The rendition that shall one day be played at Sister Madly’s wedding.
… and of course, the 3:14 timestamp, should you have no appreciation for the arts…
Is the Thief of Joy.
~ Theodore Roosevelt
It’s said that, on average, champagne corks kill approximately 24 people a year- far more than the 10 killed by sharks.
Still, Sister Madly decided to risk it with the champagne rather than find sanctuary with a posse of sharks. She likes to live dangerously.
It was the end of October, when the veil between the worlds is said to be its thinnest, and when the living honor those who have passed on through a variety of traditions, including a celebration known as a Dumb Supper.
Now, Sister Madly has attempted a few Dumb Suppers in the past, and with mixed results.* Of course, this could be that the Departed were already engaged in another Dumb Supper across town, or were busy in the southern hemisphere doing southern hemisphere-ish things. Still, she had to consider the possibility that she was completely lacking in the area of social graces, and that the Departed refused to associate with anyone but the elite. Thus, Sister Madly decided to not only host a trial supper, but with a guest.
* Unsuccessful, and even more unsuccessful.
And what Dearly-Departed guest would be more appropriate than Vincent Price?
For a posh dinner party, one must be properly dressed; and for the Merchant of Menace such attire should be both classy and theatrical. Sister Madly has accumulated a most eclectic array of costumes during her Renaissance Faire Days, down to the satin-lined cloak worthy of an Elder god ritual. She admits it may be a bit show-offy for a Dumb Supper, but it would be perfect of the Vincent Price Trial Run. No doubt he would be wearing one as well.
Unfortunately, Sister Madly looked nothing like the sinister, show-offy cultist of her most excellent imagination, but a portable keyhole- something she did not realize during her Renaissance Faire Days. Did she always look like the gateway to another dimension? Why didn’t anyone ever tell her this?
Thanks a lot, fellas.
As for the feast- Mr. Price was a gourmand in his day, and the not-so-sinister Sister Madly couldn’t get away with Frozen Tater Tots and cans of Spaghetti O’s, even if she did garnish it with a lemon wedge and a sprig of parsley. A culinary effort would have to be made on her part, if only to apologize for dressing as a particularly unmenacing Keyhole.
So what could be more appropriate than a dish from A Treasury of Great Recipes, authored by Vincent Price himself?
No doubt he would be pleased that Sister Madly acknowledged his talents beyond The Pit and the Pendulum, and be touched that she was so thoughtful. And should she replicate his recipe to a ‘T’,* Mr. Price would put in a good word for her with gods of the afterlife, who will no doubt permit her to haunt the living willy-nilly. Of course, should she fail, Mr. Price may plague her with wicked laughter, poltergeists, and B-movie dreams for the rest of her life.
* What is this ‘T’ anyway, and why is it the standard to which everyone aspires?
So Sister Madly settled on a delicacy entitled Poularde Pavilion– that is, Champagne Chicken.* That sounded posh.
* Poularde Pavilion does not translate to Champagne Chicken on Google Translate, but Sister Madly is not one to question the magnificent Vincent Price.
Naturally, merely purchasing a bottle of champagne can bring about delusions of sophistication far beyond one’s station. However, Sister Madly- being most adult- retained enough sense to know she might horribly screw up the opening of said bottle; and as she hoped to get her security deposit back one day- and since she wasn’t quite ready to shuffle off this mortal coil in the most embarrassing way possible- Sister Madly opened the bottle on the fire escape outside.
Science can be a beautiful thing to witness, be it fireflies, the way liquid mercury separates, or the Northern Lights; and while there may be a ‘proper’ way of opening champagne, there is nothing more magical than the moment the internal pressure forces the cork from the bottle, and sends it sailing off into the sunset.
Or, as in the case of Sister Madly, over the fence and into the neighbor’s kiddie pool
Naturally, this left Sister Madly pondering one of the Great Mysteries of Life: how fast does a champagne cork travel?*
* Up to 60mph, it turns out- which is a $435 fine and possible license suspension up to 30 days should that Cork be pulled over in Sister Madly’s neighborhood.
Sister Madly did not replicate Mr. Price’s recipe to a ‘T’.
She gave up when instructed to preheat the oven to ‘moderate.’
