Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Holiday shopping...for yourself

My friend Flea, the purveyor of sex toys and related products, is running a sale at the Honeysuckle Shop—40% off your purchase if you enter the coupon code BLOG at checkout. (Don't quote me on this, but I believe she includes batteries.) Hypothetically, you could order a $40 toy, pay tax and $7.95 in shipping, and end up paying less than $35 for an item that runs $50 at drugst0re.com. And you'd be doing business with an independent retailer. What's not to love?

Monday, November 28, 2005

K's most excellent joke

Last night, while walking home from the Restaurant of Braying Suburbanites, my friend K. said she'd read Jay Leno's joke about female suicide bombers—something having to do with the whole "72 virgins" deal. K. had a much better punchline, which you'd think the women on Leno's writing staff could have come up with. "72 virgins? Don't give me 72 virgins. Give me one man who knows what he's doing."

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Mr. Tangerine took Ben up to his folks' this weekend, leaving me behind to do grown-up things. I watched some TiVo (Maureen Dowd's recent appearance on "Charlie Rose"), did some crosswords, and ate some Thanksgiving leftovers before I motivated myself to shower and get dressed this afternoon.

Then I hopped on the bus downtown and went to Nordstrom's—my lingerie mentor Bitch Ph.D., a.k.a. the Distinguished Professor of Brassiere and Shoe Studies, had advised me that I must shop for bras at Nordstrom's, and that Felina was the brand that would offer foxy styles in my size. My goodness, those Nordstrom's employees are solicitous! They more than made up for the pestilence of out-of-town shoppers polluting Michigan Avenue this weekend. And if the good Dr. B ever gives you advice about bras, for the love of cleavage, take her advice! She is wise in the ways of the brassiere. Earlier this year, she recommended the Wacoal brand, and I now own five Wacoal bras. This fall, Dr. B said Felina, and I now own a lovely Felina demi-cup bra in a deep raspberry hue. I try on other brands, but invariably, what fits is what Dr. B has told me to try.

After my shopping expedition, I cabbed it to the local art cinema to meet an old friend, K., for the Claire Danes/Steve Martin/Jason Schwartzman movie, Shopgirl, which we both liked a lot. After the show, we crossed the street to a French restaurant I like so I could partake of poulet au curry crepes (yum) and French wine (two glasses, my tipsy-making limit!). Regrettably, the table behind K. contained six reasonably quiet men at one end and SEVEN LOUD WOMEN at the end closer to us. "Howler monkeys," K. called them. The woman in the mustard-colored sweater had a laugh that was bleatingly reminiscent of Tom Hulce's laugh in Amadeus. (So charming!) The rest of us in the nonsmoking room partook of a shared mockery of the jackals/monkeys—lots of eye-rolling and whatnot—but alas, the jackals/monkeys remained drunkenly oblivious to the how much their LOUDNESS really IRRITATED EVERYONE ELSE. K. and I concluded that this group Came From The Suburbs. No North Side woman would be caught dead wearing a velour Royal Stewart tartan top, I assure you. (Who knew such a thing even existed?) Nor a black sweater festooned with sparkly marquise-cut rhinestones. Nor so many bad, bad highlights in not-really-blonde hair. The LOUD laughter was punctuated at times by vigorous foot stomping, which did not abate even when the guy behind me stomped his foot in a call-and-response form of sheer mockery. Occasionally K. or I would bray in Amadeus-style laughter, to no avail—they who Came From The Suburbs were beyond reach. And good lord, they were intent on closing the place down. We'd hoped to outlast them, but did so only because we stayed to enjoy the peace for a few minutes after the LOUD PEOPLE left, even though the busboy had blown out the candles at all the empty tables.

Can you make me a promise, dear readers? If you happen to own any apparel in the velour tartan category, would you please burn it? It's for the best. Honest.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Being and nothingness

If a blogger writes a post but has nothing to say, does anyone leave comments? This age-old question has vexed philosophers since time immemorial...

Yesterday, the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice was on cable. I missed the first three hours, but the second three hours were great anyway. The first time I'd seen this production was about 10 years ago on a friend's 13-inch TV, so I had missed the key visual detail: the passion, torment, yearning, tumult, love, and regret in Mr. Darcy's eyes pretty much any time he was on screen. Maybe he overdid it a teeny bit, but now I understand the reason for all the fuss about Colin Firth as Darcy. The guy who plays Darcy in the new P&P movie looks like a callow youth, and he has bad hair, so what's the point of seeing it? I will wait for Brokeback Mountain to slake my yearning-man jones.

