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Even Better Than The Real Thing: Making U2 3D

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"Uno! Dos! Tres! Catorce!" The 90,000 fans in the Buenos Aires soccer stadium shout along with the lead singer Bono as guitarist The Edge responds with the turbo-charged opening chords of "Vertigo." It's the perfect song to start the breathtaking rollercoaster of U2 3D, the 15/70 and digital 3D release from National Geographic and 3ality Digital.

Cake and Bake: Flag Cakes the Easy Way

By Alix Clyburn, June 30,2009

The glory of the Obama inauguration aside, it’s been a pretty rough time to be an American, and many of us are feeling it. Wars, waterboarding, W., foreclosures, financial foolishness ... Hell, Farrah and Michael Jackson just died. But you know what? Saturday is the Fourth of July and goddammit, that means it’s time to take a moment and salute the flag. I prefer my tributes to the land of my birth to be corny and sweet. No reading the Declaration of Independence aloud for me. Too earnest. But no snarky Eurotrash derision either. This is a great country with a great history well worth celebrating. That’s why I strongly encourage all of you, when inevitably invited to one of the holiday’s de rigueur festive barbecues or get-togethers, to bring the flag cake. (If you’re doing the hosting yourself, this is your dessert.) Full disclosure: this is the Donald Rumsfeld of cakes -- it will shock and awe at first, but is frankly kind of stupid.

Buy two boxes of cake mix. I like the chocolate organic from Whole Foods, but everyone will devour Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines as well. It’s cake. You can do either chocolate or yellow, but in light of the current residents at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., I say skip the yellow. Make or buy white frosting. Spectacular frosting is easy to make but requires alarming quantities of unsalted butter and confectioners’ sugar. If you are steeled for the knowledge of just how much, the recipe is below. You can also buy perfectly tasty tubs of pre-made frosting in any supermarket. Make a big sheet cake -- that’s the cake mix above baked on a large rectangular pan. Frost the cake with the white stuff. Then take a bunch of blueberries and strawberries and recreate our beloved flag atop the cake. Slice the strawberries once lengthwise, perhaps, to heighten ease of use. Voila! This cake screams “I love America!” just the way a cake should on the fourth day of July. Note to Type A perfectionists: the flag does not need to be an exact replica. No need for 50 stars (white spots between blueberries, or star-shaped squirts of frosting for the more advanced among you), and no need for seven rows of strawberries. People will get that it’s a flag, so just relax.

If you really want to take it up a notch, or have pyro tendencies, pick up a pack of sparklers and light the cake before you present it to the crowd. But be careful. I did this once, after “celebrating” our nation’s birth with one too many of everything, and started to freak out as the sparks went flying while I was carrying the cake to the patio. I ended up panicking, screeching “Help! Somebody take this cake! Take it! Take it!” ... which did not really contribute to the image I was going for. Like I said, it’s the Rumsfeld of cakes.

Sick Delicious Frosting 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 4 to 6 cups confectioners’ sugar ½ cup milk 2 tsp vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 2 ½ cups of the sugar, and then the milk and then the vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy with an electric mixer on medium speed, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be good for spreading. There may be some leftover sugar. Room temperature is best for spreading, as the icing sets when it chills.

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Green with Children

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