April 27, 2012

Ein Kleines Puppentheater Musik

The More You Know

Always service-minded, we at SMLTS offer the following as an aid to the person who found this blog while searching for "weird squirrel facts":

THINGS THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW 
ABOUT BRUNO, A GRAY SQUIRREL


  • Not actually all that fond of acorns, but it's an absolute farce trying to get a pizza delivered to his tree.
  • Was set to play Liz Lemon's 30 Rock sidekick, but chose instead to take a small but fulfilling role on Studio 60. Sure, he has some regrets, but ultimately thinks it was worth it to have a chance to work with Sorkin.
  • The World's Most Interesting Man currently owes him $731 from their weekly poker night. Bruno expects it'll all even out in the end.
  • Discovered the Higgs Boson some time ago, but buried it... somewhere
  • Mutters something along the lines of "I got your nut futures right here, you thieving bastards" every time he sees that pistachio ad with The Winklevii in it. I'm not comfortable asking for details. Just be apprised, in case you ever run into all of them at the same cocktail party, that there seems to be some bad blood.
  • Wrote a catchy, scathing pop song that is secretly about Carly Simon. Ah, but which one? He'll never tell.
  • Can carry up to 250 times his body weight. Chooses not to.
  • Taught the Mythbusters that trick with the interlaced phone book pages.
  • Does not waterski. You're thinking about his cousin Mervin. People mix them up all the time.

≠ Bruno


  • Is not rabid, just missed a bit of shaving foam this morning. And is frankly a bit sick of your relentless stereotyping.

April 25, 2012

Heck, Go For All Three Rivers...

Remembering my second-most-favorite lady born in April 1917... 
Ella Fitzgerald, 4/25/17-6/15/96


Today In Free Association

Here's a well-written, funny, and quite compelling argument that Jennie Jerome Churchill's life would be excellent movie fodder (yesyesyes I know, but film ≠ miniseries)... but you know that the Hollywood version would be weirdly bowdlerized, would star Jennifer Aniston and a wig to be named later along with Johnny Depp as Lord Randolph, and would feature at least one atrociously anachronistic Oscar-bait ballad in the soundtrack.

Jennie's son, of course, would grow up to kick Nazi ass while clad in a Savile Row suit. Champions of the dry-wit-and-tweed lifestyle held a St. George's day protest of an impending Savile Row branch of Abercrombie & Fitch, and promptly evaporated into a whiff of concentrated archetypal Britishness.

Back in the world of fanny packs (SMLTS officially advises against using that locution in conversation with a British person), here's The Oatmeal's Spring 2012 State of the Web. Not entirely safe for work. Dead on about the Yahoo! Facebook app, among other things.

So, um... rather conflicted about this one. The new Beach Boys single is out. I have to say, I'm impressed at how those pipes are holding up. The song.... could be a lot worse. But the lyrics are pretty cringeworthy, as are the non-ironically-cheesy graphics of the official video.


And now for something completely different... some very early Peter Sellers/Spike Milligan television work. Monty Python totally has A Show Called Fred's eyes.

April 24, 2012

It's Election Day, And... Hey. HEY! WAKE UP!

SMLTS is going to go out on a freshly-leafed springtime limb here and say that President Barack Obama is set to win the Pennsylvania Democratic primary. I know, I know, we really should wait until the polls close, just to be fair.

It's not the most exciting electoral cycle ever, granted, but there are several important races--notably the state Attorney General and several seats in the state legislature. I'm in Congressman Doyle's district, but all you guys who have a say in the Critz/Altmire brouhaha better go do something about it.

Go vote. It'll take no time flat. You'll feel all virtuous and stuff. And, once you've done your bit, you get carte blanche to complain bitterly about the democratic process! Whee!

And When Gideon Sundback Invents Sewing Notions, They STAY Invented.

I was really hoping that today's Google Doodle...



..would turn out to be a tribute to this guy:

Eric Von Zipper.
And they called Dick Clark the world's oldest teenager?