Wouldn't that be a heckuva thing, if they got rid of the annual Burning Man oddball arts fiesta and changed it to Yearning Man? Match.com could be the corporate sponsor. Speaking of which, did you hear about the people who are suing Match.com and Yahoo's dating service because they think the companies are tricking them into subscribing by showing them fake profiles? One guy actually thinks Match.com sent an employee out on a date with him to keep his $29.99 a month rolling in. The dating service has something like 15 million members. How many employees do you think it has? Enough to send them on dates with impatient subscribers? Sure, that sounds reasonable.

If you're tired of pumpkin pie and want some beefcake, Avatar posted a link to some artful photos of French rugby players sans uniform, covering their bits with rugby balls or small towels. Wouldn't that be a lovely calendar to hang on the wall? Update! Orange has received word that Italy's national rugby team consists of firemen, and they are also hot.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Awaiting Brokeback Mountain

Am I the only straight woman who can't wait to see Brokeback Mountain? I'm not a huge fan of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, or of cowboys, or of westerns. But there's just something magnetic about those two men dressed up as cowboys and filled with the yearning of a forbidden love. (It must be the yearning thing.) I plan to see the movie, swoon, and cry. Who's with me?

After writing that paragraph, I watched the preview via the link above. It confirms: Yes, I don't care for rodeos and smoking cowboys and whatnot. But the relationship part of the movie looks just stunningly heartbreaking. The movie opens December 9.

Obama's speech on the war in Iraq

Senator Barack Obama spoke at length to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations today. The full text of his speech is available here. Key excerpts from the Tribune report by Jeff Zeleny follow:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) rejected Tuesday the call for an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, declaring: "I believe that U.S. forces are still a part of the solution in Iraq."

"During the course of the next year, we need to focus our attention on how to reduce the U.S. military footprint in Iraq," Obama said in Chicago. "Notice that I say 'reduce,' and not 'fully withdraw.'"

"The Administration has narrowed an entire debate about war into two camps: 'cut-and-run' or 'stay the course'," Obama said. "If you offer any criticism or even mention that we should take a second look at our strategy and change our approach, you're branded 'cut-and-run.' If you're ready to blindly trust the Administration no matter what they do, you're willing to stay the course."

"We don't necessarily need a timetable, in the sense of a precise date for U.S. troop pull-outs, but a time-frame for such a phased withdrawal," Obama said. "We need to say that there will be no bases in Iraq a decade from now and the United States armed forces cannot stand-up and support an Iraqi government in perpetuity."

After the parliamentary elections in Iraq, which are scheduled for Dec. 15, Obama said the United States should begin devising a strategy for the gradual withdrawal of the more than 160,000 troops in Iraq. He offered general recommendations, but conceded there were no "magic bullets for a good outcome in Iraq."

Still, the Democratic senator chastised the administration for failing to encourage debate or give an honest assessment of the war in Iraq.

"The president could take the politics out of Iraq once and for all if he would simply go on television and say to the American people: 'Yes, we made mistakes. Yes, there are things that I would have done differently. But now that I'm here, I'm going to work with both Republicans and Democrats to find the most responsible way out,' " Obama said. "Imagine if he did that, how it would transform the politics of our country."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Recipe blogging, Thanksgiving edition

This is completely unlike me, but I am going to share a holiday recipe with you because it doesn't seem like Thanksgiving to me without it.

I was such a picky eater until adulthood, the first time I ever ate sweet potatoes was when I first had Thanksgiving dinner at the house where Mr. Tangerine grew up. We've been together since the late '80s, so these sweet potatoes and I, we go way back. My mother-in-law makes the world's best turkey—even the white meat is tender and juicy—but it's her sweet potatoes I can't get enough of. They could double as dessert.

This year, we're having Thanksgiving Day brunch at my sister's, which means that there will be no giant turkey dinner—but dammit, I will have my mother-in-law's sweet potatoes because I've got the recipe now.

Mom's Sweet Sweet Potatoes

8 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup of brown sugar
1 stick of butter (or 1 1/2 sticks if you like 'em buttery)
1 cup of orange juice concentrate

Boil the sweet potatoes for about 45 minutes until they're soft when you poke them with a fork. Drain and cool. Peel the sweet potatoes. Mash with a potato masher and pull out any stringy bits you run into.

Melt the butter and brown sugar together and mix into the mashed sweet potatoes. Then add the OJ concentrate.

Scoop the mixture into a casserole dish, smooth the top, and bake at 375° for 30 to 45 minutes or until the edges turn brown.

Serve to great acclaim.

