Friday, December 22, 2006

The Recipe from "Regrecipes": Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Ah, yes. The Balls.

If you attended Live Wire's December 14th taping at the Aladdin Theater, you were there to see my mother, the charming and fabulous Sally, take great joy in giving me the what-for in front of 500 people.

That's her above, laughing uproariously after zinging the crap out of me. Watch out, kids! If you don't clean your room, then when you're (ostensibly) a grown-up, your mother might show up on the radio variety show you host and, in the sweetest of ways, tear you a new one. (To mom's right is Shelley Besemann, a therapist, who offered some really helpful advice for surviving the holidays, including multi-purpose one-liners such as, "I love you too much to talk about that right now.")

Anyhoodily doodily, regardless of the destruction that happened in the making of them, these balls are the best thing you'll put in your mouth all year.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls (a.k.a. Buckeyes), courtesy of Sally Hameister

3 cups Rice Krispies

1 stick of butter or margerine (very soft)

1 box (2 cups) confectioner's sugar

2 cups chunky peanut butter

After mixed, chill for one hour. Take out of refrigerator and roll mixture into 1-inch balls. Chill for one more hour.

1 large Hershey bar (the BIG one - 8 0z.)

1 6 oz. bag of bittersweet chocolate chips

1/4 to 1/2 bar household paraffin*

Take a spoon and drop balls into above mixture until fully coated and place on wax paper. Refrigerate until set, and serve. Not necessary to keep cookies refrigerated, but recommended.

*Yes, it's wax. It sounds weird, but it keeps the chocolate from melting in your hand. You've eaten wax before, really. It's fine.

Enjoy the balls. And enjoy the back of Sally's Christmas sweater. See how there's real stockings that hang off that thing? This is a woman who loves Christmas.

Thanks, Mom, for zinging me when I needed be zinged. And thanks for making every Christmas in our house the world's largest, tinsel-iest, chocolate-covered-ball of happy holiday cheer. We were the luckiest kids ever.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Possible names for my first child


Cha Cha Cha Charles


Mr. Greenjeans


Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini

Tapioca Puddin’ Head

Urinary Tract Infection

Punny McKnock Knock



People or things I would trust to run the country at this point

My dentist

Pamela Anderson

That guy who seems to know everything about meat at New Seasons

Tommy Lee


Anyone from Motley Crue

Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini

My cat

Dick Cheney’s assistant’s mother

The devil

Titles for a film about my life

Yawny Yawn Yawn Yawn

What’s the Point?


The Girl Who Never Cleaned the Catbox

That One Movie About The Woman Who Seemed Like She Would Never Amount To Anything, but Then Sort of Seemed Like She Might Amount to Something For a Minute, then Went Back to Probably Not Amounting to Anything But Now It Was Slightly More Tragic Because You Had Hope For a Minute

Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini

Friday, December 01, 2006

Who becomes a legend most?

Classy dudes, that’s who.

When our Technical Producer, Jim Brunberg, suggested Dave Frishberg as a musical guest for Live Wire, it was daunting. Terrifying, even. He’s got the word “legend” attached to him. And rightly so. He’s Cole Porter-esque. He’s Woody Allen with a piano. He’s Dave Frickin’ Frishberg.

But we worked through that fear, and decided that as long as we had the man who wrote “I’m Just a Bill,” why not write some Schoolhouse Rock songs for a new millennium? And why not ask Dave to accompany us on one of them? Oh, but he’d never do that, right? He’s all important and stuff so there’s no way he’d...HOLY CRAP HE’S GONNA DO IT!!

And he did. And you should listen to the show on OPB on Saturday night to hear how it all came out. Tyler Hughs and Ralph Huntley wrote some stellar lyrics (and like the girl in the Shake ‘n’ Bake commercial, I helped). Ralph—whose skills as a sketch writer, songwriter, Faces For Radio Theater member and house band leader makes us think he might be an alien from The Planet of the Overextended Creative Types—learned a squillion Schoolhouse Rock songs in a couple minutes, and the whole thing was pretty cool. From what we understand, it may be the only time Dave Frishberg has ever played “I’m Just a Bill” in front of a live audience. We felt pretty honored to be there to see it. Not to mention his other two songs – the hilarious “Quality Time” and “I Wanna Be a Sideman.” He is one cool cat.

Oh, and if you want to see him in action again, he’ll be one of Susannah Mars’ special guests for Mars on Life: The Holiday Edition on December 16th at Artist’s Rep.

Peace on earth? Oh, screw that.

On Monday afternoon, I got an email with an intriguing subject line. It asked the question, “Is Pagosa Springs anti-peace?”

Pagosa Springs is a rather conservative town of about 1700 people in the southern mountains of Colorado. I lived there nine years ago, right before moving to the lefty, pinko, neverending- carnival-of-hedonism that is Portland, Oregon. The email, sent by fellow Portland hedonist Pat Janowski, included a link to a story: a couple in Pagosa Springs had been asked by their homeowners’ association to take down their Christmas wreath. Why? Because the wreath was shaped like a peace sign.

Some residents saw the wreath as anti-war. Bob Kearns, the president of the Homeowners’ Association said, "The peace sign has a lot of negativity associated with it. It's also an anti-Christ sign. That's how it started."

The peace sign was actually created in 1958 by British designer Gerald Holtom for a nuclear disarmament protest, but that’s not really the point. The point is: divisiveness. A divisiveness now so ingrained in our culture, that a wish for “Peace on Earth” at Christmastime is a trigger for partisan bickering. A wish for peace is anti-troops, and even anti-Christ. Divisiveness has deemed a Christmas wreath…anti-Christmas.

Perhaps it’s time we looked at some other traditional holiday sentiments, like what about these “Good will toward men” people? How would supporters of this decidedly sexist sentiment feel if I walked around during the holidays greeting women with a slap on the face and a kick in the ass? I doubt it would bother them, they’re clearly women-haters.

And what of the proponents of “Happy Holidays”? What are they trying to say to the 17 million Americans who suffer from depression? Are they trying to rub it in? Because that’s just mean.

And don’t even get me started on “Joy to the World.”

I’m actually grateful to Mr. Kearns, the future former president of the Loma Linda Homeowners' Association. He’s taught me a lesson about perspective, and what the lack of it can cause a person to do. In this case, lack of perspective and blind loyalty to his side of an ongoing, underlying cultural war caused him to do something I’m sure he never dreamed he’d do: to fight against peace.

And now, after a healthy dose of perspective from CNN, The New York Times, and...well, the whole country, he came to his senses and dropped the Case of the Anti-Christmas Wreath.

Peace has returned to Pagosa Springs. And not a moment too soon, because the holidays are just around the corner, and no one wants to be at war during the holidays, right?

Photo courtesy of Randi Pierce, Durango Herald.