Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hitch Your (Chuck)Wagon to a Star

Thanks to Ralph Waldo Emerson, I am today proud to say I have tried Indian (the country, not Native Americans or other Indian peoples) food, Thai, and Bangladeshi cuisine.

Well, not really thanks to Emerson per se, but I just had to throw in the literary reference.

What I think everyone should know is that if the Pickiest Eater in the World (um, formerly, thank you) can try new things, you can, too.

Ten years ago (and back), the most experimental things I would try were Greek or Italian or Mexican fare. Not to knock those things, because I love them. But I wouldn't even try authentic. That means no lamb, no goat, nothing much other than baklava with Greek food.

Okay, so I still don't eat lamb or goat--it's a meat thing I'm not going to discuss--but I do experiment with food, with our fledgling family of 3 (soon to be 4).

That's why I was happy to see this giveaway for a Thai food packet over at the Mission Mommy blog (, where you can win a Thai Kitchen Curry Kit courtesy of Simply Asia Foods/Real Asian Made Simple (

So, it is with that former post in mind that I say I'd love to try the bananas in coconut milk. Cocounts have historically marked my top-10 "Do Not Try. Do Not Want to Try. Don't Make Me Try or You'll Be Sorry" list, but today, I'm a bigger (well, metaphorically, not physically) person--and better, too--for having gone outside my comfort food comfort zone.

Your mission today, then, is to try something new that's outside your realm of ordinariness. Be experimental. Be brave.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Cine-Ma's Latest List

I love films. That's not to say that I watch and rewatch the same movies incessantly and am always very initially open-minded about films (rather, I am very skeptical, critical {perhaps hypercritical} and contrarian), but once I've viewed something a few times and it starts to really soak into my brain--and provided it's at least halfway decent--I am pretty quick to judge and know what I like.

That being said, I think the AFI comes out with their lists just to irritate people! (Should I call it a film flimflam? Nah, I'll just drop the hint.) I know you can't please all the people all the time, but gee whiz.

I have no idea when this poll came out; it says 2008, but I wonder if it was only recently released. My local news carried a story on their Web page, no longer there, about an AFI "Top 10" poll and I was intrigued. Just too slow to read the story. It was only on their site, that I saw, for a day within the last week, and I returned today and couldn't find it.

In any case, the AFI has/had released another list about the Top Film in 10 Classic Genres (they showcase the top 1 in each genre, but have actually listed 10 in each genre). I would like to offer my 2 cents' worth on these genres, as a Cine-Ma (I'm not a professional film critic, but I play one at home and abroad ... funny; a broad abroad!) who enjoys and critiques films of many genres. Do let me know what you think, too! All of the films I have on my list will be ones I have viewed at least once in their entirety, but sometimes it is in the distant past. I have not viewed all the AFI's favorites, however; most notable among those I've never seen in their entirety are "Raging Bull," "The Godfather," "Citizen Kane," and "Lawrence of Arabia." Only the latter two am I sheepish to admit, frankly.

THEIRS (Link here:
1. Animation: Snow White
2. Romantic Comedy: (Charles Chaplin's) City Lights
3. Western: (John Wayne) The Searchers
4. Sports: Raging Bull
5. Mystery: Vertigo
6. Fantasy: Wizard of Oz
7. Sci-Fi: 2001: A Space Odyssey
8. Gangster: The Godfather
9. Courtroom Drama: To Kill a Mockingbird
10. Epic: Lawrence of Arabia

MINE (unless I say so, in no particular order if I name more than one film in a genre):
1. Animation: Fantasia (by far, the best); Bambi; Dumbo {Their list is filled with a lot of the typical, mediocre modern crud, by the way.}
2. Romantic Comedy: City Lights; Love & Death (Woody Allen; far better than Annie Hall); Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (not sure this fits the genre, but since they included a few in their list that contain social commentary, I am, too, by golly!); and History of the World Part I (Mel Brooks)
3. Western: Not a favorite genre in which I've widely viewed, but here goes. Old Clint Eastwood movies (i.e., not The Unforgiven); Blazing Saddles; and Millionaire's Express (a Hong Kong movie)
4. Sports: Rocky (by far better than "Raging Bull," I'm going to say); Enter the Dragon; and Jackie Chan's Drunken Master (hey, AFI, martial arts is a sport, and a heckuva lot more difficult than hitting a small spool of thread with a honkin' huge lump of lumber, as much via the power of your beer-and-bratwurst gut as of your arms, or of running for 5 whole seconds straight (if that) then being hit by a fat guy who is vaguely (or more) reminiscent of "Pizza the Hut" in Mel Brooks' classic "Space Balls."
5. Mystery: Rear Window. I would have put "North by Northwest" slightly ahead, but, to me, that's a little more of a thriller than it is a mystery. RW is a clear-cut mystery (well, as clear as a muddy little gem of a never-seen-on-screen murder that may or may not be a murder can be!). Also, under AFI's seeming criteria, I think "Jaws" would qualify. An excellent film, too.
6. Fantasy: Lord of the Rings trilogy; Brazil (if a dystopia); It's a Wonderful Life
7. Sci-Fi: 2001; Planet of the Apes (I can't believe they didn't include this in their list; I mean, I dislike Charlton Heston's politics as much as the next antigun gal, but still); Fahrenheit 451; Blade Runner; Star Wars: A New Hope (part 4, technically, I guess); Terminator (esp. part 1, less so, part 2; not at all part 3); Jurassic Park; Close Encounters of the Third Kind; Alien; Space Balls; They Live; and ET
8. Gangster: No vote. I boycott this category! Other than television gangster movies, I can't say any have been memorable or that I've even viewed them. Perhaps Bonnie and Clyde, but I don't know if I've seen that all the way through.
9. Courtroom Drama: Inherit the Wind (better than TKAM); To Kill a Mockingbird
10. Epic: Lord of the Rings trilogy; The Great Dictator; Enter the Dragon; Schindler's List; Planet of the Apes; Star Wars; The Last Samurai (the only list you'll ever see where I've even briefly thought about including a Tom Cruise movie!)

{I'm not sure why "Comedy" didn't make it--other than I think AFI has released a list on this in the past 5 years--but I guess it's the red-headed stepchild of film. Same goes for documentary, I guess.}

Have I left anyone (or anything) good off? Drop me a note or a vote, and we can hash it out together!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Welcome from the Mom de Plume

Okay. I know there's another blog out there with "Mom de Plume" stamped on it. And I'm cool with that.

Not trying to hijack that name, by any means.

Just wanted to throw out a brief welcome, mat it to the page, et voila.

Wilkommen! Tag! Nie hao ma? Buenos dias. Bienvenuto. Hello!
(Wish I knew more languages. Greetings nonetheless.)

Did you ever wonder why it is that "mom" and "dad" are palindromes? (This is not a lead-in to a joke, amazingly, given my sometimes facetious nature.)

Because moms and dads are some of the people most capable of, ourobouros-like, rolling back upon what's best about themselves into infinitude and folding those earlier selves into their current knowledge, emotions, and philosophy. Changing, yet somehow staying the same. Sustaining.

Sorry to go New Age-y on you with that brief interlude, but I guess it just had to be done.

Welcome again to my blog about anything and everything. It's a Kitchen Sink Think Tank, a writing space, a rant, a diatribe, occasionally (hope springs eternal) a beautiful line or funny passage ... a write of passage ... for moms or dads or people or animals or kids.

Perhaps you fit into one of those pigeonholes.

Speaking of which, let's have fun as we travel down the Universe's rabbit hole together, bearing in mind there can, indeed, be atheists in foxholes.