But it's actually about this guy:

Gideon Sundback

...who
1) effectively invented the modern zipper and
2) looked disturbingly like my friend Tim (trust me on this one) and
3) I choose to believe was a recurring character in a wildly popular silent film serial comprising Sea-Side Social, Sea-Side Parasol Whist, and How To Respectfully Avert One's Eyes From The Wild Bloomer.

April 22, 2012

Further Experiments From The Castle Secondmost Kitchens: Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart

Saturday's Dickensian atmosphere all but demanded that one take advantage of the dropping temperature and make something really indulgent.

This is what we in the social sciences refer to as "rationalization."

This recipe for Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart has been making the rounds of late, and it seemed like an opportune time to give it a whirl.

Of course, I had to tinker with the recipe. While pastry knows no more obsessive fan than Yr. Obdt. Svt., this filling practically cried out for a graham cracker crust. (Maybe it just seemed like a giant candy bar waiting to be made into the wrongest s'more ever?)

I decided to go for the crumb crust, as well as to take the slightly risky route of making the tart in a regular pie plate. I'd love to tell you that I had some clever reasoning for that part, but the real motivation for using a pie plate was that I have no idea where the springform pan is. Last time I saw it, it was looking pretty rough, and I think we may have chucked it before moving. In any case... you go to war with the bakeware you have.

So, I whipped up my favorite graham cracker crust in a few minutes flat--yet another reason to be thankful for food processors--and patted the crumbs into a pie plate. Then I set about caramelizing the sugar. While that was cooking, I readied the dairy products to be added once the sugar was off the stove--butter and cream, plus sour cream subbing for the specified crème fraîche. (Yes, yes, I know.)

It's good fun making any kind of caramel concoction, because you get to watch the tempest in a saucepan that results from dumping alien substances into molten sugar syrup. In with the butter... WHOOOSH. A magnificent roiling. The sugar swells with anger at the intrusion. In with the cream... another, slightly more subdued uproar. Finally, in with the sour cream; relative calm. And so the democratizing effect of the melting pot again works its magic.

I poured the caramel into the waiting pie crust. It was then that the reality set in that this was a pie plate full of candy.

sigh
The caramel set up relatively quickly thanks to the otherwise unpleasant turn in the weather. Once the filling was mostly cooled, I started to make the chocolate ganache. Easy peasy. I poured the chocolate on top of the tart, using a wire strainer to catch any stray unmelted bits (and there were a couple).

And then, the agonizing wait.

I maybe jumped the gun a bit.  Okay, I definitely have no patience whatsoever when confronted with a pie plate full of homemade caramel. The ganache slid all about when I cut the first slim slices. (Incidentally, I also decided not to salt the top, because even I was starting to think this was excessive.) I made a little foil dam to keep the sliding in check and figured I'd extract a nice photogenic slice in the morning.

Let's just say the springform pan would have been a bad idea after all. By morning, the sides of the pie had oozed in--not disastrously, but enough to disturb the formerly smooth chocolate veneer. The most glamorous slice I could get looked a little something like this:
Seriously, this is an excessively large slice.

So much for my hopes for glamorous-looking blog fodder. But it does taste delicious, no doubt... it's every bit as rich as it looks, and it will be consumed enthusiastically (if in small, small slivers).

If I make this again, I'll probably minimize the mess and do individual servings in a style similar to a pecan tassie. I also grudgingly admit that the graham cracker crust was too sweet for this filling--I'm still not digging the idea of the original chocolate crust, but a good buttery shortbread base would probably be ideal.

And this is definitely, boldface and underline, NOT summer food. If you feel like something ludicrously rich to console you through the forecasted late-April snowstorm, this could be your ticket.

Salted Chocolate Carmel Tart (Serious Eats)

You Moved Me All Of My Life

Simone Felice, remembering Levon Helm with appropriate raucousness.

