Monthly Archives: October 2012
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Hold on to your cloche hats and strings of beads, people! A nasty murderer from beyond the grave named Naughty John is terrorizing 1920’s New York!
Seventeen-year-old Evie O’Neill is more than her small Ohio town can handle, so when her “punishment” is to stay with her uncle in Manhattan, she couldn’t be more pleased. Unfortunately, her trip coincides with a string of grisly and symbolic murders being carried out. Unfortunately for Evie, she has a newly-discovered gift which enables her to “read” peoples’ personal objects and from which she can divine secret information. So when she accidentally comes in contact with a poor murdered girl’s shoe, she learns more than she’s like about Naughty John, accidentally summoned from Hell to carry out his gruesome business.
Uptown in Harlem is another kid, a boy named Memphis has discovered the mixed blessing of his own powers, which can heal but can also do harm.
The newest novel by Printz-winning author Libba Bray is full of the vibrant imagery and language of the world of Ziegfeld girls, bootleg gin, and peacock feather-adorned headdresses. It’s funny, it’s scary, and it’s fascinating. Clearly Libba Bray has done her homework with this one. Her 1920s New York is so elaborately created, it’s hard not to get completely swept up in it. Unfortunately, that goes for the creepy, maniacal butcher as well. Eep.
Post by Josh Zinn.
The street signs of Sleepy Hollow have headless horsemen on them. So do the police cars, garbage trucks, and natural gas meters. In fact, I’m sure a myriad of public utilities take part in celebrating and cashing in on the famed decapitated equestrian whose midnight rides of terror helped transform their humble hamlet into the Halloween haunt of the Hudson hinterlands. Perhaps Washington Irving hadn’t imagined his creepy creation would one day come to signify the call to arms for the men and women working for Sleepy Hollow’s sewage system, but crappier things have happened in the name of public works—just ask the folks who named Flushings.
If one were to ask the Headless Horseman himself—hey, he might know sign language…even though he doesn’t have eyes—what moments in his fictional life truly felt like a misappropriation, however, he’d probably tell you about the time I purchased a key-lime flavored latte (complete with crunchy graham topping!) from a Sleepy Hollow coffee shop. Or the Mexican restaurant named after him that served my friend and I a salad consisting of a HEAD of lettuce alongside a terrine of “bloodied” French dressing. Oh yes, and then there was the time Bing Crosby came to town…
Disney’s animated version of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” starring Crosby as beleaguered schoolteacher Ichabod Crane, is a milder take on Irving’s allegory of foreign-bred superstition and tradition mingling with the bravado, boldness, and greed of the then-new America. By milder, I mean that Ichabod spends much of the cartoon either singing sweet dulcimer notes to the local housewives in an attempt to lure them of their chicken dinners or by balladeering Katrina, the beautiful daughter of the wealthiest man in town, in order to fill his pocketbook. Horror only exists on the outskirts of this Sleepy Hollow, with creepiness taking a backseat to Crosby’s crooning.
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” isn’t a bad film by any means, but in shifting its focus away from the terror of Tarrytown and onto the soothing vocal abilities present in Crosby’s portrayal of Crane, Irving’s supernatural story mutates into a pageantry of phthongal pedagoguery better fit for a USO function. Truth be told, there’s little fright to be found in a film where, for the majority of its length, fanatical females fight for the chance to feed a fair-weather philanderer with the voice of a lounge singer. Sure, the Horseman finally rears his hea… neck near the cartoon’s finale, but until then any pervasive sense of dread has been replaced by questions of whether white Christmases happen even for the headless.
Perhaps, then, the Horseman-emblazoned signs, logos, and salads of today’s Sleepy Hollow are a reclamation of the sinister story that put their town on the map. While there’s nothing wrong with a little Bing to lift one’s spirits, it’s best to remember the spirit at the heart of Irving’s story struck a far more horrific note.
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
Unless you’re an Eskimo, you’ve probably never considered the idea of sleeping on a bed of ice – at least not seriously. Why would you? An ice bed is only inviting backache, and frostbite – I’ll take my warm, down filled nest of a bed any day.
Despite the perceived pitfalls of sleeping on an ice bed, many travelers (perhaps gluttons for self-punishment) trek to the northernmost regions of our world to experience exactly what mankind has worked so hard to remove ourselves from: the unloving cold. However, modern man enjoys the cold a bit more luxuriously. Allow me to introduce you to the world of ice hotels.
Starting in December, dozens of “ice hotels” around the world open their doors for business. Since these hotels melt during the warm summer months, they must be entirely rebuilt every year in what is described as “one of the world’s most extreme building projects.” While there are several ice hotels to choose from, the most famous, and largest, of these ice hotels is none other than ICEHOTEL located in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden (don’t ask me how to pronounce that).
