“The Taste” Eh. No, Ugh.

Chefs drinking beer around a ping-pong table, red Solo cups…Beer Pong, Really? Should I beerbottlestart my speech about showing beer pong and drinking on this show and how it might be offensive and disrespectful? Nah.  On the other hand, the show IS about food so let me just write about that. Well…wait a minute. There was absolutely nothing special about the food either..Highly disappointing episode. Also,why are they always swigging beer, does anyone know? Sponsor? Bourdain’s contract?

First I was going to write about the challenge in detail: make things to eat while drinking beer (shocker!) but it was so lackluster that to drag it out in detail would punish you, punishing me was quite enough. Marina won first place by not making anything too good. Shehu lost and went home, Lee who had a panic attack about chicken testicles was told by Bourdain to make a meatball just to get through to the second challenge. He also bribes him with tickets to the Knicks (or some team) if he can just make it through to the second round. Classy, right? A man with integrity.

Ludow has to meddle and say so all can hear “I think, what Tony gives you, it sucks.”  Shut up already, Ludow. Nigella is still walking around though she did give one good call that Marcus was spending all his time with Shehu and not with Sarah and she was absolutely right. Marcus did not listen.

For the second challenge, with guest judge Chef Jonathan Waxman the solo candidates were asked (zzzzzzzz) to USE beer in their cooking. What a sorry lot they were. If this had been the first episode I could have given them some slack. But by this time, it was humiliating, they played it safe, gave up and looked totally disinterested. The judges picked up on that, right away. Thank goodness. Sloppy Joes, Chili, Smelt fries, “like apple pie” and avocado fries? Sausages.To win? They sound like kids eating at camp.

Oh, but the judges fear Marina and they are in awe of her….except they didn’t hear her say “I am using one ball or two, I can do whatever I want, I don’t care what they say, I don’t have to listen to them.” Something to be afraid of, right? Maybe when it got back to them that “she likes to kill food and spank them too” they started listening.

OOOH, there was a twist to the game. They had 2 hours to prepare a meal that had to have beer as a component in it. Wow, 2 whole hours. But, guess what? After an hour, and an immature cursing frat boy rivalry “they had to make a complimentary dish” for the next hour. “Dude, stop trash talking in my kitchen, Chef Waxman says to Jeff and Lee while Louise whines “everybody is overlooking me.”Oh dear God will this never end?

When they are waiting in the chef “green room”  they talk about good stars and bad stars on aprons (yellow and red)  Marina’s eight pressure cookers and general chit-chat about who is worse than the other. BTW, The Judges let Sarah go from the challenge which I think was to her good fortune. I’m betting on her.

By the way Ludow seems to have lost his mind screaming maniacally “everybody stop, use the lemons, use the lemons, everybody stop.” My husband says that he thinks Ludow should be medicated and I concur. The show ends with the required speech of how disappointed the judges were and it was not up to their standards and they didn’t like any dish at all. Anthony Bourdain finishes by saying  “celebrate responsibly and next time make us believers again.”

Celebrate what?

PS (Did I really have to see the white out image of Ludow’s “hairy ass”?) Thanks, Bourdain, I could have lived without it.

The Tree Of Life – Movie (Pop Cop)

"Tree of Life"

Image by Will-travel via Flickr

What does Jurassic Park, LSD and The Discovery Channel have in common?  They’re pretty much all in the movie called The Tree Of Life. I know, some people are oohing and ahhing over this film like it’s the second coming of The Sound of Music but frankly, it is not. It’s one weird ass long film and even though the effete intellectual snobs are calling it magnificent, I must disagree. A little. I have to say that part of it is magnificent in a visceral way.

Yes, the images and photography are fabulous but there are so many of them one after another, you get lost. And after about an hour I was looking at my watch which is NEVER a good sign. The movie opens with chanting in the background or angels singing or music you might hear in church. Don’t get me wrong, it’s melodic and beautiful and with it come quick images of molecules and lava, sperm and egg, church windows and creation of life images. They are amazing to look at and even though the movie is really long, part of me wanted to watch it in slow motion to savor each image but that would have taken the entire day and night.

Images of brothers, butterflies, baseball and bubble baths abound. The story takes place in the 1950’s in the Midwest where Brad Pitt stars as the stern, mean father. Jessica Chastain  is the nurturing mother and of all characters, I would have liked to see her character developed. I never did see Jessica Chastain before this movie but I’m impressed. Where has she been all our lives? With her beautiful red hair and her ivory skin she is amazing. I think now that this movie is out she has catapulted into stardom. One might say that there is no more character development for a mom in the 50’s but you want to know more about her other than that she is the fun parent, dancing, whirling and nurturing her children. She will go far, if she hasn’t gone far already.

Was I supposed to know that the big dinosaur beating down on the little dinosaur was supposed to portray the father beating down emotionally (physically too?) on his son(s). Was I to infer that the people on the beach (or wherever they were) in the end was meaningful and significant in a clear-cut kind of way? Heck no.Where exactly were they? The beach, heaven, Honolulu? It’s one (pretty) question mark after the other with very little dialogue and not much character development.

Yes, it’s pretty. It’s beautiful to watch ( for the most part.) Not always easy to understand. Pretty does not a magnificent film make. I’ve heard stories of people leaving the movie theaters during the movie and demanding their money back and I’ve heard of people who think this is the best movie ever made, that it was brilliant in every way. I would put it right in the middle.

In my audience, an artsy theater with plush red seats, no one said anything. When the lights were back on people looked at each other with question marks on their faces. The last person out of the theater was a middle-aged couple;  the woman turned to her husband and asked “what did you think?” He said “good!” She turned back to him, laughed, and said “You really didn’t understand a thing, did you?” He guffawed and admitted he did not; luckily she did not either.