April 20, 2012

Papa Issues

Here is a neat summary of what I like about Hemingway:

Here's a neat summary of what I don't:

In Search Of Lost Taste

Few people, I suspect, would really want to live in the past. For all of the new stresses brought into our lives by social media and ubiquitous cell phones and such, the payoffs tend to offset the discomforts. And modern medicine: Pretty freaking cool, right? Let's just start with the eradication of polio. (Of course, the hipsters are doing their best to bring back measles.)

But it's easy to assume that the past, if less hospitable to good health and justice and equality, was... well, more tasteful. Part of the appeal of a Downton Abbey or a Mad Men is the complete and utter lack of sweatpants emblazened with suggestive brand names across the backside.

This week brought a couple of notably eye-burning case studies in the limits of nostalgia.

Sunday's Mad Men inflicted this upon an unsuspecting audience: A sport coat so hideous that I'm pretty sure that Pete's kitchen faucet sacrificed itself purely to force Don to strip down to his undershirt.
By the way: Thank you, faucet.
My grandmother had a few key words in describing men's fashion. Approved ensembles were "sharp." This would have been described as "loud."

After our retinas had a few days to recover, they were seared afresh by the new Steelers throwback uniforms. Isaac Redman, who clearly paid close attention in media training sessions, did an admirable job of putting on a happy face while modeling the costume, which I can only assume was originally developed for a vaudeville routine involving an escaped convict honeybee. (I further assume that this is what pounded the final nail in vaudeville's coffin.)


James Harrison, who doubtlessly gives the Steelers' media relations folks absolute fits but gets mad points for honesty, tweeted "There's a reason these jerseys were from [1934] ... it's 2012 now though, so send them back!"

We often use the simple but powerful metaphor of "roots" when referring to tradition. We draw our stability, and in many ways our nourishment, from our cultural origins. But if you let roots go completely uncontrolled, woe betide your sidewalk. 

Some things are better remembered than relived.

April 18, 2012

SMLTS Presents: Your Virtual Mentor!

For all those newly-minted graduates about to enter the workforce, here are some life lessons that just don't make it into books...

1). Because I am totally psychic, I can tell you that you'll be eating pre-plated salad followed by dry chicken at every single conference lunch for the rest of your adult life.  But the which dried-out side veggie will you receive?  Why, that's a never-ending carnival of surprise!*

2). Want to avoid phone tag? Start returning calls at 10. During the 9:00 hour, half of the people you're trying to call back are already on the phone catching up with their voice mail.**

3). People will forgive honest mistakes, especially if you own up to them. EXCEPTION: People will, rightfully, never forgive you if you're the moron who set fire to the microwave with a bag of overcooked Jiffy-Pop.

4). There will be at least one self-appointed expert on every listserv who clearly does nothing else all day except post incessantly to said listserv. You can safely filter out messages sent by this person. In the unlikely event they contribute anything worthwhile to the discussion, you will be able to reverse-engineer the content from your industry colleagues' politely-disguised shock.

5). COROLLARY OF #4: If you have nothing to do at work, don't call attention to the fact by incessantly posting to listservs.

6). Learn how to gracefully participate in a conversation with someone who recognizes you and clearly expects you to recognize them. GET THEM TO TALK ABOUT THEMSELVES. An enthusiastic "How are you?" is usually the magic phrase.

7). Ask questions. Listen to the answers. You will never know everything, but if you never stop learning, you're always getting better at what you do.

*But it's probably green beans.
**Conversely, if you want to hit someone's office voice mail, try calling around 5:15. 
†This displeases the Popcorn Gods, who clearly prefer Jiffy-Pop as prepared in one of those aluminum stovetop pans.  This is the Popcorn Gods' way of telling you to wait until you get home to make popcorn.
‡If you're still stuck on a name, finding an excuse to exchange email addresses works like a charm.

April 17, 2012

Your Everlasting Summer

For no good reason other than I am on one of my occasional obsessive Dan benders...

