Whoops. Skipped a day there, didn't I? It wasn't a mistake. I just didn't feel like turning on my computer and blogging after baking a yellow cake from scratch for my father's birthday.
Of course the cake wasn't really the hard part. No, that was the boiled icing. My maternal great-grandmother used to be a baker of some local renown, and her recipies, like all ancient texts, are something of an enigma to decipher. However, after some trial and error over the years (plus a quick review of pertinent information in The Joy of Cooking and a tabbing through Google for "boiled chocolate icing"), I've got the icing down pretty good.
- 3 c sugar
- 1 c milk
- 1 stick butter
- 2 sq bitter chocolate
- 1 T Karo syrup
Stir on high until it boils, turn down and cook to 230° or until it forms a soft ball in water. Let it cool about 20° before stirring. Add vanilla (1t), beat until it doesn't go back into itself too quickly. Put onto cake. Cools quickly after beginning to ice.
Momo wasn't kidding. If you attempt this yourself, know that you have maybe a minute (or maybe two, tops!) of working time to spread that icing. Once it leaves the heat, it starts forming a hard, delicious shell of chocolate.
Bon appetite, Dad.
(Note that this was a food exchange: I made my great-grandmother's cake, and he made his mother's grape leaves. The cake might have been a lot of work, but I'm pretty sure I came out ahead in the deal.)
More 2014 art by Walter. (Two pieces in one year? Hot damn!)
Blue Beagle and Rooster Gold. Merry Christmas.
When the football season ends, the coaching carousel begins.
Bad news: On Sunday Miami Dolphins team owner Stephen Ross announced that the team will be retaining Head Coach Joe Philbin. This should come as not too much a surprise because Philbin had a year remaining on his contract. However, let's take a look at Philbin's tenure with the team:
- 2012: Philbin joins the team. The nations watches on Hard Knocks as the new coach is unable to look Chad Johnson in the eyes as he cuts him from the team for beating his wife. Great start. Dolphins miss the playoffs with a final record of 7-9, one game better than the previous year.
- 2013: Again, the Dolphins are in the national spotlight as the locker room becomes a school yard where bullies reign. Philbin says he didn't know anything about it. Great management. Dolphins collapse at the end of December and miss the playoffs with a final record of 8-8, one game better than the previous year.
- 2014: With the Dolphins acting as NFL ambassadors during a game in London, Philbin declines to name a starting quarterback despite having only one option. Great motivational technique. Dolphins won 7 of their first 12 games, then fade late and miss the playoffs. As I write this, there's still a chance the Dolphins will finish one game better than the previous year.
So the news that Philbin will be back doesn't inspire me with anything other than a knowledge that the 2015 Dolphins will be one game better than 2014 and still miss the playoffs. I've got better things to do with my time than wait for that to happen. I'll catch up with you in 2016, Dolphins.
Good news: Georgia Bulldog Offensive Coordinator Mike Bobo will be leaving to become Head Coach at Colorado State, effective immediately. I've been opposed to Bobo for years: his play calls are predictable and his players are often unprepared for four quarters of football. That Georgia has been successful owes more to superior talent than superior coaching. Perhaps Bobo's talent lies in recruiting. we'll see how well he does in Colorado. If he's successful there it won't hurt my feelings so long as he stays far, far away from Georgia.
Found in my inbox:
This is why everyone hates you, Google+.
I rarely mention my professional projects in this blog, so enjoy this ad that ran in the Coweta County Shopper this month:
I've been making ads for Full Circle for years. I designed their "Zombie Day" promotional material for the past two years, as well as other occasional sales and print ads. If you're shopping for Toys in Newnan, Georgia, you could do worse than supporting the people who support me.
And now, for the rest of the story. Or at least the rest of the movies I watched in November.
192. (729.) The V.I.P.s (1963)
The two classic actors that American loves and I just don't care for are Marlon Brando (hack!) and Elizabeth Taylor. Maybe I had to grow up with them. In this film, she's constantly overshadowed by husband Richard Burton, who is a great actor. But then, so is almost everyone else in this movie, including Orson Welles, who appears to be parodying himself.
193. (730.) It's a Small World (1950)
An exploitation flick following the life of a midget who learns that his natural place is in the circus. I'm sure everyone involved felt great about themselves.
194. (731.) It's a Big Country (1951)
This propaganda film is an anthology of short stories featuring many of MGM's biggest stars. The whole thing is spliced together with a Movietone news-style narration. It's a great movie for Americans who love ABC News' "America Strong" public interest segments.
195. (732.) Slither (1973)
I initially confused this with Dirk Benedict's Sssssss, which was also made in '73, but this James Caan movie has nothing to do with snakes. Or logic. It's a road/crime comedy, and completely enjoyable.
196. (733.) The Last Time I Saw Archie (1961)
Premise: Jack Webb and Robert Mitchum are army recruits who live life their own way until hilarity ensues. Except not so much. Webb, of course, is his usually stiff, smug self, but Mitchum seems to be phoning it in in an untaxing role.
197. (734.) Fanny and Alexander (1982)
Seeing this on the channel guide in September, Mom told me to record it. Then she promptly refused to watch it for the next two months. Tired of seeing it sitting there, unloved, I decided to give a try solo. What a terrible decision. Most critics seem to think that this, almost Ingmar Bergman's last film, is something of a masterpiece. I say that if you can't even tell your audience what your plot is after an hour, you're being self-indulgent beyond the definition of narcissism.
As a general rule, I only list movies here I've seen at least halfway through. But I bailed only 1/3 of the way through this snoozefest. However, since I gave this movie an hour of my life, and it gave me nothing in return, I'm counting it!
Here's what I gathered from that hour: three generations of a formerly wealthy Swedish family go about life in 1907. The womenfolk watch amused as their men drink and curse and fuck the hired help (poorly!). And that's your hour! Time well spent.
The screenshot above was when I knew I was done with the film. When you've spent an hour, and the most rewarding thing you've seen is throwaway dialogue designed to illustrate the humdrum gossip of servants living their lives vicariously through others, you realize that there are better ways to be spending your own time. No surprise this was the last film I watched in November.
More to come. Probably.
From the Dance With The One That Stung You Department:
When a man with .45 meets a man with a bee, who wins?
Hit Comics #8, February 1941
Approximately 3% of adults are allergic to bee stings. Apparently all of them are crooks in Superior City.