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Best. Sentence. Ever. (Again.)

26 May

blog image baileys

Today’s sentence is brought to you by Cameron, age 16.

Let’s say you have a boy.  Let’s also suppose that The Boy and his friends, including Cameron, have a band.

And finally, to keep it interesting, let us also put forth the proposition that the band will practice at your house every Friday night regardless of whether you have a headache, want to practice silent meditation or need to surf the couch in your tattered pajamas while drinking Bailey’s Irish Cream and eating Kellogg’s Rice Krispies even though it’s still kind of light out and now you’re no longer drinking the Bailey’s and eating the cereal but are, rather, pouring the Bailey’s over the cereal and eating it all with a soup spoon.  But I digress.  (Which is what happens when I eat Bailey’s.)

Eventually, the band is going take a break.  Not because their heads are pounding from making all that “music”- my stars, doesn’t anyone cover a nice Sam Cooke song anymore?  Why cant the band be in a sad mood tonight?  Or any night.  No, the band stops because they are hungry.  (Again, sad moods have been proven to reduce appetites but, alas, this band is delirious.)

Which brings us to Cameron’s question: “What’s for food?”

And, really, Cameron, this is America.  The question you should be asking is “what isn’t food?”

From a flavor-blasted Goldfish to a Dunkaccino* beverage to a genetically modified vegetable that can self reproduce then gather up a bunch of its buddies to outnumber and kill us all, we are a nation that will eat just about anything as long as there is melted cheese or Bailey’s Irish Cream on it.  I’m speaking from personal experience here (especially after 10PM or following a Paul Rudd movie).

So with a wave of my wand (not really- it was more like a quick snap! crackle! and pop!) followed by three clicks of my heels (or I may have just purchased three pairs of pumps from Zappos.  It’s hard to tell; things also get blurry when I eat Bailey’s), I answered Cameron’s question and “fed” the band.  (PS: I hope it’s the shoes.)

* Second-best sentence ever: INGREDIENTS: Water, Dunkaccino Powder {Sugar, Creamer [Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate (a milk derivative), Dipotassium Phosphate, Sugar, Mono and Diglycerides, Sodium Silicoaluminate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavors, Annatto and Tumeric (Color)], Sweet Cream Powder [Pasteurized Sweet Cream, Skim Milk Solids, Soybean Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate (a milk derivative), Mono and Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin], Natural and Artificial Flavor, Instant Coffee, Sweet Dairy Whey, Cocoa processed with alkali, Nonfat Dry Milk, Cellulose Gum, Salt, Silicon Dioxide}.

To Beet Or Not To Beet?

11 May


It’s time to decide whether to join a community supported agriculture (CSA) for when black thumb takes root and flourishes in my little garden the way it has for, well, ever.  For all the years.  And while I assume that it’s tough being an oddsmaker in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, I can pretty much guarantee that here in my garden, it’s Black Thumb to win with Tomato Blight to place and Gardening Is Like Setting Dollar Bills On Fire to show.  (And they’re off!)

It’s not an easy decision given that I still have parsnips from last year’s CSA in the bottom of the vegetable drawer which, while a testimony to their freshness, are also an indictment of my family’s (and friend’s and relative’s as well as complete stranger’s) eagerness to work with the parsnip.  (Side note: this is also a testament to my mad refrigerator cleaning skills in that cleaning the refrigerator makes me angry.)

There’s a reason you don’t see bookstores with parsnip sections.  Bookstores are rare enough; but a bookstore with a parsnip section?  Never gonna happen.  The parsnip is the Jim Gaffigan of carrots (big and pale) and even though Mr. Gaffigan has written two books (including “Food A Love Story,” that practically wrote itself and includes such prize-winning sentences as: “[t]here’s never a strike at the Cheesecake Factory,” and “the Waffle House vibe feels more like that of a halfway house or a mobile home than an actual house,”) he remains an acquired taste.  Unless Starbucks introduces a Mochaparsnipaccino (“freshly-dug parsnips layered between Columbian roast coffee and FairTrade Peruvian coco.”  Venti, $7), the parsnip and the bookstore shall never intertwine.

Joining a CSA also means that every Tuesday from June to November the seat belt warning will continually chime because the passenger seat will be so weighted down with vegetables, other than parsnips, that the on-board computer will assume I have an unbuckled teenager sitting beside me.  It’s usually during potato and onion weeks when this happens although occasionally the chime stays on when I am merely transporting grapes (also known as cases of wine).