April 16, 2012

Monday Roundup

  • Years ago, I saw a lost pet poster. For a hamster. Said lost hamster was described as being in an exercise ball. This is absolutely true, and I mention it only because Hammacher Schlemmer has struck again.
  • Sampsonia Way, the online publication of Pittsburgh's City of Asylum, brings an update on Syrian political cartoonist Ali Ferzat. Ferzat has made significant physical progress in recovering from the brutal beating he suffered last year; he even intends to return home at some point. Bullies the world over never grasp the concept that artists will not just persevere through unjust treatment, but will indeed be motivated by it.
  • William Morris' Red House rendered beautifully in gingerbread and cake. I'm not entirely sure if this actually exists or if my subconscious is leaking again.
  • Is it safe to say that this is the only blog that gets hits from searches for "Jerry Orbach tattoo," "bra gas mask," "James Cameron drive Titanic backwards towards Californian," AND "sax fix"?  I think so! DISCUSSION QUESTION: Were they looking for information on a tattoo belonging to Jerry Orbach or do they want a tattoo featuring Jerry Orbach? Because even I have to admit the latter would be awesome.
  • Feet: Not just for gas pedals anymore! Hot new "walking" trend catching on among the cognoscenti.
  • One more Titanic link (for now)... some of the very last pictures of the ship taken by one of the last passengers to disembark. Fascinating story. Never has a commuter been so happy to miss a chance to upgrade.

April 15, 2012

Iceberg, Meet Me At Camera Three

Titanic's Hugh, Earl of Manton
(Linus Roache)
Reluctant Standard Bearer of Modern Political Discourse
Jon Stewart

Kitchen Impossible

Let me preface this by saying that I absolutely adore my friend Rob. We met just a few days after I moved to Pittsburgh, and fell into one of those ridiculously easy friendships that immediately feels like you've known each other forever. In the (sigh) decades since, we have been through trauma and joy and victory and defeat, not to mention more and more fraught elections than either of us cares to remember. And the real test: Even though we have helped each other move multiple times, we still like each other.

Rob is also, how you say, just a wee bit unpredictable about leisure time. As in, a planned tip to Kennywood can turn into an expedition to Erie without any forewarning whatsoever. I have coined the word "Robventure" to describe this phenomenon. (It is not completely dissimilar to Zen driving. Just... go, and have faith you'll get somewhere you needed to be.)

So, Rob called me on Saturday, about four hours before his long-planned Titanic party, wondering if I could help out with the refreshments.  Specifically, Roman Punch. He read me the recipe over the phone.  I agreed, of course, because: cooking. Also: booze.

Knowing the limitations of Rob's kitchen, I started rushing around madly, building a field kit from my own collection.  Feeling like the love child of Hawkeye Pierce and The Duchess of Duke Street, I loaded up a laundry basket with a large glass punchbowl, a citrus zester, silicon spatulas, a whisk, a ladle, measuring cups and spoons, paper towels, egg white powder, and tea towels.

My compatriot was in front of my house, honking impatiently, in but a flash.

He handed me the printout of the recipe, and I realized that several important factors had been omitted over the phone, such as the final result being a frozen punch. Oy. Hot sugar syrup to sorbet in three hours or so? I began to manage expectations.

We took off for the liquor store. ("Should I get champagne or sparkling wine?" Rob asked about three times. "GET THE CHEAP STUFF," I assured him, not quite verbatim.) After a grocery shopping adventure, we finally headed off for the house.

Rob does have some really nice pans and a gas stove, so at least the syrup was easy to cook up.  My decision to bring a zester was vindicated when Rob asked what zest is.  As I juiced the lemons and oranges, I kicked myself for not bringing a mesh strainer, but I managed to fish out the lemon pips with a spoon and a steady hand.  Into a sink of cold water with the pan; juice and zest added. I whipped up the egg whites in the only large bowl handy (my punchbowl), mixed them in with the syrup and the sparkling wine, threw the whole damn thing in the freezer and hoped for the best.

