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  • The Night Feed

    In Defense of Pie

    Okay. I’m about to drop some truth bombs here.


    Pie is better than cake. There. I said it.


    The Cake Lobby has had a stranglehold on the internet for far too long. It’s time we all just accepted that cake is inferior to pie in almost every way. For one thing, pie is great in almost any flavor – fruit-flavored cake is gross, but fruit pie? BRING IT ON. Apple! Blackberry! Blueberry! Peach! Do you not care for fruit? Custard or cream-filled pie has got your back! Chocolate! Banana! Coconut! Peanut butter! (I’m allergic to both coconut and peanut butter, but I’ve been told that they are both delicious in pie form, and since all pie is delicious, I choose to believe it.)


    You know what else you can do with a pie? Make it savory. Shepherd’s pie, chicken pot pie, meat pies, spinach and cheese pie. Quiches, empanadas, and turnovers also technically qualify as pies. Have you ever had a savory cake? No, because the closest thing to a savory cake that even exists is, like, meatloaf. Come on. Clearly pie wins in the versatility department…


    But what about taste, you argue? Doesn’t cake just taste better than pie? NO IT DOES NOT. Your typical cake is like five inches of cake and two centimeters of dry, crusty frosting (unless you get stuck with a frosting rose, which is two full inches of dry, crusty frosting. Yum, diabetes!). Pie is consistently delicious. You don’t have to drink milk with it to feel like you’re not dying of sugar poisoning. If you’re eating apple or pear pie, you can melt a piece of cheese on top for a sweet-and-savory kick.


    The only cake that matters is ice cream cake, and that’s because it’s mostly ice cream and minimal cake. And you know what? It would be way better if it were ice cream pie, probably.


    Take a seat, cake. You’re done.


    (Postscript: This is my last piece for the site! I’m outta here, had a great time, love you all.)


    Liz / @lizbelsky


  • The Night Feed

    Time to Shelf the Elf

    Okay. It’s time to get real here. Elf on the Shelf is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen or heard of.


    This was not a tradition while I was growing up. (That said, I come from a family that doesn’t have any Christmas traditions other than drinking too much and… drinking too much, so.) In fact, I had never even heard of this dumb thing until about a year ago. Apparently it’s a “Christmas tradition” that was created in 2005, which is already dumb. You can’t just make something up and then call it a tradition. You have to do it for a long time and then someone else calls it a tradition. So first off, the creators of the Elf on the Shelf don’t even know how traditions work.


    Secondly, the entire idea is just stupid. Santa is supposed to be all-knowing. He sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake, right? So why does he have to send a twelve-inch tall elf to your house to spy on you? And the fact that this is being used as behavior modification for kids – “Clean your room, the elf on the shelf is watching!” – really? Like, if Santa isn’t enough motivation for your kids to get their acts together for the month of December, this stupid elf certainly won’t be.


    Also, parents hate it. Seriously, this article from the Colorado Springs Gazette pretty much sums it up:


    "The elf is the bane of my December," said [Meagan B. Murphy]. "Her name is Arielle. She wears a Target-exclusive sparkly tutu that cost like 15 bucks. She has two. I can barely remember to brush my teeth, let alone hide her nightly or do an outfit change."


    Come on, parents. You don’t have to do this. May I suggest switching it out for one of my family’s vaunted traditions, like “Eating all the chocolate in the advent calendar on December 3rd” or “Forgetting to put up the tree until the 23rd of December and then just going out and buying a shrub to stick in one corner of the living room until March”? I assure you, they’re much more low-energy.

    Liz / @lizbelsky


  • The Night Feed


    Oh my god. Oh my god you guys. It’s almost here. Christmas. It’s almost here.


    You know what the best part of Christmas is? Nope, not the family or the food or the specials that only come on once a year. It’s pictures of animals in Christmas costumes.


    Usually I think people who dress their pets up in seasonal costumes are lunatics, or at least on the express train to Lunaticville (population: everyone who has a separate Instagram account for their dog), but I’ll make an exception for these penguins in Santa suits. Because oh my gosh. Penguins are the best of the flightless birds. (Screw you, ostriches. You don’t even make the top five.) Putting a Santa suit ON a penguin? You almost forget that penguins are from the South Pole instead of the North, because it’s so darn cute.


    Here are 55 more pictures of animals in really cute seasonal outfits. You know, for reasons.


