Sunday, August 31, 2008

Kulinary Korner!

Posted By on Sun, Aug 31, 2008 at 2:40 PM

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Hey, it's me, your Labor Day Weekend Guest Blogger Clint Eastwood, Sexual Cowboy. I thought I'd share one my favorite recipies with you, in case you're still planning the menu for your picnic, barbecue, potluck or campfire. It's simple to prepare, light yet hearty, an ideal complement to all main courses, and, best of all, vegan-friendly! Bon appetite!

New El Paso Black Bean Chili

Serves: 6-8 (but double the recipie if you're expecting lots of company, or if you'd like some leftovers to take in to the office on Tuesday)
Prep time: 1 hour

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Ingredients

3/4 cup TVP--optional
2 packets brown broth powder--optional
1 tablespoon (less if you prefer) olive or canola oil
1 biggish onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin, crushed a little
2 cans (15 oz) black beans, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can (or 2) mild green chilies

If you are using TVP, soak it in an equal amount of water in which you have dissolved the broth powder. Heat the oil, and gently cook the onion until it begins to go limp. Add the garlic and spices and stir for a few minutes. Add the TVP, and stir for a few more minutes. If you are not using TVP, add the broth powder now (or a teaspoon of salt). Add the beans, tomatoes, and cut-up green chilies (they come chopped, but I prefer to use the whole kind and cut them into larger chunks). Give it a good stir, bring to the boil, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or so. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve with pineapple cole slaw and tortillas or tortilla chips.



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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Rainy (or Misty) Day Activity

Posted By on Sat, Aug 30, 2008 at 1:30 PM

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Hey, it's me, your Labor Day Weekend guest blogger Clint Eastwood, Sexual Cowboy, with some suggestions for spicing up you and your family's holiday.

We all know how unstructured time tends to spread out over a long weekend. Now luckily it's supposed to be nice tomorrow and Monday, but just in case you ended up cooped up inside with the kids, here's a terrific crafts project that they're sure to love. It's easy, and doesn't require any supplies you aren't likely to have on hand. And with school about to start up again, this will get the tykes back into the collaborative, art-class spirit!

Make a Construction Paper Cowboy Hat

(Instructions borrowed with thanks from this fine site, where you can also find the template.)

"Cut out the front of a cowboy hat from brown paper using a template, and cut out a long paper strip from a heavier weight paper from a headband to attach the hat to. Attach the cowboy hat to the center of the headband and decorate it. Once it is decorated fit the headband to your head and secure the length of it in place with tape. Now you are ready to ride the range!"


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Getting Off on a Self-Indulgent Foot

Posted By on Sat, Aug 30, 2008 at 10:30 AM

Hi, it's me, Clint Eastwood, Sexual Cowboy, here to take you through the holiday weekend. You know, one aspect of my life that I wish more people knew about is my love of jazz. In fact, I even dabble in it myself. (Though you won't catch me playing a brunch set at B.B. King's to a half-full room of bovine out-of-towners, like some actor-musician manques I could name!) I do so love to sing, and was so happy to work with the Broadway great Joshua Logan in Paint Your Wagon. Is that my sheet music in there?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Clip Coupons, Feed Face

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 3:32 PM

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Before Clint Eastwood, Sexual Cowboy has his way with this here Blog About Town for the weekend, the L's Mariela Quintana would like to offer up a suggestion for how to spend your day before Labor Day, in case you haven't fled the city as if the very devil himself were chasing you out.

I don't know how you all feel about saving money, but I'm a big fan. I'm not talking about like a 401 (K)--whatever that is--I'm talking coupons. The environmentally-friendly kind. No tree-killing required. Feel virtuous, keep your bank.

For real: there's this crazy little site, 8coupons.com, that offers unbelievable deals and discounts at restaurants, stores, salons and just about everything around the city. Honestly, it makes no sense.

