Oct 21, 2007

Homeless Man and His Dog

Time to slow this blog to a crawl. I'll continue visiting my blogging friends and making comments, so I won't disappear completely, but for the foreseeable future I will be posting once or twice a month at most.
I've thought long and hard about the post that will sit on top of this blog for a few weeks ... and then I found this beautiful heartbreaking photo of a homeless man and his dog. The photographer, Kirsten, explained this photo on Feeding Pets of the Homeless. If I lived in Toronto I'd probably try to find this guy or at least buy him some food since his picture is finding its way around. I usually don't give change directly to homeless people - I'd rather go through one of the services that help them - but I wanted to give him something this time because I took his picture...only he and the dog looked so peaceful and comfortable that I couldn't bear to wake them up by putting money in the hat. Kind of ironic.
For more on the topic, click on Why People Become Homeless

Extremes

This week's Monday Mute theme is extremes. There are so many directions one can take this theme...

Mushroom House
Extreme Make Up

Extreme Tenacity and Courage
Extreme self-mutilation

Extreme ickiness #1

Extreme flexibility

Extreme ice
Extreme heat
Extreme ickiness #2

Click here for World's Longest Tongue. I'm sure this girl will find a way to make her fortune with it.

Last but not least, here are some examples of extreme bravery or idiocy, I can't decide if I should have an "Hey, You! Out of the Gene Pool!" reaction or just say "Wheee!"

Extreme Skier

Here's one from a helicopter's perspective.

Oct 18, 2007

Remembering Deborah

Every time Mom and I watch An Affair to Remember we cry. Thank you for all those wonderful woman-bonding tears, Deborah Kerr. May you rest in peace.

Oct 16, 2007

Kitchen Nightmares: The Seascape

Viewers knew from the moment they met Irene and her son Peter that their restaurant The Seascape was in incapable hands. From poor management, to an old-fashioned chef who was unwilling to listen to Gordo or even taste his dishes, to a nagging mama who made terrible Greek cookies, to a crumbling restaurant interior that had remained unchanged since its heyday in the 70's, one got the sense that there was NO HOPE for this group. Oh, our intrepid Gordo whipped the staff into some sort of shape, fired the chef and sous chef, both of whom kept a filthy kitchen and didn't have a clue of how to cook fresh food, and upgraded the decor to resemble a 21st century version of a red bordello. But one could sense quite early on that Peter would never fill his dead father's capable shoes, not as long as his mama was around to pistol-whip him with her tongue at every opportunity.

And so on the last day of his week with this motley crew, Gordo kinda sorta showed the group how to turn the restaurant around. On the BIG night, the waitresses never quite got their act together, and Peter wore a godawful pink tie and pink shirt combination, making him look like a Mafia dud. Looking at Peter's sartorial unsplendor, even Gordo seemed to say, "I give up."

Was it any surprise that in the very last scene of the fourth installment of this show, Peter and his browbeating momma had sold the restaurant? Not.

The show was still riveting. Our Gordo knows his way around food and restaurant management, and I am looking forward to the next installment. Here's a sneak peak of Episode Five, which will air this Wednesday. Click Here to View: Gum Chewing Waiters and Did I Stutter?

Project Runway Canada

For the few of you who haven't been over to Project Rungay's site, click here to view Episode One of Project Runway, Canada. Iman is an elegant, if slow talking hostess, and I think the winning dress design echoes Jeffrey Sebelia's couture outfit that he made in Paris.

What do you think?

Oct 14, 2007

Love

I'm in a sappy mood today. William-Adolphe Bouguereau's sentimental paintings are perfect metaphors for love between mothers and children and siblings and fat, cuddly cherubs. Here then is my syrupy 19th-century contribution to this Monday's mute theme: Love.










William-Adolphe Bouguereau's academy paintings are easy to mock. Witness how many of his works have been altered on Worth 1000, a satire site.

Oct 12, 2007

Have You Had Your Vegetables?

A friend sent these photogs via email. Amazing.







Oct 10, 2007

A Woman Won on Top Chef, Kinda Sorta

Meet Fan Fave Casey.
Congrats, dahling. It's good to see a woman win something on TC, if only a popularity contest.

Oct 9, 2007

Kitchen Nightmares

Top Chef is over, and I’m not feeling withdrawal symptoms. That’s because FOX will be showing the fourth installment of Kitchen Nightmares starring Gordon Ramsay. This momentous event occurs every Wednesday at 9 PM EST.