    Liz / @lizbelsky


  • The Night Feed

    Holiday Treats: The Best and Worst

    Hey, everybody! The Holiday Season TM is in full swing, and you know what that means: TREATS. I’ve basically given up on wearing jeans or anything that buttons until January 1st – it’s yoga pants from here on out. But what’s worth stuffing in your face? What deserves a pass? Well, I’m here with a handy-dandy GUIDE TO HOLIDAY TREATS!


    Disclaimer: I have a lot of strong, contrarian opinions about what is good and what is disgusting. Don’t take it up with management if you disagree.


    GOOD: Peppermint bark


    Oh my god, peppermint bark. I could literally eat my weight in you, peppermint bark. Homemade or fancy-bakery-style is the best, but Ghirardelli’s is a great substitute as well. I, for one, plan to spend Christmas Eve eating an entire bag of that stuff while watching Muppets Christmas Carol.


    BAD: Fudge


    No thank you, fudge. You are diabetes incarnate. The only people who like you are small children who have yet to develop sugar sensitivity and Buddy the Elf. Any more than a postage-stamp-sized square of fudge is WAY TOO MUCH FUDGE.


    GOOD: Wassail


    Yeah, I said wassail. As in, “Here we come a-wassailing,” wassail. It’s the bomb: hot mulled cider with apples, oranges, and spices, simmered on the fire for several hours until your entire house smells like a winter wonderland. If you’ve never made it, hurry up and get to it. You won’t regret it.


    BAD: Candy canes


    Gross. Too much peppermint. Plus, once you eat half of it, the end gets all pointy and you stick yourself in the gums. Candy canes should only exist for stirring hot chocolate and decorating Christmas trees.


    GOOD: Stollen


    Okay, yeah. Stollen is basically fruitcake covered in powdered sugar. “Ew, gross, fruitcake!” you say. “Shut your unholy mouth,” I reply. When properly prepared, stollen is delicious – doughy, sweet and marzipan-y. OM NOM NOM.


    BAD: Figgy pudding


    Come on, England. Figgy pudding isn’t even a real food.


    Liz / @lizbelsky


  • The Night Feed

    The Sound of Music Live: That… Happened.

    I have a confession. I’ve never been a Sound of Music maniac. I remember seeing the movie as a kid, of course, but it didn’t make that much of an impression (I was much more of an Annie kid). People say there are two types of people in the world – those who love The Sound of Music and those who hate it – and I’m firmly in the third camp, those who don’t care that much. But I did play Louisa (the most boring Von Trapp) when I was 12, so when the Carrie Underwood live production was announced, I thought, “Oh, that’s going to be an interesting… fiasco.”


    And so it was, my dears. And so it was.


    Where can I even start? The set looked like it had been salvaged from The Young and the Restless. Vampire Bill from True Blood was playing Captain Von Trapp, perhaps the foxiest fictional Austrian ever, in a casting decision that will probably never make sense. The only notable people of talent in the entire production were NBC-friendly Broadway stars Laura Benanti (recently of NBC’s Go On, as well as the world’s greatest living soprano/heir apparent to Barbara Cook) and Christian Borle (whose work on Smash familiarized him with the process of appearing in a televised musical fiasco), as well as Living Goddess Audra McDonald, who was obviously hired to class up the joint after some executive wrinkled up his nose and went “Ew… Carrie Underwood?” These three people were the only bright spots in a three-hour slog through one of America’s most beloved musicals.


    Oh, wait. Rolf’s knees in his Nazi short-shorts were also pretty special. I mean, Rolf himself looked about thirty-five (way too old to be a mailman scamming on a 16-year-old), but dem knees.


    Otherwise… what else is there to say? Shall we dwell on the fact that Carrie Underwood spoke in her normal Oklahoma-girl voice, but sang with a weird quasi-British accent, as though she learned all her lyrics phonetically from the Julie Andrews soundtrack? Should we talk about how the backdrop of the Austrian mountains looked like the set designer just blew up the picture on the Poland Spring water bottle labels? Is it even worth bringing up that NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD EVER CHOOSE BE-CURTAINED HICK CARRIE UNDERWOOD OVER BILLIONAIRE BARONESS CORPORATION PRESIDENT LAURA BENANTI?! Like, I can sort of overlook that plot point in the movie, because Julie Andrews is incredibly charming, but if you had to choose between a woman of taste, sophistication, and elegant cheekbones and a bleach-blonde nun school dropout, and you chose the latter… well, I don’t know what to tell you.


