April 4th, 2013
I’m truly saddened by today’s news of Roger Ebert’s death. I’ve been reading his movie reviews regularly for the past 20 years, and even when I disagreed with his opinions I enjoyed reading what he had to say anyway. Here are a few quotes mainly taken from his Chicago Sun-Times movie reviews that I’ve collected over the years. I especially love the first one.
Roger Ebert on Danny DeVito:
[H]e has a way of making the taller people around him seem unsure of what to do with their legs.
From Roger Ebert’s review of City of Angels:
Angels are big right now in pop entertainment, no doubt because everybody gets one. New Age spirituality is me-oriented, and gives its followers top billing in the soap operas of their own lives. People like to believe they have had lots of previous incarnations, get messages in their dreams and are psychic. But according to the theory of karma, if you were Joan of Arc in a past life and are currently reduced to studying Marianne Williamson paperbacks, you must have made a wrong turn.
When there’s a trend toward humility and selflessness, then we’ll know we’re getting somewhere on the spiritual front. That time is not yet.
From Roger Ebert’s review of Crime and Punishment in Suburbia:
The MPAA [ratings board] counts the beans but never tastes the soup. Make a worthless movie but limit the nudity and language, and get a PG-13. Make a movie where the characters live with real problems and try to figure out what to do, and God forbid our children should be exposed to such an experience.
From Roger Ebert’s review of Gangster No. 1:
[These events] have been called Shakespearean, which is fair enough, since just about everything is Shakespearean.
From Roger Ebert’s review of Household Saints:
The fact is that modern people do worship false gods and that a life devoted to getting a big car and a town house is seen as eminently more sane than a life devoted to God.
From Roger Ebert’s review of Joe Versus the Volcano, on Tom Hanks’s character:
[H]e is an island of curiosity in a sea of mystery.
Roger Ebert on citizens of a Newfoundland town, in his review of The Shipping News:
But, lord, the characters are tireless in their peculiarities; it’s as if the movie took the most colorful folks in Lake Wobegon, dehydrated them, concentrated the granules, shipped them to Newfoundland, reconstituted them with Molson’s and issued them Canadian passports.
RIP, Roger Ebert. Thank you a million times for changing the way I watch and think about movies, and for teaching me to judge a thing on its own merits.
Note: I would have linked the movie reviews, but Ebert’s review site seems to be down, unsurprisingly. Also, this is my 999th post. !!!
March 13th, 2013
Years ago when we lived in Ottawa, there was a coffee shop in the Glebe that served this amazing sunflower-seed hummus and cucumber sandwich on triangle-shaped multigrain bread. I wasn’t a super-adventurous eater back then, so I’m not sure what exactly prompted me to try this sandwich in the first place. Maybe a friend recommended it to me when we went there for lunch, and I wanted to look cool? I don’t know. Whatever the reason, it immediately became one of my favorite foods.
Sadly, I probably only ate three or four of those sandwiches before the coffee shop closed. Shortly after that, the Navy decided they needed Troy elsewhere and we left Canada. I tried many times to recreate that sandwich at home but could never quite do it, even though I already had a go-to hummus recipe. Eventually I gave up, deciding that maybe it was the bread, or the ambiance of the place, or the company in which I ate it that made the sandwich so tasty.
Today as I was scooping some hummus onto a plate for Elliora’s lunch, that sandwich popped into my head for the first time in probably a decade. Thinking, Eh, what the heck, I threw a quarter-cup of the Trader Joe’s hummus in the food processor with a quarter-cup of sunflower seeds and some toasted flaxseed because it happened to be sitting next to the sunflower seeds in my fridge. I added a squeeze of lemon juice and whizzed it all together as best I could, scraping the sides of the processor bowl a couple of times to make sure it all got mixed in. Then I spread that on toasted multigrain bread and topped it with a few spinach leaves because I don’t have any cucumbers at the moment.
The first bite had me laughing, because it tasted EXACTLY like I remember the original sandwich tasting. Which seems ridiculous, right? The original recipe included cucumber slices, not spinach leaves; and I’m pretty sure flaxseed wasn’t involved (although who knows, maybe it was). What are the odds that I would off-handedly, randomly create an accurate replica of something I haven’t eaten since last century, when all my previous attempts at the time failed? So I’m thinking one of two things happened here: either I really did manage to fairly accurately recreate that sandwich, or it’s been so long since I ate it that my taste buds were fooled by a good-enough facsimile.
Either way, I don’t really care. I’m happy to have a delicious new sandwich filling—one that has the power to transport me to Bank Street in 1999, sitting in a cafe that doesn’t exist anymore, watching the rain through the windows and thinking about that cool kitchen gadget at the Glebe Emporium I wish was within my budget.
January 27th, 2013
Elliora: DADDY I NEED RAISINS.
Troy: You’re supposed to ask nicely, like, “Daddy, can you please get me something?”
E: Daddy, can you please get me something?
T: No, you’re supposed to say, “Can you please get me the thing I need?”
E: Daddy, can you get me the thing I need?
T: I mean, you say the thing you need, like, “Daddy, can you please get me raisins?”
E: Daddy, can you get me raisins?
T: Can I get a “please” in there?
E: Please in there.
T: No, I mean, can you say, “Daddy, can you please get me raisins?”
E: …DADDY I NEED TOMATOES.