Sunday, March 31, 2013

Jesus Is So Alright With Me--A Revisit Of The Hot Jesus Collection

I was watching TV the other day, and as I was surfing the guide channel, I heard someone say, "The Bible is hot right now.  Its entertainment value is through the roof."  It turned out to be a segment on some miniseries or something, and they started to get downright Teen Beat-esque about the guy playing Jesus.  They called him a Hot Jesus.  "Hey!"  I thought.  "I already coined that phrase ages ago, and put my collection of them in a blog post!" 

Now, since Jared has delayed our co-post yet again, it seems like a good time that Hot Jesus post.  So, here it is.  Happy Easter!

Something celestial, almost otherworldly, happens to an actor when he takes on the role of all roles--Jesus Christ. Now, I realize we all have a pretty misconceived, stylized, White European view of what The Man looks like, but when anyone says "Jesus", we all see the same thing:

"Yep! That's him," we would say to the officer while we stood on one side of the two-way mirror at the lineup down at the station house, "the one with the beatific expression and the flowy hair and the neatly trimmed beard. That's the guy!" We all could describe Jesus and the sketch artists would all draw this same picture.

I started noticing that all actors as Jesus are incredibly attractive a long time ago. I think it started when I was about 8 and I first watched the movie "King of Kings" with Jeffrey Hunter. He was one great-looking Jesus. I remember this one scene when he is down on his knee; he lifts his head and looks up into the camera. His eyes are incredible. Here he is:

I remember thinking, "Oh my God. He is really handsome. Those eyes are making me feel all squooshy inside." Seriously. Here they are.

I mean, come on! I know he's Jesus and all, but really. Mesmerizing.
That movie sort of began my unofficial collection of Hot Jesuses (Hot Jesi?). Pretty much everyone who plays Jesus looks good doing it. Even Willem Defoe. Old Willem is rather "apple-doll faced." He's not really that attractive, but in "The Last Temptation of Christ", he makes a darn nice looking Jesus.

Certainly, black and white can be forgiving, but trust me: I Googled the heck out of Willem as Christ, and even the sweaty and bloody ones were pretty good.
Naturally, you can't have a Hot Jesus collection and not include the Classic Seventies Rock Opera Jesus, Ted Neeley from Jesus Christ Superstar. It's almost not fair; Ted Neeley, who recently went back on the road in Superstar is still hot even now, whether he's playing Jesus or not.
Honestly, he might be the hottest Jesus ever. Certainly he's the most musical, and the only one who sustains a scream worthy of an 80s hair band.
Second only to Jeffrey Hunter in the eyes department has to be Robert Powell, who played Jesus in a television miniseries called "Jesus of Nazareth" in about 1977. Robert Powell has these startling light blue eyes that are almost as eerie as Meg Foster's, whose are downright scary. But I digress. Robert Powell made a very ethereal, Goth-like but fascinatingly attractive Jesus.
Finally, there's Jeremy Sisto as Jesus in the most recent television miniseries offering simply titled "Jesus." It ran in 1999 and had a memorable cast, mainly because Debra Messing of Will and Grace played Mary Magdalene. I didn't watch it, but I saw plenty of previews and magazine covers that proved my thesis that actors are automatically hot when they play Jesus. Jeremy Sisto's Jesus was sort of a laid-back, scruffy Jesus, though, you could tell. He had a casual air about him. Kind of a "geeze, Judas, don't get so serious" Jesus. But still pretty darn easy on the eyes.I mean, a cute Jesus, really, if you look at him. Not that sort of tragic, thinking about the future sort of distracted Jesus, like the other ones. More accessible. I liked that. I thought about whether I had a favorite Jesus or not out of all these, and I guess I don't. But I think Jeffrey Hunter, my first, will always be a little bit special.

post image here

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

In Which I Use My Noodle(s) And Create My Own American Classic...Sort Of

Although I would prefer to think that this started out to be a Righteous Consumer Rant rather than a Crabby Old Lady Rant, I guess it doesn't really matter.  Because as I started to formulate the post, it took a strange turn and ended up as something entirely different.

You see, the whole thing began innocently enough when I was shopping for a bag of noodles.  What could be more benign?  In my part of the world, when St. Patrick's Day rolls around, so does Prime Time for making the great ethnic dish of Cabbage And Noodles.  Rick and I love it; Sam likes it, and I planned to make it on a Monday when he hangs out here for dinner.  I grabbed a big, chubby cabbage and zipped over to the noodle aisle, and that's where I got bogged down for what seemed like eons.

