TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL
Our search for the perfect back-to-school lunch box led us all over town. We found good selections at The Container Store, Crate and Barrel, Sample House, and Elliott’s Hardware, but our all-time fave, the lunch box that won our hearts, is the Mickey Mouse model at The Disney Store in North Park. It’s no ordinary lunch box-it’s shaped like Mickey’s head, with big ears and all. Other varieties are available, but the big guy goes for $15.
Ramirez designs furniture for both residential and commercial clients. His company, Incroyables, is at 2642 Elm; or call him at 941-7522.
MAN OF STEEL
Profile In France in the 17th century they were the “Incroyables”-artists out of the mainstream, cutting against the grain. In Dallas in the Nineties it’s Pete Ramirez using polished tread-plate aluminum. Ramirez’s furniture-chaise longues, coffee tables, screens, beds-combines the look of deco with the industrial strength of metal. “I like to work with hard metals that at first seem to be rugged and coarse and then end up as curving lines that conform to the natural shape of your body,” he says. In the eighth grade he converted a vacuum cleaner into a wine chiller, and from then on he’s been interested in design. Ramirez thinks that well-designed furniture should be affordable-that’s why he uses aluminum and steel, which are inexpensive enough to keep his prices down (his furniture ranges from $80 for a coffee table to $3,000 For a couch). -Layne Morgan
Crooners, Savages, and a Pop Debut
recordings Small-label records are yielding a diverse harvest on the local listening scene. Johnny Reno’s new “Third Degree,” on Wildcat Records, combines songs recorded by his current and previous bands, spanning the rock, pop, and R&B influences that have captured his fancy over the past several years. “Strange to You1’ finds Reno doing Jim Morrison. And the rock saxman has remade his previous remake of the Joe Liggin’s Forties classic, “Pink Champagne,” this time with a crooning touch.
The Stone Savage Band has recorded compositions by SMU grad, bassist, and concert promoter Stone Savage. “West Dallas Suite,” on the Stella label, includes five pieces inspired by a delivery job Savage once had that intimately acquainted him with the vicinity. Each of the five songs in the suite is named after a street: Obenchain, Hampton, Bernal, Westmoreland, and Canada Drive. Do you remember the British invasion? Some of those bands are still with us, but get this: Dallas is growing its own. The Bat Mastersons (shown here) play pure pop for now people, with such a refreshing lack of pretense that the ultimate goal of any British invasion band may even be in sight for them-yes, breaking up. But before that happens, enjoy their self-titled debut on Dragon Street Records. -Michael Pellecchia
The Greening of Fall
Gardening Showy, cabbage-like ornamental kale has been a popular mate for fall and winter flowers in local landscapes for a few seasons. If ornamental kale, then why not edible kale or other cool-season vegetables like turnips, collards, red-veined ruby chard, and showy curly or purple mustard greens? They’re the easiest of crops and at their tastiest grown in cool weather. The idea is healthy foliage that is beautiful with fall and winter flowers and savory to pick and eat fresh.
But in flower beds? “Just chop out the stalks of your summer flowers and plant vegetable seeds,” says Ressie Gibson, a Garland gardener.
Greens are edible at any size, even as new seedlings thinned when they first sprout. They mature at four to seven weeks; just harvest outer leaves and let inner ones grow. Yield continues until a hard freeze or, in mild winters, until spring planting time. To grow, make raised, flat-topped ridges of soil among garden shrubs and winter flowers. Allow room; greens grow large. Plant seeds in soil moistened a few days before, and keep it moist until seedlings appear.
Sure, there’s Mon-day Night Football, and Thursday nightfootball, and the colleges on Saturday, and cable games, but is that all? Maybe a movie will fill those empty hours.
The Super Bowl winner of pigskin dramas so far is the sadly unappreciated Everybody’s All American (1988). Dennis Quaid does his best work as the college star who’s tackled by age and injuries in the pros, and Jessica Lange is superb as his sweetheart, wife, and fan. A complex, lovely film-but where were the Oscar nominations, at least for costume and make-up? There’s no justice.
Does Alan Alda seem a bit, well, wimpy to make it in the NFL? Yes, but in Paper Lion (1968) he fakes it nicely as George Plimpton, the author-turned-every-thing who spent a season with the Detroit Lions and lived to sell the tale. The film’s main sin: launching the “acting” career of that two-ton teddy bear, Alex Karras.
