Yearly Archives: 2015
Post by Mark T. Locker.
It was a moment of great excitement when I realized that my kid was old enough to appreciate the 1997 alien comedy, Men in Black. If you haven’t seen this movie, I’m surprised. But, there are worse ways to spend a blistering hot summer evening.
With what one could call an all-star cast of Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio, Tony Shalhoub, and more, it’s a funny take on the 90s comic book series.
Jay is a streetwise NY cop who has an encounter with an unusual individual. He comes to learn this individual was an alien, which leads Jay down a path to discovering the Men in Black, a secret semi-governmental organization dedicated to keeping a quiet peace between earth and its otherworldly visitors. Kay, who intervened in his investigation, invites him to join. And so Will Smith becomes the young cheeky counterpart to Jones’s clipped, no-nonsense philosophy. Together they set out to determine why aliens are fleeing and where a hidden galaxy is so they can get to it before the bug in human skin (D’Onofrio) can get to it.
It’s a fun, silly, action-filled movie. There is some strongish language, but nothing too terrible. Good movie for a lazy Sunday in bed.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
You can never have too much storage. With the latest creation from Charles P. Rogers, you can store your valuables (or everyday items) and keep your bedroom virtually clutter-free. Launched in June 2015, this clever yet lovely bed includes an optional digital safe drawer –– a practical and almost hidden place to store your most prized possessions.
Handmade in the Charles P. Rogers workroom in New York City, the bed features dovetail joinery with full extension, soft-closing drawer slides. What’s more, the company’s signature upholstered and padded decks provide outstanding support as well as a non-skid surface.
Built-in and multi-purpose furniture remain a solid choice for bedrooms of all styles and sizes, and even more so in compact spaces, which often benefit from space-saving designs. Plus, adding drawers to a bed increases storage space beyond the traditional dresser.
Offered in a sleek platform style or with a variety of headboard options, the Storage Bed comes in a microsuede upholstery if you prefer a softer look, or a mahogany finish if you fancy a more masculine aesthetic.
Constructed from sustainably-produced materials such as plantation-grown mahogany, recycled steel, and marine plywood, the Platform Bed is available in twin, full, queen, and king sizes. I might add that you’ll never have to worry about vacuuming those dust bunnies under your bed again. Less cleaning? That’s a bonus.
For more info about the latest from Charles P. Rogers, visit the website.
Breakfast in Bed – Rhubarb Crumble Top Pie
Post by Alison Hein.
Remember how I was recently prattling on about an article I wrote for the Skylands Visitor Magazine? This recipe is an offshoot of my adventures in farming edible flowers! No, you’re right, rhubarb is not an edible flower.
One of the growers we interviewed for the article was a spry septuagenarian named Stan Styer, who packs his one acre lot with a mélange of fruit, vegetables and flowers. Come August, he wheels a little cart out to the road filled with whatever is ripe and fresh that day. It’s all honor system, and Stan does it purely for love.
While we were visiting, I admired Stan’s rhubarb. “I’ve been trying to get someone to make me a rhubarb pie,” he lamented.
“I’ll do it!” I responded.
Stan promptly fell to his knees and began hacking away with his garden knife, filling my arms with a bundle of fresh, green rhubarb.
I think of rhubarb as a homely, garden-grown old-fashioned vegetable. Only recently have I seen it for sale in some grocery stores. Store-bought is usually a pretty reddish color, but homegrown is bright green, that turns a rather dismal shade when cooked. Thus I chose to put a crumble top on my pie. The crumbles look nice, and the extra sweetness helps to offset the tart rhubarb.
Take care to never eat any of the leaves of the rhubarb plant – only the stalks are edible.
When August rolls around, take a drive out to the Skylands and see what Stan has to offer. Perhaps his little cart will hold the perfect ingredient for your next breakfast in bed.
