Friday, April 18, 2014


The 4/20 Cookbook

Happy Easter! We've compiled some of the best April 20 recipes from some of the finest gourmands of our time. Have a lovely weekend.



Submitted by "Jo."

Sprinkle chocolate chips into the peanut butter jar and eat it with a spoon.

Sometimes, you'll finds chips in the peanut butter later, which I like to call a "self-surprise."



Submitted by "Miley."

Based on the true events of April 20, 2009.

1. Peruse www.insomniacookies.com and select a minimum of two cookies per person, keeping in mind that the oatmeal raisin is way better than you’d expect and actually a really solid choice.

2. Call 1-877-63-COOKIE to arrange a delivery. Wait on hold for 20 minutes, keeping in mind that it will feel like four days.

3. Dance/sing along with the hold music, Bob Marley’s “Stir It Up.”

4. Forget who you called or why you are on hold.

5.. Complain about the wait time to the flustered man who finally answers. He will tell you they’re “doing the best they can,” and that it’s the “busiest day of the year.” Yell, “THIS IS INSANITY” and hang up.

6. Bake your own cookies.

7. While cookies bake, find “Stir It Up” in the depths of your iTunes, and eat remaining half of the batter with your hands.

8. Eat cookies, alternating bites with sips of PBR.




A Campy Pirouette and A Scissor Leap: An Appreciation of Jesus Christ Superstar

Let’s get the obvious out of the way immediately: Jesus Christ Superstar is the greatest film of all time.

Growing up, I looked forward to Easter for two reasons: candy, and our annual Good Friday JCS screening. My immediate family at the time was composed of one serious Catholic, one agnostic, and me, a bizarre child so obsessed with Christianity that I insisted on dressing as a semi-obscure Biblical character for Halloween (it was Miriam, sister of Moses). This movie—the 1973 Norman Jewison-directed cinematization of Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice’s rock opera based on the last days of Jesus Christ—was our favorite, and remains so to this day, in spite of the fact that the same people are now, respectively, a post-Catholic, an agnostic, and an atheist who believes in astrology and ghosts. While it’s still nice to mark the passing of another year with a Good Friday viewing, the movie’s true power has little to do with Jesus or the Christian holidays and everything to do with the transcendent possibilities of film, music, and badass postmodern costuming.

JCS is not a religious film exactly, even though its lyrics are carefully adapted from scripture, in part because of the very sympathetic portrayal of some characters’ creeping doubt that the protagonist is actually the “son of God.” Instead, it's a celebration of Jesus' story on its own merits as a defining cultural myth and a cautionary tale about authority, trust, and ego that leaves the burden of real faithfulness to the viewer. This is why the movie can be just as powerful a secular story as a religious one. The film’s costumes are a fabulously anachronistic mash-up of “period” dress (interpreted via the traditions of European religious art) and 1970s American counterculture styles, and this indifference to so-called “accuracy” drives home the point of the movie, which is that the story is universal, whatever you believe.

Though JCS was a play before it was a movie, the movie’s visual are most enduring because no stage production can ever reach as many people as the film already has. And it has reached, and deeply touched, a lot of people; I once spoke to Ted Neeley (the actor who played Jesus) on the phone, and he described his life as essentially having had to conform to near-Jesus-like standards of behavior, lest he break the spell his performance has cast on two generations and counting.

Jesus Christ Superstar glories in a postmodern embedding of history in the present, visually collapsing time and space to tell its story in a way that’s religion-neutral and yet essentially spiritual. It is an ancient folk tale told through classic rock and far-out 70s slang, the grandest of grand old narratives bent to fit a very modern form, perfectly of its time though set 1,940 years earlier. The challenge facing costume designer Yvonne Blake was how to match the perfectly po-mo pastiche of Lloyd Webber and Rice's music and lyrics with the dress of its large, rambling ensemble cast. Many of the costumes are what would now be called “ironic,” a sartorial wink in the direction of what’s expected followed by a campy pirouette and a scissor leap off in the opposite direction (and maybe a back handspring and some jazz hands thrown in for good measure). Yet somehow all that parody and play never demeans or mocks, allowing instead just enough breathing room for reverence. READ MORE


Twelve bars of gold have been recovered from the stomach of a businessman in the Indian capital, Delhi, a surgeon treating him has said. The 63-year-old man was admitted to hospital after complaining of vomiting and difficulty defecating. He told his doctor that he had swallowed a bottle cap in anger, after a fight with his wife. But when surgeons operated they found gold bars weighing nearly 400g (14oz) in his stomach. 

