Monday, June 30, 2008

Mutter Museum

If you are ever anywhere remotely near Philadelphia, you absolutely must visit the Mutter Museum. It's that rarest of places: Completely unique in and of itself. Pictured here we have the 140lb colon that attributed to the death of some dude. Simply, he couldn't poop, got backed up and kept getting more backed up until he finally, mercifully, expired. Look at that thing. Look at it! It's bigger than some people I know. Grown people too, not babies or trolls.
This exhibit was the most horrifying thing to MK, but I was totally squicked out by the syphilis heads. Sure, I knew that syphilis was a terrible scourge-y STD, but I had no idea that it would eat through your flesh and bones. Some of the skulls on display looked like they were made of lace tatted by an arthritic blind monkey drunk on overripe mangoes. Absolutely terrifying, and one more reason I'm glad and grateful that I'm 46 years STD free and counting. One of the many and varied perks of being a lesbian. Well, a picky sexual partner lesbian anyway. Sure, I had my wild youth back in the day, but even then I wasn't sowing nothing but wild oats. I had what some referred to as an 'abrasive personality', which thwarted endless possibilities and/or opportunities to become infected with unsavory and debilitating foreign agents. See the hidden benefits of speaking what's on your mind? It means that you get to keep your mind, even if you get uninvited to an orgie.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I Are Back

Is anything more meta than someone taking a picture of you taking a picture? MK took this pic while I was shooting the New York regiment memorial at Gettysburg. The day was on the verge of raining, and indeed it did start raining in full force once we were perched on Little Round Top. Let me tell ya, those rock out crops get might slippery once they're wet.
Gettysburg was astounding, a must visit for anyone passing through. I'm not at all a Civil War buff, but there's an undeniable clarity, due in large part because of the geography, afforded by this battle site to the inevitable outcome to this war. Seldom can you stand and look at something and say, Yes, I see. MK and I rode horses through the battleground where Pickett's Charge took place and I can't imagine a more colossal strategic folly than this one. Lee had been nearly flawless in his guidance over the CSA forces heretofore, but when he fucked up, he did it on a cosmic scale. Even now somewhere in a distant galaxy, a baby nebula weeps.
Next up: The Mutter Museum. Who knew syphilis was so horrifying?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

On Vacation

Tomorrow around dawn MK and I will be leaving on vacation. Yay for the dog being rent out to a kennel and yay for no having to watch my kids' latest entries on Youtube! Yay and double yay!
MK and I are going to take a horseback riding tour of the battlefield at Gettysburg, then we're going to stay at some dive motel outside of Philadelphia and then on our way to Lewes Beach in Delaware we're going to stop at the Mutter Museum, part of the Physicians College at the University of Pennsylvania and ranked one of the creepiest places on Earth by the Travel Channel. Can life get any better than this? Don't answer that. All I know is that I'm all a-tingle because I've been wanting to hit up the Mutter for at least a decade. I'm just never passing through Philly. It's waaaay on the other side of the Alabama between Pittsburgh and New Jersey. We're just never over there because we're busy being over here. But with a trip to DE I told MK that we had to stop at the Mutter, plus MK's grandfather went to Penn (and became a surgeon), so he must've visited the Mutter at some point too. It can't be that scary, can it? One can only hope.
After that we'll be off to the beach for a week of sun, good food, too much wine, and plenty of TMI. Sigh. It's good to be away from phones and computers, and I really love watching nonlocal local news. It's such a relief when somebody else has a water main break, I can't tell you.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Racism and Sexism in Texas

Gotta love Rob Rogers and his spot-on political cartoonage. Did you know that at the Texas Republican convention they're selling buttons that read, and I'm paraphrasing: If Obama wins will we still call it the White House? No one mongers fear the way they do down in the Lone Star State. Bunch of ten gallon asshats if you ask me. I'm sure that there are some lovely people who are native Texans. Molly Ivens, Ann Richards...oh wait, they're both dead. Ok, there are some really great dead Texans. But what are the living doing down there? I just hope those Texans who are liberal, progressive, or even moderately moderate have emerged from their collective state of unconsciousness to finally wake up and make the coffee. Our country is in a fine mess, both politically and economically. Anyone who can't see that is on the Bushie payroll because the rest of us are squeezing our budgets just to fill the gas tank.
Simply put, we need massive change. Social change, healthcare change, energy change, and we need to quit letting fundamentalist doomsday cult 'Christians' dictate one iota of government policy. Anyone who actually wants to see the end of days come about is not the sort of person you want contributing to a longterm visionary plan.
I'm happy and feel privileged that I can vote for a man who the Republicans clearly fear beyond all reason and common sense. Let the fits of apoplexy in Texas begin!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

