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Monday, November 22, 2010

In Which I Wuss Out And Revisit An Old Holiday Favorite 

Okay, so last year a friend of mine requested the recipe for my Famous-In-My-Own-Mind Lemon Meringue Pie that I serve up every Thanksgiving for the folks on the home front. I don't generally plagiarize myself, but this week is already uber jacked up with all the excessive happy holiday horse shit, that I thought I'd do myself a favor and repost this gem from last year. Don't judge me. Besides they're real, and they are SPECTACULAR! The pies aren't bad either. Hey Ooooo!


or Yes. They're real...and they are SPECTACULAR!

Okay, so every year at Thanksgiving I am asked, nay required, to bake two homemade lemon meringue pies for mass consumption at Big Mar's holiday table.

It's not that hard--that's what she said! You, too can wow your drunken, lame-ass family and friends. Fire up your printer, because I'm about to blow your mind by sharing our top-secret, passed from one generation to none, Luscious Lemon Pie recipe:

Lemon Meringue Pie

1 bottle of chilled Pinot Grigio or frozen bottle of Limoncello
4 Eggs
¼ Cup Cornstarch
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
1 ½ Cup Sugar
¼ Cup Flour
1 ½ Cup Boiling Water
2 Tablespoons Butter
½ - ¾ Cup Lemon Juice
2 Teaspoons Lemon Peel

First things first, one must always be in the proper frame of mind when one is cooking or baking. This is key if your culinary treat is to come out at all edible. Ergo:

1. Load up your CD player with your favorite tunes of the moment. Crank it up to eleven or just until your ears start to bleed.
2. Uncork the wine or Limoncello. Pour a healthy glass full. Consume. Repeat as needed.


Bake pie crust as directed on package, unless you're a Martha Stewart wanna be and just HAVE to make your own crust, then you're on your own. Show off.

Separate eggs (they're notorious for not getting along), squeeze juice. (I said squeeze JUICE, not Judy! Sheesh!) In a non-stick pot, mix together sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt over medium high heat. Stir in boiling water gradually. Cook over direct heat, stirring constantly until thickened.

Refill your wine glass. Consume.

Beat yolks slightly (they don't seem to mind. eggs are kinda kinky that way) and stir in at least 1/2 of the hot mixture. (I usually only put about two spoonfuls in the egg yolk mixture because seriously, whose going to do this step. Really. I know, I know. This is so the yokes don't get all scrambly in the hot, sugary ooze. Yeah. Yeah. Whatever.)

Add yolks, juice, peel and butter. (I usually pour less than half of the juice in at first, then gradually add more as it is cooking. because honestly, sometimes there's just too much juice--That's what she said!!) Continue to cook, stirring until it is clear and thick. Add to cooled pie crust.

Time to Mering-gay, Baby!

Egg whites from the four eggs above (a reminder just in case you've been hitting Step 2 listed above an extra time or three and forgot)
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar (whatever the hell that is. Really. What the heck is that? Tartar is, like plaque, isn't it? WTF?!? Who wants plaque in pie? do, round eye.)
1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
8 tbsp of sugar

Beat egg whites (Holy Crap! ova are apparently the masochists of the food world) and the mysterious Cream of Tartar in your fabulous Kitchen Aid mixer.

Oh. You don't have one. So sad for you, Loser. You'll be working that hand mixer while the rest of us Kitchen Aid owners will have our hands free to refill and enjoy another lovely chilled glass of vino, chat on the phone and flip through a magazine while the mixer works its magic.

Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla. Real vanilla. Not that cheap imitation crap. Mix one last time to infuse the essence of the individual flavors into the delectable white, sugary cloud of confectionery awesomeness known as Meringue. Slather onto previously constructed pie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Voila!!

That ought to keep the little bastards all sugared up and happy.

There you have it. Nothing left to do, but fill your glass of hootch, unbutton your pants, grab a fork and dig in. You've earned it.

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

In Which I Share Some Very Early Holiday Cheer

Okay, so there's this Austin band, Quiet Company, who I really like. They sing very feel-good pop music with a slightly blue lyrical bent. They're extremely personable and seem to sincerely enjoy connecting with their fans. They go so far as to invite them on stage for the final numbers of each show. I haven't seen them, but have been told as much.

Anywho, they've recorded an EP comprised of Christmas songs. Somebody, I'm assuming one of their fan-faithful, created a video of Santa images. Some of them will warm your cockles (nobody likes cold cockles), some will make you go Wha?!? and some will disturb the bejesus out of you. Innocent 50s era my ass.

