Archive for July, 2006

I Would Be Posting…

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

…but The Ruins is too interesting to put down. Review to follow sometime.

Oh, since I’m on the topic, what should I read next? I already have plenty of books piled up in my to-read pile, but I’m always looking for reading suggestions. Thanks.

Hm, and now that I think about it, let me know if anyone would be interested in a blogger (and blog-reader) book swap. I know others have done this before. If there’s sufficient interest to do it again, let me know and I’ll get to work on it.

Savor the Flavor

Monday, July 17th, 2006

I saw that Food Network personality Rachael Ray is getting her own syndicated talk show. I passed this item on to Fitz-Hume with the question, “Oprah’s successor?” His response: “God, I hope not.”

The linked story mentioned that Oprah’s production company is involved in Ray’s new show, and it seems it will be a lead-in to Oprah’s show in many markets. That can’t hurt. Ask Dr. Phil how much it helps to be taken under Ms. Winfrey’s wing. Like all great leaders, Oprah will one day have to choose someone to take up her mantle and carry on. Maybe that day is coming sooner, or maybe it’s coming later. But maybe this is Rachael Ray’s audition to be the next Oprah.

Even if Ray never reaches that stratosphere (and really, how could she?), I think this is just the start of bigger and bigger things for Ray. I’ve never watched her Food Network shows, and I’ve never read her cookbooks. But even a non-foodie like me can tell that she is too big a fish to stay in the basic cable pond forever. Whatever “it” is, Rachael Ray has it. Just like George Clooney was too big for “E.R.” and Eddie Murphy was too big to stay on “SNL” and Bill Clinton was too big for Little Rock, Rachael Ray is bigger than the Food Network.

Certainly some foodies like Fitz hate Ray. I’m not the one to mediate that rift; I’m not foodie enough to know the lingo or the reasons for the bitterness. I’ll note that the general food-eating population seems to like Ray: one of her cookbooks is in Amazon’s top fifty overall sellers, and three of its top fifteen food books are hers. I don’t know whether the hatred for Ray is due more to her supposed sins against cuisine or her personality or that she may be a bad tipper. (I won’t address sexism, but it doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibility here, at least as one factor.)

But, a couple of points. First, the fact that she inspires such strong sentiment is a sign of her pop culture immersion. Second, to the extent the Ray-haters’ complaints are food-related, her new show will be broader than her Food Network shows. People who don’t care for the way Ray cooks might be willing to sit through a celebrity interview or a segment on dating advice for the elderly. Plus, I get the sense that some of the foodies dislike that Ray doesn’t seem to worship at the high altar of Cooking as Religion. And, to the extent the complaints are based on Ray’s personality, her attitude seems to me more suited for the daytime talk show than perhaps anything else. I think she’ll be a natural.

I’m sure there were some who criticized the meteorological acumen of David Letterman back when he was doing the weather in Indiana. And I’m sure some people doubted Oprah’s journalistic bona fides when she was a news anchor in Nashville (as we’re seeing with Katie Couric now). Similarly, some people are going to take their criticism of Ray’s culinary skills and assume she can’t be a superstar in a broader field. Feel free to come up with a tasty and simple recipe for crow for me to eat in case her show ends up cancelled in a year. But my prediction is that Rachael Ray’s talk show will be a success.

Congratulations! It’s a Blog!

Monday, July 10th, 2006

I went outside yesterday and saw this. Balloons and ribbons all over the front steps of my place. I had to step carefully to avoid ripping the whole thing down. I’m assuming it had something to do with my upstairs neighbors — a birthday, perhaps. Or maybe they got engaged. I just hope they’re not having a baby. The pitter-patter of their cats’ paws on the hardwood floors is one thing; that plus a baby’s crying and stumbling might be too much.

If the balloons had said “Get well soon,” I might have thought they were intended for me. I’ve been quite sick for a while, and am just now starting to get over it. I won’t bore/disgust you with the details, but it’s been bad enough for me to actually make a doctor’s appointment.

At one point I was reminded of something from the short-lived sitcom “Andy Richter Controls the Universe.” Andy, Conan O’Brien’s former sidekick, played an office drone. He got a raise or won some money or something, and all his co-workers wanted him to do something elaborate with the money, like take a trip. Andy had smaller dreams: He just wanted a second tv for his bedroom, so he could watch it when he rolled over on his side in bed. (He turned the second set on its side on his dresser.) Maybe if I could do that with a computer and keyboard, I could have done some blogging last week. Well, that, and if there had been anything that moved me to write. Anyway, unless the doctor tells me I have a tumah, I should be back at it. Coming soon: a Supreme Court post I’ve been putting off forever, a book review or two, and whatever else I can scrounge together.

Sweet Child of Mine

Monday, July 3rd, 2006

Alternative post title: How can something so small make so much of something so disgusting?

As alluded to earlier by Milbarge and myself, I recently became the proud father of a healthy baby girl. My wife and I are one week into this whole parenting experiment, so I feel obligated to share my expertise.

  1. There is no reasoning with an infant. In this way they are very much like religious fundamentalists. No matter how many times you tell them their bottle is warming up and that it will be ready in a minute, they will continue to scream incoherently until they get what they want.
  2. You can hold a baby too much. They are fine with it, but after a while your arm starts to hurt, and Advil can only do so much.
  3. Child care really cuts into your drinking time.
  4. So many dirty dishes/clothes/diapers. It never ends. Life becomes about washing.
  5. You are still yourself in the morning. Getting a new family member that you are responsible for does not change your likes, hobbies, bad habits, or sense of humor.
  6. Nature vs nurture is facinating to watch. For instance, before she had even really seen me, my daughter was already stretching exactly like me. According to Mrs. Haff, this was very uncomfortable in the womb.
  7. Sleep is a wonderful and precious gift. Cherish it.
  8. What would be outrageous to pay for phone sex seems perfectly reasonable when trying to contact the on-call weekend pediatrician because green stuff is coming out of your kid’s eye. (Fairly standard tear duct infection, no need to worry.)
  9. Typing a blog post takes twice as long when one arm is consumed with proping up a mini human whose head is to heavy to be independently operated.
  10. Not being able to do what got you and your mate into this predicament really sucks.

It is amazing, and highly entertaining watching the personality already developing. All in all, this is still very surreal. I’ll be going about my day and look down and there is a little person in my arms, and this time it isn’t a drunk midget.