Episode 239 – Heart Like a Roast Beef

by admin on September 8, 2014

Self-improvement is the theme of today’s auditory meal, as Jaime Kirk comes on to talk through the ways our grandparents served as both a model example of how to grow old, and the source of a lot of our crushing disappointments as grown adults. Growing old gracefully is way harder than it seems, and things like mean school bus drivers and snotty conversationalists don’t make it any easier. What helps it go down smooth? Some delicious pumpkin-flavored foods… some a little more delicious than others.

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You Need To See: Romper Stomper

by dawn on September 3, 2014


Imagine, for a moment, that it’s 1951. (Just for a minute, work with me on this one, okay?) It’s 1951 and you sit down in your local movie house to enjoy Elia Kazan’s film of the Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. The actor playing the lead character of Stanley Kowalski is a young man named Marlon Brando, in only his second film. As you experience this new talent’s tour de force performance — so physical and charismatic that he practically leaps right off the screen into your lap — there’s a voice in your head that keeps getting louder and louder, asking, Just who the hell is that guy, anyway? [click to continue…]

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Episode 238 – Chicken Strip Politics

by admin on September 1, 2014

There’s a lot that goes into your approach to any supermarket deli counter. You have to consider the quality of the strip. You have to consider the quality of the person who made it. You have to consider the quality of life when choosing to take a job in a kitchen – ANY kind of kitchen. This week’s episode is a blend of food and words that is as well put together as any Costco muffin. With a bonus story about how Mike Russell once made Dawn cry!

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You Need To See: Blue Velvet

by dawn on August 27, 2014


In his excellent deconstruction of David Lynch for Premiere magazine in 1996, David Foster Wallace attempted to define the term “Lynchian”:

An academic definition … might be that the term “refers to a particular kind of irony where the very macabre and the very mundane combine in such a way as to reveal the former’s perpetual containment with the latter.” But like postmodern or pornographic, Lynchian is one of those Potter Stewart-type words that’s definable only ostensively — i.e. we know it when we see it. Ted Bundy wasn’t particularly Lynchian, but good old Jeffrey Dahmer, with his victim’s various anatomies neatly separated and stored in his fridge alongside his chocolate milk and Shedd Spread, was thoroughgoingly Lynchian.

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Food: DIY Red Curry Paste

by dawn on August 26, 2014


So this week I finally got tired of buying insanely overpriced envelopes of red curry paste at the supermarket. Yes, I know – typical American foodie problem. Shut up.

I used to have red curry paste in the fridge all the time, because I bought a quart-sized container of it at the wholesale grocer. But since you only use a tablespoon or two at a time, unless you’re a restaurant there’s no earthly reason to have a quart of red curry paste. I mean, I love curry, but come on. A quart of curry paste.

A couple of companies sell 4 oz. jars, but I never see them where I shop. The other option is to buy those envelopes, which have four tablespoons of curry paste in them at a price that works out to about $14,000 a pound (NOTE: I am bad at math) so it just pisses me off every time I buy it. Then I use half the envelope, put the rest in the fridge, and forget that I bought it so I get a new one the next time, until I have six folded-over, half-envelopes of curry paste that I throw away when I clean the refrigerator.

There has to be a better way, I reckoned, thinking as I was about making Thai chicken curry in the crockpot and getting unreasonably angry about the curry paste situation. And lo, did I realize that I could make my own red curry paste, and all was right with the world again. [click to continue…]

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Episode 237 – Eat Your Art

by admin on August 25, 2014

Dawn’s been thinking on the ways she could be a more well-rounded sort of person. And this isn’t all about food – although food does come up. This week’s Ham-Fisted is all about making things, and figuring out how to wedge a little enrichment in your life, whether it’s setting aside an hour to paint your Warhammer figures, or putting on the headphones and trying to really listen to some Coltrane, or reading that classic book that’s so classic it’s never occurred to you that it could speak directly to your soul in ways no facebook argument ever could. It’s not so much about chasing your muse as it is having quality snuggle time with her.

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You Need To See: The Cowboys

by dawn on August 20, 2014


As a movie star, John Wayne was in a class by himself. By 1971, he’d played every type of manly hero imaginable, from frontier gunslingers to two-fisted G.I.s, and his image was larger than life. Mark Rydell, on the other hand, was a self-described “Jewish kid from the Bronx” who’d started out as a soap-opera actor and segued into a director of pictures like The Reavers. He’d signed on to make a unique western called The Cowboys, based on a novel by William Dale Jennings with a script by Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank, Jr., but he resisted casting Wayne despite pleas from the studio. [click to continue…]

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Episode 236 – You Appropriated My Boob Cape

by admin on August 18, 2014

A thick slab of ham-fisted goodness served up on a giant plate, encompassing all manner of conversation, such as sexism in the geek world, the politics of cosplay, breastfeeding in public, why women can’t have male friends on a tv show without being punished for it, whether shows in the future will be a lot less hung up on the John Hughes B.S. we’ve been hung up on since John Hughes was making movies, and Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and how it prompted Dawn to look back at the choices she’s made in her own life. Also discussed – the lifecycle of a Cadbury bunny.

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Review: The Expendables 3

by dawn on August 15, 2014


The Expendables 3 is a supremely self-assured movie. It’s made by people who know what their audience wants and needs from the film, and have carefully, lovingly crafted it to those specifications.

The title, for starters: The Expendables 3. This is the third movie about The Expendables. There’s no need for some colon and a girly subtitle! It stands its ground, and says what it is! It’s The Expendables, dammit. Number Three. If you saw the first two, and you’re willing to pay money to see the third, all you need to know is that it exists, and you will buy that ticket, because there will be manly men, and guns, and explosions. For the third time. [click to continue…]

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You Need To See: Ace in the Hole

by dawn on August 13, 2014


For reasons lost to history, Billy Wilder broke with his writing partner Charles Brackett after their collaboration on Sunset Boulevard (1950). Wilder never publicly explained his reasons for breaking off the partnership, and many years later Brackett told an interviewer that he didn’t know why Wilder, who’d worked with him on 13 films including Ninotchka (1939), Ball of Fire (1941) and The Lost Weekend (1945), dissolved their team. Some film historians theorize that Wilder was tired of fighting with Brackett over the tone of their screenplays — of the two, Brackett was the kinder, gentler writer, and many of their legendary creative clashes were over Wilder’s almost morbid fascination with darker subjects.

There may be some truth to that, given that Wilder’s first post-Sunset picture was his acidic look at media and American culture, Ace in the Hole (1951). [click to continue…]

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