Monthly Archives: November 2013

Keep it to yourself:

Via Tigerclaw:

Hey Kanye! Keep it to yourself.

Live on TV, London, 1963.
“Williamson was an astoundingly good harp guy with the effects he could put on a harp, not with any help other than his own mouth in coaxing out those amazing sounds. In point of fact, you don’t see it any more at all.”

Indeed.

Aged, missing teeth, and arthritic-looking hands; Williamson kept it classy. Those in the audience must have been in for a real treat.

This video passed the kid test. Tiern attention was glued to this video from start to finish. His favorite part was when Williamson put the harmonica halfway in his mouth and kept playing. There has to be musical genius here because this video never loses its luster.

Opinion: 5 harmonicas

For more, watch this collection:

Unbound:

Royal-Family-Memes-3

Kanye West’s new video “Bound 2” is so strange it defies all common decency. Kim and Kanye are new parents and they first thing they decide to do as a couple is make a lewd video.

Grade: F

Parody is the best medicine for this foolishness.

One late evening inside the Kardashian-West household. Lucky for us, the reality shows cameras were rolling:

Kim: “I’ve been thinking…”

Kanye: “What have you been thinking about, because I’ve been thinking too…”

Kim: “We need to get working on our wedding invitations.”

Kanye: “Wedding invitations! That’s so far off my road map. I’m thinking, like, right about now–we should make a video dedicated to our blossoming relationship. We can always do wedding planning later. Besides, you have your PR staff to help you with that stuff anyway.”

Kim: “Based on my personal experience, wedding planning takes a huge amount of time, energy, and money. So, we should start planning ASAP.”

Kanye: “Well, video productions take time too.”

Kim: “My first wedding cost over $10 million, throw in my $2 million engagement ring, and things turned out quite pricey, so I hope this video you have in mind isn’t going to blow our budget. You know how I like to go BIG for my special day!”

Kanye: “Don’t worry. This video shoot is going to be a low-budget affair.”

Kim: “How low?”

Kanye: “I pitched the idea to some of my production buddies, and they weren’t interested. So I’m going to have to produce this video on my own.”

Kim: “Why aren’t they interested?”

Kanye: “They not Jewish.”

Kim: “What does that have to do with anything?

Kanye: “If I had some Jewish connections, this video would already have been completed by now.”

Kim: “I have some Jewish friends in the entertainment industry who I could pitch your idea to. We could film it right here in the City. How fun would that be?”

Kanye: “I’m thinking more out West like Southern Utah.”

Kim: “Southern Utah? You’ve never even been there before.”

Kanye: “I fly over Utah all the time.”

Kim: “What’s your attraction to Southern Utah?”

Kanye: “The geological rock formations and all those free-roaming horses.”

Kim: “Who you kidding, horses scare the Beeyeezus out of you. Remember last time you saw a police horse in Central Park, it made you freak out, and I had to cuddle you in my arms for over an hour.”

Kanye: “There won’t be any real horses, just digital images of horses running around. This video is going to be on a very low-budget. The camera tapping will film us in front of a green screen. The horses and rock formations will be added in later, it’ll just look like we are in Southern Utah. Besides, we can’t go there because I don’t have any Mormon connections. In fact, I’ve never even met a Jack Mormon.”

Kim: “Can baby North be in the video, Please? Please? Pretty please?”

Kanye: “No, but her sister might be.”

Kim: “Huh?”

Kanye: “Remember how extreme marriage proposals used to be the rage, now extreme birthing is becoming popular. Well, I want to be ahead of the curve and make our video about extreme conception. It’s going to document how bound I am too you. Weddings come and go, but conception, that’s like bang, permanence, or semi-permanence, or something along those lines. When I’m old and gray, I’ll probably want to forget most of what happened on our wedding day, and quite possibly our whole marriage, but I’ll be darn sure not to forget that special moment of conception. We missed our first conception because of the unplanned nature of our relationship, but now I want to plan things out a little better.”

Kim: “Can I wear my wedding dress to the shoot?”

Kanye: “That won’t be necessary.”

Kim: “What shall I wear?”

Kanye: “I’m thinking like nothing because you’ll be bound to me physically.”

Kim: “Nothing? I hope it’ll be warm in the studio.”

Kanye: “There might be lots of fans blowing.”

Kim: “Why does it need to be windy?”

Kanye: “Because we’ll be speeding down a bumpy highway on a motorbike.”

Kim: “A motorbike! That doesn’t sound comfortable or arousing.”

Kanye: “Oh I’ll be aroused, I fantasize about making love on bikes all the time.”

Kim: “There’s no space on a motorbike.”

Kanye: “There’s plenty of space if you lay back on the handlebars.”

Kim: “If you say so.”

Kanye: “I’ve been doing some research lately; can you believe no one has ever filmed an actual conception on a motorbike? We’ll be the first.”

Kim: “Don’t you mean copulation, and not conception?”

Kanye: “You’re right! Most of the video will focus on the copulating part, which is of seminal importance to me, but we’ll ease into the conception part at the end. We’ll make it appear as if we have been driving through Utah for several days. It’s a big State, you know. We’ll have time.”