- 4 chicken thighs, bone-in
- 1¼ cup champagne or other sparkling wine, divided (¼ cup + 1 cup)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Heavy cream, to taste (opt)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- pearl onions, peeled
- wild mushrooms, sliced
- pancetta, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp dried tarragon
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- pinch cayenne, or to taste (opt)
- salt/pepper, to taste
- Oil, for searing
Season chicken w/salt and pepper
In heated skillet, brown chicken on both sides, 3-5 min per side
Remove from skillet; set aside
Sauté pancetta; 2-3 min
Add garlic, pearl onions, and mushrooms; sauté 2-3 min
Add herbs; sauté 30 sec
Deglaze with ¼ cup champagne
Return chicken to skillet
Add broth and remaining champagne
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer: 20-25 min
Uncover; simmer until sauce is reduced by half
Stir in cream (if using) simmer 2-3 min
Remove from heat and serve
THEME SONG: Haunted, Maya Kern
A Second Spring
When every Leaf
Is a Flower.
~ Albert Camus
Morning, Mr. Magpie…
Sister Madly first learned this of custom from the Professor after listening to his lengthy and completely unsolicited dissertation on superstitions. He was saluting a tree- or so she thought- which is not entirely odd in itself; Sister Madly herself has been known to talk to strange things, such as people.
As it turned out, the Professor was not saluting the tree, but a creature he called a Magpie. Sister Madly had to admit that she didn’t know what a Magpie looked like, but if she were to speculate, she would assume this:
Turns out, they look like this:
The Professor told her that it was unlucky not to salute the first Magpie of the day, which was a bizarre ritual for him to adopt; he was a scientific creature completely without whimsy, living an academic life while selfishly refusing to allow Sister Madly to sell his kidneys on the black market. He seemed to imply that if she were to embrace the Saluting of the Magpie, she could forever live a blissful life in a lovey-dovey, vegan butter-spread commercial.
But this raised a few questions for the most rational Sister Madly; to begin with, how is one to know that this is the first Magpie of the day? There may have been a conga line of 57 birds on her windowsill in the wee hours of the morn. And what if the Magpie she salutes is not a Mister, but a Missus? If the idea is not to anger the old bird, knowing its proper title is an absolute must!
Then again, why would Sister Madly salute a bird whose only purpose in life is to poo hellfire missiles all over poor Itty Bitty whenever parked beneath a tree?
It didn’t take long for her to find out.
At the pub later that night, they encountered the Happy Phlebotomist, whom had recently returned from a trip to Canada and was giddy to show off his souvenirs. He led them to the dark end of the parking lot, where he revealed a trunk full of Ketchup Chips.
“If you’re not going to buy Ketchup Chips, why bother going to Canada? That’s what the country was made for!”
No, Canada was created so that Alaska won’t float off into the Bering Sea, flex its muscles at its newfound freedom, and shack up with Hawaii- everybody knows that, Chipper. It would be most devastating for the caribou.
Since the chips tasted as one might expect, it became clear that the Happy Phlebotomist was fascinated not only by the chips themselves, but the brilliant innovation of this time-saving measure.
You see, much of a Canadian’s life is wasted writing that extra ‘U’ in words that need no extra ‘U’; thus the Ketchup Chip was invented not only to save time, but prevent the excruciating fatigue of dipping said Chip into said Ketchup, hence allowing Canada to continue this curious tradition. Of course, food is so much more flavourful with that superfluous letter, everyone knows that; but nearly 6 years* is squandered in composing that character over a single lifetime. The Ketchup Chip makes that loss much more bearable.
* According to Sister Madly’s estimate, which of course is most excellent.
But that was not his only memento.
But before the Professor could question the logic behind selling non-refrigerated Milk in Bag like a Boss, Sister Madly decided to test the strength of the bag by dropping it to the asphalt.
Bag O’ Milk promptly became Sprinkler O’ Milk.
You know why this happened, don’t you, Sister Madly? This happened because you did not salute the Magpie first thing in the morning after your merry frolic through Sunnyside, which has more Magpies than you can shake a stick at.*
* Not that Sister Madly wanders about town, shaking sticks at things willy-nilly. She’d like to think that she’s still a few years away from that particular mentality.
After the Milk-Sprinkler Dance of Panic, Chipper attempted to correct this by sticking ballpoint pens through the tears. It would seem that the Happy Phlebotomist’s solution to every problem is to stick a pointy object into said problem- which is far from comforting.
Apparently, Canada has yet to learn about the science behind the Pencil-Thru-the-Bag-of-Liquid, because this did not work in the least.
“You should have Saluted the Magpie.”
The Professor clearly has no heart- at least, he isn’t using it.*
* In which case, he shouldn’t mind if Sister Madly sells it on the black market.