Modifications to recipe, or
How I Actually Made the Sweet Sweet Potatoes
(Should I call it Orange's Sweet Potatoes?)

6 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup of brown sugar
1 stick of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
almost 1 cup of orange juice concentrate (thawed)

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into halves or thirds. Boil for about 30 to 35 minutes or until they're soft when you poke them with a fork. Drain the pan and let one chunk of sweet potato fall into the sink. (Leave it there.) Mash the surviving potato chunks with a potato masher.

Melt the butter and brown sugar together (30 seconds in the microwave should do), stir in the vanilla, and mix into the mashed sweet potatoes. Then add the OJ concentrate and stir it up.

Scoop one serving of sweet potatoes into a bowl for yourself and eat it. Dump the rest of it into a casserole dish (it looks a tad shallow in a 9x13 pan, so maybe a 9x9 would be better) and smooth the top. Store it in the fridge.

Tomorrow, bake it at 375° for 30 to 45 minutes or just until the edges begin to turn brown, really just to reheat the sweet potatoes ('cause they taste perfectly fine without this step). Serve to great acclaim.

Monday, November 21, 2005

December 1 is "Blog Against Racism" day

Chris Clarke of Creek Running North wrote this recently:

Which is all a very long-winded way of declaring December 1, 2005 - the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks' heroic act of civil disobedience on that Montgomery bus - "Blog Against Racism" day, in which people post something on the very broad and complex subject of racism. You don't need to have a political blog to participate. Race, after all, affects almost every aspect of life in one way or another. Your post might be literary in nature, or historical, or concern current issues in need of political attention. You might take the opportunity to debunk scientific racism, or write poetry or essays about personal experiences, uplifting or depressing.

I don't have a clue what I'll write (any ideas??), but I want to do it. If you're interested in taking part too, mention the date on your blog and leave a note in Chris's comments section.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

It's a party!

Young Ben just summoned me to the bathroom, having pooped. (I keep forgetting that wiping is really something he should be doing for himself.) Now, typically he doesn't editorialize about the day's production, but this time? "It's a party poo." Meaning the toilet bowl contained a festive assortment of discrete nuggets, and when that many of them gather in one place, it's gotta be a party! I honestly don't know where he came up with that.

(I think he may need to drink more water.)

In the course of doing some medical editing, I encountered a handy new word, and I want you all to start using it. There are a few equivalent versions, so I'm sure you'll find one you're comfortable with. Stercoraceous, stercorous, or stercoral, all with the stress on the first syllable, meaning "having to do with excrement." Why call someone on their BS when instead you can impugn their rhetoric as being stercoraceous? Don't call that lousy movie merely "crappy"—call it "one of the more stercoraceous films in the director's oeuvre."

What kind of woman are you?

We have all sorts of phrases to describe men who like a certain type of woman or, more particularly, a certain anatomical feature. Most commonly, there are ass men, leg men, and breast men. Some fellows prefer women with a certain hair color, or they like a general build (curvy, slender, or fat), or maybe they have an elbow fetish.

Colloquially, you don't much hear talk of "an ass woman" or "a shoulders girl," and yet most women who are attracted to men can highlight their favorite physical details. (This is in addition to the standard criteria like "must have a sense of humor," "has to get along with his mother...but not too well," etc.) It could be broad shoulders, a certain height, great eyes, wavy hair, delicious abs, a muscular butt, lush lips, strong legs, impressive but not overly large biceps, a really hairy back (okay, I made that one up), fantastic cheekbones, a great chest, or something else entirely.

What particular part(s) do you like enough to call yourself an [insert part here] woman?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Closed on Sundays

When did this open? "The Holy Land Experience" is one of Orlando's newest attractions, apparently, as I hadn't heard of it before seeing billboards last week. Apparently it's like Epcot-does-Jerusalem.

The website itself is a hoot: While loading the buttons for the left sidebar, there was a little fine print that said "Holyland Buttons Loading." (Thanks for the explanation! But why so slow? I've got high-speed access, baby. Holiness must gum up the works.) The Oasis Palms Café (variously called "Oasis Palm's Café," in a holy case of apostrophe misuse) features a genuine vegetarian Mediterranean Sampler (tempting!), plus the Goliath Burger. (Of course. But why no Jumbo All-Beef Jesus Dog?) They've got the theme-park shop, the Old Scroll Shop, set up for online retail. You want audiobooks on the end times? This is the place.

