LL Cool J Has a Really Good Publicist

It’s not the ladies that just love cool James. Everyone wants a piece of him.

I started noticing a year or so ago that  LL was showing up at every public event I saw on TV/online/in magazines, etc. Sure, he’s one of those multi-faceted actors that is always busy doing something, so naturally he’s everywhere. But Todd (because we’re friends and I call him that) was appearing in the oddest of places, making me think that this man has a pretty good publicist to get him all these appearances. I mean pre- Brad Paisley/Accidental Racist controversy, seeing LL at any country music awards show was beyond mind-boggling. Mix the unexpectedness with the frequency at which he was popping up, I feel like it’s LL’s world and we’re just living in it. Here are a few appearances of note:

Grammy Awards – 2013 (host), 2012, 2010, 2009

People’s Choice Awards – 2013, 2010

Creative Arts Emmys – 2012

Academy of Country Music Awards – 2012

NAACP Image Awards – 2012, 2011, 2010, 2007

Spike TV Video Game Awards – 2011, 2008

Primetime Emmy Awards – 2011, 2010, 2009

Screen Actors Guild Awards – 2011

Golden Globe Awards – 2011

BET Hip Hop Awards – 2011, 2008

CNN Heroes – 2010

Teen Choice Awards – 2010

Tony Awards – 2004

yes, that’s carol channing. ll cool j presenting with hello dolly at the tony awards.

And then there were the times he showed up on random shows…

Project Runway – 2008 (Guest Judge) 

Sesame Street – 2010

Not to mention all the talk shows he’s been on, Jay Leno, Ellen, The Talk, Big Morning Buzz Live (VH1), Craig Ferguson, Piers Morgan, Jimmy Kimmel, Conan, Jimmy Fallon, Carson Daly, Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray, The View, etc.

And of course, you can always catch him on NCIS (where he apparently plays a superhero)


Roger Sterling, Silver Fox: My Top Old Man Crushes

Mad Men is back on the air, and with it, is one of my favorite grey-haired characters, Roger Sterling. I’d like to say this is outside the norm for me, this attraction to a mature gent, but truth be told it isn’t. Even though I’m young-ish, most of the time I’m into a celebrity, it begins with the phrase “I have this weird crush on…”.

If, like me, you think that Roger Sterling is pure platinum, then maybe you will understand the following weird crushes:

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton was my first weird crush, probably. This dates back, embarrassingly enough, to his sex scandal days. However, I probably didn’t fully understand that at the time, because I was a pint-sized 11-year-old at Catholic school. In hindsight, I don’t know if my crush began with Slick Willy himself or with Clinton as played by Darrell Hammond, because I was really into SNL at the time. Actually, the latter is probably more embarrassing, so let’s just say not that. Really, I like Bill in spite of the Lewinsky thing, not because of it. He’s so smart and charismatic! Babies love him, as do some old people. Bill’s a charmer. Besides, if anything or anyone is Hillary Clinton-endorsed, they can’t be half bad.

Friedrich Bhaer

Friedrich Bhaer is a fictional character. He’s not what you’d call real, exactly.  He is a  much-older German professor who takes up with Jo March at the end of Little Women, but he’s exactly the right match for her. She and Laurie wouldn’t have worked out, long-term. Anyway, in Little Men, they open up a boarding school for boys and it’s pretty much the cutest. In the 1994 film adaptation, Bhaer was played by a dapper, gray-tinted Gabriel Byrne, and it really worked. Or, it really worked if you were the world’s creepiest third-grader, anyway.

Christoph Waltz

As I sort of suddenly discovered during the Oscar liveblog, I have a weird crush on Christoph Waltz. I don’t know. I guess my type is middle aged, kindly, intelligent German nationals. But he is kind of appealing, right? No? All the more aging Bavarian men for me, then.

This One Professor I Had In Law School

This guy taught… I don’t know, civil procedure? Criminal procedure? He taught a class in law school that I definitely attended. We called him the Silver Fox and he was, he really was. I wish I still worked in his legal market so I could run my hands through his glimmering locks… or, I mean, attend one of his CLEs.

The Late Paul Newman, Circa 1980s

I’m not even sorry about it.

The Gracefully Aging Matt LeBlanc And Matthew Perry

In normal cases, I’d list these two without reservations. The only problem is that their greying hair also carries with it the demise of my youth. I don’t like that reminder. But still…

Roger Sterling


I’m pretty sure this is the reason I never joined a sorority

As a young adult, and into my teen years, I always pictured myself going to college. The exact school and location were a little murky, but the vision was always there. But there was one thing I knew for sure, and that was I was never ever going to join a sorority.