On the plus side, Sister Madly did get her recommended daily serving of dairy.
While she can’t say the Magpie was responsible, she did leave him an offering of Ketchup Chips, just in case.
- oil/ghee for sautéing
- 1lb beef mince
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1-2 chilies, chopped and seeded to taste
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 TBSP ginger, minced
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 4 eggs, beaten
- crusty bread, sliced
- spring onion, cilantro, sriracha aioli, cheese (opt, for garnish)
Sauté onions until translucent; 8-10 min
Add chili, garlic, and ginger; lightly caramelize; 10-15 min
Add spices; sauté until fragrant; 1 min
Remove from heat; set aside
Add beef to skillet; sauté until cooked through
Add onion mixture; stir until combined; 2 min
Remove from heat; cool 5 min
Add beaten eggs to beef; mix well
Heat oiled skillet over medium heat
Spoon egg mixture over sliced bread
Place bread filling-side down in skillet
Fry for 2-5 minutes, or until eggs are cooked
Flip over to toast outside (opt)
Remove from heat; add garnish
Serve open-faced or as a sandwich
THEME SONG: Surfin’ Bird, Ramones
The Artist Produces
For the Liberation of his Soul.
It is his Nature
As it is the Nature of Water
To Run Down the Hill.
~ Somerset Maugham
Filipino Solar Artist, Jordan Mang-osan, harnesses the power of the sun to create intricate works of art. With a magnifying glass, he focuses the sun’s rays to burn his visions into slabs of wood.
Art by Jordan Mang-osan.
The Worst of all Deceptions
The Closest One Comes
To Perfect Love
Is Accepting Somone
For Who They Are.
Bower Birds do not rely on plumage; rather, they attract females through elaborately embellished structures (bowers) which are carefully arranged by the males.
2.) Markus Lilje
So apparently, this is a thing now…
…which is totally unfair. No one has ever made Sister Madly into a beer.
She knows how this happened; she need look no further than to a Renaissance Faire some 10+ years ago, when her friends stole her Medieval Love-Finding Bingo Rock and gave it to the Dodo.
Everybody knows that Bingo Rocks are enchanted; after all, they’ve united love-seeking desperados across many millennia who might otherwise have never realized that a talking tree was their Soulmate. Sister Madly’s willy-nilly selection of Rock 88 was no mistake in the Love-Finding Universe; the Fates knew that she was just as likely to read the stone upside-down as right-side up- 88 would all but guarantee that Sister Madly connected with her Soulmate instead of a wandering pudding.
However, after a tedious encounter with a cheeky Thyme Lord, Sister Madly began to suspect her friends had not been forthright with her. It was only a hunch, of course, but that is the best way to solve a mystery- clues and evidence be damned, a hunch is always the preferred method according to the movies- and Sister Madly had a hunch that this scheme was the brainchild of a master scam artist.* The Scott’s claimed they gave her Medieval Love-Finding Bingo Rock to the Dodo, but Sister Madly had seen neither hide nor hair of the Ol’ Bird all day.
* Although ‘artist’ may be a bit generous… More like scam finger-painter.
So she thought to herself, Self… do you really want to place all your starry-eyed dreams on the whims of a Ye Olde Bingo Rock? Let’s face it: that’s a few steps away from seeing the Virgin Mary in a Poptart. Are you so far removed from society that you don’t understand how Romance works?
* Sister Madly always responds to her own questions, otherwise she gets miffed at herself and will refuse to speak to herself for days.
But even though she bailed on her own Romance, Sister Madly was no less curious as to what the Fates had in store for everyone else. Thus she began calling out numbers at random- perhaps luring a few unfortunates with the false hope of her siren’s song- but that is the risk one takes when dipping a toe in the dating pool. During the course of this lovey-dovey investigation, Sister Madly learned that the Fates paired Bingo Rock 45 with a Spanish Inquisitor:
… 67 with the Living Embodiment of Dark Matter:
… and lucky number 13 with what can only be described as a Lump:*
* It might have been a Troll.
Having been most successful in locating the Soulmates of those unfortunate chumps, Sister Madly decided not to give up on love altogether, and took a crack at finding her own- she may not have the Medieval Love-Finding Bingo Rock on her side, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t win her True Love over by playing the coquettish maiden fair. Apparently, flirting was quite popular in days of yore.
But Sister Madly was created with a bit of a design flaw: she is completely incapable of playing the Coquettish Maiden Fair without looking like a psychotic Miss Piggy with a bad case of the collywobbles, and that had a catastrophic effect on flirting… never before had a Reaper dropped his scythe and run like that…
She blames it on her recessive genes.
