Thursday, March 17, 2005

A Tip O' the Hat to the Shamrock Shake

Please join me in a tribute to McDonald's Shamrock Shake. It's my friend Logan's favorite St. Patrick's Day food. It's triple thick, so bring a spoon. Logan was a hardworking McDonald's employee for years and he still loves to partake of the Shamrock Shake each March. Unfortunately, not everyone can avail themselves of this tasty treat. A quick Google search reveals that many folks have been without the Shamrock Shake for more than a decade! So, for those of you who cannot reach the Shamrock Shake by car, bus, or foot, here's a copycat recipe for you.
1 cup vanilla ice cream, slightly thawed
1/2 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon mint extract or flavoring
4-5 drops of green food coloring

Preparation -
Pour all ingredients into a blender and blend at a medium setting for about 30 to 40 seconds or until the consistency of a milk shake.
Thanks to Sandy Moyer on

By the way, did you know that McDonald's opened its first restaurant in Ireland in March 1977? Sure and beghorrrrrrrrrrah!

Happy Saint Paddy's Day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

You Gotta LOVE This BABY!

I know, I know, I know...everybody says their child/niece or nephew/granchild is the cutest child ever, but this one truly is. He's my darling nephew James Hobson Allen (sounds kind of hoitey toitey, don't it?) and although his resemblance to my brother is dangerously close, I ABSOLUTELY ADORE HIM.'s my on-line brag book for the cutest 4-month-old on the planet!
Above: (Left) In shock over
having a bunny on his head.
(Right) His 8X10 glossy for acting
and modelling jobs.

Above: (Left) Dreamin' of pretty girls.
(Right): After too much to drink,
James likes to hang out on his boppie.

Above: (Left) James getting love
from his brother, George Bailey Allen.
(Right) With his teddy, after a long day.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Craft Your Ass Off!

I am an amateur craft-er (my knitting is coming along very well, thank you) but I am the first to admit that my skills are limited. I figure hobbies are really good for people and I think everyone needs at least one. Hobbies keep people out of trouble, they give them something to do besides create drama, screw with the heads of family members, or stew about fuckheads at work. But there are people out there who really know what they are doing when it comes to being craft-y. I have long ago stopped being bummed out about my lack of talent and now I marvel at folks who can look at a pile of trash and in a few short minutes, turn it into a treasure.

So, imagine my happy-happy-joy-joy when I discovered not ONE, but TWO crafty treats this week. First, Craft Corner Deathmatch. Sounds stupid, even looks stupid, but is very COOL! As the NY Times reports, it's the creation of a couple of former Daily Show staffers who discovered a treasure trove of crafters ensconced on the isle of Manhattan. Episode one resulted in some very cool stuff: a TOTALLY easy trivet project that would make your mom very happy on Mother's Day, a dumb but challenging project involving underwear (come on, how much can you do with tighty whities and rick-rack in 10 minutes?) and, in the final round, napkin rings made with Sculpy and a pasta machine. Just thinking about it now makes my left brain hyperventilate! The emcee is kind of a dork due to the even dorkier premise of the "deathmatch", but the contestants are great. You can size them up by looking at their hand-decorated aprons. I couldn't keep my eyes off them...and I WASN'T staring at their boobs! Way cool aprons.

A few days later, I'm sitting at home, wildly knitting what I hope will be a presentable poncho, when I start to think to myself, "This would go a lot faster if I were crocheting. Hey, maybe when I get this done, I can figure out how to crochet that poncho Martha Stewart wore on her way home from prison." To which my boyfriend replied, "Maybe it's on the Internet." And sure enough, I Googled 'Martha Stewart' AND 'poncho' and guess what I found? That's right, the Martha Stewart Coming Home Poncho! Hot damn!

And it turns out I'm not the only one who wanted to get their hands on the lovely gift crafted by one of Martha's fellow inmates from yarn she purchased at the prison commisary. On Lycos, searches for "free Martha poncho pattern" increased 230% during the week following Martha's release. Web sites such as featured people posting messages asking for the pattern and praising the scalloped edging. So, those folks at Lion Brand yarns were very smart to get their pattern out so quickly (you knitters will have to wait until March 18). Another company, Bernat, is claiming it is the actual manufacturer of the yarn used in Martha's poncho and their pattern is also available. Warning: Bernat insists you become a member (for free) before you download the pattern.

The down side to all of this is that 45-year-old Xiomaro Hernandez, who is on year 14 of a 20-year sentence for conspiring to distribute crack and cocaine, won't see a dime of whatever profits are made from the new Martha poncho craze. I don't know if she made up the pattern herself, but I doubt anyone will make sure she gets a piece of the action. In the meantime, she has three more years to crochet as many ponchos as she can. There's got to be money in handmade versions created by the actual fabricator of Martha's very own poncho! If not, at least she has something to do with her hands while she's behind bars. There are worse ways to pass the time.

So, God bless you Deathmatch producers and Xiomaro Hernandez. Thanks to you, a bunch of us will stay out of trouble (and prison) while striving to make a more beautiful -- or at least a craftier -- world.