Yearly Archives: 2015
Post by Mark T. Locker.
The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat.
We just don’t read as many children’s picture books as we used to. My son constantly has his nose in a book these days so our reading together time has dwindled and is mostly limited to our bedtime chapter book reading. I was recommended this book and am glad I was. Beekle is downright adorable. He is a blobby, white little guy with a gold crown. He is an imaginary friend. Only, he hasn’t been imagined by anyone. All his friends that live in the imaginary friend land get imagined and sent to their new friends. But not Beekle. So he does the unimaginable: he takes matters into his own hands and heads out to find his match.
I love this book. I love a unique story that is lovingly illustrated (author and illustrator Dan Santat was an illustrator of other children’s books before writing his own). This one was awarded the Caldecott Medal, which is America’s highest honor for an American children’s picture book. One look and you will know why. Lots of richly colored and fun to look at pictures make the book a delight to read for kids 3-6 and discriminating adults as well.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Last week, I reviewed the third installment in the “Cornetto Trilogy”, three movies whose only relations to each other are the main actors and passing references to Cornettos, which, as far as I can tell, are the UK equivalent of the Drumstick ice cream cone. Having carried on about Simon Pegg and Nick Frost made me want to revisit the other movies in the “trilogy”. First up was Hot Fuzz, mainly because it’s available on Netflix.
Nicolas Angel (Simon Pegg) is one of the best cops in London but he’s a bit uptight and a bit of a killjoy. So when he is transferred to a sleepy bucolic village, he is less than enthused. When he discovers his partner Danny (Nick Frost) is the same man he arrested for trying to drive drunk, he is beside himself.
Things begin to change when a series of murders, crudely disguised as accidents, begin to occur. Nicolas is the only one to smell something fishy but when he gets Danny in his corner, dark secrets of this sleepy town begin to come to life.
Hot Fuzz is a fun, action-packed full-blown cop movie, with winks and nods to plenty of genre movies, like Bad Boys II. You can tell they have a bigger budget and are having fun shooting and blowing up as much as possible. There are a few violent scenes which are almost cartoony but if you are squeamish, be ready to cover your eyes. Overall it’s a funny and exciting movie and a good way to begin your weekend.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Books tend to be an essential ingredient in many rooms. Writers and readers turn to books to escape and decompress, which is why you’ll often find books in bedrooms. I have a bookshelf packed with a variety of reads in my bedroom –– you’d find everything from cookbook anthologies to travel books, to textbooks and bestsellers.
Let’s take a look at how books can mingle in bedrooms, and create a library within each of these five spaces.
This ultra-chic bedroom on the Upper West Side of Manhattan is far from the dark, stereotypical library. The faux fur adds a touch of glam while the shelves are strategically accessorized in this comfy, inviting apartment.
Glossy magazines, popular titles, and a selection of classics line the shelves of the bed wall in this modern oasis. The “Womb” chair and ottoman by Saarinen is the perfect scale for the corner. What a great spot to get lost in a suspenseful or humorous novel.
This Sydney, Australia bedroom comes saturated with titles and bold colors. The cut-out niches are a clever idea to break up the wall of books. The low platform bed is a good choice, allowing the library wall to be the focal point.
Brimming with natural light and boasting a pool view, this compact bedroom makes for an ideal guest nook. I’m sure the designer had bookworms in mind.
Sumptuous fabrics and contemporary art decorate this Palo Alto bedroom, which wouldn’t be complete without a custom built-in filled with great books.
Post by Alison Hein.
If you’re a fan of the grilled cheese sandwich / tomato soup combo, you will love this old-fashioned treat straight out of the annals of Grandma’s recipe book. As children, my sister and I were amazed by the first bite of shockingly sweet pudding-like tomato bread, followed by the verge to savory with a finish of glorious melted cheese. Our grandma would make us each an individual dish, which we would gobble down for breakfast, lunch, dinner or anytime in between.
Merriam-Webster has this to say about the transitive verb “scallop”:
[from the use of a scallop shell as a baking dish] : to bake in a sauce usually covered with seasoned bread or cracker crumbs <scalloped potatoes>
I like to make my own croutons for this recipe. Make extra for salads or stuffing. Drop the herbs and garlic for a more puddingly sweet version, or skip the sugar for an old-fashioned breakfast in bed even Grandma would approve.
2 thick slices of stale crusty bread (about 1 cup)
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried parsley
2 large tomatoes (about 1½ – 2 cups, or 1 14.4-ounce can diced or stewed tomatoes)
1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup grated mozzarella (or other) cheese
Fresh chives, for garnish
To make croutons, preheat oven to 350°. Cut bread into ½-inch cubes. Toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil and stir in basil, oregano and parsley. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake until crisped, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Spray 2 small ramekins or baking dishes and set aside.
Fill a heavy pot with enough water to cover tomatoes and bring to a boil. Blanch tomatoes for less than one minute. Remove tomatoes from water, cool, and peel off skins. Chop tomatoes into small cubes, and allow to drain, reserving tomato juice.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomato, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook until lightly bubbling, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, adding reserved tomato juice if sauce becomes too thick. Remove from heat.
Toss croutons into tomato mixture, stir in cheese, then scoop into prepared ramekins. Bake in the oven until hot and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Garnish with fresh chives and serve hot.
Makes 2 servings.
The Encyclopedia of Immaturity by Klutz.
I have an aunt who always made an impression on me by her ability to be utterly silly, to make ridiculous jokes, and have fun at everyone’s (including her own) expense. Now that I have my own child, I was both delighted and horrified when she presented him with The Encyclopedia of Immaturity. Brought to you by the editors of the Klutz books, this is the reference books for every child. This book is chock full of pranks, jokes, tricks, and neat little illusions.
Need to learn how to pretend to bonk your head loudly on a table? Do the old “removing your thumb” trick? This is the book for you! If you want to get in a lot of trouble, you can try the old “shaving cream in your napping dad’s hand” trick. Or how to explode a paper bag in a most disruptive fashion.
Upon receiving this book, my son was at first nonplussed. Little did he know the secrets buried within. rest assured, the “DO NOT ENTER LABORATORY” and “CAUTION NUCLEAR WASTE” signs are plastered on his bedroom door! He’s still working on the subtle art of trickery (he is only six, after all) but it has never stopped him from continuing to trick me!
I can’t say I recommend you buy this for your child. But for your nephew, niece, neighbor’s kid, absolutely. Just be sure to look over your shoulder if you find yourself alone with the kid.