Friday, June 30, 2006

The apple pie of my eye

Oh my.

One of my favoritest junk foods in the whole world is/was the old-school apple pies that they used to sell at McDonald's.

You know, the deep-fried, ought-to-come-with-defib-paddles little bundles of appley goodness.

A few years ago, I could still find them at one or two McDonald's restaurants, and when I happened to be nearby, I'd buy a good 5 or 6 of them. This was apparently unusual, judging from the reactions of the people manning the counters.

But in recent years, my supply has been cut off. Kentucky Fried Chicken has something pretty similar with its apple turnovers, which are nice if you can ignore the slight hints of salty chicken.

The picture here was from McD's U.K. site, which I guess gives me yet another reason to travel abroad.

But lo and behold, the Internet lives up to its potential and BAM, recipes for the industrious DIYer, including my beloved (and healthy) apple pies and Shamrock Shakes.

Methinks there will be some food experimentation here in the Siftin' Test Kitchen. And I can work off those extra calories by taking a quick jog to say, Alpha Centauri.

(via the ever-fascinating The J-Walk Blog)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A shoutout to my boy Clark Kent

Superman means different things to different people -- besides the whole "truth, justice and the American way" thing.

To some, he's just a musclebound goober who wears his underwear over his pants. To others, he's a fondly remembered part of childhood. To me, Superman represents hope. This was the case as a kid, and I think even a bit now.

Not surprisingly, I was a lot more like Clark Kent than Superman, even ignoring the issue of super powers. Clumsy, awkward, bespectacled -- the whole shebang.

But that little bit of identification with Kent helped me out in junior high school. I don't think junior high is much fun for anybody, but it sucked beyond suckitude for me. You know the one kid in class who everyone else teases, picks on and generally treats like crap?


There were a few others who got in on it, but the brunt of it went on me. And I didn't really help matters much, either. I was the youngest in the class, and consequently always behind everyone else. I didn't dress like everyone else, and the mid-1980s was a really bad time to not be wearing clothes with fancy labels.

Plus, in all honesty, I was a dork. Not the cute dorks that are fashionable these days, but an old-fashioned dork -- the social pariah. Between the hormonal hijinks puberty was playing on me and interests that didn't match others' (no sports, etc.), I was an easy target. As you can imagine, I was pretty miserable; the prospect of going to school every day to face yet another barrage of torment did wonders for my stomach. Once in a while, I just stayed home sick. I wasn't faking, either.

Clark Kent (in the comics of my early youth, anyway) didn't get a lot of respect. And while I don't remember him being teased with such bon mots as being so poor he had to use sticks of butter as deodorant, I did notice that he took these things in stride. Sure, he rarely stood up for himself -- just like me -- but he endured.

Thus, so did I. I went to school, knowing that there was the possibility if not the absolute certainty that kids would give me crap. In the back of my mind, there was always the hope that there would be a day that I wouldn't have to deal with that kind of thing. Until that happened, I just pushed up my glasses, Clark Kent-style, and slouched my way through another day.

So even now, Superman still holds a special place for me. I wore Superman S-shield cufflinks on my wedding day. It was a happy and sad coincidence that one of the medical problems my son Harry had when we was born was a genetic condition also referred to as "Superman syndrome." And when Harry died, I got an S-shield tattoo in his honor.

When I saw "Superman Returns," I smiled when I saw the name of Bryan Singer's production company, Bad Hat Harry Productions. And as the familiar strains of John Williams' Superman theme began to play, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little excited.

Just yesterday, Brody asked to watch "Superman cartoons," so I put on the DVD of the first Superman movie. As the music played, he beamed brightly.

"Superman!" he said, bouncing happily on the couch and absently humming the music. It was one of those proud-dad moments. A super one.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Superman Returns

So I saw "Superman Returns" last night. Not bad. I think I need to see it again to decide for sure anyway. Some really cool scenes, and some others that were a bit meh for me.

I thought it was funny that Lois Lane wins a Pulitzer, and on the award it says she won for an article entitled "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman." It should have said titled. I'd think those Pulitzer people would know that...

The theater I went to offered T-shirts to the first 500 people to buy tickets for "Superman Returns." I bought mine on Monday, and yet didn't get a shirt, so I was a bit bummed. I did end up with a free T-shirt from Cold Stone Creamery. It says "Friends don't let friends eat grocery store ice cream."

Or something like that. I'm too lazy to get up and check.

So, as promised, here are the answers to the questions I posted yesterday from "The Official Superman Quiz Book."

1. Kal-El
2. "Star child"
3. True
4. February 29
5. 29
6. June 18, the day Superman landed on Earth
7. Blue
8. 6'2
9. Superman slouches as Clark Kent
10. 200 lbs.

How many did you get right?

More Superman stuff tomorrow, I think. We'll see.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Here's a quiz. Quiz for Doug.

Well, today marks one whole year since I started this here blog, so to celebrate, I'm treating myself to a sneak preview of "Superman Returns" tonight.

To get you in the proper mood for tomorrow's Superman-centric content, here are some questions from "The Official Superman Quiz Book" by Bruce Nash, the book that shifted my interest in Superman into full-blown obsession.

This is the section called "Vital Statistics."

1. What is Superman's birth given name?

2. What is the English translation of his Kryptonian name?

3. True or false: Superman is an only child.

4. When is Superman's birthday?

5. How old is Superman?

6. When does his alter-ego Clark Kent celebrate his birthday?

7. What color are Superman's eyes?

8. How tall is he?

9. Why does Superman stand three inches taller than Clark Kent?

10. How much does Superman weigh?

Now keep in mind this is asking about Superman as he was in 1978. My dad brought it home for me when I was about 4 because he knew I liked Superman and I was a spaz about reading stuff. That was the year I got my first library card, so I was eager to read what looked like a grown-up book.

I read this so much that the only way it could be more in my system is if I liquefied it and injected it straight into my bloodstream. But it's been quite a while since I tried answering these questions? How would I do?

I answered them without looking at the answers, and out of those 10, I got 9 right. I missed the last one by 25 pounds. I was surprised/sad to discovered that I knew the answer to question 6 without having to think very hard about it, and that's probably the most difficult question.

I'll post the answers tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone for reading over this past year, and especially to those of you who have resisted the urge to tell me what a weirdo I am.

Monday, June 26, 2006

My son, the critic.

Generally speaking, Brody likes it when I play guitar. I'll play something, and if he doesn't recognizes it immediately, he asks, "What song is it?" He's actually better than most people at figuring out the songs.

I was noodling around, not playing anything in particular, and he asked what song I was playing. I told him, "It's called 'Brody's Song.'" So I kept playing it, improvising a melody. This, he liked.

When I played it for Jen later, he was still enthusiastic about it. Then I played an Elliott Smith song, "Son of Sam." Brody loves him some Elliott Smith.

I got about halfway through, and Brody looked at me.

"Stop, Daddy, stop, stop, stop! That's terrible!"

So, after waiting for my wife's copious laughter to stop, I switched to "Older" by They Might Be Giants (Brody also loves him some TMBG), and I guess that's what he wanted to hear, because he started squealing with joy again.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

President Lincoln ... George Washington ... Martin Sheen ...

A recent trek to some antique stores yielded a happy find for me: five TV Guides from 1983, a prime TV watching year for me. Marked down to 2 bucks each from 10, I couldn't pass them up.

In one of them, I saw this:

My wife's favorite movie is "The Goonies," so I had to show it to her.

looks like Mouth was right. Martin Sheen did play Kennedy once. Now what if Mikey was right about One-Eyed Willie's treasure?