Kim: “I have a baby name idea coming! Southwest! It’s perfect. We can nickname her Swestie for short. How cute will that be?”

Kanye: “Brilliant Kim! Just Brilliant! Who knew conceiving video ideas and family size together could be so much fun.”

End

I’m not the only one who recognizes this video is outrageously cheap:

Two Irish Guys
Franco and Rogen

Catching Fire:

Catching-Fire-Wallpapers-catching-fire-movie-33312389-1280-800

Rarely do I go out to the movies anymore, and I wasn’t particularly interested the sequel of the Hunger Games. Since I was given a free ticket (for Catching Fire only), I decided to indulge in the hype.

For sure, “Catching Fire” has been hyped, receiving mostly positive reviews. Some critics believe Jennifer Lawrence performance was nothing short of breathtaking, and despite being surrounded by stars, she carried the film. Someone even had the gall to make the outlandish comparison that “Catching Fire” is this generation’s “The Empire Strikes Back.”

No and No. Jennifer Lawrence has a solid performance, but she is neither a throwback like Katharine Hepburn, nor the next Meryl Streep, although one cannot deny she is a rising star. Once this movie outlives the hype, it will become forgettable, while the “Empire Strikes Back” has been consistently ranked in the top 25 movies of all time for the past three decades.

One major problem is the disjointed storyline. Despite being suspenseful, I struggled to make sense of the confusing plot. Half the movie was spent highlighting the victory tour, then in a dramatic bait-and-switch, the victors are back in the hunger games arena, fighting for their lives, again. Given the dystopia, I understand the underlying themes of harsh injustice, rebellion, and government control. But why this competition, the analogy doesn’t seem to fit? Heck, why has it taken them 75 years to rebel? And importantly, what moral question is this movie addressing? Maybe, unlike my peers, the question-at-large needs to be spoon-fed to me because moral ambivalence is soupy in this film. In contrast, moral clarity is a sure winner, and I left “Catching Fire” feeling more confused than necessary.

Grade: C

A skein of geese:

Oh boy! Oh boy! Sweet nickels of fire. I’m always stoked for any bird video that goes viral. Here, a large wave of migrating snow geese takes flight. I’m most fascinated by the dissonant honking as they pass overhead. It’s a cacophony of sound, usually connotated by an unpleasantness. But to me, it’s pure music to my ears. I only wish I had been there to hear them in full Dolby. This video captures how bird behavior continually surprises us, even at a moments notice. I cannot help notice Mr.OMG’s emphatic response. My dear Canadian, please, next time let’s stand behind the fence, and search for words that are little less distracting.

Opinion: 3 bird-stars

In case you are wondering: a flock of geese on the ground is called a gaggle, while a flock of geese in the air is called a skein.

Dancing Machine:

Via Mau:

Here’s Michael Jackson, the phenom, as a young teenager. While he may not the originator of some of these dance moves (James Brown and others), clearly he is gifted. Even at a young age, anyone can see his potential.

We were blessed this week. The grandparents spent Thanksgiving week with us. When they arrived, amazing happened, it’s magical seeing our kids interact with them. Our kids were sad when they left for the airport. As they drove away, Tiern sighed: “I don’t like saying goodbyes.” But lasting memories were made. We went on several adventures together, ate very, very well, and basically were spoiled to death.

Now you may be wondering how the above video relates to spending Thanksgiving week with the grandparents. Well, tomorrow will be a reality check, and we will be back to flying solo. This calls for some inspiration. I think it’s time to be a dancing machine and dance our way through the weekend…

Without a doubt, we are thankful for the many gifts of this past week.

Billie Jean:

Let’s take a journey back in time to watch the “King of Pop” at his zenith, performing his groundbreaking hit song “Billie Jean” (1983). I don’t know what is more entertaining, listening to the song’s entrancing beat or following the audiences reaction to his dance moves. It’s a frenzy, not on a Beatles level, but still a frenzy.

Gosh, darn, why those brazen pelvic trusts and sparkly white glove? I could do without them, but over all, his flashy style stands the test of time. He’s a handsome 25 year-old here, and has yet to make a full descent into the land of weird.

Strip the song of its repetitive bassline and what is created is something entirely different. Many “Billie Jean” remakes have been performed, but here a few noteworthy viral hits:

The Civil Wars
David Cook
Michael Henry & Justin Robinett
Aloe Blacc

I prefer “The Civil Wars” version because of their lyrical playfulness.

The King of Pop is dead, but his influence lives.

Thanksgiving Recipes

Yes, we will be doing this again.
Well, almost all of “this.”

The food for our Thanksgiving table turned out beautifully this year, with the exception of the cranberry salsa. Actually, that was beautiful, too. It’s just that nobody was really in the mood for spicy, chunky, cranberry-jalapeño sauce on their turkey plate. I can’t imagine it would be popular on leftover turkey sandwiches, either.

This cranberry sauce, however, was delicious.

And these candied cranberries were both visually appealing and a fun pre-dinner treat. Little Miss took exception to the tartness of the red berry part, though–I found several cranberries sucked clean of their sugar coating, all lined up on her dinner napkin!

