Cold Ingredients Tossed in a Bowl? You’ve Got Yourself a Salad!

Eating healthy with the power of salad.

While salad was originally considered to be a side dish composed primarily of raw leafy greens, a salad nowadays can be almost anything below room temperature tossed in a bowl. Pasta. Potato. Ambrosia. All salads, therefore: All healthy!

Below are some of our new favourite salad recipes that you can enjoy guilt-free!

Weiner Salad
1 cup of chopped up hotdogs
1 cup bacon, crumbled
1 cup of grated cheddar
Dressing: Half a bottle of ranch

Stir together in a large bowl. Serve using salad tongs. 

Cookie Salad
1 cup of crushed cookies (your choice)
Dressing: 1 can of whipped cream

In a salad bowl, spray whipped cream directly onto cookies. Serve with a sprig of mint. 

Ice Cream Salad
2 cups of ice cream

Scoop into a bowl. Eat. Salad!

Scammers are Artists, too.

I’ve been getting a lot of spam from scammers lately. Reading these eloquently constructed, high concept emails, I’m starting to understand why they are called scam “artists”. They truly are masters of the written word. I still think they could benefit from the guidance of an expert in the craft, however, so I’ve taken the liberty below to critique these pieces and provide helpful feedback that they could incorporate to make their very-true stories even more compelling (and grammatically correct)…

Dr. Mikko Juho needs some serious grammatical help for his VERY IMPORTANT MATTER:

Scammer1

Before Ally Berg can be friends/companions/pen pals, she’ll need to focus on proofreading:

Scammer3

Mr (sic) Anvanith Gui has some issues with specificity:

Scammer2

Invisible Body

Mrrrrrrrr. The lawnmower was a hot bee droning back and forth across the grass. The unrelenting sunshine had pushed the grass up higher than usual. Watching the rows upon rows be shorn down gave Miranda the same feeling she used to get from watching viral videos of disembodied hands slicing mounds of kinetic sand: Dull satisfaction. The young man — either Dan or Don or Doug, something like that — pushing the mower across her lawn chomped fervently on a large piece of pink chewing gum. He blinked up toward the house but, of course, couldn’t see her staring out at him from the picture window.

It was the smell of the grass she missed the most, but she could remember it if she really tried. It was a damp smell. One of life. Of living. It’s hard to smell without a nose. It had been just long enough that she could laugh at the ridiculousness of the statement. But without a throat, the laugh was silent. She was and she wasn’t.

The remembering of smells and laughter made Miranda curious. It had been days, maybe weeks, since she examined her body. She glided up the stairs into the bathroom. Her body used to be slumped against the bathroom wall like she’d fallen asleep on a gently rocking subway car. Now, her body looked like a black-yellow-orange bloated person-shaped bag. She watched a documentary once about a body farm used by the FBI to help them identify stages of human decay, so she knew the how and why behind the dark fluids that pooled around her. It still didn’t make it easier to accept. She returned back downstairs dismayed. She was glad she couldn’t smell anymore.

——

In that moment across the country, an old high school friend opens his laptop. He checks the news. 104 dead in Kabul. Wild fires in California. A truck in London driven into a group of tourists, 4 dead, 15 severely injured. He shudders internally and pulls his bathrobe instinctively around him, as if it could shield him from the horror in the world. Searching for lighter fare, he opens one of his social media accounts. An inspirational quote has cycled to the top of his feed. It reads: “The secret to being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most of everyday”. He exhales a sign of relief. It’s from Miranda.

——

Miranda floated down to her kitchen, as she’d done a thousand times before. She wasn’t hungry anymore, like she’d been in real life. She wished she could have felt like that while she was still alive. Her mother was always quick to intercept Miranda on the way to the fridge. Her mother had become thin and willowy after Miranda’s father left them for a size 0. She warned Miranda constantly that she’d inherited her father’s slow metabolism. That sugar will make you sick and and probably kill you. She died herself of malnutrition complicated by a smattering of other ailments. Miranda wondered if she was out there, somewhere, floating around.

She approached her laptop. It sat on the kitchen table, open, webcam set up on a tripod beside. It almost begged to be of use like a sentient furnishing in Beauty and the Beast. But it was dead. With no fingers to plug it in or turn it on or even worm over the trackpad, it remained a useless brick. Miranda kicked herself for the thousandth time for pre-scheduling her social media posts all the way to Christmas.

Shhhhttt. Flop. She rushed to the door. A new piece of mail had plopped on top of the small pile collecting in front of it. It was a letter from the Humane Society for the previous owner of the house. A reminder to donate. All Miranda’s bills were digitalized, so she never got any mail. Out the beveled door window, she watched the post woman waddle away with her laden bag. Miranda didn’t know her name. She didn’t even know her face.