Sister Madly didn’t know it that day, but had she retrieved her Rock, it would have been she – not the Dodo – who met her True Love, who frolicked happily around a maypole, and who would now be a local beer.
Instead, she contemplated the clouds while lying in a field of buttercups- having properly filled herself with cider, of course.
PORK UDON CURRY
- 1 sm onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1 chili, chopped and seeded to taste
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp curry powder
- ½ tsp coriander
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 bay
- udon or ramen noodles
- sliced pork
- 1-2 tsp fish sauce
- 1½ cup chicken broth
- 1 can coconut milk
- lime juice, to taste
- chives, for garnish
Saute onions in hot oil until translucent
Add garlic, ginger, and chili; saute 2-3 min
Add spices; saute 30 sec
Add pork; brown slightly; 2-3 min
Add broth, coconut milk, and fish sauce; bring to a boil
Reduce heat and simmer until pork is cooked through
Add udon/ramen; simmer until tender
Remove from heat; add lime juice and garnish with chives
THEME SONG: Lover, Lover, Lover, Leonard Cohen
1) Black Plague Brewing
2) Christopher Lovell
Nothing makes the Earth
Seem so Spacious
As to have Friends
At a Distance.
~ Henry David Thoreau
Unlikely Friends Images:
3) Lassi Rautiainen
The problem with having a local business is that it’s often frequented by enterprising locals, all hoping to sell their wares.
Utopia was no different.
Now Sister Madly had heard tales of these free-range entrepreneurs but thought them as mythical as the Sasquatch- that is, until the winter when they descended upon Utopia in droves, pitching products from handmade jewelry to glass-blown bongs suggestive in their design, to local music unsuitable for human absorption. Sister Madly obtained an extraordinary amount of patience in those years, listening to horrific demos while dogs howled from the alley.
But even this did not quite compare to the brainchild of the wayward Fashionista, whose poorly executed British Accent* pitched her personal line of sequined handbags. These bags, each the size of a cigar box, seemed normal enough- that is, until the Fashionista flipped the purse around to reveal the small compartment containing a live, and rather surly, Betta Fish.
* Like many Americans attempting a British accent, the Fashionista could mimic nothing better than southern Alabama.
Now Sister Madly is all for chasing one’s dreams; she herself has aspirations that border the utterly insane- like one day eating a salad- but not one of those dreams include strutting along Bourbon Street with a Betta Fish in a Sequined Handbag. Clearly, her face reflected the WTF that she was thinking, as the Fashionista went on to emphasized certain selling points, including a self-contained LED light (with multiple twinkle settings) and the fact that almost any freshwater* fish from goldfish to guppy could be substituted for the Betta.
* This was blatant discrimination against all saltwater creatures- after all, what femme fatale wouldn’t want to tote a halibut glowing pride?
Being a humble clerk, Sister Madly was no more authorized to make wholesale purchases than she was to dispose of bodies in the company’s dumpster- and she campaigned for both during her employment. In fact, Management rarely purchased anything local, preferring rather back alley transactions and mysterious shipments from China * to the dubious wares of the native psychopaths.
* Sister Madly eventually gained the confidence of Management, who assigned her the task of ripping the labels off all shipments from China in an attempt to conceal the identity of their suppliers. It was useless, really- the return addresses were written in Chinese.
After the regulation We-Don’t-Want-Your-Wares-Weirdo-But-It-Sounds-Like-You-Have-A-Chance Spiel (which Sister Madly delivered most diplomatically,) the Fashionista said something quite lovely in British-Alabamian, smiled in this same language, and sashayed her glamorous self out the door- leaving handbag behind as a ‘sample.’
Make no mistake, Sister Madly likes presents; she likes finding books on the side of the road, or lotion samples in the mail, and has been known to dine quite handsomely toothpicked meatballs at the market. But all these are a far cry from being saddled with a surly Betta Fish by a Fashionista with a bad accent.
Then again, if Sister Madly can properly care for a Betta Fish, she would be prepared for the day the Humane Society drops off a sample Corgi. She would be the first civilian sought to test-ride a luxury Zeppelin cross-country, and would be the prime candidate to care for the sample case of premium Hard Cider expected to arrive the following week. It wouldn’t be long before Sister Madly proved herself worthy of a galaxy or two, with unlimited dimension-traveling privileges.
