Jul 31, 2007

Hell's Kitchen Top Prize Questionable?

Reality Insiders posts an illuminating comment about the Hell's Kitchen top prize. Seems the winning chefs are not exactly getting what was promised. Here is the original New York Post article.

This commentator thinks that the Top Chef prize leads to a more rewarding career. Food for thought.

Jul 30, 2007

Hell's Kitchen: And the final two competing for the top prize are....

Rock and Bonnie.


Sorry. All credibility for this show has flown out the window. Rock, the executive chef, had better win over Bonnie, the private chef, strike that, cook and nanny. (No, I was not for Jen. I was rooting for Julia, who is head above water ten thousand times more competent than Bonnie.)

I have no heart for recapping this piss poor episode. Here are some links if you are interested in reading about it:

Wild Bluff Media

Hell's Kitchen Lightening Up: I dunno, uh, I dunno

Chow Hound Board

Thank God I am able to wash down my disgust with a new episode of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. Right now he's in China. Ah, I feel cleansed. Except for the part of watching live fish being fried in hot oil. (The Chinese can be so casually cruel to their food. This is not the first time I have watched an example of a live fish being tortured to death for the sake of the Chinese concept of freshness.)

I've been tagged!

Lady Jane from A Lady's Diversions has tagged me. Oh my. Well, here goes.

Four jobs I have had or currently have in my life:

1. Specialist and trainer for a nonprofit project
2. EKG technician
3. Watercolor artist
4. Community relations director

Four countries I have been to:
1. Indonesia
2. Sri Lanka
3. France
4. New Zealand

Four places I’d rather be right now:
1. Paris
2. Paris
3. Paris
4. Christ Church, South Island, New Zealand

Four foods I like to eat:
1. Pinot noir (fruit)
2. Beet chips (vegetable)
3. Steak au poivre, rare and thick (protein)
4. Dark chocolate (aphrodisiac)

Four people that I would like to tag:
1. Damselfly
2. Eric3000
3. Marius
4. Linda Merrill

Marius tagged Jinxy, and here is her contribution.

Ingmar Bergman, RIP

What better way to honor this gifted director than with a parody? I will never forget my first exposure to an Ingmar Bergman film: Silent Spring. Awesome and powerful. His influence can be found in our indie films.

Dog Days of Summer? Not for These Working Dogs

Rachel, a rescue dog, with her master

Doberman female thanking a fireman for saving her and her puppies from a house fire.

Stray mother dog that saved a baby

Search and rescue dogs in training

Velvet, the dog that kept three lost Mt. Hood climbers warm

Paws for Healing dog with patient

Blind singer with his guide dog

Working guard dogs
Therapy Dog
Explosives sniffing dog playing with his handler in Iraq

World Trade Center Rescue Dog

Gus, a Pentagon search dog, 9-11

Aiken searching for a missing injured man in a cave in Great Britain

Rescued Katrina dogs

Door help (Therapy Dog)

Dr. Darcy with his favorite patient Dan

Last, but not least, I could hardly see the next video clip for the tears. The eyes of the rescued Hurricane Katrina dogs say it all.

Click here for other dog daze

Stray Dog Saves Life of Baby

Prison Pet Partnerships

Pet Artist With Peaches

SF Dog News

Jul 29, 2007

Top Chef 3 Guest Judges: You Decide Who You Like Best

There was no new Top Chef 3 show to snark this past week; just a fake reunion get together that felt as satisfying as a bite of amuse bouche. So, let's examine the guest judges and how much you thought of their contributions. You may vote for more than one, because I know Bourdain will win hands down if I allow you to just click one choice. The judges' photos sit in the order of their names in the poll, and in the order of their appearance. As usual, if you want to read my other Top Chef 3 posts, just click on the TC3 tag below.

Who is your favorite guest judge so far?
Anthony Bourdain
Norman Van Aken
Alfred Portale
Jamie Walker
Barton G. Weiss
Maria Frumkin
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Lollipop Heads: Or Thoughts from an Amateur Observer

In this post I want to continue the conversation that several bloggers and I, including Damselfly (Damsel in Progress), Miss Xa Xa (Amuse Biatch), and Trixie (from Kora in Hell) began about today's skewed perception of beauty and/or aging. To continue last week's dialogue, people who are already naturally beautiful are being 'enhanced' through the magic of photoshop. Click on Trixie's or Damsel's blogs, or the spot-on comment on Jossip about Faith Hill's Incredible Shrinking Badonkadonk to get a sense of what I mean.

As you continue to read this post, you might enjoy doing so to music sung by the Chordettes, a largely forgotten girl group of the 50's. The song is called Lollipop. Click here and continue reading, unless you want to study the clothes and hairdos of that era - very ladylike and discreet - and the epitome of fashion and feminine beauty 50 years ago.

