Arts, Entertainment, Living

Tekkoshocon - wrap up

Monday, 04 April 2011 09:32 AM Written by

I approached the entrance of the Wyndham Hotel across from the point in downtown Pittsburgh and discovered instantly that I was at the correct place.  In this case, it was Tekkoshocon, a convention devoted completely to Japanese popular culture, especially anime, manga, art, music and video games. 

The dead giveaway of the venue was the presence of super-fans dressed in the garb of their favorite characters, some well known, but most obscure.  Almost all of the convention's attendees were in costume, creating a hotel lobby packed with Japan’s most beloved fictional characters.

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The New York Times'  Book section has written a swell piece about my discovery that John Steinbeck's "Travels With Charley" is not only a highly fictionalized work of nonfiction, it's something of a fraud.

Charles McGrath doesn't use the f-word in "A Reality Check for Steinbeck and Charley."

But his April 3/4 online/print piece sums up my position and refers to my current Reason magazine article, "Sorry, Charley: Was John Steinbeck’s 'Travels With Charley' a fraud?" An extended version of my Dec. 5 Post-Gazette piece, it's in the April issue of Reason and is available online now at Reason.com.

McGrath interviews two top Steinbeck scholars, San Jose State English professor Susan Shillinglaw and Steinbeck biographer Jay Parini of Middlebury College, and asks them what they think of my 50-year-old literary "scoop.

Good luck understanding the strange logic of academia.

Basically the professors tell McGrath that despite the fact that "Travels With Charley" is full of fiction and presents an inaccurate and dishonest account of Steinbeck's trip and what he really thought about the America he found on it, it doesn't matter -- it's still a great nonfiction book. Better, even, says Parini. (Here is my reaction to Shillinglaw's earlier discrediting of my findings, which she made when she was interviewed by the Monterey County Weekly in January.)

2010-10-31_16.07.09_copy_copyBeing written  up by the New York Times -- and being called Mr. Steigerwald without also being called a libertarian nutjob -- is a priceless treat.

I'll formally forgive America's Paper of Record for all the times it's rejected my free-lance pieces, but I won't retract anything I said  about its liberal politics in any of my old op-ed columns.

*****

Bill Steigerwald lives in Eighty Four, Pa. His email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

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OWN gets 'Kidnapped by Kids'

Monday, 04 April 2011 12:00 AM Written by

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It's no secret that OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network has struggled in the ratings since its January debut, in part, perhaps, because of a plethora of reruns of the network's limited original programming. OWN seeks to remedy that this month with several debuts, including:

"Addicted to Food" (10 p.m. Tuesday): Real people struggling with their love of food at a treatment center.

"The Judds" (9 p.m. Sunday): Docu-series that follows Naomi and Wynonna Judd on their first concert tour in 10 years.

And debuting today, there's "Kidnapped by the Kids" (9 tonight), which feels like a reverse "Supernanny" (only more dull). Rather than an expert training parents how to handle their children, the kids -- presumably with the assistance of an unseen producer -- kidnap a workaholic parent from his or her daily work life for a full week.

Read more after the jump. ...

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Get the Look: Prom Dress 2011

Monday, 04 April 2011 12:00 AM Written by

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Prom dress shopping season is upon us, and if you or someone you know is embarking on finding the perfect prom dress, let me offer a few suggestions.

If you are looking to purchase a brand new gown, fashion experts at Simon Malls (aka Ross Park Mall, South Hills Village and Century III Mall) have offered up a list of trends for Prom 2011. The trends include:

  • Dress: Full-length gowns in dark, but bold, hues or short dresses with giant ruffles or sparkles. Also, one-shouldered dresses are always a must.
  • Hair: Buns or ponytails. Forget the spiral curls.
  • Makeup: Bring drama to your eyes with black eyeliner and false lashes.
  • Color: Peach is a huge color for Prom 2011 for accessories and makeup.
  • Accessories: Huge statement jewelry, handbags with unique details and suede shoes.

When looking for dresses that reflect the trends above, check out some of these stores in the Simon Malls: Nordstrom, Cache, Macy's, White House/Black Market and BCBG, just to name a few.