That sums up the film in so many ways. It’s beautiful, confusing, long, magnificent, boring and asks but does not answer questions about the creation of life or death. It creates questions that are never answered. Too many things about the family are left out. A line from the movie was: “the way of nature, the way of grace, you have to choose.”If you understand that, great. If you don’t, join the club.

Bimbo in Limbo

I am going to start writing and hopefully the rest will come in a timely fashion. Like a soldier,  a robot, a clear cylinder. I feel too tired to write, too tired to read, television is exhausting and eating is a chore.  Whoa. Stop. Who wrote that?  Not the “me” that has fantasized in the past about orange cupcakes or pink coconut snowballs; not the “me” who has a huge collection of brownies and frosted cupcakes downstairs. Untouched. Some other me. Some patient me. Some released patient from the hospital me.  Some impatient patient me. I am dull, I am lifeless. Boring. Not at my best. I feel nothing; I am too tired to feel.

I need to sit down and concentrate in order to eat something. I need to look at the time and actually say, “it’s been five hours since I have eaten, I should get a bite to eat and something to drink. Who am I and how long will this last?  Did I leave part of myself in the hospital room? When will I come home? I did not eat for an entire two weeks because of my intense throat/ epiglottis pain.  All that suffering and misery and I only lost 3 pounds. There’s got to be something so wrong with that but it is true. Is it my thyroid tired and limping along? Post-menopausal, post 50-something, dead batteries?  Not that I really care. Not that I can do anything about it. It just is the way it is, for me. For now, for a while. Whatever.

I am not sick but I am not well, I am not happy nor am I sad. I am just a blob on the bed surrounded by too many blankets and dirty dishes. There’s a bright strawberry jello snack pack at my side and a cart full of different beverages, the jello is the only color in the room. I’m not thirsty but I’m supposed to drink so I don’t get dehydrated. Is  “dehydrated” the new buzz word used often in the last few years? We didn’t get dehydrated when we were kids, playing in the afternoon soon, in the heat, with no sunscreen or baseball caps. Where was dehydration then? Nothing makes sense to me.

The mail is still in the mailbox I haven’t bothered to go out to the street and get it. That would require putting more clothing on and shoes too. Shoes, why bother? It’s cold and wet and raining and everything is gray, not black or white just way too much gray. Everywhere. Endlessly. All rain, all the time. Rain and more rain.

I am The Wizard of Oz before the color kicks in, I am pre- munchkinland, post dead witch. I am flat, one-dimensional, white bread. I don’t listen to music with joy anymore because it hurts my head. I don’t dance for joy because I do not feel joyful. I lack affect.

I am in a state of in between but I don’t know the parameters of either side. Once I’ve fallen over the edge I will know that I have gone too far but for the time being, limbo is my life. I should care about this but I don’t. I should be surprised or concerned at this plastic shell but I am not. I am not shiny and new, I just don’t have the effort inside me to care right about now.

Eventually, something will happen, either good or bad. Until then, I wait, and I try to care but I don’t.

Crush Envy

There comes a time in everyone’s life where they let themselves enjoy a harmless crush. The idea is NOT for anything to happen, but it’s the pre-flirtation part that enlivens you and fills you with great joy. Do you remember that feeling when you just had a crush on someone and just thinking about them made you happy?  From my own experience I can tell you that life without a crush is downright boring and I am definitely very bored.  I envy people who have innocent crushes, their secretive smiles, the soft, pink, blush rising up their neck and making their faces blotchy. I miss the stomach churning, hand sweating adrenalin that comes along with a secret crush. The key to a crush really, is that it’s a secret. All the more reason to keep it to yourself, that private (imagined) connection, that silly five year old enthusiasm.

The closest thing I have to a crush these days is a crush on someone’s teeth. Sad, but true. One of my husband’s work associates has the most beautiful teeth I have ever seen in a human being. And, they’re natural. No braces have touched these perfectly aligned pearly whites. This is not a secret crush, I am not embarrassed or ashamed of it, actually I’m proud of it. It isn’t much but it’s something. The fact that they are large teeth, untouched by any orthodontist makes them even more special. People have been known to stop this man on the street and admire his teeth. If only Seinfeld wasn’t off the air, this would make a great storyline.

We’re supposed to go to dinner with this man and his girlfriend and I have mixed feelings about it. I want to say, as much as I like their company, do I really want to see his gorgeous set of teeth, covered with mushy lettuce or ketchup stains or G-d Forbid messy egg salad?  Do I want to see the remnants of his dinner lingering on his teeth?b  I have a hard choice  to make in the upcoming weeks. I don’t want to lose my crush on his teeth but will my crush dissipate if I see his teeth under less than perfect circumstances?

In the meantime, I will try to have a pseudo-crush on someone or something else. Maybe someone will wear delectable looking boots, or carry a handbag that makes me swoon. I would love to have a crush on a person (but you can’t just  decide to have a crush on a person-you have to feel it) but unfortunately I haven’t had any luck with that. Maybe it’s my age, maybe there’s noone out there that’s “crushable”; at least it’s been this way for me, for many,  years.

There are all kinds of crushes, all of them innocent,  harmless. Life without an innocent crush just keeps you in the center of all your responsibilities and chores with no escape. I am missing vacation-like moments to beach resorts without a crush. There is no one to make you look away and smile with your eyes. I love my family and my friends.  I like most everyone, people, children, dogs (cats not so much) and it’s a nice distraction from a very long winter day but it is at most, a luxury.  I bet Larry David could use this in an upcoming episode for Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Do you crush?