Thursday, December 22, 2011

Colts Haiku, Week 16

In which our intrepid haiku correspondent discovers the physical dangers of an unanticipated winning streak...

Probability Theory As Expressed By Wayne Campbell (No Relation)

The Colts win *two* games.
Ow! Ow! Darn these monkeys fly-
ing out of my butt!

--Mary Campbell-Droze

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monique's Pork Paté recipe

Because the Internets demanded it, here's Monique's pork paté recipe, which originally came from her grandmother.  Having now spent many a Christmas season smelling this as she prepares it, let me assure you all that it smells just as good during the cooking as you think it would smell.

This recipe is also enthusiastically endorsed by Katie the Beagle who has spent hours drooling and staring adoringly at piles of pork, hoping for the one miraculous mistake that will drop it all on the floor.

Mommer's Pork Paté
~ 6 lbs. -- Pork Shoulder (or another fatty cut of pork)
4 Large onions
Bacon strips
6 tablespoons -- Paprika (I use 3 tbs hot paprika and 3 tbs sweet paprika)
3 tablespoons -- Bouillon grains
Dash of pepper
Dash of garlic powder
The measurements for bouillon, paprika, mustard, pepper and garlic are approximations. Use them to taste.
Cube the pork meat and onions and saute until the meat is well browned.
Move the meat and onion mix into a large pot and add water, bouillon, and paprika and simmer for a good hour. Add water as needed to keep the mix from burning or sticking to the pot. Because I make large quantities I have to do the browning in stages and I just keep adding the newly browned meat and onion mix to the pot as I go. When it is done cooking there will be a nice, thick sauce. (At this point, you can take a few spoonfuls out and have that for dinner....) Remove from heat and cool for a couple of hours or even refrigerate at this point for later mincing or creaming.
Mince the meat and onion mixture in a meat grinder or food processor adding a few dollops of mustard as you go. The idea is to produce a creamed consistency that will form a nice ball if you take a hand full and squeeze it.
Preheat the oven to 375
Take a meat loaf pan and place strips of bacon on the bottom. Form a loaf shape with the creamed meat mix, packing it together firmly. Put that in the loaf pan, then cover the top with strips of bacon. Bake for however long it takes to cook the bacon on top, around 45 minutes. I sometimes make several smaller loafs in one loaf dish by wrapping each on the bottom and sides with tin foil and placing them all in the loaf pan together, tightly.
This recipe is a lot of work which is why I only make this once a year... And, I have to admit, my pate sometimes comes out a little crumbly which I think has to do with the fattiness of the meat used. Crumbly is not ideal since you want a nice, smooth, pate-like consistency in the end but whether crumbly or smooth, it always tastes great!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Colts Haiku, Week 15

In which our intrepid Indianapolis Colts haiku correspondent gleefully discovers that her beloved Colts will not have to share the historical ignominity of an 0-16 record, as they finally managed to win a game after 14 weeks of futility.

"All I Want For Christmas Is A Still-Breathing Indianapolis Colts Football Team Franchise"

Rumors are flying
Faster than Santa's reindeer.
Still, Claus delivers!

--Mary Campbell-Droze

The 0-16 disgrace of my beloved 2008 Detroit Lions' still stands alone as the crown jewel atop NFL history's dung heap. The remaining players from the NFL's last perfect team, the 1972 Miami Dolphins, have a tradition of opening a bottle of champagne when the last undefeated team finally gets beaten each season. I propose that in Detroit we should start a similar tradition, but with a fohtie of Mickey's Malt Liquor.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Meet the She-Hulk

A friend of mine sent me a link to an article about a breast-cancer campaign in Mozambique starring female comic-book heroes: Superheroines Give Self Exams In Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign.  That led to a bit of back-and-forth about one of the featured characters, the She-Hulk, who happens to be one of my favorite comic characters.  So I reckoned I'd pass along a few words about the Savage, Sensational She-Hulk, aka Shulkie, the Jade Giantess, and the Jolly Green Glamazon.

She-Hulk's an interesting character, one of my favorites in all comic-dom.  She was the last superhero created by Stan Lee at Marvel. She was not created out of a burst of energy or late-1970s women's equality, but instead to preempt the copyright for a female version of the Hulk because the Incredible Hulk TV show had proven to be so popular.  (Marvel feared the TV production company might come up with their own female version of the Hulk for which Marvel wouldn't have a license.)

She-Hulk is Bruce Banner's cousin Jennifer Walters, who's an attorney and gained her powers from an emergency blood transfusion from Bruce.  Unlike the Hulk she usually keeps her intelligence when she's green & hulky. She's also interesting in that her inner conflict between herself and her superhero identity is that she generally has a lot more fun being She-Hulk than being an attorney. Her attorney-dom comes into play pretty often, though.  She's undoubtedly the top lawyer superhero in all the land.  Somehow the fact that an attorney superhero was created out of a copyright pre-emption move fits just about right. And despite the dubious legal motivations for her creations, she's turned out to be one of the more interesting comic book characters of the last thirty years.