All you have to do is log on, locate a discount you're interested in and request a text message version of the coupon to your cell phone. Then, as if by some invisible hand, the web site sends you a text of the coupon. I don't know how they do it, but I'm a believer. Here's why:

This coming Sunday, 8coupons is teaming up with Snackalicious Falafel in the East Village to offer 8-cent falafel sandwiches from 5-9 pm. A falafel includes pita, chickpeas molded carefully into a falafel ball, fresh tomatoes, diced onions, shredded lettuce and that precious sauce. A lot of love and labor goes into a falafel. Something so good should cost far more than eight cents, but not this Sunday! How they do it, the world many never know…so, just, stop wondering. And eat. A lot. Because you may win the Snackalicious' falafel-eating contest. In addition to the gustative satisfaction and glory of consuming as many falafels as possible, you'll also prove yourself worthy of receiving one 8-cent falafel sandwich every day for an entire year.

Oh, and there's 8-cent yogurt at the nearby and newly opened 16 Handles as well, just in case you haven't whipped yourself into a food coma by then. Not surprisingly, the 888th person will get 8-cent fro-yo on the 8th of every month for the next 365 days. It's almost too much to comprehend on an empty stomach.

Introducing Your Labor Day Weekend Guest Blogger

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 3:30 PM

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Hi, I'm Clint Eastwood, Sexual Cowboy, and I'll be blogging here this weekend while Mark and Sharon take the holiday off. I'll mostly be posting some of my favorite videos, pictures, articles, crafts projects and other things of that nature, so stop on by, why dontcha, in between your holiday celebrations. Go ahead, I'll make your day!

Fashion Week Primer: The Fug Girls

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 1:15 PM

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The Fug Girls have kindly elected to answer reader's questions about the upcoming Fashion Week for their New York magazine column. Queries include whether they've ever been bitched out by the celebrities they fugify, what's in the swag bags, and who is going to look the messiest this season. The tension mounts!

Among the best pieces of advice:
"Short of dressing up as a leprechaun or lighting yourself on fire, you'd have to work super hard to stand out as the best- OR worst-dressed person in the room. When there's a woman in a bedazzled fur turban making the rounds, your skirt is beside the point, so just relax and ogle."
Somehow this seems to ring true not just for Fashion Week, but for the New York fashion scene in general--particularly when you're little more than just an anonymous pawn in a someone else's Very Important Game (as in the case of the lawyer lady who wrote in and is terribly stressed about how to blend in and impress). So, hurrah for Forever 21 tops and H&M bags. Because nobody cares about you unless you're Anna or have a stuffed toy created in your likeness. Goddamn, those skinny lacquered pants are skinny. Teddy bears should not appear to have eating disorders. Disturbing, that.

Oh, Look, a Woman, Surely She Believes in Women's Issues, Yes? No?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 12:10 PM

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Dahlia Lithwick, who touchingly continues to believe that things like Constitutional rights and stuff are winning issues for liberals (yesterday), wrote recently about why aren't Democrats hammering McCain on abortion? As in: in this election that will decide the makeup of the Supreme Court for the next generation or so, why aren't we saying that, despite being branded a "maverick" because once upon a time he ran a contentious primary campaign against George W. Bush, McCain is actually to the right of most of America on women's issues? Well, because as her colleague wrote once in his really good book, the left long ago let the right set the terms (and, crucially, the language) of the abortion debate, and it's kind of of a losing issue for us.

Now, John McCain has selected an honest-to-goodness lady as his Vice Presidential nominee, presumably because of all those (mythical?) Hillary holdouts really want to vote for change but can't stand Obama. Now they have a new tough broad to vote for. Is this the logic? Probably. Well, said lady also happens to be stridently anti-abortion (the above-linked Times article includes a ringing endorsement from Ralph Reed, not exactly a champ of women's issues in any forum). So perhaps now, in an effort to prove their credentials, the ticket with two dudes on it will actually have to talk aggressively about, like, protecting Roe v. Wade and stuff? I can haz frank and un-coded political debates about the importance of the right to abortion and government support of sex ed, birth control and family planning, plz?

