Of Ice Cream Bread and Pope Fights

B Dylan Holis — https://www.youtube.com/c/BDylanHollis

This week I will make ice cream bread.

I will mix 2 cups of soft, full fat ice cream with 1.5 cups of all purpose flour and 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder. I will spread it in a greased loaf pan and bake it at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Sourdough, it is not. And I cannot wait! I have Daughter to thank for this adventure, among others.

She found B Dylan Holis online last year, and we are both big fans. He has a music degree and lives, I think, in Wyoming. He posts brief, hilarious, informative, and educational baking videos on TikTok, and cross posts on YouTube. Recipes come from vintage periodical cookbooks and community compilations, many from the early 20th Century. Sometimes he records extended versions of his most popular videos, with deeper explanations of recipe origins and historical food culture. I love BDH because he is at once respectful and irreverent, knowledgeable and curious. And he’s fun. All of his videos are experiments. Some recipes turn out as gross as we anticipate, and some surprise us. Check him out, I bet you’ll like his work.

Daughter also loves Overly Sarcastic Productions, or OSP. ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ are friends and the primary narrators and animators. “We make videos about myths, literature, and history — because learning can, in fact, actually be enjoyable, despite what prior experiences might have shown you.” Daughter plays the videos in the car, the kitchen, the living room. Once again, respectful irreverence rules, as well as sharp wit and lightning fast history and literature lessons. Their Pope Fights series especially fascinated Daughter, and provided rich context when we watched The Borgias on Netflix this past summer.

We also admire Hank Green, who posts videos on all things biology, science, and history. He aims his YouTube content at both teachers and students, but it’s his TikToks that we love–little diatribes about random things, and almost always funny and informative. It’s just wonderful that creative, smart, and effectively communicative people now, in the 21st Century, have easy access to expansive platforms to educate and entertain. We just have to be discerning about our consumption.

Finally, check out Cinema Therapy! Alan and Jonathan, a filmmaker and licensed therapist, respectively, are also old college friends who love watching and talking about movies. Their videos parse out stereotypes, tropes, relationship dynamics, communication skills, and overall filmmaking wonderness, all with laughter and pragmatism for application in real life. They elevate our awareness of things we take for granted in entertainment, making us more thoughtful and conscious consumers of our movies.

It’s harder every year to put down our devices. Media abounds, and it’s too easy to let FoMO drive our lives, getting stuck scrolling through meaningless, valueless drivel. I think Daughter has found some worthwhile programs, though. We do our best to moderate. She has expanded my world, and I am grateful.


Paraphrase: “No matter how big the world gets; (we) still want/need to return home”

NaBloPoMo 2020 – Today’s Lesson

I love my Chinese and Asian heritage.

Do you have Netflix?  What did you get it for?  Daughter wanted it for “Avatar: The Last Air Bender” after we watched the first season on Amazon Prime.  Son wanted it just to have more access to movies.  I resisted.  I finally got it to watch “The Social Dilemma,” as if I could not be an informed citizen without it.  Now we (benefit) from everything on the site. *sigh*

I got into Avatar, not against my will, but not on purpose.  And I’m happy about it.  The voices are all American, but the animation and ethos are Asian.  I’m told the ‘bending’ styles of the four elemental tribes (earth, water, air, fire) are each inspired by a different form of martial art.  The movements of the characters reminded me of old kung fu movies from childhood.  The philosophical expressions also rang familiar.  It was all rather comforting, I bonded with Daughter, and I was sad when it ended.

Then we watched “A Silent Voice”.  I learned that in Asian films dubbed into English, the spoken and subtitled words are different.  Interesting.  Both kids already knew.

Now we’re into “It’s OK to Not Be OK”, which is Korean.  We read the subtitles.  I love seeing people who look like me, even though I don’t understand their language.  There’s only one season.  We will watch a classical Chinese drama next, “Eternal Love”.  That will surely take me back to “Chu Liu Xiang”, my favorite kung fu soap opera ever, whose lead actor at one time (think Dr. Who) shared my last name, 鄭.

Joy Luck Club, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Crazy Rich Asians… How joyous to rediscover some roots, and share them with the kids, too.

Feeeel Your Feelings…In Songs!


Wow, 31st day!  I guess I really love this writing practice…

My kids introduced me to “Mamma Mia!” the movie a couple months ago.  Oh my gosh SO FUN!  The cast, the scenery, the music!!  ABBA!!!  And the epilogue scene of them all singing “Waterloo” is one of my favorite musical numbers, ever!  I intend to convene a group of friends to reenact the singing/dancing scenes someday, what a great workout that would be, and to such great music!

I just love when the kids and I watch our favorite movies together—Harry Potter, Avengers, and now some musicals.  Driving to Target today, after watching the second “Mamma Mia!” movie, I realized why I like these two films so much.  It wasn’t just watching how much fun the actors obviously had making it, and oh my gosh CHER (I can still picture on the cover of my dad’s Half Breed album), and the cute story.  It was the emotions.  In both of these movies, the characters all feel their emotions freely.  There is no repressing, numbing (well, maybe some–cake, anyone?), offloading, or prolonged rationalization.  The sadness, loneliness, regret, anger, and longing, the fear and the lust, as well as the love, loyalty, devotion, grief, forgiveness, and hope—the characters display them all without shame or self-judgment.  And even better, they reach out to each other for support and show up for one another in compassion and solidarity.

We also watched “While You Were Sleeping” today (it’s rainy outside and we are movie people), also a perennial favorite for me.  My daughter says she doesn’t like it because of the lying.  It’s stressful to keep secrets and maintain false appearances.  Even watching it makes some of us uncomfortable—and now that I think about it some more, I recognize the visceral anxiety of seeing it on screen.  There are many ways to create tension and conflict in a story.  The “Mamma Mia!” movies do it in a lighthearted way that feels more fun than most.

In these days of widespread deception, false pretense, mistrust, evasiveness, and broken relationships, musicals like this uplift my family and me.  What a cheer for all that is good about humanity, what a vote of confidence for our silly species!  So grateful.  We will continue to watch repeatedly, I guarantee it.