12 baby steps

You never know what you're going to find lying about in the rose bushes after a zany Saturday night. The world, or at least the southside of Pittsburgh, parties and whoops it up while Miss Kitty and I sleep the sleep of the condemned (supposedly the damned sleep like babies...who knew?).
Babies are so stupid. Don't they know that you're not supposed to mix different kinds of booze? Vodka, cheap French wine, Yukon Jack, no wonder poor baby Doe ended up in a bed amongst flowers in the twilight of their bloom.
Suddenly I have an urge to pour myself a glass of wine and feel smug.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lidia's Pittsburgh

Welcome to the weekend! Last weekend Miss Kitty and I wanted to do some shopping in the Strip District (get your minds out of the gutter - The Strip is the food market section of Pittsburgh) and decided to treat ourselves to the weekend brunch served at Lidia's. What follows is what I jotted down in my journal after lunch:
Brunch special at Lidia's, 3 courses of perfection with salad-antipasta, choice of entree, choice of dessert and a complimentary mimosa. The 1st course was an imaginative assortment of fresh or grilled greens with egg (and without) and cold sliced meats. I particularly liked the egg with asparagus, just delicious and subtly seasoned.
Next up, MK ordered the stuffed manicotti and I picked the three pasta trio (yes, it is called that, despite the redundancy), a sampling of three very different pasta based dishes. The polenta with braised lamb was so delicious that I wanted to lick the plate, followed by ribbon pasta tossed in a light tomato sauce with pulled pork and chicken livers. I've had this last dish at Lidia's before and I have to say that if there is one plate of pasta that I could eat over and over, this would be it. Absolutely outstanding! The third serving of pasta was a real disappointment. I had been forewarned by our server that there was some sort of problem in the kitchen with that dish, and when they brought it out, I thought, how bad can it be? Bad. Bow-tie pasta with sauteed broccoli and spinach that tasted like a tin can. MK tasted it and we agreed that the spinach must've been scorched or something. Really awful. But given how great the first two servings of pasta had been I wasn't hungry anymore anyway, so I was less upset than if this had been the first thing served to me.
Even though I was stuffed, we visited the dessert table where we both got the almond cake with cream cheese icing. Almost as good as what my mom makes, which is saying a lot because no one bakes the way my mother does.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Top Chef season 4 Finale

I was literally on pins and needles throughout the hour. It was grueling to watch and listen and sit there and endure while the minutiae of every dish was hashed and rehashed and then weighed to the micro ounce into the wee hours of a Puerto Rican morning (ironically, weeks ago).
There were lots of guest chefs who also worked as sous chefs for the prep work. Eric Ripert, April Bloomfield, and some other guy whose name I forget. But none of that really matters because it really did come down to skill and work of the three finalists: Stephanie, Richard, and Lisa. All three prepared innovative and delicious sounding menus for their final challenge, a four course meal including dessert.
Two things surprised me most; Richard caved under the pressure and Lisa FINALLY stepped up to the plate, so to speak. Stephanie remained consistent, despite a sucky dessert. Actually, her main course with the lamb medallions and braised pistachios looked like something both original and tasty. Lisa's kobi beef dish was an utter disaster in that it was undercooked, which didn't allow the fat in the beef to be activated during the cooking process. Attention to detail cannot be overstated when it comes to cooking. Richard had a pork belly thing that laid out there like John Wayne Bobbitt's carelessly flung member.
Essentially, rounds 1 and 3 went to Stephanie and rounds 2 and 4 went to Lisa. Richard sat by the sidelines and watched the action, admitting at the judges' table that he'd choked. I have nothing but respect for Richard because he has consistently been willing to accept fault, instead of pointing fingers or hiding behind his fucking butternut squash soup. Hey, I love soup as much as the next person, and I make soup all of the time, but it isn't rocket science, or even cooking meat properly.
In the end, despite somewhat of a tie in dishes between Stephanie and Lisa, when you get right down to it the money dish is the entree, it's what fills you up during your dining experience and it's also the most costly. So while Lisa made a good soup and a good dessert, Stephanie trumped it all with her lamb. And guess what? We've got our first woman top chef!!!!
Congrats and kudos to Stephanie! Open your restaurant girl, because the next time Miss Kitty and I are in Chicago we'll be popping in for lunch.
I wish Lisa and Richard the best of luck too! Lisa, I was too hard on you in past posts. Had you cooked your beef properly you may have walked away with the prize. Richard, try and draw your ideas closer in to what you envision the outcome to be. It might keep you from wandering all over Middle Earth with your unbridled whimsy.
Again, yay to Stephanie, a much deserved crown!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wolves At The Gate #15 Buffy Comic

