on CyberMonday. (Their “Unbelievable Online Specials” are presumably a safer way to practice your inalienable right of consumerism.)

But for some, an unpleasant somberness still lingers.

"The line was sad," Elaine Ryans, 38, from Elmont, Long Island said while shopping a day after the incident. "It was like, 'Are we going to a funeral or are we going shopping?' It was sad, it turned me off…”

Sorry, Elaine. Hopefully, the thought of Damour’s family planning his funeral won’t interfere with the enjoyment of all your cheap, new electronics.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Welcome, Cupcake Seekers

Some of you found your way to this blog by entering the search words CUPCAKE ROYALE, CUPCAKES IN ASIA, CUPCAKES WITH A STAR ON TOP, and yes, even PENIS CUPCAKES.

If you have read this far, you are still hopeful that this is just a long, and slightly off-topic lead up to a detailed history of cupcakes and the many adorable and/or lewd ways to decorate them. Sorry.

Back in August I wrote a little story called The Audacity of Cupcakes in which I posited that the growing cupcake trend was tangible evidence of a burgeoning hope in the face of very dark times.

The recent, and significant, uptick in cupcake searches landing people at my site tells me I was on to something. It started a few days before the election as anticipation of a great change began to build. Following the election, the cupcake fancy became a frenzy. My cupcake traffic went through the roof. It was coming from towns big and small, from nations rich and poor, places where I didn’t think people even had computers, much less an interest in tiny cakes. People everywhere seem to be yearning for every tasty cupcake morsel they can scrounge up on the internet. Or, should I say, every delicious ounce of hope?

The only item on my site that has drawn anywhere near as much interest in recent days is a fluffy little piece about my devotion, I mean, admiration for Tina Fey (Tina Fey, Will You Be My New BFF), buzz about Tina Fey having spiked due to her Palin impressions, "30 Rock," and general awesomeness.

So I had a thought. What if I were to combine the two things that people around the world are hottest for right now? Cupcakes and Tina Fey.

Sadly, a quick internet search revealed I was not the first to hit upon this winning formula (though we had slightly different reasons for conjuring up these stalker cakes). So, with thanks to Sarah Disgrace, here they are Tina Fey cupcakes. I’d make my own, but why reinvent the wheel? Plus, I’m quite sure I could not do any better.

To the person who stumbled across my site searching for Tina Fey tits, maybe these will be some consolation.

Addendum: Watching last week's "30 Rock" episode on DVR this weekend, I was shocked when there was not one, but two cupcake references in the show. Seriously, I am way tapped into the universal subconscious. But how to make it pay off?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pimp Your Profile Pic

Now that the election is over, we can turn our attention to important stuff like the pursuit of perfect hair. Check out this extreme virtual makeover tool on In Style Magazine's website that allows you to try on the hairstyles of hundreds of celebs like changing hats. It's a delicious way to kill an hour. Get ready to feel fierce.

Unless you've always wanted to know what you'd look like as a super model tranny, there's not much here for guys. Instead, check out where they specialize in taking you from modern to awkward in the click of a mouse. Here's my husband as a hopeful, future car salesman. Did high school seniors really ever look like that?

Guess whose hair?
From left to right
Top row: Jennifer Hudson, Cameron Diaz, Katie Holmes, Anne Hathaway
Second row: Michelle Pfeiffer, Reese Witherspoon, Ashley Olsen, Ashlee Simpson
Third row: Mischa Barton, Taylor Momsen, Naomi Cambell, Hillary Swank
Fourth row: Heidi Klum, Natalie Portman, Camilla Belle, Rebecca Romijn

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Word Lust

To the untrained eye this just looks like a bunch of words. Random and meaningless. To a writer, this is like porn.

Look at those beautiful words all crammed together, one on top of the other in total phonetic orgy. No verbs, nouns, or adjectives, just words. Muscular, lean, beautiful words. Together in the oblivion of the page, not caring what anyone thinks. Free of grammatical confines. It's pure, beautiful, random expression.

This is the product of, the ultimate site for word nerds. Enter any text or link to a website, and it will grab a sampling of the words and randomly display them in a text mosaic. The larger words are the ones that appear most often in the selected text. You can change the colors, and decide whether you want mostly horizontal, vertical, a mixture, or a total free-for-all. Click and they all rearrange creating new pairings, unexpected phrases, accidental alliteration, glimmers of brilliance.

frantic cartoon half existence
life comes ebbing

lusty orchard afternoon
simplicity begins

like honey gossamer inspiration

imperceptible sentinel
former dying green edge

gentle brutish
pale winter meadow
mud-heavy valley
heaven speaks

These were all random pairings. Oddly beautiful on their own, strung together they don't make a half bad poem.