While the liquid didn't have anything like enough freezing time to be "scooped" as directed, it was quite yummy, and certainly a step above some of the stuff we imbibed in college. I think I'll give it another whirl (with more lead time) sometime over the summer.

Roman Punch (and some other dishes served on the Titanic that we didn't attempt)

April 14, 2012

Today In Brilliant Simplicity

You know how there's this certain common word, this word that is incredibly easy to mistype, that creates a certified organic laff riot when you mess it up? You know how, if you happen to work in media and/or policy, you type this word approximately eleventy billion times per Word document? You know how spell check won't help catch the embarrassing misspelling because it is, in fact, a real word?

This is why you should, unless you're a doctor or possibly Clarence Thomas, adjust your settings such that the other word autocorrects to "public."

You're welcome.

April 12, 2012

Schedule OMG-NO, Unmitigatedly Interminable Bureaucratic Codswallop

I actually don't mind paying my taxes, at least in the sense of contributing revenue to the government. I do despise the paperwork. No matter how many degrees you complete, taxes are the homework assignment you never grow out of. Tax time is like that dream where you're in a terrifying similacrum of your junior high algebra class, in your underwear, when the building catches fire and you can't escape. (NOTE TO SELF: May still have lingering psychological issues from math class.)

And, oh!, the Kafkaesque experience of trying to locate appropriate instructions on the IRS website; even the simplest, most literal search term gives you thirty results for corporate taxes and back taxes and taxes affecting legal aliens before finally yielding anything substantively relevant to what you need.
Wading through impenetrable prose is what I do--what hope has someone who has a life?

But, thanks to the glory that is tax preparation software, even my horrendously complex taxes weren't too much of a time suck. I shudder to think of handling all of this mess without plain English instructions.

I salute the fine folks who wrestled with code--tax and programming--to make my April much more pleasant than it would otherwise be.  Given the opportunity, I'll buy you a round. (You can then clarify whether or not I can deduct it as a business expense if I write about it.)

April 10, 2012

Tuesday Linkdump

  • Anyone else see the James Cameron Titanic special on the National Geographic channel? It was quite good, at least until Cameron insisted that the best ways to save more people would have been to drop them off on the iceberg and/or (I swear I'm not making this up) drive the wounded Titanic, backwards, towards the Californian. He went on to laugh off as impractical the idea of y'know, building some rafts. Really, that bit must be seen to be believed...  but the show is well worth your time, as is the National Geographic's amazing April issue.




  • Check out the glorious (not entirely work safe) issue born of an unholy union between kitschy needlework patterns and a skewed sense of humor on Regretsy. More intentionally funny than Kinkade, and--as far as I know--the fellow responsible has never once done anything disreputable to Winnie The Pooh.

April 7, 2012

The Egg And I

I was kind of waffling about egg-dyeing this year. It always seems like we end up with way more cooked eggs than a smallish household can happily consume, and very few of them turn out, well, colorful. You really only get one properly knock-em-dead pink egg out of a commercial dye kit, and the rest of them come out of the dye bath sporting a sort of wan powder-puff color. Pretty much the same with the green. The yellow holds up OK. We traditionally make one orange egg, just so as not to make the dye tablet feel unloved.

But it's just so dang-blasted festive to have pretty eggs around, and I am nothing if not in favor of festiveness.

A few days ago, I stumbled across recipes for homemade egg dyes, none of which contained onion peels. (Has anyone ever actually made the onion peel egg dye? Surely, someone must have. Maybe it was just an urban legend cooked up to give small-town newspapers some holiday filler.)

I rather liked the approach--three dye recipes, for each of the primary colors, the idea being that you can mix your own specialty shades from there.

Then I had one of those moments of great self-knowledge: I realized that, barring a really good soaked-with-unnatural-chemicals pink, I'd just as soon stick to the blue eggs.

