To cheer you up on this holiday season evening, allow me to offer you a platter of freshly baked cookies. Actually, I don’t have any cookies, but I can offer you this Themed Things list of cookie-related goodness.
Some Cookies for You
That’s the way the cookie crumbles: an expression suggesting the resigned acceptance that an undesired event or outcome can’t be changed.
“Faraway Cookies:” Sandra Boynton’s touching love song about a yearning for cookies. (Off Philadelphia Chickens):
Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? A song usually sung with young kids. Usually without any actual cookies or theft thereof.
Cookie Monster: a blue Muppet from Sesame Street who likes to eat cookies. And other things. Also known for his battle cry of “cookies!!!!” (He also sings, which you can hear on YouTube.)
Oh, Chocolate Chip Cookies
so high on the shelf
hiding inside of the jar
I’m not tall enough
to reach you myself.
So near, and yet so very far
The Gingerbread Man¹:
An folktale about a human-shaped cookie who comes to life and runs off, taunting those who chase him:
Cookies for Santa: A tradition of leaving a glass of milk and a plate of cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve.
A quiz to let you know what kind of cookie you are, stolen out of Raincoaster’s cookie jar. It would seem that I am a fortune cookie.
I like to imagine improbable fortune cookie fortunes, but in case I can’t think up any of my own, there are fortune cookie generators available. This one is also one I lifted from the Raincoaster cookie jar. (She’s going to have to find a safer place to hide her cookies.³) This is the fortune I got:
Run, run, as fast as you can!
You can’t catch me!
I’m the Gingerbread Man!
In Amy Tan’s book The Joy Luck Club, one of the characters works in a fortune cookie factory and tries to nudge a suitor to propose by carefully planting fortunes in his cookies.
Girl Scout Cookies. Traditionally sold by Girl Scouts. (In fact, during my brief tenure as a Girl Scout at the tender age of 10, the only Girl Scout activity available to me was selling Girl Scout cookies.) I am also reminded of this scene from The Addams Family movie (1991):
Girl Scout: Is this made from real lemons?
Girl Scout: I only like all-natural foods and beverages, organically grown, with no preservatives. Are you sure they’re real lemons?
Girl Scout: I’ll tell you what. I’ll buy a cup if you buy a box of my delicious Girl Scout cookies. Do we have a deal?
Wednesday: Are they made from real Girl Scouts?
¹ If you want to see some very attractive gingerbread men, Mad just posted some photos that make me want to get baking. Or at least make me want to visit someone who does some baking.²
² As further proof that this is the season for cookies, BipolarLawyerCook has posted not once, but twice on cookie-related topics. Cookies!!!
³ Except maybe for these cookies made from jellyfish. I think they’re pretty much safe wherever.
I mentioned briefly that I’m going to be a bridesmaid in a wedding coming up soon. Well, that “soon” has now become “this Sunday.” Which is, technically, very soon. As is the standing tradition, in U.S. weddings at least, I will be wearing a dress chosen by the bride. As it will be an October wedding in New England, the bride has chosen fall colors. My dress is in burnt orange, a very pretty color, though a somewhat unusual one in my wardrobe. And is also often the case for such occasions, I am to have shoes that match my dress. This means that I have needed to get some dyed. I picked up my shoes yesterday afternoon. And I have to admit that I was quite startled to see them. You see, they are orange. I now have shiny orange shoes. I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared to see orange shoes.
Anyhow, this weekend I will be donning the orange, and perhaps as such, feeling a bit like a pumpkin. Hopefully an elegant pumpkin, mind you, but a pumpkin nonetheless. But seeing as it’s October, pumpkins are all the orange rage right now. And in honor of their orange pumpkiness, I bring you a pumpkin-based Themed Things Thursday.
A vegetable. Or a fruit. Depending on your choice of taxonomy. Generally eaten cooked. Used in lots of baked goods, like pumpkin pie.
A movie starring Christina Ricci.
A song by Tricky off Maxinquaye (YouTube video)
In many versions of this fairy tale, Cinderella’s fairy godmother turns a pumpkin into a carriage to carry Cinderella to the ball. Cinderella must leave the ball before her ride turns back into a pumpkin. Leading to the expression turn into a pumpkin, meaning depart, go to bed or otherwise turn in for the night.
The Headless Horseman
A ghostly character from Washington Irving’s story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow“, who carries around a pumpkin head.
A character from the Oz books by L. Frank Baum. Later had his own book, Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz, though it wasn’t by Baum.
A horror movie involving a demon dug up from a pumpkin patch.
The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead
a song by XTC. (YouTube video) Later covered by Crash Test Dummies.
Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater
A nursery rhyme. Also a song you can play on the piano using only the black keys.¹
Peter Peter pumpkin eater
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her
He put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well
The Great Pumpkin
A mythical holiday character that never appears in the animated Peanuts special It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
Jack, the Pumpkin King
A character from Tim Burton’s animated movie The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).
It’s a Halloween tradition to carve a face into a pumpkin. These are then typically set outside, with a candle inside. It’s also a Halloween tradition for mischievous kids to steal other people’s pumpkins, and smash them.
A band. Performs songs such as “Tonight, tonight” and “Tarantula” (YouTube videos)
An endearment or nickname based on the word pumpkin, which is sometimes pronounced without the word-medial [p]. Gives us [pʰʌŋkɪn] (Where the nasal has then assimilated to the place of articulation of the following consonant, a velar. Not that you asked.)
¹ I admit that I’m recycling this particular item from my vegetable ThThTh list. But recycling is good, right? Or should I be composting, since it’s vegetables we’re talking about?
Fall has fallen here in the northern hemisphere, and in my neck of the woods, this means it’s apple-picking season.¹ Which seems like as good a reason as any to pick apples for this week’s Themed Things Thursday.
- Apple of my eye. An expression meaning one who is most dear to the speaker.
- The Big Apple. A nickname for New York City. One source identifies its origins from usage by African-American stablehands at a New Orleans racetrack in the 1920s. (Wikipedia says it was first used by touring jazz musicians in the 1930s.)
- Snow White. A fairytale in which a girl falls asleep after eating a poisoned apple.
- An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A saying suggesting that eating apples is good for the health. I found a bit on origins of the saying:
From “Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings” by Gregory Y. Titelman (1996): “An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Eating fruit regularly keeps one healthy. First found as a Welsh folk proverb (1866)” ‘Eat an apple on going to bed,/ And you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.’ First attested in the United States in 1913…”
- Adam’s apple. A bump on the front of the neck, tending to me more prominent in adult males, from the “forward protrusion of the thyroid cartilage.” Likely nicknamed based on the Biblical story of Eve giving an apple to Adam.
- Newton’s apple. A falling apple (which may or not have bonked him on the head) may or may not have contributed to Newton’s theory of universal gravitation.
- The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. An expression meaning that the offspring will often turn out like the parent(s).
- Johnny Appleseed. An American folk hero famed for planting lots of apple trees.
- Apple Inc.² A company. Makes computers. One line of which is named after a type of apple, the macintosh. Has a logo shaped like an
apple with a bite out of it. Has a variety of iProducts: iMac, iPod, iPhone, iCup…
- An apple for the teacher. An apple is known in the US as traditional gift to give to a teacher. (The fruit, not the computers. But I bet most teachers would appreciate getting an Apple.) Has (probably) led to apples showing up on greeting cards and coffee mugs as symbols of the teaching profession (along with rulers, blackboards and squid). (No wait, scratch that last one. I was just checking to see if you were still reading this.)
¹ We live in an area with many apple orchards, and Phoebe even got to go apple picking with her daycare last week. I hope we’ll get to go together some time this year. Late October last year, we went to a nearby orchard that grows over 50 varieties of apples. Pick-your-own season was past, so our experience was less about apple picking than apple choosing. But it was still fun. And the apples were yummy.
² I read that Apple Inc. officially dropped “Computers” from its name earlier this year. I hadn’t even noticed.
Chirp, cheep, tweet. This week’s theme for things is birds. The feathers are flying. Suspect fowl play.
A blog of many birds, though I haven’t counted them. This month’s Carnival of Color, where my green guys have gone to hang out, is graciously being hosted by 10,000 Birds.
The Birds (1963)
Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller of birds on the attack.
Eat like a bird:
An expression that means “eat small amounts.” Of course, actual birds can be seen to eat constantly, and consume large proportions of their body weight each day.
Birds of a feather stick together:
A saying meaning that like-minded people tend to associate with each other. Happily, there’s no actual sticking together, with feathers. Because that would be messy.
My little chickadee:
This is a nickname that my mother had for my sister and me, her little chickadees. Also the title of a 1940 movie. Apparently was a catch phrase of W. C. Field’s.
Okay, my favorite Phoebe is not actually a bird, but a small person. With no feathers. But phoebes, such as the Eastern Phoebe, are birds. With feathers and everything.
The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe
The famous poem. (Features the name Lenore, too, which is a family name. Most recently in use as a middle name by my own little Phoebe bird.)
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law. The Adult Swim cartoon. (Not actually a bird, but a guy who dresses in a bird-like costume. Complete with wings.)
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!’
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’
Once a third-rate superhero, Harvey Birdman is now a third-rate lawyer trying like hell to get by in a fancy law firm. It’s not clear whether Harvey actually went to law school, but he definitely knows the things to say to sound like a lawyer. And he has a suit now, that’s for sure.
A mascot for the United States Forest Service. “Give a hoot. Don’t pollute.”
The Golden Goose:
A fairy tale about a goose with feathers of gold.
We have several yellow birds that bear little resemblance to actual yellow birds:
Big Bird, of Sesame Street. Large, yellow, feathered.
Woodstock, of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts. Small feathered friend of Snoopy.
Tweety Bird, the Looney Tunes bird.
He tought he taw a putty tat.
There are also heaps o’ ducks, chickens and penguins. I could easily make a list about each of those. Maybe I will at some point. But for now, lets say…Daffy, The Little Red Hen and Opus.
This bird list could go on and on, but I’ll stop there for now.
Shoes and boots and slippers. (Oh my.) This week’s Themed Things Thursday is all about footwear. Try these on for size.
- The old woman who lived in a shoe
A nursery rhyme. I hadn’t remembered the abusive turn:
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do;
She gave them some broth without any bread,
She whipped them all soundly, and put them to bed.
(Someone’s written up a less harsh version, too.)
- to walk in someone else’s shoes
walk in my shoes
walk a mile in another’s shoes
walk a mile in another man’s mocassins
walk a kilometer in another kid’s bunny slippers (or maybe not)
These expressions suggest that we should not pass judgment on another’s actions without having lived through the same experiences. Among other things, the Depeche Mode song “Walking in my shoes” is inspired by this. (video)
- Blue Suede Shoes
Don’t step on them. Walked in and passed down by many different singers, including Elvis.
- The Quick-Quick Slow Death
This episode of the Avengers features a cobbler who makes shoes for a dance school, and who really wants to make a pair of shoes for Emma Peel’s perfect feet.
- The Twelve Dancing Princesses
A fairytale about 12 princesses who would sneak out of their locked sleeping chamber at night, and wear down their slippers every night dancing.
- The Red Shoes
A fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. A cautionary tale with some red shoes that won’t let the wearer stop dancing.
- The Man with One Red Shoe (1985)
A movie about a man (Tom Hanks) whose single red shoe drew the attention of the FBI.
Many versions of this tale feature a special slipper which was used to identify the woman (who left in a hurry with only one shoe) after charming the prince at his ball. Often a glass slipper, potentially based on the version by Perrault, it was sometimes also described as a golden slipper. (It is not generally described as a bunny slipper.)
- The Wizard of Oz
The movie features Dorothy’s iconic ruby slippers, taken from the feet of the witch squished by Dorothy’s house. The original book by L. Frank Baum featured silver slippers. Wicked, Gregory Maguire’s take on the tale, compromised between the two by having the slippers be of an indeterminate shiny color.
- These boots are made for walkin’, by Nancy Sinatra.
These boots are made for walking,
and that’s just what they’ll do
One of these days these boots
are gonna walk all over you
- Seven-league boots
Magic boots that are featured in various fairy and folk tales that allow the wearer to travel great distances with each step. (Those boots were made for some serious walking.)
- Kinky Boots
A movie about a shoe factory owner who tries to find a new niche by making shoes and boots for transvestites. His inspiration, a singer named Lola, is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, known to me better as the relentless agent from Serenity.
- They Died With Their Boots On (1941)
A movie about Custer’s last stand. Haven’t seen it. Probably doesn’t actually feature a lot about boots.