And the most beautiful part? You can do it over and over again and never get the same result. Very dangerous for obsessive compulsive types.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


So, you know that stock I bought. Yeah, didn't work out too well. Feeling a little queasy. Whoa. Okay, that was this morning's breast milk.

I think I'm just going to stick to the xylophone. Yeah, I just spelled that. It's easy. Almost as easy as buying stock on E*Trade.

Also, if you know anybody whose looking for a clown...I had to let Bobo go.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Because I don't Want To Think About Money Or Politics

No matter what else is going on in the world, we still have this.

This is the bike trail at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, one of my favorite places to be on a gorgeous fall day. And if I were to be in southeast today, I would no doubt have to make a stop at Cracker Barrel. It's where comfort meets food, so you know you're going to come out of there feeling like a puppy after a kibble binge.

Chicken 'n dumplins. Fried okra. Green beans boiled with bacon and onions and barely resembling something that originated from the earth. Corn bread. Biscuits. Sweet tea. (I always ask for non-sweet, which confounds everyone in the restaurant and takes extra time while they search out the only container of non-sweet in the place.)

Though the Cracker Barrel name refers to the old time practice of selling crackers out of a large cooper's barrel, it could just as easily refer to the majority of the patrons, most looking as if they just came from a meeting to discuss ways to rid the town of drum circles and hemp products.

The attached country store is stocked with "Grandma's Little Dumpling" sweatshirts and assorted platters offering up a variety of blessings with every meal. I don't think there is anything in the retail area that I could imagine looking at in my home every day, but they do have an exceptional selection of bygone era toys and candy that I quite enjoy. I always follow up an artery clogging meal with a little browse-time. Here are a few of my favorite items:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Thoughts From My Imaginary Financial Advisor

The market has been up and down like parishioners at a Catholic mass lately. After today's stock slaughter, I think it may be time to start looking to unconventional methods of money management. Here are a few maverick ideas you won't find in Smart Money. (Why a picture of the Geico Gecko? I imagine if he were my financial advisor, he would endorse these ideas.)

Offshore accounts. I found a bank in New Zealand offering 8% interest. But do your homework. Make sure your foreign safe haven is not run by a Nigerian prince.

Start a religion. It worked for Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. As for a name, I'd definitely leave science out of it. Consider something short, snappy and inspiring, like Jebucks. It combines the notion of Jesus, money and coffee. I'm seeing a place of worship on every corner.

China continues to be a rapidly expanding market. I predict the next growth sector there will be the development of cheap alternatives to melamine.

Open a pawn shop. This is an area ripe for expansion as people begin selling off their espresso makers and big screen TVs to make their house payments.

Invest in survival gear. At the rate we're going, it can't be long before this market is exploding.

Two words: alcoholic Beverages. I expect alcohol sales to rise dramatically over the next few months. Put your money in Seagrams. And look both ways when crossing the street.

If you really just want to hide your cash somewhere safe, forget the mattress. Put your money in a cave in Tora Bora, then move it to Pakistan.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

If That Don't Beat Everything I Ever Damn Witnessed

Pronounced “fat don beat everthan ah eva dam widniss,” this is a favorite phrase of my father-in-law who has lived most of his life in the mountains of western North Carolina. It is applied to things outrageous, outlandish, utterly stupid, or completely unexpected. High gas prices, the woman who paints her entire body silver and waits on the corner downtown for some loose change dropped at her feet to activate her hidden robot circuitry, the guy who tries surfing on the hood of his friend’s ’73 Cutlas, George Bush reading a book.

The sight of a couple of self-proclaimed rednecks campaigning for Obama would certainly elicit the phrase, falling under the last category of its usage. Liberalism is about as popular as tofu in the south, so this is truly an encouraging sign of the times. Fat don beat everthan.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ugly Politics

Now that I've learned how to use iMovie, I'm becoming a little OCD about it. For this clip, I learned how to separate audio from video and lay it over another clip. Soon I'll be making Ishtar II.

(If you're looking at this in your feed, you'll need to click through to the site to see the video. It's worth it just to see the brief shots from the 1932 cult flick Freaks.)