Seriously, though, picking a lady so that ladies will vote for you... is progress?

John McCain Makes His Pick

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 12:00 PM

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McCain chooses Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska for his running mate, because he's all, hey, I can be SO historic, too! I gots a lady on my ticket! And I want to split the women's vote! Pay attention to me! Stop talking about how cute Barack Obama's daughters are! (OMG, amazingly cute.)

Now then: how long until The View's Elizabeth Hasselbeck has the VP hopefull eating out of her hand on the show in a dainty flowered sundress? Maybe they'll give her a full week of co-hosting duties. Whoopi will plotz.

Demi Lovato: Metalhead

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 11:16 AM

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I hadn't formed a firm opinion about Demi Lovato until today. Apparently, even touring with the Jonas Brothers hasn't stripped the Camp Rock star of her secret edge. Miley Cyrus may be the current reigning A Girl on the Disney roster (and the winner of that YouTube feud) but does she do pig squeals at soundchecks?

"I would love to secretly do some work on a metal band's album," she said, adding that Underoath would be her first choice for a collaboration. "I wish I could just secretly do vocals, and nobody would know it's me. I would love to just do a couple of screams. One time I was at soundcheck and I told my musical director that I really want to pig squeal, and he said, 'Go ahead — I don't care.' I didn't want to, because I could see there were fans nearby, and he said, 'Just do it.' And I did, and these fans reacted. They were like, 'Wow, that's awesome — I don't even know what that is, but it's cool,'" Demi told MTV News.
The Disney brass likely already knows that Demi has Maylene, the Sons of Disaster, Abigail Williams, Lamb of God, Dr. Acula on her iPod. Which explains why she's been so reluctant to make such things public. It's no Vanity Fair cover, although it does offer some decent bad-girl foreshadowing. Ten years from now, Demi, this could be you. Prepare to make your crossover.

Stuff I'm Reading: How Fiction Works, by James Wood

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 10:00 AM

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The title, it would seem, is more a declaration of simplicity than authoritativeness — this is a pleasantly scattershot dip into the contents of one guy's bookshelves, and an attempt at edifying pattern-making from there. The usually withheld critical "I" is here in abundance, exclamation points are unusually frequent and examples are given liberally, or made up in a spirit of fun. And, as you might expect, close readings of short passages are instructive — the "How" of the title is the key word here, this is an instructive book for people who'd like to ground readings of literary product in an understanding of literary process.

Wood is essentially talking about stuff that Does It For Him; I like listening to him talk about this stuff. Less so the stuff that Doesn't Do It For Him, because I like a lot of it. (Especially his frequent bugbear DeLillo, who's barely mentioned here and just as well for our purposes.) Wood wants fiction to be anchored (via a fresh style), to some sense of "lifeness" — he's stringent about fiction's responsibilities if not stodgy about its methods. Still, when he talks about Updike and Nabokov sometimes "freez[ing] detail into a cult of itself", and "metafictional trivialities", and "the cost to final seriousness" in Pynchon — these are all incidental references, little spurs sticking out from the course of the book — I go on red alert, because I find great value in the perhaps frivolous aesthetic or perhaps esoteric critical-theoretical purposes that fall outside the workings of fiction as they're presented here.

Having read this book, I went back to Walter Kirn's review — I still think it's an interesting and worthwhile one, for attempting to take Wood's tastes (what this book does is foreground that "I"), as demonstrated here and in his long paper trail, and arrange them more formally. The better to object to them — but still, I agree with some of them. Even if it is ultimately an overheated critique, and it overshoots in trying to make Wood's prizing for "the real" into an association with a particular genre, when it's more a matter of sensibility. But taste is a difference I can put aside here, even more so than I thought was going to be the case.

Pull Quote: P. Diddy Needs Oil

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 9:53 AM

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From this week's Popbitch newsletter:
"I want to give a shout out to all my Saudi Arabian brothers and sisters and all my brothers and sisters from all the countries that have oil, if you could all please send me some oil for my jet I would truly appreciate it." - P. Diddy
Bringing the bitchassedness to the Middle East and beyond.