Of course picking up the cabbage and kale (so very much kale) from a “drop off” adds a certain mystique to otherwise boring (and often gassy) produce.  Also it’s fun to ask the intern if this is the good s*** that you talked to the “grower” about and, also, is it seedless?  (Because sometimes the jokes are just for me and I often dwell in Greenwich Village circa 1978 in my mind- when I’m not sleeping.)

Sleep rock thy brain.  (Hamlet, Act III, Sc. 2.)

Less IS More

11 Feb


By now we have all caught on to Kraft’s, Kellogg’s and Nestle’s little secret: that in order to keep prices level (but profits up), the sizes of our groceries have gotten smaller.  Everything has gotten smaller.  (Except Americans.  And American-style houses.  What’s with the insistence on an open-plan kitchen/living room?  I am extra embarrassed when, on House Hunters International, Texans especially, complain about the lack of closet space, garage space and outdoor space.  With no man-cave and a bathroom ratio greater than 1:1, it’s as if they really want to live in, say, Texas.)

A 5 pound bag of sugar now weighs 4 pounds, a twelve ounce bag of toll house chips is now a 10.5 ounce bag (which means goodbye toll house cookies, hello Food King brand cookies) and what was once a 12 ounce Knudsen spritzer now checks in at 10.5 ounces or, in my house, no ounces because I stopped buying spritzers and, instead, bought large bottles of juice and seltzer.  (And wine.  With all the money I’m saving by not buying Knudsen spritzers, I’m buying large bottles of really good wine.)

The only things that haven’t shrunk are the dozen eggs and the pound of butter.  (And the Americans.)

Of course it’s just a matter of time until the marketing department/farmers at Monsanto convince us that eggs were never sold by the dozen anyway- the hens lay them one at a time so that we can buy (and pay more for them) individually.  (Carton sold separately.)

Do you know how many recipes I can make from memory because they start with a dozen eggs, a pound of flour and a pound of butter that can no longer be my go-to desserts because the packaging size changed?  Answer: more than one.

But I’m not here to complain.  (I can do that anywhere.)

By now I’m sure you’ve noticed that FA&S has succumbed to demand and gone public, that the FA&S you’ve come to know and love is now found at: without all that pesky “” nomenclature getting in the way.

Which means we can pass the savings on to you.

Less typing on your part means more time to read the posts you love.  (Or watch cute kitten videos.  I get it; it’s not personal.  Some of those kittens are really adorable.)

With as much (if not more) sarcasm as before, fewer posts means you WIN.  Here’s how:

You spend less time reading FA&S and more time doing the things you do instead of reading FA&S.  Things that make you happier than reading FA&S (now available in .com format), whatever those things are.  If those things even exist.

Fewer posts means that you spend more time living your life and less time reading about mine.  (I’m not loving that.)

Reading words and phrases and such was hampering your ability to laugh anyway. Why put up with the inconvenience any longer?

Plus, if you really need more fresh air or sarcasm, visit us at: where you will find additional FA&S columns and more!  (For those of you in the Otsego, Schoharie and Delaware county area these columns are printed on actual paper.  Bad for trees, but so worth it.)  Just look for the purple box and grab a few- they’re free.

There’s only so much of me to go around said the Saran Wrap to the casserole.  (I just made that up.)

(Side note: Saran Wrap was accidentally discovered in a lab in 1933.  Saran is also currently used for high-quality doll hair because of its ability to hold a curl and shine.  Saran Wrap was originally sold in 100 sq. ft rolls and is now available in smaller rolls for the same price.)

Just another piece of useful information that you can find on the new FA& (or Wikipedia).

Until next time, or in the March O-TOWN paper whichever comes first, we thank you for reading.

PS: there is no “we.”

(Also: guest bloggers wanted.)

PPS: this post is so long, it counts as two.  See you in April.

(Also: guest bloggers wanted.  I mean it.)

Go On Now Go

26 Nov

blog image baobab 2

I don’t mind waiting at the pizza place.

I call it in, they say “1/2 an hour” which really means that they will commence making the pizza in 1/2 an hour because when I get there 45 minutes later, I wait.  Just not as long.

At least not as long as Cheyenne has been waiting.

I don’t personally know Cheyenne; I know her name (or her favorite state capital) because it was stamped onto the large leather key ring she was holding which was hanging next to her stuffed teddy bear key chain.  You may know Cheyenne as well: she is about 45 years old with the lungs of a 25-year-old (and roots as deep and long as a baobab tree, but I digress.).

