The Poetry of Spam: Haikus About Lunch Meat

Spam, our favorite mystery meat.  I keep a can of it in the pantry at all times for when I get the occasional spam craving.  But as soon as I’ve swallowed the last bite, I get this gross feeling, like “why did I do that?

Keola Beamer also has a fascination with spam, but his is of the literary kind.  Keola collects spam haiku.  Here are a couple of samples:

Grotesque pinkish mass
In a blue can on a shelf
Quivering alone

Pink tender morsel
Glistening with salty gel
What the hell is it?

You can find tons more spam haiku at keola’s site.  (Unfortunately, no authors are credited.)

Kealo Beamer is a Hawaiian musician who specializes in the slack key guitar.  Visit Keola Beamer’s homepage for more info or to buy a CD.

Twilight – 6 Things You Didn’t Know About the Vampire Movie and its Stars

Twilight, the hit vampire movie based on the bestselling books by Stephanie Meyer, was described by salon.com as “the sweet spot where Gothic literature and the iPod meet and make goo-goo eyes at each other.”  Whether you’re a fan or not, you’ve probably been hearing a lot of buzz about Twilight, but here are 6 things you might not have heard…

1) Author, Stephanie Meyer’s top pick to play teen vamp heartthrob, Edward Cullen, was Henry Cavill, and not Robert Pattinson (of Harry Potter “Cedric” fame) who eventually got the role.  In a pre-film interview with the website Motley Vision, Stephanie Meyer stated:

“I’m a very visual person — when I read a book, I usually cast it in my head as I go. So, long before I knew I was writing a novel, I was already casting my characters. My favorite actor for Edward is Henry Cavill (a little known British actor who played Albert, the teenage son in the most recent version of The Count of Monte Cristo). I feel really passionately about him getting the role, and, should I ever get a chance to talk to anyone about any aspect of the movie, his name will be the first words off my tongue.” 

2) Robert Pattinson, although adored by millions of female fans, is self conscious about his looks.  In fact, he was mortified when he had to shoot a scene shirtless when filming Twilight.  Pattinson told a canada.com reporter:

“That whole scene…just having to take your shirt off for a guy when you’re not exactly like a gym bunny, especially when you’re supposed to be, it was one of the most embarrassing days of my life.”

3) Kristen Stewart’s car also had a role in Twilight.  Kristen, who plays Bella, the human high school girl in love with a vampire, bought her on-screen dad’s truck when the movie was over and drove it home, according to her interview with Premiere.com.

4) Vampire bad-boy, Cam Gigandet, discovered the book, Twilight, fell in love with the story, and was planning on making the movie himself a couple of months before he found out a movie was already in the works…by the same company he was filming another movie with.

5) The actors who played vampires in Twilight prepared for their roles and the way that vampires move by watching videos of big cats and working with a dance choreographer.  Cam Gigandet told Premiere.com:

“We actually watched numerous cat videos, like tigers and lions and all sorts of things, because they move with such a grace and speed and power and make it look so easy. Not that we’re running around like cats, but there’s that movement. It’s very fluid, so we worked on that as much as we possibly could. And we even worked with a dance choreographer to get in touch with our bodies.”

6) 16-year-old actor and new driver, Taylor Lautner, would often get to the set early, partly to show the producers he could drive.  Lautner told a reporter at MTV:

“I’ve got my license in my back pocket to show them I’m Ok and that I won’t kill them … hopefully.”

For more Twilight facts and info, visit some of the links above.

Tasty Turkey: Is Your Butterball Second Rate?

According to an article titled Talking ’bout Turkey in the Honolulu Weekly, the mass-produced turkeys that 99% of us eat at Thanksgiving…

…are injected with saline solution and vegetable oils to make up for the lack of taste and moisture in the meat.

The article goes on to state that heritage turkeys, the kind your great grandparents cooked up for holiday meals, are far superior to what most of us are used to having:

Heritage breeds of turkeys–the Narragansett, Bourbon Red, Jersey Buff and Standard Bronze turkeys, among others–may be smaller in size than supermarket turkeys, but are big in taste, which has contributed to their growing popularity. The rich-tasting meat of heritage turkeys is considered moister and more flavorful than the mass-produced Broad Breasted Whites.

