Thursday, March 21, 2002


The countdown is on to maybe the weirdest single excuse for a party I have ever concocted, the Great Corn Pop-Off, set for 6 p.m. tomorrow night (Friday) at the Fireman's Hall (I was going to have it at St. Ann's, but I realized I might be giving an unnecessary sectarian advantage to two of the competitors, who are Cabbage Cookin', Pancake Flippin' Big Catholic Laymen). We're going to settle once and for all (unless this becomes a yearly thing) whether the hardware store, the bank, the historic downtown hotel or the upstart watering hole offers the best free popcorn in Saratoga.

This all started back in February when two of my coffee buddies got to arguing about whose popcorn is better (longtime readers of LIANT may remember my posting on this when I was ill), and a third buddy and I scooted over into a corner and started giggling over how funny it would be to pit them against each other head-on and let them duke it out "Chicago style," i.e. with no rules of conduct, standards of fair play or limits on how shady or weird they could get in vying for the title. The event's name, of course, came from the wildly weird brain of my own dear personal mom (the corn doesn't pop far from the plant, does it?).

It has mushroomed from there, with two more entrants, a donated keg of beer (plus a lot of leftover Chamber beer from February's chariot races) (my newly-able assistant and I need to get that stuff chilled pronto, even though it's really just emergency back-up supplies in case the keg runs dry) (which is likely as our unofficial motto in Saratoga is "Who has more fun than we do? Nobody) (OK, no, actually, it's "Our town can out-drink your town") and a lot of backroom planning, and very little of that has had anything to do with popcorn recipes.

For our part, my artist friend, my newly-able assistant and I are working on a humdinger of a trophy. We've got a mint condition 1960s era Jolly Time corn popper that we are shortly going to decorate as a possible traveling trophy (if people enjoy it this year, you bet we're going to make this an annual event!). And earlier this week I planted a funky little story in the local newspaper touting this as a grudge match between two titans with two dark horses along for the ride.

This is going to be fun.

Oh, and by the way – all of my votes are still for sale, boys!

Wednesday, March 20, 2002


My vanity, that is. Why else would I so feel like crowing because National Review Online liked my snarky definition for a neologism and posted it on its groupblog The Corner today.

Earlier in the day, Rod Dreher said "I've heard and used the term "Oprah-fied" myself, the capital "O" and the hyphen indicative of a certain unease with the neologism. Imagine my surprise and delight to see it deployed as "oprahfied" by Jim Nuechterlein in his First Things column this month. Truly it has entered the popular lexicon. Would any of you Corner lexicographers care to hazard a definition of "oprahfication"? What does it mean to oprahfy something?"

And asked readers to submit short and sweet definitions for this important new word.

What the hell; I had a few minutes between finishing up a day's work distributing little "2002" year tags to my chamber membership and hopping in the town Tahoe for a quick trip to a Carbon County Council of Governments meeting in Sinclair, so I devoted a stray brain cell to the task for a minute or two, and lo and behold, came up with something Mr. Dreher ranked it as one of his top five, or something. Anyway, he mentioned me by name and quoted my definition as follows:

"And Kate Sherrod observes that "to oprahfy is to render the tragic ludicrous or the ludicrous tragic through various devices of sensationalizing; in either direction, it is to render sensible, tasteful, educated people completely incapable of caring about the matter (or material) to which one has tried to draw attention."

Oh, and I got a nice, encouraging, extraordinarily pleasant e-mail from science fiction writer David Gerrold today, too!

So in terms of getting my name out there and feeding my monstrous ego, today has been a banner day! And to think when I woke up this morning I thought it was going to be dull!