Friday, January 29, 2010

I can’t believe I almost forgot this.

Please allow me to extend my very best wishes for a happy World Leprosy Day. I don’t know how (or if) you plan to celebrate, but I’ve decided to order Chinese food and watch a couple of old movies. I checked the local newspaper earlier today and didn’t see any organized World Leprosy Day activities anywhere in the Dallas metro area, which surprised me because Dallas is typically a party town. Incidentally, you’ll be glad to know there’s still time to send free World Leprosy Day e-cards to your friends, relatives and co-workers. Thank you.

Poetic justice and a sleet-free Friday.

Crime and punishment. The big news today hails from Chicago, my home town, where a federal appeals court overturned a recent probation sentence given to former Alderman Edward “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak by U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur. Shadur had sentenced Vrdolyak to five years of probation after getting caught and pleading guilty to a $1.5 million kickback scheme from a rigged city college real estate deal. The federal government is demanding a sentence more appropriate to the crime: 41 months in prison. So why is this such a big hoo-hah? Because Ed Vrdolyak has been a gangster disguised as a public servant for decades. He masterminded most of Chicago’s most notorious payoffs, scams, illegal deals, hidden agendas and hiring schemes and never served a day in jail. In this most recent incident Vrdolyak wound up with probation because the court received hundreds of letters of support from his pals, cronies, highly-placed relatives and even Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. The feds wisely decided this was all a pile of cow poo and overturned it. I, for one, can’t wait to see a photo of Fast Eddie in stripes reporting to the penitentiary in Joliet. Mazel tov!

Another winter warning gone awry. Surprise, surprise ... the crappy frozen weather I mentioned in my January 27 post never materialized here. We had a few thundershowers last night followed by a temperature drop, but apparently the worst of it hit the Texas panhandle (nowhere near Dallas) with a foot of snow and then moved north into Oklahoma, where they’re buried under three inches of solid ice. I’m actually fine with that because everybody knows Oklahoma is a much better spot for an ice storm. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Planning ahead for bogus weather.

I think there’s some winter weather headed our way. It’s hard to tell for sure. According to we’re expecting light rain tonight and most of the day tomorrow, heavy rain and possible thunderstorms tomorrow night, a cold front overnight Thursday into Friday morning that could turn everything into a quarter inch (or more) of ice ... and then a chance of light snow on top of the ice if you live north if Interstate 20. Counties closer to the Oklahoma border could get slammed.

So what exactly does this mean for the Dallas metro area? Nobody knows. Nobody EVER knows. I spent half an hour reading four different warning messages on and all I actually got from them were meaningless words like “chance,” “possible” and “could.” For all I know we might end up with 65° and sunshine. The bottom line is, weather reports (bogus or otherwise) don’t really matter to me at all because I never actually go anywhere. Life is perfect if I’ve got Sam, pudding and Turner Classic Movies. Thank you for reading this.

Comfort food for the middle of winter.

Hi. I just realized something. A while back I promised to share my famous recipe for Marcycita’s South-of-the-Border Tamale Pie ... so here it is at last. This is extremely easy to assemble, feeds a crowd and TASTES TERRIFIC. If you decide to try it, feel free to comment and let me know what you think, okay? (Hardly anybody ever leaves a comment. You should give it a shot sometime. Thank you.)
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2¼ lbs. lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 16 oz. can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn niblets
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1½ cups yellow cornmeal
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
Coat a large nonstick skillet with vegetable cooking spray. Crumble the beef into the skillet, add the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring to break up any lumps of meat, until onion is lightly browned and the meat no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the oregano, red pepper flakes, cumin, pinto beans, tomatoes, corn, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil. In a mixing bowl combine the cornmeal with remaining ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Gradually whisk in 1 cup cold water until smooth. Slowly stir the wetted cornmeal into the boiling water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the cornmeal mixture gets very thick, about 3 minutes.