I know that her lungs are strong because I could hear her swearing at the pizza maker from across the room.  The pizza maker whose job, BTW, is to make pizza- not manage the counter, nor talk to customers nor answer the phone.  (Why anyone would yell at the pizza maker in a small town is beyond me- it’s the Russian roulette of take out.)

Still, Cheyenne shouted at the pizza maker because her food wasn’t ready.  “If I had known it was going to take this long,” she yelled, “I would have made dinner at home.”  And, you know, it took all the strength I had not to fall apart or offer to drive her home (to a disco beat, if necessary).

Instead, I spent my time perusing the specials board, looking at the Little League team photo and reading the following written on a little plaque outside the dining room:

“It would be our pleasure to seat you.”

Surely you understand my discomfort.

While it would be my pleasure to wait for pizza if I wasn’t waiting along with Cheyenne and it would also be my pleasure to bring that pizza home if I knew that Spouse and Boy were not going to complain about it taking so long, I received no pleasure from knowing that the restaurant has terms for seating that are, essentially, a mystery.

It’s like a crucial part of the sign is missing and I am Nancy Drew.

It would be wrong of me not to use my Sharpie.

So I fixed it.  Without even telling the restaurant staff it was broken.  (That’s just how much of a giver I am.)

The little sign near the dining room now reads: “It would be our pleasure to seat you but, sadly, we have no chairs.”

“PS: Cheyenne wuz here.”


10 Oct

blog image baseball cap

As a vegetarian living in remote(ish) NY State, going out to dinner means choosing between three Italian(ish) places.

Basically, it’s battle of the sauces.

Until now.

Having eaten at dubious-looking places during my “salad days,” which is a peculiar expression given that salads are often the most expensive items on the menu, I am currently basing my dining choices on which restaurant is least likely to linguistically offend me.

For example: if I ask my waitstaff for a glass of water and s/he replies with “not a problem”- strike one.  My theory is that if there is a problem with bringing a glass of water to the table, either s/he is in the wrong profession or there’s a plumbing problem of such enormity, the entire restaurant is doomed to hell.  (Or at least the CDC.  When it reopens.)

Should the server inquire whether I am “still working on that?”- strike two.  Let us, in this instance, assume that I am eating slowly and chewing thoroughly by choice, that the chef’s skills are laudable which, in turn, prompt me to stop eating and set down my fork to savor my entrée.  Having waitstaff swoop in and ask if I am done muscling my way through my meal does not speak well for the food.  Or the workers’ opinions of the food.  Or what kids today consider “work.”  When I was their age, waiting tables was what I did between my two other jobs.  “Eating” was what I did while driving to those jobs.

(It is understood that any establishment with word mash-ups, continents, punctuation marks, animals or abbreviations in its name is a linguistic nightmare to be avoided.  You won’t find me noshing at Giraffestralian Xpress Riverbed Dinin’ Factory Experience! for example.)

The last strike is not even a criticism of my neighborhood restaurants but, rather, a criticism of the patrons of my neighborhood restaurants.  (You knew there was criticism coming, though, right?  I did.)

Assuming that everyone is seated with baseball caps removed, when the waiter or waitress who has served you all night, the one who is working hard for tips but also working so that you can enjoy a lovely evening, asks if there is anything else that he or she can bring you, do not reply with: “I’m good” because a: the waiter has not asked how you are (PS: the correct reply would be “I’m well”), b: the waiter has also not inquired about your ability to calculate percentages (at which point you could say “I’m good”), but c: I have my doubts about “b” given that you need to be reminded to take off your baseball cap while eating dinner.

On second thought, I’ll just have a bowl of cereal.

The More You Eat, The More You Know

14 Mar

blog image samoas


Parliamentary democracy with a unicameral legislative assembly consisting of 49 members, elected by citizens aged 21 years and over of whom 47 are matai (chiefly titleholders) and 2 (untitled) represents the part and non Samoan population. The Prime Minister selects 12 other parliamentarians to form a Cabinet. General elections are held every five years. The Human Rights Protection Party has been in power for an uninterrupted 28 years. The 1990 Village Fono Act gives village councils authority over village law and order, health and social issues.

1st January 1962 (Western) Samoa became independent from New Zealand administered UN trusteeship. The Independent State of Samoa celebrates Independence on 1st June every year.

Samoa has a Westminster legal system based on the English legal system as adopted by many of the Commonwealth countries. It is also a Parliamentary democracy where its Parliament is elected through universal suffrage every five years and a Prime Minister and Cabinet manage the day to day affairs of the country.