In this photo, size one Sarah Jessica Parker looks zaftig next to lollipop head Renee Zellweger. From it one can gain a clear idea of my rant this week, which is about weight and beauty. According to the Daily Mail, Renee works out 2 hours per day and takes 12-hour hikes to maintain her emaciated look. More on this later.

Anorexic lollipop heads and long bony arms have been the staple of Hollywood starlets for several years, starting with the Olsen Twins and carried on in proud tradition by Kate Bosworth, Natalie Portman, and Posh Spice, who once used to weigh around 130 lbs. I believe Posh tips the scale at 98 lbs. these days. Nicole Kidman, though naturally thin, has at times resembled a lollipop headed starlet. And as she ages her face has taken on a stretched plastic sheen that begs the question: 'Does she use botox or doesn't she? and 'Why would she do this to herself?'

Even as models and actresses whittle themselves down to nothing, their comic book looks are more exaggerated through the miracle of computer manipulation. Heads and boobs are blow up to enormous sizes, while arms and waists are shrunk down to anorexic proportions.

When my Entertainment Weekly magazine arrived in the mail a couple of months back, I was struck with how perfect Katherine Heigl looked. Too perfect. In fact, she looked ... plastic. Regardless of how young or beautiful we are, Madison Avenue is telling us that our natural beauty just isn't good enough. In addition to stretching and thinning limbs, heads and bodies, a photoshop technician will remove all hints of lines, blemishes, and variations in skin tone. This is done as a matter of course, as demonstrated in this cover of an unknown model. Comparing the before and after, can you spot the various ways this cute young woman was changed to look 'better'?

No wonder our young women are confused. A healthy athletic group like the Rutgers female athletic players has become fair game for a spiteful comment, not because the team played poorly but because these women didn't conform to some strange unreachable standard of fake beauty. When I view this picture I see amazingly healthy, strong, and talented women. For those qualities alone they are beautiful. It saddened me to see these young faces so subdued: Clearly Imus' hateful comment affected them deeply.

Much too often healthy but admittedly heavy young women like American Idol winner Jordin Sparks are told they must lose weight. Obesity expert Meme Roth got slammed for calling Jordin obese. Our new idol winner isn't light, but considering that the camera adds on 20 lbs and that Jordin doesn't jiggle, wears flattering clothes, and acts with a great deal of self confidence tells us that she has a healthier body image than Renee Zelwegger or Nicole Ritchie.

Thin, attenuated bodies were not always the rigeur. Back in the good old days, only servants, slaves, and poor people were thin from lack of food and a great deal of exercise. The rich, because they were idle and could afford to eat and drink in excess were pleasingly plump or downright obese. They also had poor teeth because of the amount of sweets they ingested, and suffered gout, a rich man's disease, from consuming too much fatty protein.

In fact, for primitive man an ample-hipped, well-endowed woman meant fecundity, and those ripples and dimples we so abhor today meant the survival of one's tribe or genetic heritage.

In certain countries this standard for beauty still exists. I recall the day my mother and I entered a small store in some obscure village in Tortolla in the British Virgin Islands to replenish supplies for our rental sail boat. I had proudly whittled my 5' 5" frame down to 114 lbs. so that I could wear bikinis. (I was 22 at the time.) My mom, going through menopause, had been struggling with weight gain. She looked pleasingly plumb, not obese. As we entered the store, the woman behind the counter exclaimed, "Ah, you are so beautiful!" As I began to preen and crow, the woman added, "Nice and fat!" When we returned to the sailboat, Mom and I couldn't stop giggling, much to my father's puzzlement.

Interestingly as the populace in general benefited from a plentiful and easily stored food supply and mechanical transportation in the form of cars, trains, and trams, the masses began to gain weight as rapidly as the upper classes. One other invention changed our perception of beauty: The camera. The photographer's lens loves angles and lines, and dips and hollows. Women like Katherine Hepburn looked sensational, while the more conventional beauty with a round face and plump limbs, like Mae West, looked, well, rather ordinary by comparison.

The tables had turned. Where once it took effort and wealth to gain weight, now everyone could do it, so to speak. These days, it takes money and leisure and a tremendous force of will and effort to look emaciated. As you read previously, Renee Zellweger works out two hours a day. Fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive. Canned spaghetti and boxed macaroni and cheese are not. Also, to take a bite or two of a $50 dollar meal and say 'I am full' must make a huge impression on the jaded.
Knowing what we now know, can we ever be sure that this photo of Eva Longoria in a Bebe Sport advert is really of her? Are her hips really that small? Are her thighs actually so perfect? Does she truly have such spectacularly perfect skin and hair? Think of what was done to Faith Hill's Redbook cover. Faith is a beautiful woman by any stretch of the imagination, but apparently her fit body (how many children has she born?) wasn't good enough for our photoshop magicians, so they streamlined her waist and arms. BTW, isn't Redbook a magazine for the stay at home Mom?

