Monday, May 26, 2008

RIP Killer Shrimp

I was really looking forward to my birthday dinner this year but was majorly disappointed when my friends and I pulled up to the Studio City restaurant to find it closed. This was a huge shock because the place had been around so long, you expected it to last foreve—or at least five more years. But it was not meant to be so I’ve had to improvise. I found a recipe at and made a few changes. The result is not quite like the original but damn tasty. And much more available.

4 cups chicken broth (unsalted Herb Ox granules work fine)
1 tablespoon rosemary
2-1/2 cloves garlic, minced (or more)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon (or more) red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
dash Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup clam juice
1/4 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup butter (unsalted is better, less butter makes it not so greasy)
1/2 cup white wine
1 pound shrimp, with tails (31-40 or larger)
1/2 (1 pound) loaf French bread

Pour broth into a large pot, and mix in spices and garlic, clam juice, tomato paste, and butter. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir wine into the soup, and continue to simmer and occasionally stir 2 hours. Just before serving, stir in shrimp. Continue cooking 3 minutes, or until shrimp are opaque. Serve with bread for soaking up broth.

Election 2008 – the reality series

I’ve suspected for awhile that this year’s election was going to be quite different from any in the past but didn’t realize how different until I was watching, of all things, the CMT Music Awards. The opening sketch had a bunch of folks hitting up co-host Miley Cyrus for tickets to the sold-out show. One of the callers was Sen. John McCain, followed shortly by Sen. Barack Obama. What with that equal time rule, you just know who was going to be on next.

But what the hell are presidential candidates doing on a cheesy cable TV show—one that rewards lame videos about God, country and big-ass trucks? Shouldn’t this kind of thing be beneath the dignity of someone running for the highest office in the land? It looks like not any more. I tried to imagine Ike and Adlai doing a TV schtick with some Borscht Belt comic named Solly on the Ed Sullivan show. I can’t. Not even JFK would have bought into this.

But this is the new century, where new voters were raised on bad reality TV and electing the candidate you’d most like to have a beer with seems like a viable option. Of course, American Idol is probably better at getting an accurate vote count than the state of Florida did in 2000. At least we weren’t stuck with Taylor Hicks for eight years.

Miley Cyrus hasn’t killed anybody

If she had, I feel certain TMZ would have a video of the crime. As it is, they don’t even have videos of her staggering drunk out of nightclub, “powdering her nose” in a bathroom stall, getting her mug shot taken or flashing her va-ja-jay.

So what has this impossibly ambitious and successful 15-year-old done to warrant being called “Slutty Miley” by gossip bloggers? Seems the Hannah Montana star posed for a few photos flashing approximately the same amount of flesh that most girls her age display when dressed up to go to church. This is apparently enough for gossip gangsters desperate for a scoop to compare her to those wretched examples for America’s youth known to the Hollywood division and their parole boards as Paris, Nicole, Britney and Lindsay. The latter two are the ones to whom Miley is most often compared—complete with dire predictions for her future.

Alas, young Ms. Cyrus is gainfully employed by the Disney Co., which has set up an impossible standard of teen purity to which no flesh-and-blood woman child with raging hormones can live up. Most annoying, past pubescent princesses were given considerably more leeway.

50 years ago, pioneering Disney deb Annette Funicello presented a girl-next-door image but was better known for the parts she possessed than the ones she played. As that sensitive guy Kenickie stated in Grease, “Nobody’s got bigger jugs than Annette.” An entire generation of adolescent males fixated on her ta-tas did not deter Ms. Funicello from growing into fairly normal adulthood, complete with cutesy beach flicks and peanut butter commercials.

Country jailbait Tanya Tucker sang about “Would you lay with me in a field of stone” several years before she could legally lay anywhere but didn’t make headlines until she was over 18 and snorting coke with Glen Campbell.

Rockabilly tween superstar Brenda Lee first charted at 12, was a huge star by 15 and wed 45 years ago at 18. She’s still married and has never been touched by scandal. Of course, she’s probably lucky that she was a teen before we had camera phones or Perez Hilton. Ms. Cyrus isn’t as fortunate so I hope she has a thick skin and a helluva sense of humor.