While the mass-produced birds can have debilitating health problems and are often raised under cruel conditions, like never being allowed to leave the cage, the heritage birds are raised in a more humane, natural farm environment.  

The heritage birds cost more, but those in the know claim the cost is well worth the superior taste.

Book Suggestions, A List of Modern Day Classics

Entertainment Weekly recently put out a list of the best 100 books published between 1983 and 2008, calling them the new classics.  The book list doesn’t give any type of description, so I decided to go through the list, do some research, pick out the books that look most interesting to me (minus those I’ve already read), and provide you with a little info so you could see if they would be something you’d want to read, too.  

Here are 5 book suggestions, in no particular order.  Each of the following reviews is courtesy of amazon.com.

1. The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr

In this funny, razor-edged memoir, Mary Karr, a prize-winning poet and critic, looks back at her upbringing in a swampy East Texas refinery town with a volatile, defiantly loving family. She recalls her painter mother, seven times married, whose outlaw spirit could tip into psychosis; a fist-swinging father who spun tales with his cronies–dubbed the Liars’ Club; and a neighborhood rape when she was eight. An inheritance was squandered, endless bottles emptied, and guns leveled at the deserving and undeserving.

2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone is mathematically gifted and socially hopeless, raised in a working-class home by parents who can barely cope with their child’s quirks. He takes everything that he sees (or is told) at face value, and is unable to sort out the strange behavior of his elders and peers.  Late one night, Christopher comes across his neighbor’s poodle, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork. Wellington’s owner finds him cradling her dead dog in his arms, and has him arrested. After spending a night in jail, Christopher resolves–against the objection of his father and neighbors–to discover just who has murdered Wellington. He is encouraged by Siobhan, a social worker at his school, to write a book about his investigations, and the result–quirkily illustrated, with each chapter given its own prime number–is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

3. Sandman by Neil Gaiman (a graphic novel series)

Amazon customer, “T. James Book Smuggler” writes of the first book in the series:

The novel is divided up into separate stories/chapters that seemingly jump around and are unrelated at first glance, but eventually tie together nicely as the story progresses. The tale is simple, with mythological roots.It is a quest story of a lost hero, stranded from his home, who undertakes a quest to regain his power and his throne. Enslaved by greedy humans who aimed to capture his sister, Death, Dream (or Morpheus) spends years waiting for his inevitable escape, and revenge. Once freed of his prison, Dream is terrifying. More the stuff of nightmares, he is imagined beautifully in bold dark ink and burning red eyes.

4. Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

Politicians rail about welfare queens, crack babies and deadbeat dads, but what do they know about the real struggle it takes to survive being poor? Journalist LeBlanc spent some 10 years researching and interviewing one extended family-mother Lourdes, daughter Jessica, daughter-in-law Coco and all their boyfriends, children and in-laws-from the Bronx to Troy, N.Y., in and out of public housing, emergency rooms, prisons and courtrooms. LeBlanc’s close listening produced this extraordinary book, a rare look at the world from the subjects’ point of view.

5. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

At the age of 22, Eggers became both an orphan and a “single mother” when his parents died within five months of one another of unrelated cancers. In the ensuing sibling division of labor, Dave is appointed unofficial guardian of his 8-year-old brother, Christopher. The two live together in semi-squalor, decaying food and sports equipment scattered about, while Eggers worries obsessively about child-welfare authorities, molesting babysitters, and his own health. His child-rearing strategy swings between making his brother’s upbringing manically fun and performing bizarre developmental experiments on him. (Case in point: his idea of suitable bedtime reading is John Hersey’sHiroshima.)

Let Me on MySpace or I’ll Stab You

A man was arrested for cutting his mother with a knife after she wouldn’t let him get on MySpace.  According to myway news, during their fight regarding MySpace:

The mother said she confronted her 6-foot 2-inch tall, 320-pound son, after which he became aggravated and packed his belongings to leave their home.  Police said he pulled out a black and silver knife from his pocket as she tried to take his cellular telephone charger from him and cut her on the left wrist.  The teen then rode his bicycle to a location nearby, where he was later detained by police without further incident.