——

In the Hague, a frazzled university student gnaws on his iPad stylus. He logs onto his online tutoring site. In his inbox, an old message reads: “Great work this week, Yorick. Looking forward to diving deeper into passive construction next week. Best, Miranda” He clicks on her profile. A photo that artfully combines approachability and professionalism. Under her name, orange letters announce, “Last online: 5 weeks ago”. He has an important exam coming up. He hastily clicks the link “Find a Tutor”.

—-

She drifted into the hallway. She was greeted by the smiling faces of the people she used to consider her best friends. Sandy, married in Florida with three kids. Expecting a fourth, according to a saccharine video uploaded to Facebook for all the world to see. In it, her three children, ages 7, 5 and 2, ask their father to look in the oven. When he discovers the bun inside, they break down into fits of giggles. Tears of joys are shed by the adults. Six months ago, Sandy sent an email apologizing for being so out of touch. She had promised then to come visit soon.

Hatty lived in Argentina with her life partner. Jane was climbing the corporate ladder in New York. Ella, who lived just a few towns away, just simply cut everyone out years ago like they never were. In terms of family, Miranda assumed she had a gaggle of half-siblings as far as her father could toss his seed, but she had never met any of them. Her father. Hank. He had stopped reaching out after Miranda made it very clear at 18 that she never wanted to speak to him again. He had never been one to respect her wishes, but for some reason that one stuck. He would be the last person to wonder if she was dead or alive.

——

In a downtown bar, Theo waits for his Tinder date Thea to come back from the bathroom. It’s been going surprisingly well so far, considering his success with the app. He had just been on the verge of deleting it permanently when she flickered across his screen. She super liked him, which meant something. A super like was special. It was more than a swipe. As he stares at the fake succulent in a tiny pot on the table, he marvels at how similar the names “Theo and Thea” looked, but how different they sounded. Just one letter off. Imagine how it’ll look on their wedding invitations. He’s getting ahead of himself. He reminds himself what happened last time with Miranda: Things were going so well — just like this —- then she just ghosted. When Thea returned from the bathroom, all smiles, Theo lies and says he has to go.

——

Miranda tried to remember Theo’s face. It was hard because they’d only seen each other a handful of times. One of those was also in a darkened movie theatre, so her memory was an eyebrow here, a nostril there, stubble, full lips, kind eyes. Most of all she wished she could explain to him that her sudden exit had nothing to do with him. He didn’t even know her address, so he wouldn’t come looking. She cried silent, nothing tears.

Through the window, she watched the neighbour let her bichon frise out into the backyard. Their last name was Milton, at least that’s what it said on a kitschy sign on their lawn — “The Miltons” — but Miranda didn’t know her first name. She looked weary, as if she’d been gently beaten all morning. She yawned an aggressive yawn she would probably never allow her kids to witness. She looked over to Miranda’s house bored as she waited for the dog to finish its business. Miranda waved to her for the first time ever. She didn’t see. Couldn’t see.

Back upstairs, her flesh was black and papery. How long now had it been now since she last checked? Her calculations were interrupted by Dan or Don or Doug, the bee mower boy, who had started up his machine. She peered over the frosted sticker that covered the lower half of the window. He worked hastily this time, rushing through the job, looking irritated. She glided downstairs to the front door. When he was finished Dan or Don or Doug stomped up to the front door. Instinctively, Miranda backed away, out of sight which was unnecessary. He looked right through her as he hammered the doorbell. BINGBONG. BINGBONGBINGBONG. The bell was like a bomb going off, shattering weeks of silence into a thousand invisible shards. She moved as close to the glass as she could, staring intently into his irritated face. BINGBONG. His finger driving itself into the button.

“Hey, Lady!”

He waited.

“Ms. Kawalsky!”

He waited more.

“This is the last time I’m cutting your grass for free.”

She listened.

“You only paid me in advance til the end of August.”

August.

“It’s almost October.”

October.

“I’m not going to cut it anymore, Ms. Kawalsky. Not until you pay me what you owe!”

Silence. He stepped across the porch to the living room window, peering in with both hands shading his young face. All he saw was a pristine, minimalistic living room staring back. Not Miranda’s aching non-corporeal form.

——

She once saw on HGTV that grass grows two to six inches a week, depending on the weather. She wondered how long it would have to be til someone figured it all out. Someone was bound to notice soon, right?

This week I failed.

Fail to Win

This week I failed.

On Monday, I found out that a feature-length script I wrote didn’t advance to the semifinals of the BlueCat Screenplay Competition.

When I saw I didn’t advance, I expected a sting in the place I squirrel away my sense of self worth, but it didn’t come. The next day, I expected to wake up feeling defeated, but I woke up feeling amped. None of it made sense.

