Monday, June 22, 2009

Buffy vs. Edward

Jonathan McIntosh mashes up Buffy and Twilight (with a little Harry Potter thrown in) in a hilarious "critique of Edward's character and generally creepy behavior." (H/t: Eugene Woodbury)

Friday, June 19, 2009

How to make TV golf more interesting

I've often said that golf is like sex: fun to do, but boring to watch. But here's a way to make golf on TV more interesting: add basketball announcers.

In the meantime...

I probably won't be posting here much for the next couple weeks, but in the meantime you can enjoy my other blog, This Day in History Blog, which I've revived and plan to keep going for a year or so to see what happens. It's a parody of those "This Day in History" things that you see all over. That means it's funny. And each entry is only two sentences long, so it won't take much of your time when you read it every day.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Going home

My mother died yesterday of breast cancer. As some of you may recall, she was diagnosed only a few months ago, and her cancer was already stage IV when it was discovered. It had spread to her bones and bone marrow already.

Her other health problems prevented aggressive treatment of the cancer. She was in and out of the hospital several times over the past few months. Last week she went in again, seemingly no worse than before, but a few days ago her condition began to rapidly deteriorate.

This song captures what she believed about death. It's a comforting thing to believe. And Mom always loved a good boys choir. I think she would have liked this a lot.

Going home going home
I am going home
Quiet like, some still day
I am going home

It's not far, just close by,
through an open door
Work all done, care laid by
Never fear no more

Mother's there expecting me
Father's waiting too
Lots of faces gathered there
All the friends I knew

I'm just going home

No more fear No more pain
No more stumbling by the way
No more longing for the day
Going to run no more

Morning star lights the way
Restless dreams all gone
Shadows gone, break of day
Real life has begun

There's no break, there's no end
Just living on
Wide awake, with a smile
Going on and on

Going home Going home
I am going home
Shadows gone, break of day
Real life has begun

I'm just going home

(Music by Atonin Dvorak, lyrics by William Arms Fisher, performed by Libera)

Monday, June 08, 2009

'80s Monday: The Cramps

The Cramps are a little different from most of the bands I've written about in a couple of ways. First, they never had much success in terms of record sales in the US or the UK. Second, they never broke up, mainly because they were headed by a married couple, singer Lux Interior and guitarist Poison Ivy. Lux and Ivy were together for 37 years until Lux's tragic death from an aortic dissection earlier this year. (RIP, Lux.) Other members came and went, but Lux and Ivy stayed together through it all.

The Cramps were are one of my favorite bands, and when I was young I could never understand why they weren't more successful. Today, it's kind of obvious to me, though: they were just too extreme and too unique. They rocked like hell, and they rocked like nobody else. They blended punk and surf guitars with rockabilly, coining the term "psychobilly" (although what they did was a little different than bands that fit that genre today). Their sound was unique, often featuring two or three guitars, a stripped-down drum kit, and no bass. Their lyrics often referenced old B horror movies from the '50s and early '60s, or were filled with sexual innuendo.

Above all, their live shows were insane, mainly because of Lux. He's one of the few performers who bear comparison to the heyday of Iggy Pop. Lux may never have engaged in the kind of self-mutilation that Iggy sometimes did, but other than that, anything went. And Ivy, by contrast, mostly affected boredom, with an occasional sneer at Lux's antics. The effect could be hilarious, as you'll see in the "Tear It Up" video (if you're up to watching the whole thing).

They never had much success selling records, but these videos will show you why they were able to keep making music and selling out shows for 30+ years. Enjoy.

"What's Inside a Girl?" (c. 1986). This is actually a little subdued for Lux (though not for 99.9 percent of other singers) -- maybe because it was for TV -- so it makes for a nice warm up.

This isn't really a video -- "She Said" was the B-side on a single, so of course there was no official video for it -- but I love this song. And my five-year-old daughter loves to sing along with the chorus: "Woo-ee-ah-ah! Woo-ee-ah-ah! Woo-ee-ah-ah! Woo-ee-ah-ah! Woo! Ee! Ah!"
"She Said" (1981)

"Human Fly" live (filmed in 1981). This one gives the full Lux effect, although unfortunately the sound is a little bad.

"Tear It Up" (1981). This was the first Cramps song I ever heard, but I'm playing it last. For a reason -- Lux's performance is insane. And by insane, I mean obscene. And by obscene, I don't mean the language, I mean the performance. Actually, this video is a pretty good test. If you really and truly, deep down in your soul, ROCK, you'll think this is great, and you'll turn it up. If you're a normal person who just kind of likes rock music (not that there's anything wrong with that), well, you'll probably turn it off. So let me know in the comments: did you turn it up, or did you turn it off?

If you want to hear more of the Cramps, I recommend starting with Bad Music for Bad People.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Cookie Cake Pie!

My family and I made the Cookie Cake Pie today (recipe h/t: CakeSpy). A Cookie Cake Pie is a pie crust with a layer of cookie and a layer of cake (and frosting on top).

We changed the recipe a little, though, and made it with a cookie crust, chocolate cake, and chocolate frosting.

Here's the finished product.

Here's how we made it.

We decided to start with an "Oreo" pie crust (actually we used some off-brand cookies rather than real Oreos).
We took off the cream filling...
And ground up the cookies. There was lots of grinding, so we took turns. The kids enjoyed this part.

Once the cookies were all ground up...
We added the cream filling back in...

And mixed it up so it would be gooey enough for a pie crust. It was a bit dry, so we added a little milk as we went along.

The we formed a pie crust.

And added a layer of chocolate-chip cookie dough. (We made this from scratch, using a Betty Crocker recipe.)

Followed by a layer of devil's food cake (store-bought mix). It's ready to bake!

We had so much cake mix and cookie dough left over, we made two Cookie Cake Pies (and still had enough left over for six cupcakes and five big cookies). My daughter said she didn't want frosting on the second one, so we sprinkled ground-up cookies on the top. It came out like this:
She's going to take it to school tomorrow.

We frosted the other one with chocolate/cream frosting and ate it with ice cream.

How was it? Delicious. Wonderful. Awesome. But it's almost too rich to eat. Even I could only handle one piece. (And usually I only stop eating stuff like this when it's all gone or when my wife starts yelling at me about my cholesterol.)

So I recommend making a Cookie Cake Pie only if you have a lot of people around to eat it. Each person will probably only eat about half their normal portion of cookie/cake/pie. But they'll enjoy it.

(Check my Facebook for more pictures.)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Good Reads/Random Cool Sites (6/1/2009)

I'm too busy for real blogging, so here are some links.

I'm going to make this this weekend, but with an Oreo crust, chocolate cake, and chocolate frosting. And homemade ice cream.

Sounds good. Maybe FAIR is hiring. I kid, I kid -- FAIR doesn't hire scientists. ;)

Steroids: not all that bad?

Stop pronouncing Sotomayor's name correctly!