I couldn’t wait to get to the theater last weekend to see the latest Star Trek film, Star Trek Into Darkness. I’ve been watching Star Trek since I was a kid, and I was eager to see what Captain James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock, Scotty, Uhura and the rest of the crew of the USS Enterprise were up to. (No spoiler alerts here!)
As I waited in line with other Trekkies, someone started a debate about which is the best Star Trek film (this most recent movie brings the total to 12). I voiced my opinion, and also thought about the other sci-fi flicks I’ve enjoyed watching over the years -- and that I wouldn’t mind watching again with friends this three-day holiday weekend as part an impromptu film festival.
Rather than try to come up with a list of the top 10 sci-fi movies of all time (which would have to include Blade Runner, Metropolis, 2001 and Terminator), I focused on films that are more fun, bypassing the weighty dramas and gory alien blood fests.
For Mother's Day this year, we reached out via Facebook, twitter, and good old-fashioned email to ask the One Thing New community: What's the best advice you ever got from your mom?
The answers were varied -- and unexpected. One reader told us his mom taught him how to make a great gin and tonic (recipe below). Another was advised to always have a beef bourguignon (Julia Child’s recipe!) in the freezer for last minute dinner parties. Our favorite: “When a man says he’s too good for you, listen. He knows.”
Here's the best of your moms’ wisdom, and ours. Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories.
Rethink your approach. My grandmother used to say that if you’re trying to solve a problem and you bang your head against the wall and get a headache, then maybe banging your head against the wall isn't the answer. -- Connie G.
Always be looking for a job. You never know what may pop up. And always, always say please and thank you. -- Holly C.
Boys are more interested in girls who have a lot going on. This is what my mom told me in high school. She encouraged me to pursue my interests, and told me that boys would seek me out. -- Kathy F.
Sometimes it’s better to try things and only tell your boss when they work, rather than ask for permission and be told no. -- Laura S.
A few weeks ago, Frank Bruni, writing in the New York Times, made his contribution to an increasingly popular genre: the parenting-by-proxy essay, also known as Why-Can't-You-Parents-Just-Get-It-Together.
The formula goes like this: The writer, invariably, does not have children, but not to worry. He or she does have plenty of nieces, nephews, and assorted other younger family members and friends, and spends lots of time with them. Since the writer isn't burdened with the daily drudgery of carpools, making lunches, and middle-of-the-night wakings, he or she has some objectivity when it comes to parenting. This, the logic goes, makes the writer without children more qualified to give parenting advice than actual parents.
Right. This is like saying that, because I play a mean game of Clue and can find most five-year-olds in a game of hide-and-seek, I should have led the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
I was looking through the DVD drawer when I came across a movie that my family watched many times when our kids were young -- The Muppet Christmas Carol. And while some might view it as a charming holiday story, it reminds me of a moment when I failed the parenting test.
The movie is a musical based on Charles Dickens’ famous novella. As you would expect from the title, some of the characters are played by Muppets -- Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy as his wife and the two old grumpy guys -- Statler and Waldorf -- as the ghosts of the Marley brothers.
It’s the Marley brothers I associate with my parental failure. In the Muppet movie, Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Michael Caine, gets a visit from the ghosts of his old partners -- Marley and Marley. But as anyone who has read Dickens’ story knows, there is no Marley and Marley. There’s only one Marley -- Jacob Marley.
So that’s why, two years ago, while watching A Christmas Carol on stage for the first time, my teenage kids turned to me and said, “What? There’s only one Marley!”
"What is life? They say bread is life, and I bake bread, bread, bread."
-- Ronny Cammareri (Nicholas Cage), in Moonstruck (1987)
I love bread. Give me a hot loaf of bread straight out of the oven, smothered in butter with some honey, and I’m happy.
So when I had the chance to take some time off a few years ago, I used part of my sabbatical to learn as much as I could about baking bread. I researched cookbooks and bought the classics: The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, Local Breads by Daniel Leader and Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman of King Arthur Flour. I ordered different kinds of flour -- white, wheat, semolina, rice, potato -- from different distributors and mills, and spent a lot of time learning about yeast. I made starters, or bigas, as they’re known in Italian baking. And then I bought a baking stone and a giant aluminum bread peel with a wooden handle so I could slide the loaves in and out of the oven.
What did I learn? That bread baking isn't too difficult, thanks to video how-to's on the Internet and the step-by-step instructions listed in the books I mentioned. But it is time consuming, especially when you're using starters that need to be made a day or two in advance. And while I don't have that much time to experiment anymore, I still love fresh-baked bread. Fortunately, I came across this recipe. It’s a take-off on Irish soda bread that turns out a hot, small round loaf in 30 minutes that’s moist and chewy. No fuss. No fooling!