I remember prom dress shopping was my favorite! I wanted to find the most unique dresses that no other girl would have. However, I couldn't believe the costs. I don't know how my parents justified them.

A great program in the county is Project Prom, run by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services. Since 2003, the program has been collecting dresses, accessories, tuxedos and other Prom necessities from donations and giving them away to Prom-goers who may not be able to afford the expensive evening. This year, the project gave over 200 dresses to young women in the area.

On Wednesday, April 6, Project Prom is going to be holding a sale of the remaining gowns to the public at their Century III Store (Photo above). No gown will be priced over $25 and all proceeds will go towards purchasing tuxedos for local, prom-going gentlemen. For more information on Project Prom, click here.

To all my Prom-goers out there, have a glam-tastic evening!

On a quick note: The online green clothing site, Jute & Jackfruit, is having a sale on all Kelly Lane merchandise at 40% off. Visit J&JF on line here. Also, I saw more than several Kelly pieces on the Sale Rack at Pavement in Lawrenceville. 

Happy shopping! Be sure to check back on Wednesday for another Clutch post!

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Weekly Menu for the Week of April 4

Friday, 01 April 2011 06:51 PM Written by

Welcome to my weekly menu!!! bag-groceries-food

Spring is coming ... Spring is coming. I keep telling myself that. Despite the fact that little white snowflakes keep coming down. I looked ahead to the weather for the week and it looks a lot better! In fact, it is time to fire up the grills! I know that there are a few of you out there that are still afraid of the big bad nasty grill. Come on people – it is so easy! We are going to be grilling a lot very soon. So ease into it if you need to but be ready for some fabulous dinners from the grill!

This week the kids wanted a say in the menu ... they always have a "say" in what is on the menu because they need to eat it - right? Well, this week they insisted on Pizza Pasta! My children will eat pizza in any form. And they will eat just about any kind of pasta. Sound familiar? Well, I combined the two and it was a HIT! This recipe is super easy and delicious. My almost 4 year old daughter, Meredith, pointed her little finger at me and told me to "put this on the menu." Mama listened. I hope you enjoy this recipe and the rest of the menu.

If you would like to receive an email notification when the menu has been published please follow the link below and sign-up!

http://pages.exacttarget.com/page.aspx?QS=2e4c31a3756cb940c8b847348e1c2c73ff6c7f36e3c6f7f827d595a306624694

You can also follow the menu on Facebook and Twitter!!! Go to Kristen Kill Reisinger's Menus That Save on Facebook and click like!!! You will receive updates and pics throughout the week. Also follow the menu on Twitter - @menusthatsave.

ALWAYS check your coupons!!! Not only the ones we receive in our newspapers and mid-week mailers but also online! Check out www.coupons.com

Follow the plan so you can save time, money, and a few calories! Remember – cooking our own food is healthier than ordering in and eating out any day!!! Your family, wallet and waistline will thank you!

I hope you all enjoy your week, the recipes and the savings!


Monday

Tilapia with Lemon and Dill
Steamed rice
Broiled Asparagus

Tilapia with Lemon and Dill - adpated from Southern Living

4 (5-oz.) fresh tilapia fillets
Salt and pepper
2 lemons, sliced
2 t. dill
2 t. parsley
2 T. butter


Preheat oven to 375°. Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper.
Cut parchment paper into 4 (13- x 9-inch) rectangles. Place 3 lemon slices crosswise in center of each parchment rectangle. Top with 1 fillet. Sprinkle fillets evenly with salt, pepper, dill, and parsley. Top each fillet with ½ T. butter. Fold 1 side of parchment paper over fillets; tuck excess parchment under fillets, pressing folds to form a crease.
Bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork. Serve immediately.


Broiled Asparagus

1 bunch of asparagus
1 T. of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Trim off the bottom inch of the asparagus. Spread out on a jelly-roll pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt (I prefer Kosher) and pepper. Toss so that the asparagus is evenly coated. Lay flat and place under the broiled for about 5 minutes until the asparagus has crisped a little.

You can broil the asparagus while you are plating up the rice and fish.