Lightly coat a 13" x 9" glass baking pan with cooking spray. Spoon the beef mixture into the bottom of the pan. Top with the cooked cornmeal and spread evenly to cover (a rubber spatula works great for this). Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top. Bake until the cornmeal crust is set and the cheese is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Incidentally, I know this recipe looks like a lot of work, but it’s really just a spicy ground beef mixture with a cornmeal crust and cheese. One pan will serve 6 people with normal appetites or fewer people who like to eat a lot of food. Sam LOVES it. If this picture doesn’t make you hungry there might be something wrong with you. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

There’s no such thing as too much reality.

Sometimes Sam and I diverge where TV is concerned, typically along traditional gender lines: he’ll watch reruns of “Married With Children” and I never miss “Project Runway.” But there’s one genre that brings us together in a hurry: LAW ENFORCEMENT. We’re totally addicted to TruTV’s “Cops” and “Inside American Jail” ... and we can’t wait for the new series that debuts January 31, “Las Vegas Jailhouse.”

For us, these shows are like sporting events. We recognize some of the officers by name, we cheer and shout at the screen and we LOVE it when they bring the barking German shepherds and the tasers. Our favorite thing on “Cops” is when they tackle a slippery idiot and sit on his head to subdue him. It’s GREAT. The police are all yelling RELAX and STOP RESISTING ... and some freaked-out loser is squashed on the ground with officers sitting all over him and a camera in his face. Our second-favorite thing is when handcuffs aren’t enough and they have to carry a loser to the squad car hog-tied.

“Inside American Jail” pretty much continues where “Cops” leaves off ... you get to see what happens in local jails after an arrest. This is EXCELLENT STUFF. Police in jails don’t take any crap whatsoever from the steady parade of slobs showing up on any given night. Hookers, drunks, loudmouths who got in a fight, half-naked transvestites yanked off public transportation, mother-daughter shoplifting teams, DUIs, burglars, you name it. Sam and I especially love the jerk who refuses to follow directions because he’ll end up with a bunch of huge cops tying him down in a RESTRAINT CHAIR (see image) ... and it gets even better if they have to put a spit mask on his head, which makes him look like a PUMPKINHEAD and you can tell they’re all trying not to laugh. (They don’t try very hard, however.)

I haven’t told Sam yet, but there’s one more TruTV reality series that I started watching last week: “Operation Repo,” about a family of enormous, frightening Hispanics with tattoos who repossess cars all over L.A. Trust me: PAY YOUR BILLS. And thank you for reading this.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The thrill of victory, the agony of the feet.

So tonight I decided to bite the proverbial bullet and go to Tom Thumb for a pile of groceries ... the hell with my arthritic knees and the pain of plantar fasciitis. I actually started out pretty well, maneuvering up and down the first few aisles without crying and even struck up a brief conversation with a stock clerk at the dairy case about why is lowfat cottage cheese only available in small curd. (She didn’t know. None of them ever know. I’ve been asking for YEARS.)

Unfortunately, by the time I get to canned soup I’m in serious agony. I can’t bend my knees, my heels feel like I’m walking on red-hot spikes and the expression on my face is beginning to scare other customers. I try to finish up the rest of my shopping as fast as I can, but at this point my gait resembles something from Young Frankenstein and I think I’m starting to moan audibly. I finally make it to the front of the store when a passing manager casually says, “Hi! How you are tonight?” so I screech back, “I’M IN PAIN!” ... which must have been mighty convincing because he opened a checkstand just for me and asked two baggers to escort me to my car.

There’s a plus side to all this, however. I bought a new flavor of sugar-free Jello Mousse Pudding, a large container of Sam’s favorite broccoli salad from the deli and ingredients to make a pot of matzo ball soup. Shalom to all of you and have a lovely weekend. I’ll be stretched out on the couch with a bottle of Motrin.

Friday, January 22, 2010

All about pain and obsession.

Just so you know, I’ve practically been a shut-in for the last couple of weeks. My plantar fasciitis is driving me crazy again, this time just in my right heel. The pain is overwhelming (like I’m walking on broken glass) but it’s still better than the flare-up about a year ago when BOTH heels were so bad I couldn’t even stand. That’s when my doctor recommended SAS corrective shoes designed for this condition, and I haven’t worn anything else since. They look terrific with my cane.

