Friday, June 5, 2009

Angel's Food: Cupcake

I feel like professing my love for sweets is a little like claiming to admire oxygen. It usually just sort of goes without saying. However, I will say it (am currently saying, as a matter of fact): I love sweets. Specifically, I love cake, and sub-specifically, I love cupcakes.

When I was a kid, I had this person - maybe a teacher, the details are fuzzy - who would correct people who said they loved something. If I were to state, "I love oranges," which is true, by the way, she would snark over and butt in with, "No, you like oranges. Love should be reserved for people who truly deserve it." It was all so smug and self-satisfied, which is obviously loathsome and annoying to the max. However, to this day, I still feel self-conscious when I proclaim my love for things. Well, I usually feel awkward when I profess my love for people, too. 

Anyway, enough of that sidebar. I do really like cupcakes. In all forms. Perhaps you like yours covered in Nintendo imagery? Done. Some people would claim that the best cupcakes in the history of the universe come from Magnolia, but I suspect those people are subtly trying to let you know that they have an inside track in New York City by name-dropping a bakery. (For the record: wack.) I propose that my mom makes the best cupcakes in history, and so does yours.

There's just something about tiny bite-sized cakes with a mountain of frosting. My family has always been a pie family: we eat rhubarb, pumpkin, lemon meringue, and they're all done on a homemade crust. My mom bakes a mean chocolate cake (secret ingredient: mayonnaise) (quit making barfing noises, because it's delicious), but cupcakes seem to have fallen by the wayside as we've grown up. No loot bags, no cupcakes, no sprinklers, no fun. Man. Cupcakes are child-food. Actually, they're child-birthday-party-food, like cut-up hotdogs, Kool-Aid and Sunchip crumbs. As our palates have become more refined (allegedly), cupcakes have given way to things like flourless chocolate cake. Which, by the way, is obviously designed to appease the women who came late in life to gluten-free - you know, the same peri-menopausal ladies who have suddenly developed lactose intolerance, but who eat yogurt "for the bacteria."

I have more to say about the fetishization of food allergies and intolerances, but I'll save it for a moment when I don't have to work. Instead, I'll leave you with this: is the world's largest cupcake still a cupcake? Or is just a really big...cake? Discuss

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

K-Fed, We Hardly Knew Ye

I sort of miss K-Fed.

Oh, keep your shirts on (or not). I don't actually miss his stoned blithering and pregnant-girlfriend-leaving ways. I miss the easy punchline - Popozao, anyone? - that marked his months in limelight as something special. Kevin Federline was sort of a shared national treasure, like Mount Rushmore or Tomorrowland. It was so easy. Britney was so crazy. They were so dirty. It was good times.

My friend Emily remarked on November 5th that the days of Sarah Palin punchlines were over, and it's been ages since I heard a good Dick In A Box reference. Where do these things go to die? Is there some elephant graveyard out there? Is Michael Jackson roaming the night, side by side with the guy Dick Cheney shot in the face? We have hundreds of zombie cultural memes, left behind by a civilization that no longer finds "I Kissed A Girl" funny.

Which is why I sort of miss Feder-sleazy. I used to be totally addicted to online gossip blogs like DListed and Perez, which would stuff my head with celebrity "news" (a lot of it seemed to feature celebrities I have no reference to, or reverence for, like the Jonas Brothers and whoever Selena Gomez is) and would thus share in-jokes with other people who read celebrity gossip blogs. Or watched Youtube videos. Or The Daily Show. Or The Simpsons. Or any of the myriad sources of in-jokes and of-the-moment punchlines that gather like so much bellybutton lint in the abdomens of our collective unconscious (or...something?).

Seriously, these jokes serve to unite us: one nation, committed to cracking wise at K-Fed's expense, no matter what the cost. Like Palin and the guy Cheney shot in the face, K-Fed was ubiquitous and pointless (one might argue that Palin had a "point" by running for veep; I might counter that by arguing that her "point" was filling out her blazers real nice), but also hilarious in an oh-God-when-will-it-end sort of way. I remember 2007, when all the tabloid rags were crowing things like "BRITNEY: I FEED MY KIDS DORITO OMELETTES, Y'ALL" and K-Fed was regularily oozing all over L.A., an ashy Marlboro perpetually stuffed in his piehole. It was glorious.

Now, K-Fed is fat and golfing, Britney's hair has grown out, and the whole sordid affair seems so tired. There's no joy in those jokes. I'm so far out of the loop that I'm not even sure who I'm supposed to hate these days - is it Phoebe Price? Is it that scuzzy naked girl from Danity Kane? I don't feel like either of those ladies (sorry: "ladies") have reached the kind of saturation that Federline enjoyed at the apex (or nadir) of his notoriety. Can someone please email me with the Next Big Joke?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Cadence Weapon, P.L.

In a charming display of hipness, Cadence Weapon was named Edmonton's next poet laureate. Poet laureates are expected to compose works celebrating their district of laureatitude (that's not a real word, but whatever), which means that we can probably expect some upcoming Edmonton-centric electro-hip-hop from Rollie Pemberton. I, personally, cannot wait.

First of all, Edmonton has always struck me as being god-awful and boring - an impression I formed mostly during childhood visits to my aunt's house. As a single woman, there were none of the usual distractions (games, toys, dress-up clothes, other children) lying around, so my sibling and I had to make do with a single six-hour-long tape of Warner Brothers cartoons. Secondly, poetry has long been considered either inaccessibly dull, or the creative domain of melodramatic teenage girls. So, the potent cocktail of Edmonton + poetry should be eliciting the strong desire for naps. Instead, I'm kind of intrigued.

It's neat that Edmonton is choosing home-grown youth. Cadence Weapon is taking over from E.D. Blodgett, who seems lovely...but was born in 1935. In Philadelphia. Which is in America. Cadence Weapon, on the other hand, is 23-year-old, third-generation Edmontonian. Instead of ignoring the talent their city helped produce, Edmonton is celebrating it. I'm hoping for a large statue of the poet/Pitchfork writer to be erected (ha) in one of the city's 460 parks.

I've talked before about Canadian identity should, by now, be moving away from "lame yokel" and more towards "cosmolitan with a big backyard," but I didn't really think Edmonton was going to be the one leading the charge. Deadmonton no more! Can the day when Dallas Green is poet-laureated in St. Catharines be far?