Friday, June 25, 2010

Delicious Cake

I'm very late to the party on this one, but it is a party I am unwilling to miss, regardless of severe tardiness issues. For those of you who don't know of it, there is a cable television channel out there called Food Network. And a decent amount of the time, its shows are actually about food. Not necessarily good types of food, but food nonetheless. Then there are their other shows, about Guy Fieri buying coke in seedy diners or whatever. And then there are the unclassifiable shows. Foremost amongst these is the wonderful/reprehensible/nauseating Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee. This show, Sandra claims, will teach you how to make delicious meals that are no fuss out of 70% store-bought ingredients and 30% fresh ingredients, because who has the time to cook these days? The answer: obviously not Sandra.

You see, the premise for the show is reasonable enough for a certain target market. The problem lies in the fact that Sandra has no idea whatsoever how to cook (If you would like proof of this, here is a recipe she made on-air for a skirt steak flavored with 1/4 cup of taco seasoning, then topped with a chocolate-merlot sauce. Really. I swear to god. The users' comments on the recipe might be even funnier than the recipe itself). She simply throws things together at random and then either fakes a foodgasm when she tastes them, or eschews the tasting of her terrifying creations altogether in favor of moving on to her favorite portion of the show: cocktail time! This is the part of the show that explains the whole thing. Sandra's drinking habit. She excitedly makes a cocktail on every show, and then even more excitedly consumes it. Based on how the shows go, it's entirely possible that this is how she prepares for them as well. Not that these are necessarily any better-tasting than the food, but at least if you drink enough of them first, the rest of the mess might seem palatable (You think I'm kidding about these being bad? Oh no. Here is one that combines lemonade, heavy cream, and vodka. Oh yes, you read that ingredient list right. Sandra is evidently not familiar with the term 'curdle').

But then, why does she have a show? I am not entirely sure. But she is blond and prettyish, which apparently goes a long way when combined with rampant alcoholism and a total disregard for the stomachs of her viewing audience. This probably has something to do with it. However, where her show absolutely shines is in her favorite thing other than booze, her 'tablescapes'. Every episode she coordinates things so that her entire dining room is filled with randomly-glued-together items from a craft store designed to accentuate the 'theme' of whatever terrifying menu she has concocted (If you're feeling really motivated, Youtube has a video of the time she covered her christmas tree with all the glasses from her bar. "It shines just like real crystal!" Amazing). Her kitchen will inevitably match whatever she is wearing. It is terrifying. She is essentially a completely over-the-top stereotype of a bored 1950s housewife with a severe drinking problem frozen and then brought back to life in this century and thrust directly in front of a television camera. She simultaneously terrifies and amuses me. Why this lengthy preamble? To give you some context for the greatness that is to follow. Behold: Sandra Lee making a Kwanzaa cake.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

These Guys Are Probably Tired

These two tennis players are John Isner and Nicholas Mahut (Isner's on the left. He's tall), who were slated to play each other in an early round of Wimbledon yesterday. And they did, but they weren't finished yet when it got dark, so the match was suspended until today, when they went out to play the fifth set, tied at two sets apiece. And they played the fifth set until it got dark, at which point it was again suspended, and now they will attempt to finish it tomorrow. In case you aren't familiar with how the scoring works here, each set in tennis is won by the first person to win six games, with there being a tiebreaker if the players are, well, tied. Except in the fifth set, which goes until a player leads by two games or someone collapses and dies on-court, whichever happens first. As it stands right now, this match is tied 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 59-59. That last bit is not a misprint. They have now been playing this match for over 10 hours, 7 of which was spent on the fifth set today. Yes, seven hours of tennis in one day. Isner was tired enough today that he swung and missed at the ball. Twice. Mahut fell down.

Get up, wuss.

The match is scheduled to resume tomorrow, so please, if you're a fan of great tennis or watching people die on-court for the amusement of spectators, tune in.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Truth

Pre-introductory note note: Apparently something has changed in the default blog layout so that embedded videos are now cut off on the right-hand side. As much as I don't want to change my blog layout due to familiarity and/or laziness, this may necessitate it. It shouldn't matter too much for this video, but let me know if it's irritating you like it is me and I'll see what I can do.

-The Management

Before you click on that play button sitting there so temptingly below, I just want to say that this video comes with both a language and content warning. From me. At the same time, it is possibly the funniest thing I have heard this year, even though it was originally released in 2004. This makes me ahead of the times as far as the Midwest is concerned. So now, please enjoy the vocal stylings of Mr. Greg Giraldo, if appropriate for your sensibilities.

And in doing some research, apparently the guy behind Lazyboy was originally in Aqua. Yes, that Aqua. I don't really know how I feel about that, but I definitely like this much better.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Indiana, You've Got A Problem

As I'm sure you all know because everybody who reads this knows me (Feel free to point this out in the comments, Isaac), I recently drove a U-Haul from Vermont to Minnesota, which is only marginally more fun than it sounds. Due to a tragic error on the part of the founding fathers, this meant that I had to drive through Indiana on my journey. Now, having grown up in Vermont, I never paid much attention to Indiana during my younger, more vulnerable years, knowing it only as the place where Hoosiers was filmed, I think, and where John Mellencamp probably came from, and hopefully can be sent back to. Having spent somewhere upwards of two hours in the state, I am now a fully qualified Indiana expert or something of the like, and would like to share my misery with you. So please, join me as you learn everything there is to know about the only state in the union to rival Delaware in terms of utter dullness! Hey, where did everybody go?

The first thing I noted upon driving through Indiana was that there was absolutely nothing there, an observation that the remainder of the trip would utterly fail to contradict. In fact, I believe that on I-90, Indiana actually had more rest areas than exits. Which is amazing. Fortunately, the horizon does not detract from the nothing throughout the state, as anytime I stood up I immediately became the tallest thing in sight. I thought I saw a hill once, but it turned out to be a dream I had. About Indiana. Worst. Dream. Ever. But despite all of this, there is something very distinct about Indiana beyond the remarkable number of Christian rock stations on the FM band (Many of which were absolutely hilarious. Picture a more bombastic version of Creed. Now don't picture it. Aren't you happier the second way?), and this is the number of public service/notice posters at each and every rest area, all of which were about meth. Specifically, the fact that you should not do or manufacture it. Now, I thought this was a fairly well-known sentiment due to meth's rather severe effects, but apparently after spending enough time in Indiana, these start to look rather appealing, which I can actually understand.

So that's Indiana in a nutshell. Jesus rock and meth. Thanks for joining me as I experience bad travel-related flashbacks. You are now a fully qualified Indianaologist or something. Someone should probably give me a government grant for all I'm doing to publicize the state here to only people who know me.

As a postscript, Indiana also did feature the city of Gary, but I'm going to file that under 'meth'.