Hope it brings you a chuckle before the crushing hammer of Christmas madness beats your soul to a bloody, miserable, whimpering pulp.

 Merry freaking Christmas, Mo Fos.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Photo #(place your favorite digit here)
or playing with our food 

Okay, so we are rarely short on delectable confectionery treats. Someone is always bringing cakes from school visits, (dusty) muffins from Costco or big-ass, size-of-your-face cinnamon rolls compiled of enough artery-clogging goo to stop your heart just by looking at them. This week we had all of those AND a trash bag full of Halloween candy. 

Meet our little friend, Sanchez. 

Clearly, we had waaaaaay too much sugar.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Rubin, The Rhett And The Running Around Like Sex In The City
or another whirl-wind shee-shee cosmopolitan 24 hours

Okay, so last week my fellow Old 97's/Rhett Miller enthusiast, Steph and I met up on a long grey stretch of highway and drove to the Big Apple to catch the blue-eyed lovely one play a completely unplugged, all-acoustic show at the Rubin Museum.

It's peculiar how things are now. Meeting people on the Social Internets is similar to having pen pals back in the stone age, only now the responses are immediate and the volume of connections are virtually limitless. You may recall, I became aware of Steph via this photo she posted with me and Geo standing in the background.
Steph being all adorable with the man of evening
(p.s.: thanks again for the great view)

Then she was part of our summer Rhettventure which is where we formally met face-to-face.
Carrie, Samantha, Aidan, Charlotte and Miranda

And now she's become one of my favorite people on this sticky webby. We get along swimmingly. We travel well together, have similar interests and the same warped 12 year-old boy sense of humor. She gets me, which is not always easy to find someone who does. I tease her that she's like the little sister I never had.

Anywho, once we figured out the exhausting hour-long dance of the Turnpike interchange and finally ended up in one car (don't ask) we made it to our hotel in Soho in record time. There was absolutely no traffic to speak of. None. Crazy, right? I mean, come on! It's NYC. There's always gridlock.

Right then we should have known this was going to be a great day.

The first sign of Providence was at the hotel check-in.

Clerk: I'm sorry. You're room is not available.
Me: What?
Clerk: I'm afraid all we have left is a Penthouse, but it only has a king size bed. I'm so sorry. It'll be the same price. Will that be okay?
Me: *does imaginary spit take all over the counter* HELLZ YEAH!!! I mean, I guess so. If we must...

Have I mentioned how much I love the Four Points Sheraton?
our swanky Penthouse suite
21st floor Mother Pluckers!!

So we go from a cramped single room to a two-room luxury SWEET! Holla!! OMG! Geo would have been in hog heaven. There was a ginormous 60" plasma in the bedroom hanging above the pocket doors. I probably wouldn't have seen him all night. HaHa!

our view at dusk

our view at night

The thing about following an artist around the East Coast is you cross paths over and over with other fans who travel from show to show. Okay, this is kind of pathetic, but we've been to so many events over the last couple of years that we now know a fair number of people in attendance. So many so that sometimes I feel like the Mayor of Millerville. The Rubin was no different.

While Steph and I chugged, er...I mean sipped daintily with pinkies up on a rich, full-bodied Pinot Noir, we chatted with Joslyn, Sheila, Marcy, Sarah, Tracey (who came directly from the airport-suitcase in tow) and a lovely new fan friend, India.

India and I were at many of the same New York shows, but never met until now. She and her husband are huge fans of Old 97's. She was there with two of her friends who were unfamiliar with Mr. Miller.

The Rubin is a museum dedicated to Tibetan arts and culture. The sold-out lecture hall was smaller and had the feel of an intimate house concert. Being uptight white people, everyone sat quietly, attentively listening to Rhett croon, until Singular Girl of course. All bets are off with that song. Our entire row sang the abandoned hydra line. You have to. I think it's mandatory to sing that lyric now.

Rhett's performance was his usual brilliance. He sang his heart out as always. It was refreshing to hear the newbies in the audience chuckle at some of his more clever lyrics. Who am I kidding. They're all smart, witty and engaging. Being so familiar with them, it's nice to be reminded via fresh ears how craftily written his songs are.

He performed a new song scribbled in his adorable puppy spiral-bound notebook. Puppy notebook... He's such a lovable dork. Rhett had written it that morning, inspired by one of the two pieces of art he chose from the Rubin collection to project on the back of the stage.

