30 Jan 2012

Sadly, He Did Not Become A Fry Cook On Venus

In light of the hype, Honda released their Ferris Bueller Superbowl ad early to the online minions (that's us!). And here it is:



27 Jan 2012


This has the potential to be both awesome and depressing at the same time:


And yes, that's a trailer for a commercial. A commercial. We don't know what product it's for yet, but if Ferris ends up shilling for an insurance company, I might kill myself.

Regardless, this buzz for an ad confirms that the cultural tastes of future generations will be exactly as they were portrayed in Demolition Man:

(I'm actually not judging; I would totally be charmed by a jingles-only radio station.)

But let's hope for the best that this mini Ferris Bueller reprise is fun and doesn't send us all into a grief spiral over our lost youth and lame dulled adult lives.


Happy Friday?

Here's a song for the road, my favourite one from Ferris Bueller's Day Off:

Oh, what the hell, here's a few more:

The best for last:

God, I really love everything about that movie. Don't fuck Ferris up, ad people!


26 Jan 2012

Overheard: How Do You Know You Don't Like It If You Won't Even Try It?

Overheard while walking along Danforth next to two college-aged girls:

Girl in Puffy Jacket: Ooo! When the weather warms up we should totally go to that gelato place! It's supposed to be so good.

Girl in Green Scarf: Isn't that where Sarah found a pube in her cup?

Girl in Puffy Jacket: *genuinely annoyed* Oh my GOD, you are SUCH a picky eater.


24 Jan 2012

(Not Quite) Sweating to the Oldies

A couple of months ago my Aunt Diane emailed me and mentioned that she was taking Zumba classes and that she was quite enjoying them. Now, even though I thoroughly and giddily love learning about trendy diets (maybe I delight in the too-good-to-be-true promise of them? Or maybe I'll just take any excuse to sit around and think about food?), I am highly suspect of trendy exercise things. THEY DO NOT FARE WELL WITH ME. But seeing as my Aunt Diane knew that and since we are related and no doubt share an aversion to sweating, I decided to take up her advice and ask for Zumba DVDs for Christmas (which my dear mother-in-law then bought for me! Thanks, Mern!). I figured I would try it with minimal shame in the privacy of my home first rather than explode onto the Zumba scene in all my fat, uncoordinated glory at a gym.

Now, this is not my first dance-based workout video. I'll have you know that I am also the proud owner of Old School Dance Party with Donna Richardson featuring live performances (and a strip show from the guy in white) by The Sugarhill Gang:

It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

But oh my gawd, am I ever the very definition of 'pathetic' while doing Zumba.  I basically lurch around clumsily, my feet a full beat behind while my upper body is half a beat ahead and everything in between just swings around confused and untamed, as if I were a drunk, upright pot-belly pig. And this is all done to the sound of attractive Latinos goading me with false compliments meant for the aerobically unchallenged. "Good, good! Now you're getting it!" cheered Beto as Jen gave up and waddled to the kitchen.

So - while I promise to keep trying to Zumba, I think I'll keep supplementing my day with a workout more my speed: The 1959 Good Housekeeping Plan For Reducing Off-The-Record:

I love you, vintage fitness.

This album is basically the LP version of Jack Lalanne (who also had his own exercise records, including one called Glamour Stretcher Time that used a tension band!). Now, I don't just like this little workout because it only takes half as long as Zumba and has absolutely no cardio component to it. I like it because it is super classy. In my living room, I do little scissor kicks and waist bends to the charming accompaniment of the The Bob Prince Quartet.

I couldn't find a video online of someone doing the Good Housekeeping Plan for Reducing Off-The-Record exercises - and there is not enough money in the world for me to create one where *I* perform these beauty boosters for you - but I did manage to transfer an exercise from the LP onto a USB (just a snippet!), so you can get a sense of the dignified loveliness that is exercising the Good Housekeeping way. I present to you, the crappiest clip ever made with Windows Movie Maker:

I know I'm a sarcastic SOB most of the time, but I think this record is delightful. Ridiculous, laughable, and oh-so antiquated, but none-the-less delightful. I feel like a soft and lovely lady while exercising to this, as opposed to the gyrating barnyard animal I normally feel like when I do modern workouts.

