Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pin-up What?

Christmas was a wonderful time for CandyBuffet. Among other things, Santa brought me an all inclusive book about the history of "The Great American Pin-up", which reminded me of all of you commenters who have been frickin' begging me to add a discussion section to the "Pin-up of the Month".

So here you go, just in time for Christmas (well not really, but in time for the New Year). The new section links to the comment thread for this post, which is now the home for Pin-up discussions in the Candy Machine. You can also find the new link just under the Pin-up for the month.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Amazon Casts a Spell

Our little Christmas gift from is a posting of photos and synopsis of all the tales in their recent acquisition, “The Tales of Beedle the Bard”. First, I am not one to be swept up in a general, trendy furor. Second, I’m not even one to post twice in one week about the same subject (namely J. K. Rowling), but the photos of this volume are…stunning. Handwritten and hand-illustrated by the author, I felt it resembled some monkishly illuminated labor of love. Only seven copies of the book were made by Rowling, six given to friends and this last auctioned for charity. After purchasing the book for a mere 4 mil at London auction, Amazon wasted no time in posting photos and information for its web.

If you do not know the significance of this collection of Fairy tales from the Harry Potter World to the Harry Potter series, well I you obviously have either not finished the seven books (or perhaps not started them). I certainly won’t spoil you here (and regret to say I have nothing to help you with your disease). All I can say is, you’d better get a move on before Amazon sends the book on a tour of libraries and schools.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Candy Girl

For the holidays, my in-laws and I are obsessed with seeing the witty, smart-mouthed “Juno”, the small screen film about an unexpectedly pregnant high schooler and the humors and traumas of teen-age life written by the brilliantly funny Diablo Cody. The funny thing is, Cody, whose real name is Brook Busey-Hunt, was more than a little abashed when telling her parents about her first publishing success, “Candy Girl”. You see, Cody spent a year stripping in clubs and the script of Juno contains more than a little of her own past.

I find it a little odd that our own American culture is complicitly and silently obsessed about sex. A few years ago I saw “Sin City” in the theatre. I expected a darkly fantastic, noir adventure but felt cheated when treated to a graphically violent novella. On leaving, Peter gamely suggested that there should be two R ratings for movies. “RV” for violence and “RS” for sex, because “Full frontal nudity? I can see that all day. Seeing a guy castrated five times? When does that get fun? “

I, for one, am looking forward to one of the first pop-culture treatments of teen pregnancy without the usual of tirade of shame, guilt and humiliation. You too can read more about Cody in the LA Times Article “Diablo Cody: From stripper to screenwriter”.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Girl Powah

Artists Tiffany Ludwig and Renee Piechocki, who collaborate under the name "Two Girls Working" have been interviewing women about clothes, make-up, self esteem, and power in order to create art installations, an online multimedia archive, and a new book called "Trappings: Stories of Women, Power and Clothing."

Many a New Year's Eve ago, I had an intense conversation with a friend of a friend. He despised make-up, declaring women only used it out of a lack of self esteem. I was convinced of quite the opposite and tried to reveal to him my deep connection with cosmetics. Especially in the US, cosmetics are so deeply ingrained in a woman's culture and considered a territory outside a man's culture that he found the concept difficult to digest. I tried to explain how, when I'm looking in the mirror, applying eyeliner or mascara, I oftentimes imagine I feel an invisible connection with the thousands of millions of women before me who have done the same thing. Just imagine, Cleopatra, Marie Antoinette, Alice Paul, Josephine Baker, and Lady Diana all applied their make-up with the same minute strokes, the same half-opened lips, the same deadly concentration and somehow each of us is connected to the others in an infinite femininity that is a little bit ritual, a little bit sacred and a little bit fun.

Read for yourself how women speak about their emotional connections with a little black dress and pearls or THAT pair of perfect red shoes in the Seattle Times article “Two women explore "Trappings" of power clothes”.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What She Hath Wrought

Candybuffet doesn't usually succumb to these awfully trendy food trends, but a recipe for butterbeer inspired by the Harry Potter series happens to be intriguing, geeky, and candied all in one bite (and utterly takes the cake).

Entertainment Weekly suggested a version of the wizards’ pick-me-up made of Michelob Light and Butterscotch Schnapps was becoming a frat party staple, but finding little evidence of any such thing on the net, I decided to test drive a version of my own consisting of

12 oz Michelob light (1 can)
1 1/2 oz (shots) of Butterscotch Scnapps

(Yum! And it even passed a FreshSnaps flavor test) and will be serving it up for the New Year’s Holiday. You can try it out as soon as you dare, otherwise check out the Entertainment Weekly article on Rowling naming her the "Entertainer of the Year," preceeding a nice anaylisis of Rowling impact on modern culture.

Friday, December 14, 2007


The above is not a little known word in the English vocabulary. Instead, it is a new program launched by Delta Air Line's, Inc to raise awareness of good behavior in the air through animated videos. The humorous in-flight videos show passengers confronted with delicate social situations like "Middleman" (those guys who hog all the arm space in the middle seat), "Kidtastrophe" (doe I really need to explain this one?), and "Shady Lady" (passengers who raise or close window shades without considering other passengers. Exponential growth in air travel has meant thousands of new passengers who have never been in the air, and I for one am relived that Delta has stepped up to the plate to educate customers about what it means to be a good travel companion.