Since I never go out any more I’ve had time to hang around the house and become obsessed with Johnny Mercer, the well-known American songwriter. Please don’t ask me to explain this, because I can’t. It all started a couple of months ago when I watched a documentary about him on TV in honor of his 100th birthday, and from that day on I was hooked. Seriously, I never knew he’d written anything besides “Moon River.” So I started reading about him, found several websites devoted to his life and work, and had fun discovering that Mercer wrote hundreds of extremely famous songs (“That Old Black Magic,” “Autumn Leaves,” “The Days of Wine and Roses”) ... and he recorded many of them as well. I even bought one of his CDs from And so, to round out this extremely nerd-like post you can click here to take a look at Mercer’s impressive 34-page song list and here’s a rare Johnny Mercer video clip from an old Rosemary Clooney TV show back in the 1950s. Thank you for reading this. You can sing along if you want to.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some days you just can’t get a decent nap.

I’ve been fantasizing about a juicy, uninterrupted nap since before breakfast. I need one, and I need it bad. This was primarily due to the fact that I had a very crappy night’s sleep but couldn’t go back to bed this morning because my maid service was here running from room to room with buckets and a vacuum cleaner, and by the time they were done at 1:00 I had to make lunch for Sam and me. When Sam left for work at 2:30 I was half-unconscious but the nap gods were against me.

My first big mistake was turning the TV to “The People’s Court,” because it was a GREAT SHOW with feuding ex-friends counter-suing each other for their delinquent children’s bail money, a house painter who walked off the job but refused to return his client’s deposit, and a jerky guy who scammed a kid by selling him a crap motorcycle through a deceptive ad on Craig’s List. I’m stretched out on the couch with my favorite blanket but can’t stop watching all these screaming sleazeballs waving receipts at each other. When the show ends at 4:00 I figure I can finally get some sleep ... except all of a sudden the weather outside turns into a scene from Key Largo and I find out we’ve got a TORNADO WARNING with a chance for 70 m.p.h. wind and quarter-size hail. So now I’m sitting bolt upright, staring out the window and listening to sirens on the Weather Channel.

Bottom line ... you’re always better off watching something boring on TV if you want to take a nap, like the Knitting Channel or just about anything with Gary Cooper in it. Thank you for reading this.

Something to do with your free time.

Happy Wednesday, y’all. I thought I’d take a minute before I go back to bed to point out a new Howdygram feature you may not have noticed. I just added a Favorites section to the right sidebar, so scroll down and enjoy some excellent places on the Internet. You’ll want to pay particular attention to two of the all-time best, Awkward Family Photos and the Ugly Record Album Showcase. Thank you ... and don’t forget to floss.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Monday retrospective.

So I’m doing a mountain of laundry in the next room and thought it might be useful to kill a couple of birds with the same rock and write today’s post while I have a little spare time. Mostly I’ve been musing about the Dallas Cowboys’ 34–3 loss yesterday against the Vikings. Apparently near the end of the game whiny Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking yelled at Vikings coach Brad Childress that his team exhibited a “lack of class” by running up the score unnecessarily. You know what? He’s an embarrassment. I find this crap absolutely appalling, considering it comes from another overrated, immature and seriously overpaid NFL player. This isn’t middle school, pal. If you don’t like the score, you’re cordially invited to SHUT UP, PLAY BETTER FOOTBALL AND WIN THE GAME. The Cowboys could have stopped fumbling, intercepted some passes or run for a few touchdowns. End of story!

In other news ... the Howdygram would like extend our best wishes for a very happy Martin Luther King’s Birthday. I don’t know if y’all intend to celebrate or not, but I’ll do my part for race relations by heating up some mozzarella sticks in the oven and watching a couple of Sydney Poitier movies on TCM. We shall overcome. Thank you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

When customer service turns sour.

Yo. Good morning. I need show of hands. Have you ever purchased anything from Schwan’s? I’m asking because my initial frozen food order never showed up yesterday ... even after Schwan’s tried to resolve the scheduling mess described in my post from January 15.

