Debbie Schlussel, ladies and gentlemen.
Author Page for bspencer
That thing you just heard was the sound of millions of women screaming and wailing in despair.
LADIES. MAKE YOUR CHOICES. pic.twitter.com/C8dW2DS9sm
— Dawn Foster (@DawnHFoster) September 25, 2014
- John Scalzi has more.
- This North Carolina teacher thinks public schools are a holocaust for Christians. Looks like he’s on to us, folks.
- This Gathering isn’t Magic.
- Rod Dreher writes about sex clubs.
The real issue liberals are afraid to confront:
One thing you never hear liberals talk about is dragon on dragon violence. pic.twitter.com/d3LyNKZZ2I
— bspencer (@vacuumslayer) September 25, 2014
I hope to have time to write more substantive posts soon, including a nifty Creature Feature!
This just in: #HeForShe and #GamerGate INSANITY currently going on in my twitter feed. Check it out if you dare.
It all started with this tweet:
To be clear I'm %100 for #HeForShe but the fact that feminism benefits men is a happy accident. I'd TOTALLY be a feminist even if it didn't
— bspencer (@vacuumslayer) September 25, 2014
I was going to put this in one of my linky posts, but, honestly, it’s just so insane I think it’s worthy of its own post.
Grace Ann is rewriting “Harry Potter” books because she doesn’t want her children turning into witches. Oh sure, laugh, but think about this: If parents had exercised similar diligence re: “Twilight” we wouldn’t be dealing all with sparkling vampires sabotaging our garlic crops.
Snark aside, I just wanted to say how I’m pretty much never surprised by wingnut mean-spiritedness, but I can still be surprised by how petty, stupid and childish they can be. I mean…
“So,” Harry began nervously; and he bit into a thick, juicy slice of perfectly fried bacon. “What Sorting Hat do you think you will choose?”
“Oh, I will definitely choose Slytherin,” Ronald declared confidently; and he began to eat his oatmeal with his hands. “My whole family is Slytherins.” He gestured to the countless redheads sitting at the table; and they all turned to Harry and smiled and waved. “You should become a Slytherin, too! We could do it together!”
“Hm,” Harry uttered ponderously; and he took a bite of eggs. “Why don’t you tell me about what Slytherins believe?”
“Sure!” Ronald replied ecstatically; and he kept eating his oatmeal. “Well, first of all, we believe in the Bible.”
“That is wonderful!” Harry reacted happily; and he took a sip of his orange juice. “I do as well. Perhaps I could be a Slytherin after all?”
“But wait-that is not all!” Ronald continued excitedly; and washed his oatmeal down with milk. “Gryffindor Hats believe in the Bible, too. But Slytherins have even more. We have a book full of guidelines on how to be a good person, and a whole panel of Slytherin Hats to tell us what to do.”
Harry furrowed his innocent, childish brow; and he took another bite of oatmeal; and he questioned confusedly, “Why do you need all that if you have the Bible?”
Ronald guffawed; and he shoveled more oatmeal into his mouth; and he replied, “Why only have the Bible when you can have more? Why, that would be like only praying to God!”
Harry gasped in horror as he bit into more bacon. “Of course I only pray to God! Who else would I pray to?”
“What about Mary?” Ronald posited angrily around a mouthful of oatmeal. “You have to at least worship to her!”
“You mean the mommy of Our Lord?” Harry demanded in scandal; and he chewed his bacon. “I don’t worship her?”
“Well, then, God hates you!” Ron stated simply; and pieces of bacon flew out of his mouth as he did so.
Harry was tentative; since he was new to this whole Christianity thing; but he did not think God would hate him for not worshipping His mommy. On the contrary: he had a hunch that God wanted people to only worship Him.
“Don’t listen to him,” commented a drowsy voice self-righteously from behind Harry.
Harry turned around; and he saw a girl about his own age. Her pale yellow hair was tied into braids; and she wore a tie-dye shirt and faded jeans and flowers in her hair. “Peace” signs and donkey patches were sewn all over her clothes.
“You should not become a Slytherin Hat,” the girl continued confidently; and she was eating what looked like it was supposed to be bacon; but it did not smell or taste like bacon. It missed that smokey, meaty taste that bacon is supposed to have. Instead, it tasted like vegetables blended together and died red. Yuck! Harry would take real bacon over that any day of the week. “They are far too strict.”
Harry hmmed skeptically. He was not sure about this whole Slytherin business; but the word “strict” was not what came to mind!
“You should become a Hufflepuff Hat,” the girl instructed arrogantly; and continued to nibble at her breakfast. “That’s what I’m going to do.”
“What do Hufflepuff Hats believe in?” Harry pondered aloud; and he took a bite of his real bacon. Oh, how he wanted to find the true Hat!
“Hufflepuff Hats believe in the Bible; but only some of it,” Luna explained casually; and she was still feeding on that stuff. “We don’t believe in the stuff against fornication and drinking and socialism; but we really like Matthew 7:1; and that’s about it. We’re really fun and we seem really nice and really tolerant as long as you agree with us!”
For reals? These people are certifiable.