What I'm Listening To: "Forever Young," by Brass Face

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2008 at 9:00 AM

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The gruff Brass Face is one half of Beijing rap duo Phoenix Cry. Here, he raps over an Alphaville song sped up to sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks.

(If that doesn't work, try here.)

When I am elected president, rappers will only ever be allowed to rap over Alphaville's "Forever Young."

...

And occasionally "Take Me Home Tonight," by Eddie Money.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cat and Girl

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2008 at 4:15 PM

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Does everyone know about Dorothy Gambrell's lovely web comic already? Just discovered on this end, and a new print volume came out recently as well. Subversive and delightful. The one above is fun for the whole Brooklyn family!

UPDATE: Noob alert. I'm told that the L published Gambrell years ago and adored her. So, um, whoops! But if you miss seeing her comic in the magazine, now you know how and where to buy her new book while I hang my head in shame.

"And Those Are the Ones That You Want to Run Out and Hug and Say, 'We Did It For You'"

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2008 at 11:27 AM

When news broke yesterday that Steve Foley, who played drums in the Replacements toward the end of the band's run, had died of an apparently accidental overdose on prescription meds, I followed a Brooklyn Vegan link to the "When It Began" video, and wound up watching about an hour's worth of live footage and interviews with the band. This is my favorite. Seriously, it gets better and better as it goes on.


The New Yorker Reader, "Gorse Is Not People," by Janet Frame

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2008 at 10:00 AM

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This is a public service announcement... with guitars!

Janet Frame is a dead writer from New Zealand who rather famously struggled with mental illness; this story, "found among her papers," as such things often are, is about a dwarf and ward of the state celebrating her 21st birthday celebration (and competency exam). We've previously dealt with Frame, earlier this year, with another previously unpublished story about mental illness — that one was narrated by an institutionalized woman, but her narration was vague and almost impersonal; while the narrator here identifies herself as "I" once, early on, and then proceeds to tell the story of poor, poor Naida.

As this "I", again nebulously defined, Frame dips into and out of the stunted (mentally as she is physically) perspective of Naida, essentially making us pity her (and the state's clumsy treatment of her) by juxtaposing her perceptions against the objective world (for instance, we hear about her grand romances, while mentions of the brand names of Naida's runny lipstick strike us as cheap), and by offering no explanations for her behavior better than she can come up with herself.

The "I", though, is again mysterious, and curiously forceful:


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Thursday List: English-Language Pop Songs in East Asian Cinema

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2008 at 9:00 AM

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Every Thursday there is a list. Today is Thursday. This is a list.

This Thursday list was inspired by this post, which pointed to a clip from the original theatrical release of the only movie ever made, Wong Kar-wai's Chungking Express, in which star Faye Wong's Cantonese-language cover of the Cranberries' "Dreams" (also featured later in the movie) plays over a scene accompanied only by ambient sound in the DVD version available in this country from Kino. I had no idea. (I'm not sold on the repetition, honestly; I think it loses some of its power.) Wong, of course, likes all kinds of music, and frequently casts pop stars in his movies, but I like his taste in American music best, baby. So no bossa nova or anything here, let's just focus on, for instance, the talismanic use of the original Mamas and the Papas version of "California Dreaming," also in Chungking Express, and the Cantonese-language version (like "Dreams" seemingly recorded over the original instrumental track) of "Take My Breath Away", in his first film As Tears Go By. And of course his Happy Together takes its name from the Turtles song, an English-language cover of which (by Cantopop singer Danny Chung) plays over that movie's fucking great ending.