When I spoke to him Friday night, Gary the delivery driver was very friendly and apologetic, promising my food order “first thing Saturday morning.” That was plain enough. I know what “morning” means, but even if I didn’t it’s clearly defined in the dictionary as “the period of time from sunrise to noon.” And I figured “first thing” would narrow that window to sometime before 10 a.m. EXCEPT GARY NEVER SHOWED UP AT ALL.

By 1:30 in the afternoon I could tell Sam was becoming slightly irritated — “I HATE THESE PEOPLE! I DON’T WANT THEIR STINKING FOOD IN MY HOUSE!” — so I finally called Gary’s cell phone to ask where’s my delivery. He says: “I had other things to take care of first. I can be there in ten minutes.” To which I replied, “You know what? CANCEL MY ORDER. I’m done with this.” He was still yelling into the phone, “No! Wait! WAIT! I can be there in FIVE minutes!” when I hung up on him. Then I went to and deleted my order from their system.

The moral of the story ... frozen food can give your husband a heart attack. Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I love weekends.

Aside from the fact that Schwan’s is delivering my very first frozen food order sometime this morning, which all by itself would be exciting enough to make a person poop in her pants, there are other fantastic activities happening this weekend, too. For instance, I’ve got three prescription refills ready for pickup at Wal-Mart (if you’re interested, they include Metformin, Pravachol, and Benazepril with Hydrochlorothiazide), and tomorrow there’s the big Cowboys vs. Vikings playoff game on TV starting at noon at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis. I certainly hope the Cowboys cheerleaders are appropriately equipped with teeny blue and silver Elmer Fudd hats to protect all that hair from the cold weather. I, for one, would NOT want to be in Minnesota in January, even if it warms up to a blistering 10°.

And now I’m going to reheat some leftover hot & sour soup, watch Thursday night’s season premier of “Project Runway” (I recorded it) and then go back to bed. Shalom.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Food from the Twilight Zone, delivered to your door.

I’m really confused. About a week ago I placed my first-ever order with Schwan’s online for home delivery of their frozen prepared food, figuring I’d try half a dozen different things that got the best reviews. Schwan’s has been around for centuries. I remember seeing their trucks years ago when I lived in Chicago and Michigan, and I see them all the time driving around Dallas and the suburbs. So I place a nice order online at and they confirm everything by email with a delivery date of Monday, January 25. I mark my calendar. So far, so good.

Earlier tonight I’m stretched out on the sofa watching a lousy Kay Francis movie on TV and I hear someone pounding on my front door. I don’t get up because I never answer the door at night if I’m not expecting anybody, and it’s already 7:30 p.m. and pitch black outside. Then the doorbell rings three times. I still don’t get up. After I hear a truck drive off I figure it could be a late UPS delivery or a present from a grateful Howdygram fan, so I open the door and find a Schwan’s catalog with a note: SORRY YOU MISSED YOUR DELIVERY. PLEASE CALL ME. The driver’s name is Gary and his number is on the note.

The plot thickens. Instead of calling the driver I decide to call Schwan’s national 800 number to talk to a customer service representative. Now here’s where the Twilight Zone thing starts. I get a rep named Barbara, who says she doesn’t know why a driver would knock on my door today because I’m not scheduled for home delivery until January 20. When I tell her my email confirmation said January 25, she replies: “You really can’t go by that. We have trucks in your area all the time. Your delivery date is supposed to be January 20.” I explain that I need to know for sure when the driver is coming because otherwise I won’t answer the door after dark. To make sure she doesn’t think I’m too weird I ask her to add two half-gallons of ice cream to my order (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for Sam and sugar-free Chocolate for me).

Minutes after I hang up with Barbara I get a call from Gary, my Schwan’s delivery guy. He tells me to forget everything Barbara told me because she’s a pathological liar who’s wanted by the FBI and is possibly an illegal alien. (Okay, maybe he didn’t exactly phrase it that way.) My delivery date is NOT January 20, and it’s not January 25, either ... he’ll actually be back first thing in the morning on Saturday with my entire order, including the ice cream I just added by phone, and if I want more stuff besides that, like Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls, Miniature Pepperoni Pizzas or other greasy appetizers for the Cowboys playoff game on TV, he’ll probably have it on the truck.

