I’m quite fond of this serving bowl. It’s got this cool variegated blue glaze, with swirls of grays and blues with bits of browns and whites. (I’m sure that someone with more knowledge of pottery could tell me what it’s called.) It has a nice shape, and it’s a great size for mixing up a salad or whatnot, or serving chips at a party. It’s also dishwasher safe, which means that I don’t avoid using it. It’s beautiful and sturdy, an object that gracefully nods towards both form and function.
A woman I worked with gave it to me at a going away gathering when I left my job as assistant manager of a bookstore, before starting grad school, which was now 9 years ago. I think the occasion for the gift-giving was my civil service wedding, which was a couple of weeks or so before. It was a totally unexpected gift, as the coworker and I were more friendly acquaintances than friends. I haven’t seen her since then, but her gift became one of my favorite household items.
That bowl has become a sort of gold standard for me for gifts: an item that is both useful and aesthetically pleasing.
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, a holiday marked by primarily by sitting around a table and eating. In honor of the day, I’ll set the table for you.
This ThThTh list features utensils. Actually, just forks and spoons. I’ll keep the knives stored safely away for another day. Likewise, I will avoid the hazards of the spork.
A collection of spoons (and forks)
The Blue Rajah: a character played by Hank Azaria in Mystery Men (1999). A superhero who throws forks (and fork-filled dialog):
- Spoon!: The battlecry of The Tick.
- spooning: a position for cuddling.
- born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth: an expression said of one who is born into a wealthy family.
- Silver Spoons (1982-1987) A TV show about a rich kid and his father. (Did anyone else remember that the show had regular appearances from Jason Bateman as a kid?)
- Can you hang a spoon from the tip of your nose?
- gag me with a spoon: an 80s Valspeak exclamation used to express contempt and/or disgust.
- A Spoonful of Sugar: a song from the movie Mary Poppins.
- Hey Diddle Diddle: A nursery rhyme in which a dish rus away with a spoon:
Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
- And the Dish Ran Away With the Spoon: a picture book by Janet Stevens.
- “There is no spoon”: a line from The Matrix, and a reference to this spoon-bending scene:
- fork in the road: a type of intersection.
- The Dirty Fork Sketch, from Monty Python:
• An effete British superhero, to be precise. I am pilfering your tableware because I hurl it. I hurl it with a deadly accuracy. The Blue Raja is my name. And yes, I know I don’t wear much blue and I speak in a British accent, but if you know your history it really does make perfect sense…The point is: Your boy’s a Limey fork-flinger, Mother.
• I say, what the fork! Let’s do it!
• May the forks be with us.
So there’s my list. Stick a fork in me, I’m done.
If you’re looking for more tasty bits to gobble up once your t(of)urkey is gone, go stick your fork into the 107th Carnival of Satire over at The Skwib. A spoonful of satire makes the holiday angst go down! (Especially when taken with a Wild Turkey chaser.)
With Tuesday’s election in the US, people all over have been talking about change. Lots of people are saying they want change.
As such, it seemed a good time to offer up some change myself. Some spare change.
I dug out these coin things from deep in the pockets of my brain (and a few from between the couch cushions) just in time for ThThTh.
A Coin Collection¹
- “Christmas is Coming:” an English Christmas carol
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you haven’t got a penny a ha’-penny will do
If you haven’t got a ha’-penny
then God bless you
- a penny for your thoughts: an expression spoken as a request to hear about what someone else is thinking. Does not usually actually involve a cash transaction.
- “A Penny for Your Thoughts,” a treacly song from the faux musical from Waiting for Guffman. (You can hear a version of it performed by Elvis Costello, even. It’s still painfully treacly.)
So here’s penny for your thoughts, a nickel for a kiss
A dime if you tell me that you love me
- lucky penny: Pennies are sometimes kept as good luck charms. Finding a penny is said to bring good luck: “Find a penny, pick it up, and all the day you’ll have good luck.”
- There is a wedding custom for the bride to put a penny in her shoe for the ceremony for “good fortune and protection against want”:
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a copper penny in your shoe!
- penny loafers: shoes in which people would stick a penny as an ornament.
- “Pennies from Heaven,” a song and a movie from 1936. Originally sung by Bing Crosby, then by many others. (Here’s a youtube version by Billie Holiday.)
- it’s your nickel: an expression meaning “you made the phone call” and also “it’s your turn to talk.” My grandmother used to say this when I’d call her long-distance.
- nickel and dime: an expression meaning “cheap” or “inconsequential.”
- Nickel and Dimed: a book by Barbara Ehrenreich about her experiences working at various low-wage jobs.
- dime store: a somewhat archaic term for a store carrying various and sundry low-price items.
- dime bag: the quantity of marijuana that can be purchased for 10 dollars.
- “Dime,” a song by Cake. About a dime. Really.
- “shave and a haircut two bits:” a very short song. Two bits is a quarter, or 25 cents. (Apparently small change was once cut wedges of a silver dollar, each worth an 8th of a dollar.)