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon ice cold water
⅓ cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
10 cups rhubarb stems, cleaned, trimmed and chopped (makes 4 cups of filling)
1 cup water
¼ to ½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup flour
1 cup flour
1 stick unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into small cubes
½ cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of salt
To make crust, sift together flour and salt. Remove half of the flour mixture and add to a separate small bowl. Add water to flour mixture and stir to make a paste. Cut butter into small cubes and cut into remaining flour mixture, using a pastry cutter or two forks. Mix all ingredients together until a smooth, uniform dough forms. Split dough in half. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes before rolling.
Preheat oven to 350°. Remove dough from refrigerator. Gently roll out one piece of dough on a lightly floured board, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Roll dough to form an approximate 12-inch round. Place dough in pie dish. Trim edges and crimp with the tines of a fork.
To make filling, wash and coarsely chop rhubarb stalks, removing some of the celery-like strings in the process. Place in medium heavy pot. Add water, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until rhubarb is soft and coming apart, about 20 minutes. Stir in flour and add filling to prepared pie dish.
To make crumble topping, add flour, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt to a small bowl. Mix together, allowing topping to form into large clumps. Spread enough topping on pie filling to cover. Any extra can be stored in the freezer for future use.
Place pie in oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes until crust and topping is golden brown. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if you like.
Makes 1 pie.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
The Graveyard Book, vols. 1&2 by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by P. Craig Russel. The Graveyard Book is a fantastic, if creepy, children’s book by world-renowned author Neil Gaiman, known for such cult classics as The Sandman comics and Coraline. His stories are so full of fun images and notions that it’s only natural they be reimagined as graphic novels. The Graveyard Book translates beautifully into a visual genre, illustrated by P. Craig Russell who has done graphic versions on Neil Gaiman’s work in the past. The beginning of the story is awfully dark, but don’t let it put you off; the premise leads to a wonderful, magical story. A killer on the loose takes the lives of a family but misses the baby who has escaped his crib and is exploring. The baby ends up in an old abandoned graveyard. The ghosts who inhabit the graveyard convene and decide to care for the boy and raise him. He is granted “freedom of the graveyard” which allows him to pass through solid objects in the cemetary. Mr. and Mrs. Owens adopt him and name him Nobody Owens. The only non-ghost entity in the graveyard is Silas, who agrees to be his guardian. As the only one who can leave the premises, he is the only one who can fetch food and supplies for Nobody.
So that is how this story begins. Nobody Owens is a human, living child who is raised by kindly ghosts and Silas, who may or may not be a vampire. It’s technically a young adult book but it will appeal to older readers as well. And, alluring as it is to younger readers, the visuals on the opening pages of what happens to Nobody’s family are disturbing. But after that grim premise, a truly fun, creepy and lovely story emerges in a way that only Neil Gaiman could pull off. It’s divided into two volumes to keep you from reading it all in one go.
Post by Mark T. Locker
Are you looking for a good family-friendly movie that isn’t riddled with product placement and CGI and won’t have you obsessively checking how many minutes are left in the film? Check out the adorable animated movie Ernest and Celestine and rejoice. Based on a series of French-language picture books by Gabrielle Vincent, the movie tells of the relationship between Celestine, a tiny mouse who just doesn’t fit in with her mouse kin, and Ernest, a misfit bear.
In the French and Belgian tradition, mice are the ones who find children’s teeth and replace them with gifts. Such is little Celestine’s lot in life, a life she is not well suited to. Ernest, meanwhile, performs music for money but is told that it’s not allowed. Due to desperation, he finds himself at odds with the law. When he finds Celestine trapped in a trash can, he nearly eats her but she convinces him to let her live. However, colluding with the outlaw bear has brought Celestine into trouble as well. Despite being brought up to fear bears as vicious killers, Celestine learns that Ernest has a kind and warm heart. Two lost souls who never knew they needed each other are brought together in the most unlikely way and together they learn to love themselves for who they are.
It’s a refreshing movie with charmingly simple animation and a sweet story it would be hard to dislike. Good for all ages.