Ask Ceil – News Cakes

Dear Ceil,

Aren’t cupcakes just small cakes? Why are they so exciting?

Edible in Erie

Dear Edible,

I’m not sure. When something is smaller, for some reason, it’s more desirable. Like miniature poodles. Or mini cameras. Or mini aardvark/earthpigs.

So cute. And sharp.
So cute. And sharp.

But when something is bigger it’s also desirable. Like cake. And more cake. (And then there’s the minivan, which is supposed to be big, but has the name of something small, which no one wants but everyone has. It’s the platypus of consumer objects.)

So, the issue is one of size. Or is it?

The cupcake has a star spokesperson (Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex in the City”). It has it’s own TV show (“Cupcake wars”). It even has a nifty selling device. Let’s face it: Cupcakes have a marketing machine pushing their little crumbly interiors into our hearts. No other dessert has that.

It just doesn’t seem fair. I mean, Where is the 20-show Food Network contract for chocolate mousse? Where’s the cool way to buy panna cotta? Who will speak up for the tiramisus of the world?

I say to you now: I will. I will speak up for tiramisu. If I must, I will be the standard-bearer for the light, delicious, mocha, slightly-alcoholic dessert. Watch out cupcakes. I’m coming for you. Me and my stack of tiramisu will overtake you in the hearts of Americans. If I have to eat all the tiramisu in a 50-mile radius, then that’s what I’m prepared to do.

If cupcakes want to go toe to toe–or, frosted head to frosted head. I just got my hair colored–I’m ready to eat them up. I’m not afraid of anything, let alone a small cake with icing. I’ll bet tiramisu can beat up cupcakes, and leave them weeping in an alley, crying for their larger two-tiered eight-inch round cake mothers. And I’ll be right there watching.

Fear me. Fear my dessert.

Dear Ceil,

I just read a pointless news article. Is there any way to reclaim my five minutes?

Wasting in Washington

Dear Wasting,

Yes! No. I’m sorry. No, there’s no way to get it back. But how do you know it was pointless? Maybe it just didn’t have a point right now. There’s a chance that it might have relevance to your life if given time.

Let’s look at the current news stories that I have found irresistible. Please note, these are not the only stories I’ve read, but I’ve spared you most of the death and destruction that I get to read in my average day. Proceed to the uselessness!

Lady Gaga Talks to Oprah About Her Infamous Meat Dress

Now I have to admit, I read this because I just can’t get me enough news about meatwear. I had wondered if she covered her ribs with ribs. Her loins with… well, you get the picture. I wondered if she’d had a cardigan made of gravy, of if anyone thought of putting mashed potatoes on her sides. But no, the article wasn’t about that. Let me save you some trouble, because you also had to click on a video and listen to it (like you have the time for that). At the end of the night, the meat dress started to smell, which she was happy about, because she doesn’t like to talk to celebrities and had hoped they would stay away from her.

  • The takeaway: Raw meat smells when you wear it for a while.
  • Why it’s good to know: Just in case you’re in your kitchen and you’re wondering, “What is that smell?” look around and see if you just used a meat dress, or some meat pants. That might be your issue.

M.I.A. Takes on Anderson Cooper in Twitter Feud

I read this article because I wanted to see if Anderson Cooper had actually gotten angry. Turns out that he firmly but civilly pointed out the inconsistencies in M.I.A.’s accusations. She understood what he was saying. Everything ended very cordially, with both sides reaching common ground.

  • The takeaway: You really can always count on Anderson Cooper to be a nice guy.
  • Why it’s good to know: If you ever find yourself broken down on the beltway and Anderson Cooper drives by, you know he’ll be happy to call someone for you, even if you inaccurately insult him.

5 Ways to Thwart Rising Airfares

Not that I’m going anywhere by air. Or by land. Or by sea. But just in case I decide to go, I can count on this article to point out things that I’ve known for a long, long time. Flexible dates. Leave on a Tuesday. Try alternate airports.

The only thing that saved this article from being a total waste of time was its advice to set fare alerts, which I always forget to do. Because I’m exactly the kind of person who can leave at a moment’s notice!

  • The takeaway: No one has any new ideas for saving money on airfare. If you’re going somewhere, plan on opening your wallet. Wide.
  • Why it’s good to know: If you decide to write an article for the travel industry, it’s good to know that they’re still printing the same old stale junk. Maybe the easy money you make from re-printing ideas from 1995 will help pay for your next plane ticket!

The Complete Guide to Ordering Wine

I can’t imagine why this was so interesting to me. Nope. Not at all.

This guide to ordering wine actually helps you pronounce the names of the wines. Like, if you’ve been pronouncing “Pinot” like “Peanut”. It’s also pretty helpful in gauging how stupid and self-conscious you should feel when you make a mistake ordering wine. There is some helpful information about wine descriptions and wine pairings, but you have to get past all the places where you feel like a small, small, ignorant person first.

  • The takeaway: You can’t be too careful when ordering wine. Imagine the embarrassment.
  • Why it’s good to know: It’s fun to find out how long it takes for your First-World-Problems-Meter to go off.

Pope Benedict Orders Up His Own Personal Cologne

You know, I saved this one for last. Just for you. You know who you are. So, it was really interesting to find out that the Pope enjoys wooded scents that were reminiscent of nature and oh wait. No it wasn’t. I completely didn’t care, except that it seemed a little odd for a guy who hangs out with incense so much to be wanting more woody scents. I found it mildly intriguing that he couldn’t head down to the local Macy’s and get a bottle of something that might do the trick. Those women with the spritzers are everywhere. But hey, everyone has their thing, and if the Pontiff likes to customize his sniff, that’s… really boring. People will weigh in on the inconsistencies of preaching to sacrifice while, you know, doing this. But not me.

  • The takeaway: Stories about cologne and hypocrisy still get media attention. And the Pope likes nature-inspired fragrances.
  • Why it’s good to know: It’ll be a nice enhancement to your typical joke. “A minister, a rabbi and a really good-smelling Pope walk into a bar…”

Ceil Kessler would love to drink some wine with a great-smelling Pope. Aside from that, she’s a fan of cake–cup or any other kind–she almost never spends time with Lady Gaga or Anderson Cooper (though she hears he’s a nice guy), and does not travel as often as she’d like. Not even out of the house. You can read her two short stories at, and feel free to contact her if you would like her to write something for you. She’s for hire. Cheap.


One thought on “Ask Ceil – News Cakes

  1. Long ago, I posted a recipe to my blog on making tiramisu in a canning jar, and keeping them in the fridge, so they’d always be ready. Unfortunately, I was new enough at the blogging thing that I did not tag it with “tiramisu.” Maybe I’ll go back and change it…nah, life’s too short.

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