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May 7, 1999

INTERNATIONAL NO-DIET DAY was yesterday. "Diets" (as we know them) don't work (though exercise and yummy healthy eating are always BG-endorsed) -- so don't start one today, either, okay?

SMOKEHOUSE HAM, SPOONBREAD, & SCUPPERNONG WINE. To that end, I recommend this collection -- named this week as the 1999 James Beard/KitchenAid Cookbook of the Year -- of recipes and folklore from Southern Appalachia.

WAKE UP, I'M FAT. Not to mention this recipe for pride from Camryn Manheim. Hey, she'll be at the Barnes & Noble / Upper West Side at 7:30 PM on Tuesday (May 11).

FEEL THIS BOOK/SIGN THIS BOOK. Ooh, and the night before, catch two of BG's fave talents -- Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo -- t the Chelsea B&N. Hey, Gregoire, I saw JG at Catch a Rising Star's (RIP) Christmas party last year, but was afraid to say anything (even superheros get starstruck). But I did once run into Ben outside Catch -- lightning struck twice! -- and played my ace in the hole: I told him I loved the "Creepy Board" sketch (can't explain now; I'll fall off my chair laughing, and I've got to write the rest of the list); he was very impressed. Tip: when meeting stars, be specific.

BELLA TUSCANY. Do you realize that BG actually read Frances Mayes' first divine book ... in Tuscany? Sipping espresso and nibbling biscotti on the terrace of a villa?! Non sto scherzando. Thanks, Euro-Doll!

THE TORNADO. The shapely new attraction at Dollywood, whose namesake -- one of BG's All-Time Favorite Women -- says, natch, "This ride has big features and curves, just like me!"

THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN RIDE. Meanwhile, BG spy Andy J. checked out this new attraction at Universal Studios' new Islands of Adventure. Still breathless, he reports: "Combines incredible 3D action with roller-coaster effects. Your mission is to help Spiderman take on Dr. Octopus and four of his henchmen, who have taken the Statue of Liberty hostage with their new 'anti-gravity' gun. Things are going well until Dr. Octopus catches you and turns the weapon on you. Soon you're swinging -- really! -- from skyscraper to skyscraper across the New York skyline. Along comes Spidey to the rescue, saving you and foiling the bad guy's evil plan. People talk about the new rollercoasters (Incredible Hulk and Dueling Dragons) at this theme park, but this is the best kept secret. [Ooops! -- BG] It raises the bar to new heights for 3D simulators. In fact, people broke into spontaneous applause when this ride ended." (Andy, who is a grown man, was in Florida for work, just so you know.)

FOR PEET''S SAKE. Okay, the actual anniversary was last month, but BG is still enjoying her stash of Peet's Coffee's new Anniversary Blend. The best coffee on the planet/the reason BG is able to answer her e-mail so early in the morning.

NANCY MACE. Last Saturday, Mace, 21, became the first female cadet to graduate from South Carolina's infamous Citadel. I have two things to say about this: (1) GO, GIRL! and (2) What is she thinking?

MOTHER'S DAY. This Sunday. Send a card. I love you, Breakup Mom.

(Mad props -- moms: that's good -- to Official Someone Else's Mom, Belleruth, and to Webmaster Mom, too.)

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