1.  New B&N eReader awfully cute!

Hello MotoPhoto and intelligence from Gizmodo

B&N hasn’t released the name of this device yet, but per the good folks at Gizmodo it’s awful.  Perhaps iSnob?  Or maybe The Amazing $200 Book *book not included?  I look forward to hearing it, and probably mocking it.  And then wanting one.  Mayhaps the eReader is finally wobbling toward that hallowed tipping point?

2.  The Public Outrage over my not being named a Madison Opera Blogger has not been either as Public or as Outraged as I might have hoped.  Am resigned to sad fact that perhaps I am not a Madison Cultural Icon.  Yet.  All that will change when I crash Madison Opera’s blogger night dressed as my evil baking persona  THE ARTISAN.

3.  As if that isn’t enough heartbreak, I just got a daunting set of revisions back on a project I’ve been working on since recorded time began.  This stinks, but it did give me an excuse to do some particularly enthusiastic emotional eating last night.  If there is a slice of pepperoni left in Near West Madison it must have been in hiding last night.  Poor slice of pepperoni.  Huddling in the rainy doorways, just trying to stay out of sight of the crazed woman stalking up and down Monroe street eating everything in her path.  It’s a rough world out there.

4.  Clear your schedules for my first FESTIVAL CHOIR CONCERT this Saturday.  Come for the singing, stay for the snacks after the show.  Our director, who is a really excellent programmer, I think, has pulled together a night of happy songs (and occasionally, sad song with happy lyrics) to give economic downturn survivors a much needed perking up. Music lovers will recognize Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb and the oldie but goodie Promise of Living by Aaron Copland.  Judy Garland lovers will enjoy our snazzy rendition of Get Happy and enjoy Madison’s close proximity to Iowa courthouses. More info:

Jazz Hands!

I will be the one with the food baby in the front row.


I keep both in my kitchen. The first is the kind I eat, often with barbeque sauce, and they are scrumptious. The other kind are nothing less than works of art. These are the Kitchen Chickens.

If you don’t know what a Kitchen Chicken is, just go to any kitchenware store’s website and search for “chicken”. You’ll get a few implements designed for cooking chickens, but by and large you’ll get Kitchen Chickens. They range from cute and inoffensive:



To mildly upsetting:

Well, I wouldn't kick it out of bed for eating seed corn.

To stunningly hideous:


My first real Kitchen Chicken came into my life when I was just 23. (no picture available as it’s currently living in my parent’s basement catching up on every issue of National Geographic since 1952).  Most people don’t start decorating their homes with countrified crapola until they are in their late seventies at least, but I have always been mature for my age. And when I saw a cutesy white ceramic chicken whose tailfeathers were actually pull-out measuring spoons, I fell, hard.

But, dear readers, as you may remember, I am One Cheap Bastard. So cheap that I actually didn’t buy the Kitchen Chicken, just carried out a three day love affair with it. I was on a vacation in Burlington, Vermont (so needless to say I was poor, too), but I spent a good bit of it visiting the chicken at its store, talking to the chicken, turning the chicken over to see if it had gone on sale in the three hours we had been apart, and then walking backwards out of the store wistfully as I waved goodbye. A month later, when I had set aside enough cash for the chicken, I called the store and had it shipped to me in New York. I remember the sales clerk who took my order asked me if I had a kitchen chicken collection, and I replied, “I don’t even have a kitchen!”

That was how I knew I had a problem. And it was only the beginning. Since that fateful day, I’ve acquired various and sundry other kitchen chickens including but not limited to: a plate rack, napkin holder (who knew I needed that? But I use it every day now), trivet, and most lately, a cookie jar.  I love these chickens the way most people love their teeth–they are mine, mine, mine, and I will do what’s necessary to keep them safe.  But don’t try to give Kitchen Chickens to me as gifts unless you are SURE I want them (feel welcome, instead, to just give me cash and know that I will put it towards a Kitchen Chicken.  No occasion needed). I enjoy them all, indiscriminately, even that scary one up above.  But I sure as sheep don’t want them all in my house. This not like my Penguin Collection of the late eighties, in which each of my grandmas gave me ceramic penguin statuettes (sometimes crystal, too) for every birthday, holiday, and school closing for several years. (Thanks Grandmas, just in case you’ve somehow discovered teh internets since I saw you last.)

No, this is something different. Something sacred. Something private.  In short, it’s just between me and the chickens.

PS to Irene and any readers of the Pillsbury Bake-off Post comments:  Herewith, the kitchen chicken in question.  Lovely, non?

It's glorious!