Friday, September 26, 2008

You Can't Undo the RSVP; How to Sleep Well; A Weekend Recipe (Friday Roundup)

The show must go on ... because my calendar is clear. CLEAR, John McCain. And the nice folks in Oxford have been cleaning and decorating and generally cranking up the hospitality like the good Southerners they are. And you don't just change your mind on a whim because you're distracted by a $700 billion problem. That is what we call bad taste.

I can't do anything to calm your nerves or set aside any of your fears about this debate, but I can introduce you, Sen. McCain, to other parts of one of my favorite cities in the South -- parts that are not on a stage or in an auditorium or in a spot where you will run into Sen. Obama, who is off somewhere busily trying to define "change." Relax. Take in the sights of Oxford. Have a good meal. To get you started ...

If you're a catfish kind of guy, BYOB and your lawn chair and hang out in the parking lot of Taylor Grocery & Restaurant while you wait for the screen door to slam and for your hostess to yell your name from the front porch. Inside, you will be treated to a heaping helping of bottom-feeding catfish -- blackened or fried -- hushpuppies and more. It's a fast-paced dining experience, punctuated by visuals not found just anywhere. We watched our hostess stomp from one end of the narrow dining room to the other, barking orders like a Marine, simultaneously tossing back a small cylinder of M&M Minis like it was a soft drink. Everyone stayed out of her way. At one point, she had a toddler on her hip. Gosh, that was some good catfish.

I'm embarrassed even to mention Square Books because it's synonymous with "Oxford," and it seems almost a cliché to bring it up. But really, you should swing by there. Everyone else does. Every famous writer who is worth his or her salt, anyway. Had you arrived in town last night, you could have listened to the live radio show, which is broadcast every Thursday night. But you were decidedly undecided, so you missed a good opportunity.

Maybe you can find your muse at Rowan Oak, home of William Faulkner, who wrote outlines and dialogue on his bedroom wall. It's a solid brainstorming technique that you might want to consider. Alcohol is optional.

Lodging options are few in Oxford, but I'm sure one of the bed and breakfast inns could make room for one more. This one is within walking distance of Rowan Oak. A long walking distance, but a walking distance nonetheless. Wear your Keds.

But for now, you have a campaign to run, so leave the worrying to these guys ...

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd., D-Conn., center, gives an oath that he does not have $700 billion either. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., all pretend to listen in while Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., far right, wishes he had a stool softener.

THIS JUST IN ...| Updated: Senator John McCain’s campaign said Friday morning that he will attend tonight’s debate with Senator Barack Obama at the University of Mississippi, reversing his earlier call to postpone the debate so he could participate in the Congressional negotiations over the $700 billion bailout plan for financial firms. (ADDED TO BLOG AT 11:02 a.m. CST. WHEW! Now I have something to do tonight.)

May the force be with you ...
In a recent and mandatory overhaul of a certain 13-year-old boy's bedroom, I noticed a change in pillow cases. "What's with the Star Wars pillow case?"

"I don't know. I hadn't used it in a while."

And I did the unthinkable while helping him make the bed. I had the Trade Federation side face-up. He grabbed it from my hands and turned it face-down. "Trade Federation goes DOWN; Bravo Squadron goes UP." And he smoothed the case and put the pillow in its place. I had been scolded.

"What the ...? Does it matter?"

"Yes, it matters. Of course it matters. When I was little, I believed that if I slept on the Trade Federation side, I would be bad the next day. But if I slept on the Bravo Squadron side, I would be good."

"Did that work for you?"

"Yes. But if I was mad at you, I would sleep on the Trade Federation side."

I am starting to feel old ... because my oldest child is amassing a rather large stack of brochures, glossy magazines and enticing invitations that have to do with college campuses -- college campuses that are under the impression that I am old enough to be the mother of a high school junior who won't be living with me in less than two years.

And while the idea of being a college freshman is pretty darn exciting to a high school junior, it's depressing and lonely to that high school junior's mom, who may not be all that ready for college, particularly if you consider that she herself was in college just yesterday.

And for your dining pleasure ... Another football weekend is upon us, or, for you non-football fans looking for a dish you can eat from during the debate, I offer this recipe, prepared and tested last weekend during a Boy Scout Cook-off. This award-winning dish from my Bravo Squadron son's patrol earned the "best appetizer" honor.

Boy Scout Dip

1 8-oz. block of cream cheese

(Or was it sour cream? I think it was cream cheese. Yes, it was definitely cream cheese. Does sour cream come in a block? I told him to give it a rest and relax; sour cream and cream cheese are almost interchangeable in cases like this. In the end, cream cheese was the way to go. No doubt about it. I was not there when this dish was originally created because I am not a Boy Scout. But had I been there, I would have gone with the cream cheese, too. And then I would have licked the spoon.)

1 jar of salsa

shredded cheese

tortilla chips

Spread the cream cheese in a pie plate. Pour the salsa over, then sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Do not heat or cook in any way. Eat it straight from the plate with chips.

And while this is an excellent party dip, be warned that overindulging can make you look like Jack Reed in the above photo. Everything in moderation, people.

It's the weekend ... watch a debate, cheer for a team, be a good hostess, eat some dip.