Before you sorority or frat people get all huffy, let me explain. My knowledge of Greek life was based on TV and movies. Stuff like Old School, Dead Man on Campus, The House Bunny, Legally Blonde, that one Rush Week episode of Saved by the Bell: The College Years.

The kind of degrading and embarrassing activity and inappropriate hazing rituals scared me beyond belief, and I wanted absolutely no part of it. Of course I know now that not all frats and sororities are like the ones we see in the media. Except once in a while, the truth comes out, and the crazy Greek life people come out of hiding.

You may have seen this story make its rounds the past week. A student at the University of Maryland and Delta Gamma sorority member  sent an astonishing, foul-mouthed letter to her fellow sisters, and it leaked on the internet.

In this e-mail, the executive board member goes off on the ladies for “fucking up” Greek Week, particularly lashing out on the fact they’re not properly socializing with their matchup frat, Sigma Nu. Warning: This contains profanity, CAPS LOCK, and a lot of douchebaggery.

This is LITERALLY the first line:

If you just opened this like I told you to, tie yourself down to whatever chair you’re sitting in, because this email is going to be a rough fucking ride.


We have been FUCKING UP in terms of night time events and general social interactions with Sigma Nu. I’ve been getting texts on texts about people LITERALLY being so fucking AWKWARD and so fucking BORING.

Newsflash you stupid cocks: FRATS DON’T LIKE BORING SORORITIES. Oh wait, DOUBLE FUCKING NEWSFLASH: SIGMA NU IS NOT GOING TO WANT TO HANG OUT WITH US IF WE FUCKING SUCK, which by the way in case you’re an idiot and need it spelled out for you, WE FUCKING SUCK SO FAR.

And what may be my favorite line out of the whole thing (besides the phrase ‘cunt punt’)

Are you people fucking retarded? That’s not a rhetorical question, I LITERALLY want you to email me back telling me if you’re mentally slow so I can make sure you don’t go to anymore night time events.


Since I don’t completely understand how Greek Week/Life works, I still don’t fully understand what the basis of her problem is, but that doesn’t matter. The fact is is that this bitch is CRAY. Was it really that necessary to write this horrific e-mail and send it out? I mean, I guess it would be more “appropriate” to do it at a meeting or something (for the record, I don’t think she should’ve said any of it in the first place, but hey what do I know), but with an e-mail sent out to all the chapter, there is a physical record of her being an asshole. Not to mention, now that this is out in the universe, and her real name has been revealed (Rebecca Martinson – all around racist, overprivileged scumbag), this is not going away. This is the INTERNET. No matter how hard she or the chapter President tries to get rid of this disaster, one day, a potential employer will Google her name and find out she’s a horrible human being.

But really, what an asshole move. Just, no. We need to be nicer to each other, frreal. And this letter is just an extreme version of what I pictured sorority life would be. Again, I know it’s not every sorority out there that has members like this, but I’m glad I never found out.

If you want a good laugh, check out the amazing actor Michael Shannon do a dramatic reading of the entire letter. Again: ‘cunt punt.’

Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 9.58.03 PM(video does not embed, click on pic!)

Ways I’ve Tried (Failed) To Kill Sinus Infections

My sinus and septum are really, really jacked-up, and I know that I need sinus surgery. I also know that with law school loans, paying off my car, and hopefully buying a house this year, getting my nose did is really low on my list of financial priorities. Now that my employee health insurance switched to a high-deductible plan in January, I also avoid doctors at all costs. Because the costs are really, really high. Plus who wants to become resistant to antibiotics? There’s a superbug out there! I haven’t read any articles on it, actually, but the headlines look horrific.

I’ve had sinus and ear infections off and on for the past three years, but pretty much “on” all the time for the last year. In case you’re in the same situation, here are the sinus remedies I’ve tried, to varying degrees of success:

* Nasal rinse: I can’t use neti pots because my nasal septum is so stupid that all of the water just diverts down my throat, no matter what angle I use. But this weird nasal squeeze bottle by NeilMed is the best thing ever. I know that your nose and face feel like a small army of germs in hardhats are pressing against them from the inside, like in the Mucinex commercial. The last thing you want to do is shove some salt water up in there, right? But it gets weird stuff out of your nose sometimes, and more importantly, the salt water hydrates  and relieves congestion by constricting the blood vessels up in your nose area.

* Freaking out about water coming from my nose after the nasal rinse: After forcing two cups of water into your nose, you have to be really diligent about getting it all out of there. But no matter what I do, some of it always gets stuck. Pretty sure that’s because your sinuses are supposed to look like a small-town intersection and mine look like the LA freeway during construction and rush hour. Anyway, a few hours after rinsing my sinuses, I’ll usually bend over and find a ton of water pouring out of my nose. Not snot. Water. Enough that I have to change socks when it falls on my feet, because they are soaked. This is a classic story of “never google your symptoms.” Google will say that your cerebrospinal fluid is leaking. Know what’s way worse than a sinus infection? Brain water pouring out of your nose.