UPDATE: A lot of you calling “parody” or “POE.” Sure. Could be. But the term “beyond parody” is a thing for a reason. As I said down thread, I figure either way it’s hilarious.
Coq au Vin for din. pic.twitter.com/YPF8CjCXF4
— bspencer (@vacuumslayer) September 22, 2014
The chickens in france… are drunk. @vacuumslayer oh please I hope you share your recipe.
— otherchuchu (@nongnonghead) September 22, 2014
So here’s my recipe for Chicken Thighs Au Vin. Word of warning: I don’t measure when I cook. As I do not follow recipes for dishes like this, it may deviate a bit from proper Coq Au Vin, so spare me any foodnerd pedantry.
- 4-6 bone-in chicken thighs, most skin removed (I don’t mind if there are bits and pieces here and there), dredged in flour and salted and peppered
- 3 slices bacon
- 8 oz. container mushrooms, cleaned and halved
- 1-2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 medium onions, cut into big chunks
- 5-7 carrots, cut into big chunks on the diagonal
- 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
- a generous pinch of Herbs de Provence
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 1/2-2 cups red wine (I know it’s customary to use considerably more wine…even a whole bottle, but I find drowning food in liquids makes for unsatisfactory sauces)
- Preheat oven to 250.
- Cut bacon into lardon and render fat in a dutch oven, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Brown chicken in bacon fat. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Brown mushrooms in pan. You may have to add some oil to the pan at this point. Put mushrooms in pan and LEAVE THEM ALONE. Just let them brown on one side, then stir them around and let them brown some more. DO NOT SALT THEM.
- Add the tomato paste, onions, carrots and the garlic last so you don’t burn it. Salt and pepper generously. Get the wine ready to deglaze.
- Stir in the wine, herbs and chicken stock; let this mixture come to a near-boil. Lower the heat and nestle the thighs in the veggies and sauce.
- Top with the lardon, cover the pot and put it in the oven for about 3 hours.
Serve chicken and veggies over mashed potatoes, egg noodles or with crusty bread.
There are very few occasions when I have a sizable chunk of time to myself these days. When I do, I sometimes take the opportunity to binge-watch a show that’s captured my attention. Yesterday I finally got to delve into the second season of ” Witches of East End.” I’m proud to have season one under my belt!
Anyway, here’s the scoop: “Witches of East End” is a treat. A very frothy, light, sweet treat. It’s got just enough thrills and laughs to keep it from veering into daytime drama territory and the acting is good enough to elevate the stories and characters (which may seem familiar but not annoyingly cliched).
Want to get a handle on what the show is like? Think “True Blood” but without the horribly muddled politics, a prettier cast, a prettier locale, less intense sex and less blood spatter. The setting is gorgeous (set in an idyllic Northeastern coastal town, filming was done in Wilmington, NC and Vancouver, British Columbia) and the set design is nothing less than sublime; I’m completely obsessed with the witches’ enormous, artfully-cluttered Victorian home.
“Witches of East End” is about two young women who find out they’re part of a family of witches. When their devil-may-care aunt arrives and shapeshifter begins terrorizing their mother their lives are completely upended. Add in some scandalous past lives and a love triangle that’s not exactly what it seems (although I guessed from the start what was up because I am the smartest person in the universe) and I think we all know what’s going to ensue. If you guessed “kookiness” you are correct and get a year’s supply of anal lube and this basin of male tears I’ve been collecting for the past week.
Reading fan comments, I wanted to riff on the show’s most controversial elements:
Joanna (mom witch): Julia Ormond’s not-quite-American accent takes serious getting used to but I think she brings a gravitas to the role that is very appropriate for a character that’s supposed to be at once nurturing and extraordinarily powerful. In the end, I really really enjoy her in the role.
Freya (hot, booby, love-triangle Daughter): Apparently some fans find her “woe is me I’m torn between two amazing lovers” shtick really grating, but I think Jenna Dewan Channing is so incredibly winning in the role, I don’t mind her at all. In fact, I kinda love her. She’s perfect in the as the beautiful, open-hearted wild child.
Aunt Wendy (cool, crazy aunt you will never be so don’t even try witch): Surprise! Wendy was created by the show’s creators; she was not a part of inspirational books. Surprise two! EVERYBODY likes Aunt Wendy. And why wouldn’t you?–SHE’S. AWESOME. Madchen Amick took the role and ran with it–she’s having so much fun, you can just tell.
The Infamous Love Triangle: *Sigh* So many feels. I give the author/writer props for making the “nice guy” in the triangle something other than the boring guy who’s face we’re supposed to stomp on on our way to the dangerous “bad boy.” Dash Gardiner is not just the “good guy,” he’s genuinely good. (But maybe not as good as we thought he was. SO MANY FEELS!) Problem is the writers did such a good job driving home the idea that Dash is handsome, successful, loving and kind (at least to his fiancé, Freya) that he is now more compelling than his brother, the “bad boy.” And then there’s the fact that the bad boy, Killian, simply doesn’t register as that bad to me. He’s not brooding enough, he’s not tortured enough. He’s good-looking, sure. I like his looks more than Dash’s. But I just like Dash better. I know there’s more to the story–who knows?…maybe Dash is the end game. But right now the writers are making it pretty clear Freya and Killian are star-crossed lovers, destined to be together in the end. It’s for that reason I wish I liked Killian more or liked Dash a whole lot less. Right now I am very much TEAM DASH and I’m pretty sure that’s not the winning team. That being said, I very much look forward to seeing what’s in store for the character. (And every other character.)
