my newsroom obsession is getting kind of weird.

If you’ve listened to the critics about The Newsroom and abstained, you should listen to me instead and just go watch it. It’s not that its detractors don’t have a point sometimes, it’s just that the show is so good anyway — and getting better. This week’s episode took place the night Osama bin Laden was killed, and while it had its earnest moments and its treacly moments, it was also quite funny.

  • MacKenzie (Emily Mortimer, known Brit) said the word “BlackBerry,” and I had to rewatch it about ten times, because it came out as blackbury and I died the first nine times around.
  • There was a Joe Biden joke that is probably my favorite TV joke of 2012 so far.
  • Will (Jeff Daniels) and Jim (John Gallagher, Jr.) played guitar.
  • WHY IS THIS SHOW MAKING ME LIKE OLIVIA MUNN? I don’t know, but it is. Her character (Sloan) is quickly becoming half of the show’s second-best will-they-won’t-they. (Will and MacKenzie are the best. Maggie and Jim are the third-best, and it is a distant third. They are annoying.) I won’t spoil who Sloan’s other half is, because when they have a moment in episode six, you will immediately be like, I SHIP THIS SO HARD, and I wouldn’t want to deprive you of that moment. Sorkin will probably wait until season eleven to get Will and MacKenzie together and until season nineteen to have Maggie and Jim kiss, but I kind of expect that these two will hit the sheets HBO-style by season’s end.
  • This GIF happened: [WTF, WordPress, why isn’t it playing? Ugh, just click it.]

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  • Before they went on the air, MacKenzie said, “Do it for me, Will,” into his ear in a way that somehow sounded dirtier than anything in season one of Girls.
  • Really, the only thing this episode was missing was a gratuitous scene in which MacKenzie ties an incapacitated Will’s tie for him and has to stand REAL CLOSE to do so. Like I said — gratuitous. MAYBE IT’LL BE ON THE DVD.

If you like good things, and especially if you are good at making GIFs or photosets, please start watching this show. And then send me links to all your fanart.

easy easy tomato sauce

The thing they don’t tell you about living alone is that you end up eating most of your meals by yourself or with the cashier at a fast food restaurant. (The drive-through clerk at the Maryland Avenue Checkers and I were on a first-name basis until the milkshake machine broke.)

I miss how my college roommate and I would, like, make microwave nachos on a Saturday afternoon and just go to town on them. It’s not that I couldn’t make nachos for myself, and it’s not like there’d be anyone to judge me for finishing the plate, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Consequently, I find myself struggling to feed myself meals that meet the following qualifications:

  1. Don’t take too much effort or make too much of a mess. It’s just for me, for crying out loud.
  2. Can be made in regular-size batches, with leftovers that will keep well for work lunches.
  3. Are tasty and at least slightly more healthy than Checkers.

One of my new favorites is this recipe for tomato sauce, which is adapted from Cooks Illustrated’s penne alla vodka recipe. The penne alla vodka is delicious as it is, but the basic tomato sauce recipe (cutting out the vodka and the cream — I know, the good stuff) is my new go-to.

I’ll make a batch of it on a Monday night and use it throughout the week — with penne and spinach, with rigatoni and basil, or as a pizza sauce. Best of all, it involves only a few ingredients and one pan. You do need a food processor or a small blender or basically anything that can puree. Alicia Silverstone’s mouth? No, don’t do that. That’s gross.

Easy Tomato Sauce

1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped small
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 minced garlic cloves
Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (or more if that’s your thing)

  1. Chop the garlic and the onion first, lest you regret it later.
  2. Use a fork to lift the tomatoes out of the can one by one, leaving as much liquid in the can as possible. (Save the liquid.) Put half of the tomatoes in your food processor and half on a cutting board. Puree the ones in the food processor until smooth, and cut the other ones up to your preferred chunk size. (A good chunky dice is what I usually do.) You want a total of 2 cups of tomatoes for the sauce — use the puree and the chunks first, and if you need more, use the liquid in the can.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan over medium. Add onion, tomato paste, and garlic, and cook until onions are taking on color and garlic is softening. Add the red pepper flakes and stir.
  4. Add the two cups of tomatoes and stir, then cook for about 5 minutes, or until hot.

