Real World, Thug Kitchens, Modern-Day Eloise, Jon Hamm in the closet of my dreams, Identity Politics, etc: Links I’ve Loved of Late
Well, this is a long one and one with more commentary than usual. But it counts as a post so I am at least still posting regularly!
- In an obviously linkbait-y post, Vulture ranked all the seasons of Real World (hat tip to Sean C for posting on FB and Jackie for wishing she’d shared it before Sean). While not 100% off, here’s my take on the top 5 seasons in order… I’m also sharing this post with a BREAKING REALITY TV ANNOUNCEMENT — I *will* be watching the Portland season marking the first season I’ve committed to watching since Brooklyn (yawn) in 2009:
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- New York
- Kaitlyn introduced me to Thug Kitchen. I am obsessed.
- GigaOm wrote about what Airbnb learned from Jiro Dreams of Sushi. If you haven’t seen the movie, stop what you’re doing — it’s streaming on Netflix and is a must watch. In addition to just being a fantastic movie, it truly makes you rethink what it means to master a craft and what success in a role is. Jiro’s son has held the same title and position for decades, but for that family/culture, true success and professional excellence is ensuring that every single detail of a skill is mastered and done perfectly every day. While I have no desire to learn from Jiro directly and massage octopus for 8 years before being trusted with eggs, I did finish the movie and think that that’s the kind of attitude I’d like to bring to my job. I just love the idea of a business leader bringing it to his team as well.
- Jon Hamm did “7 Minutes in Heaven” putting me just one creepy SNL writer and a camera away from my dream of being trapped in a small space with Jon Hamm.
- Stephen Sondheim turned 83 last month and BuzzFeed provided this list of “15 Unforgettable Sondheim Songs” and because I love Sondheim, I’m sharing with you as well. Personal favorites are: 2, 3, 8, 10, 13, 14, and 15.
- Whether conservative or liberal, if you attended a small liberal arts college, this WSJ article on identity politics at Bowdoin is really interesting.
Published Wednesday, the report demonstrates how Bowdoin has become an intellectual monoculture dedicated above all to identity politics.
The school’s ideological pillars would likely be familiar to anyone who has paid attention to American higher education lately. There’s the obsession with race, class, gender and sexuality as the essential forces of history and markers of political identity. There’s the dedication to “sustainability,” or saving the planet from its imminent destruction by the forces of capitalism. And there are the paeans to “global citizenship,” or loving all countries except one’s own.
The Klingenstein report nicely captures the illiberal or fallacious aspects of this campus doctrine, but the paper’s true contribution is in recording some of its absurd manifestations at Bowdoin. For example, the college has “no curricular requirements that center on the American founding or the history of the nation.” Even history majors aren’t required to take a single course in American history. In the History Department, no course is devoted to American political, military, diplomatic or intellectual history—the only ones available are organized around some aspect of race, class, gender or sexuality.
One of the few requirements is that Bowdoin students take a yearlong freshman seminar. Some of the 37 seminars offered this year: “Affirmative Action and U.S. Society,” “Fictions of Freedom,” “Racism,” “Queer Gardens” (which “examines the work of gay and lesbian gardeners and traces how marginal identities find expression in specific garden spaces”), “Sexual Life of Colonialism” and “Modern Western Prostitutes.”
- DIY ALCOHOLIC DIPPIN’ DOTS!!! (If you have some liquid nitrogen handy…)
- An all-male version of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and it’s pretty fabulous!
- I’m obsessed with the Lift app for iPhone for tracking daily habits. Since adopting, I’ve gotten better about flossing, drinking 8 glasses of water daily, exercising and more.
I was reminded recently of Adam Richman’s “20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die,” an article from GQ in 2006. You see, despite all my food snobbery, I believe that the cheeseburger is still the perfect sandwich and absolutely nothing tops a really really good one.
At the time, I vowed to eat all 20 in short order, but apparently stopped after making sure I hit all of the NYC locales and, sadly, had to admit to a friend that JG Melon’s was probably the superior NYC burger. (The Peter Luger burger, while delicious, was almost too much to handle).