Her first comic was Savage She-Hulk (1980-1982) which had a decent 25-issue run in the early 80s, mostly battling gangsters in Los Angeles.  It was a pretty straightforward comic, and though it didn't feature some of the clever narrative devices of later incarnations, it was enough to launch She-Hulk as a legitimate hero in the Marvel Universe.  After Savage She-Hulk ended its run in 1982, Shulkie popped up in a lot of the team books, especially Avengers, where she's been a member on-and-off since the early 80s, and the Fantastic Four, where she took over for the Thing for a few years in the mid-80s.

In 1989 she got her own book again, and the 60-issue run of Sensational She-Hulk (1989-94) was a genuinely ground-breaking comic.  John Byrne wrote and drew many of the issues.  In this book She-Hulk often broke the fourth wall, addressed the audience directly, and was very aware that she was in fact a comic-book character.  This was fairly unprecedented in superhero comic books, and served as a genuinely clever plot device at times. When Sensational She-Hulk ended its run five years later, it had become the longest running series for a Marvel female superhero to date.

She-Hulk also had a pretty good solo run in her own She-Hulk comic that ran in two volumes (Vol. 1, 2004-2005 and Vol. 2, 2006-2007) in the mid-2000s. For much of that run she was an attorney at a law firm that dealt with the legal havoc wreaked by various superheroes and supervillains. After a superhero mishap left her disbarred she took work as a bounty hunter.  That run only lasted a few years, and was best for the first 30 or so issues when Dan Slott was writing it and filled it chock-full of Marvel-Universe in-jokes.

That was before Slott got promoted to write Amazing Spider-Man.  Aside from the general sales challenges that comic books starring women superheroes often had, that seems to me to have been one of the biggest problems in sustaining a She-Hulk comic book.  When somebody talented took over and had a good run, they got promoted to the bigger titles. The flip side is the good thing about She-Hulk. Because she's a second-tier character, writers and artists can take chances with her that they wouldn't take with a marquis character like Spider-Man.  So you tend to get a pretty uneven assortment of brilliance and dreck that mostly just serves as an excuse for artists to draw some panels of green cheesecake. (Not, mind you, that there's anything wrong with a nice slab of green cheesecake! I just prefer my cheesecake with the clever writing and plotting that's been the hallmark of the best of the She-Hulk books.)

And that, my friends, is more than you ever wanted to know about She-Hulk.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Colts Haiku, Week 14

... in which our once-fearless reporter begins to understand what a season headed to 0-16 really feels like, week in and week out:

"The bitch hit me with a toaster." 
--Bill Murray, 'Scrooged'

The Ghost of Christmas
Present didn't give me one.
Yet to Come brings coal!

--Mary Campbell-Droze

As a Lions fan, I can state authoritatively that by the time we hit 0-13 in 2008, I probably would've chosen the toaster over watching another disaster.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Frankly, It's Beyond Swiffering

Retrospect: the new
Hardwood flooring shoulda been
Beagle-hair colored

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Colts Haiku, Week 13

In which our intrepid Indianapolis Colts haiku correspondent realizes that rooting for an 0-12 team is quite relaxing, now that expectations have fallen lower than a Sergio Aragones bottom-margin cartoon:

If Bill Gaines Ran A Football Team And Al Jaffee Did The Playbook As A Fold-In

At this point, I take
My cue from Alfred E. Neu-
man: "What, Me Worry?"

--Mary Campbell-Droze

As for the Lions debacle this week on Sunday Night Football, it was like a bizarre episode of Spy Vs. Spy in which the Black Spy stands there quietly while the White Spy commits a dozen incredibly stupid penalties then implodes in a giant fireball.

Stupid Lions.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Sleepy Beagle

Katie the Beagle left her iPaw unguarded for a while last night while she slept. Curiosity drove me to check it out to see what her daily calendar looks like.  As it turns out, it consists entirely of a single schedule, set to recur every day, with one varient for warm weather:

8:00 am - Wake up.
8:01 am - Go into Monique's office. Crawl on bed. Go back to sleep.
11:00 am (Nice days) - Ask to go outside to bask in sunlight. Sleep in sun.
1:45 pm - Back to sleep in Monique's office.
7:30 pm - John comes home. Solicit belly rub and walk.
7:31 pm - Walk with John
7:50 pm - DINNER!
7:50:23 pm - After dinner, climb up onto couch and go to sleep
8:30 pm - Table scraps! Stare hopefully and pitifully at John and Monique when they finish dinner.
8:31 pm - Climb on couch. Solicit belly-rubs and petting. Optional nap.
8:50 pm - Liver snaps!
9:00 pm - More belly rubs and petting
9:15 pm - Climb into living-room bed. Sleep.
11:55 pm - Late-night piddle
Midnight - Bedroom bed. Sleep.

Total planned sleep time per day: 22 hours, nine minutes.  I would claim that she must be narcoleptic, but as near as I can tell, this is the general sleep ratio for all beagles.