In the meantime, Utopia now had a Betta Fish who, judging by its disposition, did not like the poky accommodations of the Handbag Aquarium- and Sister Madly knew all about the unhappy conditions of poky accommodations.
So she transferred the surly Fish to a shiny, new, Tibetan Singing Bowl.
But new digs meant little without nutrition in terms of survival; so Sister Madly took it upon herself to feed the Surly Fish and even went so far as to do it with a smile.
But what does a Betta eat? Aside from giving her the evil eye, it’s been rather uncommunicative, and try as she might, Sister Madly did not speak fish. Taking into account the dietary lifestyle commonly found in poky accommodations, Sister Madly assumed (quite correctly, no doubt) that a Surly Fish would enjoy the same fare.
So she bought the Betta two large pizzas and some olives, knowing her coworkers would assist in finishing what the Fish could not consume as to avoid unnecessary waste. Her coworkers were most resourceful when it came to all things edible.
She also bought a small canister of Fish Food- you know, just in case.
RUSTIC CHICKEN STOUT STEW
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3-5 garlic cloves, minced
- 4-6 chicken thighs, cubed
- 3-4 cups chicken stock
- 1½ cups stout, divided (1 cup + ½ cup)
- bacon, cooked and crumbled (opt)
- pearl onions, peeled
- mushrooms, sliced
- carrots, cubed
- 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp thyme
- ½ tsp sage
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cayenne, or to taste
- salt/pepper, to taste
- heavy cream (opt)
Sauté chopped onion in bacon grease/oil until translucent; 8-10 min
Add garlic; sauté 1-2 min
Deglaze with 1 cup stout; 2-3 min
Mix in spices; 30 sec
Add vegetables; stir to coat
Add chicken; stir to coat
Add stock, Worcestershire, and remaining stout; mix
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer 1-1½ hour
Add cream (if using); simmer 10 min
Remove bay leaf; garnish with bacon before serving
THEME SONG: Dream On, Aerosmith
In Sister Madly’s experience, cheeses don’t just pop across the marketplace like champagne corks; so it was something of a surprise when she found herself assaulted by a wedge of Camembert. To find the source of the offending cheese, she had to look no farther than the dreadlocked gent now contemplating the Brie, who gave no explanation other than the Camembert had ‘bad energy.’
Technically speaking, sir, everything has energy, if only potential- Sister Madly learned that much as a wee little thing in Science Class.
But Science doesn’t cover Cheese Energy as far as she knows, except with respect to other objects or situations.
Take gravitational cheese energy, for example: Sister Madly can stuff you full of Brie and throw you off the roof; for electrical, that outlet by the sushi bar appears to be rather volatile.* However, if it’s thermal cheese energy you seek, Sister Madly will be more than happy to set the Brie on fire.
Sister Madly is all about helping her fellow man.
* A conclusion drawn by the presence of several bewildered electricians and lots of pretty sparks.
But the Dreadlocked Gent did not want the help of his fellow man, choosing rather to determine the energy himself by meditating with every Cheese- and she does mean every. He immediately bonded with a cheeky little Manchego from the discount basket, but did not jive with the Asiago nor the Double Gloucester with Chives; Sister Madly avoided those projectiles successfully.
Perhaps Cheese has properties she never realized, much like how the cancerous side-effects of radiation were of no surprise, but the subsequent arrival of Godzilla & Company was somewhat unexpected. Maybe Bad Cheese Energy has its own side-effects: it could be the reason why Sister Madly has 2 different-sized feet, or why her hair gets hair-band big after the rain, or why she is perpetually the 5th wheel amongst her friends.* Bad Cheese Energy may have been responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire, or the extinction of the dinosaurs; it could be the reason behind corruption in politics.
* Although that 5th wheel thing might have everything to do with Sister Madly being a proper lunatic.
But upon thinking about it, Sister Madly realized that she has experienced the Power of Cheese: once, a Provolone attempted to enslave her in the kitchen, while not too long ago she dabbled with Stilton, which is said to induce dreams. Sister Madly did dream that night, but it was nothing like the acid trip of pure imagination that was promised. Then again, perhaps Stilton is the LSD of cheeses, and the dreams will manifest as a series of magnificent flashbacks in years to come.
In fact, there’s one now…
This most sophisticated salutation was accompanied by an insane proposition by the Happy Phlebotomist, who was in the field militantly actively recruiting for the local Blood Drive- at least, he was militantly actively recruiting Sister Madly.*
* Sister Madly isn’t sure ‘Booyah!’ is the best way to recruit souls for a blood-draining ritual… but then, she isn’t a professional.