There seems to be an odd sort of competition out there among Buffy Season 8 comic book fans in regards to the Faith, No Future For You, arc and the latest Wolves At The Gate arc. The former was penned by Brian K. Vaughn and the latter by Drew Goddard. Honestly, I don't know how anyone can, or would, compare the two. They're very different in tone and execution, both brilliantly conceived and brought to fruition, and comparing one to the other is a ridiculous exercise in epic nothingness. I'm not going to even go there because honestly, I love both arcs - in different ways, but equal love nonetheless. Kinda of like how I love the cat and the dog equally, but for different reasons.
I had some real qualms initially with Wolves. I read spoilers so I knew that Buffy and Satsu were going to get nuded up together and get all nasty with their hot selves. That didn't freak me out, and I've slept with enough 'straight' chicks to know that straight does not mean narrow, or exclusive. I was fine with the first book in the arc, issue 8.12. But, I was less fine with the follow-up, 8.13. It did a fine enough job of setting up the action for the two subsequent books to follow, but it felt like set up. Just like the second, and horrid, Matrix movie. It read weakly, in comparison to the other issues we've been given. Make no mistake, I'm not discounting #13 out of hand, I probably just expect more from the Buffy comic than I have from any other comic in my long history of reading same.
Fortunately 8.14 ratched up the action, the funny, and the inescapable pathos that is the axis on which the Buffyverse revolves. I wasn't wrong to place so much trust in these guys! And that trust paid off in spades with 8.15. If a giant Dawn is going to stomp all over Tokyo, it was inevitable that we'd get Mecha-Dawn as her nemesis. Brilliant and touche! I never saw that homage to Godzilla coming, even though I should've. How could anyone resist the urge to create a Mecha-Dawn? You can't.
Overall Wolves drew to a satisfying conclusion, if Satsu's exit seemed a tad pat. I didn't want to see her go, but who am I to dictate such things?
Next up: Joss returns to write the Buffy/Fray crossover arc. I had to dig out my old Fray issues to reaquaint myself, and acquaint Miss Kitty, with that storyline. It should be exciting! But one plea from me to the uncaring ether of the internets - Give us more Faith at some point this season!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Top Chef 4.13

I'm in mourning this morning. My favorite contestant and pick to win it all was sent packing last night because of undercooked pigeon peas. And I really didn't have a problem with Lisa until the very last scene in the holding cell after Stephanie and Richard bid Antonia good bye and sat in silent shock...and what did Lisa say (accuse)? "A congratulations would have been nice." You really don't understand other people at all, do you? Antonia, Stephanie, and Richard have worked very closely together in certain important challenges, they are close friends. This has nothing to do with you, Lisa, they're stunned that a valued comrade is departing. It doesn't mean that they felt the wrong person was sent home - although that's my assessment.
I have no idea how Lisa has made it this far. Over half the elimination challenges she's been on the chopping block, her food is always, ALWAYS lacking something, and she's combative when criticized. Eep. Ugly combo if she's going to run her own restaurant.
I hope Stephanie kicks ass in the final finale.

Monday, June 2, 2008


There she is, our little bundle of filth, digging up a planter on the patio. She's just so goddamn precious that I sing old spirituals while wiping up her muddy paw prints.
Miss Kitty and I were walking down to the hardware store the other day to buy a socket wrench set (we were installing a new stereo into MK's car) and we passed a young woman walking a beagle puppy. I asked if he was a puppy, and the YW said yes, and then MK asked how old he was. Suffice it to say that it's one big small world when two people living on the southside of Pgh bought puppies from the same breeder in Chewton. Bela's brother, Sebastian, is a sweetie and cute as a button, but not nearly as cute as Bela. She's nearly beagle perfection, except for the biting, the dirt, and eating dead baby birds she finds on the street.