It probably has something to do with the fact that it features old white people music is all so calm that no sweat emerges from my body. That, and the movements feel familiar - like this one for the double chin where all one needs to do is tip the head back and open one's mouth repeatedly - which is funny, because that's a really similar movement to how I got my double chin to begin with:

I don't care if it doesn't work (and I know it's wrong of me to super secretly hope it does). It's darling and fun and doesn't give out scheduled praise. And it makes me laugh every time do "bust enhancing exercises" to a very plucky version of The Yellow Rose of Texas.

Thumbs up, 1950s! Thumbs up!


20 Jan 2012

I Am So Very, Very Easily Charmed

I'm not a fan of "performance" reality TV competitions (like American Idol or X-Factor or Dancing with the Not-Really-Stars) nor do I watch musicals or, ugh, Glee, but when I see a politician sing well, regardless of what political stripe they wear, gosh darnnit if I'm not just positively tickled pink.

Barack Obama only gave a couple lines of Al Green last night, but I am on the verge of fan-girling:

It's not the first time he's sung for a crowd:

And he's certainly not the only politician to do it. Here are a few other examples ...

Canada's Prime Minister Harper is a surprise guest of the National Arts Centre a few years ago and performed this Beatles song:

Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi sing something I don't know:

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter drops some Sugarhill Gang:

Russia's Prime Minister Putin is more cringe-worthy than charming in his rendition of Blueberry Hill, but check out all the Hollywood types in the audience:

And it's not singing, but remember this? Ha. Oh, Bubba, those were the days:

It almost makes you wish all elections had a talent component. Almost.


18 Jan 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different

Compliments of The Oatmeal:

a.k.a. Why Wikipedia is all fucked up right now.

Want to help in the fight against SOPA / PIPA? First, go learn about the bills. After that go contact your elected officials. Wikipedia has a handy-dandy page set up which allows you to locate your state representative.

Have at 'er, Americans (I would, but crabby letters from Canadians are generally regarded as toilet paper alternatives by American politicians).


16 Jan 2012

The Way Things Were a.k.a. Holy Fuck, 1965

If you know this blog, you know I loves me some vintage living. But what I like to explore - however ridiculously at times - is how a chapter in history was reflected in its media (and, in turn, the ideals and values that were impressed upon the culture). Well, that, and disgusting retro recipes. This is not, however, entirely reflective of reality. If you were to go purely by the 1950s women's magazines I own, you'd think, "race relations? What race relations? Shouldn't we be busying ourselves with a Jell-O mold right now?"

But come 1963-ish, magazine cover stories became less about "Soups Men Love!" and more about stuff like this (you'll know it when you see it):

"When A Negro Family Moves Next Door", written by Suzanne Hart Straight for Parents' magazine, January 1965. Oh, cringe.

I debated posting this entry because, well, it's totally horrible. That, and I'm a giant pussy whose intellect is more on the level with topics of Marshmallow Fluff than racism. But seeing as Martin Luther King Jr.'s life is celebrated today, it seems appropriate to remind people (and in some cases, educate people for the very first time) what he and those who fought for civil rights and dignity were up against.

Despite the unfortunate opinions expressed by some of the people interviewed in this article, I'm quite thankful for it, as it provides a look into what people really were thinking and feeling at the time without a PC-filter. It shows how far we've come, but it can also, perhaps, allow us to connect a few dots between those attitudes and how we view other groups and minorities in society today.

Isn't it weird to see those words in a magazine? It startles me that an article like this was relevant just 47 years ago and during my parents' lifetime (Barrack Obama would have been four years old, and my mom - whose birthday is today! Happy Birthday, mom, sorry to hijack it with this hate crime! - would have been eight.). It is downright strange to read what "normal" people once (?) were concerned about when it came to black people and all kinds of horrifying to read the vile things less-than-normal people were proud to express to a nationally-read magazine.

What's more, as I was reading, I had to keep reminding myself that this discussion wasn't about some weirdo town in the South that we all figure was full-on batshit racist, but was instead a middle-class neighbourhood in New Jersey. Yeah, buddy.

Let's not kid ourselves, there are still plenty of shitty things going on out there, said and done by people who weirdly claim it's not hateful (it's free speech! It's my religious belief! It's a genuine threat! It's hilarious! It's against my vision of America! The founding fathers wouldn't like it! Their hair products cloudy up my pool!). Give me a fucking break, you fucking fuckstains.