So here’s to season two. Won’t you watch with me?
- Zoe Quinn talks about the 5 Things she Learned as the Internet’s Most Hated Person.
- Damon Linker wonders if being a feminist necessarily means being liberal. To which I reply in the most measured and dignified manner: DOI!!!!!!!!!! Yes, feminism is inherently liberal, dumbass. Next question.
- Merritt Tierce talks frankly about the most common reasons women have abortions.
- Lindy West is a woman–deal with it. (WARNING: May cause laughter of the loud, snorty, cackly variety.)
- Emily Dingmann does it again with another yummy-sounding Asian-inspired crockpot dish.
- This is an incredibly heartbreaking story about homeless gay teens. (Thanks? to Origami Isopod for the link.)
Just for fun, some Wednesday morning inspiration:
I have a bizarre obsession with the movie “Gentleman Broncos,” because I see it as the ultimate example of wasted potential. The premise–sad, fatherless boy writes good (?) cathartic sci-fi story only to have it stolen by successful sci-fi writer in a creative slump (as played by Jemaine Clement!!!)–sounded so delicious and ripe for comedy to me, I was positively giddy about seeing it. The movie is actually pretty terrible. It didn’t have to be; it was ruined with QUIRK.
Quirk is tricky, but I’d say that if there were one rule regarding quirk, it’s this: Quirk must seem organic. Quirk has to seem like it just appeared of its volition. It can’t be movie icing.–it can’t be something you just slather all over your movie to make it more interesting.
The reason “Gentleman Broncos” didn’t work for me is because I felt like the director was so focused on making the film quirky and weird he got in the way of the story. In fact, the story itself always felt secondary to me. Actually, it felt buried under layers and layers of awkward weirdness. It looks like it’s 1985 for some reason and the mother has a “talent” for making hideously ugly nightgowns. The small-town auteur is over-the-top freaky in a really mannered way. It’s like the Jared Hess ingested “Napoleon Dynamite,” vomited it up then boiled it down to make a concentrated movie syrup and served it up to us. It’s not good eats.
I think quirk is tricky because it can make a detour into awkward weirdness or saccharine cuteness really quickly. But it can be employed to good use, too: think of the Charlie Kaufman-written gems “Adaptation” and “Being John Malkovich.” They’re both weird as hell yet incredibly accessible and better than they have any right to be. I seriously don’t know how “Being John Malkovich” ended up being as organically bizarre and hilarious as it was. But that is QUIRK DONE RIGHT.
Wes Anderson mostly does quirk really well, too; sweet, artful quirk is just part of his aesthetic.
I just think quirk is a thing best used sparingly unless its in the hands of the truly gifted.
Fran Millar of Georgia wants educated voters voting, not Black ones, because there is no overlap between Black voters and educated voters OBVIOUSLY. I always wonder if people like this actually know or have known any Black people EVER. Or do they simply base their opinions of them on having watched Tyler Perry comedies?
The boneless, skinless chicken breast: is there anything as simultaneously exciting and boring? I mean, there are tons of things you can do with them, but they’re not exactly the most inspiring cut of meat. That being said, what do you do with them?
BONUS QUESTION: I have a couple of super-thick, fatty pork chops to use. What would you do with them?
Last night I was at a loss as to what to make for dinner. I knew two things: I wanted to use some salmon and I wanted to use up some of the fresh veggies in my fridge. So here’s what I did…
- I sautéed some thinly-sliced onions, fennel, tomatoes, and zucchini in olive oil, salting and peppering to taste .
- I deglazed the pan with a generous splash of white wine and dumped in some chicken stock, along with some tomato paste.
- I let everything simmer together for several minutes. I was basically just trying to make a vegged-up tomato-fennel broth, which is my favorite thing to bathe seafood in.
- I nestled four salmon fillets in the broth and covered everything until the fillets were cooked through.
- I served the salmon fillets, veggies and broth over rice. I topped everything with some fresh fennel fronds. O…M…G.
- Whenever I hear about the money woes of wealthy and/or upper-middle-class people it always strikes that those woes are due to extremely poor budgeting skills. And then I wonder why people who are poor or middle class are expected to live within in their means but rich people aren’t. I mean, isn’t that the weirdest thing?
- I actually only watched a handful of episodes of “Homicide” back in the day, but I remember it being a chronically low-rated critics’ darling. So I’m not sure why I found this Margaret Lyons article arguing that the show was underrated so compelling–I really have no dog in the “which is the best cop drama?” fight. Speaking of which, which is your favorite cop drama?
- Here’s a wonderful summation of #GamerGate.
- As always, Alicublog is a great read.
Here’s my latest: