Friday, October 30, 2009

You Might Need Those Teeth, Now or Later

Did you know that teeth are worth $20 now?  My niece had her first loose tooth yesterday and, ever the over-achiever, she wiggled it all day long until it fell out.  She woke up this morning, gap-toothed and giggling, to $20.

When did this happen?  My last tooth fell out sometime around 1979 or 1980; I got a dollar.  That's 2000% inflation in less than 30 years.  The only other thing I can thing of that's experienced comparable price inflation over the same period of time is housing and we all know how that turned out.  Although now at least I know that, if I have trouble making my mortgage, I can start pulling out my teeth.

I certainly wouldn't have needed them to eat last night's turkey meatloaf at the Manhattan Diner.  Isn't there something so comforting about a meal like meatloaf and mashed potatoes that you can eat practically without chewing?   I mean, as long as it's not a steak.

In competition reality television news, Crying Christopher survived another round on Project Runway last night. (Doesn't he just weep at the drop of a hat?  I mean, I'm gay, too, but seriously: Man up, dude.  You're already making dresses.)  Meanwhile, they gave the win to Althea, who designed another outfit with what I just learned is called a "paper bag waist."  Because you know what people look great wearing?  A paper bag.  Seriously...this is a thing?  Like a real thing with a real "name" - paper bag waist.  Does this mean I was just ahead of my time when, at age 6, I invented the "7-Day Shirt?"  I can't wait to tell the homeless guy at the subway who keeps his shoes on with rubber bands that he's a fashion genius.

And on Wednesday's Top Chef, loudmouth Mike Isabella finally got himself sent home in the Natalie Portman-I-was-a-vegetarian-now-I'm-a-vegan-so-isn't-it-hilarious-that-you're-cooking-in-a-steakhouse-challenge with some slimy leeks that were overcooked on the outside, raw on the inside.  Meanwhile, Robin squeaked out a stay despite a vegetable medley that was more of a cacophony, and Jen, who seems to have lost her confidence (but not her annoying habit of talking only out of the right half of her mouth), rounded out the bottom three.  Despite an inventive dish from Dirty-Hot Voltaggio that combined banana and polenta (talk about a dish you don't need teeth for) and an eggplant entree from Eli Kirschensteinengoldenbergenbaum, the win went to Kevin the Chefrechaun.  (Hee.  Chefrechaun.)

I don't have much in the way of recipes for you this week.  Monday we had those Turkey Burjicos again, and Wednesday we had that Ginger-Garlic Flank Steak (which not only required teeth, but jaws.  I'm still chewing it.)  What about Tuesday you ask?  Well, on Tuesday Neil ate leftovers and I had the first night of a new class I'm taking.  I'm excited to tell you about it:

I arrived at Actor’s Connection a little early for my hosting class (this is not a class to teach you how to make hot canapés and make small talk with guests, but to teach one how to become a television host.  I know.  You’re thinking I probably wasted $349, especially since eHow thinks they can teach you how to be a TV Host in 7 Easy Steps.  We’ll see.)  The first thing I notice when I arrive is that there are so many children running around, I’m wondering if they're giving out Swine Flu shots.  Then I remember that most Manhattan mommies have conferred medical degrees on themselves and unilaterally determined that vaccinations - despite strict government standards, rigorous testing, and much study by a slew of doctors and researchers - are risky and unnecessary.  Hey lady, tell me how that's working for you when your kid gets mumps.  Or german measles.  Or some other disease kids haven't gotten in, like, 50 years.

Seriously, there's a lot to recommend about the internet, but I worry it's made people stupider.  It's conferred an air of credibility and authority around the most hare-brained opinions, misleading a lot of people who should be smart enough to know better but aren't.  And, in recent years, the mainstream media has become an accomplice in misinforming Americans.

Somehow, journalists have confused giving each side of a debate equal time, with giving them "equal credibility."  Giving each side a forum, in the interest of fairness, is admirable.  However, not pointing out factual inaccuracies, deliberately misleading points of view, or perspectives that are at odds with the generally accepted point of view of experts is an abdication of journalistic responsibility.  We can't simply decide that evolution doesn't exist because we'd prefer to believe in absolute creationism (and - honestly - there's no reason you can't believe in both.  Even Darwin didn't think they were mutually exclusive, and believed evolution itself was God's creation.)  After all, I can't decide that 2+2=3 because I want to, or because it's a biblically important number.