The Hungry Ghosts

Let the Whiskey Take the Reins
Songs about Tibet are overrated. Songs about whiskey, not so much.

Okay, so I know it's just a coincidence, but I like to think he threw in Lashes just for me. That's my story, dammit.

Lashes  *sigh* 

At the end, he was presented with a long white scarf by the moderator.

The only disappointment of the evening was he didn't do a meet and greet. Oh well. It's not like I'm never going to see him perform again, right?

The festivities continued when Marcy, Sarah, Tracey, Steph and I all piled into the back of the driver, Tony's car and headed to Dos Caminos for an amazing Mexican dinner in celebration of Marcy's birthday.  It felt like our own personal Sex In The City moment. I was the lone redhead so I guess I would have been Miranda. I imbibed enough to be Miranda.

We drank, dined and dished about anything and everything. The ladies shared entertaining stories of their collective adventures on the road, the cities they've been to, the zany people they've met along the way. It was so much fun! My face hurt from laughing so much. The tequila might have had something to do with it, too. I love these spirited Metropolitan Mavens.

And just like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight, our New York adventure was over. We were back in our pumpkin, rolling West. But boy was it fun while it lasted.

Until next time...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I Ain't Afraid of No...Rabbit?
or hangin' with the Scots. Hootman!!

Okay, so remember me? 

It seems we were on a little break. No, it wasn't you at all. You've been here the entire time being all supportive and encouraging and shit. It was totally me. I've been less than focused of late. Okay, more like scattered and tattered and completely unable to sit still to create ... whatever the Hell this is. 

Maybe it's a wave of, oh let's call it "pre" shall we, pre-menopausal mind melt. Maybe it's the flux of extracurricular activities to which I cannot seem to say no. Maybe it's the drastic reduction of my red wine consumption.

I'm going with the later.

The later I can fix.

Now hand me that bottle with the screw cap. I don't have time to pop a cork, dammit! This is an emergency!

Yeah. So let's start over.

Hi there! My name is Murry and I gotta tell you about these five Scottsman Geo and I spent the evening with. Yes, I realize I just ended the sentence with a preposition. This ain't a high-brow tome I'm penning here. Besides, English is not my first language. That's my story and I'm running with it. Hey! It's my blog, so shut up, Gringo.

But I digress...

I fell in love with the Scottish band, Frightened Rabbit when Betty, Barney and I went to SXSW this past March. I was familiar with their music beforehand, but seeing them play four times that week made them my new imaginary BFFs with a side of brilliant brogue. I've been talking them up like crazy to Geo ever since, so when they set a tour date here in the Burgh, we jumped on it.

The day of the concert, three of the charming lads stopped by WYEP for an in-studio session at noon. Shhh. Don't tell anyone, but I managed to sneak away from the Special K a tad early (just a tad, I pinky swear) to dash across town to catch the performance. Counting on the inevitable tardiness of rock folk, I crossed my fingers, drove like a controlled hell and managed to walk in before the doors opened.

Brothers Scott and Grant along with Gordon were terrific, playing four songs and charming the rapt audience with tales from the road. Truth be told, with that brogue they could have recited the alphabet and we all would have been enchanted, hanging on their every A, E, I, O, U sometimes Y.
The Head Rabbit and Me

I had a lovely chat afterwards with lead singer/songwriter, Scott who could not have been any nicer. For this tour, he's been drawing bearded characters on anything from cardboard to album sleeves. They sell them at the merch table for $20, first come-first served. This was the bearded fellow from our show. The couple in front of us bought it. So close...

One other funny tidbit from the in-studio. Scott's brother, Grant has a chemical formula tattooed on his forearm. Turns out it's the chemical equation for the skin cream he uses. Weird, but whatever. Who am I to judge.

The show was terrific. The venue...meh. It's not an awful setting, but they remodeled the upstairs from open space around the perimeter to these little pods with awkwardly placed couches that didn't face the stage. Begs the question um...why?
look. they have Frightened Rabbits... in their pants

We stood against the railing as our little cubicle filled up with young FRabbits enthusiasts. Halfway through, Geo, my wonderfully thoughtful Geo, swapped places with the youngins standing behind us. They could not have been more thrilled or more genuinely polite and thankful. They were so sweet, I didn't even mind the one girl's horrifying singing voice. Okay, well maybe I minded a little. She was dreadful! I'm not kidding. It will make your brain bleed. Watch. You can't not hear her assaulting your senses.