The author of  "When A Negro Family Moves Next Door" does what I clearly can't do (as I just demonstrated); she responds to some really heinous opinions calmly, with facts and without a lot of judgement, possibly because she knew that you win more flies with honey and that, at the time, Parents' probably had a fair share of readers who related to what was being said by these neighbours.

But that shouldn't stop you or I for letting a "holy fuck!" or a "oh, hell no!" fly out of our mouths while reading this, particularly when you get to the part where "Mr. Heath's" shithead opinion is shared. I mean, just look at what this asshole has to say:

Ugh. Yes, please leave, Mr. Heath.

But the article isn't just a bunch of awful quotes. It shows a turning of a tide, people who were clearly rational and thoughtful and no doubt helped to shape the attitudes of their own neighbours. And - as a lesson for me, they did it without calling anyone a "fucking fuckstain":

So, without further ado, here's the article in its entirety, followed by a "Group Discussion Article" - some questions and information for people to use when discussing this article with friends, family, co-workers, or neighbours (I love that! Gold star, Parents'!). You should be able to open these images into a separate tab where you can expand them to a legible size:

Discussion Prompts:

So, thoughts? Anything surprise you? Can you share any memories (or perhaps stories from your parents) from this time? Does any of it feel familiar when thinking of other groups that are currently marginalized in our society?

And finally, how are you spending Martin Luther King Jr. Day?


13 Jan 2012

A Whole New World

(Scroll down for the Update!)

When I was in Europe this Christmas, I was surrounded by coffee fanatics. I don't necessarily mean Europeans (although they certainly enjoy their Nespressos) - but the members of my family whom I was holidaying with: The day did not begin until everyone had coffee. I've generally been a take-it-leave-it kind of person when it came to a cup of morning Joe; I've never really been that big on Starbucks and generally I hadn't been bothered to make it, except for maybe on the weekend. But seeing as coffee was being made every morning, I'd help myself to some each day - and since I've been back in Canada, I've been drinking it somewhat regularly. Just a cup in the morning, made with the french press. I've been learning how to make a better brew, by letting the grounds "bloom" first - and it's been weirdly interesting to discover that there really is an art to everything.

But as we all know, art is highly subjective - as demonstrated in Redbook's November 1965 magazine article, "How To Perk Up Your Day With Coffee."

As you can see from the cover stories,
it's just one of MANY great finds in this issue.
The article starts out sane, explaining what roasting the beans does, how long one should allow coffee to percolate and so on ...

... but it's when the magazine goes into the specifics on how one can add touches that make coffee "a bit different" and what "foreign flavours" can bring an "elegant note" to the evening that things take a turn for the worse:
"... coffee with any or all of these: cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, whole cloves, orange peel, lemon peel or sliced oranges."


Ok, so perhaps I just happen to be someone who really hates when orange flavours are put where nature never intended them - I'm talking to you, Terry's Chocolate Orange - but sliced oranges in coffee? Really?

"It's delightful! You should try it!" says some random crazy person on the Internet.

No, no. I'm going to try another of the magazine's suggested flavour combinations. Prepare to get your elegance on with a dessert that blends coffee with gelatine, peanut butter and - I shit you not - Marshmallow Fluff:

Fuck yeah.

You know when certain religious conservatives get all hysterical about "gay marriage" and start talking about a bizarro world where people can marry dogs and children can marry toasters? They really need not worry about it because the most brutal of combinations has already happened in the above recipe, and God hasn't smited (smitten? Smut? Yes! Smut!) us yet.

I'd like to thank the above recipe for giving me the excuse to do something I have ever done in my life, and that's buy / have Marshmallow Fluff.
I know somewhere in America there's a person connected to an air tank who cannot believe that someone's gone 33 years without Fluff, but it's a fact. I wasn't even sure if the grocery store carried it, but there it was among the ice cream condiments and cones. I'm almost scared to ask where in the store it's found in the US. Please don't say dairy aisle.

In buying this strange little product, I was also introduced to something totally new that I had never heard of; a Fluffernutter:
Fluffernutter: Product of USA.