Some people take their social networking way too seriously.

By the way, this has nothing to do with the story, but myway.com looks pretty cool.  It’s a search engine, complete with free email accounts and all the other things you’d expect from similar sites like yahoo or google, whose motto is:  “No banners.  No pop-ups.  No kidding.”  Sounds good.

Funny Thanksgiving Poem — Toupee Souflee

This cute and well-written funny Thanksgiving poem, called The Thanksgiving Toupee Souflee, was created by Terry Lerdall-Fitterer and re-published here with her special permission:

The day had arrived; ’twas exactly one year
since my relatives, (moochers), had Thanksgiving here,
poor Grandpa was already stewed to the gills,
and Grandma–disgusted, was popping pink pills.

The turkey was turning a rich, golden hue
while children were screeching, “There’s nothing to do!”
And memories from last year still had me spell-bound
when inside my stuffing Gran’s dentures were found!

Soon mean Uncle Henry called–fit to be tied,
offended that no one would give him a ride
to this festive occasion–he’s such an old crab,
so he cursed one and all, then he phoned for a cab.

His arrival came soon, not that anyone cared,
the adults began groaning, the children were scared,
then I noticed a change as I hugged him with dread–
he was sporting a rug on the top of his head!

A pie made of pumpkin shot into my view
being used to play catch; out the window it flew,
and I thought for a minute just who was to blame
as my prized candied yams disappeared down the drain.

My husband, the whiner, quick pulled me aside
and bribed me with cash for a place he could hide,
with my baster now loaded and aimed at his butt,
he crawled back to the couch, made a face, then shut-up.

A frog and a hamster decided to play
on the counter by Auntie, preparing souflee
with the aide of old Henry; they both stopped to stare,
then she screamed and he raced from the kitchen–sans hair!

When asked he replied, “Gee, I had it before–
but perhaps in my haste it fell off on the floor.”
So we all made a search, but the hunt was in vain,
now poor Henry had nothing to blanket his brain.

Recalling what Auntie had started to make,
I put the large crock in the oven to bake,
then called for the vultures in voice sugar-sweet,
“Let’s move it, you morons–we’re ready to eat!!”

The turkey was carved when the timer rang out,
Auntie’s dish didn’t raise so I started to doubt
that ingredients used in her famous souflee
would’ve called for an ugly, synthetic toupee.

And lo and behold, as I dug through the dish
all smothered in egg whites–a hairy, Oh Ish!!
These Thanksgiving dinners, My God! I declare…
if it ain’t someone’s dentures, it’s somebody’s hair!

This author’s homepage is still under construction as of now (November ’08), but be sure to bookmark it and check back as she promises to put more of her work up in the weeks to come.

If you liked this post, you might also like this other funny Thanksgiving poem: After Thanksgiving Poem.

Hamster Fiction — The Next Big Thing?

Time after time, people write to me and say, “Edie, where I can I go to find spectacularly written stories about hamsters?”  Okay, nobody has ever actually asked me that, but if they did, I would have to tell them:  Tooty Nolan.

Tooty Nolan is the pen name of the eccentric and exceedingly funny author of 4 separate series of wildly entertaining stories, all featuring a world where humans never evolved, but rodents did.  Chapter 1 of his Fanfare for the Common Hamster series, begins:

As a hamster Felicity Bugler wasn’t much of a looker. She was too short to begin with. And her buttocks just didn’t seem to have that tapering effect that so pleased a male hamster’s eye.

These stories take place at locations like “The Institute of Highly Important Studies” and are filled with whitty phrases like Who the fluff is that?” 

You can find all 4 of his series on Tooty Nolan’s blog The Bucktooth Times:

I could see these being published, and Nolan is currently looking into doing just that.  Be among the first to discover this author and read them now while they’re free.

(Edit:  Tooty has moved blogs and I’ve updated the links in this post to reflect that.  Also, these stories are now available for purchase, and you can read extracts on the blog.)

You can also find out more about Tooty Nolan on his About the Author Page which features various photos, across the decades, of his werewolf-like hairiness, including one of him with his (thankfully non-hairy) child.  (He’s actually kind of goodlooking underneath all that hair.)