And let me tell you why:  No one makes a full 16-ounce bag of noodles anymore.  No one.  I lingered there so long with furrowed brow, walking up and down, reading bags of noodles, that two separate Helpful Employees asked me if they could assist me.  The sad truth is this:  Like all other grocery comestibles, packaging sizes have been reduced while prices have not, and we have no recourse.  The 16-ounce noodle package has gone the way of the 3-pound coffee can, the full half-gallon of ice cream, a 5-pound bag of sugar, and all the other large, full-size containers we knew back when I could spell "republican" with a capital "R."

Anyway.  I bought my TWELVE OUNCE BAG of noodles (with extreme prejudice) and went home.  Here they are:
First of all, I dare any of you to find where it even says there are 12 ounces in there.  And yes, it's on the front.  I looked forever.  (But they're An American Classic!)
But here is the thing that I really, really love.  As I was putting my American Classic Extra Wide Egg Noodles away, I got a good look at the front of the bag.
I put it inside a nice purple arrow for you!

Oh, thank you, Mueller's!  And here, I was going to cook up Cabbage And Noodles.  All I really have to do is just lean a couple of peppers on the table, and voila! it's Dinner!  I don't even have to use the actual noodles.  And it's lactose-, gluten-, HFCS-, and fat-free!  And vegan!
Now, some of you are clamoring, "Wait!  Perhaps there is An American Classic Recipe on the back that utilizes the peppers!"  I hear you, and I am a scrupulous journalist.

So...nope.  I'm at a loss, aren't you?  But I don't have time to figure it all out.  I've got to get dinner ready.  Tonight, Sam is working, so it's just Rick and I.  I hope he likes it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WanderLost: The Missing Link In My DNA Needs A GPS

One of the stories my mother loves to trot out in order to embarrass me is The Communion Story.  It matters not at all that A) I have ceased to be a Good Sport about it; B) the hearer has probably already heard it; C) it happened eleventy thousand years ago; and/or D) there are several billion other charming stories starring Yours Truly that she could and should tell, but this one remains, inexplicably, her Favourite.

In a nutshell, here it is:

When I was about ten, our parish got a new church built, which was round.  We had a good-sized congregation, and when it was time for communion, it was common practice for two priests to administer it.  We formed two lines and went up.  Well, one time, the priest on my side of the church, at the head of my line, ran out of wafers.  I was directed by a helpful usher to the other line, got communion, and had to circle the entire church to get back to our pew.  I promptly got turned about and became lost.  I could not find my parents and siblings.  I kept looking and walking more and more slowly.  My father, seeing my panic, stood up so that I could see him.  Relieved, I quickened my pace and slid into the pew.  The end.

Well, to hear and see St. Patsy tell this story, it was an epic event replete with emotion and nonverbal histrionics on both sides of the battle.  She really gets into it.  And I sit there while everyone marvels at how anyone could become lost inside a one-roomed area!  And they all look at me as if it just happened yesterday when I was fifty-three and oh how funny!  Good thing you made it, or you'd still be there today!


In 1981 I was married there, by the way, and made it out just fine.

Anyway, I wish I could say that The Communion Incident was an isolated one, but it wasn't.  I've been getting lost regularly forever.  I used to think it was from not paying much attention, but it really isn't that.  I can go to the same place for years and years, and I can still get turned around.  There just isn't that sort of Logical Orientation Thing going on in me that there is in everyone else.  My mother, especially, has an unfailing sense of direction.  Her problem, though, is her inability to be able to communicate it to others.  Here is a typical conversation between the two of us:

Nance:  Which way do I turn?
Mom:  North.
Nance:  What?  How the heck do I know which way North is from here?  I mean right or left.
Mom:  Oh, Nance.  Of course you know.  North is where the lake is.  So go in the direction of the lake!
Nance:  Mom.  We are nowhere near the lake.  How in the hell do I know where the lake is from here?  We can't even see the lake.  What a dumb reference.  Just tell me right or left.
Mom:  Oh for pity's sake.  You have lived near the lake all your life.  How can you not know where it is?  It's North.  North.  The lake is always North.
Nance:  Mom.  We did not live "near the lake."  We didn't even go in that lake.  And I know where it is, but Not. From. Here.  I'm going right.
Mom:  You were supposed to go left.

I'm the person who gets off the elevator and hesitates because I can't remember whether to go left or right.  Every time.  Give me directions with landmarks because that is a tangible guide for me.  Better yet, come with me and I'll follow your lead.  Yes, you can drive.  (Rick--and my friends--always did before I got my own GPS.)

