Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Holi -- And then the Chicken Exploded

What led to the explosion? Well, I'll start with, ahem, me. I was chilly. It's winter. So I linger by the oven. Sometimes I lean on it with my -- ahem -- backside. And this time my aforementioned backside accidentally upped the temp to 550 degrees. The cook, at this point, was taking a shower and when he smelled something burnt, he came running in from the shower in his towel and his hair all shampoo-y. "Something's BURNING!"

"What? Burnt?" I said. "Everything's fine." I was now sitting on the floor, leaning against the oven to keep my back warm. I scooted out of the way so he could check. He saw the temp, the slightly blackened chicken, got water to juice it up again.

The water hits the Pyrex dish. The Pyrex dish explodes. Glass flies through the air. We scream and dodge and duck. The oven is filled with shards -- all trinkle-trinkle sounding then it's all quiet and sizzly. The cook is panting in his towel. Me? I'm a little baffled, but still warm.

The 13 year old boy standing by says, "Asian restaurant, anyone? Fa ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra raaaaa." (Quoting the film ... need I tell you?)

Eventually? There is a Christmas Pizza miracle.

(Little tip: Don't eat chicken with glass in it.)

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The 12 Days of ... What?


A week or so after I wrote this piece and I finally SAW the latest episode of THE OFFICE, on demand. And, well, there's their riff.
Great minds, etc ...

Okay, people, let's break this down. If your true love is really giving you the stuff in the 12 days of Christmas, your true love might be, well, loony. And by loony, I mean COMPLETELY OFF THE ROCKER!

Day 1
A partridge in a pear tree.
Does this mean that, while you were sleeping, your true love came over to your house and dug a hole and planted a pear tree (which really dies quickly in winter, by the way!) and put a bird in that tree?
Do partridges do well in winter?
Are you waking up to a frozen bird in a frozen tree?

Day 2
2 turtledoves.
Again with the livestock? I hope these, at least, are put in a cage and delivered, all warm and snug, to the house.

Day 3
3 French Hens.
Seriously! What's with the birds?

Day 4
4 Calling birds.
This is ridiculous!

Day 5
5 Golden Rings.
NOW we're talkin'. Okay, so you were about to send your true love to a therapist, but the golden rings? You're thinking -- maybe it's fine. Maybe my true love went through some weird bird phase, but it's done now!

Day Six -- You're wrong.
Six geese a-laying.

Day Seven -- Now you're googling bird-related mental disorders because ... it's seven swans a-swimming. Your house is filled with feathers and eggs and you've had to put in an inflatable kiddie pool for the swans ... and it's winter so it freezes. Lovely.

Day Eight
8 Maids a-milking.
Is that legal? Can you give someone a maid? And if they're a-milking, did we also get eight cows? I live in a two-bedroom apartment with only a flip-out futon for guests.

Day Nine
9 Ladies Dancing
I'm assuming that they're just there for a short period of time dancing, because birds and cows don't smell good when all cooped up in an apartment during the winter.
The futon only comfortably accommodates one lady.

Day Ten
10 Lords a-leaping
Well, I know what they're leaping over. Cow patties and fallen dancers and eggs and birds ... Were those rings worth it?

Day Eleven
11 Pipers Piping
Oh, that's just what we need. Pipers piping. A little noise to go with the squawking birds and the mooing cows and the swans complaining about the kiddie pool fiasco. (Zip it, SWANS!)

The neighbors have now called the cops. There are multiple noise and livestock violations. The maids, dancers, leaping lords, pipers and drummers are all none-too-pleased. They're missing their own holidays, you know, something quiet and normal, little appropriate gifts in little appropriate boxes.

True love, what's wrong with a sweater? How about some light-up reindeer socks?
Everyone loves leg-warmers!

Monday, December 7, 2009

BEWARE: Wrapping Paper Drownings!

After the holidays -- if you're one to partake in all of the mayhem of holidays -- you will want to keep your wits about you. There are dangers, as you well know, when it comes to wrapping paper.

"Paper cuts!" you cry out.

Well, yes, paper cuts, after which you must be very careful about your interaction with both salt and citrus.

But what you may not know is that every year there are countless near-drownings in -- you guessed it -- wrapping paper.

Your family may go knee-deep in wrapping paper by, say, 7 am on Christmas morning -- or, let's say day three of Hanukkah. You may be waist-deep after the aunties have swarmed in. And by evening -- what with do-gooders popping in with unwanted items like fruitcake (and they wrap it like it's a gift! -- you may be in over your head.

Fear not! Here are some holiday tips to avoid wrapping paper drowning.

A. Head to high ground. Sofas! TV stands! Coffee tables.

B. Don't let a younger sibling pull you down. Shake 'em loose and SAVE YOURSELF. Once on a sofa, you can throw them a life line -- dad's new neckties, tree lights, curtain rods.