Self perception is a complex, psychological phenomenon. I know from experience, having once attempted to make a living as an artist. My mother-in-law hated the painting a local artist made of her. He painted what he saw - a middle aged, middle class, conservative school teacher. She ripped the painting to shreds (oh yes) and asked me to tackle her portrait. I sweated bullets but it was a huge success. Know why? I painted her as she saw herself. I enlarged her head by 35% and doubled the size of her eyes. The result was a glammed up 'Mom' and the entire family declared that this was exactly how their mom (who died seven years ago) would be remembered. The point is that when we look in the mirror we already see a distortion. This is especially true for women. Psychologists tell us that when we gaze on our reflections we see someone who is 10 lbs. lighter and at least 5-10 years younger. Now society has imposed another layer of deception on top of our self-deception. Again, I ask you, when will the madness end? Until it does, we will be stuck looking at images of this: A woman made to look like a stick figure with big insect eyes and a lollipop head. Heaven help us.
Whose body type do I like? Let's start with J-Lo. She and Beyonce and their feminine curves rock the Casbah.

Heigl Cover in Go Fug Yourself

Mirror, Mirror: A Summary of Research Findings on Body Image

Lollipop Heads Fox

Life Just Doesn't Get Stranger Than This

Sometimes a story is too strange not to be true. Here's one about a man who claims that the damaged nerves in his nose prevented him from smelling his wife's decomposing body.

Another man was arrested for sex romp in a kilt. Seems he was caught in flagrante delecto with his paramour in someone's back yard, but declined to cease the sex act when police attempted an interruptus.

And need good weather for your special outing or festival? Invite a virgin! Apparently organizers no longer need to sacrifice one in order to guarantee a sunny and balmy day. Wonder who checks to make sure our Miss of Honor isn't, er, lying?

Jul 28, 2007

Interview with Julia from Hell's Kitchen

Fans of Reality TV interviewed Julia, my favorite Hell's Kitchen chef. It is titled "Too Many Chiefs, Not Enough Indians". Click here to read it.

Seen on the Blogosphere: About Underwear and Crocs

BFD blog has a great, funny post about the history of underwear.

Trixie from Kora in Hell pointed me to a new blog that is worth more than one view, Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog.

The Manolo's fight against crocs continues on his Manolo's Shoe Blog.
And Paris Parfait is simply one of those blogs that reads right and looks breathtaking, as does the equally impressive Paris Breakfasts.

Jul 27, 2007

John Godawfuliano Designs for Top Chef

Dahlings, just when I despaired that John Godawfuliano was no more and that he had morphed into John Galliano the Spanish inspired hero of Christian Dior's 60th anniversary bash, he reemerges in full glory as The Gift That Keeps On Giving. Let's have some fun with this collection, shall we, and imagine the chefs and judges of this week's Top Chef reunion show in these, er, outfits.

Ilan Hall should have worn this darling ensemble at the reunion show. This is how the sockless look works best, dahling.

Cliff would have looked absolutely unforgettable in this one of a kind Zen Ghetto Apocalypto look. I so adore men with a huge, ahem, hose dangling down their chests.

I paired Clay with this 'Alligator just attacked my shirt' look. How darling would this original ensemble look on our Southern boy? Indeed, wearing this versatile outfit, Clay could motorcycle down to the Great Dismal, wade in mucky waters to catch crayfish, and leave his fly unloosed so he can pee while working. Truly an outrageously practical garment.

Mikey, having some heft around the middle, would best be served with this darling coat inspired by the finest bed ticking made in all of China. Our Mikey would have looked particularly cute wearing this adorable head bandana.

You say Sam would look too effeminate in fishnet stockings? Think again. Here's the perfect look for our studly man. Every time someone during the reunion said, "You lost, ha ha, you lost," this facial cover up would have hidden the true girlie pain and anguish our loser was experiencing.

This one's Da Bomb and has Tom Colicchio written all over it. As the finale of John Godawfuliano's unforgettable ensembles, I do believe Tom deserves the top honcho prize. A cute little beret perched on his bald pate, and Tom would look even more boffo than this male model.

Now it's your turn, dahlings. Which male at the reunion show would look stunning in this get up and why?

To paraphrase Paul Harvey from the old days: Click here to see the rest of the John Galliano Mercedez Benz Summer 2008 Menswear Collection story.