Remember the good old days when people bought food in a grocery store and the Twilight Zone didn’t offer home delivery? Trust me, if Gary looks like Rod Serling I’m making Sam open the door. Thank you for reading this.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Take your comic books, George, and scram.

Just days after settling a lawsuit over land for the George W. Bush Presidential Library, Southern Methodist University in Dallas faces another showdown with its neighbors. This time, local homeowners object to plans to build two library parking lots across an alley from their homes.
Area homeowners, fearing that the projected number of annual visitors to the presidential library will trample and destroy their neighborhood, want to know why library visitors can’t park in existing SMU lots that are designated for overflow traffic. Library officials say they need a design that puts regular parking closer to the building. Groundbreaking is scheduled to begin this fall.

Personally, this frantic hoo-hah about crowd control and overflow traffic is comical. With or without additional parking at SMU, why on earth would anybody pay money to visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library?

Insomnia and potato salad.

The problem is, I conked out on the sofa around 11:30 last night and woke up at 2 a.m. I tried going to bed but couldn’t fall asleep again, so here I am ... writing movie reviews and eating saltines. If I wasn’t concerned about waking Sam I’d actually be in the kitchen right now making Marcy’s Famous Potato Salad ... but I think I’d better put that off until later this morning. In the meantime, I’ll share my recipe because I think it’s the best potato salad on earth, and I know Sam agrees with me. This recipe makes a large batch. You can cut it in half if you want to, but trust me ... make the whole recipe and you’ll be glad you did.
  • 5 lbs. red potatoes
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, coarsely chopped
  • 6 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 purple onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • ¼ cup liquid from a jar of Kosher dills or green olives
Cut the potatoes in half and simmer in a kettle of salted water until cooked through and soft. Drain and cool at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Cube the cold potatoes (leave the skins on) and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped hard-boiled eggs, celery, onion and bell pepper. In a small bowl blend the mayonnaise, seasoned salt and ¼ cup liquid to make a dressing. Pour over the potato mixture and toss gently with a couple of wooden spoons so you don’t smoosh the potatoes. No kidding, this stuff is so good you can eat it as a main course!
I’ll try to include a photo of this recipe later today providing I remember to shoot some pictures before we start eating. No guarantees. Thank you for reading this.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Claymation animator Art Clokey dies at 88.

According to an Associated Press news item on, claymation animator Art Clokey died today of natural causes at age 88 in Los Osos, California. He initially created Gumby and Pokey cartoons and shorts in the 1950s for “The Howdy Doody Show” plus several television series later in the decade.

Clokey once revealed in an interview that he invented Gumby’s lopsided head to look like his own father’s. As scary as that might be, from this photo it’s not hard to see the family resemblance ... although I think Gumby’s complexion is a more natural color. Gumby is the one on the right; Pokey was unavailable at the time of this photo shoot.

Kentucky Fried Racists.

Oh, those wacky Australians ... they sure know how to have a good time, don’t they? Apparently this ad was yanked from Australian television after outraged Americans started a big hoo-hah. (Pass the biscuits.)

Friday, January 8, 2010

The truth be told: I’m a nerd.

Last night I watched an amazing special on CNBC, a documentary about Macintosh fanatics called “MacHeads” that finally put into perspective something that Sam has known (and I’ve suspected) for years: I’m a nerd.

I was drawn into nerdland by my first husband Milt, a ham radio enthusiast and the undisputed King of All Nerds, who noodled around on a 5K Commodore VIC-20 computer as far back as 1980. We advanced to the Commodore 64 two years later, and in 1984 I saw my first Mac when it was still brand new on the market and prohibitively expensive. I sold my soul to buy one the following year and never owned anything else since.

Yes, it’s a cult. I’m a nerd and I admit it. This is what happens to tech pioneers.

In true nerdlike fashion I can recite every Mac I’ve ever owned, including the RAM, the ROM, the size of the hard drives, the year I bought them and the software I used. Actually, my first three Macs had no hard drives at all; the operating system, fonts (there were only three: Helvetica, Times and Courier) and software fit on a single 400K floppy disk with room to spare.