Read the USA Today's Article "Flying the Friendlier Skies" for an overview or take a look at the online version of the videos at Delta Air Lines' blog, Under the Wing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It was the Worst of Openers

When I was a wee lass, we subscribed to Games Magazine. Well, I use the word subscribe to mean, poured over, tore pages out of, fought over, scribbled upon and basically defaced each issue into an unrecognizable pulp of paper. Inside each magazine were hours of word, logic and visual puzzles that would make your hair stand on end. And (very often) in December there was also the results of the world's best-known bad-writing contest, the "Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest".

The name of the contest hails from author Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, whose 1830 novel "Paul Clifford" opens with the sentence, "It was a dark and stormy night". The contest's founder acknowledges that writing badly on purpose is hard work, something like "impersonating a drunk on ice skates." That's why BLFC winners make world headlines each summer with such overworked sentences as:

She resolved to end the love affair with Ramon tonight . . . summarily, like Martha Stewart ripping the sand vein out of a shrimp's tail . . .though the term "love affair" now struck her as a ridiculous euphemism . . . not unlike "sand vein," which is after all an intestine, not a vein . . . and that tarry substance inside certainly isn't sand . . . and that brought her back to Ramon. (2004 Winner)


The heather-encrusted Headlands, veiled in fog as thick as smoke in a crowded pub, hunched precariously over the moors, their rocky elbows slipping off land's end, their bulbous, craggy noses thrust into the thick foam of the North Sea like bearded old men falling asleep in their
pints. (2000 Winner)

To view the 2007 contest winners, runner-up and dishonorable mentions visit the 2007 winners circle at their homepage. To try your hand at attainable foulness, you can also check out the
contest rules.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Park on the Grass

Hailed as the solution to erosion and urban runoff, which poisons our lakes and rivers, grasscrete consists of 47% concrete and 53% holes.The idea is to let grass grow between the surfaces of the concrete allowing for the same kind of rain and flood water absorption that occurs over natural a parking lot.

Developers pour concrete over 2' by 4' blocks called "formers" that biodegrade. As they degrade grass grows into the holes. Cool, huh? It can even be used in reservoirs and Drainage channels. Unfortunately, grasscrete is currently 30% more expensive than concrete. But as the price comes down, I think it is more exciting and innovative than plastic.

Take a look at the website for more pictures and case studies, one of which shows an English Manor house that had had its grass verges destroyed by overflow parking and country fairs, but has now been laying grasscrete for the past 15 years, providing hard parking for cars and natural graze land for the estate farm's sheep when not in use.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Went to a house warming this weekend, where the host pulled out a wacky version of Dutch shuffleboard, heartily enjoyed by adults and children.When it came near to my turn, there were only two people who hadn't had a go, so I gamely offered a quick Rock, Paper, Scissors throw down to determine who goes next.

Here's the thing, on reflection, Rock, Paper, Scissors is universal.Almost every civilized human being over the age of four knows how to play and would agree that the results are fair. The action is cyclical, understandable and almost karmic.

This morning, it seems that the New York Times agrees with me. Check out their article, "Rock-Paper-Scissors is Universal", regarding how the three-pronged nature of Rock, Paper, Scissors applies to nature and, indeed, seems to be one of its primary methods of stability. The article is part of a larger section, "The 70 Ideas of 2007", which is well worth a read too.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Interesting Web Browsers You've Never Heard Of

Is it sick, sick, that I only recently installed FireFox? And that was because my Internet Explorer kept crashing for unknown reasons and I finally got it up just enough to Google FireFox and wrestle the download URL from the browser. I'm not old-fashioned by any sense of the word, but I do like familiarity. Still I'm surprised at how compatible, customizable and, well brilliant, FireFox is (hello, instant spell checker! Are you listening Microsoft?). I feel guilty for my late and trepidatious behavior. Afterall it was named by as "the best browser" in a 2004 and "product of the year" by PC World in 2005.

For you others frightened of change, take a closer look at some rather unknown, forgotten, advanced or experimental browsers reviewed by Smashing Magazine in "Web Browsers You Have Never Heard of". You maybe surprised (and exceptionally needy) one day.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's Comcrapstic!

Anyone who doesn't know that I hate Comcast, doesn't know that I live and breath. We wouldn't subscribe to their circle of evil, or eyeball their triple play of doom if they weren't the only cable show in-town or if one could get the English Premier League on Netflix.

For S&G's, I was re-reading about the 75-year-old grandma from Manassas, Virginia who became infamous for "Taking a Whack Against Comcast" (after getting fed up with constant delays and blatant indifference at Comcast's customer service office, she re-visited the office with a hammer and took out a couple of keyboards, monitors and a phone). Then I remembered a light at the end of the tunnel I hadn't blogged about. Comcast corporate regularly tunes in to one of their biggest negative publicity sites, the blog "" written by Bob Garfield (co-host of the On The Media show on National Public Radio and author of the "Ad Review" features in the magazine Advertising Age). One of my favorite quotes from their huge array of complaints runs something like this:

This story has it all – shocking lack of competence, outright lies, and a customer service system that can best be described as Soviet in its hopeless ineptitude and ability to drain time and destroy souls.

