Amoeblog

(In which we research the magic of 3.14.)

Posted by Job O Brother, November 22, 2011 02:09pm | Post a Comment

grandma
[insert terrifying caption here]


Unlike many, I look forward to Thanksgiving not because of what I get to eat, but what I get to cook. For this reason, I love to host the holiday. In a village like Los Angeles, it’s usually easy to find many lost little lambs who’ve no place to eat (and no ability to manage kitchens themselves). Honestly, it’s like flunking Home-Ec is a requirement to moving to the City of Angels; I guess Type-A personalities don’t have a lot of patience for braising.

Nothing makes me feel more like a magical wizard than when cooking-challenged people like my boyfriend watch me prep food. Am I roasting zucchini or casting a sleep spell on the whole kingdom? Because his reaction would be interchangeable in either event.

gum pie

I learned to cook from my Mom; sometimes instruction was direct, but mostly I just hung around the kitchen while she cooked and made a nuisance of myself, learning by observation. I was hypnotized by corn starch and its ability to turn any liquid in to a thick sauce. Separating an egg seemed like a delicate and ancient Chinese dance, and gee whiz…! See what you can do when you whip those egg whites?

There were some causalities, from which I grew wiser. One sneaky bite of unsweetened chocolate taught me that some of life’s greatest pleasures can come from something so foul. I learned Tupperware cannot be used like a pot on the burners, and soon after I learned how hard it is to clean cooked and melted plastic off a grill. One of the few scars I have on my body is on the knuckle of my left thumb from the first time I learned how to use a peeler – I don’t remember what fruit I cut myself on, but I’ve always remembered how to hold the instruments securely since then. Oh! And I learned it doesn’t take very many bittersweet chocolate chips to destroy an appetite.

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A critical analysis of the cultural impact of the Andrews Sisters on the United States of America

Posted by Job O Brother, June 1, 2011 11:28am | Post a Comment

andrews sisters
The Andrews Sisters: Curly, Groucho and the Holy Spirit


When considering the Andrews Sisters the word “blood-thirsty” rarely comes into play.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these essays on harmonizing, pop-vocal groups. Below you’ll find other ditties from this genre that I think are the bee’s articulatio genus. Before that, though, I want to share with you a little culinary experience I had recently.

The boyfriend and I had our friends Rachel and Paul over for dinner. As usual, I did all the cooking – the boyfriend, after all, can’t make an entire meal out of burned water alone – and I was thinking of various ways to spruce things up. It occurred to me, instead of serving bread with our meal, to make a simple yellow cake with the addition of savory herbs.

rosemarysage

First, hours before I was ready to bake, I chopped up fresh rosemary and sage and simmered them in one cup of unsalted butter, over low heat. Once the liquid gold of the butter had soaked in the essence of the fresh herbs, lending a faint grass-green hue, I took it off the fire and allowed it to congeal. I used this butter for the cake. The effect of this savory dessert – being both salty and sweet – was similar to cornbread, but earthier, lighter, and altogether swell. I thought you should know.

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(In which we consider some swinging, singing sisters.)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 16, 2011 01:26pm | Post a Comment

boswell sisters  andrews sisters
WAR!
The Boswell Sisters vs. The Andrews Sisters


Last blog, we took a long, almost invasive and menacing look at one of my favorite harmonizing groups, The Ravens. This time, let’s meditate on two groups and the epic chaos that emerged from their earth-shattering battle for supremacy. Yes, we’re going to focus on the blood-thirsty Boswell Sisters and those daughters of doomsday, The Andrews Sisters. (This blog is not for the squeamish and will include death, destruction, and delightfully catchy melodies.)

Many people are already familiar with The Andrews Sisters, and because you, dear reader, are a person, I am including you in this assessment. What these same many people often don’t realize is that The Andrews Sisters actually based their act on another trio of singing siblings, The Boswell Sisters.

boswells

The Boswell Sisters were born in the first decade of the twentieth century and, in a show of musical savvy, they chose to be raised in New Orleans, the American music Mecca. By their teens, Martha, Connee, and Helvetia (they were given individual names to make communication in the house more efficient) began singing in movie theatres and on local radio shows, cultivating small celebrity and earning free popcorn.

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(In which Job hocks some shiny spit.)

Posted by Job O Brother, April 1, 2008 12:31pm | Post a Comment

I don’t have much time this week; I’m nipple-deep in spring cleaning. I won’t sleep until this apartment shines like the top of the Chrysler Building.

As with everything I do – from cleaning, to cooking, to not doing math homework, to faking my way through a treatment of complicated parapneumonic effusion and pleural empyema by video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery – I do it with music.

Here then, are some of my favorite things to hear when I’m wielding a Swiffer or yanking my Toilet Duck:










While I was polishing my silver bullet collection, I couldn't help but notice that my fellow Amoeblogger, Billyjam, posted an interview with me, which you can read by pressing the word "perambulator" in this sentence. It's really too kind. My only complaint is that he neglected to include the scratch 'n' sniff portions.

(In which Job gifts you with holiday music suggestions.)

Posted by Job O Brother, December 4, 2007 12:04pm | Post a Comment
You fool. You bloody fool.

You’re too smug, too naïve! You think you have all the time in the world to deal with Christmas music. Or worse, maybe you haven’t even thought about acquiring any Christmas music at all!

It’s because I love you and want the best for you that I say I’m disappointed in you.

Don’t wait until the last second to figure out what you’re going to play for your Christmas party, Christmas Eve dinner, or Christmas morning, gift-giving orgy. (Incidentally, I found out what you’re getting this year, and frankly, most of it’s disappointing, but there’s at least one thing I think you’ll really like.)

Amoeba Music puts up their Christmas music section promptly after Thanksgiving. I understand if you’re too doped-up on tryptophan to shop it immediately (those vegetarians who opted for a Tofurky instead have an excuse – they’ll be suffering from indigestion until mid-February) but time is of the essence.

Learn from my mistake two years ago and buy USED Christmas albums early, before the hipsters pick-over the selection and leave only this:


"Eeeeeekkk...! Is it Halloween?!"

Here’s a few gems I recommend:

Swingle Singers “Noëls Sans Passeport”



Also released, in the States, under the title “Christmastime”, this album is jazzy and lighthearted, but the vocal harmonies are ornate and require deft singing. You may think you’ve never heard of these guys, but by now you’ve almost certainly heard their music; they are often featured on film and TV. And once your holiday guests have had a few cups of egg nog, they will inevitably try to sing along, sounding like stray cats in heat – and isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

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