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For fans of the "Twilight" series, "New Moon" will not disappoint.
For fans of the "Twilight" series, "New Moon" will not disappoint.

"New Moon" musings

Last night, along with my 16-year-old niece, I saw "New Moon," the latest film in Stephanie Meyer’s "Twilight" series based on the book of the same name. This blog is not a movie review, so I’ll just say that it was extremely entertaining and, like the first book, the screenplay stayed true to the print version in the second installment of this mortal-loves-vampire story.

A lot of readers over the age of 17 hide their true feelings for these books or downplay their addiction to them, but I flew out of the "Twilight" closet a long time ago. My guilty pleasures don’t include celebrity gossip magazines or reality television, but I will trade sleep for "Twilight." And as a self-described snooze whore, that’s saying a lot.

Sometimes jokingly referred to as "crack," these books are a breeze to consume even though they have more than 500 pages. However, because of the simple writing style, the fat font and the easy-to-follow story line, they are about as challenging to read as the back of a box of Count Chocula.

In fact, last night at the theater, I devoured my box of Sour Patch Kids with the same ravenous ardor that's present when I read these books. Like candy, the "Twilight" books don’t offer much in the way of brain food, but the instant gratification is delicious. Best of all, to my knowledge, they aren’t rotting my teeth.

Arguably, the most fascinating aspect of the series is that they are insanely popular and yet only include minimal amounts of blood and no sex. Lots of both are usually prerequisites for me to dig a vampire flick or novel, but in the "Twilight" series, graphic scenes are replaced with old fashion romance, the memory of first love and tension. So much tension.

We know from televisions series old and new -- as well as our own lives -- that tension keeps a relationship interesting. Meyer is the master of this in her books, and the director was able to make the tension translate to the big screen. The tension between Bel…

How many grams of fat are on that tray?
How many grams of fat are on that tray?

Today's oxymoron: calorie counting at Culver's

We let the kid pick where he wanted to eat tonight in celebration of an accomplishment, and he picked Culver’s, 1325 E. Capitol Dr.

I like the fast food eatery’s Wisconsin roots, but other than that, I’m not a big fan, mostly because there isn’t a single item on the menu that works for me. Sure, a double cheeseburger sounds great, but most of my metabolism stayed in the '90s and I haven’t had a double anything since.

So, I ordered a large garden salad, low-fat dressing and a water. But here’s the kicker: I find myself stealing a fry here or a bite of burger there and although I don’t order my own ice cream, I offer to "clean up" my kid’s cone.

I can’t decide if this is sick or smart. I am, after all, consuming fewer calories than I would if I ordered my own burger and fries and custard, but then again, maybe if I ordered something a little more satisfying than a salad I wouldn’t feel the need to snitch from other people’s meals.

Something tells me my plate picking is rather annoying to my dinner pals, and yet, I cannot stop because, at this point, the stupid food games are working for me. Well, sort of.

They look like real beer, but they are not, so lower your expectations and enjoy.
They look like real beer, but they are not, so lower your expectations and enjoy.

"Beer water" is not beer and that's OK

Let’s get a few things straight. MGD Light 64 and Bud Select 55 are not a beer-drinker’s beer. In fact, they are not even beer, really. They are beer-flavored sparkling waters. They are a few calories away from being beer-scented seltzers.

That’s not to say I don’t drink them, because I do.

However, as a home brewer with a penchant for stouts, I don’t kick back to enjoy one of these skinny beers like one might a fine cigar. Instead, I drink them in between real beers so I don’t consume too many calories during a night out or I drink them when I don’t really feel like drinking but I want to appear social. These low-cal brews are almost like NA beers without the stigma.

Did I mention that I like to call them "brewaters?"

I was inspired to write this blog because, tonight, I tried a Bud Select 55 for the first time. I am usually a MGD 64 drinker, but on a whim, decided to see if nine fewer calories made a difference. Nope.

Both beers have practically no head whatsoever. Both have a bland finish that lasts, at best, 2 seconds, and yet, both are extremely refreshing when they are ice cold. Beer water has its place, and it’s not in the same category as full-flavor beers. But the big question is, how low will they go? Is there a Miller Zero in the works?

These days, this dude is a pipe-free potato.
These days, this dude is a pipe-free potato.
On a similar note, "The Flintstones" appeared in commercials for Winston cigarettes in 1960. Now that's just wrong.
On a similar note, "The Flintstones" appeared in commercials for Winston cigarettes in 1960. Now that's just wrong.

Nope, pipes and kids don't mix

Recently, I dated myself without even realizing it. My son told me he wanted to make magic wands, and among other supplies, I suggested that we buy some "pipe cleaners." He tipped his head to the side and looked at me like I was speaking blobby alien blab, so I showed him one that he used to make the antennae on an egg carton caterpillar project.

"Oh," he said. "Chenille sticks."

Chenille sticks! Of course. Smoking utensil references don’t exist in kids’ worlds anymore. Mr. Potato Head got off the pipe in the ‘80s and one was airbrushed right out of Margaret Wise Brown's classic children's book, "Goodnight, Moon." Even Popeye's without his pipe these days.

However, I believe Frosty still sports his corn cob smoking vessel. So how far should we take this? Do classic song lyrics need to be changed? Maybe we could sing "with a corn cob bike and a button nose" even though that makes entirely no sense at all.

For the record, Santa seems to be on and off the wagon with his pipe smoking. Occasionally, I see images of the jolly ol' fella puffing away, but most of the time, he appears to have kicked the habit. Or he’s resorted to chewing Nicorette. Hard to tell.