-How far did he think he was going to get with the whole "I got so mad at my wife that I ate a bottle cap" thing anyway?? The police have since confiscated the stomach-gold. [BBC] | April 18, 2014


Friday Open Thread

As we approach the end of another Friday I've got a serious question: did anyone else's week go really weirdly, perhaps due to blood moon? Mine was pretty weird. But luckily there is this very special weekend we've got coming up and in case you need some reading material there's been lots of good stuff this week, like:

• U.S. History through roller derby names (what up Harriet Thugman) and the quest for a Mayflower ancestor

• A sexual awakening at the roller rink, a dose of wisdom from A Queer Chick, a reminder that there's no such thing as a leftover woman

• Ideas for ladies night (no female dogs soaked in ammonia allowed) and gruesome dives into Wikipedia

• TV chatter about the women of Game of Thrones, the Mad Men season premiere, and the twinning between Scandal and Grey's Anatomy

• Helpful service journalism about how to order shakes and do your taxes and avoid painting your nails with "I'll Behave"

Let me know if you've experienced any large disturbances! And either way, have fun tonight doing exactly what you please, and we'll see you back here on Monday.

Photo via wackystuff/Flickr


The Confidence Pie


Previously: The Franco LaBeouf Pie

Ann Friedman feels great.


Box Jellyfish Have "Quite Sophisticated" Eyes, "Not So Different From Our Own"

Oliver Sacks at the New York Review of Books writes on the mental life of "plants and worms, among others," and it is a wonderful science essay that completely buries the jellyfish lede:

In the 1880s, however, despite Agassiz’s and Romanes’s work [defining the role of synapses as they relate to organism function], there was still a general feeling that jellyfish were little more than passively floating masses of tentacles ready to sting and ingest whatever came their way, little more than a sort of floating marine sundew.

But jellyfish are hardly passive. They pulsate rhythmically, contracting every part of their bell simultaneously, and this requires a central pacemaker system that sets off each pulse. Jellyfish can change direction and depth, and many have a “fishing” behavior that involves turning upside down for a minute, spreading their tentacles like a net, and then righting themselves... If bitten by a fish, or otherwise threatened, jellyfish have an escape strategy—a series of rapid, powerful pulsations of the bell—that shoots them out of harm’s way; special, oversized (and therefore rapidly responding) neurons are activated at such times.

Of special interest and infamous reputation among divers is the box jellyfish (Cubomedusae)—one of the most primitive animals to have fully developed image-forming eyes, not so different from our own.

Box jellyfish have "retinas, corneas, and lenses." Box jellyfish: they're just like us. Box jellyfish: *faints* [NYRB]


Check Out OREO Snack Hacks

While still a favorite way to eat the classic cookie, OREO is going beyond twist, lick and dunk with OREO Snack Hacks, simple and unexpected new ways to enjoy the cookie everyone loves. In a new OREO Snack Hacks video series, three food innovators get clever with the cookie, creating Golden OREO-crusted chicken tenders, OREO tortilla chips with strawberry salsa, OREO bread pudding and, even an OREO shandy! Each Snack Hack stays true to food hacking culture – super-easy to make, minimal ingredients and an awesome taste only OREO can deliver.

See more OREO Snack Hacks. Got a hack of your own? Submit it here.