So easy! And, when you think about it, this costs about the same amount of money as a can of Prego. (A jumbo can of whole tomatoes runs me about $2.25. A steal.)

my mom and willow smith.

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Just as an FYI, Suri’s joke today about Willow Smith needing a punch in the face is c/o my mom, a professional babysitter and a great person who — as far as I know — has never punched a kid in the face, but has definitely thought a few deserved one. And while I’m not advocating assaulting a tween, Willow Smith could stand to be taken down a peg or two. That child is too big for her britches — literally and figuratively, Miss Gold Leggings.

the cover of my book is PINK.

I’m a little obsessed with the cover of Suri’s Burn Book. It’s so sassy and sweet — and then that old-school-Suri dig at Shiloh’s expense. That was the first joke I ever wrote for the blog! And it’s still right there at the top of the page. The folks at Running Press did a great job on the book design; now I can’t wait for everyone to see what’s inside!

My excitement level (and my appreciation of pink) can really only be compared to the ball of elation that is Sophia Grace in this video, at around 1:20:

cheaplazygirl margaritas

I am something of a margarita connoisseur and the first to admit that they are hard to make. I don’t even attempt to make legit margaritas at home. It’s kind of like how I feel about homemade salad — it requires too many ingredients for a single person to keep fresh.

There tends to be a bottle of Skinnygirl margaritas in my fridge. (I don’t like drinking alone, but Gossip Girl kind of requires alcohol at this point. WHY BLAIR WHY.) But if I’m going to a party, bringing four bottles of Bethenny’s stuff is a little expensive, and also a little lame. That’s why I love these easy margaritas for tailgating, BBQs, Tuesdays, or (imagine that) Memorial Day parties.

It’s nothing but equal parts limeade concentrate, tequila, beer, and Sprite. I think you’re technically supposed to use Corona, but nobody cares. The beer I bought for today is Lime Cactus Michelob Ultra, which sounds awful, but I’m sure it will be fine.

Oh good lord, I just looked up reviews for LCMU, and they are not good. I do not understand most of the words these people are using (who knew there were such avid beer snobs?), but there was this gem: “The heavy lime taste masks the traditional Michelob Ultra flavor very well.”

Seriously no one will know the difference.

the top 1,000 baby names

I don’t have any children, but I love the blog on the Baby Name Wizard website. The new data from the Social Security Administration on 2011 baby names is out, and Laura Wattenberg’s posts about it are fascinating. She just did this post on the fastest-rising names, which usually reflects pop culture in interesting and unexpected ways.

I thought surely Pippa would be a big hit last year, but apparently there just weren’t that many takers.

Among the big-bump names were Aria (which Laura attributes to Game of Thrones), Mila (like Kunis), and Milania (like Giudice, on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, or Donald Trump’s wife). Weird, right? (Oh, also, this might be a good time to point out that no, I’m not @thefauxmilaniag on Twitter.)

What’s interesting is that even if there is a pop culture connection, none of these are names so unique that they’re exclusively associated with celebrities or characters — like Pippa or Suri, neither of which has ever cracked the top 1,000.

The only celebrity infant connection Laura notes is Harper — the second-fastest rising name, given to you-know-who last year. I had heard it a lot, even before the Beckhams gave it to their baby, so I don’t think it’s exclusively related to Posh’s name choice.

I still wish they had named her Santa.

What is this for?

So I used to use this Web site to document my theories about television so that later on, after I was right, I could point here and say “I told you so.” It didn’t happen all that often.

Now, I’m going to use it to talk about all kinds of things I like, such as:

  • Cake and cake frosting.
  • My dog, Freckles.
  • Many things on the Internet. Like this.
  • Fringe. Oh my God, Fringe.
  • The Olympics!
  • Downton Abbey parodies.
  • Kate Middleton’s hair.
  • What Kate Middleton will wear at the Olympics.
  • Freckles’s and my Halloween costumes.
  • Freckles’s and my costumes for my forthcoming Gossip Girl-themed birthday party. In December. I will be Blair and she will be Dorota. Or maybe she’ll be Blair and I’ll be Dorota.
  • Country music and my pink cowgirl boots.
  • Nicole Kidman. (Nope.)
  • Tiny Tower.

…you get the idea.

Welcome and hello!