Friday fluff: Take back the (diet) food

Shapeling BlueRain points out that in my last post I was unfair to okara, the main ingredient in the Magical Diet Cookies. She notes:

Okara (as well as Shirataki mentioned in someone’s comment upthread) is a traditional food item in Japanese cuisine, and having it appropriated as “low-fat/low-cal miracle diet food” is offensive enough, but having it mocked here somehow makes it worse. Yes, there are cookies/crackers/biscuits made of okara, and they are quite yummy. They are NOT sold as diet cookies, but just plain snack-food.

I apologize for my ignorance and my assumption that okara was not yummy in sweets. Now I am really curious to try an okara-based treat (one that’s not advertising its own magical weight-loss-and-water-absorption powers, that is). More to the point, it made me wonder what other perfectly wonderful foods have been hijacked by diet industry hype (and how that relates to cultural appropriation: the “French,” the “Mediterranean,” the “Okinawa” lifestyles…). Let’s do an exercise in food positivity: what supposedly “diet” foods out there do you actually enjoy even — especially — when you’re not on a diet? What foods have we been taught are “good” as in moral are actually just “good” as in “I like it put this in my mouth”?

Miss Lucy had Friday Fluff

When a friend of my mom’s asked her about “that thing all women can do, and some men,” it turned out he meant hanging your sunglasses off the collar of your shirt. But when my husband talks about “that thing all girls know” he means hand jives (otherwise known as clapping games, hand games, handclaps, etc.). I think he was very struck by the time my friend Emily and I, two grown women in our late 20s who did not grow up together, launched into the very complicated hand motions associated with the “ooh, ah, want a piece of pie” rhyme with no prior discussion.

What’s interesting to me, though, is that all girls know hand jives but almost no two know them the same. For instance, I thought of this fluff idea because I woke up with what this website calls “uno, dos-ee-a-say” stuck in my head, only we used to do it “uno dos-ee-a-mo.” And when I went to look up the “ooh, ah, want a piece of pie” rhyme I found all sorts of funky variations. What were your rhymes? Let’s compare notes.

Below the fold, a few of my favorites to start us off.

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Friday fluff: Unlikely roomies

FJ and I have been roommates twice, once at nerd camp and once at college. You’re probably not surprised to hear this, since we clearly have a lot in common (even if our sleep cycles differ). We did the usual college roomie things: swapped clothes, listened to music too loud, had midnight snacks, got the giggles at 3 am and annoyed our neighbors. It worked: we were good roommates.

There’s a slideshow today at The Daily Beast that features famous roommates (who were roommates first and famous later, mostly). You’ve probably heard about Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones, which is weird but kinda makes sense as a duo. But did you know that Frank O’Hara and Edward Gorey were college roommates? Can you even imagine what their parties must have been like?

So this inspires today’s fluff question. Forget people who actually were roommates. Instead, we ask: who should have been roomies? Miss Conduct and Miss Manners? MeMe Roth and Papa Willett? Kate and Dan Savage? Tell us your creative would-be roommates in the comments.


Friday Fluff: BYOFF

Let’s face it: we need some fluff this week. It’s Friday, we’re more than halfway through 2009, and a lot of people are trying to make the world more miserable, as if it needed any help. I suggest a Bring Your Own Friday Fluff thread.

Here are some things that make me laugh.

Maru the Cat:

Jenny Owen Youngs’ cover of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre”:

The legendary ’90s sketch comedy show The State just came out on DVD, and I can once again see The Laupin Variety Programme.

Let’s have it, Shapelings. Bring out your fluff!

Friday Fluff: A crazy box of crabs

As I mentioned the other day, this Talk of the Town column about Paul Giamatti is easily the best example of the genre I have ever read. People in the comments to this post are encouraging me to write a scathing letter to the New Yorker about Kolbert’s article; I’m more inclined to write them a letter letting them know they can retire the feature because it’s peaked. End on a high note, guys.

Evidently Giamatti is working on a film about a soul extraction and storage company, a conceit that sounds pleasingly Kaufman-esque. His character’s soul, it turns out, looks like a chickpea. In the piece, Giamatti freewheels through descriptions of other famous souls, and apparently the guy majored in soul-description or something because he is AMAZING at it:

As he sipped chicken soup, reputed to pep up the soul, he grew less agitated. “I’d like to try Willie Nelson’s soul for a day,” he volunteered. “It would be like an ear of roasted corn. And I go to Dolly Parton, for some reason—her soul would be light and airy, like a hummingbird. Yes, I like the idea of having a country singer’s soul. But not Merle Haggard’s—it’d be an engine block. Powerful, but kind of rusty, with lots of buildup.

“Freud would be interesting,” he continued. “I’m seeing a piece of Babylonian statuary, with the curly beard, the half-a-lion, the wings. Or Donald Trump: a nice set of whitewall tires.” To Giamatti’s surprise, he was also drawn, like many another, to the apparently soulless Jessica Simpson: “I can’t get a read off of her, which is why I’m curious. Her soul might just be a tape measure.” He drew the line at the guitar player Slash, “a blood orange left on a windowsill, all dried out and leathery”; Kim Jong Il, “a crazy box of crabs”; and Henry Kissinger, “a doorknob.”

I don’t know if any of us here have Giamatti’s surprising facility with soul imagery, but let’s give it a shot. What would your soul look like if it were extracted? Some people, including me, find it a little daunting to codify their own soul (Giamatti says his is “a hand-painted ceramic toad,” but he’s clearly the master of this art) — so alternately, describe the soul of someone you know here or a famous person. (Obviously we’re not talking theologically here — you don’t have to believe in The Soul to play, and it should go without saying but let’s please not touch that with a ten-foot soul pole! Forget it, Jake, it’s Friday Fluff.)