Tuesday

Chicken Scallopini
Buttered Angel Hair Pasta
Steamed Broccoli

Chicken Scallopini – adapted from Southern Living

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
½ C. Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
2 T. olive oil
½ chicken broth
¼ C. dry white wine
3 T. capers
½ stick of butter

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Squeeze lemon juice over the chicken, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove from pan; keep warm.
Add broth and wine to pan, and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the capers and butter. Pour the sauce over the chicken to serve.

Wednesday

Pizza Pasta
Salad
Bread

Pizza Pasta

1 lb. Rotini pasta
1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 cup of pepperoni – cut up
1 small package of sliced mushrooms
1 cup of pizza sauce
2 cups of your favorite marinara
1 ½ cups of mozzarella cheese

Cook the pasta according to the package's directions. Meanwhile, brown the beef and drain the fat. Return the beef to the skillet and add the pepperoni and mushrooms. Sauté for a few minutes until the pepperoni crisps a bit and the mushrooms are cooked through. Add the pizza sauce and marinara. Heat through.

Once the pasta is cooked and drained, combine it with the meat sauce and place in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover the pasta with mozzarella cheese and bake in a 350° oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Thursday

Buffalo Chicken Sliders
Carrot and Celery Sticks
Grapes

Buffalo Chicken Sliders – adapted from Rachel Ray

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Onion powder
Garlic powder
3 T. butter
¼ cup of hot sauce – we like Frank's Red Hot
Blue cheese dressing or Ranch dressing – whatever your preference
Shredded cheddar cheese
Shredded lettuce
Slider rolls

Preheat your grill or your grill pan. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with the garlic and onion powder. Season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning once, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan with the hot sauce. Once the chicken comes off of the grill toss the pieces with the hot sauce and butter.

Top each slider roll with a piece of chicken, a little bit of shredded cheese and lettuce and a dollop of either blue cheese dressing or ranch – whatever your preference.

If your kids don't like the hot stuff you don't have to combine their chicken with the hot sauce.

Friday

Tuna Melts
Chips
Strawberries

Tuna Melts

1 or 2 – 6 oz. cans of Tuna Fish, drained
2-4 T. of Mayo
1 stalk of celery, diced
½ red pepper, diced
¼ cup of diced cucumber
Salt and Pepper to taste
English Muffins
Sliced Tomatoes
Cheddar Cheese

Combine Tuna, Mayo, and veggies. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside

Toast English Muffins. Once toasted, place a scoop of Tuna Salad on each muffin half. Top with a slice of tomato and shredded cheddar cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese melts.

And now for the shopping list. As always, double check your pantry, fridge and freezer to see if you already have any of the items listed below. This will reduce your spending and create less waste! And NEVER shop without a plan!

Shopping/Checklist

Produce
Asparagus – GE special
3 lemons
Broccoli – GE special
Salad – GE special
Small package of sliced mushrooms
Carrots
Celery
Grapes
Lettuce
Strawberries – GE special
Red pepper
Cucumber
Tomato

Deli
Parmesan
Bread for pasta
Pepperoni – GE special
Slider Buns

Spices/Oils/Vinegars/Condiments
Olive oil
Dill
Parsley
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Hot sauce
Blue cheese or Ranch dressing – GE special on Marzetti – look for coupon!
Mayo

Canned Goods/Ethnic Foods/Dry Goods
Rice – white or brown
Angel hair pasta – GE special on San Girogio
Chicken broth – GE special
Capers
Pizza sauce
Marinara – GE special
Rotini pasta – GE special on San Giorgio
2 (6 oz.) cans of tuna fish – GE special

Seafood/Meat Case/Butcher
4 tilapia filets – GE special
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts – GE special
1 lb. ground beef – GE special
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs – Best deal is at Costco

Frozen Foods

Dairy
Butter
Mozzarella cheese
Shredded cheddar cheese

Bread
Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
English muffins

Misc.
White wine
Chips
Parchment paper

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Willie, Weed and the Texas Country Scene

Friday, 01 April 2011 12:32 PM Written by

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Willie Nelson's November 26 marijuana possession arrest in Hudspeth County, Texas generated ample headlines. That's ramped up again as his case glides toward a resolution that's spawned media frenzy regarding whether he'd avoid jail by pleading guilty, paying a fine and singing in the courtroom. Willie, of course, is no stranger to pot. He's worked for its legalization and previously beat a 1994 Texas marijuana bust. That's all common knowledge. What's not so well known is the fact that he's far from the only Texas country musician with a taste for the stuff.