Then I thought, heck, while I'm in the paring-back mood, I'll just cook ten eggs. (I arrived at this number by scientifically determining how many eggs were left in the largest carton.)

So, I braved the grocery store early this afternoon, which was a dumb dumb dumb move, because the grocery store was filled with all the people who never grocery shop except when their spouse/parent/auntie is trying to get them the hell out of the kitchen the day before a holiday. Aisles, people, learn how they work.  I purchased a head of red cabbage, which I just realized is something I have never done before. I'm not generally a fan of cabbage in a form other than eggroll filling or kimchi. But it's pretty, no doubt.

So, I set to following the directions. It really is very easy, with a food processor... shred the cabbage and cook it in vinegar-laced salt water.

It's easy, yes. But it was at this point that I realized I was making my house smell like cooked cabbage.
Why yes, Somerset peeps, that is the cutting board
I made in Mr. Berkey's shop class (bkgd.)

But, in for a penny, in for $1.99 a pound.

When I drained the liquid off, I realized that it would have been just aces to make the dye the day before I wanted to use it, so it could cool in the fridge. (You're supposed to soak the eggs in the solution for a few hours, and it seemed advisable to not put chilled, cooked eggs into hot liquid.) Grumbling to myself, I cooled the liquid in a large Pyrex measuring cup set in a cold water bath.

Ten eggs wouldn't have been fully submerged by this quantity of liquid in most vessels. But... here's where I got really clever...I used a bundt cake pan! The eggs fit perfectly in the bottom, not too tightly-packed; the curved surfaces kept them stable. I like to think that somewhere, without understanding why, Alton Brown muttered "You have learned well, Grasshopper."

This idea is as brilliant as it is un-photogenic.
These eggs have learned the first lesson of
How Not To Be Seen.

So, I stuck 'em in the fridge... waited four or five hours... and...

Red cabbage juice gets under your fingernails, too.
Tres glam.

I'm rather tickled. They're a lovely sky blue--not so deep a color as the Serious Eats crew achieved, but very pleasing.  Plus, most of them developed those cool concentric bands, I suspect owing to the ridges in the bundt pan.

Do I recommend this method? Not if you're dyeing eggs with kids, definitely--this process does not yield instant gratification. Also don't do it if you need to shred the cabbage by hand, because no life is so empty as to require the recreational chopping of an entire head of cabbage.  I doubt I'll do it again--yes, folks, I may have bought my last red cabbage--but it was an interesting experience.

And it does make a durned attractive egg.

April 6, 2012

NOW IT'S PERSONAL, YOU LITTLE TWERP(S)

GAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!
LOTHROP HALL? As in "my former home, Lothrop Hall"? That Lothrop?

You know, back in my day, dumb kids entertained themselves by just pulling the fire alarms...

In Which I Weep For The Future

ACTUAL SEARCH TERM WHICH LANDED SOMEONE, WHO I CAN ONLY HOPE IS NEITHER AN ENGLISH MAJOR NOR A COMM MAJOR, HERE:

"is pitt gonna end semester do to bomb threats"

The New Normal

Posted to Pitt Memes by Mike Doucette


Posted to Pitt Memes by Jamie Bono.
In today's bomb threat news roundup...  The Post-Gazette explains email proxies to your parents so you don't have to.  The Trib confirms that the consensus to date is that the perpetrator is probably a harmless asshole kid, but law enforcement must proceed under the understanding that it could be a psycho asshole kid.  And it's worth looking at The Pitt News to get a flavor of how students and faculty are trying to adapt.  (I have to admit, I question the wisdom of floating one's specific Plans B in print, given that these are probably going to be regarded by the perp as a serving suggestion for future threats.)

Anyone following the troubles on the Pitt campus should check out Stop The Pitt Bomb Threats, a blog run by Andrew Fournaridis.  (A quick Google search identifies Fournaridis as a market analyst at the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, so rest assured we're not looking at some crank whose professional credentials consist of owning the full run of NUMB3RS on DVD.) There's an abundance of data and, naturally, a great deal of speculation.  It does rather throw the scale of the problem into sharp relief to realize that this has been going on long enough to provide material for a free-standing blog.