    Like, there’s just no comparison.


    Whatever, though. I’m not mad, and I don’t feel like my three hours were really wasted. What else was I going to do on a Thursday night? Go out, like a person with a social life? Naaah. I’d rather stay home and watch an American Idol derp her way through one of the great American musicals.

    And to be perfectly honest, while the broadcast itself wasn't that funny, watching Twitter and Tumblr alongside the show made it a hundred times better. It actually stopped me from tuning out, because you have to stay engaged with a show if you're trying to come up with a zinger that'll get you a ton of retweets. Live-tweeting is basically the best way to watch any sort of television event - all the fun of sitting around taking the piss in a bar, without the hangover or having people shush you for talking out loud. It's a total experience enhancer.


    Can’t wait for Kellie Pickler in Funny Girl, coming this spring to NBC.


    Liz / @lizbelsky


  • The Night Feed

    Drop Everything And Listen To This "Wrecking Ball" Remix

    Put your headphones on, click here, and get ready for a wild ride.

    You will never want to listen to any version of this song again. There will be tears in your eyes. The emotion is just too raw. Thanks, DJ Detweiler. 

    Seriously… just… listen to the entire thing. Everything gets REAL at :36.


  • The Night Feed

    One Direction... Straight to My Heart

    One Direction is going to be on Saturday Night Live this week and I am really excited about it.


    Look, I know what you’re thinking. “First of all, no thank you,” you’re thinking. “One Direction is just prefab pop music for teenage girls.” And, well, you’re not wrong. One Direction is totally prefab pop music for teenage girls, but you know who else started out as prefab teen pop? THE BEATLES. Yeah, I said it. One Direction is basically the Beatles.


    Okay, fine, that’s a stretch… but honestly? It’s not really about the music. I mean, that’s not entirely true, “Little Black Dress” from the new album has been stuck in my head for a week straight… But it’s really not about the music. Have you even seen This Is Us, the 3D 1D documentary directed by Morgan Spurlock? It is literally the Citizen Kane of 3D movies about boy bands. It features an amazing scene where Niall, the boyish blond one, disguises himself as an old Scottish bodyguard and insults a bunch of fans. There’s also a scene where Liam and Harry go fishing and talk about their pre-fame pasts. “I wanted to be a fireman… or a factory worker.” “Why a fireman?” “So I could save people.” “Oh… then why would you want to be a factory worker?”


    Do you still not understand? Um, go look at these pictures of Zayn for a while. Still confused? Are you actually blind? Probably. Go get eye surgery, loser.


    They’re just lads. Lads having a laugh. Lads having a laugh and wearing skinny jeans and getting ill-conceived tattoos and dancing like your dad at a backyard barbecue.

    One million tweens (and Taylor Swift) can’t be wrong. That’s all I’m saying.


  • The Night Feed

    Ten Great Things About Thanksgiving

    Well, it’s almost here. Thanksgiving is really, really soon, you guys. To celebrate, I made a list of the best things about Thanksgiving. I’d like to share it with you now.

    10. Folksy holiday travel pieces on NPR. On the one hand, it’s like, we get it, traffic is crazy, but they’re kind of cozy and comfortable in that they happen every year and they’re sort of universally relatable.

    9. Martellini’s Sparkling Apple Cider. I’m technically allowed to drink alcohol now, but why would I ever want to drink anything but cider?

    8. Referring to pumpkin pie as “punkin’ pie” to be funny, but also old-timey and cute.

    7. Remembering all your family’s wacky Thanksgiving stories, like the time my weird cousins and their parents got in a massive, knock-down-drag-out fight over whether Disney’s Brother Bear was a good movie.

    6. Stuffing. ‘Nuff said.

    5. Christmas music on the radio, because even if you’ve already been wearing out your holiday playlist for a month on Spotify, who cares, it’s officially Christmas music season!!!

    4. Watching the Macy’s Parade while eating some sort of yummy breakfast food your mom made (cinnamon rolls!) and getting a head start on that sweet, sweet sparkling cider consumption.

    3. The Charlie Brown balloon. He’ll never kick that football, will he?

    2. Spending the day with your family and/or chosen family, if you’re lucky enough to do so.

    1.     Third Leftovers, which is where you just fill a bowl with mashed potatoes, put a spoonful of everything else on top, and smash it all in your mouth at once while watching Miracle on 34th Street/It’s a Wonderful Life/Elf.

    Happy T. Gives, everybody!


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