Samoa’s court system consists of two District courts and a Supreme Court manned by six local judges, and an Appeal Court that sits once or twice a year and is overseen by overseas judges. There is a separate Land and Titles Court that deals with matters relating to customary land ownership and ‘matai’ (chief) titles.


If we’re going to eat their cookies shouldn’t we, at least, learn something?


Thin mints: oxymoron?

We’re Off To See The Doctor

19 Dec

blog image oscar the grouch

Everyone needs an easily distracted friend.

Tina is the reason for my recent 3 Day Detox Diet.

Apparently, what began as an online search for tickets to “Wicked” ended with Tina standing on my porch with a bag of “food” (pineapple, green apple, spinach, flax, coconut oil, avocado, kale, bananas, more kale, etc.) while visions of boundless energy and flat bellies danced in her head.  Thank you, Celebrity Doctor.

Anyway, as a firm believer (see, parts of me are already firm) in being able to withstand anything for three days, I signed on.

And all was fine until Day One lunch which, like breakfast, was made in a blender.  (Let me pause for one second here to mention the significant amount of blender washing that ensued.  On the other hand, I didn’t clean anything else (or chew) for three days.)

Lunch was celery, pineapple, green apple, a cucumber, a lime, coconut oil and almond milk blended into one intensely beautiful green mass.  How it maintained its blender shape when plated was amazing.  And knowing that the color came from real foods versus a chemistry lab was inspiring.

Sadly, a Detoxer cannot eat only shapes and colors which is a bummer because Day One lunch did, if fact, have a Sesame Street aura about it and by that I mean it tasted like how I imagine Oscar the Grouch would taste (without salt).

He’s the one who lives in a garbage can right?  Sure, on the outside he’s all bright, happy, fibrous green.  But on the inside?  Trash and bitterness.   Enjoy.

By the end of Day Two, I had mastered the art of consuming lunch in four hideously large, icy-cold gulps.  Because nothing’s better than seventy-two hours of Upstate New York winter and a supply of icy-cold liquids (only) to keep you fueled.

Winter in Upstate New York is where melting cheese on things was invented for crying out loud.  Sometimes, when winter seems cruel and never-ending, we lift our spirits by melting two or more cheeses together and serving with pretzels and breadsticks.

We know that surviving winter means eating carbs (which are often served with tequila and lime).

Speaking of crying out loud, Day Three arrived.

By now I was emotionally attached to my blender.  Like when training a puppy, I was obligated to be near the blender every three hours or so.  Also like a puppy, the Detox Diet makes you pee a lot- just not while jumping up on people.  (Oh!  If ever oh ever a wiz there was!)

Still, my energy level was high and my skin glowed.   (Did I mention the required nightly lavender bath soaks?  They’re required.  As in: “leave Mommy alone!  She has to take a required nightly lavender bath soak.  Your mother is detoxing for crying out loud!”)

Speaking of crying out loud, I called Tina early on Day Three.  She was having coffee (with cream and sugar) having quit the Detox Diet after the mango/cayenne dinner shake on Day One.  Day One.

And yet somehow, by the time my final bath had been drawn, Tina, as the result of another internet search for “music theory-dyads,” had purchased the entire Insanity workout DVD series having convinced herself that she can withstand anything for sixty days.

We start Monday.

Trick or Treat- here’s my policy

31 Oct

Take candy from a stranger?  No problem.  If it’s chocolate, I’ll eat it right there, straight pins and all.  Unless:

the house smells like cigarette smoke or pee,

has a ferret or senior living in it. (I will ask.)

Is creepy.

Has trademarked character or “Believe,” “Believe in Yourself,” or “Life is a Journey” type flags displayed on the premises (also creepy).

Has a chain link fence around the yard with a pit bull size spot dug out underneath.

Hands out anything homemade.  Do you have any idea how much human touching goes into making popcorn balls?  Gross.

I will not visit a house that gives out dimes

or asks me to perform a trick

or makes me do a trick and then gives me a dime.  (In my neighborhood, this was the Hoffman family.  They also confiscated our baseballs when they landed in their yard.  They were jerks and they never adjusted for inflation.)

I will not accept candy from a house that has overflowing garbage cans out front when it’s not even “Garbage Eve” or

has icicle lights hanging from the gutters all year long.  (This clause applies only to icicle lights.  Regular lights may hang year round in case of a Cinco de Mayo emergency.)

Is where the god people live.

Look, it’s my policy, not yours.  You don’t like it, get your own candy.