Burt Reynolds shines in The Longest Yard (1974) as the cocky ex-pro quarterback who leads a ragtag team of cons in a hundred-yard war against the prison’s sadistic guards. Of course it’s manipulative-and you’ll love every knee-cracking minute.
In North Dallas For ty (1979), Mac Davis and Nick Nolte are the QB and star receiver of the North Dallas Bulls, the who-knows-how-fictitious creation of former Dallas Cowboy Peter Gent. The action scenes are surprisingly realistic, and the film carries a poignant message about the corrupting effect of money on sports.
Nannies To Go
SERVICE Elizabeth Kane and her sister, Rita Barker, have taken the stress out of finding someone to take care of the kids for working moms and dads. Their company, Strictly Nannies Incorporated, is a dream come true for any parent who has experienced the difficulty of finding quality day care. Strictly Nannies is not a placement service; it actually hires the nanny for you based on your needs.
The process is simple. After you’ve decided exactly what you want in a nanny, ’ Strictly Nannies will have you screen videotapes of potential candidates. From there you select the individuals you’d like to personally interview in your home. Once you’ve chosen a nanny, thecompany will hire her and pay the salary and benefits. You only have to pay a one-time, $575 placement fee and write a weekly check to the company for $275-$350, depending on the experience of your nanny. Some are accredited through the T.C.J.C. Child Development Program or the Brookhaven Nanny Program, and others have experience working with children through day-care centers, schools, and other institutions.
While this may sound steep compared to your local day-care facility, you get a lot more TLC for your money. Strictly Nannies’ nannies are experienced in teaching table manners and etiquette, and will even help with homework and meal preparation. They’ll also take the kids on outings and plan other activities based on parental approval. Kane and Barker emphasize that their nannies are not babysitters-you won’t find them washing windows or making beds. For info, call Strictly Nannies at Metro (817) 265-0400.
The Brown Bag Blues
REQUIRED READING Thirteen million children per year carry their lunches to school, statistics say. And all of them live at your house, right? The battle of the brown bags begins at home, with Mom’s daily quandary: should she (a) build a sturdy, nutrition-loaded lunch her mini-beloveds will try to trade off or furtively trash? or (b) give in to their whining and pack the sack with the sugar-laden junk stuff they crave? Don’t check one-check out, instead, Nancy Skodack’s Lunchbox Treats, a sincere little cookbook that holds all the answers to a mother’s prayers and a kid’s complaints.
Dallas dietitian Skodack, herself the mother of four, has come up with 120 recipes, plus menus and fun suggestions aimed at luring little cynics into liking what’s good for them. What grade-schooler could resist taking an Asparaguy to lunch, shooting a celery-shafted chicken dart into his/her mouth, or chowing down on celery sticks strung with ripe olive beads?
Presentations are witty, recipes are simple enough for children to enjoy helping prepare, and Skodack’s menus craftily cover the food groups that add up to healthy eating. They should-the author, who is director of food and nutritional services at Humana Hospital-Medical City Dallas, is a registered and licensed dietitian, and the first to put such a book on the market. Published late last year, Lunchbox Treats has racked up steadily growing sales in major Dallas bookstores, gourmet shops, and children’s shops, where it’s listed at $8.95. -Betty Cook
DISCOVERING DE BEAUVOIR
France has always idolized her intellectuals, turning them into icons of thought, nurturing their controversial ways while maintaining the right to scold them as only a mother can. This paradoxical situation has given birth to such free-thinkers as Malraux, Camus, Sartre, and Sartre’s right-hand woman and personage in her own right, Simone de Beauvoir. For those who’ve come late to Beauvoir, the best primer available is Simone de beauvoir, A Biography, by Deir-
dre Bair. Bair’s bio is a relentlessly revealing look at one of the most controversial and unconventional women of this century, a woman whose lifelong relationship with Sartre set her up for ridicule and notoriety, even though her intellectual and literary achievements equaled, if not outdistanced, his own. Other Beauvoir must-reads:
The Second Sex: when it was published 40 years ago, this book shocked and infuriated most of the reading public, but it also generated an ongoing conversation among women, forever changing the way they talk and think about themselves
She Came to Stay: Beauvoir’s first novel is a fictional account of an early love affair of Sartre’s that very nearly destroyed their relationship. Set in Paris on the eve of World War II, She Came to Stay is a tale of jealousy and revenge and the cruel things we do in the name of love.