Some people crack in the face of uncertainty and exhaustion and nervousness. Some crack wise. For a rather impressive sampling of the latter, if you're on Facebook, cast an eye over Pitt Memes.

Posted to Pitt Memes by Kaitlyn Bartoni.

Good Morning, Pittsburgh

BRAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had been rather pleasantly awakening into a quiet, leisurely Good Friday.  In the free-associating logic of waking from dreams, my mind turned to the 4th of July weekend when the fire alarms in our Ocean City hotel were either malfunctioning or falling victim to an unfunny repeated prank.  Then I thought of the ongoing Pitt bomb threats before quickly coming into consciousness enough to realize I was in bed, in Bloomfield-or-arguably-Lawrenceville, and the only way my dear old money pit was going to be destroyed under my feet was if my luck significantly improved--

BRAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Right the hell under my window.  One of my friends has an unfortunate habit of honking when he comes to pick me up, no matter what the hour.  Did 1) I forget a flea marketing expedition and 2) he buy a tractor trailer?

BRAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"COME ON, YOU GOT IT!  YOU CAN MAKE IT!"

The garbage men.  The bleeding garbage men. 

On one hand, I feel for these guys, really I do.  Secondmost Street is the kind of narrow thoroughfare that well preceded motor vehicles.  It is now paved (albeit imperfectly); one-way, but lined on both sides with parked cars.  Some weeks it's completely impossible to get the truck down our street, so the crews carry the trash to the nearest accessible intersection.  It's not an easy area to service, and I'm very grateful that we're not neck-deep in our own refuse.

I looked out the window.  They were, indeed, navigating around parked cars.  A lilac-tinted blue sedan cautiously pulled up behind them, though at a safe distance.  I can only surmise that the horn's lone purpose was to express frustration.  And to that, my dear refuse-disposal persons, I can only say:  

BRAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 4, 2012

Cultural Panorama

Kiva Han was exactly the kind of coffeehouse you hope will be within walking distance of your college campus...  a cozily eccentric sort of place, colorful in every conceivable way, where nobody looked at you funny whether you were sporting blue hair or a business suit.  This gorgeous photo gallery documents yet another late, lamented Great Place.  

I cannot adequately describe how pained I am at the realization that there's no way in hell I'm going to see the Broadway revival of The Best Man, the Gore Vidal play set amidst the sort of absolutely filthy brokered convention that just doesn't happen anymore.  (You shall, of course, find the filth neatly relocated to the campaign finance process.)  Inspired casting...  James Earl Jones as canny former President Hockstader, Angela Lansbury in sugar-coated-acid mode as Sue-Ellen Gamadge, with John Larroquette and Candice Bergen as the flawed but strangely inspiring couple in the center of it all.  It's a charming tale of doing the right thing and getting royally screwed anyway.  Spoiler alert.

This year's crop of Peeps art is coming in.  Starry Night done with marshmallow bunnies is surprisingly effective.  I'm somewhat disturbed that multiple people have done Dexter Peep dioramas (of the SAME SCENE, yet)... but this is far outweighed by cute and/or funny Peep renditions of TV shows.

On Repetition

One of my GSPIAN friends noted today that he really really needs to remove himself from the ENS phone alerts.

Unbelievably, the Pitt bomb threats just keep coming.  (Boy howdy, did I pick a good semester to take off.  On the other hand, I suppose my schedule would have been nigh free of those pesky "classes.")

As frustrated as people are on campus, there at least has been some pretty good gallows humor on the Pitt Memes Facebook page.











Whether it's from bomb threats or tax time or simply life, there's a lot of stress going around this week. Still need to unwind?  Try this!



Wait, that didn't do the trick?  Huh.  Odd.  WOULD YOU CARE FOR SOME TEA?!?