They show a short movie in the Theatre of Life, "The Seed of Promise." I don't think it has to do with the spilling of seed, though. Different seed. And there's a "New! Exhibit!" (Jesus would weep to see such punctuation abuse), "A Day in the Life of a Monk." (I'm not sure, but I think it usually involves Monk cracking the case when the police can't, owing to the phenomenal attention to detail that accompanies his OCD.) Cognitive dissonance, though: If the theme park's supposed to put visitors in touch with what it was like in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, what's the medieval monk doing on the premises? Can we get some consistency here, folks?

I got pretty excited when I saw the Holyland Button for job opportunities. Sadly, there are currently no job openings. I'll keep checking...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Shocking but true: I want to start a new meme

C'mon, let's all play! Write 10 things about your dating/sexual history (in the comments or at your own blog) that are shocking but true. Here's mine:

1. Nobody asked me out in high school.
2. My first kiss was in freshman year...of college.
3. In sophomore year of college, I went out with a guy named...Binks.
4. One summer during the college years, I stayed on campus to work and generally avoid living with my parents. I had a ten-guy summer—but it was just making out, since I was a virgin at the time. People who didn't know I was a virgin thought I was a total slut.
5. I lost my virginity at age 21, just before senior year of college began. His member was curved, and his mother fucked up Kraft Macaroni & Cheese with onion flakes. (You can't do that.)
6. I once made out with a guy named Thor. (In Minnesota, these things happen.)
7. My interracial involvements have included two or maybe three Asians, a South Asian (a Bengali from Nepal, I think), and one guy who was part American Indian. I slept in a black guy's bed for six weeks, but he wasn't there.
8. I've never done anything with another girl or woman.
9. My total number of sexual partners stands at two.
10. I have been monogamous for 17.5 years.

Obama via satellite

Senator Barack Obama did appear on "The Daily Show" last night, but via satellite from Washington. Obama was having a good time—his broad smile threatened to split his head open. Jon Stewart cracked him up, and he cracked Jon up. The good senator is a funny man—who knew? You can either catch one of the reruns today, or read about their conversation here.

Monday, November 07, 2005

So much to report, but none of any import

Howdy! Did you miss me? Let me tell you what I've been up to. Friday, Mr. Tangerine and I hauled Ben out of a sound sleep and into a taxi to O'Hare Airport for an early flight to Florida. While traversing the airport, the Chicago Sun-Times cover leapt out at me from a bank of newspaper vending boxes. What's this? "Daley's War on Poetry"? The mayor, who encourages the entire city to read the same book each summer, is anti-poetry?!? It can't be! And it isn't. The headline actually said "Daley's War on Poverty." I kinda like it better the first way.

We rented a shiny new convertible in Orlando and began driving to my in-laws'. Wouldn't you know it? We missed our exit. Twice. (I blame poor signage, as is my wont.) Getting ourselves turned back around involved getting stuck in a roadwork-related traffic jam that chewed up a lot of time, so one of our several turnarounds took us through an Arby's drive-through. Would you believe they had run out of roast beef? At Arby's! (I suspect a recall or a case of rotting meat.) My no-mayo turkey sandwich came with both turkey and mustard, which are vile condiments that should not pass my lips. (Fuckers.)

On Saturday, we went to a "festival of the arts" in Inverness, Florida. First of all, a large ceramic frog that dispenses toilet paper like an endless white tongue? Not art. A large portrait of George and Laura Bush, looking 15 years younger and blander? Not art. Margaritaville/parrothead wooden signs? Not art. Silk flower arrangements? Not art. Kitchen towels cut in half with a crocheted loop sewn on so you can hang the half towel from a fridge or oven handle? Not art. There were occasional flourishes of art, but mostly crap.

But Inverness is lovely. Near the "historic" courthouse (It dates all the way back to 1912! Which is when my grandma was born, so it's not like it's from The Land Before Time.), there was a small law-firm office. The junior guy with his name on the door? Last name: Evilsizer. Seriously.

And across the road from the Evilsizer office, there's a barbershop that sells t-shirts reading "Save a fish, eat a cooter." That's right, people: Inverness is the home of the Cooter Festival we all learned about last year on "The Daily Show." 'Round those parts, a cooter is a small turtle, and the town leaders blithely organized a festival without regard, apparently, for the popularity of "cooter" as slang for a woman's genitals.

On the road between Inverness and my in-laws' place, there's a furniture store called Badcock. Sadly, I did not get a picture of the sign proudly emblazoned with the store's name. Mr. Tangerine wondered if Mr. Evilsizer has had any doings with Badcock.

And speaking of "The Daily Show," I have some sad news. Yesterday, Barack Obama's spokesman reported that the good senator must remain in Washington today to vote on a defense spending bill, alas, and thus will not be making his "Daily Show" debut today. Deep sigh.