And if I did, and they wanted me to discuss it on a news program, then it's Diane Sawyer's job to point out that - whatever I might choose to believe - I'm wrong.  We learned this in elementary school; it's the difference between something that's subjective and something that's objective.  Objectively - you can't make matters of science subjective.  Subjectively - I think these people are bat-shit crazy.

And keep your kids away from my trick-or-treat basket unless they've had their shots.

Anyway, back to my class.  There’s someone using our classroom, and they’re likely to run over time, so I’m cooling my heels in the lounge while aspiring Dakota Fannings run amok amid a multi-cultural collection of Mama Roses from the outer boroughs.  I wait in the lounge with my classmates (I can figure out who they are by their lack of sticky fingers and the absence of a hunger in their eyes that says, "I'm living out my dreams and papering over my insecurities through my children.")

We’re sitting there as the instructor arrives – an impossibly blond former Miss Connecticut who radiates personality so completely you can see her smiling by looking at the back of her head.  I’m already concerned that this woman is going to generate a lot of light but no real warmth.  I am having flashbacks to meeting Nancy O'Dell in a hotel suite in Hollywood after the 2002 Academy Awards. Another story for another time.

All of my concerns were for naught.  Patricia was kind and friendly and generous.  She's got a great deal of hosting experience, gave really useful business guidance about obtaining representation and getting work, and provided constructive and actionable feedback on our camera work.  I was thrilled, and am eagerly looking forward to our next class.  I'll begin posting my clips on this site, soon.

I can recommend a great breakfast and lunch place if you're in the vast wasteland that is the far west 30s.  The area west of Penn Station is pretty much a dining desert, but a new place called Frame recently opened on W33rd St near Tenth Avenue.  It's got terrific breakfast options and, for lunch, a salad bar, grill and sushi.  It's an upscale deli, but it's super clean and everything I've eaten there has been fresh and delicious.

Since everything we made this week was something I've already given you a recipe for, I thought I'd ask my sister for one of hers.  This week alone she's made Boeuf Bourguignon and Sloppy Joes which she calls the easiest and most delicious in the world.  With a husband and three kids, she's got a lot of recipes because - in her words - she "cooks for these clowns every night."  Alas, she's not giving away the secrets of her Sloppy Joes, so go here and make Rachael Ray's.  After all, she's the queen of hamburgers and a Sloppy Joe is basically a hamburger that doesn't stick together.

(Meanwhile, on Good Morning America, Sandra Lee is frosting Yodels (which are already coated in Chocolate) and sprinkling crumbled cookies on them to turn them into graves.  Dismal, but the headstone made out of a Milano cookie is pure genius.)

Yes, Halloween is coming.  We have a masquerade birthday party downtown tonight, and a Halloween party tomorrow.  I'm throwing off the shackles and eating a bunch of crap (I'm currently contemplating some Grape Now & Laters and it isn't even 9:30am.)

I'll get that $20 yet.


DO THIS, New York:

Take a kid trick-or-treating, or use the occasion to teach kids about the importance of charity.  Numerous programs such as Trick or Treat for Unicef, Trick or Treat for our Troops, and Trick or Treat So Others Can Eat are taking place around the country.  Google the phrase "trick or treat volunteering" or go here

Make my sister give me that dang Sloppy Joe Recipe.

I'm voting in favor of those frosted Yodel graves.  Death was never so delicious.

DON'T DO THIS, New York:

I really don't know any other way to say this but - vaccinations are simply not going to hurt your children.  Think about it - odds are that you had your shots, and you turned out OK.  For the most part.


  1. $20, wow. I have a kid who is actively losing teeth, and he still gets a dollar for each.

  2. it was her FIRST tooth and anyway 5 bucks was from grandma so it was only 14, you cheapos.

    and the secret to sloppy joes is CINAMMON so stop crying and check out Real Simple for the recipe. make Pillsbury biscuits and add schredded cheddar and Viola' you have a great meal.