Yes, I had three bags of cranberries with which to experiment this year!

The 15lb turkey was brined according to the Pioneer Woman’s recipe.
Then, after soaking it in fresh cold water for 30 minutes, I followed this procedure, complete with aromatics on the inside. The only change I made was to flip the bird to breast-down 30minutes after lowering the heat to 350. Total time in the oven was approximately two and a half hours.

This stuffing was a new recipe for me, recommended by a friend. I’ve never made stuffing from scratch before, and this is likely the reason why I never really cared for stuffing. Although it was labor-intensive, I did most of the prep beforehand, and just did the final mixing and baking today. It was worth all the effort, and I plan to make it a permanent dish in my at-home Thanksgiving dinner.

Mashed potatoes were also per the Pioneer Woman’s instructions; after making these once, a long time ago, I’ve since never been able to skip the cream cheese.

We had sweet potato fries, which served as pre-dinner munchies. Also on the table this afternoon with the fries and candied cranberries were shrimp with cocktail sauce and Costco’s trail mix.

There was no green dish this year; maybe asparagus would have been good, but our experience has been that the veggies don’t get much love at Thanksgiving dinner, and we weren’t moved by any strong inspiration this year. So we skipped it!

Dessert included pumpkin pie, apple pie, and cherry pie with homemade whipping cream using our newly unpacked wedding gift (5-1/2 years into our marriage!).

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Pyrrhic victory:

Little Miss is nearly three years-old, and sadly (for her parents), has long lost her daily naps. When she does nap, it happens irregularly and briefly, but we’re still delighted by these fleeting events. We consider any nap a victory, even short ones. However, our delight is short-lived because we know what she’s really doing is recharging her batteries for something special later on.

Today we planned  a full day of hiking. Like the rest of us, she hiked and hiked. Her little legs carried her as far as she could go before I had to carry her the rest of the way. Predictably, the first chance she had, her eyes closed themselves by their sheer weight. It was official, she was napping.

She took this short nap at around 4:30pm, at about 10:00pm, after lying in her bed for over an hour, Little Miss asked: “Can I play?” Saying this emphatically, her eyes were wide-open, and she seemed so so hopeful.

Realizing she was completely awake, I agreed: “How about a little bit.”

She counter offers: “How about lots and lots.”

So if she takes a nap, our little night-owl will be having an inevitable play party, way, way into the night.

Play party2

Photo: Note how she goes for the gold. Recently, Tiern has made this firetruck his primary play toy (It’s superman’s preferred mode of transportation). With Tiern fast asleep, no one can stop this uninterrupted high crime.

Guess who’s missing out on the after-party?

You said it.

Superman!

Grandpa:

Grandpa

When Grandpa is here, he makes everyone smile.

Hey Bird,

Killdeer_4-2013Photo: This lovely lady was seen in seductive Farmington Bay (Spring 2013).

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus):

Widespread in Canada, US, Mexico, and Central America. Some Killdeers are migratory, some stay in same location year round. Killdeers are not sandpipers, but plovers. The only North American bird that has two dark horizontal stripes across its breast.

Behavioral intrigue:
1) Has been given an onomatopoetical name that imitates the English words “Kill-deer.”
2) Females often lay camouflage eggs in gravel beds on rooftops or along roadways.
3) Uses a distraction display (broken-wing act) to lure predators away from nest, but uses a different alarm display to prevent livestock from stepping on eggs.
4) Both chicks and adults are excellent swimmers, even in fast-flowing water.
5) During courting displays, males perform scrape ceremony, digging shallow depressions, where females lay eggs.
6) Females lay eggs in empty nests, but continue adding materials to increase size of nest, sometimes impressively.

Status:
Stable populations and adapts surprisingly well to human settlements.

Hey Bird,
You look lonely sitting on that pile of rocks. Need a friend? I’m a really good friend, you know. I’d be happy keeping you company while you incubate your eggs. You can confide in me all your deepest fears; I won’t spill any secrets, promise. Hungry? I won’t mind helping you look for your favorite bugs. Bad nesting day? I’ll hand-feed you those yummy morsels of gooey invertebrate. Ah ha…you dislike the taste of grasshopper noggin. No problem, I’ll pop those suckers off in a heart-beat.

Oh, you like bird songs huh? I know this awesome new bird band called “One Migration.” Heard of their hit single: “What makes your integumentary structures so beautiful?”This song nails it perfectly about how interlocking barbules are the true source of feather beauty and their hookbill lyrics are so so catchy. Predators scare you? Don’t worry, I’m deft at shooing scary animals away. And, you won’t even have to do that silly broken-wing act (everyone knows you’re not fooling anyone anyway). Pregnancy blues? I tell some hilarious bird jokes that should cheer you up. Sitting on that rock nest uncomfortable? I’ll add some cotton balls under there, it’ll be fit for a queen. Sore and stiff from incubating? My bird feet massages work miracles. Also, chicks dig me. If you need to burn of some steam, feel free to fly away, knowing that your chicks are in safe hands. I’ll show them the ins-and-outs of this marsh, they’ll be pros by the time I get through with them. You’ll be surprised how familiar I am with this place, and all of its hidden hotspots.