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Spoiler Alert Thursday

In addition to repeated exhortations in comments to last week’s post, a student told me that I have no option but to watch “Breaking Bad.” The second half of the summer break is set aside to finishing “Prison Break.” Perhaps we will add “Breaking Bad” to that list. Turning to new television from the past week:

“Supernatural” The last episode was actually quite good, being told from the perspective of Castiel–this is only the second episode in the series that hasn’t been told from the perspective of Sam and Dean. (The other was from the perspective of Bobby and was also quite good.) The basic mechanism is that Castiel is confessing or praying to God and asking for advice: angels have never had free will before, he is the champion of free will in heaven, and he isn’t certain that angels are the sort of things that should have free will anyway. But, of course, the alternative to angelic free will is allowing Raphael to work towards freeing both Lucifer and Michael from hell thus allowing the apocalypse to unfold as it should. In order to defeat Raphael, Castiel has had no option but to form an unholy alliance with Crowley, currently the leader of hell. (Great scene when Crowley takes Castiel to hell for a conversation–now a never ending line in a nondescript government building; previously, hell was as most imagined it: fire, brimestone, and flayed flesh.) Astute viewers will no doubt notice that the absent God is to Castiel as the absent father was to Sam and Dean in the first season–a bunch of unanswered voicemail messages.

“Fringe” I’ll be crass: what a fucking letdown. Almost worthy of sincere use of the “r-word.”

“The Killing” Frankly, this show continues to be exceptionally boring–the nearly “wigger” (and Swede with an “American” accent) cop notwithstanding–and I have no idea why AMC hasn’t pulled the series.

“Game of Thrones” Another solid episode for the show, again largely expository this time focusing on much of background to the series: Ned reads old books about the history of the great families–especially their trademark appearances–and deduces that John Arryn may have been killed because he found one of Robert’s bastards working as an apprentice blacksmith in King’s Landing. There is also something up with Ser Hugh, formally Arryn’s squire, who is brutally killed in the opening match of the tournament in Ned’s honor by The Mountain, brother to The Hound (the personal guard of Prince Joffrey)–see pictures above and below. Mayor Carcetti is especially lecherous in that scene, first eyeballing the thirteen year old Sansa (if you couldn’t get mom, go for the eldest daughter, I suppose) and then telling her the brutal story of how The Hound came to have half of his face burnt off (short of it: The Mountain, as a child, picked up The Hound and held his held over a fire until the flesh bubbled cause The Hound had the audacity to play with one of The Mountain’s toys without permission). Sansa, presumably, is coming to realize the brutality that holds her society together. First, the unjust slaying of the butcher’s son (by The Hound) because she humiliated Joffrey and Joffrey, not wanting people to know he was beaten up by a younger girl, blamed it on the butcher’s son. Second, by finding out the vaguest details of what happened to her grandfather and uncle (Ned’s brother) when they were murdered by the Mad King. Third, the story of The Hound and The Mountain. And, lastly, The Mountain’s brutal and recreational slaying of Ser Hugh. We also begin to see a division internal to the ruling class between those who have actually fought for their positions–and I don’t mean mere politics–and those who have not. (This, however, does not explain the horrified looks on everyone else’s face. Presumably this is not their first tournament as spectators.) The fate of Ser Hugh–who has never fought a battle–is no doubt a premonition of what is to come for the equally naive recruits at The Wall. Also: what’s with fantasy movies/television shows/books and fat, clumsy and cowardly sidekicks with the name of Sam–in this case, a boy who had the option of being killed by his father in a hunting accident or joining the Black Watch; either way, a death of one sort or another. I’ve been pretty hard on Daenerys: she partially redeems herself this week for (1) managing to keep her clothes on for one entire episode and (2) beating the crap out of her brother with a necklace–two weeks, two humiliating beatings for Viserys. How long before Viserys really pisses off Drogo and is killed, preferably in a humorous and humiliating way? Catelyn’s arrest of Tyrion was impulsive and stupid, to say the least.

“NCIS” All of this and all that happens is that Franks dies? The other team better be dead because they were, like, the most irritating characters ever on a “procedural” cop show. Worth reading on everyone’s favourite ex-Mossad agent. Seems like a reasonable interpretation of her character.

“The Office” I haven’t followed any of the “who is replacing Michael” business, but I hope it is James Spader. Perhaps Captain Kirk could also join the show as some sort of executive and Kirk and Spader could renew their bromance.

Oh, and some asshats at Fox decided to cancel the only show in their roster that didn’t totally suck ass (i.e., “Human Target”).

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May 11, 2011 Posted by | Spoiler Alert Thursdays | 7 Comments

Wednesday Food: Sugar Beer Bomb

I want to pay tribute to a book I consult every so often.  It’s called He Said Beer, She Said Wine with Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head) and Marnie Old, and compares wine and beer pairings for a variety of foods.

The book does a great job of introducing you to both beverages– production background, a full explanation of styles and regional associations,  what to consider when tasting, and a glossary of basic terms.  They offer eleven food categories– i.e. “cheese,” “spicy food,” fruit dessert”– and six styles (and brands) of beer and wine that would compliment popular dishes.  It’s a great resource for someone just getting interested in pairings (and has helped me out with wine pairings of which I know next to nothing).

What I dislike about the book is the lack of actual recipes offered.  Only twelve recipes are recorded, none of which incorporate beer or wine.  There is also an obnoxious kitsch element as the book is overwhelmed with images and oversized font of the two experts “debating” the merits of their favored beverages.  Such illustrations provide about as much professionalism as a community theatre photo shoot.  Overall, had they taken out the heavy-handed narrative element and replaced it with MORE INFORMATION, well, I’d consult it more than “every so often.”

The final recipe and pairing in the book (pictured) is for chocolate pecan upside-down cake and Calagione’s very own World Wide Stout or Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Porto.  Both beer and cake are incredibly rich and sweet, but if moderately portioned, deeply satisfying.

May 11, 2011 Posted by | Wednesday Food | 4 Comments