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For a link to headlines of recent TV news and views posts, click here.

TV Q&A with Rob Owen

Submit a question to TV Q&A by clicking here.

This week's TV Q&A (after the "Read more" jump below) responds to questions about “The Closer,” “Mike & Molly” and “Entertainment Tonight.”

As always, thanks for reading, and keep the questions coming.
-Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

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01Weartheshift2

(Megan and Kelly, creaters of Wear the Shift)

Ever get into the dressing room at a store and find that the most fabulous dress you loved on the rack doesn't fit you? Well look no further than WeartheShift.com, where a pair of local women are selling perfectly-fitting, one-of-a-kind shift dresses to women of all sizes and shapes.

Megan Dietz, 38 of Mt. Oliver, and Kelly Metzler, 33 of Friendship, met two years ago on an Internet forum for crafters.  Shortly after, they met up in person for pizza and beer, and found out they had much more in common than crafts. The pair discovered that they shared the same frustrations when it came to finding clothing that had the right combination of style, fit and eco-friendliness.

Out of their conversations about ill-fitting clothing grew the idea to create their own dresses that they wished they could find in stores. Ms. Dietz and Ms. Metzler decided on creating A-line, shift dresses because this type of dress style is not only comfortable and versatile, but is flattering for a variety of body types.

"I saw a winning proposition all around—to make cute dresses for women of all sizes, out of vintage, eco-friendly fabrics, in an ethical and fun way," says Megan. "What's not to love?"

Though they do not have backgrounds in fashion, Megan, a software developer with a love of cute dresses, and Kelly, a graphic designer with a fashion-forward flair, put their heads together to create an algorithm to make a perfectly-fitting shift dress based on nine specific measurements of the body.

Testing the algorithm took several months in which Megan says they made a mountain of ugly shift dresses before finding a set of calculations that worked. After experimenting with family and friends, Megan and Kelly decided to broaden their test group to strangers and potential customers. To find this group of "beta testers," they created a project on Kickstarter.com, a website that helps people with creative projects receive funding. The results exceeded their wildest dreams when they sold out of all of the beta tester spots on the second day that the project was launched on Kickstarer.com.

"Knowing that other people were excited about our idea was hugely validating," said Megan. "The feedback we got during the beta phase was every bit as important as the funding."

After the beta testing period was over, the pair launched WearTheShift.com on March 21, 2011, where women of all shapes and sizes can order custom-made shift dresses and slips from vintage fabrics. Ordering is simple. Women choose their fabric and enter in their measurements based upon Wear the Shift's unique algorithm. Tutorials and how-to guides are available on the site to show women how to properly measure their body. And coming in a couple of months, women will be able to order custom-made skirts based upon a modified version of their shift dress algorithm.

Wear the Shift's studio is located in East Liberty, and each dress is sewn by local craftspeople paid a living wage. Because each client has a custom pattern, and is able to choose from Wear the Shift's wide variety of vintage and eco-friendly fabrics (ranging from elegant to casual to funky), the result is a completely unique, one-of-a-kind, beautifully fitting dress. Dresses range in price from $99 to $199, and slips are priced at $79 each.

"To all of my voluptuous and hard-to-fit sisters out there, you are no longer excluded from the cute dress department," says Megan.

Visit Wear the Shift at www.weartheshift.com to learn more about how to get a custom-made, perfectly-fitting shift dress.

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Tonight: Wear the Shift will be taking part in the Geek Arts + Green Innovators Festival in Garfield. Stop by the Glass Lofts (5491 Penn Ave @ Fairmount Ave) to see shifts in action, check out the company's fabric offerings, and to talk with Ms. Dietz and Ms. Metzler about how to make fashion more fun, inclusive, and environmentally aware. And at 8 pm, catch the Fashion FUZEion Eco-Tech Fashion Show with local fashion from Kelly Lane, ModCloth, Jonano and Crazy Hot Clothes

Have a great weekend and be sure to check back on Monday for another Clutch post! 

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