Renoir Sucks at Painting 2, Renoir 0

As both all of my longtime readers know, I’ve been a passionate supporter of the #RenoirSucksAtPainting movement since its earliest days. I’ve posted items about the grassroots crusade to have the treacly, insipid works of the “painter” Pierre-Auguste Renoir removed from the world’s galleries and museums here and here.

And here. And here, too.

Massive #RenoirSucksAtPainting Rally, Demanding the Removal of Treacle from American Museums

Misguided Counter Protester


As you can tell from the number of postings, I care deeply about art, which is more than can be said about a certain dead French hack. That’s why I got such malevolent joy out of two news items in the past few weeks.


Art World Owes a Debt to Heroic Thief 

According to Agence France-Presse, “A small painting by French impressionist Auguste Renoir was stolen from an auctioneer in a Paris suburb on Saturday, the day before it was due to be sold, police said. ”

The article describes the theft as “brazen,” but art lovers everywhere hailed it as valiant.

BTW, The Onion, America’s most trusted source for news, anticipated the theft. Here’s what they wrote seven years ago:


Scamming the Scammer

A few years ago, a writer for Vanity Fair was given the unenviable job of shadowing a certain short-fingered vulgarian. Here’s part of his report:

And then this happened.


Ah, the Schadenfreude! It is so sweet!

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2017 Cookery Project — Baked Chicken, Sausage, and Brussels Sprouts

Baked Chicken, Sausage, and Brussels Sprouts

Baked Chicken, Sausage, and Brussels Sprouts

There’s a rumour going around that some people don’t like Brussels sprouts.

I’ve been unable to personally verify the rumour, since I make it a habit to associate only with people of impeccable taste (and no active arrest warrants.) But if it’s true, I can only suggest that those poor unfortunates seek help before it is too late.

I love Brussels sprouts, so I was eager to try a recipe for Baked Chicken, Sausage, and Brussels Sprouts that I found on Nerds with Knives. Part of the attraction was that the meal could be cooked on a single baking tray.

In addition to the three ingredients already mentioned, the recipe called for lots of shallots—always a good sign—and garlic, Dijon mustard, honey, and Worcestershire sauce, all of which I keep in stock. I added fresh rosemary and a single lemon to my shopping list.

Here’s where I get to vent: Recipes always understate the amount of prep time. The published estimate of preparation time for this dish was 20 minutes.

The Brussels sprouts had to be cleaned and halved, the chicken washed and cut into chunks, and the sausages chopped into two-inch segments. The shallots had to be peeled and quartered, and the garlic had to be peeled and minced. The liquids had to be measured, poured, and whisked. The rosemary needles had to be chopped, and the lemon had to be cut into thin slices.

Granted, my knife skills leave a lot to be desired, mainly because I’m terrified of cutting off a useful body part, but there was no way in the world that I could do all that in less time than it takes to get through to customer assistance at the DC tax office on a good day.

So prep took about 40 minutes.

But the meal turned out really well.


★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

Cute Video of the Day, 16 October 2017 — The Duchess and the Dancing Bear

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are Patrons of the more than over 30 charitable organisations that make up The Charities Forum.

On Monday, they stopped by Paddington Station to wish bon voyage to 130 children who have been helped by several of those charities. The children, and some of their parents, were off to spend a day in the country. Before their train departed, the Royals spent about 45 minutes meeting the group.

Paddington Station may be best known to children for its connection to the Paddington Bear, and, sure enough, he made an appearance. (He was probably in town for a film shoot, since the movie Paddington 2 will be released in the UK in early January 2018.) Hugh Bonneville and several other members of the cast were also in attendance.*


*It has always been my theory that, at any given time, there are only about 100 actors working in the UK, and that they’re all in everything.

The cast of Paddington 2  includes Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw (as the voice of the Bear), Michael Gambon, Hugh Grant, Richard Ayoade, Jim Broadbent, Joanna Lumley, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, and Tom Conti.

Case closed.

Stranger Things 2 — Final Trailer

But first, the teaser for the trailer:

It’s Halloween, 1984, and all is not well in Hawkins, Indiana. The kids are still in trouble, a big ugly monster with a lot of tentacles is creeping around, and Wynona Ryder is freaking out again. It’s almost time for Stranger Things 2.

The conventional wisdom is that the sequel is never as good as the original, but there are exceptions to the rule. There are arguments to be made, for instance, that The Godfather Part II, Aliens, and The Empire Strikes Back improve on their predecessors.

Stranger Things, Netflix’s homage to the Steven Spielberg/Stephen King version of the 1980s, was the big television hit of the summer of 2017, and one of the most talked-about media events of the year.

In two weeks, we’ll see if lightning can strike twice in the same place. (Hint: It can.)

On Friday, 27 October 2018, Netflix will make all the episodes of Stranger Things 2 available for streaming.


A Little Bonus

2017 Cookery Project — Bulgogi

Bulgogi

Bulgogi

Rice and beef, starch and protein. That looks pretty bland and uncomplicated, doesn’t it? Looks are deceiving.

The surprise comes when you taste the meat. It’s not just beef, it’s Bulgogi.

Bulgogi originated in what is now North Korea. At the end of World War II, refugees from the north brought it south. In South Korea, it’s now practically the national dish.

I used a recipe from Bon Appétit. The key to bulgogi’s taste is the marinade, which is a combination of soy sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, light brown sugar, toasted sesame oil, grated garlic, grated peeled ginger, and…grated pear? That puzzled me, so I researched it. Turns out that grated pear is a meat tenderizer, which allows you to use a cheaper cut of beef—flank steak, hanger steak, whatever—in the bulgogi.

The recipe said to let the steak marinade for 30 minutes at room temperature, or eight hours in the refrigerator. I let it sit overnight.

I removed the thin slices of beef from the marinade and cooked them undisturbed in a single layer in a hot skillet for a minute, then stirred them occasionally, until they were brown on all sides.

The marinade’s unlikely combination of sweet and spicy and hot and cool ingredients gives the finished dish a unique and, well, addicting taste. I made bulgogi twice in one week.


This is sort of a cheat, because I’d never post a low-rated dish unless it went spectacularly, memorably wrong. The boldface entry is my evaluation of the current dish.

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

Cute Video of the Day, 7 October 2017 — “They Do It with Mirrors”

I suppose the video itself could better be described as “clever” than “cute,” but it merits a place here because both those adjectives describe the video’s creator, Kevin Perry.

I like mirrors

A post shared by Kevin Parry (@kevinbparry) on


“Cute Video of the Day” is an occasional feature on this blog. It includes an alarming number of videos that show children falling down.