The Stupid Trendy Cocktail Bar Name Generator

Remember Hairpin pal Lauren Hallden's online dating loren ipsum text generator? ("Glass half-full using my farmshare. Netflix my eyes Woody Allen stepping outside your comfort zone, if you're still reading this medical school happy hour too many to list tattoos. I'm just a regular guy I enjoy making lasagna from scratch pickles fascinates me.") Now she's gone and done it again with trendy cocktail bars: the first ones I got were "Pistol & Hoof," "Bull & Hatchet" and "Brim & Crumble." Story checks out! [Name My Bar]


Ask Baba Yaga: I've Been Single for 9 Years & I Feel Like I'm Missing All the Boats



Now You Can Get Divorced Online

"The average cost of a divorce in this country is $27,000. The average cost of Wevorce is $10,000." [FastCo]


Blitz the Ambassador ft. Nneka, "Love On The Run"

Any Nneka fans in the house? Her 2008 single "Heartbeat" is still an absolute barn-burner, true Lauryn Hill levels of focus and slay, and here she is teaming up with another African-born artist (Blitz the Ambassador is Ghanaian-American; Nneka is Nigerian-German) for an easy-riding hip-hop duet full to bursting with horns and guitar.


No One Is Happier About 4/20 Easter Than This Underwater Ghoul-Bunny

Just look at him! (If you dare.)


We're Totally Going To Set Up Kepler 186f With Earth

It is a bit bigger and somewhat colder, but a planet circling a star 500 light-years away is otherwise the closest match of our home world discovered so far, astronomers announced on Thursday.

The planet, known as Kepler 186f, named after NASA’s Kepler planet-finding mission, which detected it, has a diameter of 8,700 miles, 10 percent wider than Earth, and its orbit lies within the “Goldilocks zone” of its star, Kepler 186 — not too hot, not too cold, where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow at the surface, making it potentially hospitable for life.

“Kepler 186f is the first validated, Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of another star,” Elisa V. Quintana of the SETI Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., said at a news conference on Thursday. “It has the right size and is at the right distance to have properties similar to our home planet.”

EARTH, you stoked? Kepler186f is the right size, the right distance, it is the absolute best match we've found so far, and you certainly don't have much time left to play the field anyway as we humans are about to end you. More about this George Michael/Maeby situation (Kepler 186f is actually perhaps best described as Earth's "cousin") at the New York Times.


Read Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Short Story "Light Is Like Water"

Gabriel García Márquez died yesterday at age 87 at home in Mexico City; he was a genius and a magician, and we are lucky to have his work so lucent in the canon, the crystallization of a genre whose influence spreads so far beyond literature, compressing and exploding so much of human instinct and power and need. Here's his Paris Review Art of Fiction interview ("The trouble is that many people believe that I’m a writer of fantastic fiction, when actually I’m a very realistic person and write what I believe is the true socialist realism"), and a very short story that I love painfully, called "Light Is Like Water." It's about two little brothers and a boat, and it's tiny and simple and a perfect piece of alchemy.

On Wednesday night, like every Wednesday, their parents went to the cinema. The boys, lords and masters of the house, closed the doors and windows and then broke the bulb glowing in one of the living-room lamps. A jet of golden light as cool as water began to pour out of the broken bulb, and they let it run to a depth of almost three feet.

Do you have a favorite? Let me know.


"The number of male [restaurant] critics is more than double that of female critics."

Speaking critically isn't behavior that's necessarily desirable or encouraged in women. It's a similar question about why there aren't more women in finance. You can't be worried about whether people like you. You have to feel comfortable being fair. And sometimes fair isn't sweet.

That's the Boston Globe's Devra First in Grubstreet's great roundtable of female restaurant critics talking about hiring discrepancies in their field. Elsewhere: read Besha Rodell on the topic at LA Weekly, who found that around the country, "the number of male critics is more than double that of female critics," and also relayed this horrific tale:

I'll never forget my welcome into the food-writing world as a young critic — my first time at the James Beard Awards. At an after-party at Momofuku, I remember being introduced to a group of men in their late 40s, all established names in the food-writing world, all wearing tuxedos and looking dashing. I was thrilled to be in such company, these men whose careers I aspired to emulate.

And then one of them glanced at me, saw my "nominee" badge still affixed to my dress, and scoffed, "I think you can take off your badge now." All four or five of the men standing around guffawed. The message was clear: Go home, little girl, and let the grown men talk.

*Shudders.* Accepting ideal rejoinders to that comment below (ex. "Oh, I'm sorry, did you want to wear it and see how it feels?") Let's go mass-review a restaurant. [Grubstreet, LA Weekly]