* Mucinex D: This is the stuff that you have to sign for at the pharmacy in case you decide to make Meth out of it. And if this is how Meth makes you feel, I want no part of it. I don’t care how much Jodie Sweetin likes it.  I cannot sleep at ALL when I use pseudoephedrine, and I also lose 5 pounds within like a week. It works for your sinuses, but otherwise it’s the pits.

* Over-the-counter decongestants: These don’t do anything. The meth Mucinex kept me awake, but at least it was effective. Also, one time I went to the doctor when I was on a nasal spray decongestant and discovered that it made my blood pressure shoot up. I have to say that all of the natural cures listed here did more good — with fewer side effects — than any medicine I’ve taken. I’d skip pseudephedrine and other decongestants. I might pop some aspirin or ibuprofen if I get a bad headache or face pain, but I try to wait til I’m really desperate before I do that.

* Steam: Boil a bunch of water, then try to breathe in the steam through your nose for ten minutes or so. It helps a little. I have heard that this is good for your pores, too, so that’s nice. However, I haven’t seen any evidence of it myself.

* Apple Cider Vinegar: Drinking several tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar every day – heavily diluted – is supposed to do something with sinus infections. Prevent them, I think? But even if you already have one, this does help thin the mucus a little. If you made it past “brain water,” I’m just going to assume that thin mucus doesn’t gross you out. This is also supposed to help burn fat or curb your appetite, but like the steam, I haven’t seen any returns on it. Just take some Mucinex D if effortless weight loss is what you’re going for. (LEGAL NOTICE: No, seriously, really don’t do that.)

* Humidifier/vaporizer: When you were a kid, did your parents always put one of these in your room when you were sick? That’s because it works. I use one anyway, because I have dry skin and forced air heating really messes with it. You can add all kinds of fancy stuff to the vaporizer, like eucalyptus and lavender.

* Garlic: This is like steam plus. You put garlic in the steaming water and breathe it in, and it will reduce inflammation. Plus, it has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Oh, and it will make you stink. My grandmother used to suggest eating garlic or wearing it when I had a bad cold or bronchitis as a child. This sounds like old country craziness, but she had undergraduate and graduate degrees in public health from Syracuse University and The University of Rochester. She also may have just been messing with me.

* Cold air: Sometimes going outside and breathing cold air helps, as long as it’s not so cold that your nose starts running. Chalk this one up to Grandma Kay, as well. Again, she may have been messing with me.

* Drinking tons of water and tea: I think this really works. Plus it’s good for you, so why argue with it?

Characters From My Gym

Judging from how many long, unnecessary stares I get at my gym, people are there for one reason and one reason only: fitness. Hahahah no. People watching. And as annoyed as I get when I can tell that somebody is, let’s be honest,  mentally re-dressing me in more clothing with their eyes, I probably do it too. It’s only natural. You are in a room with dozens of other people, or, if I go by smell alone, HUNDREDS of unwashed people. Nobody is really paying too much attention to how they look, because they’re focused on the task at hand. You’re watching humans in their unnatural habitat. It’s like putting land  lions in the sea lion tank at the zoo or something. Just fascinating.

If you are nervous about working out and think that people at your gym will judge you, the answer is probably no. There is a very, very small population that is so ridiculous-looking that, rest assured, nobody will even glance your direction. These people are doing a public service, and in this post, I salute them:

* Uncle Olsen

There’s this guy at my gym who looks like an extra from Little House On The Prairie. What I mean is, he looks like he’s trying to be from the 1800s, but as interpreted as a man from the late 1970s. I’m not calling him Pa Ingalls, because he doesn’t look like Michael Landon, but he looks like he could be a tertiary character. Nellie Olsen’s visiting uncle, maybe. He is about 50-something, tall, lanky, but kind of seems like he’d be handy at welding or whittling, or a-workin’ on the railroad. The primary feature, though? Long, fluffy, glorious mutton-chop sideburns, clearly maintained with as much love and care as his quads and triceps. He probably knows a lot of folk songs.

* Regina Phalange

She grips the arms of the elliptical with fingers spread so far apart that they look like the wingspan of a proud bald eagle. It looks almost dislocated. I probably would never notice this, but she tends to work out near me.