Friday Fluff: The Shapely Manor

Does anyone remember the episode of Family Ties where Elise and Stephen Keaton go out of town and leave Alex in charge? And he turns the place into a cozy little B&B called Keaton Manor, and rents out rooms?

Yeah, so the other SP bloggers are living it up in Minneapolis this weekend, leaving me in charge. WOOOOOOO! My sisters Mallory and Jennifer will be cleaning up your rooms and cooking you comically bad breakfasts, while I will be taking your money!

No, not really. But it provided me a handy way of mentioning two things:

1. Y’all, I’m it for the weekend, AFAIK, and I’m new; so go easy. I’ve got a very long and theological post in the works, but I think I shall save it for tomorrow, because we’ve had lots of posts today and I don’t wish to overwhelm. (Edited Saturday PM to add: I’m SORRY, I’m SO sorry, but it will be Sunday. I just keep obsessing and editing. It’s just such a fraught topic, so personal to me yet so prone to giving offense, and I already gave offense once before… blah blah, anyway, if I don’t put it up by tomorrow night then give me grief for it because that will mean I’m really obsessing way too much. ) And if you need something you can email me at teenageradiostar at gmail.


2. Let’s talk about cozy interiors! (Er, the connection was that B&B’s often have cozy interiors. Was that clear?)

See, we are moving to a new city in two weeks, and our new home (while not fancypants) is nicer than our current home, in that the new home has wood floors and granite (I think?) countertops and solid doors and whatnot.

What it lacks is color and quirk and personality. Not that I fault the previous owners for that because when your house is on the market that’s precisely what you’re supposed to do — make everything look generic and neutral. But once we arrive, we are getting down to bidness in terms of adding color and quirk. But most of all we want to be welcoming; we want there to be people coming over, playing, eating, relaxing, connecting, etc.

So anyway, what does the SP collective consciousness say in terms of making a house/apartment a home? How do you make a space welcoming, and what does that mean to you? What are some rooms and homes that you’ve loved? If you want to go all Derrida and talk about whether violence is inherent in “hospitality,” go to it! If that’s not fluffy enough for a Friday, another burning question I have is how we all feel about orange kitchens. (Specifically orange kitchens with black countertops? Too Halloweeny?)

What say you?

Friday Fluff: The Fatosphere’s Got Talent

DAVID HASSELHOFF: So this is your first time on the show, A Sarah. What are you going to do for us?

A SARAH: Well, um, I’m actually singing a song parody that I wrote by request for this occasion.

(All three judges look pained)

PIERS MORGAN: You say it’s a song parody?


DAVID HASSELHOFF: And of what song is it a parody?

A SARAH: “Rubber Duckie” from Sesame Street. (long pause) And, um, my version is called “Sloppy Mommy.”

SHARON OSBOURNE: “Sloppy…. Mommy?”

(All three judges look even more pained. Audience snickers.)

DAVID HASSELHOFF: (sighs) Okay, let’s hear what you’ve got.

(Music begins)

Sloppy mommy, you’re someone
Of whom stylish folks make fun
But, sloppy mommy, I’m awfully fond of you…

‘Cause, sloppy mommy, there’s no chance
That big tees and yoga pants
Will get ruined by spit-up or snot or poo!

Oh, every day when you feel bad for not preening
Just think of what you’re saving on beauty crap and drycleaning…


NICK CANNON: Judges? Your thoughts?

PIERS MORGAN: I’ll start. Where to begin? I mean, look, it’s clear that you got your ideas for this whole setup – the America’s Got Talent Spoof AND the “Rubber Duckie” spoof — from other people: Kate Harding in the first instance, and Miss Prism in the second.

(audience boos)

SHARON OSBOURNE: I agree. And what’s more, I don’t even think you watch this show. I think you had to go on YouTube and Wikipedia just to get up to speed on who the judges even are and how this show works. You don’t even know the order in which we three usually talk. Plus, where’s your picture? You could have put your monster in until your icon’s ready. Learn to internet!

(audience makes obscene gestures)

DAVID HASSELHOFF: Absolutely. Furthermore, it’s clear that you had us cut you off quickly because you hadn’t gotten very far into the Rubber Duckie parody, and couldn’t think of a good rhyme for “drycleaning.”

SHARON OSBOURNE: Now, on that note, David – I do give A Sarah credit for being meta in this section; but that will only take you so far in the blogging business.

(audience boos and throws rotting produce, shoes, and anvils. A Sarah exits the stage.)

NICK CANNON: Well, it looks like A Sarah won’t be winning any million dollars. Fortunately, the Fatosphere’s got loads of other talent and cultural savvy. Up next, we’ll be seeing M. Leblanc, who blogs over at Bitch Ph.D. Her new Cover Fridays feature has audiences there oohing and aahing over her mad mixing skillz.

After that, we’ve got Tari, who has, sources say, been doing some recording recently AND JUST HAD A BIRTHDAY LAST WEEK!

Shapelings, do you have someone you’d like to see on “The Fatosphere’s Got Talent”? Someone with talent in art, music, writing, etc. Or are you yourself an undiscovered talent in the Fatosphere? Text your nominations by linking to them/yourself in the comments!

Friday fluff: Amateur lexicography

Okay, I am in no way promising that this will happen soon, but it occured to me that, what with how hilarious y’all are, and how attention to The Book is getting us new readers, we might be in need of a blog lexicon for our shorthand, jokes, etc. Some of them are used all the time (baby donuts, natch), where others are more topic-specific (like Chili’s anecdotes).

It seemed like a great idea that would take too much time to execute until Resident Thin Scientist Volcanista helpfully suggested that we could farm it out to you all! Only she put it more nicely. So, Shapelings, help us out: what should go in a Shapeling Dictionary? Bonus points if you can link to the original instance of any given phrase!