In this reality based show, our shouting chef Gordo fixes ailing restaurants, and the results are riveting. Before tasting the food in one of these godawful restaurants, Gordo says this little prayer: "May the lord above not poison me." When he viewed a vegetable samosa at Dillon's, Gordo's reaction was priceless: "It looks like a dehydrated turd." Hah!

However, not everyone is as enamored of the new series as moi. Reality TV Calendar disses the American version of this BBC show, saying,

Watching this week's FOX show, I felt a little underestimated as a viewer. FOX assumes that people are tuning in only for the temper tantrums and that we want to see the exact same things several times in an episode. And considering the general audience - American triple-bacon-extra-cheesy-burger-eaters - they are probably right from a marketing standpoint. I'm not sure that most Americans really care about the business aspects of the show - they really are only there to see Ramsay bite off the heads of lazy managers, unambitious chefs and neglectful owners.

The author has a point. I think this show could survive without the “Dumbing Down for America" touches. Regardless of the FOX producers shenanigans, Gordo demonstrates the following qualities as he makes over restaurants that are on the brink of closing:
  • He has taste in decorating interiors
  • He has moxie
  • He knows the restaurant business, including customer preferences
  • He knows food
  • He has a no nonsense management style in the kitchen
  • He can and will fire bad employees
I adore this show. In the first episode, Gordo slaps “Peter,” of Peter’s Restaurant down, telling the overgrown, self-important bully to grow up, stop wasting precious resources (like taking money out of the till) and “work” for a living. In the second episode, which I found difficult to watch because of the roaches and filthy restaurant conditions, Gordo actually saved diners’ lives. Well, he potentially saved diners’ lives. The only reason Dillon's, the Indian/American restaurant in question, was allowed to serve food to unsuspecting diners was because the New York City Department of Health failed to do its job. And that scares the pants off me considering how often I've eaten in NYC.

I did not pay as much attention to the third installment of this show (The Mixing Bowl) because as I was watching it, I was preparing for Top Chef the Finale. FOX is playing it smart, however, – you can view the episodes you missed on their site for free. Yes, dahlings, FREE. That is a word that warms the cockles of my thrifty Dutch heart.

So, as you wait to watch the Top Chef reunion and to see who won Fan Fave, turn your dial to FOX and watch our bleeping, foul-mouthed Gordo in action. It's worth an hour of your time.

Click here to watch the videos of the previous three Kitchen Nightmare episodes.

Oct 8, 2007

Amy Winehouse, Dahlings


She is my fave. She is messed up. She needs help. SO? Don't we all?

Listen to this fab song: Rehab

And, You Know I'm No Good

Girlfriend's got VOICE!!

Oct 7, 2007

Boycott

Monday's Mute theme is boycott: There are so many ways to go with this theme. Here are my thoughts. For more, click here.

Top Chef 3: Another Male Wins the Title

Hung won the whole enchilada. In the finale he won the Top Chef crown fair and square with his fabulous dishes, including a chocolate cake dessert that he created in high altitude. Casey choked and Dale created a dish that was nearly inedible: so it made sense for Hung to win. However, by no stretch of the imagination does Hung deserve the title of top chef. The man can COOK, he CANNOT lead.

Besides, it's time a female, any female, won a Top Chef competition. Sorry, but I'm feeling peevish. Doesn't our fair sex comprise 50% of the population? So why is Chloe Dao of Project Runway Season Two the only female winner of a Bravo reality show?

I believe that female brains, talents, and abilities are equal to the men's. Oh, guys might have more muscle, but we have more stamina (one word: childbirth). So let's stop quibbling about men being better than women, especially in the kitchen. BULLSHIT.

Next time, Bravo, choose your female contestants with a more discerning eye. Third male chef winner? Pshaww!

Update: George's wise comments provide a thoughtful rebuttal to my take on Hung. He's almost got me convinced.

Oct 6, 2007

But is it art...?

Known for their small size and oilcloth cover, moleskin notebooks have been beloved by creative minds - artists and writers in particular - since their invention. Compact, portable, and made with archival paper, the treasures contained in their pages are usually private and hidden.
When I was a practicing artist, my 4"x6" notebook went everywhere with me. I sketched lines, colors, ideas, making notes and trying out different versions of the same topic before committing my composition onto a larger, more expensive medium. Here then, are a few exciting samples (I have not scanned my own.)
Want to see more? Just google moleskin or moleskinerie and you will find some beautiful examples online. Some people have devoted entire blogs to the topic.




Samples of moleskin notebooks and their covers
Supply carrier