* The Ridiculously Attractive Nerd Couple

I had seen this one couple several times, and I always thought “aww, it’s so cute that those two such nerdy people have found true love. It really gives me hope.” Then, one day the nerdy boy walked by me, and oh my GOD. Nerd boy was attractive. Like really, really good looking, just with glasses, like a girl who falls in love because she was tricked in a teen movie. So I started to wonder how the heck the nerd girl landed him, until she took the elliptical next to me one day. Good Lord. She is the most beautiful lady-nerd I’ve ever seen. I think that, as a couple, they have adopted geek chic as a defense mechanism against a world that will otherwise never leave them alone, because for real, they are one ridiculously attractive nerd couple.

*  My Elliptical Nemesis

She was my arch-nemesis in college, except she didn’t know it. Somehow, although my college was the crown jewel of the SUNY system, the gym facilities were paltry. They weren’t free, and there were not a lot of machines. There was a strict time limit on the exercise machines for that reason. But did my nemesis care? No. She would spend like 50, 60 minutes over her welcome on that darn elliptical. My friends and I called her Peter Pan because she was tiny with a no-fuss Mary Martin hairdo, and we theorized that she ate everything in bar, shake or powder form.

* Go Go Gadget Neck

That girl that stands next to you and tries, Inspector Gadget style, to extend her neck so that she can see the numbers on your machine. For real girl, if you are that curious about what I weigh or my heart rate, I will just tell you.

You Can Throw That Away: Childhood Items My Mom is Hoarding

My mom recently called me to ask if she could give my Disney’s The Lion King comforter to my cousin.

Two things about this inquiry:

A) I don’t live at home anymore, haven’t lived there since 2006.

B) I am 27 years old. This was something I used when I was approx 10 years old.

C) I have a queen bed. This is for a twin.

D) This is what it looks like (more or less)


Here’s the thing – I suppose it was nice of her to ask if I still needed it, but… really? Oh, forgot to mention my cousin, who she wants to hand it down to, is about 17 years old. I found this picture on eBay, so she should probs just sell it there instead. I mean she should do that, but she won’t because my parents still use AOL.

Anyways, it boggles my mind to think that my mom would think I could use this any time soon. Perhaps she asked for sentimental value purposes, but honestly I forgot it existed and if I wanted it, I would’ve taken it to fit my bed by now.

To paint you a picture, my bedroom back at home has been relatively untouched since I lived there, which means it hasn’t been redecorated since I was in high school. There is a library of VHS tapes, Backstreet Boys memorabilia, photos of my friends from my youth, and pictures of my favorite celebs ripped out of Teen People magazine.

So as you can imagine, this isn’t the first time my mom has asked if I was still going to use childhood items. Here are a few notable others:

Beauty and the Beast comforter

Apparently I was really into keeping warm with the entire Disney family

Notebooks from High School

Never going to use those Chemistry notes. Didn’t understand it then, won’t understand it now.

VHS Rewinder

Kids, long before DVDs, we had these ‘tape’ things that usually required another machine in order to start the movie from the beginning.

Stamp/embossing collection

Okay, in all fairness, thanks to my recent history working at an invitation/stationery store, as well as interest in crafting, this might be useful. Except I haven’t used those items since circa 1995, so better that it goes to someone who can use it. In related news, I was a dork.

Be My BFF: A Love Letter to Anna Kendrick

Of course I was aware of Anna Kendrick, mainly from Up in the Air, not Twilight (c’mon, folks). But the more TV interviews I saw of her, the more I knew we could potentially be the best of friends. Obviously I did some further research on Anna, and I made the connection that she was in Camp, one of the most niche, musical theater movies ever. In my opinion, she stole the show with her fantastic, mature version of Ladies Who Lunch. I used to listen to that version over and over again in 2003, and had no idea who she was or what was to become of her. Turns out, Anna had been on Broadway when she was only 12 years old, and had already been nominated for a Drama Desk Award AND a Tony Award!! My brain exploded. She was a theater girl?!!?  WE WERE MEANT TO BE. Then my fasination with her only began to grow, as I watched every interview, read every tweet, stalked every Instagram pic.

And that, fellow readers, is why she has a restraining order against me.

I jest. In an effort to get you all on board with the AK47 (which is her Twitter name and I just realized how awesome it was), here’s a few reasons why she is just the most awesome person ever. If you’re reading this… let’s be pals.

Accurately explaining the difference between East Coasters vs. West Coasters on Ellen

“Mysoginistic rapper Anna Kendrick has a dirty Taco Bell secret” on Conan

She already likes Azns (Per her Funny or Die sketch with real K-Pop group f(x) )

In the event you haven’t seen Pitch Perfect (do it), AK47 is an amazing singer

Like, really, really good. And living out the dream of singing with Kristin Chenoweth

Like, she’s so good, she’s playing the lead in the musical adaptation of The Last Five Years – WHICH IS ONLY MY FAVORITE MUSICAL EVER

She hangs out with the coolest people

But also wants to be friends with celebs, just like us

Laura Benanti, Broadway goddess

We have the same feels

And insecurities

And pop culture interests

And is just hilarious, in general

In short, I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. And to answer your question, dough. Always dough.

