At the heart of UP is a story about an old man learning to appreciate the beauty and adventure of a life full of love, no matter how mundane that life may be.  It’s a really touching and poignant story with a lot of Pixar heart, which above anything else is the defining characteristic of Pixar’s incredible body of work.  Unfortunately, UP also features an action-packed plotline with cute animals, a kid in mortal danger, and an evil bad guy, as my kids would say.  The action plotline isn’t bad, really. It’s cute and funny enough, and the kids are sure to like it.  It’s just kind of cliche and a bit distracting from the true heart of the movie. Continue reading

Actor by St. Vincent: Hurry and Go Listen for Free

I heard this song on an All Songs Considered podcast last week and I just had to hear more. It’s called “The Strangers” by St. Vincent.


The album, Actor, doesn’t come out until Tuesday, but NPR has been streaming it for a while now (here). I’m guessing it won’t be available after Tuesday, so hurry up and go listen. You won’t be sorry. Unless, of course, you have crappy taste in music. Continue reading

Corned Beef Season!

Now that I’m too old to pinch people for not wearing green on St. Patrick’s day, the holiday means only one thing to me: corned beef is on sale.  I’ve paid attention over the past year and, at least in my area, corned beef brisket is only on sale once a year.  Because of the preservative power of the salt brine, corned beef lasts several weeks in the refrigerator.  Plus, you can freeze cooked corned beef for months (for some reason, I don’t think you’re supposed to freeze uncooked corned beef).  So it’s time to stock up. Continue reading

Appointment TV: Pushing Daisies

You know a show has a hold on you when you arrange your life around it. Last night our Halloween plans were entirely dictated by the need to be home by 8:00 to watch Pushing Daisies (poor us: we’re Tivo-less). Not since the first season of 24 has a currently running TV show had me so hooked.

Pushing Daisies has a really good thing going. It is unlike anything else on TV right now or ever, as far as I know. I find it just as charming as can be. The window dressing—the rich candy colors, the fairy tale narration, the air of whimsy and fable—is very skillfully done and is an important part of the appeal. But the key for me, as is usually the case, is the characters and the stories. I like the pie maker, Ned, and the dead girl, Chuck. I like seeing them together. The tension and uncertainty about how things are going to play out for this couple who can’t touch, and who still know so little about each other, is very intriguing. Continue reading

Entenmann’s Pop’ems: The Most Odious Food Product Ever

Donut holes are a beautiful snack food: small, pop-able, fried. Like all pastries, donut holes are best fresh, but they’re a pretty robust food product—eating donut holes is always a positive experience. Sure, they’re not always melt-in-your-mouth scrumptious like fresh-off-the-assembly-line Krispy Kreme glazed donut holes, but even those boxes of preservative-packed, dense donut holes that you buy at convenience stores are a treat, especially when washed down with convenience store chocolate milk. Continue reading