I had the first editions of Adobe Illustrator and PageMaker in 1988 and bought the very first inkjet printer that same year, a Hewlett Packard DeskWriter, for $1,200 even though it only printed in one color (black) and nobody had bothered to invent compatible inkjet paper to go with it. It took six months of trial-and-error to finally discover the only inkjet-friendly paper on the market — Neenah’s Classic Crest Solar White — and I even wrote an article about it for MacUser magazine. (I’m not joking about this.) Until that time I’d been plodding along with a 72dpi dot-matrix AppleWriter because nobody in my universe could afford a laser printer. (The average price in the late 1980s was still $6,500.) I finally bought my first 20-megabyte hard drive in 1991 for $795.
So why am I telling you all this? Because my iMac G5 is already five years old, and this spring I’m planning to buy a new iMac with a 27-inch display that blows high-definition out of the water. It’s truly a thing of beauty, equipped with 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 2560 x 1440 resolution, 4GB of memory, a 1TB hard drive, wireless keyboard and Super Mouse, 8x double-layer SuperDrive and ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics. And it actually sells for far less than my first Mac back in 1985, which cost almost $2,000. I LOVE PROGRESS. (And please don’t tell Sam, but I also love Steve Jobs.) Thank you for reading this.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

On the road again.

Sam is in Houston all week on business. He goes to Houston a LOT and always stays at The Magnolia, which apparently is nice enough with an adequate quantity of free shampoos, not overpriced and not too far from his office downtown. Sam also says it’s convenient to the county’s criminal courts, where he spends most days before work watching the local scumbags get convicted and sentenced ... like “Law and Order” without commercials. Actually, everything in Houston would be swell except for one thing: THE MAGNOLIA CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHEN TO CLEAN SAM’S ROOM.
Sam’s check-in instructions to the front desk are always the same: NO MAID SERVICE UNTIL AFTER HE LEAVES FOR WORK AT 2:30 IN THE AFTERNOON. But nobody bothers to tell housekeeping, because the maids either knock and let themselves in while Sam is still asleep or they don’t bother to show up at all. He never knows if he’ll get back to his room at midnight and find an unmade bed and wet towels on the bathroom floor.

Bottom line, Sam needs to spend more time at home. I make the bed every day and you’ll NEVER find wet towels on my bathroom floor. And on request I’ll even dress up like FiFi the maid as long as I don’t have to wear fishnet hose. (They itch like hell.)

Dealing with winter weather sissies.

A deep freeze is descending on Dallas tonight. Everywhere I look there are warnings and winter weather advisories that would make a person think we’re living in Siberia. In truth, the temperature will drop into the mid-20s tonight and stay slightly below freezing through mid-day on Saturday. We’re also expecting a breeze from the north, so there’s a wind-chill thing going on, too.

Let’s be honest about this for a minute. TEXANS ARE BUNCH OF WINTER SISSIES. I grew up in Chicago and spent most of my life braving some of the crappiest winter weather this side of the Antarctic. I’m talking about temperatures so cold your shins crack and your NOSTRILS FREEZE SHUT, getting up at 4:45 in the morning in sub-zero weather to catch a 6:00 commuter train in the dark with NO HEAT, trudging in knee-deep snow to wait for a bus that never shows up, limping 10 blocks downtown through frozen slush up to my ankles in a pair of leaky leather boots with a broken heel (that was back in 1986 and I don’t think I ever recovered) and snow so deep my car had FOUR FLAT TIRES when the weather finally thawed out six weeks later. And you have to do all this even when you don’t feel well and you’re shlepping a thermometer, Robitussin, Midol and a crate of tampons in your briefcase.

So don’t talk to me about a winter weather advisory for 25° with a breeze. In Chicago we considered that SPRING. This is almost as weird as Los Angeles with their “emergency weather statements” whenever it drizzles on the 405 freeway. I’M SURROUNDED BY SISSIES. Thank you for reading this.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A food fest fit for a King.