A Tangled Web: Formerly Curly-Haired Celebs Who Can’t Fool Me

Way back in the days of yore, probably around 1995 or so, Ricki Lake went from the round-faced teen from Hairspray to a svelte talk-show host. My dad didn’t catch wind of this until my family was watching an award show where she was presenting. “That’s Ricki Lake? That can’t be Ricki Lake!” He paused for a moment, carefully considering the screen. “Nah, you can still tell by her face. She still has a fat girl face.”

Now if you’re going to say that my father says terrible things about women on television, you’re right, and the post is coming. But I didn’t know how ridiculous that comment was, because I was a small child**. I just knew that, from that point, I was worried that although I’m slim, I could secretly have a fat girl face and everyone who looked at me could tell that I was secretly fat inside, that I was of fat and unto fat I would return***.

As much as I can’t stand the sort of comment from my father, I sort of feel that way about curly-haired people. A celebrity will have smooth, flaxen locks, but I will look at them and think “no, I can still tell. You’re a curly haired person. Aren’t you?”

Listen, I’m not talking smack here. I know that your hair can naturally change texture through the years. My early-childhood ringlets were replaced with almost-straight (well, less-curly anyway) hair during middle childhood, then puberty came — and with it, the frizz-monster that now lives on my head. And I don’t think that anything is wrong with straightening your hair, either. I do it all the time, or more correctly, I am lazy and will put my hair in a braid, bun, or ponytail so you can’t tell what sort of texture it is. But still — when I see these formerly curly celebrities, I react like my dad did to the mid-90s Ricki Lake: “I’m onto you”:

Justin Timberlake: I’m Onto You

As a tween who wasn’t too into boy bands, I knew JT strictly as “the curly haired one.” Eventually he started dating Britney Spears and then I knew him by that. From his early pageant photos, it looks like he may have had curly hair that was brushed into a male pageant bouffant – fellow curly-heads will recognize that when curly hair is brushed out, the spirals can lose their definition and become a block of hair. The brushing out effect also took hold during the Mickey Mouse Club years, but a promo shot with Ryan Gosling (because we can always use more Ryan Gosling) reveals his true ringletted glory. During the NSync years, JT illuminated his curls with tiny, gatorade-yellow highlights and defined them with copious amounts of jell product. I believe that he may have been “anointing his head with oil” in response to a directive from the Lord.  So, was Justin chemically curl enhancing at this time? We may never know. It may just be that in “becoming a man” the frizz-monster landed on his head, too. But I don’t think the tiny curls are impossible: my brother’s hair looks like that when he grows it out, and when he was a kid, it was often brushed into a hair-block like  ol’ Pageant Boy Timberlake. Anyway, we didn’t have long to know the curly-topped Timberlake. After a while, Justin embarked on a solo career and sheared his locks so short that the curls didn’t have enough room to form. But then something curious happened: JT grew his hair back out, but the curls were lost to time.  So what happened here: keratin treatment, Brazilian blow-out, Korean straightening system, a really good Dominican hairdresser? Seriously, you guys, Dominican hairdressers are MAGIC. Or did Timberlake’s curl gene just get turned off through the years? Was he lovingly and painstakingly wrapping his hair around straws to get the NSync ringlets? The world may never know, but the internet will always wonder.

Anna Kendrick: I’m Onto You

Anna, Anna, Anna. Not trying to be creepy, but we love you here.  On a less-creepy note, Kendrick is a really cool person who is a former musical theater prodigy, Taco Bell lover, and a first-class Non-Boring Tweeter. If I didn’t love her enough already, she’s also a curly girl! Or, used to be. Or, used to have her hair styled that way and doesn’t anymore. Whatever. But I’m pretty sure it’s natural, because I’ve decided as much. The first time I saw Kendrick was in Camp, and she was playing the fabulously frizzy-haired Fritzi. The curls looked a little too unkempt to have been fake. If they were, then that kind of movie magic is happening in my bathroom at around 7am every weekday when I try to stifle my hair before work. Seriously, I should be working in the film industry with hair skills like this. Then, there was the video of young Anna performing on the Broadway stage.

At the same age, I was taking parts as a child half of my age with the Flower City Youth Players, but that’s fine, really. The curls are clearly mechanically separated, but I think the texture is there. I can just TELL, like my dad with Ricki Lake. And then there’s the headshot, which is less-bad than my headshots from that age, at any rate. You don’t get curly-cue flyaways and a puffy ponytail like that with straight hair. Anna Kendrick – fast foodie, master twitter user, curly top. I rest my case.

