Sunday, January 30, 2011

You Can Have It All

I've always thought the perfect pet would be the bear on the Snuggle fabric softener bottle, but was bummed about the part where he isn't actually real. Except that he is.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


We're experiencing my all-time favorite weather phenomenon here in our nation's capital:


Weathermen fall to their knees for THUNDERSNOW!
More powerful than a monster truck tearing through the halls of Congress, THUNDERSNOW! wreaks its wrath through the streets of DC, leaving only a trail of white flakes of death in its wake. And awesome radar images:
The federal government is no match for THUNDERSNOW! It crumples under the mighty power of THUNDERSNOW!, discharging federal employees two hours early so they can flee like rats scattering from the sinking cargohold that is the Capital Beltway. Meanwhile, Tea Party bloggers warm up their Gateways to excoriate Congress for crossing the aisles at last night's State of the Union address, claiming THUNDERSNOW! as divine retribution. It's probably true. Check out this behind-the-scenes view of Mt. Olympus during last night's speech:

And, in case you "scientists" need more empirical proof of the awesome majesty of THUNDERSNOW!, check out THUNDERSNOW! from space: Oh, the snowmanity!

Friday, January 21, 2011

I Hope I Get a Sunburn

Finally, the day is here: Portlandia premieres tonight! And just in time, since it's starting to get a little too real:


The biggest obstacle to bicycle-rights advocacy is militant bikers; I see carbon copies of these guys on the way to work in the morning. They raise all kinds of conundrums for the modern urban woman. For example, will the misuse of the bicycle whistle diminish the effectiveness of the rape whistle?

And why, as a culture, do we get apoplectic when Toyotas lack proper brakes, but we glorify fixies, which have pretty much the same issue going for them? If you think about it, a fixie isn't that far removed from my brother's first car, a 1982 Dodge Colt with most of the seats and engine parts removed. The intent was to maximize the engine sound and surface area for making out with the ladies, but not unlike most bicycle douchebaggery, just ended up having the opposite effect.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fuzzy Diplomacy

At last night’s state dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao, President Obama announced that, “Under a new agreement, our National Zoo will continue to dazzle children and visitors with the beloved giant pandas."

Wait, wha--??? The first state visit from China in over a decade and all we get is to keep the pandas we already have? What the hell kind of agreement is that? One of the primary reasons I voted for Obama was for his diplomacy skills, but this is a complete and utter failure for the Administration.

Here’s how US-China diplomacy is supposed to work: They do whatever the hell they want and we look the other way. Specifically, in the direction of our adorable little panda cubs. Call it fuzzy diplomacy. For the human rights violations China is churning out (and yes, I do consider barring access to Google a violation of basic human rights), we should get at least two cubs. Plus a third for all the flimflammery with the currency.

And, China, as long as you’re forking over the good stuff, you might as well put another one in there as a consolation prize now that the US is only the number 2 emitter of greenhouse gases. I mean, no one wants to cheer “we’re number 2!” at the UN pep rally, but a something soft, black, white, and butterstick-shaped would certainly soften the blow. You’re the one who wants to be the good neighbor and whatnot.

This latest disappointment only adds to the Obama administration’s dismal record on panda policy. Here in DC, our hearts broke and our traffic jammed (seriously, they shut down Connecticut Ave, one of the major arteries of the city, for three hours in morning rush hour traffic to take the panda to the airport) when our beloved Butterstick was taken from the National Zoo and thereby nudging the national landmark on to the shortlist of most depressing places in DC.

Atlanta’s panda fared even worse: no one even bothered to teach her Chinese (which was apparently an issue). I have enough trouble finding interpreters from Spanish to English; I can’t even imagine the hoops you’d have to jump through to find someone who can translate from Panda to Chinese.

I realize we’re all caught up in pressing domestic issues, like health care debate (wait, is that right? I thought we finished that months ago?!). But I implore the Obama administration and Secretary Clinton to press President Hu to panda up.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Honey Badger

Meet Randall, a poignant and stirring new voice in nature show narration. He tells the heartwarming tale of the honey badger: "Now look, here's a house full of bees. You think the honey badger cares? It doesn't give a shit. It goes right into the house of bees to get some larva. How disgusting is that? It eats larva??" Nature hasn't moved me so much since I watched Planet Earth with a high fever and started hallucinating.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Christmas Tree Cocktails

I've always thought of Christmas trees as kind of a sad waste of trees. I'd actually tear up a bit, thinking of all of the sadly hacked off trees that would fill people's lives with joy for a mere three weeks only to be tossed to the curb as a public nuisance. Those sad little trees seemed to represent the affluenzic version of The Giving Tree. All that changed when I met a girl named Christa who grew up on a Christmas tree farm. I had no idea such a thing existed. All of a sudden my image of heartless, brutal and grizzled lumberjacks slaughtering the helpless oldwood forest shifted. I imagined a land full of snowmen and singing elves tending the land and whistling a stream of rainbow-colored claymation musical notes into the frosty air while glittering snowflakes floating over the landscape.

"It's not really like that," Christa admonished me. "It's actually a lot of hard work." She kept on catechizing about the seriousness of purpose involved in a Christmas tree farm, but her words were overshadowed by her tiny stature, ink-black hair, milky white skin, upturned button nose, and slightly pointed ears. You can say all you want, but when you look like an adorable little elf and your name is Christa and you grew up on a Christmas tree farm, all I can hear coming from your mouth is Christmas jingles.