If he hadn’t died on the toilet in August 1977, rock legend Elvis Presley would be celebrating his 75th birthday on January 8. To help you participate in the festivities I’ll share two of his favorite recipes here, offering proof that the King of Cholesterol probably died from collapsed arteries rather than a drug overdose. No kidding, I feel ill just READING these things.
FOOL’S GOLD LOAF. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread butter generously over all sides of a loaf of Italian bread and bake until evenly brown. Fry one pound bacon until crisp and drain on a paper towel. Slice the bread lengthwise and hollow out the interior. Fill it with peanut butter and grape jelly layered with the bacon. Close the loaf, slice and serve. (Contains 9,000 calories.)
1 Betty Crocker white cake mix
8 oz. can crushed pineapple with juice
2 cups white sugar
8 oz. package cream cheese
½ cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Prepare cake mix according to instructions on package and bake in a 9" x 13" pan. Allow to cool. Combine pineapple and white sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil and pour over cooled cake. In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Add vanilla. Add pecans and mix well. Spread cream cheese frosting over cake. Serve with an angiogram and a side order of insulin.
For more of Elvis’ favorites you can check out, and Thank you for reading this ... and do let me know if you try any of these recipes. (I’d recommend paying up your health insurance premium first.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

FYI regarding my last post.

Just in case you were wondering (and even if you weren’t) where I found that photo of Cowboys Stadium with the comic book captions about alien space invaders, please note ... I added the captions all by myself with a new font I bought a couple of days ago. There’s a cool website called that holds an annual font sale on New Year’s Day. I bought two.

And while I’m on the subject of Cowboys Stadium, about 45 minutes from now Sam and I will be enjoying the Cowboys vs. Eagles game on TV. Football in our house is a luxurious experience. I’m talking about a 60-INCH HIGH-DEF TV with a BOSE SOUND SYSTEM, CHICKEN TAMALES, COKE ZERO and a BLANKET! I know this is pretty short notice, but if you want to come watch the game send me a quick email and I’ll try to find room on the sofa. First come, first served.

Strange new spacecraft swallows North Texas.

It’s pretty hard to tell if this frightening monstrosity is an after-dark rendering of the new Cowboys Stadium or a spacecraft from another world.


I’ll bet it’s the latter, because yesterday it was packed with aliens from OSU and Ole Miss using it for the 2010 Cotton Bowl game. There was no logical reason for this, since we already have a nice stadium on the other side of town much better suited for the Cotton Bowl because it actually IS the Cotton Bowl. My guess is, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones needed an extra opportunity to overcharge 77,500 people for hotdogs and parking so he enticed the advertisers. Unfortunately, both teams were pretty lousy. Thank y’all and happy new year.

Friday, January 1, 2010

No big deal: the 2010 Tournament of Roses parade.

I’ve always looked forward to New Year’s Day and the Tournament of Roses parade. As a kid growing up in Chicago it was a real treat to see a North American city on the first of January without two feet of snow on the ground and temperatures above 10°. I even enjoyed watching the parade during the dozen years I lived in southern California (1995 through 2007) although I never got to see it in person. TV was always good enough. I could wear a bathrobe, eat a bagel and didn’t have to look for parking.

Today’s parade, however, was a crushing disappointment and marked the first time I can ever remember thinking I’d rather be watching Gene Autry reruns. Why? Because it was sappy and TOO CORPORATE. I mean, one of the prettiest floats was a crazy, musical, colorful extravaganza depicting Rio de Janeiro’s annual Carnivale with sexy Brazilian dancers and gigantic puppets bopping around on the street ... and starring that stupid BIG-HEADED CLOWN FROM THE JACK-IN-THE-BOX COMMERCIALS. Another honored ORGAN DONORS, maybe one of the strangest themes imaginable. I’d really like to know who thought this would be a good idea for a parade float, with people riding on the side holding up pictures of somebody who donated a liver. What’s next? How about floats to promote pap smears or medical breakthroughs in hemorrhoid prevention?

Even the marching bands were duds this year, but with one exception: the Ohio State School for the Blind. When they first appeared (and before I realized they were blind) I yelled for Sam to come and watch this band of klutzes all marching out of step. The majorettes were in a cockeyed row tapping with white canes and every musician had a sighted guide holding one arm so they wouldn’t smash into each other. This was the only part of the parade worth watching, but it was over way too soon. Thank you for reading this.