Keri Russell: I’m Onto You

The whole POINT of Keri Russell used to be her hair. I mean, to such an extent that ratings of Felicity took a massive nose-dive after Russell cut off her curls. Her revised ‘do actually looked a lot like Timberlake’s, as a matter of fact. After graduating from the WB, Keri got a bit of a film career going, and it seems like she had contractually sold her curls to Warner Brothers during her buyout or something. Her tight ringlets were replaced with straight hair or, sometimes, loose waves. Did it grow back straight after the Season Two Chop? Was she trying to show the industry that, like India Arie, she is not her hair? Or was her Felicity hair just a very late incarnation of the spiral perm during its dying days? Maybe that’s why she cut it — to get rid of the perm. Just putting a theory out there. What else? Oh, you should watch Waitress. It was pretty good. And I like that one where her son is a musical genius, too.

Mila Kunis: I’m Onto You

I never had an opinion on Kunis one way or the other, really, until I saw the great interview between her and the leading man of Notting Hill, at which point I declared us Imaginary BFFs (I swear I have real friends).

Around the same time, someone posted a video of little Mila in a Lisa Frank Commercial.

Suddenly, she was the Imaginary BFF Who You Love But Are Also Really Jealous Of. All that Lisa Frank stuff? A commercial that’s not a local spot? My 8 year old self could not cope. Once I saw past all of the neon, which took a while because it was seriously a lot of neon, I saw the hair. Curly hair. According to Youtube, the curls are present in some of her earlier work, but were they real? Like hell I know. Judging by her hair texture, she is the most likely candidate for having grown out of her curly locks honestly.

Shirley Temple: I’m Onto You

Bitch, who you think you’re fooling?

No, just kidding. Shirl is the patron saint of curly-haired, hammy children everywhere, and I’ll love her forever. I just think it’s time for her to bring back her classic ‘do. It’s hard keeping it alive all by myself.

Sometimes I let the frizz monster out.

** If you’re an adult, remember that if you tell a kid that something is bad, they’ll probably believe you, because they think adults have speaking authority on almost everything. Just keep that in mind.

*** I mean I was EIGHT. I really couldn’t care less about whether I’m secretly fat or not-so-secretly fat as an adult.

What is happening to Amanda Bynes

Guys, shouldn’t we be more worried about Amanda Bynes? She’s clearly going through some kind of Britney-eque identity crisis and we’re just letting it all happen? Where are her parents? Does Nickelodeon have some kind of alumni rehab facility she can go to? Possible rehabmates could include but are not limited to: Kel Mitchell, Shelby Woo, Marc Weiner, Kirk Fogg, and the guy who voiced Chuckie on Rugrats (these people don’t actually have addictions or need life help, I’m just saying).

For a refresher, here’s what our dear old Amanda used to be like:

Doing stand-up at 10 years old. And yes, that’s Arsenio Hall introducing her and saying her name incorrectly.

Ask Ashley All That

Amanda and Channing Tatum kidding around for She’s the Man

Sydney White

Being snarky on What I Like About You

When she dated a black guy on Hairspray instead of trying to be a black girl IRL

annnnddd now…

… this video tho…

And of course her now infamous Tweets

and finally, who can forget this mumbo jumbo…

In short, dear Amanda,

Live Blog: Easter Lamb Cake

The Lamb Cake has a long and storied history in my family. Lamb cakes are an Easter tradition among Eastern Europeans, and my grandmother made one every year when my mom was little. Although my grandmother’s mother admonished her to “just tell everyone you are Irish,” she was actually entirely Slovak. Yes, this was the beautiful time in our nation’s history when not only did some people of color have to try to pass as white, but white people tried to pass as other kinds of white people.

This lamb cake mold dates to the 1950s, and is a heavy cast iron number, apparently part of a limited edition casting (number 866!). Nobody really wanted it after my grandparents died because nobody made lamb cakes, so my mom and her siblings decided to put it up in the estate sale at my grandparents’ house. They had seen that these molds fetch a good price on eBay, so they priced it pretty high and figured that if it didn’t sell, they could just get a better price online later.

The day of the sale, they noticed the mold was gone. The siblings consulted each other, and none of them had sold it. My aunt took off for the antique store (because this town is so small that there is AN antique store), and found a man at the counter selling the mold. Clearly it was the same one, because it was a limited edition casting (number 866!).  He claimed that somebody at the estate sale sold it to him for a dollar. Of course, after asking around, it became clear that wasn’t true. The robber made off with the lamb cake mold because he figured if it was priced that high, he could get a good amount for it at the antique store! Dummy.