The good new continues as consumers who post their outrageous, Com-crap-stic stories on this sight, often have their complaints seen to by someone at Comcast's Corporate office. One commenter replied:

This site is fantastic. Quickly after making my post I received 3 phone calls from Comcast: (1) a fellow named Mark called from corporate, left his number and told me I would be contacted by someone from my local office, (2) a call from Gwen who was at the local office letting me know who specifically would be handling my case, and finally (3) Rebecca who was handling my case. After some phone tag (due to my schedule - not Comcast's fault), I was able to connect with Rebecca today who had gone through my bill, corrected all of the charges and let me know my new monthly balance. She also made sure that I was credited for past charges and called to let me know how much my new statement amount was so that I wouldn't overpay.

If you too, like Sisyphus, are forced to shoulder the burden of Comcast's non-existent customer service only to find it rolling back downhill to where you started, you should not delay in checking out Bob's blog.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


A finnimbrun is an obsolete word (my favorite kind!) for a (often rare) trinket or knick-knack. It is so obsolete that I can not even discover a consistent etymology and therefore reliable plural form of the word. Why do you care? Well, the fact of the matter is, there are many, many, many words in American vernacular that mean trinket or knick knack and these words actually already suffice without having to add finnimbrun to your vocabulary. So why should you? Why did I even welcome you to the world of finnimbrun?

It is because of the sound of the word. The bold faced rhythm of it. The creative fun you can have with making up new grammatical forms of it, like "Finnimbrunian" that are downright fantastic, even Tolkien, in their sound. Like a bunch of unflinching, relentless dwarves who slaved over their hammers to make exquisitely awful figurines to fill their cultured grandmother's house with semi-magical and well-crafted knick-knacks that she can't stand but has resignedly decided to decorate the back of her toilet with. It sounds like an adjective describing the astronomically (literally, not figuratively) unkempt house of Lady Aughra from the Dark Crystal you know the one, the woman with the one eye that you're sure was knocked out by one of her harrowingly fast, disregarded orreries that were the star of that famous, chaotic scene instead of her. It sounds like the collective noun for a team of mice that consequently you discovered running all over you like Reepicheep and his gang did all over Aslan before they learned the power of speech (and if you don't understand the last reference, what is wrong with you? Read the Chronicles of Narnia already, for yourself, if you really try, you can do it in one night).

Anyway, all my blathering is simply to say yes, you may say trinkets, you may say knick knacks, you may say tchotchkes, frou frou, bricka-brack, baubles, whatnot or junk, but Finnimbrun is much, much, much more fun to say.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The End of America

Naomi Wolf the author of "The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot" and this interview, "The End of America? Naomi Wolf Thinks It Could Happen" is well worth the read, considering how she warns that Americans must be vigilant about protecting our freedoms and Democracy. Wolf is a well-known author and feminist and was a White House consultant in the Clinton era. Recently, she has been studying historical fascism and her new book outlines the ten steps fascist regimes have taken in order to gain control. She then she parallels these with current (and recently instituted) United States policies. Notably, she cautions that we can not expect an open, transparent, and accountable election in 2008 and we can expect hyped terrorism threats and purged voter rolls.

Now, don't get all uppity, my conservative friends. It is of great confusion to me how Liberals (and others) who cry for change are often decried as unpatriotic. In our great country of America, the soul of our honorable forefathers was not one of complacency, but of tolerance and freedom, consequently some of the greatest lessons in Christianity (and heck, just about every other meaningful, world religion) and in my opinion the hardest religious lesson to learn. I once had a conversation with a family member about patriotism and rebellion. Can one be a liberal and a patriot, while experiencing the throes of rebellion? I outlined my argument thus: what if one lived in Georgia in the terrible days of segregation? To be outraged at the segregation, would that make one disloyal to the great state of Georgia? Or would that love of Georgia make one activate on its behalf, to right the wrongs of an unfair authority and restore Georgia's honor through protests and rallies, in the hope of making one's state greater? Are not these the actions of true patriots?

Tangentially, the current instability in the U.S. (and a recent viewing of Children of Men) have forced me to look at our modern society through more emotionally charged, spiritual glasses. Specifically, to one forced into years and years of Bible study (think what you like, I rather enjoyed it and at the end of the day, nothing shuts up an overzealous, intolerant Bible-beater like a good counter knowledge of the Bible) one can't help but compare the idea of the Biblical "Time of Tribulation" with the good ole'-fashioned, godlessness of now (of course, I think "The Millennium" is a spot on reference to Star Trek, The Next Generation, as well).

For more ideas on why the end might be near, see my post from about apocryphal prophesies. Even if you have something better to do you should probable read it. Heck, you should read it even if you've read it before.