This week, however, I’ve been in major cheeseburger-craving mode. I thought this would be satisfied with a slider from Green Dot Stables (which is, actually, a surprisingly good burger, but due to its slider size doesn’t really handle my fix). In my cheeseburger daydreaming, I came back to Adam’s list and discovered with great shock that I was a) only at 40% completion and b) one of my bucket list burgers was located just 30 minutes away at Sidetrack in Ypsilanti!
Friends, this is a great pub cheeseburger. Perfectly hand-formed 1/3 lb patty, soft simple sesame seed bun with a great meat to bread ratio, great melt on the cheese and cooked to a perfect medium rare.
And, because I am disappointed in myself for taking way too long with this challenge, I vow to hit the remaining 11 in the next three years. Prepare for trips to Seattle, Newport, New Haven, Miami, New Mexico (x2), Dallas, Napa, Hackensack, San Fran, and Chicago. I am accepting elastic waist-banded volunteers to join me!
This is a long one:
- It was very tough to say goodbye to 30 Rock, but I will save this list of the best 30 jokes forever. I remember when I heard this one for the first time, I realized I’d found a soulmate comedy:
- Nora Ephron’s son wrote this lovely, moving, and (depending on your personal experiences with sick relatives) difficult to read tribute to his mother.
- So… I still love Derek, but I might be transitioning into a Tigers fan. This season is going to be rough for my beloved Yankees.
- I thought this was a great read from Silicon Alley Insider on the importance of working at the office for 20-somethings:
Never underestimate the value there is in showing up.
When starting a job, the best way to prove yourself is to be present and dependable. Working from home on a regular basis sends a message to your boss that your first priority is not always your job. It’s tending to your cold. Or recovering from a big weekend. Or simply taking a morning off from your daily subway commute.
The people who come to work every day at the same time?
They become rocks.
- I’m pretty jazzed by this program we’re doing with Jalopnik. It’s incredible social advertising and I can’t wait to see upcoming videos:
- Based on this aggregated list, I may secretly be Hannah Horvath. In the last two years, I’m positive I’ve said numbers 4, 5, 13, 15, 19, 20, 21, and 22… but especially 10.
- Special thanks to Susannah for sharing this amazing Barbershop performance of “Sexyback” from JT & Jimmy Fallon:
- This is old, but Andy Greenwald’s writing on the state of food television and follow up on the brutal things producers did to the Top Chef finale were both brilliant pieces.
I’ll be honest: I had no idea what to expect from Kid Rock’s concert with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) but I knew the people watching would be fantastic. Fortunately for me and Jeff, we didn’t have to look far to find one of the loudest characters in the joint.
Full thoughts on the concert/experience follow a short detour about a Kid Rock devotee.
I’ll call her Polly Peekaboo. She was about 48, was wearing a silver paisley vest over a black shirt and miniskirt. She was at what must have been her 100th rock concert with her best leather-clad girlfriend. And they were wasted. Like so drunk the usher seating us looked at her, look at us, and said “maybe she’ll pass out.” She greeted us with “Peekaboo kiddos!” in a loud Southern accent and we were off to the races. Actually, the minute she said that, I made Jeff change seats because I can smell crazy and it smells a lot like excessive boxed wine.
Things Polly Peekaboo said to me and/or Jeff in the first few minutes of sitting near each other:
- I’ve gotta go tinkle.
- [To Jeff]: Good that you tricked your high class girl into coming to a Kid Rock show!
- [To Me]: Can I take my shoes off?
- [To Jeff]: Are you wearing heels?
She then asked us if she could get us more wine and upon returning with it, decided that rather than ask us to move again (the first time being “to go tinkle,”) she would crawl over the seat in front of her. With a quick “sorry kiddos,” she lifted her already mini mini skirt and swung her legs around fully exposing herself to all those to her left. I’ll spare you graphic details but let’s just say that “Peekaboo” proved to be a double entendre.
Fortunately for all of us, her alcohol had severely impaired her judgment and in addition to throwing things repeatedly at the head of the man two rows in front of her, she decided to pull out and light up a cigarette. A big enough no no that she and her friend were promptly escorted out. Because even though Kid Rock encourages badassery, he doesn’t condone fires.