After that, it seemed like maybe my family shouldn’t get rid of it. My mom took it, tried to make the lamb cake the next year using the recipe printed by the lamb cake mold company, and declared that it was awful. A few years later, I tried to make it using a lighter cake. It didn’t hold the shape and I ended up chopping it up into cubes and creating a cake/fruit/cream trifle.  I referred to it as a deconstructed or conceptual lamb cake, because I took art appreciation in college.

Enough is enough, and I’ve decided that this is my year. I went to Midcentury Menu, read through all of their lamb cake recipes, and picked one (Pope Family Lamb Cake, if you’re curious). I pored over their list of lamb cake tips, because Lord knows my mother doesn’t know how anything about it. Here is my liveblog of the baking process, transcribed from my very messy handwritten notes:

* I think this is all going to rest on the right Pandora playlist. I pick Otis Redding, and dance around a bit to Bring It On Home To Me as I get the ingredients together

* Sometimes I’m kind of smug about being really good at separating eggs, which is stupid because I actually screw it up this time. In my defense, this one egg was really runny. A little yolk in the white is fine, probably?

* I always question myself when I’m supposed to beat egg yolks. How much is enough? I beat them while dancing around to I Feel Good, because this is apparently part of a cheerful montage in the film of my life.

* My ipad has egg on it now, and I wonder if I can get Salmonella. I think I could. I’m typing this up from my working notes, which simply read “mad salmonella,” so apparently my one-hour-ago self was not very optimistic about that one.

* I switch to the hand mixer to cream the butter and sugar. My standing mixer bit it recently, and today I picked up the cheapest hand mixer I could find in anticipation of Lamb Cake Day. I’m trying to quiet my doubts. Pandora has moved on to Cruisin’, which reminds me of the Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle Duets. I take a moment to feel for Gwyneth and her family, who are not allowed to eat lamb cakes, but are hopefully having some nice asparagus or macrobiotic sprouts for Easter.

* Whenever I have to clean out mixer blades, I’m always afraid I’ll somehow trigger the on switch and cut my fingers off. This mirrors my fear of vacuuming my own foot or garbage disposing my hand. Pandora doesn’t seem bothered, and is playing Sugar Pie Honey Bunch now.

* The mixer starts to smell of burning plastic, and Sam Cooke sings You Send Me.

* I clean my hands with what I realize is balled-up paper towel from the Lamb Cake box. It is probably about 40 to 50 years old, as is Stay Just A Little Bit Longer, which is playing now.

* I nearly empty the cupboard trying to find baking powder. The container proudly boasts that it is gluten free, making it roughly the only gluten free ingredient in this cake.

* I notice that I am cooking with organic whole milk, farm-raised cage-free eggs… and imitation vanilla. Authentic vintage baking fail. Pandora track: You Really Got A Hold On Me

* I eyeball half a cup of corn starch, worry that I’ve gotten it wrong and will ruin Lamb Cake Day, measure it, and find that it was exactly half a cup. Aretha would like a little respect when she comes home, according to Pandora.

* Where is the sifter? I can’t find one and skip that step entirely. I consult my mother, who says “we don’t sift,” as though it is a firmly-held family belief. This will probably be the cause of Easter getting ruined. Otis Redding Pandora moves on to These Arms Of Mine.

* I gingerly feel the side of the hand mixer, as though it is my feverish child. It’s hot, which is unfortunate because it is time to whip the egg whites until they are stiff. Since I don’t have grandparents to ask things of, I turn to Grandma Internet (ok, Google), which confirms that I cannot use the blender to beat egg whites. I whisk the eggs and dance around to Itty Bitty Pretty One, but do not get very far. Best to just tempt fate and use the mixer.

* I try to clean the mixer blades, but realize that I am just eating the batter off of them (it is delicious). So, I switch to another pair of whisks, only to find them clanging the whole time. I remove them when it occurs to me that they don’t go with this mixer and may come loose, fly out, and slice open my jugular.

* The mixer smells like burnt plastic. The eggs whites are stiffer than if I hadn’t done anything to them. Isn’t that enough? I switch to hand-beating the eggs until my arms hurt. This is fine, as I skipped my arm workout today. See? That’s why women in yesteryear didn’t need gyms.  I pour them in and maybe  THIS is the part where I ruin everything, because their texture is more foamy than anything.

* After Midnight Train To Georgia, Pandora goes silent and my hands are too dirty to tell it I’m still there. Great. I’ve been at this so long that Pandora has come to doubt my existence.