Back on the home front, there is some good news. For the last two weeks, my UPS packages had been delivered by rather homely fellows, and I began to despair that the regular guy, the one I've enjoyed seeing every week since 1997, had been transferred. But today he was back—he and the missus had sold their house and had to pack boxes. Apparently he packed his hair because the auburn curls are gone, replaced by a crew cut. I can wait for the hair to grow back in...

Friday, November 04, 2005

This is terrible

I will be forsaking the Orange Tangerine universe for a few days. Nobody but Kathie paid any attention to the last post, so I can't just leave that one up top for three days. I need something zippy, something that spurs lively conversation in the comments zone. But what? I lack inspiration.

Sex, food, and potty talk are always big hits. How about kidblogging? My kid has taken to calling me "Mommom" lately. I think it's adorable, but I won't hold it against you if you don't.

Potty talk? The Feral Mom pointed me toward ratemypoo.com, which is completely horrifying. If you like that sort of thing, check it out. But I'm warning you, it's gross. It's photos of non-empty toilets, and you're supposed to rate the poo, and it looks like every single poo averages about a 5.1 to 5.8. So that's kinda pointless. Nothing rates a 1 or a 10? Feh.

Food? Nah. I'm all sandwiched out. I'm still not sure which is worse, though: Puffintoad's peanut butter and mayo, or Psycho Kitty's peanut butter and sauerkraut. Both appall me.

That leaves sex. Let's see what we've got. For position recommendations, visit The Lowland Seed to find out what's working for Sergei and Mona. You can't beat their patented Astronaut—if you're in a male/female relationship, try it out tonight. In other personal topics, I just bought this trimmer to keep my bits tidy. Haven't tried it yet, but it looks promising. Last but not least, two of my famous boyfriends are going to be on TV together. That's right: Senator Barack Obama, whom I love, will be on "The Daily Show" Monday night with Jon Stewart, whom I dreamed about (in the dream, we were totally making out, but then I put a stop to it because my subconscious, apparently, is scrupulously monogamous). As my friend Flea pointed out to me, "Women all over the country will explode as soon as those two shake hands." Gentlemen, you can take it easy Monday night. Barack and Jon will take care of the foreplay for you.

Have a great weekend, people!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Missives from Spamland

Okay, I understand that spammers have programmed their spam machines to generate random pairs of words for subject lines to elude the filters. I understand there is no meaning to them. But sometimes I love what they send me! There was one that featured the new phrase, "anus bolster." It occurs to me that such an item, if it existed, might be just what my grandma needs to remedy a couple of her complaints. More recently, I received a hot stock tip with the subject line "RE: warty creamery." I like to get Heath bars and pecans mixed into my ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery; what delights await me at Warty Creamery?

Someday, someone somewhere is sure to Google these phrases, and they'll be so sad to see I know so little about these subjects. So they'll return to the Google results and see ads for "shop for warty creamery at eBay" and "find books about anus bolster." They will click on those links and be disappointed anew, won't they?

I've also been having a hard time deleting the one with the subject line, "Launch an appearance of success with one of our imitation watches." What provides the veneer of status better than an imitation watch? They're not claiming to have imitation Rolexes; for all I know, it could be an imitation Casio with a painted-on digital readout.

Thank you. That is all.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

For you naysayers

For those of who looked askance at my selection of Brad Pitt for a position on my freebie-lay list—who said either "He's merely good-looking" or, alternatively, "He doesn't do anything for me," check this out: Brad Pitt is now using his stardom to bring more attention to the issues of African poverty and disease. He's narrating six hour-long episodes of a PBS documentary, ""RX for Survival: A Global Health Challenge."

In other updates to the freebie list, I'm thinking of replacing Bill Clinton with Robert Downey Jr. Two reasons: Downey, who's 40 now, should look like Keith Richards after all his years of drugging, and yet...he's just plain hot. And when he was interviewed recently in Entertainment Weekly, the writer kept exclaiming about how smart and verbally adept Downey is. I will always love Bill Clinton as the bestest president ever, but he's looking a little too...statesmanlike, too elder-statesmanlike, these days.

So, to recap: Brad Pitt and George Clooney, for looks combined with political activism; Bruce Willis, with the lights off, for that yummy voice; Russell Wong, in the obligatory handsome-Asian position; and Robert Downey Jr., for getting better with age. Also, I understand there's a kissing scene in his new movie, "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang", and that kiss is between Downey and Val Kilmer. Delicious!