- Imelda Marcos
The former first lady of the Philippines was well known for her extravagantly large collection of shoes. Over a thousand pairs. Imelda’s shoes can apparently now be seen in a shoe museum.
- In these shoes, by Kirsty MacColl
I once met a man
with a sense of adventure
He was dressed to thrill
wherever he went
He said “Let’s make love
on a mountain top
Under the stars
on a big hard rock”
I said “In these shoes?
I don’t think so”
I said “Honey,
let’s do it here.”
It’s time for another helping of Themed Things Thursdays. It being vegetable week here, in honor of my first pick-up of my CSA veggies, this Thursday Theme for Things is vegetables. Okay, the list is a bit heavy on the onion bits (with apologies to those who don’t like onions), but you can pick them out.
Jack and the beanstalk, a fairy tale featuring magic beans that grow a towering beanstalk.
Children of the Corn (1984) A movie based on a Stephen King story. Horror in the corn fields.
The cartoon character Popeye (The Sailor Man) gets super-duper strong when he eats a can of spinach. Even has a little song he sings when he gets all juiced up: I’m strong to the finish, ’cause I eats me spinach…
Powerpuff Girls episode 17 “Beat Your Greens“. Alien broccoli attacks.
The Kids in the Hall offers Cabbage Head, a man with cabbage for hair. (There are also the Cabbage Patch Kids, scrunched-up looking dolls that were all the rage in the 80’s, and that now have their own urban legend.)
Peter Peter pumkin eater. A nursery rhyme. Also a song you can play on the piano using only the black keys.
Peter Peter pumpkin eater
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her
He put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well
Peter Piper A nursery rhyme and tongue twister: “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers”
Bugs Bunny is known for his trademark carrot-munching. But did you know that his carrot-munching was a Clark Gable immitation?
Bugs Bunny’s nonchalant carrot-chewing stance, as explained many years later by Chuck Jones, and again by Friz Freleng, comes from the movie, It Happened One Night, from a scene where the Clark Gable character is leaning against a fence eating carrots more quickly than he is swallowing, giving instructions with his mouth full to the Claudette Colbert character, during the hitch-hiking sequence.
Everybody’s favorite spud has got to be the ever-dignified, interchangeably featured Mr. Potatohead (Apparently, there are many new Potatohead varieties that have sprouted, including the venerable Star Wars Darth Tater
“Sweet Potato,” by Cracker. (Off the album “Kerosene Hat”) A rockin’ romp of a song. Be my sweet potato, I’ll be your honey lamb
Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe. Yams play a central role in the Nigerian community depicted in this novel. (See? I can get all literary, too.) (By the way, these yams aren’t the same as sweet potatoes, which are often called yams in the US)
You can’t get blood from a turnip, or “You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip” (You can also find more garden-variety cliches) An expression meaning that it’s not possible to extract something from a source that doesn’t contain that thing.
- The Onion (“America’s finest news source”) My own favorite Onion article? This eerily prescient one from January, 2001.
- Shrek (2001) An animated movie featuring an ogre who likens himself to an onion:
Shrek: Ogres are like onions.
Donkey: They both smell?
Shrek: NO! They have LAYERS. There’s more to us underneath. So, ogres are like onions.
Donkey: Yeah, but nobody LIKES onions!
- The End: Book the Thirteenth, the final installation of A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket begins with the following layery, teary-eyed, oniony sentence:
If you have ever peeled an onion, then you know that the first thin, papery layer reveals another thin, papery layer, and that layer reveals another, and another, and before you know it you have hundreds of layers all over the kitchen table and thousands of tears in your eyes, sorry that you ever started peeling in the first place and wishing that you had left the onion alone to wither away on the shelf of the pantry while you went on with your life, even if that meant never again enjoying the complicated and overwhelming taste of this strange and bitter vegetable.
Bok Choi Boy, the story of a young lad raised by vegetables to become a legendary leafy-green fighter for truth, justice and better nutrition. (Okay, I made this one up.)
a whole bunch o’ different oversized veggies
June 29, 1999 written and illustrated by Caldecott award-winnder David Wiesner. A picturebook featuring gigantic vegetables raining down from the skies. A beatifully illustrated, beautifully absurd book:
Cucumbers circle Kalamazoo. Lima beans loom over Levittown. Artichokes advance on Anchorage.
Check out some of the illustrations on the publisher’s webpage for the book.