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Frankencake Is Puttin’ on the Ritz

imageThe cookie box says no-bake.  “Add peanut butter,” it instructs. “Easy,” it says.  But you’re fresh out of Skippy and starting to get desperate.  Sugarblind, you dump the mix in a bowl and half the kitchen follows: eggs, butter, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, flour, and salt.  You laugh maniacally as you slide the concoction into the oven.

“Fool,” they say.  “It can’t be done!”  But thirty minutes later, the bell chimes.  Lightning splits your neighbor’s tree.  Trembling, you pull that bubbling bundt from the oven and marvel in its vanilla-sweet glory.

You taste.  It’s good but…strange.  There’s an alien tang underlying the sweetness–subtle notes of weird.  You turn the no-bake cookie box over.  Soybean oil?  Who the heck puts soy in cookies?  And then it dawns on you.  You could’ve easily made a cake without the mix.  All the ingredients were there.  What is wrong with you?  

“Don’t worry,” you whisper, sprinkling powdered sugar over your monstrous creation. “They’ll except you.  They have to.  You’re the only dessert in the house, baby.  You’re going to be a star!”

Michelle Joyce Bond

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How I Put Together What Happened in Star Wars Without Ever Watching It

How does someone embedded in American culture survive into adulthood without watching even one Star Wars movie?  Easy.  American culture reproduces itself.

 Thanks to Spaceballs, Muppet Babies, countless internet parodies, and two-minute clips of the movies via channel surfing, I don’t stare blankly when someone makes a Wookiee sound or puts a bucket on their head and claims to be my father…though maybe I should. 

 WARNING: What follows is a poorly reconstructed plot of some of the Star Wars movies courtesy of my TV-saturated childhood.

 Luke lives on a dusty planet with is aunt and uncle who get blown up for some reason while Luke is at a crazy alien bar listening to some cosmic saxophone.  But that’s okay since he was going to leave anyway.  A couple of robots showed him this video of a beautiful princess in need of help, and like any red-blooded dust-worlder, he decides to go after her.  Obi-Wan Brown-Roby tells Luke he has the Force and tosses him this awesome light sword.  Then Luke jumps in a ship with a friendly Wookiee and some guy named Hans.

 They blast off to the Death Star where they break out Princess Leia and then engage in full-blown space combat.  Luke gets in his zippy space craft, uses the Force to make a hole-in-one, and the Death Star explodes in a shower of glorious fireworks.  Leia loves them so much that she gives Luke a medal.  Then he flies off and starts tripping giant robots for fun.  Eventually, his ship breaks down in swamp, but he finds a cool little green mechanic who will do the wax-on, wax-off thing with him.

 Luke chills in the swamp until he gets word that his friends are in trouble.  Darth Vader made Hans into a big ‘ol paper weight and Leia is chained to a blob.  Luke meets up with Vader on the catwalk and they play Ninja Laser Tag until Luke’s hand falls off.  Vader tells Luke he’s his father, but Luke would rather jump down a hole than deal with that.  He gets a bitchin’ robot hand and then…I don’t know…saves the universe!

 It gets pretty fuzzy after that–some kind of trap and a queen with hair like a vacuum cleaner hose.  Why did I never sit my sad self down and actually watch one of these things?  Maybe I’m lazy…or maybe I prefer the movie in my mind.

Michelle Joyce Bond