(my ears with a long stick)

But then again, how can I fault her. She was enjoying the hell out of herself. And it's not like I haven't tortured those poor saps around me with my wretched pipes.

Living In Colour

Nothing Like You

As always, there are a few more videos on my YouTube channel here

Anywho, a fun time was had by all. The evening ended around 11:30pm, making my 3am wake-up call punishing, but worth the foggy mind, buzzing eardrums and burn marks on my face from shoving my head under the coffee maker in the morning. As our one friend always says, you can sleep when you're dead.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cavorting Amongst A Calvalcade Of Crazies
or all Hallow's Eve in the South Side

Okay, so everyone knows Halloween is primarily an excuse for humanoids with a vagina (and sometimes a brain) to shed their inhibitions along with their dignity and act out their fantasies by parading around in public in their finest hootchie wear.

I know what all you swinging Richards are thinking as you scan the scantily clad, temporarily tarted-up trollops ...

Me: What a skank!
Male: *stare* I'm sorry. Did you say something?
Me: Your gonads are on fire.
Male: What? Yeah. That's cool...
Me: Exactly.

Anywho, Saturday night my SXSW bud, Howard and I made our annual trek to the South Side to watch Night of the Singing Dead, Rowan and Martin's Coffin. 
It just wouldn't be an outing without
a lime slice and swizzle stick

Night of the Singing Dead is a locally produced musical tribute dedicated to all the performers/personalities who have passed on to the great beyond, focusing on the recently deceased. I can best describe it as a group of your friends getting together, burning a spliff or three and deciding to put on a show in the proverbial barn. Everybody wears cheesy costumes, tells off-color cornball jokes and tries to crack each other up with outrageous behavior. It's ludicrous and lame and I love it. I wrote about this locally written wit and groan fest last year here.

This year's offering was great fun as always. The set was a replica of the Laugh-In joke wall complete with hidden windows for comic effect. The opener was an hilarious June, Ward and Beaver Cleaver bit sung to Fever. As you might expect, the beaver references were fast and furious leaving us drunken louts breathless from laughter. I didn't record the entire bit, because clearly I am a giant asshat. But trust me, it was epic, and not just because we were imbibing either.

No theatrical skewering would be complete this year without a hit on our numskull QB, Ben Rapelisberger and his misguided super-sized schlong.

Back to the cavalcade of crazies...

So we head out of the theater to inhabit the streets with the creatures of the night. One of our favorite things to do is people watch. The human genus is fascinating on a normal day. Halloween just ups the ante 10 fold.

First thing out of the gate, we encounter the mother load. A veritable clown car of high-heeled hootchie girls. We just stepped out onto the sidewalk when a limo bus pulled up, opened its door and out poured all the classics: hootchie nurse, hootchie Catholic School Girl, hootchie sailor girl, hootchie teacher, a whoopie cushion... Wha?!?

One of these things is not like the other.

How'd she get in there? She had waaaaay too much cloth on to be part of that crowd of teetering teasers. She must have paid for the bus.

Here are some other encounters of note:

Apparently even Superman needs access to quick cash. Who knew?
ATMs are Clark's Kryptonite

  • Lots of Playboy bunnies, including a burly six foot dude in Go-Go boots, fish nets and curly back hair (as you may remember, straight dudes in frocks rock my world)
  • one Snookie, which was one too many
  • Blue-haired Katy Perry and her cupcake bra
  • The Four Diapered Horsemen of the Apocalypse-seriously. just diapers and a t-shirt
  • Nuns canoodling with priests
  • Hunter S. Thompson chatting up Jesus. Fear and Loathing with our Lord Jesus (and his busty Nurse Nancy)
  • Papa Smurf
  • 101 blood-soaked zombies
  • several males as bananas (calling Dr. Freud)
  • one gaseous wiener

and finally...

Dick in a Box!!
One. Cut a hole in the box...

But hands down the scariest sight of this unholy night was found lurking in a darkened doorway. A beer-bellied old creeper leaning against the door jam wearing nothing but a leopard thong.


When I caught sight of him I literally screamed out loud, as did Howard... as did the young couple behind us. Then we all gouged our eyes out in unison.

The next night my lovely little hamlet celebrated Halloween. We had a fair amount of adorable tots, pre-teens and teens knock on our door. 

The only way Stink Bugs could be adorable this year

This was by far the cleverest costume of the evening.
Dear God: Thanks, but I'd like to exchange my
gift for an aged XL in smouldering hawt, please.

Nerds. You gotta love 'em.