C. Swim parallel to the shoreline -- also good advice in a riptide.

D. Grab a moving ankle and ride it to safety.

E. Don't leave small children unattended. C'mon, people.

I know, I know. You're going to forget all of these tips because you'll be crazed by gifts. You'll be completely fogged and dazed and, of course, you'll be cradling your favorite gift -- THE EVER BREATH!!! -- in your arms. What I suggest is reading that book -- oh, that brilliant book!!! -- high up some place. Top bunks. Tree forts. Curled like cats on the backs of armchairs.


Fear not!

Baggott & Bode

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Angsta Rap

Baggott & Bode have been writing rap lyrics, rhyming things with "Old Navy" and "Ikea furniture". (You think it's easy to find a rhyme for Ikea Furniture? You try it!)

Basically, we were pretty sure we'd invented -- not Gangsta rap, that's been done. See Wikipedia. But ANGSTA RAP -- you know suburban, existential angst rap. (You can wikipedia Existential Angst, too, if you want. I think it's why babies haul off and cry for no reason except that it's really shocking sometimes to realize that, well, you exist! By the way, if you're reading this blog, you exist.)

Sorry to report, though, that we googled "Angsta Rap" and, once we'd sorted through the posts by people who'd really just misspelled "Gangsta rap," we found that people had already come up with the term Angsta Rap, which is sad and disappointing and makes us angsty -- but it won't stop us from creating our ART!

And now we're off to find a rhyme for the line "I really dig my new pet hamster" and lyrics for our new song, "Nerf Guns Can Really Sting, Yo."

Peace out!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


There is one saving grace to Thanksgiving – at one point in history, one brave soul stepped forward and changed the course of food history – that dear sweet inventor who first put marshmallows into the sweet potatoes! I worship and adore this person – her name long forgotten, lost in the sands of time. But this is a chef after my own heart! In fact, I truly believe we should shove MORE marshmallows into foods – Why not put marshmallows into borscht, which has always needed a boost? Why not spaghetti and marshmallows? Why not a add marshmallows to your most egregious vegetables – namely Brussels sprouts (no offense to the country of Brussels, but seriously if this is the best vegetable you can come up, hang your heads in shame!)

As a child, I was so enamored by the sheer culinary genius of this unsung hero of Thanksgiving that I built full-sized statue – although I didn’t really know what she looked like – I called it the Unknown Chef. Unfortunately, in a rash moment of inspiration, I decided to construct the stature out of marshmallows, and because I’d erected it in a public park – a logically place for such a monument – it melted in the rain. (but oh, the pigeons loved it! Pecked at it till it was all gone! {Proving, once again, how everyone loves marshmallows.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Baggott & Bode Nearly Implode -- meeting Carl Hiaasen

Baggott & Bode -- aka the two of us, which is really just one person because Bode is a pen name (confused yet?) -- went to the Sanibel Island Writers Conference where we did writerly authorial things like: use big words to impress others, gesture wildly with our hands knocking over book stacks and water glasses, argued with other writers about points of grammar (semicolon? you call THAT a semicolon?).

Was it a writerly petting zoo (as Bode describes at the beginning of THE SLIPPERY MAP where he was suffering from a slump and smelled like failure)?

Well, kind of. There were writers and readers. Were there hardened corn kernels fed to the authors like they were goats in an ACTUAL petting zoo? No. (But there were bonbons.)

Was Bode's nemesis there? That evil creative writing professor who, consumed by jealousy, is always trying to hunt him down? Hard to say. The man is a master of disguise. He could have dressed as a portly waiter and tried to poison Bode with aforementioned bonbons. It didn't work. (Bode has cut back on the bonbon intake -- the chocolate makes him spazzy. And he's already spazzy.)

But something DID happen at this conference ... something quite startling.

Baggott & Bode were the warm-up act for (drum roll .... okay I already mentioned his name in the headline ...) CARL HIAASEN,

We were hanging out with the writerly writer Steve Almond. Almond was gesticulating about a point of politics. (See his piece in the Boston Globe, if you're a grown up and into gesticulation about points of politics.) And Baggott & Bode were saying things like, "You sure about that? Is that wise? Wouldn't you prefer to discuss the semicolon?" (We have firm feelings about the semicolon. Completely uncompromising.)

Almond gave up on us and said, "Hey, look. There's Hiaasen, if you want to meet him."

Want to meet him? We want to scream like Beetles fans and rush him like a herd of mad water buffalo and make him sign pool towels!

So, we shrug and say, "Huh. Maybe we'll, ya know, introduce ourselves." And we amble/jog in a spazzy way to Hiaasen.

Now what is Hiaasen doing at said poolside hotel?

He is playing ... get this ... shuffle board! With his son! And his wife!

This is CRAZY! Hiaasen plays shuffle board? (We're taking up shuffle board pronto. This is obviously where he gets his brilliant writing ideas!)

We introduce ourselves in that schizophrenic way we have -- meant to charm but sometimes it repels.

And here's what Hiaasen says, "Hey, nice to meet you." INSANE! I KNOW.

And we -- get this -- SHAKE HANDS!

And then we talk in murfled voices about the reading and what he might read and what we might read.