Have It Your Way

3 Oct

Who suddenly has to go the hardware at 6:30 on a Sunday night?

The Boy hadn’t even broken anything in the house yet – neither a drawer nor a pane of glass- and just like that Spouse needs “parts”?  The hardware store isn’t even open on Sunday.

This can only mean one thing:

a.  Spouse is having an affair with a woman at the hardware store.

b.  Spouse is having an affair with a MAN at the hardware store.

c.  Spouse is having an affair and nobody works at the hardware store but the hardware store is important somehow.

d.  Spouse went to Burger King.

I choose D.

While I am fairly certain that Spouse would not have an affair, I am absolutely certain that I made Vegan Matzo Ball Soup for dinner on Sunday (side note: Vegan Matzo Ball Soup has earned a spot on my ongoing oxymoron list) and Spouse came home with onion rings on his breath.

Way to go Candle Cafe Cookbook- “substitute shredded potato for chicken fat,” serve for dinner, and not only is your husband guaranteed to leave you, he will fight for gustatorial custody of a boy who is destroying the house at a rate faster than you can fix it.

Mind you, I’m not bothered by the amount of work that goes into making Vegan Matzo Ball Soup: it’s a lot.  Tons of chopping and mincing for the broth alone without counting the trip back to the Food King for parsnips: those white, rooty-looking things that, prior to Sunday, have never been in my kitchen.  Or my life.  They’re like the Johnny Winter of carrots.

Like if we were on a game show and I had only three words with which to make you say parsnip, I would say: “Johnny.  Winter.  Carrot.”  And you would reply: “Oh!  I know those things!  They’re white carrots!  I see them in the store all the time!  They’re like the Johnny Winter of carrots!”

And we would lose.

What I am bothered by is Spouse’s unwillingness to admit to the affair.  If he would just acknowledge it outright, I could pack up some things for him and The Boy so that The Boy could immediately begin dinging the door jambs in Dad’s rental apartment.  It is a “broken home” after all.

Secondly, we all hated the soup.  By 7PM, The Boy was seen hiding in the pantry eating a Cliff Bar while his mom had 5 Chocolate Creme Newman-O’s less than an hour later.

But the lies and the deception…why?  Over a little bit of chicken fat?  Okay, lots of chicken fat, but still.

Did you even buy anything at the hardware store?  We’re out of mouse traps.

Judging? I’m there!

26 Jul

I just spent the entire day baking so it must be Christmas.

Three pounds of butter in five hours.  6 cups of packed light brown sugar and so much time spent creaming some things and lightly pressing others that I just want to lock myself in the pantry and spend the rest of the day sniffing vanilla extract.  With gusto.

Also, the holidays must be approaching because why else would so many parents at the village pool yell “Jesus Christ goddamn it will you stop splashing?!”  And so frequently.  (Those are the Baptists.  They hog the shallow end.)

Impending Christmas also helps explain why I find myself, hand on face, sighing “do you see what I see?” (a lot) again, while at the public pool.

And my hair is as brittle and dry as a month old Christmas tree so there’s that.

I’m certain that the anxiety I’m feeling is in no way related to the boy and I entering our favorite holiday treats into the baking category at the Sunshine Fair (opens tomorrow).  And then we actually had to follow through and bake them all (today).

What I’m feeling is more of the what-kind-of-guy-sees-you-when-you’re-sleeping-and-knows-when-you’re-awake-but-is-not-married-to-you kind of stress and certainly not blue ribbon lust.  Right?

We’re talking Black Friday-doors open at 4AM-praying to Bing Crosby’s of White Christmas-Past (pre-David Bowie)-level stress.

These are not just the worries of a mom who wants her kid, just this one time, to win Best of Show for SOMETHING.  (I would hate to think that I called upon the spirit of style-maker David Bowie for that.)

And so, in keeping with Christmas and all things hyperbole, judgement day is upon us.  The cookies have been dusted and plated with care.  (Pfeffernusse.  Our strategy was to shake the judges out of their chocolate chip/oatmeal raisin coma and bring home the blue with a coffee-based spice cookie.  Plus, the “Pf” sound is really trendy right now like: Phish, Phrog, Phat and Philadelphia, only cooler.  Like 1970’s actress Joann Pflug; she’s retired from acting and now works as a motivational speaker.)

And so, this holiday/fair season, I wish you a merry Garth Brooks impersonator and a happy bucket of french fries.

Who wouldn’t be happy with a bucket of fries?

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