The evening overall was incredible. It’s tough to know how to dress for such an affair — given that at the last Kid Rock concert I went to, I saw women in matching rhinestoned tube tops that read “Kid” and “Rock” respectively. I figured best to dress for the DSO and saw a sea of suits to… well, more rhinestoned tube tops. Regardless of attire though, every single person there could feel the energy and spirit for what would be an incredible night.
I’ve documented my surprising love for Kid previously on this blog and extensively on Facebook/in person, but as a little girl who loved classical music, watching the merging of two opposite genres in the name of salvaging a cultural institution in a town known for the hard times it’s faced was pretty special.
I’ve copied the set list from the Detroit news article (which includes more detail and flavor than I provided), but will offer up that once again “Bawitdaba” proved to be a transcendant song so I can’t wait for whatever videos/recordings are made available later.
Set list for Kid Rock with DSO:
— Fanfare for the Common Man (DSO only)
— Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 I. Allegro Con Brio (DSO only)
—”Hoe Down” from Rodeo (DSO only)
— Farandole from L’Arlesienne Suite No. 2 (DSO only)
— Finale from Overture to William Tell (DSO only)
— Devil Without a Cause
— You Never Met a… Quite Like Me
— All Summer Long
—Lay It On Me
— Rock On
— Purple Sky
— Times Like These
— Rock N Roll Jesus
— Only God Knows Why
— Born Free
—Son of Detroit (Rock’s band only)
— Wastin’ Time (Rock’s band only)
— God Bless Saturday (Rock’s band only)
So anyway, words can’t describe the sights and sounds (and smells) of such an evening nearly as well as I’d like them to, but kudos to Kid Rock for being so generous with his time, congratulations to the DSO for being willing to try new things and successfully raising $1 million, and apologies to Polly Peekaboo who left her silver paisley vest behind and will never see it again.
This is the first in what will be a very valuable series to KU Says readers with tips for succeeding on various reality television programs. With “Chopped All Stars” premiering on Sunday, it seemed appropriate to kick this off with with “Chopped,” a.k.a. the greatest food competition program involving multiple surprise ingredients since “Ready, Set, Cook” with Sissy Biggers.
Since J and I are devoted “Chopped” viewers, here are some tips we prepared if you don’t want Ted giving you the knife.
You’re supposedly a professional (except for that lobster roll delivery dude). Get the basics right.
- Cook your protein correctly, above all else. Here’s the thing: if three people screw up, the guy who got a nice sear with a medium rare temperature is definitely making it through.
- Don’t leave in bones, strings, cartilage, or anything else inedible. That’s just amateur hour and this is usually where the home cooks/caterers/private chefs who specialize in “kosher locavore dining” fail.
- Don’t forget your sauce. It cures dryness, pulls multiple components together, shows your personal style, and allows you to mask an ingredient you didn’t understand how to use properly.
- You should know how to budget time for: starches (rice, pasta, risotto, potatoes), protein (see #1), and baked goods. Poorly cooked rice is a common competitive food show enemy; unless it’s in the basket, we recommend staying away.
Embrace what Chopped stands for: creativity and resourcefulness.
- If it’s in the basket; it must be transformed. We know you didn’t know what to do with those corn chips, but crumbling them and sprinkling on the side isn’t incorporating them into the dish. If you didn’t fool us, you’re not fooling Zakarian. I mean, the man’s basically one step away from God (did you see him get a perfect score on “Iron Chef America?” Does that even happen?)
- No clue what an ingredient is? Regardless of round, you can probably put it in a blender.Other tips:
- Appetizer round: use for vinaigrette or chop into salad
- Entree round: gastrique that bitch*
- Dessert round: blend with Marscarpone
We know you’re not a pastry chef, but go out with a bang.
- Your dessert needs to be a dessert (not breakfast, all ye French toast offenders), but it can’t be too sweet. None of the judges like that (except sometimes Aaron Sanchez).