- Pac-Man Fever, a song from the 80s (duh) beginning with the line:
“I got a pocket full of quarters and I’m heading to the arcade.” (Oh, the nostalgia triggered by bad 80s music and references to arcade video games. If you want to subject yourself, you can hear the song on YouTube.)
- 50 Cent: the stage name of rapper Curtis James Jackson III
- silver-dollar pancakes: very small pancakes, such as might ressemble a large coin.
¹ It’s a bit heavy on the pennies, but so are most change piles.²
² I almost forgot the word of the day. I’ve chosen denticles : “Small tooth like raised points on the inside edge of coins.” How could I resist a word that rhymes with tenticles?
Damn. It’s now less than an hour before Thursday’s over, and I haven’t put up my Themed Things list. I always think I’ll find more time…
Anyhow, my lost keys of yesterday (which have now been found, by the way) had me digging around in my mind to find various key-related things. Here are some keys I found in the cluttered piles of my head.
A few key things
key. An item used to unlock something. Traditionally a metal object which fits a lock, but extended to refer to other things that give some sort of access, such as cards, passwords and codes.
the key to X: an idiom meaning “the means to achieve X, or gain access to X.” (eg. the key to success, the key to happiness, the key to my heart, the key to my pants…)
key. an adjective meaning crucial or primary. As in “the key participants” or “getting sleep is key.”
Dawn, the character introduced in Buffy, season 6.
Zero Effect (1998). A movie where a detective is hired to find a set of lost keys.
“The Golden Key“, a fairy tale from the Grimm brothers.
the key to the city. An award that is “presented to esteemed visitors, residents, or others the city wishes to honor,” typically in the form of an ornamental key. At least in TV and movies.
keys. The things you push on a typewriter or, um, keyboard. Or piano.
key. a musical term about the tonality of a composition such as “in a minor key”
“Musical Key.” A song by the Cowboy Junkies.
movie/TV cliches featuring keys: I feel like I’ve seen tons of movies and or TV episodes where a character is in a jail cell, and tries to escape by means of reaching keys either left unattended (eg. Harold & Kumar) or held by a dog (eg. the first Pirates of the Caribbean). The spy/heist genre also frequently features the need to sneak a key away from a character who keeps a key on their body. (eg. in Danny Kaye’s Court Jester, or apparently in the second Pirates of the Caribbean) If you can think of examples of these, please share. My brain couldn’t dig up more.
Then there’s the scene from The Princess Bride where Wesley, Inigo and Fezzig storm the castle and confront the gatekeeper:
“Give us the gate key.”
“I have no gate key.”
“Fezzig, tear his arms off.”
“Oh, you mean this gate key.”
Okay, it’s 11:56. Still Thursday!
It’s fall now up here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the squirrels are busy squirreling away their nuts for the winter. Meanwhile, I’ve been eating a lot of nuts, and going a little nuts. And reading about nuts¹. It’s almost as if nuts have been falling out of the trees and bonking me on the head². So, grab your nutcracker³, because I’ve gathered up a few nuts to share with you for this week’s list o’ Things.
a selection of mixed nuts
- nuts. (adj.) An expression meaning “crazy.” As in “you are totally nuts.” There are also other nut-themed variations, such as the additional adjectives nutty and nutso, and nouns like nutjob and nutcase.
- Nuts (1987) A movie starring Richard Dreyfuss and Barbra Streisand.
- Nuts (2007) A short movie directed by Irvine Welsh. (You can actually watch it on IMDB.)
- nut: a piece of hardware: “a type of hardware fastener with a threaded hole.” Typically used with a bolt.
- wingnut: a kind of nut (the hardware kind) with the appearance of wings
- wingnut: someone with extremely right-wing political views. As in “please don’t let us have a wingnut for vice president!”
- nuts: a slang term for testicles.
- Mr. Peanut. The mascot for Planter’s nuts. An anthropomorphic peanut wearing a tophat.
- in a nutshell: an expression meaning “in summary” or “in brief,” evoking the compact size of a nutshell, and what can be stuffed in it.
- O’Reilly’s In a Nutshell series: technical reference books, such as Perl in a Nutshell and Java in a Nutshell
- The Nutshell Library: A box set collection of miniature books by Maurice Sendak. Not about technical topics.
- “Death in a Nut“: A folktale (in various versions) about a boy who tries to save his mother from death by stuffing Death into a nut shell.
- “Thumbelina“: a fairytale about a tiny girl. She had a cradle made of a walnut shell.
- Kate Crackernuts: an English fairytale about a girl who frees her stepsister from a curse that hides her beauty. The nuts are somewhat peripheral to the story. Kate collects them while going about her tasks and eats them for breakfast.
- Nutcracker: a device used to access nuts that are encased in a hard shell. Decorative ones sometimes are made to look like people.
