Things we're excited about: June edition
You know how some months just flit by, and by the time you’ve even glanced at a calendar, it’s already time to ante up for the next month? Yeah, that was May at Treebird. So our apologies for no “Things we’re excited about: May edition” blog. I’m sure some of you lost sleep over it. But don’t go the Ambien route. That stuff’s cray.
But we're making up for it with a link-tastic June double-blog. Just meaning it's longer than normal. And has more links, because summer and links just seem to go together.
“If we shadows have offended,
Know but this and all is mended.
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear,
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding, but a dream.”
― William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
The Summer Solstice
In truth, no day is any longer than any other. But logic is for squares.
If we may adopt the Royal We, we love the summer solstice because we love light. That’s why we’re taken by the romance of fireflies—another June phenomenon—why we gravitate toward twinkling cityscapes and stare at stars whose light may have long been extinguished by the time our corneas perceive it. The longest day of the year is our collective glass-half-full moment, and has been since the Druids built Stonehenge (we realize this is probably not accurate, but it’s romantic-sounding, and summer is for romance) and we walked with the dinosaurs (sorry, that joke never seems to get old). Do we despair that from this day forward, the days will only get shorter and shorter, until the crushing 4pm darkness of December 21? Of course not.
Instead, we build bonfires to dance around, toast to the evening sun, and revel in what we call, however inaccurately, the longest day of the year. If you’re lucky enough to be in the upper reaches of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Alaska---lands of the midnight sun—don’t go all Al Pacino, but rather, stay up all night if only because you can’t do in on the other 364 days.
The celebration of Gemini
If you happen to have a Gemini in your life, you know of what we speak. If you don’t, here’s a primer.
Probably, if you don’t know any Gemini, your life is sort of boring.
The World Cup
The beautiful game! The world’s most popular sport! The Equalizer! The Golden Goal!
The audacious corruption of FIFA! Stampedes, hooligans, and violent retribution! A country pouring billions of dollars into roads, stadiums, hotels, and amenities for tourists while ignoring their own starving, destitute, sickly citizenship huddled in shanty towns and favelas! Half of Brazil actually wants Brazil to lose in order to prove the point that the government is acting completely irresponsibly!
But also—amazing goal celebrations! Raucous displays of nationalism in squares around the globe! The Group of Death! Upsets! The perennially underachieving English! This header! This Mohawk! Guys with just one name--Hulk and Fred are both on Brazil!
The final season of True Blood
Just kidding. While we’re huge Alan Ball fans, our allegiance falls with Six Feet Under. True Blood had so much potential—it was on the leading edge of the Vampire Renaissance, included interesting cultural commentary, and featured Alexander Skarsgard like this and like this. Then it amazingly jumped the shark and veered headlong into not just camp and pulp, but surprisingly un-ironic camp and pulp. We ended up with maenads, bad Southern accents, and no Stellan Skarsgard, either like this or like this. I’m surprised this guy didn’t get retread somehow.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
If HBO bungled True Blood, the Network has redeemed itself with this Sunday night gem. John Oliver takes the best of the Daily Show—amazingly sharp writing, great comedic timing, endearing self-deprecation, and intelligent wit—and spins it into a more manageable once-a-week format to point out the absurdity of our solstice-worshipping world in a scant half an hour. It’s a perfect way to end a Sunday night. And you even sort of learn some stuff while you’re laughing.
We also noticed that Mr. Oliver, an obvious Brit, has adopted the use of "we" when referring to American issues. But upon fact-checking, he is a naturalized citizen, having 'converted' some years ago, so we'll give him a pass on what first looked like potential pandering.
Marinated chicken kabobs on the grill
We found this recipe in Cooks Illustrated and tried it over the weekend. Highly recommended. The trick is a quick brine (30 minutes) that helps keep the meat tender even while getting charred on the outside. And the “pepper shield” is a brilliant technique to keep your end pieces of meat from drying out as well (we used poblanos instead of bell peppers, because, quite frankly, they’re way more interesting and impart a bit of spice while they’re at it. Just like a Gemini). And they're right--the taziki, like all things in life, needs more garlic than called for.