- If you think you can make an ice cream, do it. A good ice cream pretty much always wins this round. That said, if you think you’re going to make an ice cream, get to the machine first. I shouldn’t have to tell you that if you lose that machine, you’ll be stuck trying to make a last minute parfait and hoping the deep freezer works faster (spoiler: it never does).
- Don’t bake anything, it will not be done in time (unless you’re a baker and they’re looking for that from you). If you are able to bake successfully, by all means do, and feel free to offer a touching story about how the recipe for that crisp came from your blind grandmother who you’d like to use the proceeds from winning to visit.
Seriously, this is television, be presentable.
- Plate before the 1 minute mark and don’t use a ring mold if what you have won’t set, it will ultimately look like dog food. There’s very little you can cook in under 60 sec and the judges reward strong presentation.
- Don’t contaminate your food by double dipping/tasting. The judges who need to eat that food are maybe 12 feet away… what’s wrong with you???
Additional personal pet peeves:
- J doesn’t like people who cut themselves and bleed nor does he like people who are a**holes.
- K doesn’t like people who tell long stories about how they want to win for their [insert sob story]-afflicted family. It’s called Chopped not Make A Wish.
*K believes that gastrique is to Chopped as sous-vide is to Top Chef. Discuss.
I don’t drink coffee but I’m not naturally perky. I’m not even unnaturally perky; in fact, I really don’t do perky at all. In order to get through the day, I lean on diet caffeinated beverages and consume them at an alarming rate. This used to mean any available dark diet beverage: Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi, or Diet Dr. Pepper. However, since Coke Zero came on the market in 2005, my loyalty has been pretty clear.
It’s not culturally acceptable, at least not in the Northeast [Editor’s note: snarky aside about superiority of culture in the Northeast redacted] to drink diet soda at 7:30 AM, so I’m often on the defensive about it. “No, I don’t drink coffee. Nope, just don’t like the taste. Yeah, no, not even with a lot of milk and sugar. Oh? Cappuccino? What a clever idea! Because when I said I didn’t like the taste of coffee, I meant, maybe if I try it with foam and triple the price, it’ll be delicious!”
If all of the recent articles on the dangers of diet sodas are true, then I’m a ticking time bomb because I easily consume 3-7 cans/bottles of Coke Zero a day. I don’t have a history with drug use, as I wasn’t even cool enough to be offered drugs in high school or college. All the cool kids basically “just said no” to me. Without that knowledge to draw from, I can’t really be sure that my relationship with Coke Zero has reached addiction levels, but it’s definitely close. I get cravings, I need it to start my day, and I make excuses for why more Coke Zero is needed in my life. If I’m not dressed and have no reason to leave my apartment, I will put pants on just to get a fix. I have put conference calls on hold just so I could run, grab another Coke Zero, and rejoin the meeting refreshed. I have harassed the restocker from Jade’s Vending Company to get more Coke Zero put in the machine and have lobbied the hotel I frequent most often on business to begin serving it. And now they do.
The definition of obsess is “to preoccupy or fill the mind continuously, intrusively or a to troubling extent.” So while my consumption levels may make me borderline addicted, it’s really my behavior and thought processes that determine whether or not I’m obsessed with Coke Zero. With that in mind, there’s only one piece of evidence that matters: I routinely agree with or respond to the questions by Coke Zero on their Facebook page.
When Coke Zero posts things like this on Facebook: “LIKE” this if you’d bike over 2,000 miles across France if you knew there was Coke Zero at the end,” I like it. When Coke Zero says: “Today’s Work-a-holics Day. So demand a Coke Zero vending machine next to your desk. You deserve it.” I actually comment: “If I had a Coke Zero vending machine next to my desk, I wouldn’t get any exercise! Ha ha!”
Seriously, rereading that now, I’m overwhelmed with shame and yet still have an open 20 oz bottle of Coke Zero sitting next to me.
Ironically, Coke Zero’s target is 18-35-year-old men who shun the diet beverage market. They figured that men would be more comfortable with a black can, fantasy sports sponsorships, and no use of the word “diet.” So while I pursue Coke Zero like a crazed Justin Bieber fan, Coke Zero would prefer to chillax with a Madden-playing ‘bro. It looks like even now I’m not cool enough for my addictive substance of choice.