Since the Phlebotomy Community of America has yet to figure out a needle-free way to extract blood (osmosis, for example- that’s a very science-y thing) Sister Madly was unable to accept his most intriguing proposition (apparently, the draining ritual comes with a free cookie!) but she was just fresh out of blood. It’s one of the more unfortunate side-effects of being a Moppet.
“But you’re all about helping your fellow man.”
Just when did she say that?
“About 10 minutes ago.”
… she was rather hoping you didn’t hear that…
BOURBON MAPLE CHICKEN
- 6-8 chicken drums/thighs
- 1 TBSP cumin
- 1 TBSP coriander
- 2 tsp chipotle pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP lime juice
- 3-4 TBSP olive oil, or as needed
- ½ cup bourbon
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 2 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne, or to taste
- salt/pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp lime juice
Mix together marinade ingredients
Add chicken; shake/mix to coat
Refrigerate 30min – 24hrs
Mix together all ingredients except lime juice
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer to reduce (glaze will coat spoon)
Mix in lime juice and remove from heat
Preheat oven to 400*
Place chicken on greased baking rack in tray
Bake for 45 min
Remove from oven, brush chicken with glaze
Return to oven; bake 10-15 min, or until cooked through
Brush with remaining glaze straight from oven
THEME SONG: Meltdown, AC/DC
Is More Despicable
Based on Fear.
~ Albert Camus
Sister Madly has to admit, she’s been having difficulty sleeping as of late- why, just a few weeks ago, she shamelessly punched herself in the face. This time, her angelic slumber became the envy of every Olympian, a magnificent performance ending with a triple-twist, half-pike, supersonic back-flip that landed her spread-eagle, face-first in the mattress.
What startled this sleeping cherub into a routine of otherwise impossible acrobatics was nothing short of a nuclear detonation: indeed, it was a text at 3:37 AM telling her that Art Bell had died.
It’s amazing how deafening the voice of Eric Idle* can be at 3:37 AM.
* She should mention that her text notification is Eric Idle of Monty Python fame, declaring ‘Message for you, sir!’ She thought it clever at the time.
She regrets that now.
To be fair, Sister Madly never outlined the proper procedure on notifying her of the death of Art Bell, so she can’t place all the blame on her PhD friend.*
* She neglected to do the same regarding the deaths of Leonard Nimoy and Stephen Hawking back in the day. Those texts came in at 4:04 and 4:23 AM, respectively.
Clearly, the Professor was having a bit of pillow talk with a Reaper- which is not a bad connection to have. Sister Madly’s connections includes a Phlebotomist, from which she has yet to benefit… but now sees a way in which she can.
It’s not revenge so much as ‘returning the favor.’
But just as she was romanticizing phlebotomic revenge upon the nocturnal Professor, Eric Idle announced but another special delivery:
And just what, exactly, is she meant to do with this information? Why is the water high? Does it have the munchies? Perhaps she is supposed to bring it treats…
So, the Puddle wants Dim Sum. It’s got fancy, hipster munchies.
Sister Madly was beginning to miss the good ol’ days, when messages were delivered via carrier pigeon- not that she was around in those days, but she misses them nonetheless.
Then again, that means a flock of pigeons would, at this moment, be cooing outside her window, with messages inviting her to join a Puddle with the Muchies for Dim Sum to commemorate the life of Art Bell- and pigeons have even less respect for windows than they do statues.
On the other hand, Sister Madly does have a few recipes for pigeon, and she’s been wondering where to procure such a beast… no doubt that is the tasty origin of the term “shoot the messenger.”
Sister Madly is pretty certain that Art Bell covered that topic at least once in his career, Professor, so she sees absolutely no reason to bring it up now.*
* 4:15 AM.
And if there is a pizza flying over your house, Professor, it is not a UFO.
“Space Cowboy Apollo.”
Tallulah… was your dear, sweet, angelic-younger-sibling-who-knows-where-you-sleep-and-has-access-to-a-spare-key-and-a-Phlebotomist just as maddening in days of yore? Be honest now… Sister Madly is trying to find the source of this Karma.
“Danger Bird on Ellipses!”
Update: Sister Madly has just fired Eric Idle as her messenger and switched to something called “Pebble.”