- The Nutcracker: a ballet by Tchaikovsky, based on the story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by E.T.A. Hoffmann featuring a decorative nutcracker toy.
- Harlan Pepper, played by Christopher Guest in Best in Show, likes to name nuts:
I used to be able to name every nut that there was. And it used to drive my mother crazy, because she used to say, “Harlan Pepper, if you don’t stop naming nuts,” and the joke was that we lived in Pine Nut, and I think that’s what put it in my mind at that point. So she would hear me in the other room, and she’d just start yelling. I’d say, “Peanut. Hazelnut. Cashew nut. Macadamia nut.” That was the one that would send her into going crazy. She’d say, “Would you stop naming nuts!” And Hubert used to be able to make the sound, he couldn’t talk, but he’d go “rrrawr rrawr” and that sounded like Macadamia nut. Pine nut, which is a nut, but it’s also the name of a town. Pistachio nut. Red pistachio nut. Natural, all natural white pistachio nut.
¹ Two of my favorite bloggers coincidentally (or perhaps both sparked by the start of school) wrote about how they are dealing with nut restrictions in their schools. Emily wrote Nutty, and Denguy wrote Aw, Nuts, two thoughtful posts that raise awareness about nut allergies. (I’d like to add that neither of them has a child with a nut allergy, and in fact have kids who love peanut butter. But they are both concerned and considerate.)
² That happened to me once with a chestnut. It hurt.
³ …or your epipen…
Thumbelina image from Hans Christian Andersen, Fairy Tales (Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, ND).
Friday, September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Last year, I celebrated the event by writing a series of pirate-themed posts, including a pirate’s resume (and subsequent job rejection letter) as well as a tutorial on how to talk like a pirate. Oh, and also by saying “arrr” a whole lot. Arrrr.
This year, I prepare for the occasion with a list. Barely making it under the wire for this Thursday (at least in my time zone) is this pirate-themed ThThTh list. (This list be just a smattering of things piratical o’ me own choosin’. If ye be craving more, ye scurvy dogs, ye may want to drink o’ the grog offered by the scalliwags o’er at the official Talk Like a Pirate Day website. )
Yo, ho, ho.
- Get yerself a pirate name with this quiz. (Oddly, me own name has changed since last year, when I were Black Anne Cash.)
My pirate name is:
Black Anne Bonney
Like anyone confronted with the harshness of robbery on the high seas, you can be pessimistic at times. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate’s life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network
- Treasure Island. Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel of pirates. Adapted into various movies. Including one with muppets.
- The Pirates of Penzance. A comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan. A young man be apprenticed to pirates until his 21st birthday. (Which seeing as he was born on February 29th, won’t happen till he’s in his 80s.)
- “Pirate Jenny“. A song from the Threepenny Opera. I know the version by Nina Simone, which I didn’t find on YouTube. I did find (among others) a Dresden Dolls version of what may be the original German version of the song. (I can’t get the sound on YouTube right now, so I can’t tell…)
- Cutthroat Island (1995). Geena Davis plays a pirate. She kicks ass, in spite of the general suckiness of the movie.
- Pirates of the Caribbean. A Disneyland ride. Also some movies.
- The Dread Pirate Roberts. A character from The Princess Bride (book and movie). A pirate whose identity is used serially by various individuals.
- If ye want to get your swashes well buckled, loads more pirate movies can be found on a pretty comprehensive list by a pirate fan.
- MythBusters Episode 71: “Pirate Special”. Various pirate-related myths are tested, including the efficacy of rum as a laundry detergent and the use of an eye patch to preserve night vision. (Find the results here, if ye dare.)
- The Pirates! A series of short novels by Gideon Defoe. (The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists, The Pirates! in an Adventure with Whaling/Ahab, The Pirates! in an Adventure with Communists, and The Pirates! in an Adventure with Napoleon.) They are supposed to be quite funny, but I haven’t had a chance to read them for meself.
- Pirate’s Booty. A tasty cheesy-puffy snack food by Robert’s Gourmet.
- For more cheesy piratical goodness, check out The Skwib’s tale of curdaneer’s and exploding cheese on the high seas.
- My favorite pirate joke. (Adapted from this version.)
A sailor meets a pirate in a bar, and they take turns telling about their adventures on the seas. The sailor notes that the pirate has a peg-leg, a hook and an eye patch.
The sailor asks “So, how did you end up with the peg-leg?”
The pirate replies: “We were in a storm at sea, and I were swept overboard into a school of sharrks. Just as me men were pullin; me out, a shark bit me leg off.”
“Wow!” said the sailor. “What about the hook?”
“We were boarding an enemy ship and were battling the other sailors with swords. One of the enemy cut me hand off.”
“Incredible!” said the sailor. “And how did you get the eye patch?”
“Arr. That were from a seagull-dropping fell into my eye,” replied the pirate.
“You lost your eye to a seagull-dropping?” the sailor asked incredulously.
“Aye,” said the pirate,”it was me first day with the hook…”