Two things about Hiaasen -- he has nice teeth. Really top drawer teeth. Shiny, white, straight. He's smiley. AND he's on the thin side. A real trim fella.

And while I'm saying things, I'll add this. He looks like he's got money. Now I'm not saying he's wearing some fancy watch or anything. He just has that at ease with his moneyness that people with money have.

AND he's super cool -- like he can play shuffle board with one hand in his pants pocket.

Being super cool ourselves, we didn't scream or rush him or insist he sign things (books, yes, later, but not pool towels). We were like, whatev ... like we meet Hiaasen playing shuffle board everyday and it's like no biggie.

And then the conference bullied on and we did read before Hiaasen, really warming up the crowd for him, you know, Baggott & Bode style.

He got up there next and just started riffing with his great teeth and his thinness and all.

And that's it.

No implosions ... until ... well, there are ALWAYS implosions with Baggott & Bode.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Ever Breath Cover Image Exercise

Here's the WILD cover to THE EVER BREATH. (For a bigger version, click here.)

This is a book that is ALMOST on bookshelves ... ALMOST. So now is THE moment to DREAM UP what the book might be about.

This image is full of smaller images, odd details, creatures and characters.

Gaze and imagine ... and then write the story you think you might find in this books pages.

Be wild, inventive, imaginative ... LET YOUR GLITTERY MINDS WANDER!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Breath World FOOD-of-the-Day!

In THE EVER BREATH, there exists a Breath World and, in it, there are LOTS of strange foods.

So, here's a today's BREATH WORLD FOOD-OF-THE-DAY ... YOU decide what it tastes like, how it's made, if you'd EVER eat it.

Fatty lard cakes and tarty tarts.


Now invent your own ... crazy food.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Breath World FOOD-of-the-Day!

In THE EVER BREATH, there exists a Breath World and, in it, there are LOTS of strange foods.

So, here's a today's BREATH WORLD FOOD-OF-THE-DAY ... YOU decide what it tastes like, how it's made, if you'd EVER eat it.

Root jerky.


Now invent your own ... crazy food.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


So, here's a today's BREATH WORLD WORD-OF-THE-DAY ... YOU decide what it means.

A Jarkman.

Definition? Use it in a sentence?

Invent your own definition!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


So, here's a today's BREATH WORLD WORD-OF-THE-DAY ... YOU decide what it means.

an urf

Definition? Use it in a sentence?

Invent your own definition!

You Want to See a Crazy Baby -- Don't You?

Admit it. You like crazy babies. You want to see a crazy baby, right now.

You want to see one saying, "Go ahead, make my day!" like Clint Eastwood.

You want to see one pretending to be Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, saying, "You complete me!"

You do!

I know it.

So, okay, fine: click here!

(It's YouTube so I apologize for all those in schools and You-Tube blocked. For upcoming videos we will make every effort to TeacherTube them!)

Monday, November 2, 2009


In THE EVER BREATH, there are words in this OTHER WORLD that don't exist in our language -- or, well, some of them are words that existed ages ago, but were forgotten ... in our world.

So, here's a today's BREATH WORLD WORD-OF-THE-DAY ... YOU decide what it means.


Definition? Use it in a sentence?

Invent your own definition!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Invent CRAZY Foods --

In THE EVER BREATH, there is WEIRD food galore!

Here's a sampling of things you might find on a menu in this OTHER world:

apple-dipped jelly yolks

pear noodles

minced toffee-dipped choy

Lemon-dotted fiddle faddle

cherry-scented chocolate broth

sugar-crusted angel bread

So ... if you wandered into a different world, what foods would YOU find?

Make a list, share it with friends ... be gooey, be sweet, be weird and wild!

Advice from N.E. Bode: Birthday Parties, Beware

If thinking of having your birthday party guests play Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey, do not use an actual, live donkey.

I've learned from experience. Long story. All true.

(Sorry, Suzy Clottish! Sorry, Bongo the Donkey!)

Sincerely (and I mean that),


(Books by N.E. Bode -- THE ANYBODIES Trilogy, THE SLIPPERY MAP ...)

Creature Assembly -- A Do It Yourself Creature Kit

Listen, ever-brilliant kids of various types:

Here's something to do with your brains. Make a list of animals. Kangaroo, poodle, beaver, crab, parakeet ... anything at all. Let's say five.

Then list two characteristics of each one.

For kangaroo you might right: pouch, jumper.

For poodle: tail-wagger, cutely named usually (like Gigi or PiffPiff).

Then pick one trait from each and create your own creature.

You might end up with a bouncy, buck-toothed, winged creature with sharp pincers, named Pookiedoodle.

Or a hard-shelled, tail-wagging, dam-building, creature who carries her young in a pouch.

OR ... I really have NO IDEA what you might come up with because you're you and you have a brilliantly odd brain in your head.

Mix and match until you find the perfect one. Illustrate.

(Feel like sharing? There's the comment box ...)

From the shared brain of ...
Baggott & Bode

(The Ever Breath is coming ... Beware!)