I walked out to get some grocery store sushi and contemplate this lack of negative emptiness. An embarrassingly awesome pop song rolled onto my playlist and I found myself literally dancing in the street like I just won the standing long jump at my 9th grade track meet. It still made no sense.

I dug down. I riffled around in my emotions like they were inside the goddamned Tickle Trunk. I found the answer: Failure isn’t bad.

This failure, in fact, was actually disguised as a small success. It meant that, although I didn’t advance to the semifinals, I made it to the quarterfinals. Out of 3272 scripts, mine was one of 272 selected. Pretty rad, amirite? Before they announced the semifinalists, I went back and reread the feedback that was included as part of the entry fee. It was positive and validating, in spite of the fact that I didn’t advance.

In my rooting around, I also realized that failure is just one step on the long road to success. No one has ever succeeded without failing first. It takes a million gillion hours of working your ass off to make it to the point at which you can even begin failing. And if you manage to have the stick-to-it-iveness to continue failing, the succeeding is already queued up.

I guess most importantly, I realized that failing means trying. If you’re failing, you’re in play. You’re creating. You’re pushing. You’re hustling. You’re improving your craft. You’re becoming a master. I decided I’m going to heartily embrace failure, cause it means I’m on my way.

Excerpts from My Grade School Diary

Apparently I’ve always had a thirst for romance and a flair for over-dramatization.

June 12, 1995, age 10:

“Dear Diary, I want someone who I can hold hands with, tell them I love them all the time. I want a guy that will tell me to hold his jacket or sweater or something. I want a guy who will not be shy and he will tell me he loves me all the time, too. Basically, I want a nice, attractive, romantic guy.”

April 20, 1996, age 11:

“Okay, here’s my DREAM DATE!! First it’s about dusk and we take a long walk along the beach. Then we come to a gazebo and it’s got mood lights all around with candles and great supper. After we’re finished there’s a boat on the shore, we cast off. When we’re far away from shore we put down the anchor and take out the seats and we lay down in the bottom of the boat looking up at the stars and rock back and forth.”

December, 1998 (A Dream), age 14:

“I’m riding on an almost empty bus with Brad Pitt. I am sitting with him and talking for a long while. I’m sitting by the window and he’s on on the outside. All of a sudden I lean over and we’re kissing. We kiss for a long time (which is VERY good). We are on the way to Hollywood. But as we get closer Brad turns into a snot. The process is slow, but eventually he is really snotty with a snobby attitude.”

January 3, 1999, age 15:

“Only a year til the Millennium! Happy New Year! Me and X have been seeing each other for about a month now. That is a really long time for me. I’m not sure if I want to commit though. There are so many options, I don’t know if I’m ready to settle down with one person.”

April 7, 2000, age 16:

“Anyways, tonight I went to X’s house with Y and X. We had a big bottle of vodka and I had an empty stomach. Like, half a glass later– Lauren’s hammered. I couldn’t stand up straight, my eyes were fuzzy, I couldn’t see, I was dizzy, slurred words, trouble with co-ordination, etc… so it turns out I’m a destructive drunk.”

The TRUE Meaning of GoT “White Walkers”

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Here’s a fun ad-lib from the Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 3 “The Queen’s Justice” in which Jon Snow and Tyrion basically just discuss climate change.

CLIMATE CHANGE = White walkers
GLOBAL WARMING = The dead
OCEAN ACIDIFICATION = The Night King

JON SNOW: GLOBAL WARMING is coming for us all… It’s hard for me the fathom, it really is. If someone told me about CLIMATE CHANGE and OCEAN ACIDIFICATION… You probably don’t believe me. Grumpkins and Snarks, you called them, do you remember? It was all nonsense.

TYRION: It was all nonsense and everybody knew it. But then Mormont saw it, and you saw it and I trust the eyes of an honest man more than I trust what everybody knows.

JON SNOW: How do I convince people who don’t know me that an enemy they don’t believe in is coming to kill them all?

TYRION: People’s minds aren’t made for problems that large. CLIMATE CHANGE, OCEAN ACIDIFICATION, GLOBAL WARMING, it’s almost a relief to confront a familiar monster like my sister.

JON SNOW: I need to help prepare my people for what’s coming.

Remake Remake Remake

Total Recall. Beauty and the Beast. Aladdin. The Lion King. Cinderella. A Star is Born. Charmed. Murphy Brown. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Roseanne. Twin Peaks. Will and Grace. Everything that was once good in film is now good again.

I got to thinking: If I’m going to harness the power of the remake for my own career, I need to tap into the origins of film itself. So I reached way back to the 90s — the 1890s — to create the below remake of the very first film: Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat by the Lumière Brothers.

Please enjoy my remake titled Arrival of a Train at Dupont Station.

Below, the original: Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat by the Lumière Brothers.