People throw pebbles, you know…
DRUNKEN SHEPHERD’S PIE
- 1 lb lamb, cubed
- 3-4 cups beef stock
- 1½ cups stout, divided (1/2 cup; 1 cup)
- Shot of whiskey (opt)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Assorted vegetables, chopped (carrots, mushrooms, green beans, etc)
- 3 TBSP Worcestershire
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 1 tsp thyme
- ½ tsp sage
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cayenne, or to taste
- salt, to taste
- 1lb (approx.) potatoes/cauliflower, cooked and mashed*
- cheddar cheese, grated
* Follow favorite mash recipe
Brown lamb on all sides; set aside
Add onions; sauté until translucent; 8-10 min
Add garlic; sauté 2-3 min
Add spices; sauté until fragrant; 30 sec
Deglaze with ½ cup stout; 2-3 min
Add lamb, vegetables, Worcestershire, whiskey, and remaining stout; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer 1½ – 2 hours
Divide stew amongst oven-proof ramakins (remove bay leaf)
Top with mash; sprinkle cheese over mash
Bake @ 400* for 25-30 min, or until mash is crispy
THEME SONG: For Whom the Bell Tolls, Metallica
2) Chris Clor
Is the Only Creature
That Refuses to Be
What He Is.
~ Albert Camus
2.) Marko Popadić
Mornings are not always sunshine and good cheer; in fact, they can be downright sadistic. Take last week, for instance: upon fighting the blankets with her usual morning petulance, Sister Madly was assaulted by the blinding flash of a Near Death Experience.
That’s right: she punched herself in the eye.
It is only natural that, in the few moments following a Near Death Experience, one considers the life choices that eventually led to this moment. Sister Madly can’t say that her 5-Year Plan had been ambitious, but it was adequate:
Now that she had been given a second chance in life, Sister Madly was left with a newfound sense of purpose; having long-since accomplished nothing on the above list, she decided it was time to fully embrace the dream of And-Then-They’ll-All-Be-Sorry by playing the role of a mature, responsible adult.
Not that she knows how to be an Adult, let alone a responsible one; as for maturity- face it, there are cheeses more mature than Sister Madly. But ‘fake it until you make it,’ as they say, and Sister Madly started by faking her way to the market; all she found in her pantry that morning was a jar of capers and a sweet potato growing tentacles- epic tentacles. After all, Adults don’t let their cupboards go bare, lest they come down with a mean case of the grumpies.
But once at the market, Sister Madly found no shopping baskets, no carts, not even one of those motorized scooters she has no business using- nothing, but this seething, diabolical dirigible:
The idea of using this apparatus without a flock of squawking children was out of the question. As a single individual well-over the tender age of 25, Sister Madly’s only choice was to purchase whatever she could fit in her arms and forego the rest. But as her pocket-sized physique can carry only so much, it meant either foregoing cleaning supplies, or food.
Her natural inclination was to forego the cleaning; her apartment is tiny- it’s about 80% bed, which means only 20% biohazard. That’s a ratio she can live with. Besides, Sister Madly can’t spend another night with the Tentacled Potato in her pantry; she’s pretty certain it plans to murder her in her sleep, and Adults don’t like to be murdered.
Then again, how do you plan on ridding yourself of the Potato, Sister Madly? If you eat it- thus risking turning into a mutant- you will need food in the morning; but if you throw it away- thus splitting the Earth in two- you will need cleaning supplies. No doubt it’s gooey inside of the Earth.
There is no way around it: all of your groceries are essential.
So Sister Madly tossed aside the threadbare remains of her self-respect, embraced this thing called Adulthood, and with the Despicable Dirigible promptly plowed into a massive display of Cadbury Eggs.
And nearby, a child started to cry.
Sister Madly will be sleeping in the sock drawer tonight. She suddenly finds herself with a mean case of the grumpies.
* Good news: Annie’s Mac & Cheese is 10 for $10 with your shopper’s card! You’ll find the deal scattered along the entire length of aisle 7.
ISLAND PULLED CHICKEN
6-8 boneless chicken thighs, whole
2 sweet onions, sliced
2 TBSP Ginger, minced
1 TBSP Garlic, minced
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cumin
2 star anise
1½ chicken broth
¼ cup oil, or as needed
1 cup guava jam (used Mango, Guava, Passion Fruit Preserves)
6 TBSP pineapple, crushed
2 TBSP ginger
4 TBSP Worcestershire
1 TBSP rice wine vinegar
1 tsp gochujang/other chili sauce, or to taste
Salt, to taste
1 TBSP lime juice, or to taste
TO MAKE CHICKEN
Heat oil in Dutch oven
Add onions, stirring to coat
Lower heat, stirring occasionally until onions are caramelized (30-45 min)
Add ginger and garlic; stir to coat; 2 min
Mix in spices, broth, and chicken; bring to a boil
Reduce heat; simmer until chicken is cooked (25 min)
With 2 forks, shred chicken in pan
TO MAKE SAUCE
Mix together sauce ingredients EXCEPT lime juice
Add sauce to chicken; mix
Simmer to reduce and thicken; 10-15 min
Add lime juice; stir and remove from heat
THEME SONG: When I Grow Up, Garbage
You will never be Happy
If you Continue to Search
For what Happiness Consists of.