Oh, we already figured that one out, Fluffernutter.

If I hadn't seen the picture, I would have thought it was something else, but thanks to the label, I take it that a Fluffernutter is marshmallow fluff and peanut butter, in bread. And this is what people eat? For lunch? At school? Why hasn't Michelle Obama mentioned this in, like, every single one of her speeches?

But what's truly sad is that Coffee Gelatine With Peanut Sauce is actually worse than a Fluffernutter, nutritionally (and, probably, spiritually). In each serving of a CGWPS is 1/2 cup of coffee, gelatine, 1.5 tablespoons of sugar, 1.5 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1.5 tablespoons of marshmallow creme, 1.5 tablespoons of milk, half a tablespoon of molasses, and a sprinkling of salt.


And with that dry heave, let the cooking begin.

Oh Jesus Christ.

The coffee gelatin was easy enough to make. I don't have sorbet glasses, so these highball glasses will do.

In the meantime, I got the topping to look deceptively normal:

I've popped it all in the fridge to chill. I'll update this post with the final product once my Guinea Byck husband is home to try it out. Stay tuned!


The dessert is complete and the Guinea Byck is standing by!

If you didn't know what was in it, I wouldn't call it a repulsive looking dish:

Since we're talking about an elegant dessert, it should no doubt be accompanied by candlelight, cloth napkin, and an eager gourmet!
Ok, maybe not so eager.

"What's in this, again?" the poor dear asked.

"Coffee. Gelatin. Peanut butter. Marshmallow. Sugar." I said.

"I like all those things," replied the sweet GB optimistically.

I steadied my camera to capture his first reaction.

"Wait. There isn't shrimp in this, is there?" he-with-the-shellfish-allergy asked.


"When has there ever been a dessert that had shrimp in it?" I yelped.

Iron Chef, replied the voice in my head. The voice in my head watches a lot of TV.

"You didn't answer my question," my husband said suspiciously.

"No. I promise, there is no shrimp in that," I sighed.

I held the camera again, ready to take a picture.

"So, do I just eat this, or start with the top or ...?"

"Whatever you want, dear," I said, realizing how rather stupid blogging is.

He put his spoon in and skimmed some of the topping and sniffed it. And then he put some in his mouth.

And then he had another bite. And another.

"Thoughts?" I asked.

"It's good," he said. I just don't get him sometimes.

"I can't finish it all right now, but I'll have the rest later! Don't throw it out!" said the strange man I married. He got up and kissed me on the cheek and I quickly learned of an immediate side effect of eating this dessert: seriously disastrous breath.

Poor GB.

But then I couldn't help it. I decided to become Guinea Byck #2 and give it a try.

I wish I could tell you the taste was a surprise that really did warrant a thumbs-up. It wasn't. It's like having cold, jellied coffee with a fuck-tonne of sweetened peanut butter.

It makes ... no sense.


The topping and the gelatine don't compliment each other, they don't blend together - they are simply two awful things that just happen to coexist in the same container, like as if Josef Stalin and Naomi Campbell shared a limo.

You puzzle me, Redbook. You puzzle me.


11 Jan 2012

It's Time To Invest In A Full-Length Mirror

I just realized that I went to the grocery store wearing ankle-skimming palazzo pants, harlequin-adorned socks and Mary Jane slipper shoes. People probably thought I was an off-duty mime:

There should be a rule that the next time I dare to wear this combination, The Music Box Dancer should suddenly start playing, and I should have to twirl and skip around regardless of where I am at that moment.


9 Jan 2012

Somedays, I Feel A Real Kinship With Homer Simpson

Today I was working on the computer when I happened to look down and notice something on my thumb.

I freaked.

There on my thumbnail was a thick, bumpy, white-ish, yellow-ish, gnarled-looking growth. It was disgusting and surely fungal or viral and undoubtedly aggressive as I didn't think it had been there the day before.

I was afraid to touch it and somehow spread what was happening, so gingerly covered the gross appendage with a Kleenex and went to everyone's favourite alarmist website, Web MD:

Ugh. Fungi. Viruses. Warts. Cysts. The barfy possibilities were endless.