* I grease the heck out of the inside of the mold. I considered cooking spray, but the only kind I could find was olive oil flavored, and that sounds like a weird and incompatible taste pairing – pound cake and olive oil. The paper towel just isn’t delivering the cooking oil, so I load the Crisco onto my hand and just go for it.

I’ve clearly given up at this point, as evidenced by applying Crisco by hand and appearing on the internet post-workout with no makeup.

* Am I pouring too much batter into the mold? Possibly. I remember to put sticks into the ears and head so they don’t fall off, using bamboo skewers from the dollar store. I hope they don’t have lead in them or anything. Actually, how do I know the lamb cake mold doesn’t have lead in it? I don’t know if there was an oversight crew or anything at the cast iron factory.

* According to Grandma Internet, I ought to use twine to keep the two halves of the mold together. It doesn’t seem to be knotting that tightly, and I wish I had a Boy Scout around. Not for anything weird, I just think they know knots. A sailor would be useful too, I suppose. I think there’s a good chance that the string will bake into the cake a little. I’ll just tell my relatives that whoever finds the string gets a special wish, or since it’s Easter, is the Apostle for the Day or something.

* The internet says that some people used to put bricks on top of the mold to keep the top half from rising up, but it says it in a lighthearted “ha ha, people were crazy in olden days” way. It doesn’t sound like a half-bad idea, so I grab a brick from the garden and put it on top.

This is probably symbolic of Jesus being sealed into the tomb or something.

* This is way too heavy to carry to the oven safely (okay, I probably shouldn’t have skipped that arm workout after all). The mold alone is so heavy it could knock out a grown man, and the brick doesn’t help. I burn the top of my arm a bit putting it in the oven. At the time I blame my arm (stupid arm! Stupid, wimpy arm that doesn’t have muscle on it! What do you have so many freckles for anyway?). Later on, I blame my brain — why couldn’t I have put the brick on it once it was in there?

* In all that jostling, I wonder if the batter shifted and worry that all of the cake will end up in the lamb’s ass, as opposed to tomorrow, when I will eat it and fret that it will migrate to my ass.

* I have 55 minutes while the cake is baking, so I clean up a bit and make an open-faced sandwich. Ingredients: toasted rye bread, a half-ounce of neufchatel cheese, sliced tomato, my feelings.

* I check the cake a bunch of times, but the toothpick (okay, dollar store lead-bamboo skewer) doesn’t come out clean. Eventually I just take it out anyway because the ears are probably getting crisp.

* I take a shower while waiting for the cake to cool. I find a round brush while blow-drying my hair, and use it to curl my bangs under like I did in fifth grade, just to see if it still looks ridiculous. Still got it: I look like a 10-year-old from the late ’90s.

*  I take the back off of the cake. So far, so good. The cake looks well-proportioned, though there is a troublesome crack that I hope doesn’t spread.

See! The back of the lamb. Not awful.

* After consulting Grandma Internet, I decide to loosen the cake from the mold then leave it in there overnight. I’m a little afraid that grid marks will appear in the back if I cool it on the rack. The mold is very detailed, with hair curls and rib bones, and it would be a shame to lose that. Of course, once I frost it, that’ll all be for naught anyway.

* The next morning: I slather a ton of frosting on a serving tray so the lamb will stay upright. The lamb is not easy to frost, in case you were wondering. I use a spoon and, while I’m not positive what elbow grease is, probably that.

Canned frosting. Shhh. I’m already more ashamed of myself than you are of me.

* The lamb is bedecked with frosting and shredded coconut, with jelly bean eyes and nose, and is sitting on a bed of Easter basket grass. It makes a great centerpiece. At this point, I remember that I don’t even really LIKE pound cake very much.

Cute, right? Please ignore how the eggs are about 1/5 the size of the lamb. Or, if you prefer, pretend that they are dinosaur eggs.

* Moment of truth: the cake looks nice but taste-wise, it isn’t my favorite. It’s perfectly serviceable for what it is, and I know from experience that you need a heavy, dense cake to stay in the mold. For aesthetic and nostalgia values, this cake gets a ten out of ten. But in terms of flavor? My sister-in-law made a funfetti cake, and that is WAY more my speed.

Charley-approved! We have a winner.

* The head of the lamb is left at the end. It looks like that horse’s head in the Godfather. I would not be surprised to find this on my pillow at some point, unless I eat it all first. With me and cake — even cake that isn’t my favorite — that is quite likely.


Postlogue: This recipe makes a lot of batter, and I make cupcakes with the excess. Over the course of the week, I realize that I actually really DO like this cake. It’s not dry, which is my way of trying to avoid using the word “moist.” It’s also lightly sweet and pairs well with sliced strawberries. It’s a good cake. The disembodied lamb head is creeping me out, though.