You will never Live
If You are Looking for
The Meaning of Life.
~ Albert Camus
2) Patrick Hübscher
May Not Be Consistent
3) tara mckinney
Don’t set your wit against a child. ~ Jonathan Swift
There was a time when Sister Madly was convinced that people ceased to exist when she was not with them. It was not that they simply disappeared to some mystery kingdom – a nightmare that plagues children from time to time – but that they were plunged into a vortex of suspended animation. Nothing existed nor came to pass unless she was near; nothing really mattered unless she decided that it mattered. The progression of life itself depended entirely upon her presence.*
* Sister Madly should probably mention that she hasn’t believed this for a long time now- that is, for weeks. She is an adult, after all.
While not everyone was familiar with the Laws of Suspended Animation, every child was familiar with the never-ending appetite of the Dark. It’s well-known that when one turns off the light in a basement, one has only 10 seconds to make it up the stairs- otherwise, the Dark will devour you. Losing children to the Dark is unfortunate, that much is true; but those children could be easily replaced. However, the same could not be said about Sister Madly. She had a responsibility to the human race: they only exist if she exits, and if the Dark wins, it would mean the end of all mankind. Sister Madly was well-aware that she was placing humanity in danger every time she ventured downstairs.
It was during one of these expeditions to the basement that a 6-year-old Sister Madly came across a sheer, red and black babydoll tucked away in a shoe box. She had never seen anyone in her family wear this strange nightie before- besides, who would want to? It was see-through, which meant it would be plenty chilly in the winter, and there didn’t seem to be any pants! No outfit is complete without pants. Pajamas are meant to be sensible and comfy, like the footed-sleeper that Sister Madly wore every night, zipped up tightly under her chin.
The logical conclusion was that some wayward sleepwalker managed to defy the Laws of Suspended Animation, break into her basement, and was immediately devoured by the Dark. Her parents then tried to cover this up by hiding the evidence in a shoebox. Judging by the size of the strange nightie- which, of course, was meant to be ankle-length- that someone had been a munchkin.
Sister Madly made it up the stairs in record time that night.
The awful truth about the babydoll was revealed some years later, when her mother cheerfully confessed that the lingerie was hers and had been worn only once- however briefly- on a night that resulted in Sister Madly.*
* No doubt this lingerie was set aside in order to remind her mother not to do the things that eventually resulted in the aforementioned Sister Madly. The world doesn’t need any more of those.
Sister Madly found this absolutely horrifying. Her mother, in this see-through, no-pants nightie, did some sort of ritualistic dance which summoned the Stork to drop Sister Madly on her doorstep!
You know what that means, don’t you? It means that it doesn’t matter if Sister Madly makes it up the stairs in under 10 seconds; it doesn’t matter if she is devoured by the Dark. The human race existed- even thrived- before she was born! And if it did so before she existed, it certainly will do so after.
But that was nothing compared to the utter horror of discovering what that ritualistic, Stork-summoning dance turned out to be.
JAMAICAN BEEF PATTIES
- oil, for sautéing
- 2 garlic, minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 chili, seeded & chopped (opt)
- 1 lb minced beef
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- salt/pepper, to taste
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 sheet puff pastry, thawed
- shredded cheese (opt; not traditional, but… cheese)
Sauté onion until translucent; 5 min
Add garlic and pepper (if using) sauté 2-3 min
Add spices; mix until fragrant; 1 min
Add beef; sauté until cooked through
Add broth; simmer until evaporated
Preheat the oven to 400*
Roll out pastry sheets; cut into squares/rounds
Add filling to pastry
Top filling with cheese (if using)
Fold pastry over filling; seal edges
Brush with egg wash; bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden
THEME SONG: Dancing in the Dark, Bruce Springsteen
Charm is a Way
of getting a ‘Yes’
a Clear Question.
~ Albert Camus
Images: Mark Osterman