I unwrapped my thumb to get a closer look. It had all the symptoms of all of the things Web MD had listed. Oh, how humiliating. I kept thinking about the meeting I have to go to tomorrow and whether I could get away with wrapping the thumbnail in a band-aid and tell some elaborate story about how I nearly cut my thumb off cooking dinner. There was no way I was going to parade its sickly hideousness out in public.

I wondered if the nail bed underneath it had already died or if there was a chance of saving it. Carefully, I took a pair of tweezers and ever-so-cautiously picked at the gnarled bark covering my nail. It lifted easily and exposed a perfectly healthy, normal patch of thumbnail. And then the part that I lifted flaked off.

I yelped. And then I bravely inspected it closer.

And that's when I realized it.

It was melted cheese.


6 Jan 2012

How Many Tacos Will This Buy Me In Heaven?

I received this in the mail today from someone who reads my blog:

Um, thanks?

I will say, however, that it sure beats the email I received a month ago from someone who attached a copy of her TV cable bill and asked if I wouldn't mind paying it "as a way of saying thank you for being a blog reader". Yes, that's right, I should be paying you to read this blog (that is, when you're not watching TV, of course!). What's more, the "fan" suggested that I surely must have "come into wealth" from all the traffic on this website, much of which she feels she contributed to by "posting the 50s experiment on Facebook".

Guys, the only profit that I've directly reaped from his blog is pictured above:  a Seven Dollar Jesus Bill - and I'm pretty sure I can't even redeem that until I've a) accepted Him as my Lord and Saviour; and b) died.

You know, if this is what I receive, it really makes you wonder about the kind of mail Oprah gets. Just take a minute and picture it.



5 Jan 2012


(not "Purplemented" as it kind of appears.)

I'm making up a new word:

pin-ple-ment v. pin-pluh-ment
To create, buy, do, or otherwise actualize the things you pin on Pinterest.
I really love Pinterest, but I've quickly realized that I've been pinning and pinning stuff rather than actually doing or making these things that I'm so charmed by.

And so it should come as no surprise to those who regularly read this blog that the first thing I decided to pinplement was a recipe: lemon poppyseed pancakes.

This was the pin, originally from the website, Picky Cook:

And this was the pinplementation:

Not as pretty, but yay!

It was the world's smallest batch of pancakes as Patrick wasn't interested in having any (I just don't get him sometimes), and I really didn't need a load of them, so that's all I made; three little pancakes (that's a bread plate they're on, not a dinner plate).

Making such a small amount sort of felt like that scene in Bridesmaids where Kristen Wiig creates that single, elaborate cupcake; the only difference is that I didn't eat what I made as glumly as she did.

Fact: Never in my life have I ever eaten something glumly - not even the food at a funeral.

Wow. Congratulations, Jen. After all, who could ever wallow in sadness when finger sandwiches* and date squares* are around.

* The Official Refreshments of Funerals since 1894.

Yes. Exactly. Exactly.

Where was I? Oh, right: Lemon poppyseed pancakes. Did these differ much from regular pancakes? Not really. Just a tad crunchier, as if I was eating pancakes with flavourless roe baked into them. But that's not really the point. The point is this: Hurrah for doing something and not just pathetically staring at things that other people on the Internet have done.

... Ooh. I hope that last sentence didn't make you feel awkward, People of the Internet. You're not the pathetic ones - I was totally talking about myself and those other weirdos out there. Every second you spend on this blog actually makes you cooler. It's a fact.

Oh, God. Please don't ever leave me, People of the Internet. I need you.


4 Jan 2012

Good Morning, Good Morning To Yoooooou

I'm still kinda feeling flu-y, so I've been conking out early each evening. Last night Patrick assured me, "don't worry about it. You need your sleep. I'll do the dishes tonight."

And this is what I awoke to:

Patrick's idea of doing dishes usually involves stacking dirty dishes next to the dishwasher, filling up the pots and bowls with hot water, dumping some utensils into said pots or bowls, and then promptly walking away. The dishes are done, man.

God, he's lucky he's cute.


2 Jan 2012

The Only Thing Missing is a Never-ending Discovery of Miniature, Flattened Cat Bodies

From the Hoarders-inspired art series, Barbie Trashes Her Dreamhouse, by Carrie M. Becker.

My life will be complete if she creates a miniature version of a stockpiling room from Extreme Couponing.

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Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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