So I bought a teeny little Douglas fir that peaked somewhere around my mid-thigh. I proudly paraded home from the store, smiling and feeling proud of myself for taking the initiative to embrace the holiday mirth after my Year of Biblical Plague Living. I plunked it down in my apartment and waited for the claymation notes to start emanating from its branches.

It just stood there, looking like a very normal, very nonmagical fir.

I hadn't thought much beyond this point. I'd just sort of assumed that I'd get the tree in the house and it would emit holiday cheer from magic imparted by the Christmas tree farm elves. I'd completely overlooked the trimming of the tree. I scrambled around my apartment and managed to come up with six ornaments I'd somehow collected over the years. The effect was more depressing than magical. The tree stood in the middle of the floor, periodically emitting a Charlie Brown sad-trombone noise. So I turned to my jewelry box, and one hour later, my tree was decorated with Mexican earrings I'd once thought of as gaudy, bangles from my recent stint as a bridesmaid in India, and a ton of concert buttons. Long strands of Ugandan paper mache beads looped around the tree, simulating tinsel. Topping the tree was my shiny silver deputy star badge from Halloween a few years back, claiming this Christmas in the name of Sheriff Bitch.

"That's quite the hipster little tree you've got there," my friend wryly commented in a less-than-complimentary tone. "Next year why don't you just cut out a bunch of handlebar mustaches from brown construction paper and call it a day?"

Why hadn't I thought of that before?

I've grown quite attached to my little tree; it's made my hearth feel like home. So I devised a way to give myself an excuse to hold onto it for a little while longer in the best way I know how: use it for drinking.

Infusing the Gin
What You Need:
  • 16 oz of London-style dry gin. I like New Amsterdam -- it has more citrus notes with less juniper, so it provides a fairly neutral and light base that you can play around with. Plus, it's pretty cheap.
  • 16-oz mason canning jar with sealable lid.
  • 3-4 2-inch strips of Douglas fir, rinsed well
What You Do:
  • Toss the Christmas tree strips into the mason jar
  • Pour the gin over them
  • Seal the can and store in a dark place - your cupboard should be fine.
After 2-3 days, the gin will have taken on a fresh evergreen taste. You can leave the tree strips in there as long as you want to make the flavor stronger. Once you have the desired strength, take out the branches - if you wanted to get really anal about it, you could run it through a thin cheesecloth to make sure you're not bringing any unintended nature into your cocktail.

So what do you do with Christmas Tree gin? I made a very simple take on a Woodsman Sour.

Christmas Tree Farm Sour:
  • 2 oz Christmas-tree infused gin
  • 1 oz St. Germain
  • 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pour the lemon juice, then the spirits into the glass half of a shaker, add ice, then shake vigorously. Strain. Flame a lemon peel over the mixture and garnish with a small sprig of Christmas tree. As your friends sip and enjoy, feel free to remind them how they made you feel bad for keeping your Christmas tree too long.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Youth Are Starting to Change

Apparently Sign Language Club is way cooler than when I was in high school, when all we sang was stupid old Let There Be Peace on Earth. Interestingly enough, I had the same shirt.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Game Changer

As a general rule, I think people who put their pets in little sweaters deserve to eat said pet's kibble. If we're going to blur the human/pet line, why not go all out? And if you're spending money on getting your cat a sweater, couldn't you be spending that money to put a sweater on some little orphan in Haiti?

Obviously, that rule doesn't stand when we're talking shark fins.

And at $34, you can afford to buy one for your cat and for some little Haitian orphan. Please, think of the children. The adorable little shark-finned children.

Friday, January 07, 2011

How to Help Congress

If you've ever seen any movie about Congress ever, then you know that Congress used to use nice pitchers of water to quaff their thirst. At some point in the recent past, they switched over to bottled water. This is really just a shame. I mean yeah, they spent $190,000 on the bottles of water and yeah, it’s bad for the environment. But what really upsets is the lack of creativity that bottled water presents. I mean, no one pauses for dramatic effect while they take a swig out of their plastic bottle of water. Unscrewing a stupid little cap is not nearly as dramatic as the tension created from the pregnant pause while a Congressman hoists the pitcher to the glass, commanding presence as the water trickles into the cup.

What’s more, those petite little water balloon sized bottles seem so much sillier to be clandestinely swigging booze from, which, I assume that at any given moment, 398 members of Congress are doing.

So if we’ve taken all the drama out of Congress’ water, might as well make them look as ridiculous as possible. That’s why I support the campaign to buy your Congressperson a water bottle. Good Politics has some handy suggestions and a tool to look up your Congressperson. I’d like to get a hot pink one for the Inimitable and Honorable Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton that says “My vote might not count but I could still kick your ass.”


Saturday, January 01, 2011

It's Gonna Be A Good Year: My Heart's in the Strangest Place

I have almost exactly the same feeling I had when I crossed the finish line of my first marathon. (Except more hungover.)

I did it. I won. And I would really like to eat some jelly beans.

I'm crying big, fat tears of giddy relief. Hamilton Leihthauser, sing how I feel.

Also, why am I awake?!?!?!