The ICEHOTEL first opened in 1990, and has operated every year since from December to April. While sections of the hotel are open starting in December, it takes a full month before the hotel is complete. It’s built from over 9,000 tons of ice and can accommodate about 100 guests at full capacity. Each suite is a work of art of its own, as they are individually sculpted from renowned ice artists. If you watch the Discovery Channel or NatGeo, you may have already learned about the ICEHOTEL from one of several documentaries showcasing it.
While you do have to pack appropriately for your visit to the ICEHOTEL (think subzero temperatures), the stay can’t be too bad given that crowds of visitors wait patiently for the opportunity to stay at what has become one of the most extreme destination hotels on the planet. If you aren’t as eager to sleep on a blog of ice, but want to have an Iced Tea or other cold beverage at the ICEHOTEL’s ICEBAR there are “warm” accommodations available nearby.
Accommodations at the ICEHOTEL start at about $400/night (on top of getting there). So while it’s not exactly cheap (though it’s considerably less expensive than some of the Underwater Hotels), it’s one of those bedtime stories you’re sure to remember for the rest of your life.
Do you have any exotic destinations where you’d like to rest your head? Share your travel plans in the comments below.
Post by Alison Hein.
Enter autumn, with a cornucopia of glorious bounty. Kick off your fall with these lightly sweet, aromatic buckwheat waffles. Top them with homemade apple compote, and you’ll want to curl up with a good book in front of the fire. Well, after breakfast anyway. 😉
Despite its name, buckwheat is gluten-free and unrelated to wheat. Rather, it’s a herbaceous plant related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb. Its name derives from the German “Buchweizen,” meaning beech-wheat, because buckwheat’s unusual triangular seed resembles the much larger seeds of the beech tree.
Some of the world’s most richly satisfying dishes – galettes from Brittany, Japanese soba, and Russian blinis – are made with buckwheat. In this recipe, rich, smooth batter almost glides across a hot waffle iron, and toasts up in minutes to a hardy crisp. Sweet, seasonal apple compote makes a simple complement to the burnished buckwheat for a glorious, bountiful breakfast in bed.
Buckwheat Honey Waffles
2 ½ cups buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups milk
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup vegetable oil, or butter, melted and slightly cooled
½ cup sour cream
1 apple (tart varieties such as Granny Smith work well)
¼ cup of water (add more for a thinner topping
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup slivered almonds (optional)
Dollop of sour cream
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl. In separate bowl, add milk, eggs, honey and vanilla and beat until frothy. Pour oil or melted butter into liquid mixture and stir well. Using a wooden spoon or hand mixer, gradually add liquid mixture to dry ingredients until batter is smooth. Stir in sour cream.
Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and heat to high. Pour ½ cup to ¾ cup batter into center of iron, making sure you have enough batter to evenly spread across the surface of your waffle iron. Cook until golden brown and crisp and waffle pulls away easily from iron, about 3 minutes. Serve warm with apple compote. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of mint.
Makes approximately 6 waffles.
To make compote, pare, slice and finely chop apple. Place in small, heavy pot and add water, honey, golden raisins, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir in slivered almonds, if you like. Bring apple mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer until apples are cooked through but still hold their shape, about 15 minutes.
Makes approximately 1 cup apple compote.
Post by Laura Cheng.
The last time I had a TV in my bedroom, I was in middle school. It was 13” and I was the cool kid not only because I had this special privilege, but because I could watch 90210 and Melrose Place on it. Since then, not counting my travels when the TV is designed into the hotel bedroom, I have gone without a TV in the bedroom for the past 20 years. My fear of accidentally watching Keeping up with the Kardashians is too great. Besides that, my attention span is so short and my daily life events so full, even if I had one, I would just view it as noise pollution in my home.
However, there are times when I fully understand the convenience of having a TV in the bedroom. And whenever that thought occurs, I wonder where I would be able to put one without it affecting the tranquility of my bedroom. Taking a TV out of the box and propping it onto the dresser is just too intrusive. The idea of surrounding my TV with large framed photos so that it naturally blends is an appealing option. Since most TVs these days come with an SD slot, an unsightly flat screen could even be converted to a giant photo frame.
I really prefer my furniture to be versatile, but I wouldn’t mind this beautiful customized cabinet. It is a nice integration of rustic woodwork and today’s technology. With custom country paneling, a bedroom remains as serene as my favorite bed and breakfast spot in Napa, even with a TV as the centerpiece. In fact, even an outdated 1990s tube TV would look stunning in this space.
I recently inherited a stunning Restoration Hardware armoire. I considered doing as the French and using it to store a TV in the bedroom, but it just occupied too much space physically and visually. As an alternative, and if my Manolo Blahnik shoe collection will allow, taking advantage of closet space may be a better alternative. Sliding doors allow for easy access to items within and conceal the TV when it is not in use.