But what other Asian movies feature English-language pop songs? A rundown of other cross-cultural, pure-pop moments:


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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Time Is Near

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 6:38 PM



Gossip Girl Fever Is Totally In The Air, OMFG!!! It smells like the Hamptons, or what we think the Hamptons smells like, because, really, why go when you can live vicariously through a well-written show about heinously wealthy and beautiful city-living teenagers? Some veteran editorial staffers here at the L have even claimed the principal cast members of Gossip Girl as their iChat icons/possible alter-egos. Who is who? I'll never tell, xoxo, etc., etc. But you can guess. (Shockingly, nobody has claimed Chuck Bass.) UPDATE: He's taken. I mean, he's Chuck Bass, so, d'uh.

After you've exhausted all the exciting, very bad for you possibilities, perhaps you'd like to settle down with the new, five-minute-plus season two trailer the CW leaked today. It's a mix of old stuff and a few new teasing scenes, including a good look at Lonely Boy's new love interest--a/k/a the chick that's been sending Blake Lively into an insecurity shame spiral. Watch and judge.

Heidi Montag's New Musical Video

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 3:00 PM



I wasn't going to post about The Hills, its cast members, or their bastard cousins until next week's episode, but, well, sorry, Heidi Montag has a new single, "Overdosin'" making the rounds, and here it is. I opened it in several different browser windows because I was really confused by the, er, slow-mo thing. It appears to have been a purposeful directorial decision by Spencer Pratt: Mr. Heidi, Hollywood Machiavelli, and filmmaking wonder-man.

Who is the poor gentleman in the cerulean blue gym shorts, headband, and mustache? He looks so lost, like he meant to go to the 205 Club and doesn't understand how he wound up on the set for this. I would love to know exactly how much these backup dancers were paid, whether they were given outfit selections or ordered to wear what they have on, and how many of them will drink themselves into oblivion tonight after everyone sends them this link.

Please feel free to offer your own interpretations after watching, preferably in Haiku form. "Overdosin'" deserves that much.

Michael Phelps Has The Medals, A Speedo Contract, and Now, a Crazy Huge Book Deal Advance

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 1:49 PM

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Eight gold medals, a bunch of broken records, and a boatload of free swim trunks later, Michael Phelps isn't stopping until he's the winningest Olympian of them all. And that means a book deal! With a reported $1.6 million advance, according to the New York Post. Simon & Schuster's Free Press imprint is the lucky publisher, and the deal itself was brokered by the Waxman Literary Agency, which set a $1 million minimum floor price just to bid:

In the book, which is being called an "inspirational memoir," the publisher said that Phleps will reveal the secrets of his success, and give a behind-the-scenes look at his approach to training, competition and winning.

The narrative thread is expected to be the eight final swims of the 2008 games.

Yes, but will it also include a primer on how to engage in public Olympic Village make-out sessions with newly rebounding swimmer hotties? Or how to cope when the whole thing backfires after said hottie calls you "nasty" and takes it back because it makes her sound shallow? And shouldn't we still be hyper-focusing on the fact that the Chinese women's gymnastic team are, like, fetuses?! Somewhere, Bela Karolyi is all weepy and sad and wondering WHY?

But as for you, Phelpsy--or should we just rename you Money Bags?--please get a really awesome ghostwriter, okay? God knows you can afford it.

Subway Spotting: Tie Skirts

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2008 at 11:00 AM

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Subway Spotting is a reoccurring feature I just made up, in which I will talk about the people and things I stare at on the subway when I'm too tired to read my book.

It must be turning into fall, because the girls are starting to bring their craft projects onto the subway. I'm used to seeing stuff like knitting, or maybe the occasional crocheted scarf. But on the F train this morning, I watched a woman embroider a tie skirt in her seat. I just spent 20 minutes looking for a picture of a Blossom-era Mayim Biyalik to properly illustrate this post with 90s magic, but I can't find one, so you'll have to imagine it and instead appreciate her flowered hat and man-shorts. Which, I must say, am now totally respecting as a pretty decent homage to Annie Hall. Did Blossom like Woody Allen? I can't remember, although I do recall she was fairly neurotic about, um, everything.

Anyway, tie skirts: making a come-back?

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