German Idioms Decoded (plus potatoes)

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When I was a little kid my grandmother (or as we called her “Oma”) taught me my first German word: Kartoffel, which means “potato”. At the time, I had no idea how extremely beloved these tubers were to Germans, so in hindsight it makes sense that would be the first word I learned.

After living in Germany for six and a half years as a grownup, I discovered that the only things Germans love more than potatoes are puzzling figures of speech. One such example goes: Die dümmsten Bauern haben die dicksten Kartoffeln! which literally translates to: “The dumbest farmers have the fattest potatoes”.

Over the years, my love of strange German idioms also grew strong and deep like a potato. Here’s a list of some of my (non-potato themed) favourites along with some examples of how to properly use them in English.

  • Lass die Kirche im Dorf!
    Literally: Leave the church in the village!
    In other words: Don’t get carried away.
    Example: You don’t want to eat your weight in potatoes? Leave the church in the village!
  • Die Arschkarte ziehen
    Literally: Pulling the ass card
    In other words: Having bad luck
    Example: We’re out of potatoes?! We really pulled the ass card today!
  • Ich hau mich auf’s Ohr!
    Literally: I’m going to throw myself on my ear!
    In other words: I’m going to bed.
    Example: I’m exhausted from all the potato eating. I think I’ll throw myself on my ear!
  • Dumm wie Dosenbrot!
    Literally: Dumb as tinned bread!
    In other words: Really really dumb.
    Example: That guy hates potatoes? He’s dumb as canned bread!
  • Eier in der Hose haben
    Literally: Having eggs in the pants
    In other words: Being brave
    Example: Some people like a man with eggs in his pants. Personally, I love a man with potatoes in his pockets!
  • Das passt wie die Faust aufs Auge!
    Literally: It fits like a fist fits an eye!
    In other words: Perfect
    Example: A potato in the pot is like a fist fits an eye!
  • Pi mal Daumen
    Literally: Pi times thumb
    In other words: Approximately
    Example: Pi times thumb is how much I need potatoes in my life.
  • Da haben wir den Salat!
    Literally: There we have the salad!
    In other words: It’s all fucked up
    Example: No potato salad? Now we have the salad there!
  • Seinen Senf zu etwas abgeben 
    Literally: Give your mustard to something
    In other words: Give your (unsolicited) two cents
    Example: I’ll give my mustard to your potato salad recipe: It’s potatastic!
  • Im falschen Film sein
    Literally: Being in the wrong movie
    In other words: Finding yourself in a strange or confusing situation
    Example: Carrots for dinner? I feel like I’m in the wrong movie.
  • Die beleidigte Leberwurst spielen
    Literally: Playing the offended liverwurst
    In other words: Being adorably offended
    Example: You act like an offended liverwurst when you go into potato withdrawal.
  • Den Löffel abgeben
    Literally: Giving up the spoon
    In other words: To die
    Example: He gave up the spoon! And the potato, too!

183. Black Friday

After a man who is nearly trampled to death by a stampede of consumers on Black Friday awakes in the hospital, his ward mate—an elderly Sioux man—tells him of the real origins of Thanksgiving, causing him to dream that he is a Sioux youth enslaved by early Americans who must fight for survival in a changing world.

182. Taking Thanks

In 1637, when Pequot sachem Sassacus returns to his village to discover that the English settlers have massacred almost all of his people, he sets out to destroy the evil invaders not only for revenge but also in an attempt to save his culture and people from being completely snuffed out by this foreign threat.

177. Up the Wazoo

When an alcoholic proctologist is suspended for telling a class of high school students to put tampons soaked in vodka up their butts, he begins a new “hangover prevention” business out of the back of his station wagon by hooking up drunken party-goers to a drip of saline and vitamins, only to discover that the FDA is on to him and he must straighten out if he ever intends to get his old life back.

176. Girls Weekend

When two girlfriends meet at their favourite resort for a ‘girls only’ weekend, what neither of them realizes is that the real reason they both love that hotel so much is not for the amenities but rather the Latino pool boy and must both struggle to hide their relationships with Raoul from each other before Girls Weekend is completely ruined.

175. Slow Motion

When a young, high-flying corporate lawyer who has always been the life of the party discovers coincidentally that he has an undiagnosed brain tumor he must learn, with the help of his former high school sweetheart, to slow down and enjoy the life he previously wasted in boardrooms and nightclubs.

171. Bitter Sweet

When his most crotchety best friend passes away and suddenly everyone is speaking well of the dead man, an even grouchier old man vows to use the last of his life to make sure no one forgets how grumpy he was when he was alive, only to discover that his mission of spreading surliness will be almost impossible when he is forced to take care of his adorable, sweet-tempered granddaughter for the entire summer.