Can you imagine how overjoyed I was to read this article?  To find out that my defect/disability is probably a genetic disorder?  It was immensely comforting to find out, after all these years, that "individuals with Williams syndrome have strong language skills and are extremely social, but they have trouble...navigating their bodies through the physical world."  Instead of having the chromosome for reorienting one's body in a space, people with the syndrome are unable to construct a sort of geometrical mental map of their surroundings.  They cannot, for example, look for spatial cues to orient themselves.  Their surroundings always seem random, regardless of prior experience with them.

That's me.  And, to a lesser degree, one of my sisters.  And I'm not entirely certain that my dad wasn't a closet Lost One, either.

I'm not going to feel any less cranky when St. Patsy hauls out The Communion Story this Easter (she's way overdue, and that's the next family gathering), but in my quiet heart of hearts, I'll feel vindicated.

image found here

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

If You're Happy And You Know It, Use Your Words

Here at the Dept. we've had discussions about words we'd like to see banished from the language, and we've totted up the words we have great fondness for.  Now, after reading this article, I'd like to chat a bit about Words That Make Us Happy.  Now, while the compilers of the original list of 25 of the so-called Happiest Words used a bunch of mathy stuff and algorithms and sourced Facebook and Twitter, (and also allowed several forms of the same word to be counted as a separate word, i.e. laughter, laugh, laughing), I am going to set up far more intuitive parameters and use a better sample.  You, of course, are The Sample, and here are the parameters:

1.  The word makes you happy.  It is not a humorous word, per se.  It inspires a feeling of happiness, contentment, and evokes pleasantness.

2.  Any form of the word is acceptable, but it is assumed that all its forms are inherently happy.

3.  No phrases (birthday cake), no proper nouns (Johnny Depp, Nine Inch Nails), no fair saying "this" and hyperlinking to something that would, of course, be a bigass long name.

4.  No more than 5 Happy Words, please, but feel free to explain them completely with as much or as little commentary as you wish.

I had hoped that Jared would join me for this post, but he is very busy with his column over at the Great Blue North website.


Here are my Happy Words, in no particular order:

1.  Summertime--As a former teacher, this one is obvious.  It meant freedom, no bells, no grading, and endless hours of no job responsibilities.  It also means no more cold weather.  It hums when you say it and look at it, like the cicadas in the trees.  It says relaxation, sunshine, fresh herbs and tomatoes, gardening, and being outdoors all in one word.  I smile just looking at it.  There's even a great song for it.

2.  Carefree--Look how those E's just trail off at the end, like your hand fluttering and waving goodbye to all your worries.  I want to be carefree; I want my clothes to be carefree; I want St. Patsy to be carefree.  "If you do/buy/install/take THIS, your life will be carefree."  Okay!  I'll take it!

3.  Cuddly--Yes, please.  My cats are cuddly, my two new nieces are cuddly, and Rick is cuddly.  Even if I'm not cold, I wrap up in a fleece blanket in order to simply feel cuddly.  Sam, in his baby/toddler/little boy days was the Ultimate Cuddler.  He was very willing and very toasty all the time, like a little personal space heater.  See those two d's in the word?  Tell me they're not cuddling.

4.  Strawberry--They are the cutest fruit with the most personality.  They are bite-sized, red, freckled (I was always so envious of people with freckles across the bridge of their noses!), and taste wonderful.  Stuff made with strawberries is either red or pink, which are two of my favourite colors.  Also, I could listen to a British person say this word all day long (STROWbry).  I read a book called Strawberry Girl when I was little, and there was another one in which the horse was named Strawberry (a Trixie Belden mystery?).  And Smucker's Strawberry Jam?  Wonderful, wonderful stuff.

5.  Jelly--I know.  I just got done extolling the virtues of jam.  Truth be told, I don't even eat jelly.  My father preferred preserves and jams, so we never ate jelly--NEVER.  NOT EVEN GRAPE JELLY, which is the Fifth Food Group For Children Everywhere.  But I love that word.  It makes me smile because it just looks happy to me.  It is automatically a Kid Word.  And all kids--little kids--sound very Little Kid when they say it.  I want to go on a Mission to get every kid in the USA some sort of stuffed animal or pet and name it Jelly, just to hear a kid say it.  Jelly Jelly Jelly.  Dare you to ask any little kid you know to say the word Jelly and then try not to smile.  Cannot be done.

6.  Joy.  I know that using a synonym for "happy" is very pedestrian, but have you ever noticed this?  When someone jumps for Joy, he or she spells the word. 

Now it's your turn. What words make you Happy? Share the smiles in comments.

post header image found here
joyful jumper image found here
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